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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump: "We're Not Allowing" Migrants In; Trump Announces Change In Asylum Rules For Migrants; Trump: We're Going To Catch And No Longer Release Migrants; Trump On Slow-Moving Caravan: They're Rushing Our Border. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired November 1, 2018 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, if you look at just at a minimal number, it's size of Vermont or bigger, and the overall number could be 10 million people. Could be 12 million people. Could be 20 million people.
[16:30:01] The record-keeping from past administrations has not exactly been very good.
As human smugglers and traffickers have learned how the game is played and how to game the system, we have witnessed a staggering 1,700 increase in asylum claims since the year 2010. They understand the law better than the lawyers understand the law. You have a lot of professionalism there. You have a lot of professionalism set up with the caravans.
Even the countries, you look at Honduras and El Salvador, and you look at what's happening at the different levels and different countries or what's happening on the streets. There's a lot of professionalism taking place, and there seems to be a lot of money passing, and then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, these big caravans are formed and they start marching up. They have a long way to go.
On average once released, an asylum case takes three and a half years to complete. Think of it. Somebody walks into our country, reads a statement given by a lawyer and we have a three and a half-year court case for one person.
Whereas other people tell them out, get out. Just get out. Other countries, get out. We have a border, get out.
We go through years and years of litigation because of the Democrats and the incompetent, very, very stupid laws that we have. They are the laughingstock all over the world, including the people that are marching up. They understand.
But the difference is we're not allowing them in, and we're not releasing, and we're not doing any of the things that were done for so many years that really are terrible for our country.
The overwhelming majority of claims are rejected by the courts, but by that time, the alien has long since disappeared into our country, so they never get to see the judge. They never get to have a ruling. They don't care because they are in the country and nobody knows where there are.
All told, there's 1 million aliens who have final orders of removal. They've actually got final orders of removal. You don't have to go to a court anymore. The courts have already issued the orders of removal, and we've gotten a lot of them, but who remain at large in our country. So, we're moving them out.
This endemic abuse of the asylum system makes a mockery of our immigration system, displacing legitimate asylum seekers, and there are legitimate asylum seekers, while rewarding those who abuse or defraud our system which is almost, which is everybody. Everybody is abusing it and just doing things to our system and I'm sure even by the Democrats who were largely responsible for getting it done.
These individuals disrespect the foundation of American government by voluntarily choosing to break the law as their first act on American soil. Furthermore, contained within this giant flow of illegal migration to our southwest border is the movement of illicit and deadly narcotics. That's in the southwest. Most of it comes in.
Nearly 100 percent of heroin in the United States enters through the southern border. Think of that -- 100 percent almost of heroin comes in through the southern border, along with roughly 90 percent of cocaine and a majority of meth and the substantial portion of the ultra lethal fentanyl killing our youth. The fentanyl is killing our youth.
These drugs destroy the lives and kill much more than 70,000 Americans every single year, and the number goes up. And the number goes up, goes up and up and up because we are so foolish with our laws that we allow this to happen -- the death toll equivalent of the size of an entire American city every year.
The current influx, if not halted, threatens to overwhelm our immigration system in our communities and poses unacceptable dangers to the entire nation. Have to have our borders, can't let drugs come in.
It's not just -- it's just not people. It's people. It's drugs. It's human traffickers. Human trafficking is now at highest level in the world that it's ever been. That's because of the internet.
[16:35:01] Think of it -- human trafficking. You think back 200 years, 500 years. Human trafficking, where they steal children, in many cases women, unfortunately. They steal women.
They are human traffickers, the lowest scum on earth, the lowest scum on earth, and it's at a level that it's never been worldwide, never been at a level like this. If these caravans are allowed into our country, only bigger and more emboldened caravans will follow, and you see that's what's happening now. We have one that's coming up and it's being somewhat dissipated as they march but then other people are joining it and then it gets bigger.
