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Interview with Rep. Tom Reed; Category 5 Hurricane Irma Battering the Caribbean; Interview with Kris Kobach; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired September 6, 2017 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:30:00] REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: -- and address the root cause of the problem so we don't have the same thing 10 years from now. And that's totally proper. So I do believe that there is a compromise to be had here. I do believe that Congress -- and we're going to work with our members to find out where that compromise is so that we can bring resolution to this very legitimate problem. Thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: House Speaker Paul Ryan there with a few major headlines saying it's reasonable that Congress should address border security at the same time that it addresses DACA. Also saying that they will not more forward any legislation that they don't know that the president will sign off on.

As Marco Rubio said, tell us what you will sign off on, Mr. President so they don't have that answer yet.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: No idea what the president would support or would sign. That message from Paul Ryan right now. We will see how to kind of square that circle.

All right. We are just minutes away now from an updated forecast on Hurricane Irma. Is it still directing its ire at Florida even after it goes through millions of Americans in Puerto Rico? We will get that update in just a few minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:35:04] BERMAN: All right. Moments ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan made some news talking Dreamers, the 800,000 people brought to this country by their parents through no fault of their own. The president removed their protection as of six months from now. Speaker Ryan says he wants to see a law passed tied to border security, protecting these individuals. The second thing he said that was interesting is he wouldn't put anything on the House floor that did not have the president's support.

HARLOW: If only we knew what had the president's support is the big question right now that a lot of folks want answers to. Let's discuss it all with Republican Representative Tom Reed of New York.

So let's break that down piece by piece. So first, do you agree with the speaker, Speaker Paul Ryan, that it shouldn't be necessarily a clean DACA bill? He says it's totally appropriate and right to tie it to border security in his words so the same thing doesn't happen for these Dreamers 10 years down the road. Your take?

REP. TOM REED (R), WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: I do believe that's a reasonable approach because you get then a bipartisan and also Senate House opportunity to solve this problem legislatively. Because if you look at the public support out there, 70 percent of the American public say we want a secure border. At the same time, 70 percent wanted to protect the future of these kids that we all care deeply about. And so from my perspective that's the makings of a good government package that can be put together. And I'm very confident White House would accept such a proposal.

BERMAN: Does funding for a border wall have to be part of that compromise, Congressman?

REED: Well, I think you've got have border security. If --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Well, I'm just talking a wall. I'm just talking a wall. The wall.

REED: I think that's going to be part of any border security improvement that needs to occur. But it's not just a wall. It's technology and using other functions. So we have a functioning and secure border going forward. I think that's the better way to look at it than just an artificial wall building coast to coast.

HARLOW: All right. What about Paul Ryan saying that he will not support moving forward any legislation on DACA that they don't know has the president's support. You know, you saw Marco Rubio -- Senator Marco Rubio's statement yesterday where he said, Mr. President, tell us, make clear to us what you will sign. Otherwise our work on this is useless.

REED: Well, I think the president put a marker out with his action on DACA. He put a deadline on Congress, he put the responsibility on Congress where I believe it rests and we're going to fix this legislatively. And so we are in the process of working with the administration. But most importantly, it puts the pressure on us in Congress to govern. And to me as part of the rise of the governing members and the (INAUDIBLE) and other folks in a bipartisan way, I'm up to that task and committed to getting that done for the American people.

BERMAN: But we don't know --

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: -- if the president would sign a clean bill protecting the Dreamers. We don't know if he would sign a compromise bill that included border security but not a border wall. What Marco Rubio is saying is the president needs to be clear about exactly what he would sign. And Paul Ryan seemed to be saying the same thing.

REED: And that's where the relationship with the White House and the House members and the Senate have made together. We're working together. And it's a legislative process that starts in the House now, starts in the Senate. And we'll work through the process in communication with the White House. And that's where we have to lead as governing members and that's what we're willing to do. I'm willing to stick my head up on this issue because it's the right thing to do for the American people.

