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STATE OF THE UNION

Interview With California Congressman Barbara Lee; Interview With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Interview With Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson; Confusion Lingers Over Trump's Border Policy; Sarah Huckabee Sanders Kicked Out Of Restaurant; President Trump's Galaxy Quest In This Week's "State of the Cartoonion". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 24, 2018 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:30]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Chaos and confusion. Thousands of migrant children are still waiting to be reunited with their parents days after President Trump signed an executive order stopping family separations as a policy at the border.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody has had the political courage to take care of it. But we are going to take care of it.

TAPPER: But it is still not clear how the government will reunite the children with their parents or how long those kids will be waiting. We will ask the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Ron Johnson, next.

And shifting blame. President Trump keeps hammering Democrats for the immigration chaos.

TRUMP: Democrats put illegal immigrants before American citizens.

TAPPER: But Democratic lawmakers say these kids are being kept in prisons.

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: These children especially are traumatized.

TRUMP: Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Bernie Sanders respond in moments.

Plus: Kicked Out. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders becomes the latest member of the Trump team forced to leave a restaurant because of her political views. But with political allies warning a cruel policy could sink the party, might Republicans be missing out on more than meals come November?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is still confused and concerned, as more than 2,000 undocumented migrant children remain in custody, separated from their parents.

The U.S. government is finally releasing some guidelines on reunifying the families that it pulled apart at the border days after the president signed an executive order ending the practice.

Late Saturday, the Trump administration released a plan for fixing the mess that it created, saying that they know the location of all the children and they are working to reunite them with their parents.

But, under these guidelines, the children may remain in custody until the parents' deportation proceedings are complete, a process we know can theoretically take months. And it is still unclear how the children will actually be linked back to their parents.

As families wait to be put back together, President Trump is giving himself a pat on the back. Speaking Saturday at a rally in Nevada, the president said his administration is -- quote -- "doing a very good job" handling the situation the border.

And the president embraced hard-line immigration policies as a winning political issue for Republicans this November.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't think being weak on the border, being pathetically weak on the border, I don't think that's a good issue.

I may be wrong. I think I got elected largely because we are strong on the border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Joining me now is the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

I just mentioned that new guidance that the Trump administration released last night. Are you satisfied with the solution, or do you want the children to be reunited with their parents even more quickly?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: Well, good morning, Jake.

Well, the most recent information we have from DHS is they have reunited about 21 percent of those children that were separated from their families under this new enforcement policy.

But you said that this was a mess created by the Trump administration. Jake, this mess goes back decades. We really didn't have an illegal immigration problem when we had the Bracero guest-worker program in the '60s.

We had circularity of immigration. But farmers unions wanted that thing shut -- or farmer worker unions want that one shut down. And so that really began the problem.

But the Flores decision, for example, really initiated in 1985. And so this -- this is just a huge problem.

We don't have the capacity to handle all the unaccompanied children, all the family units that are now flooding our border because of a host of a judicial decisions, legal precedent, and laws, I think very well-intentioned, but have negative unintended consequences that have created this -- these incentives for people to flood our borders.

TAPPER: Well...

JOHNSON: So, we just don't have the capacity. But this problem's been around for a long time.

TAPPER: Absolutely, the problem of illegal immigration, it's been around for decades. And, absolutely, President Trump inherited it.

I'm specifically referring to the policy of 100 percent family separation at the border, taking the kids from the parents, not the overall policy of illegal immigration.

Let's talk about the separation policy, and the idea now that you -- the Trump administration wants to reunite the kids with their parents.

A public defender involved in immigration hearings in El Paso wrote in "The Washington Post" that one immigration judge was so upset about this process, he said in a hearing -- quote -- "I can't understand this. If someone at the jail takes your wallet, they give you a receipt. They take your kids, and you get nothing, not even a slip of paper?" -- unquote.

The Trump administration said last night they know where all the kids are, but they're building out better databases to link parents and children.

[09:05:02]

Can you tell our viewers this morning that the Trump administration knows right now which kids belong with which parents?

JOHNSON: That is what they're claiming.

Again, they have reunited 21 percent. But, again, Jake, is a mess.

Here, I want to show a chart. You know how much I like charts.

