>>> Nearly 800,000 young people no longer live in fear of being deported for a decision their parents made. president obama announced a major immigration policy change in the rose garden today.
>> these are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. they are americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one, on paper.
>> with legislation stalled by republicans in congress, the president said the temporary policy change will be made through enforcement by the department of homeland security.
>> it makes no sense to expel talented young people who for all intents and purposes are americans. they have been raised as americans. understand themselves to be part of this country. to expel these young people who want to staff our labs or start new businesses or defend our country, simply because of the actions of their parents or because of the inaction of politicians.
>> students rallied on both coasts in support of the new measures, including these young people in los angeles.
>> for me, it means i can finally take the right step forward, that he’s responding in the way that we’ve been wanting him to respond and that he’s listening and that we are now full of hope.
>> we’ve been fighting for so long that it’s a surreal moment right now that we’re living, so it’s a policy change so hopefully they follow through with it.
>> but not everyone had a positive reaction, including one person who was in the rose garden.
>> it is the — it is the right thing to do. excuse me, sir, it’s not time for questions, sir. not while i’m speaking.
>> the conservative heckler in the audience was a writer for the right wing website “the daily caller.” he yelled out why do you favor foreigners over americans. president obama addressed him a few minutes later.
>> because we are a better nation that one that expels innocent young kids. and the answer to your question, sir, and the next time i prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question, is this is the right thing to do for the american people. i didn’t — i didn’t ask for an argument, i’m answering your question. it is the right thing to do for the american people and here’s why. here’s the reason. because these young people are going to make extraordinary contributions and are already making contributions to our society.
>> i’ll have more on this stunning display later in the show. first, we should note mitt romney’s reaction to the president’s latest move.
>> i think the action that the president took today makes it more difficult to reach that long-term solution because an executive order is of course just a short-term matter. it can be reversed by subsequent presidents. i’d like to see legislation that deals with this issue and i happen to agree with marco rubio as he looked at this issue.
>> interesting that romney would align himself with marco rubio who called the new policy welcome news for many of these kids. other republicans weren’t so for giving.
>> this delivery of this message today was pandering to a certain population, and i believe it was very, very political.
>> get your finger out of my face. and on fox news, karl rove was tipping the scales of hypocrisy.
>> this is nothing but a politically motivated and cynical act.
>> really, karl? so this was a politically motivated and cynical act too?
>> i believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.
>> the immigration reform supported by ronald reagan gave amnesty to three million undocumented immigrants. republicans like to forget about that. they also want to ignore the potential impact of immigration reform on the economy. the congressional budget office said the dream act would increase federal revenue by $1.7 billion over ten years. the deficit would be reduced by $2.2 billion. these benefits already put republicans behind the eight ball when it comes to their opposition to reform. but from the looks of the right wing messaging out there today, it doesn’t appear they are ready to win over minority voters any time soon. get your cell phones out. i want top what you think. tonight’s question, would republicans support any kind of immigration reform? text a for yes, text b for no to 622639. or go to our blog. i’ll bring you the results later in the show. i’m joined by new jersey senator robert menendez. what’s your reaction, first of all, senator, to the president’s announcement?
>> well, i applaud the president. this is exactly the action that i and a series of my colleagues in congress have been calling for. to use the administrative relief he decided to use today. i know the administration has been listening to our voices for some time and trying to lay the legal framework to be able to achieve this goal. i believe they have that legal framework. there is precedent by republican and democratic presidents who have given classes of immigrants at different times pending status in this country. 95 law professors recently sent a letter to the president exactly speaking of that precedent. and so today these young people who came to this country through no decision of their own, came here most of them very, very young. the only flag they ever pledge allegiance to is that of the united states. the only national anthem they know is the star-spangled banner. have an opportunity to further contribute to america. and to do so in a way that can both help us intellectually. i’ve met so many of these students from my own home state. many times they are the valedictorian, salutatorian, whole host of community activists, giving a lot back to their communities. others wear the uniform of the united states and serve in the armed forces and defend the country, so it’s a great day for them, even though it doesn’t give them the total dream that they wanted.
>> sure. let’s clear up some misinformation because a lot of things have been floating out there and we want to clarify them. the department of homeland security has five requirements for exemption. it protects those who came to the u.s. under the age of 16. they must live in the u.s. for at least five years. students, high school grads and discharged veterans are exempt. they must have a record clear of felonies and they must be under 30 years old. so we just want to clarify that so that people won’t make these errant comments about the situation for those people who are the children of immigrants. are these fair requirements in your mind?