And now, if you look back at Honduras and if you look at El Salvador, other ones are solving and they are forming, they are forming. You have new ones that are forming, and we call it caravan number two is unbelievably rough people. Very, very hard for the military to stop it. Our military will have no problem, but very, very hard. Mexico is having a very, very hard time with it.
Once they arrive. The Democrat Party's vision is to offer them free healthcare, free welfare, free education, and even the right to vote. You, and the hardworking taxpayers of our country will be asked to pick up the entire tab. That's what's happening. Medical and in many cases they've got some big medical problems before they get here.
No nation can allow itself to be overwhelmed by uncontrolled masses of people rushing their border. That's what's happening. They are rushing our border. They are coming up, and even before you get to the caravan just on a daily basis, people are coming in.
And it's a very bad thing for our country. It's sad in many ways, but it's a very bad thing for our country. And, again, it costs us billions and billions and billions of dollars a year.
And I will, therefore, take every law full action at my disposal to address this crisis, and that's what we're doing. The United States military, great people.
My administration is finalizing a plan to end the rampant abuse of our asylum system. It's abused to halt the dangerous influx and to establish control over America's sovereign borders, got borders, and once that control is set and standardized and made very strong, including the building of the wall which we've already started, $1.6 billion spent last year, 1.6 billion this year. We have another 1.6 that will be come but we want to build it one time. All it does is turn people in different directions if you don't. We want to build it at one time.
Under this plan, the illegal aliens will no longer get a free pass into our country by lodging meritless claims in seeking asylum. Instead, migrants seeking asylum will have to present themselves law fly at a port of entry, so they are going to have to lawfully present themselves at a port of entry. Those who choose to break our laws and enter illegally will no longer be able to use meritless claims in order to gain automatic admission into our country. We'll hold them for a long time if necessary.
The only long-term solution to the crisis and the only way to ensure the endurance of our nation as a sovereign country is for Congress to overcome open borders obstruction. That's exactly what it is. It's open borders obstruction. No votes.
You can come up with the greatest border plan, the greatest immigration plan, you won't get one vote from a Democrat. They have terrible policy. In many cases, they are terrible politicians, but the one thing I give them great credit for, they vote as bloc, they stick together.
And we will end catch and release. We're not releasing any longer.
We also must finish out job that we started by being strong at the border. When we're strong at the border, people will turn away and they won't bother. You will see it in a year from now or certainly a period of time from now, despite our very good economy, which some of them come to our border and I can't blame them for that, but you have to do it legally. But you will see that the number of people will be greatly reduced, but that can only happen if we're strong at the border.
[16:40:00] And the southern border is a big problem and it's a tremendous problem for drugs pouring in and destroying our youth and really destroying the fabric of our country.
There's never been a drug problem like we have today, and as I said, much of it comes from the southern border, so in the meantime, I will fulfill my sacred obligation to protect our country and defend the United States of America, and this is the defense of our country.
We have no choice. We have no choice. We will defend our borders. We will defend our country. Thank you very much.
REPORTER: If you are doing catch and release, what happens to the children --
TRUMP: We're working on a system where they stay together, but I will say by doing that tremendous numbers, you know, under the Obama plan you could separate children. They never did anything about that. Nobody talks about that, but under President Obama, they separated children from the parents.
We actually put it so that didn't happen, but what happens when you do that you get tremendous numbers of people coming. It's almost like an incentive to. When they hear they are not going to be separated. They come many, many times over, but President Obama separated the children from the parents and nobody complained. When we continued the exact same law, this country went crazy.
So we are going to continue and try to continue what we're doing, but it is a tremendous incentive for people to try, but it's going to be very, very hard for people to come into our country, so we think we'll be able to do that.
REPORTER: Are they firing upon any of these people?
TRUMP: I hope not. I hope not. It's the military. I hope there won't be that.
But I will tell you this. Anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military and Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm because there's not much difference. When you get hit in the face with a rock, which, as you know, it was very violent a few days ago, very, very violent, that break-in.
It was a break-in into a country. They broke into Mexico, and -- and you look at what's happening in Guatemala, just to mention Guatemala, along with El Salvador and Honduras, it's disgraceful that those countries aren't able to stop this, because they should be able to stop it before it starts.
