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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Interview with Corey Lewandowski; Disucssion of Immigration Issues; Discussion with an Immigration Attorney; Interview with Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 21, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: All right. Thank you very much, Anderson.
I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.
My friends, do not be fooled. The crisis at the border is far from over. In fact, Trump's executive order stunt may have made the situation worse.
Is this really about reuniting families only to lock them all up for longer?
One of his biggest supporters is here and he's facing fallout of his own. Corey Lewandowski under fire for appearing to dismiss the plight of these innocent kids on live TV. Will he apologize? We'll see.
We'll also hear from an attorney with a story that will break your heart and boil your blood. He represents a mom and her three young kids. Wait until you hear how long he has been trying to get to the kids.
And last week, the attorney general was quoting Scripture to justify ripping kids apart from their parents at the border. Today, a reversal of biblical proportions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The American people don't like the idea that we're separating families. We never really intended to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What? Wasn't that exactly the intention, Mr. Sessions?
What do you say, my friends? Let's get after it.
CUOMO: All right. We saw something we haven't seen to date in this presidency. Trump caving to political pressure. But his administration has not addressed what will happen to the 2,300 kids who've been taken from their families since May.
We want to bring the former campaign manager who ignited all kinds of fury himself after seeming to dismiss struggles of these separated kids on live TV.
Corey Lewandowski, it is good to have you on the show.
Latest news on you that you've been dropped by speaker's bureau. There's a lot of fallout from what you said.
Let me remind people about the back and forth you had with the Democratic operative.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAC PETKANAS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage. I read about a --
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Womp-womp.
PETKANAS: Did they just say womp-womp to a 10-year-old with Down syndrome being taken from her mother? How dare you. How dare you!
PETKANAS: How absolutely dare you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. Let's get through the noise.
Corey, tell me that you did not mean to insult kids with Down syndrome or families that are coming across with kids like that.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, of course, I never meant to insult anybody with Down syndrome and who I was talking to was Zac.
And I understand what the perception is here and what the media wants to talk about. But what Zac was attempting to do was to use a child with Down syndrome to politicize an issue. But what he didn't tell you, what you need to understand was that person, that poor child was not taken from her parent because she came to this country illegally. That poor child was taken from her parent because her mother has been suspected of being a material witness in a child smuggling ring.
And so, we have to understand the difference. So, let me be as clear as I can be. Chris, I would never degrade a child. I'm a father of four, I understand that. But we have to get past using children as political tools and come up with real solutions.
CUOMO: All right. But let's get --
LEWANDOWSKI: And that's the important thing to do here.
CUOMO: Look, I hear what was going on with you and Zac. But there's bigger realities I need you to address. One involves you. One involves the administration.
The first one is, it seemed like you were dismissing the plight of people coming across the border. And to the extent that that's how people took it and they find that offensive, shouldn't you apologize for that if you didn't mean it?
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, I'm not here to offend anybody. That's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to defend the laws of this country. So, if people are offended, then they shouldn't be.
But people have to understand, we're the nation of laws. And those laws are very clear. Those laws say, look, we are the country, the largest country in the world that grants asylums to individuals who are being persecuted. We grant over a million asylums a year, the second highest country is Germany.
This is a country made up of immigrants. We are a country with a big heart. We are a country that wants to welcome people in.
But you have to do it legally, because if we don't have laws and we don't have rules, then we can't be successful. And people understand that.
We're a great country. We're all immigrants, Chris. But we have a different way of coming here. And it has to be done legally. And that's what's important.
CUOMO: Right. But justice is fairness under law. So you've got the law and then you've got how you choose to enforce it, and we know what happened here, Corey.
The president wanted to make a statement of strength. We're going to prosecute everybody who crosses the border. But he didn't plan for his own success, now did he, Corey? He didn't set up the facilities. He didn't set up the processes. He just went with the politics and the message.
And now we have a mixed message from the president. He put out an executive order saying, I get it, I get that crying kids are bad for me. I get that we shouldn't be like this. I'm going to fix it.
But I want to play for you what he said and then what he said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: The American people don't like the idea that we're separating families. We never really intended to do that.
If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be separated from you as required by law.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The 2,000-mile journey up Mexico. They walk through Mexico like they're walking through Central Park. It's ridiculous.
They're drug traffickers. They are human traffickers. They're coyotes. I mean, we're getting some real beauties.
Mexico is doing nothing for us except taking our money and sending us drugs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. Now, I wanted to be very clear here, because sometimes people say, like you Corey, well, that's the president. He speaks. He's a little hyperbolic.
I wanted to show you him and the Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Both said completely contradictory things. Sessions and Trump said this was going to be now about making it OK and they both contradicted themselves.
What is the policy?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, let me read to you exactly what the president said yesterday. He said it's about keeping families together while at the same time being sure that we are very powerful, very strong border. That's what it's about.
CUOMO: Yes, but he said something else in a cabinet meeting today.
Do we have the sound to play for Corey?
All right. He said today at the cabinet meeting this executive order, Corey, is limited and families will still be separated. So, what the hell is the policy? He said he signed the executive order to make it so that they wouldn't be separated and today, he says they will still be separated.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, Chris, the problem is that there's a federal ruling that you know exists right now and would be appealed to the Ninth Circuit. And it looks like these ten states that are challenging the executive order right now. And what this president has said was, he has done everything he can within the confines of the law which have been established to fix the problem.
But this is Congress' problem. Remember, the Democrats had supermajorities in the U.S. in 60 votes, in the majority in the House in 2006 and '08, and they chose not to fix this problem.
