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Trump Administration Sets Stage For Mass Deportations; GOP Lawmakers Face Hostile Constituents Back Home; How Will The President Deal With Communities In Fear? Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired February 22, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:32:30] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Everybody who is here illegally is subject to removal at any time. That is consistent with every country. But the priorities that the president has laid forward and the priority that ICE is putting forward through DHS' guidance is to make sure that the people who have committed a crime or pose a threat to our public safety are the priority of their efforts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK. So the Trump administration is laying out some broad new guidelines for stricter enforcement of immigration laws and there -- this move is getting mixed reaction. So joining us now is Dan Stein. He's president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR, as they call themselves. He supports Mr. Trump's moves on immigration. We also have Andre Segura. He's a staff attorney for the ACLU. He opposes Mr. Trump's actions. Gentlemen, great to see both of us.
Andre, let me start with you. What's your biggest concern about the new guidelines as Mr. Trump has laid them out?
ANDRE SEGURA, ACLU STAFF ATTORNEY: Where do we start? This is bringing to life President Trump's worst, most divisive campaign rhetoric. And it's -- like I've said before on this program, we have to take the president at his word and he's going to bring these things to light.
Ten thousand new ICE agents throughout the interior. I think people have a misconception that this is not going to affect them in their daily lives. But when you have more ICE agents throughout the country, when you have more state and local officers doing immigration enforcement, you're going to see an uptick in racial profiling, communities are going to become less safe.
CAMEROTA: Dan, what do you like about it?
DAN STEIN, PRESIDENT, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: Look, people come here illegally. That doesn't mean they just have the right to stay. You take a look at all these orders. If you're here illegally you need to be thinking about going out and buying some luggage because, as Spicer made it clear, the Trump administration says if you're here illegally you remain deportable, with the exception of the so-called DACA group --
STEIN: -- and that's a -- that's a dramatic change. Look, nobody ever decided in this country that immigration was unlimited. That you could break the immigration law and then demand to stay. That you could jump in front of the line in front of millions of people who respect our laws all over the world --
STEIN: -- and just come in and say OK, I'm here, I don't have to go.
STEIN: If we -- if you enforce these laws we can reclaim our schools, our hospitals, and our communities, once again, for the American people.
CAMEROTA: Andre, Dan has laid it out exactly as the other side feels it. They broke the law. They came here without the proper procedure, full stock, end of story. What do you say to him?
SEGURA: It's not the end of the story and Mr. Stein has gone further. Yesterday, he called this "Christmas in February" which is horrible. I think he's living outside of reality. These are our neighbors, these are our communities. These aren't just people who are the most serious criminals that President Trump keeps talking about. This is everyone. Everyone's a --
[07:35:10] CAMEROTA: Right, but they didn't do it the right way. Address that. They didn't do it the right way. Why encourage that kind of illegal procedure?
SEGURA: Look, this is the reality. This is the reality that we live with. There are 11 million undocumented people in this country. They are our neighbors. They are part of our community. They're part of the fabric of this country and we need a humanitarian response to how we handle that. We cannot -- and it is unrealistic to just say now you're out. These are people who are law-abiding residents of this country and really would make our country great.
CAMEROTA: Hey, Dan, I mean, I think that Andre has fastened on something on many different layers. There are 11 million of them at best calculation. So even if you don't like it, the impracticality of how you're going to now -- I mean, under these broad guidelines all of them are eligible for deportation because they've all broken the law. So do you predict mass deportations?
STEIN: Look, clearly, there are only so many resources and the administration has their priorities. But what's so important to FAIR and really we think what was the issue in this campaign, is that the Trump administration is walking back what we feel was former President Obama's broad expansion of executive authority to bring in aliens, really, without limit, outside the law, and then provide class-based protections for which there was no provision in law. And what Trump is saying -- he says look, if Congress wants to provide some kind of amnesty program legislative, you know, that's fine. But as far as we're concerned we have a charge and obligation to carry out these laws. And any true, meaningful reform would start by saying OK, let's assume there's 11 million people here illegally.
STEIN: Why are they here? Let's take a -- let's engineer the process by which they were able to come and stay, why they have not been put in removal proceedings, and that's what the Trump administration is doing at all these different levels. And what people don't understand is that after 1994-95, Congress was given the executive broad and important powers in controlling immigration, but for eight years, the Obama administration refused to enforce those laws. And now, what they're simply doing --
CAMEROTA: Well --
STEIN: -- is going back to a process -- a normalization, if you will, of rigorous, regular immigration enforcement that's consistent with the social contract and our role as a sovereign nation.