And the United States pays them a fortune and we're looking at not doing that anymore because why should we be doing that when they do nothing for us?
Jeff, go ahead.
REPORTER: Mr. President, how is this plan going to be legal considering current law?
TRUMP: This is totally legal. No, we're stopping people at the border. This is an invasion, and nobody is even questioning that.
REPORTER: In terms of your plans to change asylum, are you going to do this via executive order?
TRUMP: You don't have to release. You can hold. The problem is to hold people, you need massive facilities. The most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.
In other countries, they say, sorry, you can't come in. With us, we take their name, take their phone number, take their everything and say good luck, only because we don't have the facilities to hold people, but we're building the facilities now. We're building massive numbers of tents, and we will hold them in tents.
You don't have to release them. They release them only because they didn't have the facilities to hold them.
REPORTER: -- executive order?
TRUMP: We'll be doing an executive order sometime next week, yes.
REPORTER: -- will there be any catch and release and asylum?
TRUMP: It's going to end. It's going to be talking about everything. It will be quite comprehensive.
REPORTER: Mr. President, just to clarify, you are speaking of in the tents these family units that would arrive with their young children --
TRUMP: We have other facilities also. But what's happening is we're holding so many people that our facilities are being overrun. They are being overrun, and -- and we are putting up temporary facilities. Eventually people won't be coming here anymore when they realize they can't get through.
REPORTER: They will hold the children in those tents with their parents.
TRUMP: We will be holding the family and the children together. Remember this -- President Obama separated children from families, and
all I did was take the same law, and then I softened the law, but by softening the law, many people come up that would not have come up if there was separation.
REPORTER: Mr. President, you say that you want --
REPORTER: What do you say to the critics who think this is a political thing about this --
TRUMP: There's nothing political about a caravan of thousands of people and now others forming pouring up into our country. We have no idea who they are. All we know is they are pretty tough people when they can blast through the Mexican military and Mexican police. They are pretty tough people. Even Mexico said, wow, these are tough people.
I don't want them in our country. And women don't want them in our country. Women want security. Men don't want them in our country, but the women do not want them. Women want security.
[16:45:08] You look at what the women are looking for. They want to have security. They don't want to have these people in our country and they're not going to be in our country. It's a very big thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President, President, President --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you talk about finalizing the plan to end asylum, is this a plan that will be included in that Executive Order?
TRUMP: No. They're going to have a chance to go for asylum but if you look at the records, not very many people are allowed to stay once they go to court. But what happens is they go into -- they were using asylum -- first of all they were told what to say by lawyers and others. Read the statement -- you read the statement and now you're seeking asylum. The whole thing is ridiculous. And we won't put up with it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, President Trump, U.S. law and international law says that people who have valid claims have a right to seek asylum. So why would be -- why would they be --
TRUMP: They're going to go to court -- they're going to go to court. It's crazy as it sounds. They're going to go -- excuse me, excuse me, ready? They're going to go to court and a judge is going to determine. But usually, when they go to court, they're deported. It just seems that most of the people have deported once they go. The problem is they never end up going to court because when they come in, they told to come back in a year for a court case and they disappear into the United States never to be seen again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there are laws that --
TRUMP: But we're going to be -- and they're given deportation notices. We will be deporting those people. JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, we're going to cut away from President Trump and talk about the policy change he just proposed about changing a U.S. Asylum laws which it's been pointed out by a reporter present in the Roosevelt Room there could be contrary with U.S. law and with international law. Before we talk about this with the panel, just a few fact checks and honestly I could spend three hours doing this but just a few items here.
First of all, the President said that asylum seekers once they're picked up they never show up in court and then he said something about three percent of them show up in court. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 76 percent of people who were picked up and given a court date do show up to court. 76 percent do so that was false. He talked about how there were an estimated 20 million, possibly 20 million undocumented immigrants in this country. Actually according to his own Administration, the number is about 12 million.