CUOMO: Who signed the 2008 law that guides today, who signed it?
LEWANDOWSKI: Barack Obama.
2008, it was signed by President Bush. OK? I'm not big into politics blame game. I think there are problems with both sides in terms of why we've been stuck with a bad system that is inhumane on many levels for many years. However, let's call the facts as they fall.
Bush signed it. The '97 Flores agreement says you can't keep juveniles more than 20 days and you got to treat them in the right conditions. It was a humane settlement that the DOJ agreed to. This isn't about the law. It's about how you choose to enforce it.
Bush struggled with this. Obama struggled with this. Trump was struggling with this but he decided to do this proxy of strength in the form of harshness. Let's arrest them all.
But he wasn't ready for it, and he created a crisis, Corey. That's the truth.
LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, but, Chris, look what has happened under the Trump administration. Because our economy is so successful, unaccompanied alien children, pending cases are up to 78,000 right now, pending cases. There were 3,000 in 2009.
Approximately 90 percent of the removal orders ordered against unaccompanied children each year are for failures to appear is the problem. We have seen a 636 percent increase in unaccompanied aliens at ports of entry --
LEWANDOWSKI: -- since 2017, April of 2017. This has gone out of control because what has happened in the past --
CUOMO: Isn't it out of control now, Corey? I'm saying, I get the problem --
LEWANDOWSKI: It is absolutely out of control.
CUOMO: We agree on the problem. Here are the points that we need to finesse --
LEWANDOWSKI: And here's a solution.
CUOMO: Yes, I know, but this wasn't the solution. That's my point. That's my point, Corey.
LEWANDOWSKI: Let me tell you what the solution is.
CUOMO: What he's doing right now isn't solving it. It's making it worse.
LEWANDOWSKI: But, Chris, Chris, let me tell what the solution is, OK? Democrats and Republicans have to get together. The Senate can't get it down without nine Democratic votes. And if they care about this issue, and I mean Republicans and Democrats, men and women who serve in Congress, they need to fix the problems.
CUOMO: Hey, the Republicans won't put up a bill --
(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: Other than Ted Cruz and even that has some add-ons, nobody on the Republican side, unless you throw a camera in their face and say, how do you feel about separating kids from families, they're not putting out bills with any gusto to stop this current problem. They're using it as leverage to get other things in immigration done.
So, to me that doesn't speak to a basic sense of humanity about this.
LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, but this is a problem. Look, I don't disagree with you, but the problem has existed for a long time. And we've given Congress a pass for too long for not saving it.
CUOMO: Hold on a second, Corey. I hear you. But I've got to tell you, it's slipping the blame here. Congress needs to act. The system has problems, period. OK.
But that doesn't justify what Trump just did here. He did something that he had to know, if he has any common sense and any kind of counsel around him was going to blow up the situation in a bad way. They had to know, Corey. And he did it anyway.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris? So, Chris, you would have rather seen additional children being separated from their parents? What this president said was we're --
CUOMO: No. He's separating the kids.
LEWANDOWSKI: -- going to stop that from happening.
CUOMO: No, he did the opposite.
LEWANDOWSKI: He stopped that from happening, Chris.
CUOMO: He did the separations by increasing the arrests. He changed the policy from --
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, he signed an executive order yesterday.
CUOMO: I know. And he today he said it was --
LEWANDOWSKI: It says there's no more separation.
CUOMO: I know.
LEWANDOWSKI: But look --
CUOMO: But we don't know if it's been followed through on. And he doesn't say how he is going to reunite the kids. What about that?
LEWANDOWSKI: You can only solve one problem at a time. Look it, there's one problem at a time to solve.
CUOMO: But he created the problem, Corey. That's what I'm saying.
CUOMO: He came with a big bucket of gasoline, he threw in on the house, he tossed the match --
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, because the law is the law.
CUOMO: -- and he said let me grab a hose.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, Chris, we're a nation of laws and the law was very clear. And there is an opportunity to enforce the laws that exist. And we need to change those laws.
CUOMO: But then you wind up like this.
LEWANDOWSKI: What this president said was, I'm going to follow the laws. So, let's change the laws. Let's build a border wall. As soon as you build that wall, 90 percent of this problem stops because --
CUOMO: No, we don't know that.
LEWANDOWSKI: -- they're not crossing illegally.
CUOMO: We don't know that --
LEWANDOWSKI: Absolutely we know that.
CUOMO: -- any wall would make that kind of difference.
And we glossed over one thing. Hold on. We glossed over something. And I need to hit you on one more thing.
But we glossed over something. Why are the numbers up? Because the economy is strong. What does that mean? The demand is up. What does that mean? We need jobs.
In fact, we have so many jobs we don't have enough workers for them in the United States and what's the proof of that? The flow of supply in from south of the border.
But let me ask you this. For all your round-ups and all the demonizing of the people who come here from the work, how many employers have you put in jail? How many laws have you changed to even allow you to put them in jail?
They're all civil penalties if you own the corporation and hire everybody illegally. But if you're one of those people who come for the job, you get treated like a dog and thrown in a cage. Is that right to you, Corey?
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, do you know what's not right to me?
CUOMO: Corey --
LEWANDOWSKI: Is people like Jameel Shaw, Brian Terry and Kate Steinle who are dead because of the people who came across the border illegally. CUOMO: Corey, the number of crimes of illegal people in this country
as you call them are lower than the overall crime rate. So, if you're worried about people being killed, you got a lot of other places to look.
LEWANDOWSKI: One is one too many.