>> i think they are. we are trying to reach a class of students who came to this country very young, who have a clean record, meaning they have no criminal background, who must continue to have a clean record as they move forward, and who will be law abiding and contributing citizens to our society. and i think, you know, we’ve already made major investments in them in terms of public education. now that we have the ability to use their intellect on maf of the country or their service to the defense of the country, we should.
>> no question. the president pointed out that today work on the dream act is still necessary. let’s take a listen.
>> precisely because this is temporary, congress needs to act. there’s still time for congress to pass the dream act this year, pause these kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments.
>> certainly what the president did today was bold and imaginative and certainly goes a long way, but do you believe the dream act can ever pass through this congress?
>> in this congress, i’m not sure, michael. let me just say that the dream act would be law today if we didn’t have the republicans in the united states senate filibustering it when we had the vote over a year ago. at that time 55 senators, including a couple of republicans, joined us. that is a majority of the united states senate. but because republicans insisted on filibustering it, the procedure in which they try to stop just about everything, we would have needed 60 votes. a majority of the senate agreed at the time, so it’s republicans that have stopped this. that’s why i laugh when i see mitt romney saying lack of leadership. it’s his party that has shown a lack of leadership in this regard and whose language is so punitive as it relates to the immigrant and latino community in this country that i’m not surprised the polls read what they do.
>> all right, senator robert menendez, thank you so much for your time.
>>> now let’s turn to the executive director of the american latino project. thanks for coming on. what does today mean for young people living in fear of deportation. give us a kind of sense of what that means to them in their hearts and in their minds.
>> michael, i’m glad you asked me that question. i had a conversation with some friends of mine in northwest arkansas, in a rural part of arkansas, a young woman who came to this country at 7 years old with her family. went to high school, graduated with honors. got to go to college in arkansas. went halfway through college and then the governor there changed the rules and said because she was undocumented, she had to pay out of state tuition. so her and her family and the college, i give full credit to, helped her raise the means to graduate that college, even though she had lived in arkansas since she was 7 years old. she was ecstatic today and says this movement gives hope to all children, all these dreamers who have been doing collective actions and working hard that their voices are heard because they are a fabric of america.
>> well, weaved into the fabric of us as a nation. some said what the president did today was possibly illegal. how do you answer that?
>> you know, you’re going to hear this from the other side. because he did the right thing. and it was the right thing no matter what the color of your skin, no matter where you were born. but the actions you take as a young adult, by playing by the rules, coming to another country as a small child and doing good things, just like that sister in arkansas. they can’t stand to see the man do the right thing because it’s good for everyone and then in politics, that’s hard to run against. that’s exactly why you heard it that way.
>> well, do you think a republican president would ever overturn this policy?
>> you know, there’s a lot of things, as you have well described in your show. you don’t know what the other side will do for a political ploy. i think that there’s a very good chance a republican president could overturn this and there were people on the other side today saying just that. that just wait, when mitt romney is elected, we won’t have to worry about that, we will make things right. when in america is it right for a young person to not have their papers? when is it right for a dreamer not to dream?
>> well, one of the characters that we can certainly depend upon hearing from in these circumstances is sheriff joe arpaio. today he responded to the president’s announcement in arizona. listen to what he said.
>> we’re still going to enforce all those illegal immigration laws in this state. so if this is not a law, we won’t enforce it. it doesn’t mean i don’t fully agree with it. by the way, this is up to 30 years old, they’re not kids.
>> that is just remarkable. are you concerned that local law enforcers like joe arpaio won’t cooperate with homeland security?
>> i think you’re going to see community action. now the dreamers get to come out of the shadows. they get to come out and say we are here, you need to hear us. then your going to see people like me, who are born in america, who are u.s. citizens, who are voters. who are going to hold accountable these politicians and these sheriffs and these elected leaders who want to stand against us and make sure we do the right thing by making sure that we vote, make sure that we’re informed and make sure that there are repercussions for statements like you just heard.
>> all right, chuck, thank you so much for your time tonight.
>> thank you, michael.
>> remember to answer tonight’s question there at the bottom of the screen and share your thoughts on twitter @edshow. we want to know what you think.