He said that they had started building the wall, no. If you're talking about the concrete wall the President Trump had talked about on the campaign trail, no, they have not started building the wall. There has been some improvements to fencing and things along the border but the wall itself that President Trump talked about, they have not started building that. He said Republicans were in unison when it comes to the issue of immigration. Actually, that's not true. In fact, so many Republicans in the House defected on a very conservative immigration bill. They couldn't get it through the House of Representatives.
He had this whole thing about how the child separation policy that he got in so much hot water over was a continuation of the Obama policy and then they ended it, that's not actually what happened. It gets technical but let's just put it this way, the Obama's Administration and the Bush Administration had policies where children could be separated from their parents. It did happen but then the Trump administration gave orders to exacerbate that policy and make it worse and that's why there was the controversy that there was that was ultimately reversed.
Those are just a few of the small, a small number of the issues that the President said talking about this that we're not correct. There are many more and I'm sure fact checkers are going to be hard at work at burning the midnight oil. But let's talk about what the President had to say with our panel. First of all, let me start with you because your family actually came here in 1961 seeking political asylum. They're from Cuba. And now President Trump is talking about ending that policy. Does that bother you?
ADOLFO FRANCO, FORMER ADVISER, JOHN MCCAIN'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I don't think he's ending the policy at all. It's not what I heard.
TAPPER: What did you hear?
FRANCO: That -- what I heard the President say is that we're going to have people apply for asylum supportive entries or appropriate locations such as embassies or consulates. He didn't say that but I think that's what he referred to. What he said is we're not going to let people, I heard, coming to the country legally and then apply for asylum. Now, the fact of the matter is, the people in Central America, unlike my family, they have a huge benefit. They just have to show up at the U.S. consulate or U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City or El Salvador and apply for asylum.
So if they're really are in a situation of danger, remember the most of the Asylum cases so far -- I've studied this -- in Central America have to do with gangs and other types of violence, not government repression by the Central American governments. Well, then they can -- they can be processed in country. They don't have to take this dangerous journey north to make an asylum --
TAPPER: OK, they're obviously are there. They're fleeing, Amanda.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here's the policy change that I heard. We went from kids on cages to tent cities that will be patrolled by the U.S. military, and if you're say, a 14-year old boy that throws a rock at them, you might get shot.
[16:50:04] TAPPER: Yes, he did say --
CARPENTER: That's the policy change I heard.
TAPPER: He said that rocks and projectiles will be considered the same as firearms which I don't know the President can unilaterally make that decision but he did say that he would do that.
CARPENTER: Listen, he lies a lot, he exaggerate a lot, but there are times when you have to take him at his word and treat it appropriately. I think this is one of those times. And I think the Democrats, many of them will just come out and say he's racist, he's a liar. They need to have a position on the caravan because tent cities and guns should not be the answer and it should be very easy to come up with a better alternative. We need one.
TAPPER: What did -- what did the Obama Administration do because this is not the first Caravan. There have been a number of caravans. I remember the Department of Homeland Security Secretary at the time Jeh Johnson flying down to Nicaragua, El Salvador, and another country and telling people don't join the caravan, don't come to the United States. What did happen when the caravans came? They were allowed entry, they applied for asylum?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, in some cases yes. And there are some issues that need to be solved at asylum. I think that Democrats would agree on that front. Now, that does take too long. It should be approved earlier or decided earlier. I think what Jeh Johnson was doing, in that case, was he went to the countries to address some of the root causes of why people were leaving. Remember people are leaving -- I think the Democrat's position is people are leaving these countries because they're fleeing violence, they're fleeing terrible circumstances, and we are a country that has embraced that historically.
CARPENTER: Yes, that's an explanation but it's not an answer that voters are looking for. TAPPER: Right. Symone, I want to get you in here.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Again, the caravan is well over two months away and it is -- it is intellectually dishonest as the president suggested and many of his supporters that all the people that are in the caravan now are going to the borders of the United States of America. So Democrats do have a position. It is not putting kids in cages, it is that we need a humane family first immigration policy in this country that we'd be more than happy to work with Republicans.
