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Babies and Toddlers Being Held at Tender Age Shelters in Texas; Speaker Paul Ryan Says House Will Vote on Immigration Bill Tomorrow; Interview with Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired June 20, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Polo Sandoval is outside one of those shelters in Combes, Texas.
Polo, what are you hearing?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's important to remember here, Poppy, that there are three facilities that reportedly are housing some of these tender-age children here. We believe that we are outside one of them, a mere 14 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, a fairly nondescript building. Behind the relatively tall wall, though, there is this small playground.
Nobody is on the playground at this hour. Of course, the weather certainly not cooperating this morning. We do know that there's approximately 60 children ages 10 and under. They're being housed at this facility that provide housing, provide even education, as well.
The question, though, how many of those 60 children have been brought here as a result of the president's recent implementation of this zero tolerance policy? Here's what we do know. This facility is owned and operated by Southwest Key Programs, a non-profit that owns and operates that modified old Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, not far from here. That's housing some of those children who have been recently separated.
We're also finding -- we're also trying to find out what the capacity of this facility is. We have heard from the director of this nonprofit group that they are receiving this wave of children as a result of these prosecutorial programs that are now in place by the Trump administration. So the question is, where will some of these children go?
We've heard from the government that they expect to reach 100 percent enforcement of the zero tolerance policy in the coming weeks which means less and less more of this family -- less and less of these families will be allowed or at least will be released from detention, instead find themselves in front of a judge and the children in some of these facilities that leaves the question, will other facilities be needed to house some of these younger children -- Poppy.
HARLOW: What happens in Congress tomorrow according to Speaker Ryan would change some of that.
Polo Sandoval, thank you for the reporting.
HARLOW: Now to life for those waiting on the other side of the border, Ed Lavandera is on the border town of Reynosa, Mexico. And Ed is with me now.
Ed, what do you -- the shot is a little grainy there but Ed, just tell me what you're hearing and seeing there.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Poppy, we are in a shelter just a few feet away from the Texas-Mexico border and this is a place where immigrants come to kind of figure out what their next step is going to be --
HARLOW: We'll get right back to you. Let's listen to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: You just did.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE), and should this White House have an exclusive policy if you could call (INAUDIBLE) under 2 years old?
RYAN: Yes. Let's just make it clear. We don't think families should be separated, period. Look, we have seen the videos, heard the audio, and when we were working on this bill for the last number of months we saw that this court ruling was wrong and we had put this fix in the bill to begin with. So let's look at what's going on.
This court ruling goes back, I think, 2008, and the law should not have our government choose between enforcing our borders and enforcing our laws, securing our borders and keeping families together. That's ridiculous. It's a ridiculous choice.
Tomorrow, we're going to have a vote on legislation that makes sure that we can enforce our laws and keep families together, and it's about custody. It's DOJ versus DHS. I know a lot of you cover this issue. You know that. We're saying just stick with DHS and oh, by the way, we're going to finance facilities for families to make sure that they can be taken care of so we don't have to have this ridiculous choice between enforcing our borders and enforcing the law and keeping families together. We think it's a false choice.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Two questions. One if the bill is unable to pass tomorrow night what is plan B?
RYAN: Well --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And also --
RYAN: Everybody asks that. This bill is plan B, by the way, for us to begin with. So right now we're focused on this legislation. By the way, it solves DACA in a very elegant way, I think. It's a very good solution for DACA. So right now we're focused on getting this bill passed. The president came to our conference yesterday and asked members to support this bill. That is our focus. If other things happen we'll cross those bridges when we get to it. You got a second.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you asked the president to put a pause on this policy?
RYAN: He asked us to pass this legislation which stops this policy for good. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Speaker Ryan, so your legislation allocates $7 billion for new family detention centers. But that's going to take time to build. So what happens until those are built? And this kind of a follow-up to that question, has the president guaranteed that if this bill passes that he will put a pause on that until you can get your legislation implemented?
RYAN: I would refer you to Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary. She's talked to us about interim measures but the court case is the key thing for us.
[10:35:04] You've got to change the law so that we can make sure that custody stays at DHS. We think that's important. That's why we're voting on this tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last question.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, a few questions. First of all, would you entertain a narrow emergency bill that would unite these families?
