Congressman Grijalva

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Democratic Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva discusses national issues such as immigration and global terrorism.

Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon," congressman Raul Grijalva talks about immigration and other Capitol Hill concerns. We'll hear about efforts to improve a section of freeway that carries a lot of The Valley's traffic. And the ASU art museum's spring season starts this week. Those stories next on "Arizona Horizon."

"Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you. 16:30:38:27

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A federal judge in Texas blocks President Obama's deferred deportation plan. This as the plan itself plays a factor in a congressional fight over funding the department of Homeland Security. Joining us now is Democratic congressman Raul Grijalva, who represents the state's Third Congressional District in southern Arizona. It's good to have you here, thank you so much for joining us. I did a little stumble there because it's hard to put the twos and two together regarding the injunction and the department of homeland security. We'll start with the injunction. Your thoughts on the Texas judge's decision?

Raul Grijalva: I think his decision, his restraining injunction, to not put into effect the parental part of the executive order, I think it's short lived, you know. This judge had a predisposition on record, in public and in legal decisions and in public comments towards the executive order, against it. Public comments regarding immigration as a whole, and there was a convenient shopping on the part of the attorney general in Texas to find that judge in south Texas. The fact remains he never ruled on the constitutionality because that's the weak ground. I think the appeal by the Obama administration is going to be rapid and quick, it will be overturned and people that are now scared or losing enthusiasm and confusion continue to put the papers that they need together, the data they need together, because I'm convinced that at the end of the day like every other executive action by any president, it will be within the constitutional authority of the president and this decision will be overturned.

Ted Simons: The judge wrote that the president didn't comply with procedural requirements, not taking public comment and those sorts of things. Does he have a point?

Raul Grijalva: No, no. That's the narrow judgment that he made, that it might cost Texas additional money to issue licenses, Arizona additional money. That's the procedural point that he made. It's an executive order. And as such, on immigration orders from George Bush to Ronald Reagan to Johnson have all, have all been executive. There's been no public comment. That is the narrow, weak link of the decision on which he based everything else and the restraining order. That's why we feel once the constitutionality is tested, the authority will be affirmed.

Ted Simons: And standing still has to be tested as well, does it not?

Raul Grijalva: Well, in its entirety, yes. The ability of states to preempt what is constitutionally a federal responsibility, immigration.

Ted Simons: A couple of quotes from the Republican side. This defends the ability of Congress, of you, to set policy. Does he have a point?

Raul Grijalva: Well, it's kind of interesting with them. He'll also rattle the saber and say that the president should have open ended authority when it comes to ISIS and we should put troops on the ground, there should be no restraint on the president. He's fine with that part of his executive authority. When it comes to immigration, then he begins to talk about states' rights and the predominance of Congress to make those decisions. Congress needs to reform immigration. The fact that that has not been done in the House of Representatives lays at the feet of the Republicans. We have all been willing to move forward with the Senate bill for two years and yet, no action.

Ted Simons: And yet Republican representative Gosar said that this stops the president's lawlessness his words and abolishes the president's precedent of ruling by administrative feat of ruling against the American people.

Raul Grijalva: I think when the president takes action in creating monuments, regulatory issues addressing climate change, which is real, I think he's acting in the best interest of the people and the majority of the American people support doing something about climate change. On the issue of immigration, even here in Arizona, small majority of Arizonans believe that there should be a path to legalization. Fiat, like I said, gosar speak out of both sides of their mouth. They're comfortable with the president conducting a war without congressional authority and when it comes to immigration, they second guess every step of the way.

Ted Simons: Do you think the president should be able to conduct a war without congressional --

Raul Grijalva: No, we've seen the movie, the unilateral action by bush and Iraq, then Afghanistan, 13, 14 years later. $2 trillion in our treasury, 5,000 of our blood of American soldiers, no. I think that this is something Congress and the war powers act has the right to do and we should. I think we need to defeat ISIS. It is a contorted look at Islam and Muslims, that needs to be stopped but it has to be a time table and America must supply all the resources to win this and destroy this organization. But the front line troops and the responsibility falls on Arab nations and the Muslim world to turn this. We can lead from behind. We don't need to be the policemen in the front.

