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STATE OF THE UNION
Hurricane Barry Soaks Coast; Interview With Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli; Interview With New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; ICE Raids On Undocumented Immigrants Set To Begin Today. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 14, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Raids under way. The Trump administration targets undocumented migrant families for deportation.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People come into our country illegally. We're taking them out legally. Very simple.
TAPPER: Mayors across the country are pledging not to cooperate. Will more children be separated from their parents?
We will ask the acting director of the Citizenship and Immigration Service, Ken Cuccinelli, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in moments.
And soaking the coast. Barry makes landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, slamming Louisiana with torrential rain, punishing winds and surging floods. As the waters rise, is the worst yet to come?
Plus: party problems. A Democratic disagreement gets personal.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It's really just pointing out the pattern, right?
TAPPER: As some warn the party is hurting its chances in 2020.
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The last thing we need is, form a circular firing squad here.
TAPPER: How unified are Democrats heading into the election year?
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is trying to keep the lights on.
Tens of thousands of people are currently without power in Louisiana after Tropical Storm Barry hit the coast as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm is moving inland, with the potential for devastating flooding, as the governor warns residents that the worst is yet to come. Meanwhile, the worst appears to be over in New York City, where power
is now fully restored, after massive outages left over 70,000 people in the dark Saturday evening, stranding people in subways and in elevators, this as the city is expecting federal raids today targeting undocumented immigrants.
The raids are expected to go after some 2,000 people in at least nine cities across the country.
But the president is starting this morning going after a different group -- quote -- "progressive congresswomen," tweeting -- quote -- "So interesting to see progressive Democrat congresswomen who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world, if they even have a functioning government at all, now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime- infested places from which they came?"
We're going to hear from an administration official in moments, but first New York City Mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Bill de Blasio.
Mayor de Blasio, we have a lot to get to, but I do want to get your reaction to these new tweets from the president asking why some lawmakers don't -- quote -- "go" -- excuse me -- "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came."
What's your response?
BILL DE BLASIO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jake, unfortunately, there's an American tradition of telling people to go back where they came from.
It's a very bad tradition that we need to weed out of our nation, because we are a nation of immigrants. That's who we are by our nature for hundreds of years.
But you don't expect to hear it from the president of the United States.
So, here's the bottom line on what Trump is doing with that tweet today. He said he would make America great again. What he's trying to do is make America hate again. This is another effort to divide people along the lines of religion, ethnicity, origin, and create a country where there can't be unity.
He's doing the most unpresidential thing possible by constantly looking for every way to divide people. But it is a political strategy.
Let's -- let's give him points for consistency. What he's doing with that tweet, what he's doing with the ICE raids, Jake, it is all one political strategy, to keep people divided to the maximum extent possible, gin up his base, and take people's eyes off all of the other things going on, the fact that so many middle-class and working-class people are not doing well in America, the fact that he's about to pass a new NAFTA treaty, which will continue to hurt Americans.
These are the kinds of things that Trump does. He baits and switch. All the time, it is a bait-and-switch move.
DE BLASIO: And what it's going to do, I think, is get a lot of people angry, because they realize that they're being lied to about their lives, and it's a purposeful attempt to divide people.
TAPPER: I want to talk about those ICE raids in a second.
But, first, let's turn to the power outage in New York. It appears that a substation and malfunction with an issue with a transmission line might have caused this outage. Tens of thousands of people, your constituents, lost power for a few hours.
Does this suggests that your electrical grid is incredibly vulnerable?
DE BLASIO: Well, Jake, we haven't had many incidents like this in recent years, and that's a very good thing. This incident went on about five hours, and then power was fully restored, thank God, no injuries.
Our first-responders did an amazing job. And I just want to say the NYPD, FDNY, emergency management, everyone did their job and went, got help to people right away.
But we're going to look at this very carefully, not only depend on Con Edison, but we're going to make sure there's a very careful review of what happened. We don't ever want to see it happen again.
DE BLASIO: I will be going over to the site where the incident occurred to get an update on the investigation that's taking place. I will be doing that in the next hours.
But the bottom line here, Jake, is, we have not seen a lot of incidents like this. But once it occurred, I want to just say, our first-responders did an outstanding job. And Con Edison did get the power restored within five hours.
We should note, of course, that you weren't in New York when it happened. You were in Waterloo, Iowa, campaigning for president. Governor Cuomo said -- quote -- "Mayors are important, and situations like this come up, you know, and you have to be on site" -- unquote.