You take a look at what might have caused all this, is, go back to 2008, '9, '10, and '11. Prior to DACA, we had 4,000 unaccompanied children from Central America coming in here.

Then President Obama instituted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. And you can see the result. Since that point in time, over 200,000 unaccompanied children have come in from Central America.

In addition to that, if you take a look at family units, we have -- we have more than 399,000 family units who have come in because of our laws, because of the way we treat them. It creates an incentive. So, if you total that all up, it's almost 900,000 individuals coming into this country illegally because our laws and legal precedent, 900,000.

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON: We have -- we -- we -- we have family detention centers with about 3,300 beds. We have adult ICE detention centers with about 2,300 beds -- 23,000 beds.

We don't have the capacity for hundreds of thousand people trying to get in this country illegally.

TAPPER: Well...

JOHNSON: So, we can make that a legal process, but we have -- we have -- we have to fix our laws. We have to end those incentives.

And what drives me nuts -- I come from the private sector. I manufactured -- I do problem solving. We aren't facing reality. We're not going back in and really identifying the root cause. Nobody's admitting that laws that have been passed with good intentions are actually fueling this crisis.

So, until we actually are honest with ourselves and we really do address, end those legal loopholes, change those laws...

TAPPER: Yes.

JOHNSON: ... secure our border, treat people with real humanity -- so, what we're trying to do is what one possible fix is...

TAPPER: Senator...

JOHNSON: ... increase the number of immigration laws by about 225 five judges. Right now, we only have 350, 74 at the border.

We need to increase that. The Trump administration is going to try and come up another 15,000 beds for family units. But none of this is easy.

TAPPER: So, I hear what you're saying in terms of the overall problem.

Now, you have relied -- your committee has relied on economist Michael Clemens at the Center for Global Development for the committee's work. He says the main reason for the increase of undocumented immigrants crossing the border, including the undocumented -- the unaccompanied minors that you referred to, was the increase in violence in Central America, specifically Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, not the DACA policy.

Is he wrong?

JOHNSON: Well, again, let's just take a look at the chart.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: But correlation is not causation, Senator.

JOHNSON: Because -- because -- because -- because of our insatiable demand for drugs, yes, public institutions in Central America have been destroyed.

But they were destroyed prior to 2012 and DACA. We were 4,000 kids on average coming in from Central America. Now the average is well over 30,000, more than 200,000 since 2012.

So, I don't know. It's a pretty strong correlation that might just indicate causation as well, so...

TAPPER: OK.

JOHNSON: Again, there are many causes. There are many causes to this. Part of it is our insatiable demand for drugs.

But one of the reasons we have to secure our border is because drugs, heroin is also flowing over that unsecure border. So we have to secure our border. President Trump is trying to grapple with that reality, unlike President Obama, which basically instituted a catch- and-release program fueling the crisis with families as well.

TAPPER: So, can I just ask you, Senator, are you confident that the Trump administration has the data and will be able to reunite the remaining 80 percent of these 2,300 kids with their parents?

Do that know that you're -- you're the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the Senate. You would know, theoretically. Does the U.S. government have the skills, do they have the information to reunite these kids, as first lady Melania Trump says she wants to have happen?

JOHNSON: So, they're saying they do. We will continue our oversight on that.

But the track record in the prior administration wasn't particularly good either. We have held a hearing. Rob Portman, subcommittee under mine, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation, looked into the lack of coordination between DHS, who, with unaccompanied children has to return -- turn those unaccompanied children over to HHS within 72 hours.

And they literally lost track of I think it was about 1,500 kids out of about 7,500 when they were looking.

TAPPER: You keep talking about the Obama administration. You keep talking about the Obama administration.

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON: This was within the Obama -- I know.

This was within the Obama administration, and then the Trump administration trying to check on the sponsors and unaccompanied children that had -- had been sent into HHS.

So, again, Jake, this is an incredibly complex problem. It's primarily -- we have a -- we don't have the capacity to handle this flood.

So our -- the goal of our policy literally ought to be to reduce that flow. And there's -- we -- we have history in terms how to do this.

Michael Chertoff faced the same problem with Brazilians flooding this country 2005 -- 31,000 Brazilians started -- they called the operation Texas Hold 'Em.