CAMEROTA: Your reaction?
SEGURA: Unfortunately for Mr. Stein, people here have rights. They are here, so let's now move forward. What are we going to do with people? But people have rights. They have rights under the Fourth Amendment. They have rights under due --
STEIN: They don't have a right to live here.
SEGURA: -- under due process. They have the right to seek immigration relief if they have viable claims.
STEIN: Of course.
SEGURA: It isn't practical to say that people --
SEGURA: -- are just going to be led out of this country and move and pack their bags, as Mr. Stein is claiming. But we have to think is -- and the American people soundly reject this. Three out of four favor legalization over deportation.
STEIN: That's not true.
CAMEROTA: Hey, Dan? Oh, Dan, hold on a second. I want to ask you --
SEGURA: I know you don't.
CAMEROTA: -- this very curious provision and I just want to ask you how it's going to work, OK? So, here's what it says. "The U.S. will aim to send any unauthorized border crossers from Central America to Mexico as they await deportation hearings." So, Mexico has to take the Hondurans and the El Salvadorans? How are we, as the U.S., going to force Mexico to take them?
STEIN: Well, apparently, Donald Trump has lots of, you know, arrows in his quiver. He has lots of carrots, including various leverage on that. Who's going to fund the wall, right? But, from a procedural process standpoint, aliens who are inside the U.S. and who have been here for a while are entitled to constitutionally-protected, minimum due process standards, which FAIR supports. The American people
STEIN: -- support those protections, and that's called the deportation hearing. But that doesn't mean you're not going to get removed at the end of it.
STEIN: And it doesn't mean that the order's not going to be executed once the final order issue. Now, aliens who are at the border, they enjoy only the procedural process which Congress has provided.
STEIN: And so, putting them temporarily across the border while you process them gives the government enormous procedural leverage in how to handle aliens versus once they get physically into the U.S.
CAMEROTA: OK. Do you -- hold on -- hold on, Dan.
STEIN: I mean --
CAMEROTA: Do you understand how that's going to work?
SEGURA: I don't understand how that's going to work and I think the president is really trying to find a way to divert attention. But, at the end of it, fundamentally, these are mothers and children who are coming from Central America trying to seek refuge in our country. This is what we -- this is who we are as Americans. We need to accept them.
I've been along the border, I've been in detention facilities in really remote locations and interviewed mothers and children who are fleeing real violence. We should be taking them in. We should be asking ourselves who do we want to be as Americans? Do we want to be welcoming, do we want to be humanitarian, or do we want extremist policies like that, that are supported by --
STEIN: Well --
CAMEROTA: Dan, I'm sorry, we have to leave it there but we will, obviously, continue to have this --
STEIN: He's talking about unlimited immigration. When did the ACLU stand for unlimited immigration?
SEGURA: I did not say that.
STEIN: Yes, you did.
CAMEROTA: OK. Well, OK, look, if you'd just address that. So, he's saying that you're saying open borders. Anybody who is fleeing any sort of persecution should be able to come here.
[07:40:06] SEGURA: If someone is fleeing persecution they should be able to come here and make a case for asylum. That is our law and Mr. Stein may not like it.
CAMEROTA: OK, Dan Stein, Andre Segura, thank you very much.
SEGURA: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: We will, obviously, continue the debate, gentlemen -- Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. So, Republican lawmakers are facing hostile constituents in their home districts at town halls all over the country. What has them so riled up? What does this reflect about the mood of the country, next?
CUOMO: Republican lawmakers are facing furious voters in town halls in their home districts. What has some constituents so fired up? Well, President Trump claims the antagonists are "in many cases, planted by liberal activists." CNN's Kyung Lah has the story.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Iowa -- Senator Joni Ernst drowned out. Jeers following her all the way out of her town hall.
TOWN HALL ATTENDEES: Shame on you! Shame on you!
LAH: Republicans in Congress defending the president's policies in packed town halls in their home districts. In California, Congressman Tom McClintock.
REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R), CALIFORNIA: We don't know thefinancial relationships that Trump may have with Moscow. Does he want to go -- does he want to (INAUDIBLE).
LAH: In Virginia, Congressman Dave Brat's town hall, he faced off with voters on immigration.
[07:45:00] REP. DAVE BRAT (R), VIRGINIA: He didn't ban immigrants, he only banned immigrants from countries that are either state sponsors of terror --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, they're not.
BRAT: -- or they don't have --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not true, sir.
BRAT: Well, but --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not true, sir.
TOWN HALL ATTENDEES: No hate, no fear.
