Gonzales: President's policy move is politically motivated
Former U.S. attorney general reacts to shift on immigration
- Duration 6:34
- Date Jun 16, 2012
Former U.S. attorney general reacts to shift on immigration
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Be clear this is not amnesty this is not immunity.
This is not a path to citizenship.
And it's not a permanent fix.
I'd like to see legislation that deals with this issue -- I happen to agree with Marco -- -- -- -- consider this issue.
He said that this is an important matter.
We have to find a long term solution but that the president's action makes reaching a long term solution more difficult.
Well reaction on both sides of the political aisle agree that the president's policy shift and giving a reprieve just on illegal immigrants who were brought to this country as children.
Isn't a long term fixed.
You've also got some conservative Republicans calling the president's move backdoor amnesty.
And now -- mostly charge immigration debate may become one of the most contentious issues of the presidential campaign.
Joining us now former US attorney general Alberto Gonzales who's here to share his thoughts about the president's decision with his first.
Public comments on the issue they're so happy to see here at our studios thank you so much for being here and it's good to be with you.
Let's talk from a lot about the president's decision the president says this is the right thing to do when it comes to addressing the concerns.
Some illegal immigrants children that this is a way to try and find some compromise on this -- do you agree.
Well I'm already on record as saying that we need to do something help qualify -- and -- children.
I have the problems both substantively and procedurally in the way this president is trying to accomplish that goal substantively the -- I have is that.
It doesn't deal -- -- More secure border it doesn't deal with requiring tougher workplace enforcement.
It doesn't deal with -- over staters who doesn't deal with the millions of immigrants who came in this country legally.
As adults as a matter of substance it's it's well short of what we need as a country procedurally what I worry about the way that the president has done this is it.
And -- along it is useful local given the fact that -- an election season and this is something that that he could have done so well before before now.
Certainly the way he's done and I subjects of the -- criticism that by selectively.
Failing to enforce the law he is in fact not doing his job as as as president of the United States and making sure that the laws are faithfully executed.
I quite and then lastly of course is a fact that this is a temporary -- Immigration is an extremely difficult issue it's gonna require the combined wisdom on the White House.
And leadership in congress to find a solution that is comprehensive.
I believe still today that the most the best way to do this issue is -- a conference a fashion that's consistent with the rule long.
And we won't pass an immigration longer than meets both on the security and -- economic needs.
You mentioned that this is politically motivated.
Just Lester the president.
Went on record saying that he didn't have the authority to take this direction to bypass congress -- this -- that he felt this was not an answer.
To answering the deportation issue.
Now we seen this flip flop.
What do you make of this in terms of the timing of it.
Well again -- -- wrong and it doesn't appear that this decision is.
Is politically motivated and I asked whether the president has -- legal authority that that that's something that that lawyers that will debate about a candidate now I'm assuming that.
He received gas from the department of justice and in fact.
He does have the authority this -- -- prosecutors.
Do you have a great -- discretion in deciding when to prosecute someone from for from wrong with -- and so.
I'm on the presence trying to tell the American people is that that is what he's doing he's exercising plus troops discretion directing.
Agents and their Homeland Security not to deport certain individuals qualified children.
Nonetheless I I think it does subject that the executive to charges and in fact he's not -- -- -- the law and I think that's never a good place but the president.
Because you have some legislators out there are you saying that this move may be actually illegal as far as -- -- -- I don't know it is but.
From your viewpoint is your argument be made.
That it could be illegal necessarily wanted to make an argument is that that in -- -- but again you know when the political suit silly season and people -- make all kinds of accusations.
I think really what we're going to be doing -- and I like Enron said I -- -- That this kind of action may actually make it difficult sort of release steam pressure to try to pass conference in admission -- format dealing.
With the children and it through this temporary fix believe strongly it's -- it's important for this country to know who's in this country.
And post final and one -- here and I I believe -- and immigration reform legislation as is Iraq.
The right approach -- you are going forward is gonna open the door to others who may be thinking about coming to this country illegally.
With their children knowing that for now anyway if they Condit children.
I basically exempt and will they could you know to stay here and definitely that that is always a concern of course is that is -- them for not providing this kind of relief.
The children that that you're gonna encourage other parents bring their children into this country.
That's -- believing -- -- -- -- you do need hat conference in her immigration reform so that we do we secure our borders to make sure that that doesn't happen.
And so that there are things that can that should be done in conjunction.
To reassure everyone that we're not only are compassionate nation.
And taking care of these kids but Ross a nation of walls and that we enforcement laws.
Let me ask you for -- moment to just -- -- have left about the leak investigation that's going on currently regarding the White House leaks.
That there are those who are very upset that the president did not -- -- Justice Department did not choose to go with independent counsel.
On this investigation and instead chose to US attorneys was in the Justice Department to go forward and -- investigation.
How do you see -- do you agree that there's a problem here.
-- you know.
These these are prosecutors and that have been appointed but because of the discretion professionalism have been confirmed by the US -- US attorneys and rob -- -- -- from -- -- someone that I know well from from my days at justice and so I think they I think that they can do the job quite frankly.
We've had issues and problems independent councils in the past and there's a downside and having their independent counsel as -- outside and so.
Again there's a conflict of interest there.
Again you you have to have confidence in individuals chosen to prosecute these kinds of cases and and I.
I'm not gonna second guess the decision it -- -- just took -- there.
Well thank you so much for joining -- your insights we appreciate you joining us today and sharing your thoughts with us thank you for having it was a pleasure thank you.