Ted Simons: The drafting by the president submitted to Congress limiting the authority to go to war every three years or so, considering we're seeing people burning, we're seeing barbarism over there and it sounds like there is a groundswell to do something about it. What do you do?

Raul Grijalva: I think that I believe firmly that we should do everything in our power to support and make sure that the region is engaged in this war. This cannot become United States' war on ISIS. Are they cruel? Are they inhumane? The American people feel that way and I believe the majority of the Arab world feels the same way. They need to be engaged on that ground war, too. American boots on the ground has to be an option that for now needs to be off the table.

Ted Simons: For now off the table. If the rest of the world just simply doesn't do it, do we have to do? Is that America's place in the world?

Raul Grijalva: I don't know if America's place in the world is constantly to be its policemen. And I think we need to re-examine what our role is internationally. We can lead but we don't have to be the policemen in the front.

Ted Simons: I mentioned homeland security and how that coincided with the president's executive action on immigration. It sounds as though funding for homeland security is wrapped up in that action and that some in Congress are basically saying you've got like eight days until the department of homeland security could be partially shut down if not completely shut down. How are you guys going to fix this? The Republicans want that immigration order coinciding with funding for department of homeland security. How are you going to get around that?

Raul Grijalva: I don't know how we get around that. Even the Senate, majority of Republicans in the Senate have indicated to leadership in the house we need to pass a clean bill. We've passed since 9/11 one clean bill after another. With no attached amendments or political amendments that were added to it around the issue of immigration. This is time Boehner needs to step up to the greater good, the security of the American people. And for once, ignore the rattling of that hardcore Tea Party caucus that he has in his caucus and move forward. A clean bill, democrats will support it. A clean bill, the president will sign it. That's what we've done in the past under bush, under Barack Obama, this became a convenient vehicle to try to deal with the issue of immigration and I think it's the wrong vehicle and we're playing Russian roulette with the American people's security, that's something that Republicans have done. It's not about us giving in. We've said we'll vote for a clean bill.

Ted Simons: But also hear from Republicans who basically say they have this authority, they now have the power to ask for, to push for these kinds of additions to legislation. They're saying this is setting a precedent for how it's going to be.

Raul Grijalva: It is a dangerous precedent. If the precedent is to do clean legislation around the most important issue that we're facing at this juncture, which is the national domestic security of the American people and this is the one we're going to use as a vehicle to try to make the political statement that we're in charge, when in the past regardless of who was in the majority, democrats worked on occasion, it passed cleanly, it's the wrong vehicle, the wrong message and very dangerous precedent they're setting.

Ted Simons: Gut feeling, homeland security.

Raul Grijalva: It's going to get funded.

Ted Simons: Eight days it's going to get funded.

Raul Grijalva: I will believe that. I think it's going to be a clean bill, and I think the Republicans are going to use the excuse of the injunctions and say it's being dealt with in the courts. They cannot afford to have a shutdown of any part of homeland security on their lap.

Ted Simons: I can't let you go without the dedication of the gold water statute back there. You said some kind words, some folks were a little surprised, considering the political spectrum.

Raul Grijalva: Mr. Conservative, Barry Goldwater but very much in the Arizona tradition, independent, principled and spoke his mind, regardless of the consequences. I think that's in the Arizona tradition. Plus, pro-women's rights, pro-gay rights, and very as he left warning the American people and his colleagues in the Senate, be careful with the military industrial complex, they're beginning to have too much control over the budget and the foreign policy of this nation. So even Mr. Conservative would go against his own wind.

Ted Simons: Congressman it's a pleasure to have you here.

Raul Grijalva: My pleasure to be here.


Raul Grijalva:Congressman, Arizona;

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