HARLOW: Our Tal Kopan is reporting that the White House talking points that they've put out after this announcement by Sessions on DACA says that Dreamers should, quote, "prepare for departure from the United States." Are you comfortable with that?

REED: Well, you know, obviously, you've got to have plan A and you've got a plan b. I don't think we're going to come to that. But obviously they're doing their job given the nature of where the policy is coming up for expiration. But at the end of the day, I'm very confident knowing that there's so many members on both sides of the aisle that care about these kids, about these young people.

But at the same time, we care about the safety of our fellow American citizens as Democrats and Republicans that we could put a deal together that works for everybody in regards to fixing the problem long term and also addressing the hearts and minds and the opportunity that these young people and kids rightfully represent for the future of America.

BERMAN: The president last night after putting the six-month deadline in he put out a statement where he says if Congress doesn't get something done -- I know you're confident. But if Congress doesn't get something done, he would re-visit the issue. What do you think that meant?

REED: What that meant is he's going to be a partner. He's going to be part of the process to come up with a solution. But at the beginning of the process, he is putting the pressure where the pressure needs to be, on us in the House and in the Senate, for us to legislate a solution to this problem. Because what can be done by the presidential pen can be undone by the presidential pen. That's why I think President Obama made the wrong call by doing this the way he did it. And we're going to fix it legislatively so that people can rely on the permanency of what the law will represent as part of the solution.

HARLOW: I suppose that's one way to read it. Another way to read it is that he muddied the water and that he sort of let Congress off the hook saying if you don't get this done in six months, I'll re-visit it. Not if you don't get this done in six months, DACA is over, end of story.

REED: Well, as a member, how I read that and I think a lot of other members will look at that and say, what the president is saying is you have six months.

[10:40:07] Let's get this fixed for the American people and for these individuals, protect our borders, protect our security. But at the same time have a heart and do the right thing. That's how I interpreted it. And I think that is important when members look at what the president is doing. And I think many share that interpretation of the rhetoric that came out yesterday.

BERMAN: All right. Congressman Tom Reed, you have a lot of work to do. We will let you do it. Thanks so much for being with us.

REED: We'll get it done. It's time to govern.

BERMAN: All right. Hurricane Irma with winds of 185 miles per hour pushing through the Caribbean right now. Millions of Americans in its path within next day. The category 5 storm just devastating the island of St. Maarten. Officials just terrified by the damage they might see when the pictures start coming in. Puerto Rico could be next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:45:22] HARLOW: All right. In minutes we're going to get a new update from the National Hurricane Center on the panel of Irma and the intensity. At the moment, Irma's wind gusts are hitting 185 miles an hour, generating storm surges that could reach 20 feet.

Take a look at these. These are devastating images out of the island of St. Maarten. That's one of several islands in the northeast Caribbean taking a direct hit this morning. Others, St. Barts, Barbuda and Anguilla, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico bracing for the same potentially within hours.

BERMAN: And there's millions of Americans within hours. Mandatory evacuations underway in parts of the Bahamas and Florida Keys. Irma could arrive there on Sunday. Already President Trump has declared states of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

CNN tracking the path of the storm. Chad Myers in the Weather Center -- Chad, what are you seeing?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I see the map you just had on there with the storm making a big right-hand turn somewhere either close to Havana or east of Havana, and sending that thing though the Bahamas.

Here is where the storm is now, now on Puerto Rican radar here from San Juan. Very heavy squalls hitting the northern part of Puerto Rico, through Vieques and Culebra, and also even here now to the VVI, Virgin Gorda, Tortola, Beef Island, all the way up to Necker Island where I've heard Sir Richard Branson is going to ride this out. I hope he changed his mind. Otherwise U.S. Virgin Islands here to the South, especially St. Croix, a little bit farther away from the eye itself, there will be significant damage from Megan's Bay to Charlotte Amalie. Those are the U.S. Virgin Islands.