CUOMO: No, no, what about one employer too many?
LEWANDOWSKI: You tell that to the families --
CUOMO: Don't give me the compassion --
LEWANDOWSKI: Tell that to Brian Terry, the police officer who was killed guarding this country against illegal alien and was killed on the border.
CUOMO: Corey, you're going to look me in the eye and say I don't care about people who get killed by somebody whether they're undocumented or not?
LEWANDOWSKI: What I'm telling, Chris, Chris, what I'm telling you -- as a former police officer, I can tell you this, we should never have a police officer killed in the line of duty from someone who's in this country illegally and you can't justify it.
CUOMO: We should never have a police officer killed in the line of duty by anybody.
LEWANDOWSKI: That's exactly right. And if you're not in this country illegally you're not doing that.
CUOMO: You're trying to demonize a group of people that don't commit as much crime and that are feeding a need for jobs and for workers but you don't go after the people who are really causing it, who are the people who are hiring them.
LEWANDOWSKI: This president --
CUOMO: You won't even the answer. Why not go after the employers?
LEWANDOWSKI: Here is what this president said. Chris, here is what the president said. You give me the money for the wall and people that are in this country through no fault of their own that came as children, we will make them citizens, we will give them a path. He has offered that and this Congress has said no. The Democrats and Chuck Schumer --
CUOMO: That's not true.
LEWANDOWSKI: It is absolutely true.
CUOMO: They gave him the wall for DACA and he wanted chain migration and he wanted to change the visa lottery. You know that's the truth. Don't twist --
LEWANDOWSKI: They didn't give him the wall. They never gave him money for the wall.
CUOMO: They gave $25 billion for the wall and DACA and he said I want the other things, too. That's what happened.
LEWANDOWSKI: There is no money for the wall.
CUOMO: Don't rewrite history, that's what happened.
LEWANDOWSKI: They gave him a down payment on the wall. Chris, they gave him a down payment for the wall. He's asking for the money for the wall and the Democrats --
CUOMO: He got money for the wall. That's how it works.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, he didn't get $25 billion for the wall.
CUOMO: He got $25 billion over a certain number of years.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, the Congress funds one year at a time is what they fund.
CUOMO: Facts are friends. So, you won't talk about why you don't go after employers.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, it is a fact.
CUOMO: You won't even mention that you don't go after employers. Why not?
LEWANDOWSKI: Of course you have to go after employers. Look, why don't we force E-Verify? Absolutely. If employers are employing illegal aliens to do things illegally, they should be held accountable.
CUOMO: Corey, look what happened in Ohio.
LEWANDOWSKI: Those employers are held accountable, guess what they will do -- employers who want to hire illegals need to be held accountable and that means E-Verify.
CUOMO: They're not, though. They're not.
LEWANDOWSKI: Why aren't we using that?
CUOMO: They are using it. Look what happened in Ohio.
LEWANDOWSKI: Let enforce the laws. CUOMO: Hey, Corey, look what just happened in Ohio.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, what laws do you want to enforce?
CUOMO: I think you enforce all the laws.
LEWANDOWSKI: Which ones?
CUOMO: But it's about discretion of how you enforce them fairly.
LEWANDOWSKI: No, you only want to enforce the ones that are convenient. You don't want to enforce all the laws.
CUOMO: Come on. How is this convenient?
LEWANDOWSKI: Because the law in the books says -- you just said you want to enforce all the laws. The law on the book says if you come to this country illegally you'll be separated.
CUOMO: No, that's not what it says.
LEWANDOWSKI: You want to enforce select laws. Which laws can we enforce?
CUOMO: That's not what the law says.
LEWANDOWSKI: It does say that.
CUOMO: And what I'm saying is you just --
LEWANDOWSKI: It absolutely says that.
CUOMO: It does not. It says if you come across the border, it is a crime. If you come over with children, you're not allowed to keep children in the conditions that you keep adults. That's on you, to come up with the right procedure. Instead --
LEWANDOWSKI: And you will be separated. It says you will be separated.
CUOMO: You arrested a big bunch of people, you had no plan for how to take care of them, no plan for what to do with the kids under the law and no way to deal with it quickly.
Now you're asking the courts for more time. That's the solution? Let's lock up kids for longer? Come on.
LEWANDOWSKI: United States has different laws than any other country. Let's go to merit based system and I'm for that. Let's go and do exactly what Canada does --
CUOMO: Why don't you lock up some employers (INAUDIBLE) people have some faith that you are really fair handed in this and you're not just demonizing people who come over looking for a job and make them all MS-13 and killers?
LEWANDOWSKI: I agree with you, Chris. Let's implement E-Verify.
CUOMO: But I'm saying they don't do that. They're putting kids in cages. They catch a guy in Ohio with 100 illegal laborers in his company, he gets a fine. That's fair?
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, we caught a guy in California who killed Kate Steinle and he got off. We caught a guy in California who had been deported five times, came and killed a woman on a pier in California --
CUOMO: And he got off because of a trial in which they didn't find him guilty of the charges.
LEWANDOWSKI: OK. Go ask Kate's father, who was there, if he killed her or not.
CUOMO: Look, of course, you feel for the victims. I'm just telling you, that was the law. That was the process. They had a trial. That is what they found. You know, justice doesn't always make everybody happy.
LEWANDOWSKI: The process was he shouldn't been here. He'd been deported five times.
CUOMO: I get it. He should have never been here. That's why people are angry because it should have never happen because he never should have been here. But that doesn't mean that all people who come illegally liker like him.
Let me end on this.
