Jim DeMint: They are trying to 'rush' immigration reform

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: So, a few ways to improve the bill, offer an amendment when we start markup in May, and let's vote on it.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, was the start of Chuck getting all fired up as the clash over immigration reform was heating up.

Former Senator and Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint just rejecting the Gang of Eight's plan. He joins me on the phone.

I guess the view was, Senator, that the latest problems that have come up out of Boston are going to delay it or used as an excuse to delay reform. You argue that shouldn't be the reason. The plan itself should be the reason. Explain.

FORMER SEN. JIM DEMINT, R-S.C.: It's bad enough as it is, the cost.

And just the fact that you cannot trust the Congress or the president to keep their promises on the part of this bill that would actually fix our immigration system.

So, what we're insisting on at Heritage is let's look at the cost. Our numbers will be ready probably about early next week. We have done an exhaustive study with a lot of scholars. And this is a significant cost at a time when our debt and deficits are taking us over the cliff.

CAVUTO: Is it your sense, Senator, that this is falling apart? And I don't know whether related to Boston or not, but it's just falling on its own weight? What is going on?

DEMINT: Well, they're trying to rush it through in a hurry.

They had hearings Friday and today, before anyone opposed to the bill had a chance to be a part of that. And now they want to rush through markup in this thing. That means they do the amendments in committee. I don't know if it's falling apart or not, but it should. And they want this to go through before Americans know what is really in it.

CAVUTO: All right, now, let's say it is falling apart, and the Gang of Eight, or whoever they are, these Republicans and Democrats who came together and cobbled together what they said was a non-amnesty immigration reform, you say, good riddance, better rip up and start from scratch? Because they're coming back and saying this is the closest we have ever come or will ever come. What do you say to that?

DEMINT: Well, we shouldn't do the amnesty first. That's the problem because we cannot trust the Congress to secure our borders and create a workable immigration plan.

So the worst thing we can do right now is say, OK, those who are here illegally, you're legal, you got to pass the citizenship and then trust us to do the rest. There's some good things in this bill that everyone should agree on that we could pull out and vote on, on a -- in a step-by- step way, so Americans know what we're doing and who we're giving visas to and what are we doing on our borders.

But the way this bill works, it's the same thing we had in 2007, is people get almost immediate legal status and then we have to hope that the president and the Congress actually carry through on fixing our immigration system.

CAVUTO: And you doubt that the enforcement part will be realized, that Republicans risk being hoodwinked, as it was charged Ronald Reagan was when he offered a version of this back in 1986?

DEMINT: And Ronald Reagan said that's the biggest mistake he made. Ed Meese tells us that a lot.


DEMINT: But it makes no sense to say, we're going to give everyone legal status, and then come -- get -- get around to fixing the immigration system later.

It's very costly. And there are a lot of other dangers related to our current immigration system we need to fix. But holding that hostage to legal status is just a political ploy, and we should not fall for it.

CAVUTO: Jim DeMint, thank you very much. Good seeing you again -- or hearing you.


DEMINT: OK. Thanks.

Content and Programming Copyright 2013 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2013 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.