What do you say to constituents who say, hey, we elected you to run New York City, not to go to Iowa for a quixotic presidential campaign? DE BLASIO: Jake, I am responsible for making sure that everything in
New York City is handled quickly, handled well.
I want to say, the whole team responded immediately, the way everyone's been trained to do. We had top officials on the site coordinating the response. First-responders were there quickly, got a lot of information out to people.
When you're a mayor or a governor, you're going to travel for a variety of reasons. The important thing is to have the hand on the wheel, make sure things are moving effectively and communicate to people.
Even from where I was, I was able to do that right away with the people in New York City.
So, in the end, a CEO in public sector, private sector has to be able to lead wherever they were. And we got this done.
TAPPER: All right, let's turn to those immigration raids, which are coming this morning you have slammed as reckless, a political weapon.
Let's just start back philosophically, because you're running for commander in chief. Do you think it is the job of the federal government to enforce its borders and to make sure that everyone in the country is here legally?
DE BLASIO: Absolutely, Jake.
And if we're really going to have a serious conversation in this country about how to do it, then let's do comprehensive immigration reform. Let's have a path to citizenship for 11 or 12 million people who have been here, by the way, Jake, decades.
This -- I always say, this is the greatest don't ask/don't tell in American history. For decades, we have had millions and millions of undocumented folks. And they're core to our economy at this point. And they're part of our communities.
Why don't we just acknowledge that as a country, have that comprehensive reform, give people that pathway to citizenship? We can have a guest-worker program. A lot of parts of our country, Iowa, where I have been, folks need more agricultural workers. Why don't we come to grips with this and rationalize this?
But, Jake, it comes down to this. What President Trump is doing -- and, again, I will say it clearly. His slogan should be make America hate again, because he's trying to foment division as a political campaign. It is -- what he's doing with our ICE agents is not about securing our borders. It's basically an electoral effort by President Trump.
We could have a rational immigration system. We could have clear border security, and it could be done in a way that actually helps our economy function and creates fairness.
TAPPER: So, the Trump administration...
DE BLASIO: You don't need this ICE, though. That's the other thing I should say.
This ICE, as it's formed now, should be abolished, a new agency created that's not about separating families, but is actually about enforcing the law fairly and evenly.
TAPPER: Well, the Trump administration says that the undocumented immigrants being targeted in this raid have all been given a final order for removal from a judge. In other words, they have gone through the legal process and been told, you cannot stay here. You have to leave.
They have ignored that. What is wrong with the U.S. government enforcing a court order and telling people, as they were told by the courts, you cannot stay?
DE BLASIO: Because, Jake, unfortunately, the Trump administration is no longer believable on these issues.
They said they were going to do immigration enforcement. And what we have seen is so inconsistent. They have gone after folks who had committed no crime, who had no proceeding against them.
There's no rhyme or reason, what they did undermining the asylum process, with family separation, zero tolerance, on, off. They keep changing, just the way President Trump can't make up his mind on so many issues.
DE BLASIO: This is not legal, consistent enforcement.
I'm the first to say, in New York City, we have a law -- and I'm proud of it -- that says, if you commit a serious or violent offense, and you're found guilty, and you're here undocumented, you should be deported. I think that's the right way to do it. That is a real process.
But there are millions of people -- and this is the honest conversation we need to have -- millions of people that didn't do anything wrong. They have been here a long time, are contributing to our economy. They haven't done anything wrong.
Trump threatened to deport all them. Look, the bottom line there, Jake, is, I believe he is trying to divide Americans in this manner. If you're an American citizen, and you're middle-class, you're working-class, you're hurting, you're not feeling good about the economy, you're not being able to make ends meet in your family, Trump is trying to get you to think the immigrants did that to you.
And I say very bluntly -- I said it at the first debate -- that's not who created misery. If you're an American citizen and you're hurting right now economically, Wall Street did that to you. The big corporations did that to you. The folks who had power put you in that jam, the fact that your income is not growing, the fact your kids are not going to have a better life than you.
That's not because of some guy...
DE BLASIO: ... who works in the kitchen...
DE BLASIO: ... or works in the fields. That's about the folks in power.
And we have to have that discussion in this country, Jake, because, if we do, then we're actually able to go at the root cause of people's challenges. It is not these immigrants, who are just struggling to get by and take care of their family.