[09:10:05]

They -- they -- they immediately apprehended the Brazilians, and they sent them right back home.

TAPPER: So...

JOHNSON: The next year, it was 1,500 Brazilians, within three years less than 1,000.

So, we learned from that...

TAPPER: Right.

JOHNSON: ... if you literally apprehend, quickly process, and then return people trying to get in this country illegally, it discouraged further illegal immigration.

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON: That's what we have been doing.

We have been encouraging -- we have been encouraging illegal immigration.

TAPPER: Is your committee going to hold hearings on the separation of 2,500 children from their parents? Is that something that you think that your committee should provide oversight over and try to find out more about?

JOHNSON: Well, right now, we're providing oversight by getting information from DHS. And, yes, we're on the case.

We have held over two dozen hearings on some aspect of our unsecured border. Yes, I'm looking at producing a piece of legislation myself that might come through our jurisdiction, as opposed to Judiciary Committee as well.

A bunch of us are working on this. This is a problem. We all want to fix it. But we have to do the root cause analysis. We can't rely on demagoguery. We can't look at it just all the rhetoric around this thing. We actually have to look at facts. We have to actually solve the problem, which we have not done. One of the things we have done in those hearings is, I go back to 1986, and I list about six or seven laws that have been passed to fix the problem. And then alongside those laws, I list the number of people in this country illegally. It goes from 3.5 million to 6 to 9 to 10 to 11 to about 12 million people in this country illegally.

We have never fixed this problem since the mid-'80s.

TAPPER: Well, the president...

JOHNSON: We have to go back in history.

TAPPER: Yes.

JOHNSON: What fuels this, what caused it, and actually address those root causes, which we just don't do very well in Congress.

TAPPER: President Trump tweeted Friday morning: "Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more senators and congress men, women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything that solves this decades- old problem. We can great legislation after the red wave" -- unquote.

Do you agree with the president? You say you want comprehensive immigration reform. President Trump just threw a grenade into the works there.

JOHNSON: Well, I'm going to keep working on it.

And I will work in good faith with the members of my committee. We really have a pretty nonpartisan committee, work real well. We passed all kinds of pieces of legislation. So I will work with Ranking Member Claire McCaskill and Heidi Heitkamp and Doug Jones and Gary Peters, Maggie Hassan.

And so, hopefully, these are some individuals that want to solve this problem. And I want to work with them in good faith to do it. I have got a real good track record doing that.

TAPPER: All right, Senator, thank you so much. Appreciate your time this morning.

President Trump says victims of undocumented immigrant violence are permanently separated from their families, and the Democrats don't want to hear about that.

Senator Bernie Sanders is here to respond next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:16:28]

TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

President Trump is trying to turn the conversation, saying Democrats want to protect undocumented immigrants more than they want to help American citizens.

And the president is blaming Democrats for playing politics on immigration, instead of actually trying to help pass a fix.

He tweeted just a few minutes ago -- quote -- "Democrats, fix the laws. Don't resist. We are doing a far better job than Bush and Obama. But we need strength and security at the border. Cannot accept all of the people trying to break into our country. Strong borders, no crime."

Joining me now to respond is independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who caucuses with the Democrats.

Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

You are in the minority in the Senate. You are in the minority in the House. You don't hold the White House when it comes to immigration.

What specifically is your side of the aisle willing to compromise on to have some sort of immigration reform?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Jake, I lost you. I'm not hearing anything.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: You can't hear me right now, Senator?

We are going to take a very quick break. We're going to work out Senator Sanders' IFB problems, and then we will come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:22:18]

TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

Back with me now is independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Senator, President Trump just tweeted: "Telling Democrats to help Republicans make changes to immigration reform."

You caucus with the Democrats. You're in the minority in the Senate. You're in the minority in the House. You don't hold the White House.

When it comes to immigration, what specifically are Democrats willing to compromise on?

SANDERS: Well, Jake, the problem we have is, we have a president who is not serious about policy, a president who lies every single day, a president who told us that he couldn't do anything about ripping children from the arms of their mothers, it had to be in Congress, and then, two days later, he passed an executive order.

So, that is the first problem we have. Clearly, anyone who looks at the record understands that the Democrats

in Congress have been serious about comprehensive immigration reform. That is what the American people want, and a path towards citizenship for people who are undocumented.