LEWANDOWSKI: I don't -- I don't agree.
LEWANDOWSKI: I don't disagree -- Chris, I don't disagree with you. I don't disagree that everyone is not like that animal who killed Kate Steinle. The point is this, there is a way to come to this country legally.
LEWANDOWSKI: We accept more immigrants than any country in the world. So, if you want asylum, there is a process to do that. If you don't want to have your children separated --
CUOMO: Except you're separating the kids in those situations too now. The asylum people are getting treated like everybody else. The claim isn't getting processed quickly and you guys didn't plan it out.
LEWANDOWSKI: That's not true.
CUOMO: And you guys didn't plan it out. I want to ask you this, this is the last question.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris --
CUOMO: Will you admit that the way this was done was a mistake?
LEWANDOWSKI: You mean implementing the law, following the law? Look, is it a mistake --
CUOMO: The way you did it here. Will you own this was a mistake? The president had to admit it by signing this executive order, whatever it means or doesn't mean. Will you admit that this was a mistake? Can you own it?
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, I'll admit this very clearly. Nobody wants to see their children separated from their parents.
CUOMO: But then you shouldn't have started doing it.
LEWANDOWSKI: It's a horrible thing for anybody.
Right. But this is what happens when you have the law and you break the laws.
LEWANDOWSKI: Don't rob a bank with your children.
CUOMO: Don't confuse people.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, what happens -- Chris, if you rob a bank with your children, guess what, you're separating --
CUOMO: It's a felony. Not a misdemeanor for crossing the border. You showed intent to hurt people, you've shown intent to deprive people of their property, you didn't just cross the border.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, what if you do this in a different country? If you went to any other country in the world and crossed their border illegally, would you expect to be able to stay with your children?
CUOMO: Germany has a much more open -- you say crime went up. The opposite is true. Their illegal entries are down 79 percent. Trump can't get his facts straight. He should get the feelings right. Show people with humanity.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, Germany only accepts 198,300 people. They only 198,300 people in Germany, Chris. That's a fact. We take 1.2 million in asylum a year.
CUOMO: But that's about demand, right?
Anyway, look, that's a longer conversation. I appreciate you covering some of the bases. I appreciate you're making it clear to the audience that you weren't intending to offend people with what you said on TV. That's important for people to hear. We can disagree but we can't be without decency.
So, Corey, thank you for coming on to clear that up --
LEWANDOWSKI: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: -- and making the case.
All right. So, the Trump administration says it reversed course on separating families. Corey just made that case to you. But is it true?
It depends on which Donald Trump you want to believe. But for all we know, this is the one thing we have for sure. This is a crisis. That's what it is.
And it is far from over. In fact, we will show you why the worst may lie ahead.
CUOMO: All right. Facts first. This executive order is neither definitive action by the executive nor is it an order to make any real change.
So, what was it? It was a stunt. It was a stunt to make this seem like a legal situation when it's never been one.
The law is clear. This is about how you choose to enforce it. Why are we having this big problem right now if the laws haven't changed? Because the policy did.
President Trump could have stopped all of this with a phone call. The executive order was not necessary. It may not even be operative.
The order said it is meant to, quote, maintain family unit. OK? That's what he said. So, no separation.
But then today, the president said the order is limited and families will still be separated. So, which Trump is it?
The most glaring omission from the order? How do you reunite the 2,300 kids that were torn from their parents spread all over the country? The administration hasn't provided any details on the plan.
Now, why is that? Is it because all the agencies are confused about what to do now because this has been so haphazard? Or is it that the president does not intend to expedite reunification? We don't know.
Many of these kids, as I said, are now hundreds of thousands of miles away. So, this idea of reuniting them, it's getting harder, not easier. We already know that the government has trouble tracking kids in this situation and we know that the onus is still put on the parents, who are often broke and uneducated migrants, to find their own kids.
In fact, the administration is now asking the court -- this is where it gets messy, which is why we designed it this way. They're asking the court, how long can we keep them? Can we keep them longer? In direct violation of law. Legally dubious at a minimum, OK?
But the idea of we want to keep them in captivity longer, how is that about making this better? Even if families do get reunited, where will we keep them? These ever swelling ranks of families.
The order instructs federal agencies, particularly the Defense Department, to prepare facilities to house the potentially thousands of families that will be detained. The HHS has reportedly told the military to prepare for up to 20,000 unaccompanied minors on bases in the coming months.
So they're going to round up more people and then figure out where to put them. Is that strength or is that stupidity? To quote a jacket that is in the news, do they really care?
Now, I know that my guests want to get in on this. Let's bring them in for the great debate. We got Van Jones and David Urban.
So, I put it out there for you, David. You're shaking your head I'm afraid it's going to fall off. What is it that has you so upset? Make the case that this situation is OK.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, it's not OK. It's a terrible situation, Chris. What you just outlined on your white board there, your massive white pedagogical -- your white board is a refugee crisis in America. The United States of America is facing a refugee crisis from three countries, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. They're flooding across the border in record numbers.
As Corey pointed out earlier, the United States, for the first time, has granted asylum to more refugees than any other country in the world. That's saying something.
And so, what I think needs to happen is the United States needs to take a look at close to $70 million it grants to the Organization of American States, right? OAS has 21 members, supposed to be protecting democracy and human rights in the Americas, right? That's Central America as well.
And they're sitting on their hands doing nothing. The U.N. Commission on Refugees, sitting on their hands, doing nothing. It's a big deal across the rest of the world.
CUOMO: What does that have to do?