LAH: Just a snapshot of one day of voter outrage prompting the president to tweet, "The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad."
Organized, yes, but what we've seen at numerous town halls is empowered constituents. These Virginia Beach town hall attendees are so upset at charges at their political operatives, theywore stickers with their home zip codes to prove they do live in and care about their district.
Many come from local groups calling themselves "Indivisible." The name comes from this online guide written by these former Democratic congressional aides. A step-by-step manual to oppose the Trump administration, guiding the people here to channel their post-election anger and aim squarely at members of Congress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If can answer any of that, I'll sit down and shut up, like Elizabeth Warren.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: I hope you feel better now.
TOWN HALL ATTENDEES: You work for us! You work for us!
LAH: Some have canceled town halls this week citing security concerns, to then only see protesters show up outside their district offices or post pictures mocking them. A "missing" poster for Congressman Darrell Issa. Congressman Paul Cook's picture on milk jugs.
From Obamacare to climate change, D.C. came home only to find angry voters pointing right back at the nation's capital. Kyung Lah, CNN, New York.
CAMEROTA: Look, you could hear their frustration at being considered some sort of professional adjutator. And it is interesting that they're wearing their zip codes like, no, I'm from here and I'm here of my own accord.
CUOMO: And you didn't hear the critics being shouted down by others in the room, right, which usually happens when you have an insurgent population. You cannot underestimate the risk of a politician smiling in the face of an angry constituent. It's not like talking to us. It has real consequences at the polls.
CAMEROTA: All right, we'll talk more about that. Meanwhile, there are also some communities living in fear. Undocumented immigrants are worried this morning about being deported and other people are worried about the rise in anti-Semitic threats. So how will President Trump quell all of the fears? We discuss that, next.
[07:51:20] CUOMO: This morning we need to discuss the notion of communities feeling increasing fear. Latino communities in the light of the new immigrant guidelines. Jewish communities because of what's been happening with increased threats of anti-Semitism. Muslim communities -- millions of Muslims in this country, remember. How are they going to be affected by the next wave of the travel ban? What do we do?
Let's discuss. Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator. John Podhoretz, editor of "Commentary" magazine. And, Ana Navarro, CNN political commentator. Ana, always good to have you there, warm -- here, cold, like my heart.
So, Kayleigh McEnany, the fear that comes with things that could be a simple expression of the law, right -- the new immigration guidelines. You come in illegally, you're here illegally, you could be deported, period. And this is just giving more enforcement but it causes fear. What is the balance of these two things?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CONTRIBUTOR, THE HILL: It does cause fear and I don't think people should be fearful because the president has clearly said -- Sean Spicer clearly said we don't want to touch DACA people, we don't want to touch dreamers. We want to get --
CUOMO: People who are brought in as children --
CUOMO: -- or teens and then they've lived here and they've lived well.
MCENANY: Absolutely. And look, most illegal immigrants are very good people who just want a shot at the American dream. And I think people should focus on the times when President Trump has said and Sean Spicer has said we want criminals out of this country. We want American citizens to be safe and rely on that promise because I can promise you President Trump understands that most illegal immigrants are good.
CUOMO: Ana, the problem is that the president has said other things as well that went to a broader and negative picture of the immigrant reality in this country and now these guidelines speak to that notion. It's broad. It's not just about being convicted. It's not even being about arrested. It's not even being about charged. It's just if enforcement officials think you are a risk they can throw you out of the country. How does that play?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's reflecting itself in fear -- widespread fear in this country. I think he unleashed something. Whether he wanted to or not, the effect is that he unleashed something. He unleashed something in his base of supporters and he also unleashed this fear, this angst, this distress among so many communities around the country right now, and it's a problem.
This is going to sound as a joke. I was a doctor's office yesterday and I overheard a conversation. A man was saying to a woman, you know, there's three types of people in America right now. Those who love Trump and think he can do no wrong, those who hate him and protest him all the time, and those who are too afraid to even protest. She then said, well, you're forgetting those of us who are under medication.
But you -- this is actually not a joke. There are so many people right now who either see him as a messiah, see him as a manic president, or just enormous --too much fear to process everything that has happened in the last month.
CUOMO: John, what's the middle ground? What's the reality --
JOHN PODHORETZ, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST, EDITOR, COMMENTARY MAGAZINE: Well, I think --
CUOMO: -- and how should this play?
PODHORETZ: -- the middle ground is that we are treating the Hispanic community as though it is monolithic in the sense that, you know, there are, you know, a vast number -- a large -- I find a large number of Hispanics in the United States are American citizens, residents. And then, there is a population of illegal immigrants who are -- have a different status.