Democrats are serious about dealing with the DACA crisis in this country. Eighty percent of the American people think that we should provide legal status to the 1.8 million people in the DACA program.

The president rescinded Obama's executive order. These young people, raised in the United States, in school, working, are now fearful about being deported.

So, what we need is comprehensive immigration reform. We need Obama -- we need Trump now to make it clear that the United States of America is not a nation...

TAPPER: Right.

SANDERS: ... which tears children from their parents.

TAPPER: But, Senator, I...

SANDERS: And then we need to get about dealing with comprehensive immigration reform.

TAPPER: I didn't hear you say anything there that you are willing to compromise on.

For example, in addition -- in exchange for or as part of a larger legislative package on immigration reform that includes the steps you just took, you just outlined, would you be willing to support a border wall, for example? Would you be willing to go to more of a merit- based immigration system?

SANDERS: Jake, I held my nose and very reluctantly voted for some money for a border wall. That's what we voted for.

We couldn't get even that legislation passed because it protected the young people in DACA, and we had minimal amount of Republican support.

But let us be very clear. What the president is now trying to do is to divide the American people up, whether it is, in this case, immigration, whether it is the needs of African-Americans, whether it is the needs of minorities in general.

[09:25:01]

What he is trying to do is divide us up, and not focusing on the real issues that impact the American people.

TAPPER: Well, one...

SANDERS: Immigration is a very important issue, but so is the rising cost of health care. So is the fact that we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. So is the fact -- Trump talks about the needs of the American worker.

TAPPER: Right.

SANDERS: We got millions of people working longer hours for low wages.

The president's job is to bring people together to address the problems that we face, not to divide us up and not to demagogue against desperate people who are coming into this country.

TAPPER: Well, you call it demagoguery.

President Trump says that he is giving voice to people who don't get heard from. He -- for instance, he is suggesting that Democrats seem to focus more on the victims of crime committed by undocumented immigrants, instead of looking at the children separated at the border.

I want you to take a listen at this from President Trump on Friday:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: These are the stories that Democrats and people that are weak on immigration, they don't want to discuss, they don't want to hear, they don't want to see, they don't want to talk about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: How do you respond to President Trump making that argument?

How are the Democrats...

SANDERS: Well, I respond...

TAPPER: Go ahead.

SANDERS: I respond in two ways.

Number one is, I understand that the crime rate among undocumented people is actually lower than the general population.

Number two, where was Trump bemoaning the fact that we had a guy in Las Vegas shooting down dozens and dozens of Americans, we had a young American walking into a high school in Parkland, Florida, shooting down kids?

Crime is terrible. Murder is terrible. Let's deal with those issues, and let's not suggest that the only causes of crime are coming from undocumented people.

But, once again, what our job is as a government is to address the issues facing the American people. And time and time again, Jake, we have a president who lied to the American people, a president who told us he was going to take on the pharmaceutical industry. He lied. Drug prices are going up all across this country.

He was going to guarantee, during his campaign, health care to everybody. More and more people have no health insurance. The cost of health care is going up.

Unemployment is low, but for millions of workers, real wages are going down because of the cost of affordable housing, soaring prescription drugs, soaring -- gasoline at the pump soaring.

TAPPER: So, Senator, I want to ask you.

Several Democrats were tweeting recently about this photograph of -- showing, undocumented children in a government holding cell. It turns out the photograph was taken in 2014 under the Obama administration during the unaccompanied minors crisis from that year.

Now reports say undocumented children in government custody in Virginia were allegedly beaten and left in solitary confinement. Again, that was under the Obama administration. How do you respond to critics who say Democrats only seemed to start caring about these children under Trump?

SANDERS: Well, that's not accurate.

I think you had -- if you remember, there was a lot of discussion and a lot of concern about how undocumented people were treated under Obama.

But, under Obama, there was not a policy that says, if you are a mom with a little boy coming over to the country, we are going to grab that boy, put him into a detention center, which will clearly cause long-term psychic, psychological problems for that kid. That was not the policies of the Obama administration.

That must never be the policies of the United States of America. We have to deal once again with immigration through comprehensive immigration reform. Trump caused this problem, just as he caused the DACA problem.