We did have Barbuda in the forecast for yesterday. The eye went right over the top of it. We went to 155 miles per hour. And the anemometer broke. We have no idea how high the wind actually got. It was gusting to 185. It probably got there. No communication from that island for the last six hours. We do not have a crew there because we knew how dangerous it would be. So waiting for official word out of that island. Turks and Caicos, you're kind of next as it moves on by to the

northeast of Puerto Rico. I believe the strongest winds in Puerto Rico proper maybe about 120 because you're not in the eye proper. But not that far away. You're going to get a lot of damage at 120.

There goes the eye, there's goes the center. And where it turns, I'm afraid by, you know, 120 hours no one truly knows. But this is the big question. We all know where it's going for a while. But then all of a sudden it has to turn north. Does it turn over the Bahamas and just destroy some of these islands here? Or does it turn over south Florida at 140 or 150 miles per hour with millions and millions of people in that path?

HARLOW: Chad Myers, thank you for working around the clock on this one for us. We appreciate it.

MYERS: You're welcome.

HARLOW: We'll get back to you soon.

Let's go to Puerto Rico. Our Leyla Santiago is in San Juan.

What are you seeing?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy and John, we're actually seeing different bands come in. Twice now we have seen this storm come in with heavy winds, heavy rains. And then there's a little bit of a lull like what we're feeling right now. Not much coming down. But certainly we are starting to see and feel the impacts of the outer part of this hurricane coming into Puerto Rico.

You know, we actually just spoke to a woman who was closing up shop. She locked up her business and then looked at us and said now we turn to God. And that is certainly a reflection of what we're seeing here. A sort of fear of what is to come.

The governor has said that the island has not seen a weather system of this magnitude in its recorded history. And remember this is a Caribbean island. They are used to tropical storms and hurricanes this time of year. But what is coming our way right now is something that emergency management officials say they have never dealt with before.

They are worried about winds. They are even more worried about flooding. They have 460 shelters that have been established. Many of them already taking people in. We visited one shelter in which we've already seen that they've brought in people who are maybe the elderly or in need of some special care. So no more time for preparation. This is the moment that Hurricane Irma is approaching Puerto Rico.

BERMAN: All right. Leyla Santiago, stay safe for us down there. Great reporting from San Juan.

Millions of Americans bracing for the storm right now.

All right. President Trump, he set a deadline sort of. He told Congress to fix the situation with Dreamers within six months or else. Now he says he will re-visit the issue. What do some members of his own party say about this? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:54:04] BERMAN: All right. Moments ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan addressed President Trump's decision to end the program that protects Dreamers. He said people should, quote, "rest easy." He said the president was right in his decision and he is glad lawmakers now have the time to fix the situation, the speaker says.

HARLOW: Joining us now is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. He believes that, well, the president should have ended DACA immediately.

It's nice to have you here, Secretary. Thanks for joining us.

KRIS KOBACH (R), KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE: It's great to be with you.

HARLOW: So I know this wasn't soon enough for you. But it is an end to DACA if Congress doesn't work it out. But then last night the president confused a lot of us and he said that if Congress can't legalize DACA in six months, he will re-visit the issue. So your state is one of the states that was filing this lawsuit, the attorney general, against the administration on this one.

If this goes one day past six months, right, and DACA does not end, will you re-file that lawsuit?

[10:55:01] KOBACH: It depends on what the president meant when he said re-visit. I don't read it as what you're suggesting that he would then put DACA back in place or continue DACA. As of yesterday, there are no new applications for people to gain DACA deferred action. So there's about 890,000, 886,000 people who've got it already. It's estimated the eligible population is 1.7 million. So it would be hard on that date in March to sort of reopen the program.

BERMAN: Sure.

KOBACH: Especially since it is illegal.

BERMAN: What do you think --

KOBACH: So I doubt that's what he was suggesting.

BERMAN: What was he suggesting? Do you have any idea?