RYAN: Again, just like I said, we're trying to pass this legislation right now. This is very good, compromise legislation that not only solves the child separation issue at the border. It also solves the border. It solves DACA, it solves a lot of our broken immigration parts so right now we're focused on passing this legislation that's coming to the floor tomorrow and then when other situations arise, what other circumstances are, we'll cross those bridges when we get to it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But are you worried that they'll send the message that you're using these kids as leverage if you say --
RYAN: That's ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- you want to reunite these families, you've got to vote for --
RYAN: No. That's a ridiculous assertion. We -- I said this last week at my press conference. We don't think people should be separated at the border. But we should also not make the government to choose between whether to support the law, secure the border and keep families intact. They ought to do all of those things. That's why we're having to vote on this tomorrow. Thank you.
HARLOW: House Speaker Paul Ryan there saying tomorrow morning we will have a vote in the House on legislation that he says not only would end the separation of families, parents from their children, the humanitarian crisis at the border. He also says it solves DACA. He says it's a ridiculous assertion for anyone to think that these children in this situation is being used as leverage to get this compromise bill passed and to the president's desk.
Let's bring in our CNN political reporter, editor at large, Chris Cillizza, for more.
So, Chris, can you just outline for our viewers what we know so far that this compromise Republican legislation includes and if any Democrat is going to get onboard.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, so let me answer the second question first, Poppy. We don't know on the Democratic front.
CILLIZZA: This is -- this is an attempt to find a solution to the fact that you had, even before this family separation, you still had no answer to DACA. That issue had been burbling, burbling, bubbling, no answer. This is an attempt to find a solution to that while also pairing with what Donald -- we know Donald Trump wants which is significant funding for the border wall.
CILLIZZA: That is now sort of being smashed into with this family separation issue, and they're trying to deal with it all in one time with a big, broad bill. I wasn't sure when Speaker Ryan initially said, you know, we're going to solve this family separation issue tomorrow whether he meant we're going to address it narrowly.
CILLIZZA: That apparently is not the case. We're talking about --
HARLOW: Right. It's part of the big bill.
CILLIZZA: That's exactly right.
HARLOW: Which is so hard to get through.
CILLIZZA: This is still -- that is exactly it.
HARLOW: And that's why the -- and that's why the reporter asked the question at the end --
CILLIZZA: What do you next?
HARLOW: What do you do next? He said this is plan B, but also, are you worried about the optics that it might look like you're using these children for leverage to get something through that you haven't been able to get through?
CILLIZZA: Right. And remember that there was not significant funding despite what Donald Trump says. Donald Trump wanted full funding in the last government spending bill. He wanted full funding of the border wall, $25 billion, that did not happen, didn't come close to happening, he got about a billion and a half.
So I think they're trying to avoid that look. I think the bigger danger here, Poppy, candidly is, there is a reason that a large-scale immigration bill hasn't passed Congress because the Republican Party is significantly split within itself.
CILLIZZA: You have another bill that is not the compromise bill that the leadership is backing. The bill Paul Ryan spoke a lot about. The Bob Goodlatte bill.
HARLOW: The Goodlatte bill, yes.
CILLIZZA: Significantly more conservative. Yesterday, all of the lead-outs from Donald Trump's time on Capitol Hill was that he sort of endorsed both bills, that he liked them both.
CILLIZZA: That's actually a problem if you're Paul Ryan. You want him to say we want this one bill, not the Goodlatte bill.
CILLIZZA: That's not one that I'm going to sign. So when you give conservatives an out like that, I think it's dangerous. And I think there is a real possibility this does not go through tomorrow.
HARLOW: And you have those more conservative Republicans who will have to go answer to big constituents if they vote for this compromise bill.
CILLIZZA: That's right.
HARLOW: With what Paul Ryan calls an elegant solution for DACA. Those who would see that as amnesty and how do they answer those questions and what does that mean for the midterms.
Hold that thought, Chris.
HARLOW: I do have Sunlen with us as well.