TAPPER: So, Mayor, Mayor de Blasio, the Obama-Biden administration also targeted families in what they called -- quote -- "concerted nationwide enforcement operations." They did this in 2016.
ICE numbers very clearly show that deportations under Obama-Biden grew as high as 400,000 a year, far more than the 256,000 deportations this year by Trump-Pence.
Does Joe Biden need to answer for that?
DE BLASIO: Oh, Jake, absolutely.
Look, let's be honest. And I think there's a lot of issues where Democrats and Republicans, unfortunately, have some responsibility for the problems. We can't, as Democrats, be so partisan to say we were perfect, because we weren't.
I think some of that was absolutely a mistake. In the end, what we needed to have was a very different approach that said, this should be a country for working people, a country where we respect that immigrants come here trying to do well for their family, and that we need a certain number of immigrants in this country to be able to have our economy go forward and work.
Instead, I think Democrats have often been scared of their own shadows, listening to what's on FOX News or the attacks coming from Republicans, and responding to them too much.
We need to be real blunt about the facts that Democrats made mistakes here, too. And I mentioned there's going to be a moment of truth for Democrats, Jake.
DE BLASIO: You're about to see in the next weeks Democrats are going to decide who we are. And the question is going to be the new NAFTA treaty.
And if Democrats are complicit with Republicans in passing a NAFTA treaty -- it's got a different name, but it's still NAFTA. It's even worse in some ways. It gives even more power to corporations this time.
If Democrats are so scared to stand up and be progressive and be strong that they can't say out of hand, no NAFTA, no way, a lot of people in this country, a lot of working people, are going to look at that, a lot of middle-class people are going to look at that and say, I can't tell one party from the other.
DE BLASIO: And they're not going to buy into a Democratic Party that seems to be once again just caving to the big corporations, rather than standing up for working people.
So, on a whole host of issues, I think it's a time of reckoning for the Democratic Party.
DE BLASIO: I think that's what this primary should be about and these debates, the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.
Are we really on -- here for working people? Are we really ready to stand up for a different kind of society? Or are Democrats just Republicans-lite?
That's the discussion we have to have. And if we're Republicans-lite, Donald Trump is going to get reelected. I, for one, will not stand for that.
TAPPER: All right, Mayor Bill de Blasio, thank you so much for your time, sir. Appreciate it.
Good luck to the citizens in New York City.
DE BLASIO: Thanks so much, Jake.
TAPPER: ICE officers are set to begin raids on migrant families this morning.
I'm going to talk to a top Homeland Security official, Ken Cuccinelli, about whom exactly they're targeting and whether families might be separated again.
Plus, President Trump says a group of progressive Democratic congresswomen should go back to where they came from -- that story coming up.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
Cities across the U.S. this morning are preparing for raids on thousands of undocumented migrant families.
President Trump originally delayed those raids on migrants in at least nine U.S. cities with court-ordered removals after Democrats called them cruel, amid concerns that more migrant families could be separated, parents from children, as well as a worry that the president's decision to reveal the exact date of the raids could put Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and officers in danger.
Joining me now is the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli
Ken, thanks so much for joining us.
I do have to ask you, who is the president talking about in this tweet when he says that these individuals, Democratic congresswomen, progressives, "need to go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came?"
Do you have any idea who he's talking about here?
KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: I don't. I don't.
TAPPER: OK, because Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York. Pressley was born in Ohio. Tlaib was born in Michigan.
CUCCINELLI: Well, New York could use a little fixing today, but...
TAPPER: But that's a separate -- that's a separate...
CUCCINELLI: And you talked to the mayor about that already.
I mean, I understand you're bound by the Hatch Act. You're supposed to talk policy and not really politics.
But you understand that -- you heard de Blasio talking about how the president likes to divide people on race and religion and nationality.
And these ICE raids now come, and the president is talking about sending these Democratic congresswomen back to the countries they came from, where three out of four of the members of the so-called Squad come from the United States.
It feeds into this impression that the president is racist and is pushing a racist agenda, even if you're -- that's not what...
CUCCINELLI: Well, you're -- I mean, you're -- you're -- he's -- he's running for president, and you're wrapping up his rhetoric for the presidential race in with what is ICE's everyday job, and that's enforcing the law Congress passed.
