Voters weigh in on fierce debate over immigration

Voters on immigration

While meeting with a group of California voters, "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor got their take on a polarizing issue dominating recent headlines: immigration. Three of the voters are liberal and three are conservative. They have different opinions, but all feel strongly about the current political climate.

Here's an edited sample of their conversation, a longer version of which you can watch above:

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"CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor met with a group of California voters. CBS News

Floyd Johnson II: That's probably pretty, pretty up there for me. Number one is immigration, yes.

Jeff Glor: What are your thoughts?

Johnson: My thoughts are more of we shouldn't have, you know, just allow everyone, just open the gates and just come in here. We should have merit-based immigration policy, where we allow those to come in who have, who fit the needs of what we need. So have education and backgrounds that we need employment in.

Glor: You agree with what President Trump is doing?

Johnson: Yes. On immigration, yes.

Glor: Sydney, what do you think about that?

Sydney Reyes: I 100,000 percent disagree. As a child of undocumented immigrants and as a mother and as someone who works alongside mothers, these are people fleeing domestic abuse. And wars and a lot of trauma, desperately seeking asylum. And I think that you being born here was a privilege and just out of dumb luck.

Glor: How do you look at this, Brock? I mean, do you see it as sort of, as, as a black and white issue or do you think there's nuance here and it's complicated?

Brock Bauer: I think the nuance is very limited. The reason we have borders are for a couple of reasons. You have to have some way of maintaining the entitlements we have, the welfare system we have. In order to distribute that, you have to have some sort of secured border. So when you have folks that are coming in illegally, in certain cases I think that when it's asylum that can be a separate issue. But when it's folks that are coming through that are not seeking asylum, at some point, we have to say, 'There's a process for you to come through.' It's in place so that we can all experience, you know, the great things that America has to offer. But that process is important.

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Behind the scenes of Jeff Glor's interview with California voters. CBS News

Glor: But what if you're trying to go in at, at a legal point of entry and you're still being turned away?

Bauer: Certainly. Again, I think that with asylum, that's one thing, where you want to go through due process. We want to determine, is your case valid, do you have all your ducks in a row as far as what you need to come to America? But if you're simply seeking to come here without having gone through the immigration process we're going to have to put you in line.

Reyes: I don't think you leave a land unless that land is more dangerous than that desert. And you don't put your kid on a raft in the ocean unless you have to. As a mother, as someone who has worked with mothers my whole life, no -- mothers don't do that.

Dorothy Kistler: The one thing that disturbs me is there are a lot of people from all around the world that are in line and waiting to come in here. And this other is just, eating everything up. And I don't think that they should be able to come in ahead of all these people that have been really struggling to get here and obeying the rules. And I do believe that we need secure borders.

Johnson: I think we just need to transition to a fully merit-based system. The illusion that America's always been a welcoming country is just patently false. I mean, we've had the Alien and Sedition Acts enacted by John Adams, our second president. We've had the Chinese Exclusion Act, we've had quotas from different countries. The Statue of Liberty, going back to that, that was donated to us, donated to us by France. It sat in storage for a very long time and it wasn't even start -- it wasn't installed by the public. It was actually installed by a private citizen. So we really need to look at these examples and see that, you know, we haven't always been just welcoming to everyone. We've really just selected who we needed for that time and who we needed to work.

Murray: I look at it like if i'm living on 105th Street and they shooting all the time and my kids wanna be out on the outside playing, I gotta get them off that street.

Glor: And for you in that case, it's, 'I don't care what the rules are, I gotta -- I'm taking my kids somewhere.'"

Murray: I gotta take my kids away from 105th Street and, and go to 112th Street 'cause they're not shooting over there.

Glor: Is there, is there a right balance here between compassion and order? Is there, can, can we get there, do you think?

Murray: I think we need to start with compassion.

Glor: Now perhaps the bigger question, and this, we'll -- we'll--

Kistler: Oh dear.

Glor: What happens in 2020?

Hema Dey: Oh, God. I hope we have more peace here.

Johnson: Trump wins 2020.

Reyes: I don't think he's going to win.

Bauer: I think Trump absolutely wins 2020.

Kistler: Yeah. I think Trump will win 2020.

Murray: I don't think that. I don't think that at all. I think --

Reyes: Too many --

Murray: -- he's a one term president.

Glor: So I think it's, I think it's important in the midst of all this that we see, for people to have conversations. And I just wanna thank all of you for being here for this.