Sunlen, you were in the room. Paul Ryan said this was a ridiculous choice, a false choice in his words, to have to choose between keeping families together and enforcing our immigration laws. What stood out to you most from the answers that we got there from the speaker?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was so interesting, Poppy. Clearly, the speaker of the House trying to present that Congress is trying to do something on this. He was very clear at the top, he said the administration wants Congress to act and we are, but it is definitely worth pulling back a bit and looking at the reality of the moment up here on the Hill.
[10:40:02] In the House he announced that they are going to hold a vote on this immigration bill that addresses the family separation issue tomorrow, but as of now they do not have the votes to pass that through. Even if they have the votes to pass it through, it goes nowhere in the Senate so the reality of the moment is that they are really essentially -- you know, chasing these legislative dead-ends up here.
So the big question is, what's next? What's the direction next? When and if and likely when these legislative priorities fail up here on the Hill? And he really did not have an answer for that.
SERFATY: He just said we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Our focus right now is on this legislation, but it is notable that he has not said whether he would put a bill on the floor that is a standalone bill to address family separation.
SERFATY: He would not even go there today, Poppy.
HARLOW: But they will put this forward not knowing if they have the votes to get it through under the president's desk.
Thank you both, Chris Cillizza, Sunlen Serfaty, appreciate it. Quick break. We'll be right back.
[10:45:03] HARLOW: All right. We just heard from House Speaker Paul Ryan saying that tomorrow we will see a vote on the House floor of this Republican, what he calls the compromise legislation that he says would end the separation of families at the border. It would also be a broad immigration overhaul piece of legislation and he says that it would, quote, "solve DACA in a very elegant way."
Joining me now is Democratic congresswoman who will be part of this vote tomorrow, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico. She's also the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
It's nice to have you. Thank you for being with me.
REP. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM (D), NEW MEXICO: Thank you, Poppy. Glad to be with you this morning.
HARLOW: Now that we know that this vote will take place tomorrow will you vote yes for this legislation?
GRISHAM: I will reject both pieces of legislation including the Ryan compromise bill. Two things that are really -- three that are really important for your viewers to know about that piece of legislation. One, it doesn't end the zero tolerance policy which leads to family separation. As long as you have that, you will have family separation. Two, the Cato Institute has reported that 82 percent of Dreamers will not benefit from any of the so-called protections in that bill. And three, it eliminates current legal protections and legal immigration aspects.
This is an anti-legal immigration bill and I am wholeheartedly and I hope all of my Democratic colleagues, and I'm hoping my Republican colleagues will reject this particular piece of legislation.
HARLOW: So, Congresswoman, let's talk about what it does do because as you know in politics you never get everything you want, but this is a humanitarian crisis at the border for these families, for these children. It addresses DACA for 1.8 million people, Dreamers --
LUJAN GRISHAM: It doesn't. I just told you it doesn't.
HARLOW: It does address DACA.
LUJAN GRISHAM: It does not.
HARLOW: It does provide legal protections for Dreamers. It gives $1.6 billion toward wall funding. It also as we just heard Paul Ryan outline, does end the separation of children from their parents at the border. What are you willing to give to get something back?
LUJAN GRISHAM: Well, I already -- my goodness, we have been working since September when the president himself just like separating babies from their parents, he created the DACA crisis. He did that because he's using these issues, these abhorrent aspects in order to get a border wall built which most experts will tell you does not address migrating patterns or folks seeking asylum.
HARLOW: Congresswoman, just back to the question because I don't have a lot of time with you unfortunately.
LUJAN GRISHAM: Yes. Well, that's what I'm saying to you.
HARLOW: What are you willing to give?
LUJAN GRISHAM: So we did --
HARLOW: Are you willing to give --
LUJAN GRISHAM: Yes. Border security. Yes, I answered the question, Poppy.
HARLOW: Let me ask -- the question is, are you willing to give for example --
LUJAN GRISHAM: I'm answering it for you.
HARLOW: Are you willing to give any border wall funding? Anything?
LUJAN GRISHAM: So we have been -- yes. We discussed in the border in the USA Act that it should be evidence-based, 21st century instead of using a fourth century response to border security, make it operational security by 2020. We have long -- every Democrat has been long working and funding Homeland Security and border security measures including in the USA Act which gave a real pathway for citizenship and a real protection for Dreamers. This bill does not do that.