So we're -- we're paying attention to it from a news standpoint, but this is their job every day. We have got compassionate, loyal ICE agents who are just doing their job.
And it shows you how far we have fallen, in that it's become news that they would actually go deport people who have removal orders.
And, in your earlier segment, CNN had a little tag line underneath the mayor that said undocumented -- well, they're not undocumented. They have got a court order on a piece of paper...
CUCCINELLI: ... a federal order, that says they have gotten due process, and over -- over a million people with removal orders. That's the pool that ICE is drawing from.
TAPPER: Well, let's talk about this.
TAPPER: So, first of all, have the raids started? Have...
CUCCINELLI: I can't speak to operational specifics...
CUCCINELLI: ... and -- and won't.
But that's the pool that's being drawn from for ICE...
TAPPER: So, Trump -- the president said the raids were going to start today.
CUCCINELLI: I understand that, but he's also made it clear that he's leaving actual execution in the hands of Matt Albence and the folks at ICE, who do this job every day.
So, then the other question is, who is going to be targeted? Because, obviously, I don't think there's anybody that really would object to dangerous criminals, MS-13...
CUCCINELLI: Well, let's start there.
CUCCINELLI: That remains the priority for ICE. That is still the priority.
TAPPER: So, when they go out today, that's who they're going to go after?
CUCCINELLI: That's still the priority. That -- what -- what we keep saying...
TAPPER: But today? Today, it's a priority?
CUCCINELLI: Let me finish, Jake.
CUCCINELLI: What we keep saying is, that will not be the exclusive limit of any operation, that that is the priority. You can expect it to remain the priority.
And it's interesting to hear a mayor of a major city, America's biggest, say, well, this is what I would like to see done.
Well, at the same time, people in his city and others who want a sanctuary, these sanctuary cities, are not cooperating with that exact -- with that exact effort. That's still ICE's priority.
And ICE is protecting American -- Americans by removing those criminals from this country, while you have got sanctuary cities and states who are protecting these criminals by not cooperating with ICE.
TAPPER: When you talk about criminals, I guess that's one of the things.
There's -- again, I don't think anybody has any issue with dangerous criminals, MS-13 gang members...
CUCCINELLI: Right. Sure.
TAPPER: ... people who have killed people or have raped people, any -- get them out of the country.
You heard de Blasio say that.
CUCCINELLI: But -- but, Jake, but that isn't even right.
We're sitting here at the capital of the United States. Barely a month ago...
TAPPER: Yes. CUCCINELLI: ... MS-13 killed a 14-year-old girl on the other side of
the border in Maryland. And the killer and the two accomplices had been in Prince George's County police detention for violent crimes, aggravated felonies.
And Maryland, their attorney general and the Prince George's County government proudly proclaimed they were sanctuary -- providing sanctuary for those folks.
CUCCINELLI: And now there's a 14-year-old girl dead.
And that is MS-13.
TAPPER: It's a horrible tragedy, but...
CUCCINELLI: And they wouldn't cooperate with ICE.
TAPPER: So let's talk -- but let's talk about today, because my point is, when you say criminals need to be deported...
TAPPER: ... I think a lot of people think dangerous criminals when they hear criminal, like the kind you just talked about from Maryland.
TAPPER: But you also mean people who are in this country illegally when you say criminals, right?
I mean, you...
CUCCINELLI: Well, when we talk in terms of -- so -- so, everybody understands coming across the border illegally is a crime.
TAPPER: Right. That's what I'm saying.
CUCCINELLI: That's -- that's that's the confusion you're trying to clear up.
When we talk about prioritization for removal, we're not utilizing that. We're using other crimes that you would normally think of.
TAPPER: You mean dangerous crimes.
So you said earlier this month that, if people know the raids are coming, that would be -- quote -- "a threat to officer safety."
And I know there are people at ICE who are concerned about that. But President Trump has not only named that these -- named the date
that -- that these raids are coming. He's talked about it happening this morning.
Is there concern that being so public about when these raids are happening, announcing them the way that President Trump has, will put ICE officers in jeopardy?
CUCCINELLI: Well, first of all, if you look back to the last time we were talking about this, about three weeks ago...
CUCCINELLI: ... the level of detail in the information that came out publicly was way beyond these general comments the president is making.
And it's when you get to that point where you have got to be concerned for officer safety, which is always a top priority, as you might imagine, in any effort like this.