URBAN: Chris, this is what I'm saying. It's a problem, right? We should be addressing --
CUOMO: But you're creating the problem.
URBAN: No, I'm not creating the problem. The problem is created by the highest murder rate in the world.
CUOMO: All right. I hear you --
URBAN: Hold on. In El Salvador.
So, if you make their home country safe, Chris, if folks aren't terrified for their lives in Guatemala, El Salvador, the only other place that's more violent in the planet is Syria. El Salvador has the highest murder per capita in the world.
CUOMO: All right. I hear you about the source --
URBAN: Why are we talking about those things?
CUOMO: I think we are, but, Van --
URBAN: Why isn't the OAS and the U.N. --
CUOMO: I hear you. The reason that we're not talking about it primarily is because it is a distraction from the issue of how we are dealing with the people who come across our border.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
CUOMO: The source of the problem is not America. It's where these people are coming from. Fair enough.
But the issue of how do we deal with the people who come here from these terrible places. Dave -- you know, Mr. Urban is making a case in desperation.
URBAN: Thank you, Mr. Cuomo.
CUOMO: But what about -- I'm treating you with respect. Earn it.
Van, what is your side of this?
JONES: Well, there is a minor issue and a major issue. The minor issue is that there a refugee crisis and if we weren't doing dumb stuff in the United States, we would be able to address what's happening there.
But the major crisis is that there's a moral crisis in America. We have seen a moral collapse. Ever since Trump came down an escalator three years ago, he came down, he kept going down and down and down. He's pulled the moral fabric of the country down with him.
The good news is that there was a bipartisan across every racial group, every state, moral revolt and rebellion against the Trump attempt to reset the moral standard of this country so low, we would have prison camps for babies. So, that's where we are. Now, the reality is to go forward now. If this president were
serious, he would have done -- the first thing he would have done -- I am appointing a czar of family reunification.
That person is going to be in the White House. They're going to have staff. They're going to have interagency power.
They're going to report to me. They've got 30 days to report back to me where every one of these babies -- none of that happened.
So, when I saw this executive order, I was happy because I felt the people spoke and the president responded. The problem is that it looks like it was a stunt.
URBAN: No. Come on.
JONES: And my question is, anybody watching this -- my question to anybody watching this is: who is responsible in the White House to find these babies and why don't you know?
URBAN: So, Van, just to answer your question, Chris, it is a -- you know, this is a logistical issue. If the United States government can't track 2,000 folks, I don't know if that's the number, that they don't know where 2,000 parents and kids. I don't know that that's the full number.
Let's assume it's the full 2,000. I'm pretty certain that the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services can all work together as van is saying to locate 2,000 folks.
It's not -- listen, I've heard Democrats on the other side of the aisle say this is not an insurmountable task. It can be done. It will be done. I think it should be done, obviously.
But to your point earlier, Chris, look, and your white board, it's about selective enforcement of the law. Folks could come to our country -- as Corey outlined earlier, we take more immigrants than anybody. They show up at a port of entry. That's the law.
You show up at the port of entry. You claim asylum. You get in the door. You can't show up in the middle of the desert. It's against the law.
CUOMO: All right, Dave. Back to Van.
JONES: The problem that we have is that people who were doing it the way that you said, people who were not breaking our law, but who are following our law, wound up in the exact same situation and their babies were taken too.
Hey, listen, we have a major problem now because inside that building, inside the White House, there seems to be a tug of war, some kind of moral tug of war between people like Stephen Miller who has a very bad history and track record when it comes to racism, when it comes to being associated with very, very nasty elements who seems to be driving an agenda here.
That it's not about the law. The law didn't change. The implementation changed. So, that means that there is a decision that was made to get hard, to get tough, to crack down.
URBAN: To enforce the law. To enforce the law.
JONES: Wait, hold on. No. And then they wouldn't own the fact that they were doing it for deterrent purposes. They want to blame Democrats. You want to blame the Organization of American States, which I've never really even heard of. Don't know where they are.
You want to blame everybody --
URBAN: Constitutional Avenue.
JONES: You want to blame everybody but President Trump for President Trump's policies and that's not good.
URBAN: No, Van, so do you -- what is your solution of enforcement of border laws?
JONES: I've got a solution. Here's the solution. I've been talking to grassroots across the country.
Here is the deal. We do want to make sure that people who come here have their claims processed and that they don't just like run off into the country and we don't know where they are. It's not good to separate families and put babies in prison by themselves. It's also not good to lock up whole families when you don't have to.
URBAN: OK, you still didn't tell me your policy.
JONES: There's a program -- I'm getting there. I'm getting there.
There's a program called Community Accompaniment, where they actually have had a 96 percent success rate of placing people with American families and those families get them to court. It's humane. The families stay together. It is 96 percent effective, which is better than any other program. Why aren't we doing stuff like that?
URBAN: Van, I don't disagree. There are plenty of ways. Chris, you know this from being a lawyer. There are plenty of ways that people are out on parole, or probation, check in with their parole officer, through verifications.
JONES: That's a better way.
URBAN: Phone cards. Listen, you can put ankle bracelets. I'm saying take some of that $67 million you're spending on an organization that's doing nothing to affect the actual crisis.
No, listen --
CUOMO: Dave, I get the OAS money, you want to reallocate it. But hold on. But you're ignoring the crisis, OK? With all due respect.
You're ignoring -- you asked him to give you a solution. He gave you a damn good one that already exists.
But you guys knew about that solution but you ignored it. Why? It doesn't meet the mandate. You wanted to show that you are harsh and you will punish the people who come across.