TAPPER: More than a dozen Democratic congressional candidates reportedly support abolishing or defunding ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, including candidate for governor of New York Cynthia Nixon, who tweeted this week -- quote -- "ICE is a terrorist organization and its egomaniacal leader is Donald Trump. Sign our petition to #abolishICE."

Do you agree that ICE should be abolished?

SANDERS: I think what we need is to create policies which deal with immigration in a rational way and a rational way. And a rational way is not locking children up in detention centers or separating them from their mothers.

What we need is Trump to sit down with members of Congress and work on a rational program which deals with a serious issue.

TAPPER: Senator Sanders, thank you so much. We always enjoy having you on every Sunday. Thank you so much for your time.

SANDERS: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Let's turn to my panel right now.

And, Congresswoman Lee, you just came from a detention center on the border. So, tell us what you saw.

LEE: Thank you, Jake.

First of all, it was heart-wrenching. The images that we see on the media really speak volumes to what is taking place, but when you see it in person, it's -- it's -- it's horrific.

[09:30:03]

First we went into the intake center which is a jail.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: -- McAllen -- McAllen, Texas.

LEE: This is in McAllen, Texas. And we also went to the detention center down in Brownsville. But in the intake center we saw this beautiful little boy in a cell by himself crying. A little girl in a cell by herself crying.

And I've took some notes because they wouldn't allow us to take pictures or cameras in. And they wouldn't allow us to have our phones.

And so once he saw us we waved and he smiled but he was distraught. And this little girl --

TAPPER: How old is he about?

LEE: He looked about three years old. The little girl looked about three, also. And she had her head covered and we waved at her and smiled and she smiled back.

And then we saw another cell with maybe eight to 10 mothers with children. But there was one little girl sitting out in the waiting area who had been separated from her mother and they were trying to determine some information before they allowed her in. And when she ran back in when they allowed her in the mother just held her and the baby just -- they just cried.

But after that we went into the -- and let me just say this. They are -- these are cement floors. Now due to the flooding generally it is two hours in the intake center, but they had to spend the night on these cement floors with minor blankets.

And I asked the guard and they are doing their job -- I mean, they are the guards, right? They said, we just don't -- why they didn't have cots or pads. Why these kids?

And these mothers and fathers --

TAPPER: Sleeping on the cement floor.

LEE: Sleeping on the cement floor. He said we just don't have the resources.

I said, wait a minute. The Defense Department has a lot of resources. You know, I'm sure we can find out if that $700 billion budget enough resources to bring cots in or pads for these children.

TAPPER: Yes.

LEE: And it was just -- it's tragic. I mean, these people are being criminalized, went into the processing center where there are cages. Certainly if people think there aren't, there are. We saw these cages.

And then we went to the detention centers where we talked to maybe 10 to 15 mothers -- these are jails. These are prisons.

These are people who are being criminalized. And the mothers that we talked to have no idea where their babies were, where their children were.

TAPPER: Yes.

LEE: And they had no idea what the timeframe was before they could go to a court.

TAPPER: David, I know President Trump wants to change the subject to people who have been victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. But his is the story this week is --

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure.

TAPPER: -- these children taken from parents.

URBAN: Yes. Look, first of all, we can and we should do better. None of these kids should be sleeping on the floor. We can do better than that.

But to address the point that the congressman raises they are in jail because they are criminals. They broke the law, right?

TAPPER: By crossing the border.

URBAN: By crossing the border illegally. (INAUDIBLE) they broke the law. They came across the border illegally -- came across the border illegally and so they broke the law. That's why they're in jail.

You come to -- you to come to a facility, you come to one of the ports of entry, you apply for asylum, you do the things right, OK? Then you are not going to break the law.

You come to -- you cross the border illegally you are put in jail. We can do a lot better than we are doing right now for these kids. We should be. It's a tragedy.

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: We have learned a lot over the last couple of weeks. So one of the reasons why people are crossing not at ports of entry is because the Trump administration is not allowing people in at the ports of entry. It was basically a bait and switch.

Go to the port of entry legal. Go there. That's legal for asylum seekers. A lot of these people are asylum seekers.

TAPPER: Meaning that they are coming, trying to use the immigration laws because they are fleeing violence.