TAPPER: So what do you say to people like de Blasio who say, this looks like a political stunt, not like an actual effort to solve the immigration problem, because you have the president talking about it?
TAPPER: Obviously, this is something that he talks about -- he's talked about on the campaign trail since he announced his presidential run.
TAPPER: This is for -- this is red meat for the red states to get his base out.
CUCCINELLI: Well, let's...
TAPPER: This isn't about keeping the community safer?
CUCCINELLI: It is about keeping the community safer.
And he did talk about it during his presidential campaign. And what happened?
Just the expectations imposed such a deterrent effect that we saw what is now called the Trump effect, the major drop in illegal crossings that we saw in 2011. When people in other parts of the world realized that judges were going to interfere with this president's policies, and he wasn't necessarily going to get cooperation from Congress, the numbers started going back up.
We were hitting crisis level. Starting last year, Department of Homeland Security was warning about this, while lots of people in this government were saying, it's a manufactured crisis, it isn't real.
Well, those people are now coming to the border and realizing, we do have a real crisis. The Border Patrol is strapped. ICE is strapped.
CUCCINELLI: Even HHS is strapped.
TAPPER: There is a crisis, absolutely...
TAPPER: ... humanitarian crisis at the border.
Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan reportedly did not support these raids because undocumented parents could be separated from their children.
Can you guarantee that no parents will be separated from their children, excluding the violent criminals that we're talking about earlier? Can you guarantee that no parents will be separated from their children in these raids?
CUCCINELLI: In the same way I wasn't willing to talk about operational details, that would be an operational detail that I'm not going to comment on.
There are a million people, including families, with removal orders. They're -- the priority remains for ICE to get at criminals.
TAPPER: Violent criminals?
CUCCINELLI: I'm not talking about -- violent criminals, aggravated felons, all those sorts of things, just as it was in the Obama administration.
CUCCINELLI: And you noted earlier in the show that the Trump administration has still not hit the pace of the Obama administration in deportations.
TAPPER: How is separating families an -- how is pledging that parents will not be separated from their children, which is something that I think shocked a lot of people when it happened last year, before you came on board, how is pledging that that won't happen or saying, we're making any effort to -- every effort to make sure that doesn't happen again, how is that revealing any sort of operational...
CUCCINELLI: Well, I'm not -- I'm not going to say yes or no to anything like that, because then certain people out there can write themselves off the list or find a way to play a loophole.
And the loopholes in our legal system are what we have been screaming to be fixed. I run asylum with USCIS. That's one of the things we do, along with legal immigration. We're blessed to be able to do that.
And we have been talking to Congress for quite some time about closing some of these loopholes, including ones that the Obama administration talked to them about, like keeping families together with the Flores settlement and undoing that.
We have the same position the Obama administration did on dealing with trafficked children. I can put that legislation for those two fixes, Jake, on one piece of paper, one piece of paper, not a 1,000-page bill.
And when I see the House calendar come out between now and when they go on vacation, and the only thing about this they have is some show hearings, they're not going to deal with the problems on a legislative level, I know they're leaving it to us.
TAPPER: So I want to ask you, because the vice president toured the border, a detention facility on Friday.
CUCCINELLI: He did, yes.
TAPPER: He saw the dangerous overcrowding firsthand, hundreds of men packed into facilities. They don't have room to lie down. They're asking for water. The smell was overwhelming.
The vice president said these conditions were not acceptable.
TAPPER: The acting DHS inspector general on Friday said the department is not taking sufficient steps to address the overcrowding and prolonged detention.
Isn't this a shame, isn't this a blight on the United States government, that we are treating, we, because I'm -- I'm a taxpayer.
CUCCINELLI: I understand. I understand.
TAPPER: That we are treating people this way?
CUCCINELLI: I understand.
First of all, it is a -- it is shameful for Congress. And the reason is -- and we can prove it -- because, last month, when they were willing to address this same problem for children, we succeeded in addressing it, Jake, in one month, one month.
Back in February, the Trump administration asked for more ICE detention beds. The reason you see overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities -- and your viewers should pay attention to this -- is not because of the Border Patrol.
Their job is catch, process. And then they hand them off to ICE.
TAPPER: Right. CUCCINELLI: Well, ICE is overcrowded. The pipeline is clogged
farther down the pipe. That's why you're seeing these pictures at the border.
None -- I was at the same sector of the border two weeks ago. These facilities were built to catch adult Mexican males, process them, and return them to Mexico typically on the same day.