URBAN: Chris, I think --
CUOMO: You just didn't prepare for your own success. You didn't prepare with all these people and all these kids and how angry people would get when they started hearing those kids crying. And that's why Trump caved. Own it.
URBAN: Listen, I will agree, Chris, that, you know, when you enforce the law that one has done to date --
CUOMO: It's how you enforce it.
URBAN: Chris, when you enforce the law, you can either choose to take people who cross the border illegally and prosecute them or not. There's catch and release or there's not.
CUOMO: But if you're going to prosecute them shouldn't you have --
URBAN: It's your choice.
CUOMO: Van Jones, if you're going to prosecute the law, wouldn't you have thought of how you're going to deal with the overflow, where you're going to keep them, how you keep consistent with your Constitution, and the soul of your country? And how you expat -- wouldn't you have thought about that first?
JONES: Sure. Well, I mean, the problem is that the White House is being run a little bit like a reality television show. Let's try this. Let's try that. Let's see what the audience reaction is.
And I'm very afraid to make an admission here. I think had it not been for a couple of photographs and a little bit of sound of babies crying, this might have gone on. It's still going on. This may have gone on even more.
CUOMO: I don't even think we've seen the worst of it, by the way.
URBAN: Chris, Van, just for a second --
CUOMO: The president spent more time today trying to make sense of his wife's jacket than he did of how to get these families together, Dave.
URBAN: Do you remember this occurred in the Obama administration, Van?
URBAN: The outrage, lawsuits from the ACLU?
URBAN: So, this isn't something that's new.
CUOMO: It doesn't make it OK either, though, does it?
URBAN: No, no, I'm not saying it's OK, but my point is --
CUOMO: You kind of are. You're saying we weren't upset then. We were upset.
URBAN: No, you weren't.
JONES: We were.
CUOMO: Of course we were. We went down to the border and went crazy about it. What are you talking about? I did a whole documentary about how they keep people on the border.
You guys, you got to own the facts. You guys decided to do this. You're trying to make it OK because someone else had a similar situation, and you got the president -- you have the president today talking about his wife's jacket, putting more thought into how to blame the media.
What about that one, Dave? Do you believe that that jacket was about her hating the media? Do you believe that or do you think the president is lying again? Come on.
URBAN: No, Chris, listen, I --
CUOMO: Come on. Come on, Dave.
URBAN: Listen, who would it be about, Chris? What you're wearing the jacket --
CUOMO: I don't know. But the idea that it's about us, when she invited the media with her to go into places makes no sense.
CUOMO: And her own spokesperson said it wasn't about that.
URBAN: Right. It's a jacket.
CUOMO: It's crazy land.
URBAN: It's a jacket.
JONES: Hey, listen, I just think --
CUOMO: Van, last word, go ahead.
JONES: Listen, I think maybe she should have worn a different jacket. I do think that you got to give some kudos to the fact that she did stand up to her own husband. She did tweet about it. She did go down there.
Listen, maybe she should wear something different. But I wish people in her position would stick up for these kids. Where are these babies? Who's responsible for finding them? We cannot get away from that.
But don't let the jacket become the issue. The issue is where are these babies?
URBAN: They're safe in HHS.
CUOMO: We don't know that.
URBAN: You think they're laying in the streets.
CUOMO: You don't know it.
JONES: I talked to people who have had these babies returned and these babies come back traumatized. They feel like they're adopting their own kid, because the kid has been treated badly. They've been totally terrified. This is not the way --
URBAN: It's a horrific situation. It's a terrible situation.
CUOMO: Then own it. Don't say they're safe and sound.
URBAN: No, but they're safe and sound like they're laying on the street, Van. You said they're not --
CUOMO: But that's not the only alternative. Laying on the street isn't the standard.
URBAN: Listen, I'm not saying it's the only alternative. I agree with Van. Let's use technology to make it a better system.
CUOMO: You should have thought it through beyond --
JONES: Chris, let me --
CUOMO: Last word. We've got to wrap it up. Van, go ahead.
JONES: Let me just say one more time. I had this role in the White House. I was a czar, so-called. You have one person who is responsible. You give them interagency authority. You give them a deadline. You get it done.
If that does not happen, people should be in the streets about this. Find these babies. Find the babies. That's all.
URBAN: I have great confidence in General Kelly and others in the White House that these kids will be reunited --
JONES: Appoint somebody.
CUOMO: Well, let's see.
JONES: Appoint somebody.
CUOMO: General Kelly said he wanted to do this and do it for deterrent effect. Now, let's see where we are.
Dave Urban, they should give you the job. You should be the reunification czar. But you still got to come on the show.
Van Jones, thank you very much.
URBAN: Thanks for having us, Chris.
CUOMO: Brother Urban, appreciate you making the case.
URBAN: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. We're going to be right back with the Republican who once warned immigrants about the consequences of voting for President Trump. He was a member of President Bush's cabinet.
You got to remember it's been a month since these kids, three that we're showing you right now -- imagine these kids. I've got ones just like this at home. Many of you do as well. They haven't seen their mother in a month. Their mother's lawyer hasn't even been able to get them yet.
A look at the families that are caught in this complex web, stretching all over the damn country, next.
CUOMO: All right. I want to show you what a "Washington Post" reporter tweeted just over an hour ago. Take a look at this.
It's shockingly difficult for immigration attorneys to locate children separated from their parents at the border. Today, I spoke to lawyers who represent more than 400 parents. They have located two children, all right?
This is about families, people waiting for answers right now as you watch this show. That includes a mother detained in Arizona. Her three kids, 5, 8 and 10, OK? They're reportedly in New York.