HARLOW: Do you -- we've heard some of your Democratic colleagues calling for Secretary Nielsen, the DHS secretary, to resign including Senator Mazie Hirono. We also heard it from Senator Tina Smith yesterday on this program. Do you think Secretary Nielsen should resign?
LUJAN GRISHAM: I want to answer it in this way and I think everyone will get my answer pretty clearly. I've been an appointed secretary in a state for 18 years. You don't -- you are always transparent. You don't enact child abuse or any other kind of harm to your constituents in any manner whatsoever. You don't say that you're not doing a policy and the next day defend it. She has been inconsistent. She has not been credible. She has not been transparent and she is inflicting direct harm upon children in this country. I don't think that's a person that should be serving the American people in any capacity.
HARLOW: How is she -- what is the direct harm that you argue she is inflicting on these children?
LUJAN GRISHAM: When you -- when you rip a child from their parents who are seeking asylum -- you know, when I was in San Diego visiting the entire process from ports of entry to what happens when ICE gets families that are not coming into ports of entry, because they can't come in through ports of entry, and in fact the system is so convoluted and so terrible about the impact it has on every family seeking refuge in this country, that when a child is taken away and that decision is made by ICE you have children who end up in states far away from the border crossings.
[10:50:02] So if you were picked up in San Diego, your child can end up in Chicago with no way for you to figure out how to reunite or even assure that that's where your child is.
HARLOW: And just -- we have to wrap it up, but given you believe that pain caused to those families and those children and that damage you will not vote --
LUJAN GRISHAM: I saw the pain on those children's faces.
HARLOW: You will not vote yes for a bill that one significant part of it would end that, correct?
LUJAN GRISHAM: I will not vote for a bill that does not end family separation. Just because Speaker Ryan says it does doesn't mean that it does which is why all the organizations that care about children, the Pediatric Academy and Society, the Psychiatric Children's Academy and Society, the Pope, the Catholic bishops, they're all saying this bill doesn't do it.
HARLOW: You are asserting -- it sounds like you're asserting that Speaker Ryan is lying about this. Is that what you're saying?
LUJAN GRISHAM: I am saying that this is -- Speaker Ryan is not being credible or transparent about this bill because he hasn't spent the time on immigration issues in a bipartisan manner. It's a partisan effort and he is only doing that for the White House.
HARLOW: Congresswoman, we have to leave it there. I appreciate you being with us today. Thank you.
LUJAN GRISHAM: All right. Thank you.
HARLOW: We'll be right back.
HARLOW: There is no stopping Cristiano Ronaldo. Lindsay Czarniak has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."
LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. This is just what he does, right? And it's so much fun to watch. Ronaldo and Portugal just became the first team to send another team home from World Cup play after beating Morocco moments ago.
This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.
It took him less than five minutes to give Portugal the lead over Morocco this morning. He knocked in the impressive header you see here for the score then got some serious air celebrating. His fourth goal of this World Cup after scoring a hat trick against Spain last Friday. He is now Europe's all-time top scorer with 85 international goals breaking a record that stood for 62 years.
And in other World Cup news, Russia becoming one of the stories at the World Cup. The host nation came into the tournament as the lowest- ranked team at 70. Well, now they racked up more goals than anyone else. Russia brightening up a rainy night in St. Petersburg beating Egypt in convincing style 3-1, scoring three goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half.
[10:55:07] They've now scored eight goals in their first two games, and get this, Poppy, some bars in Moscow are already running out of beer. According to report --
CZARNIAK: -- some locations near the Kremlin in Red Square are struggling to meet the demand and we are only seven days into the month-long tournament so you hope that maybe they pull out more vodka.
HARLOW: No beer.
HARLOW: But vodka.
HARLOW: Is always present.
HARLOW: Thank you very much.
CZARNIAK: You're welcome.
HARLOW: It's nice to have you here as always.
CZARNIAK: Thank you.
HARLOW: We'll see you tomorrow.
Still ahead, the president says he is working on something on immigration, just tweeting that. What exactly is it ahead of the House vote tomorrow on this Republican compromise bill? Stay with us for more.