When I was down there, I saw children, frankly, well-cared for, but in a -- in space clearly not designed for that.
So the Border Patrol in the El Paso sector has -- is not only dealing with those numbers, but if you just go back to last October, they were in the number six sector on the border. Now they're number two.
So we get all sorts of problems that they're contending with at the same time, without congressional...
TAPPER: But I guess last -- last question.
If you have such overcrowding in ICE facilities, you're about to do a raid on 2,000 individuals. Do you have the beds for them? Do you have the facilities for them? Because you're not going to be able to pick them up and send them back to Guatemala.
CUCCINELLI: ICE is prepared for that. That's right.
There is processing involved, but a lot of that is prepared for on the front end. ICE plans these things superbly. They are ready to do that. And you cannot give up interior enforcement. Otherwise, you create one more pull factor here that they -- people think they can illegally come in the country, get by the border, and they're done.
And that is not the case with Trump administration enforcement of the law.
TAPPER: Ken Cuccinelli, thanks so much for coming in. We really appreciate it.
CUCCINELLI: Good to be with you.
TAPPER: Good to see you again.
Democrats are criticizing the president for trying to -- quote -- "inflict pain" for his own political gain.
And that story is next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People come into our country illegally. We're taking them out legally. It is very simple. It is not something I like doing. But people have come into our country illegally.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is just more of Donald Trump trying to inflict as much pain as he can on human beings for his own political gain. It is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The Trump administration set to begin deportation raids across the country today. We can already see a general election fight on immigration beginning to take shape. Let's discuss.
Congresswoman, you're from Los Angeles. I don't know if that is one of the targeted cities or not. I imagine it probably is. What is the effect of all of this?
REP. NANETTE DIAZ BARRAGAN (D-CA), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Well, people are scared. They are coming into our office. They're not coming out to health fairs and other -- other things in the district.
We've been hearing about that. We've been seeing about -- seeing that. We're telling people to know your rights.
My district's office is open today from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Our staff will be on hand to provide any assistance possible to make inquiries to ICE. So, we are trying to tell people to try to remain calm, to try to go about their business. We're hearing people also now starting to carry their passports out of fear and that is just wrong in this country.
TAPPER: Scott, I mean, you heard Cuccinelli say that the priority remains dangerous criminals, hardened criminals. Again, I don't think anybody has a problem with that. But one of the concerns is that these are going to be families that are going to be separated. Somebody might come home from -- a kid might come home from day camp and his mom is taken and neither Vice President Pence nor Ken Cuccinelli were able to say, that is not going to happen.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. They should not do that. But that shouldn't stop them -- we should be able to enforce the law in a reasonable way and that is what we're doing here. Enforcing the law.
You have people in the country illegally, courts have ordered them to be deported and you would expect the president of the United States and his administration to enforce the laws that are on the books. Now Congress wants to change the laws, that is fine. But right now I think the grand debate really is, are we going to enforce the laws that we have or not and it is all taking place against the back drop of a presidential campaign in which Democrats want to decriminalize border crossings, abolish enforcement agencies of ICE and DHS, and I think this is going to be a pretty simple choice for the American people next year.
TAPPER: It is true that some Democrats, Julian Castro and Elizabeth Warren have talked about decriminalizing crossing the border illegally making it a misdemeanor offense or a civil offense depending on the candidate. It does seem that the more that President Trump runs to the right on this issue the more Democratic presidential candidates run to the left.
ANDREW GILLUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's not running to the right. I mean, this president to these actions is literally terrorizing people. I said an extra prayer this morning for the mother and the child and family who are right now crunched in a bathroom or they're terrified of going to the door or they couldn't go to church this morning because they are terrified of what will happen if they exited the door.
You have got kids who are terrified that they may come home and their parents won't be there. These are human lives and there is nothing about this that is a strategy other than an electoral one. This president has decided that the way to victory is to demonize black and brown people, in this case brown people and people who speak a different language or maybe from a different country of origin.
We're talking about millions of people here and there is in my opinion only one effect here and that is to terrify his base against folks who look like the folks that they showed in cages the other day. There is a reason why the vice president went where he went. There is a reason why they showed the inhumanity of the vice president and the suits looking on as these men in cages with no humanity.
My biggest fear, quite frankly, is the effect that this is going to have, the very traumatizing effect that this is going to have for people of color all across the country, all for a political stunt.