TAPPER: I want to bring in our White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins who has some more reporting on what President Trump's actual plan is here. Kaitlan?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So Jake, we were told that the President was going to come out and kind of layout these new immigration changes that he wanted specifically about asylum. Well, the President kind of just repeated what he says every night at his rallies about immigration. Of course, Jake, you fact-checked a lot of the claims that the President made just there, just had a toned-down manner from what we typically see at these rallies.
But the only thing he said about asylum is that he didn't believe poverty was an excuse for applying for asylum and he said that next week his -- he will be signing an Executive Order next week though he didn't detail what exactly that Executive Order is going to look like and he said his administration is finalizing changes or proposals to change the way you apply for asylum. But Jake, he didn't get to any specifics there. The closest he got was saying that if you cross the border illegally, you don't try to go to a port of entry to apply for asylum that you will be held.
That was the quote that he used, the word held. He didn't say detained, he didn't say turned away, he didn't say you would be denied ever being able to apply for asylum. So, Jake, I'm not sure what the presidential address was there to address. The White House said it was for this immigration crisis, they said the President was going to come out and make these remarks. But Jake, we essentially just watched what the President says every night at these rallies, that language he uses about caravans, about Democrats, saying the Republicans are in unison for immigration changes to the law even though they are very much not as we know since the White House is Republican, the Senate is Republican, the House is Republican, and they have not changed any immigration laws.
That was essentially just what we watched was a presidential rally but this time from the White House, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much. I want to do a little bit more fact-checking of what the President just said. I'm going to go to our Supreme Court Reporter Ariane de Vogue to dive into the law here. And Ariane, I don't even know where to begin but you go ahead.
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, listen. Kaitlan is absolutely right. What we just saw there was a speech. We did not see an interim rule we did not see a proclamation. And the other thing is the President kept saying these laws are foolish. But Jake, the thing is, there are laws on the book and immigrant rights groups who have been waiting to hear what the president is going to say about narrowing entry, they're ready. And it's quite clear, there is law on the books that says look if you're physically present or if you're on the border and that's either on a port of entry or somewhere crossing the border, you may apply for asylum. And on top of that, there are these treaties and obligations that say that asylum seekers can't be prosecuted because of their matter of entry. So that's all in play.
And one last thing is you remember the travel ban, right? We were thinking today we might get some sort of proclamation aimed at the caravan. Well, the travel ban, the authority the President used was "national security" and you saw a lot of that language with what the President was just saying. He said these are tough people, this is perilous, and he may be trying to say look, we're going to say under national security reasons and immigration law we can push back here. But one thing to note, the Supreme Court did uphold that travel ban but asylum was not a part of it. And here we're talking about women and children coming in in a process to try to come before a judge and make a credible claim and he seemed to sort of be skipping over that major part of this entire process, Jake.
[16:55:20] TAPPER: All right, Ariane de Vogue, thanks so much. We brought you that speech live because we were told by the White House that President Trump would be introducing a new proposal, a new policy when it came to asylum. That's not actually what happened. It's not the first time this White House has not been honest but it's obviously very disappointing when we bring you that news because we were told the President was going to be presenting a policy and he just regurgitates the same speech he gives every night on the campaign trail.
I want to talk specifically about the focus that the President is giving. He claimed this is a crisis on the border. Obviously, as Jen Psaki acknowledged when I pushed her a little bit, there is a problem with illegal immigration. People should not be coming into this country illegally and it is a policy -- it's a problem that the nation's leaders need to solve. That said, I don't know of a national security expert who says there's actually a crisis at the border.
SANDERS: Because there's not, Jake. The President is lying. You know, I hope when the White House sent out those statements today, the remarks with the President, they titled live in defense of white supremacy because that's exactly what I heard from the white -- from the White House which is unfortunate. Look, if we want to -- if we want to have a conversation about fixing our immigration system --
FRANCO: Yes, always dividing, always dividing.