TANDEN: Yes, because they are fleeing violence, threats of murder, death, et cetera. And that's why they're trying to come here. And they said to go to the ports of entry but no one is letting -- being allowed in at the ports of entry so that's why they went another way.

And the truth of this is we have learned a great deal which is the Trump administration had a policy of ripping children from their parents in order to --

URBAN: No, no, no, no, no, no. Neera --

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: No, no. General Kelly -- General Kelly --

URBAN: It is zero tolerance policy. The policy --

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: General Kelly literally said to CNN that the part of the strategy (INAUDIBLE).

URBAN: I'm not going to let you say it. It's not true. It's not true.

TAPPER: So just to be clear. The policy --

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: I'm sorry, David. He (ph) reversed (ph) the policy.

TAPPER: The policy is zero tolerance meaning everybody gets --

URBAN: That's the policy (ph).

TAPPER: -- everyone gets criminalized, everyone gets prosecuted --

TANDEN: And take the children away?

TAPPER: -- and that results in the separation --

URBAN: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: -- the separation.

TANDEN: That is the policy, zero tolerance policy (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: The separation is a result of the zero tolerance policy. We don't need to fight over the semantics of this. That's what it is.

CARLOS GUTIERREZ, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: I think we can be tough on the border and not be cruel.

URBAN: I agree. Yes.

GUTIERREZ: And I think sometimes we confuse toughness with cruelty.

TAPPER: Is this policy cruel? What the Trump --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: Well, I think if you separate kids from their parents, yes, that's cruelty. I think being tough is -- look, putting people through a process and if they don't pass that process, sorry. You have got to go back and you can't come in.

But we are also confusing refugee policy with the broader immigration. And what worries me if you start connecting the dots on one hand you have very hard rhetoric about immigrants and criminals and drug dealers.

[09:35:06]

And the president wants to cut legal immigration by half. All these signals tell me that this administration doesn't value immigration, doesn't value immigrants which is surprising because that betrays the knowledge (ph) of our history.

LEE: These women who we've talked to --

TAPPER: The moms.

LEE: The moms, they do not know where their children are. They are not even allowed a phone call because they don't even know who to call and what the numbers would be. And if they knew who to call or had a phone number they are charged to make that phone call.

And these are individuals who have fled violence, walked many, many miles for months. They don't have any money to make a phone call -- for a phone call. So this is a whole humanizing process and it's a prison that they are holding women in for committing --

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: So secretary is correct. There is lots of underlying causes, right? I talked about this earlier.

Organization of American States, the U.N., there's a refugee crisis in Central America that needs to be dealt with. Terrible inhumane conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras that are driving these people out of their countries. That should be addressed.

People shouldn't fear for their lives in their own countries. No one is talking about it. No one is banging on governments there to do better.

I'm not quite certain why. Secretary Gutierrez also talked about this administration doesn't want to do anything for immigrants. DACA, this president, they have a legal pathway to citizenship for 2 million undocumented folks here. Pathway to citizenship, no one ever offered that in the Obama administration, anybody else.

I would disagree they're (ph) totally (ph) (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: Let's just take a quick break and then we're going to come right back. Check your political affiliation at the door. Several Trump staffers heckled or kicked out of restaurants this week. Is this the new normal? More is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:41:08]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: On immigration we have to be very strong.

I like the issue for election, too. Our issue is strong borders, no crime. Their issue is open borders, let MS-13 all over our country.

That is what is going to happen if you listen to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: President Trump telling Nevada Republicans yesterday that he thinks the issue of immigration will be a winner for Republicans in the midterm elections but perhaps it won't play so well in Lexington, Virginia where White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant because of her role in selling the administration's policies.

My panel is here with me.

David Urban, I want to ask you, you're a vocal supporter of the president. Has this ever happened to you? Has anyone asked you to leave a restaurant or anything?

URBAN: Not yet.

TAPPER: Not yet.

URBAN: May later today. I would just say (INAUDIBLE) I think it is sad, right?

Neera and I disagree. We are completely opposite sides of many, many issues, most issues. We get along fine, right?

You can have civil discourse in America, disagree, right? America should be a market place of ideas. We want to have a civil discourse and debate -- right -- and be able to do that.