TAPPER: Amanda, take a listen. Speaking of Vice President Pence Pamela Brown sat down with him on Friday to talk to him about these raids. Take a listen to this little exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We expect Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to act on deportation orders and remove people from this country --
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: But are concerned families will be separated? Will families be separated?
PENCE: People will be separated from this country who our courts have ordered to be deported.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: And I think that is one of the concerns here is that we're going to see a replay of what happened a year ago when people crossing the border illegally or trying to declare asylum legally had their children taken from them.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And I mean, this is what happens to American families too when someone breaks the law, the parents are separated from their children. But, listen, this is all terrible.
I am glad that the administration finally let the cameras in so we all can see what we're dealing with on the border. No one can look away now. People want to pretend it wasn't happening, downplay it and say, oh, well just get the amnesty and that will fix it.
No, look at the hundreds of thousands of people that are coming over, more than 100,000 every month and it absolutely is a crisis. We all agree on that now. And I wish the Democrats would listen to former Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson who said the Democrats are making a big mistake by wanting to decriminalize illegal entry and opposing deportation because that amounts to open borders. And worse than that it creates an incentive for more people to come and compound (ph) the system because those people that want to break the law know they are fully supported by the Democratic Party.
BARRAGAN: Jake, I want to say I agree with one thing Amanda said and that is -- letting the cameras in. Let the cameras come into these places and let's put body cams on the officers so they could -- people could see how these migrants are being treated and how they talk to these migrants. It is dehumanizing, it is disrespectful. They did it to me and I'm a member of Congress. Can you imagine what they're going to do --
TAPPER: What do you mean they did it to you?
BARRAGAN: Well, when I was at the border in December with Maria, the woman who crossed -- who was in the chair gas photo, we're sitting there waiting for them to take her in, you had agents in front of me, talking about members of Congress and how terrible we are and the migrants in front of me, complete disrespect. Not even waiting until I left.
And then when I crossed into the U.S., I left the station. I came back in to use the bathroom and one of the agents said, one down and one to go because there was one member left. Complete disrespect. Now there is a pattern and a culture in ICE and CBP that is great concern.
TAPPER: Everyone stick around. We have a lot more to talk about. One prominent African-American member of Congress is accusing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of -- quote -- "playing the race card" inside this new split in the Democratic Party.
[09:40:05] That is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It's really just pointing out the pattern, right? We're not talking about just progressives. It is singling out poor individuals.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: How they are interpreting and carrying it to another place is up to them. But I'm not going to be discussing it any further.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Disagreement between Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turning personal. Let's discuss.
Let me start with you, Congresswoman. AOC seemed to suggest that Pelosi was singling out the so-called squad, Tlaib, Omar, AOC, and Congresswoman Pressley because they're a people of color and what do you make of that?
BARRAGAN: Well, I can say that Nancy Pelosi made me the second Latina in the history of Congress to serve on the committee for energy and commerce.
So in my experience, as a woman of color and the only Latina elected in the entire country in 2016, she has helped me to get on the most powerful and exclusive committee.
TAPPER: Do you think AOC has gone too far or is this something -- something else going on here?
GILLUM: I have to tell you, I'm actually just annoyed by the whole thing. I think the more time that Democrats spend going after each other is another day and another missed opportunity to go after this unfit president.
We have an administration that is today terrorizing people all across this country. We get issues that are piling up, quite frankly, of legitimacy looking into what exactly happened through the Mueller report and digging deeper into that. And yet, we have got folks who are pointing their weapons at each other. Trying to take one another out.
And my big fear here is aside from the electoral one, say what you will about the four members of Congress that you named, they are constituents is not just people back in their districts, they represent a rising voice within the Democratic Party and also outside of the Democratic Party within the country that is frustrated by the status quo. And I think that silencing them or appearing to silence them will have real consequences. So, they ought to get in a room, figure it out, stop going back and forth between each other over television and magazine interviews or in tweets and settle this thing the way that they should as leaders, not out here in the public.
TAPPER: A little shot for you maybe, Scott.
JENNINGS: Yes. I have to say I hope this place is lightning proof because I'm going to say it. Thank God for Nancy Pelosi. It took -- it took -- it took -- and I know this is going to be used against me some day in the near future. But it took them saying Nancy Pelosi was a racist for everyone to realize how dumb and vapid that argument really is.
