Sen. Ron Johnson working on bill focused on border security

Former hostage Chuck Scott responds


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 11, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, the man with the immigration plan. I'm not talking about President Obama. I am talking about Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson. He's been working on a bill putting the focus on border security over freezing these deportations of illegals, potentially millions of them.

The good senator joins me right now.

Senator, thank you. What have you got?

SEN. RON JOHNSON, R-WIS.: Well, Neil, first of all, let me start by wishing all of our veterans a happy Veterans Day and thanking them and their families for their service and sacrifice.

What I have got is, when I became chairman of Homeland Security and Governors Affair Committee, what we're going to list as the top priority securing the border. This is well, well past time to do that. And there's plenty of plan on the table there. We can take some of the work in the Senate comprehensive bill. We can take a look at some things that the chairman calls done in the House Homeland Security Committee, as well as Chairman Goodlatte in the Judiciary Committee.

CAVUTO: Well, what does your do, Senator?

JOHNSON: Combine those plans.

CAVUTO: What does your do?

JOHNSON: Well, what I do I think in particular is you combine a robust guest-worker program, because I think that's what this -- is lost in this discuss and what is -- will be so damaging about President Obama taking unilateral action.

If he defers action on deportations, for example, that's going to be an incentive for illegal immigration. So, what we need to do is we need to eliminate or drastically reduce those incentives for illegal immigration. Of course, the number one incentive is people coming here looking for work, Neil, for that kind of opportunity.

So, let's have a functioning guest-worker program. And, Neil, I would attach to that prevailing wages, minimum wages so that we're not incentivizing employers to bring in labor that would depress American wages. So, it's just kind of a commonsense approach. Let's eliminate all the incentives for illegal immigration.

It will -- it will really reduce those illegal immigrants down to a trickle. And then it's going to be a whole lot easier to secure our border.

CAVUTO: All right. But do you start with securing the border because the rap against Ronald Reagan when he headed into an immigration agreement with Democrats, I think it was back in 1986, is -- at least Republicans charged at the time, Senator, as I'm sure you're aware, that the Democrats didn't live up to their bargain and the border was never enforced.

Would you insist, as others have, a border first, all this other stuff second? And then how would you verify it?

JOHNSON: Yes, yes.

You -- you have to secure the border first. But, again, what -- the point I'm making is the best way to secure the border is to reduce all the incentives for illegal immigration. The number one incentive really is people coming here to work.

So you have to have a functioning guest-worker program. That's just being missed in the discussion. So, you reduce the number of people coming over here, it's a whole lot easier to actually secure the border. You will need less fencing, less surveillance. You will need less Border Patrol agents than if you continue down this path to deferring action and actually increasing the incentives.

CAVUTO: Right.

JOHNSON: That's what President Obama did with deferred action on childhood admissions.

The result of that memorandum was the flooding of the border with all these kids out of Central America. We have got to stop the flow. That's the first achievable goal possible.

CAVUTO: Well, then let me ask you this. If the president still goes through with his plan via executive order to delay deportations for millions of illegals already here, is that a nonstarter with you? Do you think that it so poisons the well -- some of your colleagues have talked about it being unconstitutional. Where do you stand?

JOHNSON: Well, I think it will help poison the well, which is not a good thing. It's not the way you start the discussion.

But, if anything, it's going to ramp up the need to secure the border, because, again, what that will do is, it will increase the incentives for people to come here illegally, which makes it even more important that we first secure the border. So, from my standpoint, regardless of what President Obama does, we need to pass a border security bill as the first step in solving the -- not only the illegal immigration problem.

But, Neil, it's a public health and safety issue. It's a national security issue. So, I think all the uncertainty created by this -- by this administration, all the lack of security facing America right now just points to the fact that the number one priority has to be to secure the border.

CAVUTO: Sorry. Real quickly then on that point, do you think if the president were to push this executive order, but as part of a way to win guys like you over, he says I will do your border thing simultaneously, what does Senator Johnson say?

JOHNSON: Well, if he actually does an executive order, sounds like he's going to do that during the lame-duck, I won't be chairman until the next Congress takes effects.

So, again, regardless of what he does, we have to press forward with a border security bill. That's the first thing what we have to do. No matter what he does, we must secure the border.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator Johnson, good seeing you again. Thank you.

JOHNSON: Have a great day.

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