SANDERS: It's not dividing when you call all these facts.
SANDERS: Those are the facts. It's not dividing. We want to have a conversation about comprehensive immigration reform. Let's have it, but that's not what the President is doing. He's saying these brown people are coming to take your jobs, they're criminals, we can't trust them, we're going to shoot them at the border and the Democrats wants them to come in so you need to vote for the Republicans.
FRANCO: Here's what I heard. America -- these were the President's words a few minutes ago. America is a welcoming country. America is a country of immigration. We want people to come in. We want -- that's what I heard. We want people to come in through the system. But we don't know who all these people are. The Ambassador to the United States from Mexico, Ambassador Gutierrez said of this caravan when it entered Mexico, they're violent, many violent elements. That's the Mexican Ambassador's assessment of what happened on the Guatemala-Mexico border. So this picture of all these people coming in which are really intending immigrants, that's the term when someone comes for economic reasons, I don't buy it. I don't think most Americans buy it. I think the President actually did --
TAPPER: You don't buy it?
TAPPER: What do you not buy?
FRANCO: I do not buy this is a 7,000 person caravan of asylum seekers coming into the United States.
SANDERS: This is a conspiracy theory.
FRANCO: This is organized (INAUDIBLE)
SANDERS: This is -- stop, stop. This is a conspiracy theory. This is a lie, Jake. This is a conspiracy theory.
FRANCO: But this is organized by -- the organization doesn't deny it that they're organizing.
TAPPER: Who is this organization?
FRANCO: Sin Fronteras, this is an NGO that puts these people together. These people did not come together organically.
TAPPER: We had reporters embedded with the caravan, OK. And I'm not denying that there have been violent incidents or that the Mexican Ambassador said that that there have been violent incidents with the caravan. I can't account for 7,000 people. I don't know what's in there.
FRANCO: Two-thirds are men.
TAPPER: But our reporters that were embedded there saw a lot of family, saw a lot of women and children. I don't know what the numbers are --
FRANCO: Correct. Intending immigrants
TAPPER: But I mean, but are you saying that there -- none of them are legitimate asylum seekers?
FRANCO: I think the vast majority of those individuals that there were asylum seekers, you wouldn't take the track. You would -- you would just apply for asylum at a U.S. government facility into your home country.
PSAKI: So why are the women and children dragging their children -- why are they dragging their children 1,000 miles or 1,500 miles?
FRANCO: Because they don't qualify for asylum and they want to check into the United States illegally, but they've been sold a bill of goods or will try to --
PSAKI: And they're doing that because it's organized by conspiracy theory fact funded --
FRANCO: I don't -- I'm not saying this is a conspiracy theory, this is a reputable NGO that I have the case for open borders. It's not a conspiracy theory but this is not an organically people coming all together.
TAPPER: But are seeking -- are they seeking -- this is a legitimate question, are they -- are they fleeing violence, these families?
FRANCO: I think the majority of the people that are coming from and I used to run the AID program for Latin America so I know the region very well for six years under President Bush. The vast majority of the individuals that are seeking entry into our country, the President is right is for a better life. I think they want to come to work and they want a better life for their children. And the President said it, I understand it, but you have to do so legally.
SANDERS: And then he said but we're not letting them in. He said that from the White House today so I just -- I just --
FRANCO: But we're letting them in legally through a legal process.
SANDERS: I just think we should be careful -- I think we should be really careful about spouting conspiracy theories from the (INAUDIBLE) and the bowels of the internet that someone is paying these folks --
FRANCO: I didn't say anything --
TAPPER: No, no, no, he --
SANDERS: But he said that somebody else organized these caravans. The President suggested that someone is paying --
FRANCO: I identified the NGO. TAPPER: He wasn't -- he wasn't doing the conspiracy theory, the Soros thing. He's talking about the NGO.
SANDERS: No, there are other conspiracy theories.
TAPPER: There are other conspiracy theories, there's no question. That's not what he's saying. That's all the time we have. CNN continues right now.