Now, they've been doing it to Republicans for the last two or three, five, 10, 15, 20 years when they finally turned it on Pelosi, Maureen Dowd and "The New York Times," this is not a great argument just because someone disagrees with you it doesn't make them a racist.
So guess what? Thank God for Nancy Pelosi. Now she has coddled this argument and now Frankenstein's monster is out of the barn and terrorizing the country. Thank God for her that people realize not everyone you don't like in politics is a racist or hates women or whatever it is.
TAPPER: OK. But -- fair enough -- but sometimes people do use racism or at least xenophobia or whatever -- bigotry to appeal to people. Let us now turn to the tweets that were sent by President Trump this morning in which he told progressive Democratic congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world, et cetera and they're viciously telling the people of the United States the greatest and the most powerful nation on earth, how our government is to be run, why don't they go back and help to fix -- help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.
First of all, Cuccinelli wouldn't say who President Trump was talking about but if we're talking about these four congresswomen, only one of the four was born in a different country, Ilhan Omar from Minnesota. She is a U.S. citizen. She came to this country legally and has -- what do you make of the president telling them to go back where they came from?
CARPENTER: I mean, he was on strong ground saying Nancy Pelosi is not a racist. Look at these crazy (INAUDIBLE). They fling around these accusations for political benefit and it's meaningless. But then he gets on Twitter this morning maybe (INAUDIBLE) on the fight. He wasn't getting enough attention and says, go back to your home countries.
Maybe some people do think the Bronx is a foreign country but this is just -- it's too much. But these are things you hear on FOX News all the time. If you don't like it, go back to where you came from and he's just parroting that.
TAPPER: What do you make of that?
BARRAGAN: It's incredibly racist. I think we are a nation of immigrants. The electorate on (INAUDIBLE) at the Congress to represent values in your district and as you mentioned -- as Andrew mentioned, you represent much more than that.
I'm proud to be the daughter of immigrants from Mexico. I'm proud to bring a perspective and experience to Congress in my policy decision- making and that is what the diversity of the Democratic Party does. And I'm proud that we have more women in Congress and more women of color in Congress than ever before.
GILLUM: So that is not true -- I mean, not new for this president. The fact is that he told us a long time ago what he thought about countries that are dominated by people of color. He called them s- hole countries, right?
GILLUM: He has consistently demonized women. He sees a group of women of color and assumes that they are foreign and not from here. And I got to tell you, I don't think the president didn't know better. I think he knows better. I think one, he probably wants in on the fight. But two, this is a trope to his base to basically say these folks are not like you.
TAPPER: I think we can all agree that whether it is Ilhan Omar or Melania Trump, they are American and they belong here and nobody should tell either one of them to go back where they come from.
GILLUM: And by the way if you are a Somali refugee you also belong here. She came here as a refugee, as a member of Congress. We ought to be celebrating that story.
TAPPER: Thanks one and all.
Well, it is a long time coming, but finally for President Trump he found a foreign official that crossed the line.
That is this week's "State of the Cartoonion," next. Stay with us.
TAPPER: What is President Trump's red line when dealing with world leaders? That's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."
TAPPER (voice-over): President Trump has finally had enough from one particular world leader. Who is it? Murderous Kim Jong-un, homicidal Vladimir Putin, slaughterous Mohammad bin Salman? No, it's the British ambassador Sir Kim Darroch.
Darroch in a series of private cables to the U.K. that leaked was revealed to have described the president as inept, incompetent, and radiating insecurity. And what better way to prove Darroch wrong than for President Trump to angrily and repeatedly tweet insults about him, calling him wacky, very stupid, and a pompous fool.
The president's advisers have been talking about who might become the next British ambassador and they are floating a particular a pro Trump Brit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wonder if Nigel would take that role. He's now in parliament there. I wonder if he would take it. He is Mr. Brexit.
TAPPER: Who else? Perhaps if he does not become prime minister the Donald Trump of Britain Boris Johnson might be interested. The two could share stylists in D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is clearly out of his mind.
TAPPER: Or maybe not. Hopefully whoever the next ambassador is will forgive the U.S. for not letting the red coats take over the airports during the revolutionary war.
TRUMP: Our army manned the air. It rammed the ramparts. It took over the airports. It did everything it had to do.
TAPPER: Fareed Zakaria is coming up next. Thanks for watching.