KOBACH: Well, the way I heard that is, OK, if Congress hasn't passed a bill, then maybe the president would say, OK, here are some legislative options I would like -- you know, here is what I want you to pass. Right now he's handed the ball to Congress. You guys decide what you want to do. See if you can work out a deal. So my -- I read that as him saying, OK, here's the legislative plan, try voting on this one.

HARLOW: Yesterday you said in an interview on another network that the Dreamers should, quote, "go home and get in line," you said, and come back to the U.S. legally.

Given that the average DACA recipient in this country right now came to this country when they were 6 1/2 years old, given that a number of them don't speak the language necessarily of where they were born, given that they may not have family there, given that they don't have a job in that country, how is that home?

KOBACH: Well, let's -- I'm not sure about your 6 1/2 age figure. But we do know that the median age of DACA recipients --

HARLOW: It comes from a study at --

KOBACH: They're 25.

HARLOW: Hold on. Hold on, Secretary. It comes from a study at UC San Diego and the Center for American Progress. That's where it comes from.

KOBACH: OK. Well, these -- this data is out there. The federal government has it. The median age of DACA recipients is 25. So we're not talking about kids.

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: I'm telling you --

BERMAN: They came when they were 6.

HARLOW: They came to this country -- I said they came to this country when they were 6 1/2. That's what I said.

KOBACH: Sure. Right. And so remember, they were -- they came in presumably with a parent or parents. And so the correct policy is for us to enforce federal law and deport the whole family to the home country. There are millions of people around the world waiting in line, waiting to come into the United States. And so it is indeed a slap in the face to the countrymen who have been trying to do it the right way to say well, OK, we're going to let these people jump in line.

So the idea that somehow it's wrong to ask people to go back to their home country and to come in the right way, I just fundamentally disagree with that. We have a legal immigration system.

BERMAN: The issue is -- the issue then, again, though, is for some of these Dreamers, who came here when they were 6, the average age when they arrived here was 6, went to college, maybe served in the military, maybe rescued people last week in Hurricane Harvey, lived in the country, you put them at 25, the median age, so average of 19 years, what is home?

KOBACH: Well, that's a great question. And indeed, you know, they certainly are not U.S. citizens, though. That we know for sure. And obviously these are very complex issues. But we have to think of another factor. And that is right now U.S. citizens in that same age group, young Americans with only a -- with only a high school degree, are facing 17 percent unemployment, 31 percent underemployment.

And so what you're talking about doing is legalizing 1.7 million people to compete against our own American citizens who are having a really tough time finding a full-time job or any job at all. So we have to weigh all of these things in the balance and not just say, well, because these illegal aliens are here, they get to stay.

HARLOW: It sounds like you're making the economic argument that deporting these 800,000 Dreamers is going to fix the unemployment crisis for young Americans in this country. And if you even look at the Cato Institute numbers, which is not --

KOBACH: No, we shouldn't make --

HARLOW: But that's what you're doing. I mean, and you look at Cato's numbers and they are not some left-leaning think tank. They are a libertarian if not right-leaning think tank. And they say this is going to hurt the economy. This is going to deplete a tax base. This is going to cost more than $60 billion in lost tax revenue, cost $280 billion in reduced economic growth over the next decade. Those are critical numbers as well. Are they not?

KOBACH: Well, what you often see is the argument, OK, our GDP -- if you have more human bodies in the United States, that does increase your GDP. But you have to look below that superficial and say what is the GDP per capita? I mean, we could open our borders tomorrow and bring in 10 million people very quickly. That would increase our GDP. But per capita, we would be poorer per individual and the United States will be poorer. So just to look at GDP is misleading and isn't the right way you would look at the health of an economy.

BERMAN: Kris Kobach, that was an interesting discussion, sir. We have to let you go. We got breaking news regarding Hurricane Irma. A new forecast just out now. Millions of people in its path.

Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

HARLOW: We will have him back.

Thank you all for being with us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" and this new forecast begins right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We have an extraordinarily busy morning unfolding right now.

Hurricane Irma tearing through the Caribbean. Just look at that.