I say reportedly because our next guest is a lawyer working for that family. His name is Jose Javier Orochena. He is here. Thank you very much, counsel.
JOSE XAVIER OROCHENA, ATTORNEY FOR SEPARATED IMMIGRANT FAMILY: Thank you very much for having me.
CUOMO: I have to say reportedly because you can't be 100 percent sure. Is that true?
OROCHENA: That's true. So, the family contacted our office, hiring us to help them, first, get a bond for the mother who is in Eloy, Arizona. Also they asked us, because we're local -- the family, extended family is in North Carolina. They asked us to go and inquire about the children, their safety, their health.
And I've gone to the foster center where they're allegedly held. I say allegedly because I have spoken to a social worker. She confirmed that the three children are there.
When I asked for more details, what are they doing? What do they eat? Where do they sleep? Are they together, the siblings -- I can't get a straight answer.
CUOMO: Can you see them?
OROCHENA: No, I can't see them.
CUOMO: Even though you represent them as counsel?
OROCHENA: Even though I represent them, I have been unable to see them. They are in my backyard and I cannot see them.
I understand the precautions with the -- they're minor children. And I'm assuming that they don't want anybody coming in.
But vet me. Allow me to see my clients. Allow me to relay information to the family in North Carolina. Allow me to facilitate whatever is needed to the family in North Carolina while mother is fighting her case for asylum.
CUOMO: Have they said anything to you about reunification?
OROCHENA: They -- my client's family in North Carolina have told me that the Cayuga Center has given them a list of requirements, and I understand those --
CUOMO: What does that mean? Requirements about what?
OROCHENA: Requirements that they meet in order to assure that these kids are going to a safe, loving home. And I applaud them for doing that. I honestly do.
But these are uneducated clients of mine in North Carolina. They may not know what is needed. I'm here to help them facilitate.
CUOMO: But you can't help them because you can't get to the kids and you can't coordinate information because you're not getting access? OROCHENA: Every time I asked for detailed information, I am referred
to a supervisor. Actually, I'm told that a supervisor will contact me. Four weeks, I haven't been able to get --
CUOMO: One month, you haven't seen a 5-year-old kid?
OROCHENA: I haven't seen -- in one month, I haven't seen a 5-year-old kid, a 10-year-old kid, an 8-year-old kid, a supervisor I haven't had a sit-down.
CUOMO: Has the mother been able to?
OROCHENA: The mother, according to the social worker, has contact with her children. I can only imagine the lies that the mother has to tell these children in order to make sure that they are happy, that they say, you know what, I'm just on vacation. I'll be there soon.
CUOMO: What does the mom tell you about what she knows about the kids?
OROCHENA: Because the mother is detained I have limited access to her.
CUOMO: So, you can't get to her either?
OROCHENA: Well, at this point, she has a bond hearing set for June 29th. I've asked to appear telephonically. If I get word that I could appear telephonically, I will do so. If I don't get word by the 28th, I have to buy an emergency ticket to fly out to Eloy, Arizona, and be with mother at the hearing on the 29th.
CUOMO: You said it's an asylum case.
CUOMO: Do you believe it's a legit asylum case or is this someone who's just coming here for more opportunity?
OROCHENA: Absolutely legitimate asylum case.
A mother would not take and put her children through the dangers that she faced -- these children face --
CUOMO: What do you know about her situation that makes it legit?
OROCHENA: I know from the family of the violence that she's facing in Guatemala. This anybody can verify. Go out to Guatemala and see the violence that they're face in facing on a daily basis -- not only the violence, the starvation, the hunger, the violence.
This is why -- this is why asylum applications are made for. Let us fight our asylum application. Give us due process. Allow their children to meet with their -- the lawyer that had been hired to represent them, advocate for them. That's all I'm asking. CUOMO: Why didn't they go to the legitimate port of entry?
OROCHENA: They had no other opportunity. They went to the port of entry, according to the mother. And they were not allowed through. They had no other opportunity.
It was either go back home and face harm, great bodily harm or cross the border and surrender.
CUOMO: Now, I've told you before and I'm going to tell you now on TV. You are fighting a fight that we know that many lawyers are fighting for hundreds of clients at least. As you go through the paces, you will be welcomed back on this show to tell us what's going on because it will be an example of what so many are dealing with.
And I know you represented the country. I know that's an army pin on your lapel. I know you're a proud American and I know you're not proud of this situation.
We will keep up with you. We will follow this story. I promise.
OROCHENA: Thank you very much for the opportunity and I hope that the agency allows me to see my clients.
CUOMO: All right. Counsel, thank you very much.
All right. There is still no answer on what's going to happen, not just with these kids as beautiful as they are, not to discount them, but they're one of this huge group. Two thousand kids are scattered all over the country. And any plan to actually fix the system is stuck in partisan mud.
Everybody says they care, but nobody is doing their damn job. So, let's talk to the man who knows the personal side of this and the policy side.
Joining us now is the Commerce Secretary under President George W. Bush, Carlos Gutierrez.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us.
CARLOS GUTIERREZ, FORMER SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: Thank you, Chris. Pleasure.
CUOMO: All right. I want to get your reaction to something the president said today about the kinds of people that are crossing the border. Please listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They encourage people, frankly, to walk through Mexico and go into the United States, because they're drug traffickers, they're human traffickers, they're coyotes. I mean, we're getting some real beauties.
Mexico is doing nothing for us except taking our money and sending us drugs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Your reaction?