You shouldn't be asked to leave a restaurant because -- look, if you do, let her suffer the fate. If she -- if the people don't want to frequent her restaurant because of her views that's great (ph) --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to read this quote --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: I'm sorry that Sarah Huckabee Sanders had a bad day. I'm not worried about Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I'm worried about the African-American kid in school who gets harassed by kids who think they have a license to harass because the president said so.

I'm worried about the Hispanic kid, the Hispanic-American citizen who is harassed in school and called a member of MS-13 because the president calls immigrants from Hispanic countries members of MS-13.

I'm not worried about Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I'm worried about millions of kids and today are seeing a different America.

TANDEN: I would just say it is hard to have lectures on civility from the Trump administration. I mean, yesterday --

URBAN: I (ph) was (ph) (INAUDIBLE) to Neera's (ph) -- I (ph) was (ph) (INAUDIBLE).

TANDEN: But just to say --

TAPPER: I think she is referring to Sarah Sanders.

TANDEN: The president yesterday is attacking -- I mean, he started his campaign calling Mexicans rapists. He -- yesterday he is attacking Democrats.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders' father is tweeting attacks and Nancy Pelosi is supporting -- being supported by MS-13 gang members. So I think that is the challenge here which is really this week has been a particularly tough week in that the Trump administration has a policy which most Americans do think is a policy debate but is frankly immoral.

TAPPER: So, I want to get reactions to that because Governor Mike Huckabee, former governor or Arkansas, tweeted something in which he called people who asked his daughter to leave the restaurant bigots. But at the same take he also tweeted this.

It said -- it's an image of what appears to be a Latino gang and it says, "Nancy Pelosi introduces her campaign committee for then take back of the House." LEE: Yes. It's disgusting really. When you look at this mentality and what -- how he tweeted that picture.

And also just with regard to Sarah, I mean, she did use her government account for taking on this private restaurant, a private business. So I personally think she should be referred to the Office of Government Ethics.

TAPPER: You think that's unethical?

LEE: Yes. If you use a government account to attack a private business on personal time, I mean, that's not right.

TAPPER: You disagree?

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: Let me --

URBAN: We have more important things to talk about.

LEE: Yes. Let me go back to the more important things. And I just want to mention a couple of things that are very important about the children in terms of the separation.

First of all the children that we saw had not seen any mental health professionals.

TAPPER: There are no social workers in there?

LEE: We need to make sure that maybe at some point in the system -- but during intake and during the processing there are no social workers. There may be a couple of caregivers. And so the guards are doing their job.

[09:45:00]

But we need to have people who understand and can council these children because they have been traumatized like you would not believe. No legal representation at all until after they are way into the system. And so they have no ability to defend themselves.

And then, thirdly, let me just say, I think this is so serious that I sent a letter to the secretary general of the United Nations and I requested they he send U.N. observers down to conduct an investigation, because the world needs to see what is taking place. This is child abuse and child abuse is a violation of human rights.

TANDEN: I would just say to that we have now over the last two weeks have doctors, health professionals talking about the trauma that this has been creating. And again, what we should recognize is that this trauma, this idea of separating out these children is a unique to this administration policy.

Previous administrations have kept families together. This has decided when parents are leaving with children or when they're coming with children to separate them out and that the American Psychological Association -- a variety of mental health professionals --

URBAN: These kids have been traumatized their entire -- these poor children have been traumatized their entire life.

TANDEN: The U.S. government should not be traumatizing -- no, that is --

URBAN: Made 2,000-mile journey with coyotes escaping horrific crimes in their own country to come to America.

TANDEN: The United States should not be the same as --

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: They are being traumatized along the way. I'm not saying -- I'm not saying that.

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: We should not be perpetrating -- the United States -- let me just say this the United States should not be perpetrating violence --

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: It's unfair. It's unfair.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: This tells me is that immigration will not be solved under this administration because immigration reform is not build a wall and cut legal immigration by half. It is a lot more complicated, a lot more detailed, a lot more complex. The last bill we had that didn't pass was 700 pages.

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: I worked -- I worked on --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: The last two presidents, your former boss, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama both were willing to make compromise and embrace immigration reform and they could not get it through the Congress because of the immigration hard liners in the House Republican Party.