And the law clearly says that if you are here illegally the government has the right to deport you. We have not enforced that law for 30, 40, 50 years, pretty much, because the economy relied on and still, in some sense, relies on -- relies on this population to help it -- to help it chug and cook and move along.
[07:55:05] If the policy in Washington changes as the result of a highly contentious election with a president who made it extremely clear what it was that he wanted to do, then the policy will change. The question is how will the enforcement go? Will it be horrible, will it be mean, will it be ugly, or will it somehow be orderly and follow a very simple, transparent model?
CUOMO: Well, all right. So then, Kayleigh, one more beat on this which is what is the confidence for people who are worried about this, inarguably, expansive reckoning of what can be enforced, down to just thinking someone's a risk? What is the confidence it won't be that bad? It won't be different than it is now. Families won't be destroyed.
MCENANY: Well, you know, two things. I think the confidence is that President Trump, since he became the Republican nominee, has been very clear -- consistently clear my focus I criminals, since he became the general election candidate. So, there's been a consistent word in verbiage there. But secondly, I think you have to look at what happens over the next few weeks. There have only been 600 people that have been caught up in these ICE raids.
And I think you're exactly right. We have to see what happens with the enforcement -- with President Obama, for instance. No one would know that eight years later we'd be sitting here saying he deported, according to "ABC NEWS," more illegal immigrants than all together, the --
CUOMO: But we were talking about this before this segment. You guys have it both ways with Obama. He's either "Captain Deportation" -- he kicked everybody out -- or you say he was the softest in the world, and it seems like they're trying to have it both ways. What's the reality?
MCENANY: Sure, you're right. I mean, I think there's been a lot of doublespeak in Republican circles. President Obama was very good at getting criminal illegal immigrants out of the country. Where he was bad and where he was --
CUOMO: For a while, anyway. He had rates that went up and down.
MCENANY: Sure, 100 percent, and he was very good on that front. Where he was wrong was not having a border wall, you know. The refugee program, I would argue. He should have been more careful with that. So he had areas where he was good, areas where he was bad, but Republicans do have some doublespeak.
CUOMO: So we'll see how it plays out in enforcement. Another community in fear, the Jewish community, all right? It's not new for them to be victimized in this country but there is an increase. There have been a call for the president to deal with this with the gusto that he does other things he doesn't like on social media. Here's what he said most recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, John, God love him, but when he's talking about fake news and he doesn't have the facts on his side he is full-throated, he is angry, and he is not reading off a piece of paper. With this, he is. He's reading off a piece of paper. He's passive. He didn't take it on, on social media. Nobody on this show has alleged that that means he is an anti-Semite, but why isn't he as outraged by this as he is by other things?
PODHORETZ: I don't know and it's one of the great mysteries of his candidacy from the beginning to the present that having garnered support from outrageously anti-Semitic forces in the United States, unlike other presidents from Ronald Reagan onward who, say, got the endorsement of the KKK and then he waited four days to say he disavowed it. We have threats to Jewish community centers and the White House press spokesman refuses to use the word Jew or Jewish when he's talking about it. This is a very perplexing thing. It is very disturbing.
These threats to -- hate crimes against Jews in the United States are both very -- you know, in percentage terms are very large in the world of hate crimes and infinitesimalin the terms -- in terms of the history of the Jewish people --
PODHORETZ: -- or any real -- no Jew in the United States feels very threatened, but what they feel is the possibility that things are going in a dark direction.
PODHORETZ: And it is very disturbing that the President of the United States has to wait --
PODHORETZ: -- two weeks for anybody to say anything about it.
CUOMO: One of the reasons that a community, Ana -- let's end on this -- doesn't have to live in fears because they know everybody has their back. And they're going to be malefactors, they're going to be ugly people anywhere you go, but our leaders stand up and say not on my watch. Doesn't that need to happen now in the same way that it does when Donald Trump doesn't like something that's reported about him?
NAVARRO: You know, Chris, after a month of this and, you know, it took so much for him to read those words yesterday. It was -- it's like squeezing blood out of a stone. WhatI would say to America is, you know, there's so much to be said for presidential leadership. We're not going to get it from him on this issue. He hasn't been full-throated.
I also think his attacks on the media are feeding into these anti- Semitic feelings. He appealed to some of those people in his base and he doesn't want to mess with that. He doesn't want to mess with that support from the anti-Semites that did support him. He wants to keep that support. When he is talking against the media -- when we all remember during his rallies people shouting "Jew S.A., Jew S.A." and, you know, looking at the media.