Rep. Paul Ryan seeks a 'workable, legal immigration system'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 26, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Earlier today, on the Senate floor, $38 billion so-called border surge amendment was approved in a 69 to 29 vote. Fifteen GOP senators sided with the majority to pass the plan.

Now, remember, this is the measure that promises to add 20,000 border patrol agents, construct a 700 mile fence among other things.

Now, unfortunately not all lawmakers are convinced that those promises are going to be kept. Take a look.


SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY, R-IOWA: What happens if 19,000 border patrol agents are never hired or deployed? Well, the people who are here have been legalized to RPI status, quite obvious they are not going to be removed. And then to another senator, a key talking about border security -- border security, well, you're going to have border security under this amendment 10 years down the road. Not today. Well, the grand compromise makes false promises, it makes more money at the border, but there's no accountability to get the job done.


HANNITY: Now, Senator Grassley later returned to the floor and blocked Harry Reid from rushing the bill to a final vote tomorrow. Let's watch this.


GRASSLEY: I feel a bit used and abused in this process. For two-and-a-half weeks, we've been pushing to get votes on amendments, we've had a measly ten votes on amendments, remind you that there are 550 files. That's pretty embarrassing for the majority after they promised a fair and open debate.


HANNITY: And now appears the legislation won't be voted on by Friday, but Senator Harry Reid said earlier tonight that he hopes he can get an agreement with Republicans, and move up that vote to tomorrow. Either way, it's expected to pass in the Senate. It's likely to hit a few roadblocks when it does in fact arrive in the House of Representatives.

Here to give his take on this and much more, chairman of the House Budget Committee, Wisconsin Congressman, former vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan. How are you, sir?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'm doing great, Sean. How are you doing?

HANNITY: I'm sure you are aware, a lot of conservatives including myself are angry. No border security first. How do you feel about it?

RYAN: Well, look, you mentioned the Senate bill is coming to the House. We're not going to bring up the Senate bill. We'll going to do it our own way, at our own time in a very methodical way, because we want to make sure we get this stuff right. We think those things that were in that amendment were improvements, they brought the Senate bill closer to the House position, but we want to make sure we get it right. We want to have real triggers on the border, real triggers on what we call the E-Verify, which is basically another way of saying if you are not here legally, you can't get a job.

And so, we want to get those things right to make sure that this bill works. Because we want immigration reform that works for our country, that works for national security, that's good for our economy, and we don't want to be in the same boat ten years down the road. We want immigration reform that lasts so we don't want the same problem ten years later like we've always had last time we've done on it.

HANNITY: Is securing the border first top priority for you?

RYAN: It is a top priority for me. It's important for the trigger as well. But so, hear what I say. What we're talking about the House is we're saying, people who are here undocumented -- because we realize we cannot deport 11 million people and find them and deport them, so we want to put them on probationary status, that's the kind of thinking we have here, and they can't get out of that probationary status, they can't get legal permanent residence, which is what Chuck Grassley was talking there, until these border efforts are made, until the border is secure, until the E-Verify is set up.

And we don't want to leave it to the executive branch like Janet Napolitano to make that decision, we want objective metrics, we want Congress' auditing on the General Accountability Office to tell us whether or not these metrics have been met, whether or not the border is really secure, whether or not the verification system is up and running. And only until then is occurred can a person of this status change their status from probation to something other than that.

HANNITY: So, my sources have been telling me Congressman that you guys are considering a five-year temporary legal status, and then the border security measure is not met in five years, that that would be revoked.

RYAN: That's right. That's right.

HANNITY: I don't believe that would ever happen.

RYAN: Well, look, they can't get -- what a person would want to have, is they would come out of the shadows, they get put on probation, they pay taxes, pay fines, learning English, learning civics. If they break the terms of their probation, they can be deported. And if the border is not secure by that time, if the verification system is not up and running, they can't get -- not only does that status go away, they can't legal permanent residence.

What we want to make sure is we want to make sure that people who didn't do the things the right way, make amends at the law, acknowledge they didn't follow the law, but also get in the back of the line so that people who did things right, people who came here legally the first place, who waited in line, who paid the fees, that they get through the system first.

And the point we're trying to make is, if you want to get this population, the undocumented population, in legal permanent residency, get them a green card, then these other things have to happen first, the border has to be secured, the E-Verify system has to be up and running. That's the kind of system we're talking about here in the House. We think the Senate border bill brings it closer to our position, but we're not going to take up their bill, we'll going to do it our way. And this is what we're talking about.

