Senate's immigration reform bill passes

Senator Rand Paul on the immigration battle


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 27, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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INGRAHAM: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, after clearing some major hurdles, the Senate's immigration reform bill has passed. Senator Marco Rubio, who co-wrote the legislation, gave an impassioned plea on the Senate floor today.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: For here in America, those who once had no hope will give their kids the chance at a life they always wanted for themselves. Here in America, generations of unfulfilled dreams will finally come to pass. And that's why I support this reform. Not just because I believe in immigrants, but because I believe in America even more.


INGRAHAM: Joining me now from Washington with reaction, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky who of course, voted against the measure. It ended up getting 68 votes, Senator Paul, for immigration reform, short of the 70 but your reaction today?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well you know I've always been in favor of trying to do something to fix immigration. I think we do have problems. We've got 10 million people who have come here illegally. We need to figure out how to secure our border and figure out how to have more legal immigration, but I don't think this bill necessarily does it.

I've always said that conservatives in this country are open to immigration reform, but want to see border security first. And I don't think this bill quite gets there.

INGRAHAM: What has been the reaction, the calls coming into your office, Senator Paul, from the people of Kentucky, who have seen stagnating wages, struggling with under and unemployment, many cobbling to get part- time jobs?

PAUL: Eighty percent of our phone calls have been against this immigration reform bill. And but I would say that people aren't completely against doing something. They're just against something that doesn't secure the border first.

INGRAHAM: Paul Ryan on my radio show last week predicted that we would have, quote, "a shortage of workers in the United States in coming years" in that -- that justifies bringing in millions of new workers into this country.

Senator, with 7.6 percent unemployment and people saying that they feel like they can't get ahead, you know, Marco Rubio talked about hopelessness among illegal immigrants, there's a lot of hopelessness out there in -- in Middle America. So do you believe this line about this shortage of workers that's coming?

PAUL: Well, the interesting thing is this bill doesn't do anything to fix that. This particular bill actually limits work visas. And a work program is what I'm for. Because if you have a good robust work program then you won't get people crossing the border illegally. They will come in legally do this work. And so I don't think this bill actually fixes that.

I think there is some concern -- you know, I saw a statistic today that unemployment for those who have a high school degree only is 24 percent. And if you have a college degree, it's about four percent. So we do have a lot of blue collar workers that we do have to be concerned with.

INGRAHAM: Right but that gives -- that leads me to my next question. Why are you personally, Senator, in favor of bringing in all of these new people to work, even though you voted against this bill, if in fact we have so many Americans who are struggling today? Are you -- are you one of these people who believe that they are just you know they are -- they can't cut it in some of these jobs?

PAUL: Well, I would say that experience shows, and the farmers tell me in my state and other states, that for hiring people to work in the field to pick crops, for that hard work, for $9, $9.50 an hour that when they advertise in the paper, they aren't getting American applicants. So I think we do need migrant workers. I'm not opposed to a migrant worker problem (SIC) in fact I think if you have a migrant worker program that works.


PAUL: I think you'll get less illegal immigration.

INGRAHAM: Yes the problem is it goes way beyond migrant workers to construction workers and people who make you know more money and the concern is that, of course, we're going to have this unending flow of cheap labor under this bill and that's going to continue to keep wages low as, of course, the CBO predicted.

But let's move on to another conversation about where we are in the world right now with foreign policy. How would Senator Paul then becoming President Paul, how would you deal with Russia today, given all of our challenges, not only this NSA situation, but across the board with Syria and obviously also with China? How would you deal with it today?

PAUL: You know I think the most important thing for any president would be that we need to have a constitutional foreign policy. And our Constitution actually mandates that Congress has a role in this and that we don't frankly go to war without the approval of Congress. You know Madison was very firm in this. He said you know history demonstrates what -- that the power most likely to go to war is the executive, so they granted that power in the legislature.

INGRAHAM: Well, George Bush and I think his brother also, you know, they talked about this strain of isolationism in the GOP. And I think those comments are directed at people like you, that you want America to retreat in the world and not get -- you know, not -- not -- not have a more robust foreign policy, which also they believe is effective. That's more of the Bush wing of the party.

PAUL: Yes. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm for engaging the world. I'm for diplomatic relations with the world. I'm for trading with the world and I'm for protecting our country against our enemies, but what I would say is that doesn't mean we always get involved in everybody's civil war around the world.

And those who want to arm the Syrian rebels right now have to overcome two great ironies. First they're going to be giving arms to a group of people who are allied with al Qaeda. And second they will be giving groups arm to a group of Islamic rebels who are going to be fighting against Christians in this country. And I think there's a certain irony there that I think most Americans are not in favor of.

INGRAHAM: Hey Senator Paul, we're almost out of time. But Michael Bloomberg thinks people should be composting. All right? Composting -- I know you're a big composter.

PAUL: Yes me, too. Me too -- yes, yes.

INGRAHAM: All right, so you agree with Bloomberg?

PAUL: That may be the one area that we do. But you know where we might differ? I'm not for mandatory composting. I'm for voluntary composting.

INGRAHAM: Ok I just wanted to make sure we got that straight. Senator, thank you very much.

And plenty more ahead as THE FACTOR moves along this evening: A Republican with a different view on the immigration bill will be here to defend it. We're going to see how he holds up to my questioning.

And later mixed messages from the Obama administration on how big a threat the fugitive NSA leaker really is to our country. We hope you stay tuned for those reports.

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