Chris Matthews: Democrats ‘Believe In Illegal Immigration’

In 2010, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said that he didn’t think Democrats wanted to stop illegal immigration.

On Tuesday’s Hardball, the host went even further saying that Democrats “believe in illegal immigration” and this is why they “don’t really believe in border enforcement” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I think Republicans don't like illegal immigration. They don’t like it, and they want to hear a bill that’s going to work.

MICHAEL STEELE: They don’t like it, and what they remember is what was promised in 1986 that didn't happen under Reagan.

MATTHEWS: Of course it didn’t work. They were promised before. It’s like Peanuts.

STEELE: They were promised before, and they don't want to go down that road again.

MATTHEWS: The Charlie Brown.

STEELE: Which is why they’re saying we want a lock on the fence to be secured before we give you anything else.

MATTHEWS: How are they going to keep 30,000 guys on the border down there? How many years are we going to do it?

JONATHAN ALTER: As long as Republicans have anything to say about what goes on in Washington.

MATTHEWS: In other words you don’t want them to do it. So why should they trust you?

STEELE: [Laughs]

MATTHEWS: See, Democrats don't really believe in border enforcement, do they?

ALTER: Look.

MATHEWS: Do they?

ALTER: I don't know about other Democrats.

MATTHEWS: Do Democrats care about border enforcement?

ALTER: Leadership understands…

MATTHEWS: Do they believe in border enforcement?

STEELE: A lot less than Republicans.

ALTER: Less than Republicans, but enough…

MATTHEWS: Why don’t they believe in it? Why do they believe in illegal immigration, the Democrats?

ALTER: Right now it’s not even that big of a problem.

MATTHEWS: Why do they believe in it?

ALTER: I'm not defending, I’m not going to defend their…

MATTHEWS: Yes you are. You’re basically admitting. Do you think Republicans, do you think Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party is concerned about illegal immigration?

ALTER: Mildly.

MATTHEWS: You are covering. Let’s look at some of the facts here. Republicans in the House are facing very little pressure from Hispanic voters, and here's why. Studies by the Cook Political Report, which is nonpartisan, and the New York Times found that thanks in part to their own quarantining effort – that’s what Republicans do to put Hispanics and African-Americans in the same districts “only 24 out of 234 House Republicans are in districts where Latinos are more than 25 percent, and most of those districts are in deeply red parts of the country any way. The share the Latino vote is between zero and ten percent in 142 Republican districts.” Zero and ten percent, 142, a majority of them. And the average GOP district is 75 percent white compared to just 51 percent white in the Democrat districts. Put simply, as the country continues to get more racially diverse, ethnically diverse, Republican districts have gotten proportionately whiter.

Jon Alter, I’m asking you why should they vote against their own political interests?

ALTER: Well, because they have to think about their party also. And they don't want, they shouldn't become a remnant party the way they are in Europe. They want to…
MATTHEWS: So sacrifice themselves politically at home?

ALTER: The basic point that Karl Rove made, which was an excellent point, was that to win with white votes, Republican candidate in a presidential election would have to carry the white vote by the same margin.

MATTHEWS: But these guys aren’t running for president, Jon.

ALTER: Can I just finish the point? The same margin as Ronald Reagan won when he carried 49 states. Which nominee can get that kind of margin of white votes?

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you both a question: will a majority of House Republicans vote for a pathway to legalization, to full citizenship?


ALTER: No. But with Democratic votes they can get a bill through.

MATTHEWS: Well how are they going to get a vote?

ALTER: John Boehner has to walk his way back from the so-called Hastert rule that says you have to have a majority of the vote.

MATTHEWS: Did you hear from Jon Alter John Boehner? You better get your act together. Jon Alter say’s you’ve got to do this.

ALTER: Otherwise they are slitting their throats long-term.

STEELE: That’s the play Chris, longer term.

MATTHEWS: Okay, I don't think it’s going to happen. But anyway, thank you Michael Steele, and thank you Jonathan Alter, because I don’t believe they believe the Democrats want to stop illegal immigration. So why should they join their team?


So not only is Matthews now convinced that his Party is in favor of illegal immigration, he also believes that Republicans aren’t going to vote for an immigration bill because they don’t think Democrats will follow through with promises to seal the border.

For a change he’s probably 100 percent right.

Immigration MSNBC Hardball Video Jonathan Alter Chris Matthews Michael Steele
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