GUTIERREZ: Well I think it's an amazing exaggeration. It is misleading. It is fear-mongering. It makes it sound as if though most immigrants who cross the borders are either drug dealers or criminals, and that is absolutely false.
I wish someone would use numbers, Chris, and just, you know, put this thing to rest. This is just rhetoric that is -- incites hatred and incites xenophobia and incites false nationalism.
I think it's very, very regretful.
CUOMO: Now, the president says it is none of those things. He makes the case that he has the biggest heart in the world, he's just giving you the facts, the facts that the Democrats and sympathizers like you want to hide from.
You're reaction to that?
GUTIERREZ: Let's see the facts, let's talk numbers. Our unemployment is 3.8 -- a little over 3.8 percent. The unemployment among undocumented workers is less than 3.8. Why? Because there are jobs that are open.
The reason we have illegal immigration is because our legal immigration system doesn't work and our economy needs the workers, and that's the part that people don't understand or don't want to understand. So, this part of the bill that talked about cutting in half the legal immigration, that would be devastating for our economy.
Our economy grows in two ways. One is the number of workers and the productivity of those workers. Our working age population isn't growing fast enough, and our productivity is close to nothing, so we need immigration, simply, to grow.
Immigration is an economic strategy. It's an economic policy, and that's what, I am so shocked that it's Republicans who don't understand that. We are supposed to be the party of prosperity, and you cannot have prosperity without immigration.
CUOMO: Last question for you, Mr. Secretary. There is a feeling now, that, because of this executive order, which I would argue, is more a stunt than anything else. It wasn't necessary. This isn't a legal change. He could've the changed the policy with a phone call, but there's a sense that it's over, that, he has fixed it.
Yet, they won't let us see the inside of the facilities where these kids are kept. We don't know how they're going to reunite kids that they've spread all over the country. Why there are kids from Texas and New York City, I have no idea.
What are your concerns about what, still, is left to be done and how long it will take and what that means for kids in custody?
GUTIERREZ: Well, you know, regarding these specific refugees, we need to put them through a process and while they are going through that process, they need to be living in conditions that are -- that are bearable, conditions that we can be proud of, that we can point to.
I know it's complicated, it is logistically a nightmare. But we go through this all the time because that's who we are and we'd rather do it the hard way. But it reflects the heart of our country.
Now just the other thing, Chris, on immigration at large, we have these refugees. Nothing has changed and we're not going to get immigration reform. I hear people using talking points. Amnesty -- well anything is amnesty to them.
Other people are talking about chain migration. Chain migration in our law is stated as family reunification, 80 percent of our immigration is family reunification.
So, are they saying they want to go from 80 to zero?
If that's the case, we will never get immigration reform. And immigration reform is not building a wall, and it's not cutting legal immigration by one half. If we cut legal immigration by one half, our illegal immigration will grow because our economy needs it.
I don't care how big that wall is. We need to understand that, Chris.
CUOMO: Mr. Secretary, I appreciate your perspective on this. This is going to be an ongoing conversation. We look forward to having you back. Thank you, sir.
GUTTIERREZ: Look forward to it, thank you.
CUOMO: All right. Look, it is hard to cover a crisis when they won't let us see what's happening in the detention centers. Why is that? Why are we being blocked? I'll tell you why.
We need more truth and transparency. It is part of our closing argument, next.
CUOMO: Closing argument. First, something that makes no sense.
The first lady was going to visit the border to show she cares about kids in captivity even though the architect of their despair is her husband who took them from their parents. Now, that was odd.
But then it got bizarre when she wore this to the plane. I don't care what the first lady wears, but at first, just this message, I thought it was fake. It isn't.
Her spokesperson said the jacket means nothing. There is no meaning. You could argue shouldn't it have said "I really do care", but whatever. Then the president tweets this. I really don't care, do you, written
on the back of Melania's jacket refers to the fake news media. Melania learned how dishonest they are and she truly no longer cares.
And this makes no sense at all. So the first lady's spokesperson lied and then Melania decided to invite the media to go with her even though she hates them. That makes sense?
Now, something that makes perfect sense. Melania did not go to a facility with young kids. No toddlers, infants, preschoolers. She saw kids who can be vulnerable from 12 to 17, but not the little ones. Why? Wouldn't be as shocking or as troubling. She had cameras with her and around her.
And they don't want you to see the reality. They don't want you to see the kids crying, to get a feel for their fear and the worries of those who are overwhelmed by the situation, one the president created to make a point -- a point that has blown up in his face and forced him to do what he has never done -- to back off.
But please don't be fooled. This is far from over.
Two points. Trump says you have to arrest everybody because if you let them go, they never show at court. Seventy-five percent show. Programs exist to get it over 90 percent. Now, those are the facts.
Now feelings. Take a look at these kids, please? I've got some at home that look just like this, about the same ages. So do many of you.
These kids aren't allowed to see their mom, even their lawyer? You know they're isolated. You know they're afraid. That's the ugly truth.
I can't believe we aren't better than this. Kids taken from their parents, scattered across the country, crowded into tight spaces, overwhelmed staffs, the military building camps for them. This is a recipe for disaster.
I'm not some cynic or some fatalist. I don't want this to happen, but we both know what this is a recipe for. And everybody says they don't want it to happen. But we still see the president not doing anything to get these families together. That executive order was more stunt than solution.
And Congress, still using this situation as leverage in a larger policy battle. Ladies and gentlemen, do your damn job. You will all be judged for this moment. That's the closing argument.
Thank you for joining me tonight.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts now. Good to see you, my friend.