HANNITY: But what I'm hearing you say, is you're still giving them legal status first, albeit temporary. And I think I speak for a lot of people, Congressman. Most people see that when we are promised spending cuts, we get the tax increase, we never get the spending cut. We get the amnesty, we never get the border security. Why wouldn't you support something such as expediting, building the security measures in. I mean, we sent men to the moon, couldn't we do within 12 months, 18 months?

RYAN: Sean, look at the system we have right now. We don't even know who is coming and going in this country, we have no control of the border. But more importantly, people are using other person's ID to work in this country. We want to get undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, to actually give us the real name, the real identity, to get them in a situation where they are not taking someone's identity. We think it's important to get legal immigration working in order to secure the border, to do it this way.

This is not giving anybody an amnesty, this is not giving anybody a break. It says, you got to pay a fine, you got to pay your taxes, you got to learn English and oh, by the way, you have to actually use a real Social Security number and your real identity, we think that helps secure national security. We think that's good to do and we think that's important while we secure the border.

The point is, people are already here in the country. They may not be in the country using their identity, they may not be in the country using their legitimate Social Security number. We want them to do that, and we think that's important as part of this. That's hardly an amnesty. That's basically getting people right with the law, making them make amends with the fact that they didn't do things right and then putting them at the back of the line. We don't think that's an amnesty, we think that's smart and good rule of law policy.

HANNITY: All right. So, what you're saying is, temporary legal status, do you blame me for being suspicious?

RYAN: Not at all.

HANNITY: That it would never be revoked, whether or not the border was ever secure, and that's why I think myself and a lot of conservatives are saying, don't we have a right to have sovereign borders and that done first? Why not do that first?

RYAN: Sean, I'm suspicious as well. You know why? Because none of the past reforms ever worked. Eighty six didn't work, '96 didn't work. So, of course we're suspicious. But we also believe based upon the experts we hear from the border, that the best ways to secure the border, among the best way to secure the border is get the economic immigrant, the person coming for a job to come to the front gate with a guest worker card so that we can better interdict the criminals, the terrorists, the drug smugglers.

See, what we've learned is, the border is being overrun. And if we can get the person who had economic immigrant, who wants to come for a job, go through the front gate with a guest worker card, that helps us interdict the people we really don't want coming in this country, those people who are coming to seek us, to do us harm.

So, we think legal immigration that works and is viable is the best way securing the border, it's sort of a wide gate, high-fence approach and we want to make sure that people who are coming here aren't taking jobs from people who are already in this country. And there are sectors of our economy like the agriculture that need work. We want to make sure these high-tech people come here to help create jobs. So we need a workable legal immigration system while we get the border under control and have employment verification system, because illegal immigration and identity are sort of one in the same thing.

HANNITY: You know, I'm listening to you, and obviously, you put a lot of thought into this. I talked to a lot of conservatives, they're writing me right now on Twitter, and I can predict for you what the answer is going to be. If you don't trust the government and I don't trust the government and we can send a man on the moon, why don't we just secure the border and expedite it immediately? Make it a national security priority and then deal with other issues. Why is that not an option for you?

RYAN: Because in order to secure the border, you have to have a workable legal immigration system that people who are trying to come to this country to work have a way of coming here legally. You can't just seal it off, you need to make sure that people can come here legally. And we also have to remember, we've got 11 million people in the country who are undocumented who either overstayed their visa or crossed the border illegally. What are we going to do? We can't be able to find them and deport them. We have to find a way of dealing with this population, we want to do it in a way that respects the rule of law, and puts them at the back of the line, so that everybody who did things right --

HANNITY: Can you do that after the border is secure, though?

RYAN: We think it goes with the border. We think it's the best way to secure the border is to have this workable legal immigration system alongside it. And by the away, we don't trust the executive branch, we want Congress to verify this.

HANNITY: I'm concerned that -- is there going to be a conservative revolt and a divide in the Republican Party? Are you at all worried about that?

RYAN: Of course I'm worried about that. But I want to get it right. I want it to work. I want to make sure that we're not in the same problem 10 years from now. I want immigration that's good for our economy, I want an immigration system that protects our National Security.

HANNITY: All right. Congressman, we'll take the temperature of everybody. We have a very lively audience here. But we do appreciate you taking the time to be with us. Thank you.

RYAN: My pleasure, Sean. Take care.

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