Is it not possible that in the way that only Nixon can go to China that only Trump could actually get those --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: Well, let me just say this both sides, both sides. I've seen -- I saw it in 20 --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I'm just talking about the legislative process. GUTIERREZ: Republicans -- Republicans were tough on the border and didn't want citizenship. And Democrats if they didn't get citizenship they didn't want a bill.

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: And this president proposed --

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: This president -- and this president is proposing fixing DACA which is not his mess which is a mess created by President Obama -- right -- unconstitutionally --

GUTIERREZ: No --

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: No, no. But, Mr. Secretary -- Mr. Secretary, the DACA problem is one that was created by this president, by President Obama --

TANDEN: He did not create dreamers. He created the DACA program.

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: He created DACA, right? Because he couldn't have --

TANDEN: You do not know (INAUDIBLE) would have done that.

URBAN: They struck down -- they struck down --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: I would tell you something. If --

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: We had a bipartisan -- we had a bipartisan bill and, you know, there is a procedure called discharge petition.

TANDEN: Yes.

LEE: And we got --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Just to explain the discharge petition forces the bill on to the floor.

LEE: Forces the bill on the floor --

(CROSSTALK)

LEE -- 216 votes. We needed two more Republicans. This was bipartisan.

TANDEN: Yes.

LEE: It was an agreement upon Democrats -- with Democrats and Republicans and Paul Ryan would not allow the two --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Should they let that bill onto the floor for a vote?

GUTIERREZ: Look, I think the bill that eventually is the right way to go is what we had under President Bush. The big sticking issue was path to citizenship.

So Democrats want a path to citizenship. Republicans don't.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTIERREZ: What do you think -- what do you think undocumented immigrants want? Do you think they are saying, OK, I will wait 20 years until somebody gets --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Because they want some of legal status. Yes, they want to be a legal status.

GUTIERREZ: -- legal. So this -- you know, I think we have got to get away from these extremes.

TANDEN: I think, it's not like we just started talking about this. OK? There is this bipartisan bill.

Donald Trump on Friday said, don't pass any bills. If you have a problem with the fact that there is no one pushing a bipartisan process go talk to the Trump administration. It's blowing it up --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: We have to take a break. Thanks one and all for being here. Really, really appreciate it.

And thanks for coming back right after your trip to the border. We appreciate that.

President Trump is aiming to make the galaxy great again, putting the idea of space force in orbit and the branding opportunities are infinite. That's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:53:37]

TAPPER: Welcome back.

Despite pushback from the Pentagon, President Trump called for a new branch of the military this week, one to patrol space. What might be motivating this galaxy quest? That's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE

TAPPER (voice-over): President Trump's going intergalactic, launching a new space force to dominate the skies.

TRUMP: We have reinvigorated our space program to a level that nobody thought possible in this short period of time. NASA is back and mars is waiting for us.

TAPPER: But conquering the outer reaches takes some out of this world financing, and in this case, President Trump's happy to work with the competition.

TRUMP: I've always said that rich guys seem to like rockets. Go ahead, if you beat us to Mars, we'll be very happy and you'll be even more famous.

JEFF BEZOS, FOUNDER OF AMAZON: I've been crazy about rockets since I was a little boy.

RICHARD BRANSON, FOUNDER OF VIRGIN GROUP: I'm afraid that nothing about his presidency has let me change my views on the matter.

TAPPER: Of course, with the Trump team in charge, the possibilities for intergalactic branding are endless. Picture Trump tower Mars.

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Be able to change the skyline. To be able to take, you know, the level of service within a market to the next level. It is truly one of the most beautiful places and it's fitting for the Trump brand.

[09:55:01]

TAPPER: No doubt, others will try to get in on the act. Picture Michael Cohen buying a space taxi medallion.

MICHAEL COHEN, SPECIAL COUNSEL TO DONALD TRUMP: He's an uber successful billionaire businessman. He's a problem solver.

TAPPER: And access to the material within Saturn's rings could create a whole new line of Ivanka Trump perfume.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: So there's the classic feminine elements of rose and then we mix that with a little bit of apple sparkle and with amber.

TAPPER: After all, there is no corner of the universe where the Trumps will not try to make money.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley called it a cesspool of political bias. Why the U.S. decided to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, Fareed Zakaria has that story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)