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Outrage after Trump Says Jews "Disloyal" If They Vote for Democrats; ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence Discusses Trump's Plan to Detain Migrant Families & Children Longer; Pastor to Buttigieg: "Need More Black Faces" at Event. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired August 21, 2019 - 13:30   ET



[13:34:15] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: President Trump is defending comments he made yesterday in which he said Jews are either disloyal or ignorant if they vote for Democrats.

Here he is moments ago on the White House lawn.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Democrats have gone very far away from Israel. I cannot understand how they can do that. They don't want to fund Israel. They want to take away foreign aid to Israel. They want to do a lot of bad things to Israel.

In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and you're being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that.


KEILAR: And so listen to what the president said originally. These remarks that started all of this yesterday in which he clearly refers to Jews as being disloyal or lacking knowledge.


[13:35:08] TRUMP: And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.


KEILAR: The president said that as he was attacking two Muslim congress women from the U.S. who are barred from entering Israel after the president urged Israel to make that move.

I want to bring in Halie Soifer. She is the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America and she also served as a national security adviser to Senator Kamala Harris.

Halie, first, just your reaction to the president today slightly altering what he said. HALIE SOIFER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JEWISH DEMOCRATIC COUNCIL OF AMERICA & FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: The president has not altered what he said. He has continued to invoke an anti-Semitic trope that has historically been used to target Jews. And that's an accusation of dual loyalty to both America and Israel.

This has been used to paint Jews in a negative light. It is incredibly dangerous. And we reject it. This is something that Jews don't want to be -- don't want to be told to be loyal to any one country or any one leader.

We are loyal to our values, which is why Jews, historically, have found their political home in the Democratic Party because the Democratic Party continues to represent Jewish values.

KEILAR: FBI Director Christopher Wray says that most race motivated domestic terrorism attacks are cases that involve white supremacy. When the president refers to Jewish-Americans as lacking knowledge or being disloyal, do you worry that it is actually dangerous language?

SOIFER: Absolutely. We have seen acts of violence against our communities and others where perpetrators have been inspired by the president's hateful rhetoric and hateful words. This is incredibly dangerous that our leader invokes such language against any minority.

So, yes, it is dangerous. And we have seen anti-Semitism increase to historic levels. In 2017 alone, the first year of his presidency, anti-Semitism went to the high highest level that we've seen on record.

So we're deeply concerned about this. And it's why 73 percent of Jews feel less secure today than they did two years ago.

KEILAR: Halie Soifer, with the Jewish Democratic Council of America, thank you so much for joining us.

And up next, we have the acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He's standing by to explain that the Trump administration has a plan that would allow them to detain migrant children indefinitely. So what does that mean? We'll dig into that.


[13:42:17] KEILAR: The Trump administration implementing a major change of policy for detaining minor immigrant children. They are terminating what is known as the Flores settlement agreement, which limits the length of time that immigrant children can be held in a detention center. And it also set standards for the conditions in which they can be held.

This change would allow migrant children to be held longer than 20 days, possibly indefinitely, as they await the outcome for their immigration cases.

Matthew Albence is with us. He's the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, as you may know it. Director, thank you so much for being with us.


KEILAR: So how long could ICE end up holding children?

ALBENCE: Well, first off, I'm glad you used the term indefinitely because the Supreme Court has already ruled, in the immigration context, that people cannot be held indefinitely. So there's no such thing as indefinite detention.


KEILAR: But there's no cap on it.

ALBENCE: Again, there's no indefinite detention. The cases last --


KEILAR: So what's the ceiling? If the floor is


KEILAR: If it is no longer the ceiling, what is it?

ALBENCE: The amount of time it takes the case to go through the process. As we saw in 2015, when we stood up family detention and held the hearings while the individuals were in those FRCs, those family residential centers, that was about 50 days.

KEILAR: So that was pre-family migrant crisis.

ALBENCE: No, that was the first family migrant crisis that the last administration built family detention to address.

KEILAR: So the numbers, as we understand it, bearing out with the statistics, have been longer than that. That it can take as long as a year in some cases.

So my question is, you see those cases stretching beyond 50 days, closer to a year, is that how long you could be holding children?

ALBENCE: No. You're conflating the detained docket and the non- detained docket. Individuals that are held in custody will be on the detained docket. As I mentioned, when we did this previously, in 2015, under the prior administration, the average length of time was about 50 days.


ALBENCE: Most of the delay with regard to any case stems from the alien. DHS rarely calls for continuance.

KEILAR: So that's the average. What would the maximum be?

ALBENCE: There's no maximum. The maximum amount of time is that which is required to complete a case.

But I should I note that these individuals --


KEILAR: So if there's no maximum, that equals indefinitely.

ALBENCE: No, it's not. But this is an important point to make. These individuals that they can prove they're not a flight risk or a safety risk, they're eligible for bond in the court process. So they are actually eligible for bond while they're going through proceedings that the immigration judge makes a determination on.

KEILAR: So what's the maximum they could be held then? Children?

ALBENCE: The amount of time that it takes to have the hearing. Just as in a criminal justice context. If someone gets arrested for rape or assault, the amount of time they spend in custody is the amount of time for that case to be adjudicated in court. That is the exact context in the immigration forum.

So I think --


KEILAR: So there isn't a limit.

[13:45:01] ALBENCE: Brianna, I think it's a disservice to people that are trying to understand the issue to keep trying to state that there's such a thing as indefinite detention.

KEILAR: But they do want to understand it.

ALBENCE: They do. And --


KEILAR: If it is not indefinite, you need explain what the limit is.

ALBENCE: So, it's the amount of time that the case needs to go through. On the detained docket, most cases are on the detained docket -


KEILAR: That's not a quantitative value.

ALBENCE: Most cases on the detained docket now take about 40 to 50 days.


ALBENCE: When we did -- again, there are cases which are more difficult, more complex and generally --

(CROSSTALK) KEILAR: How long do they take?

ALBENCE: As long as it takes --

KEILAR: Quantitative.

ALBENCE: -- for the case to go through.

KEILAR: So this is an effort, right, to deter migrant families from coming to the U.S. because they think that they'll be released inside the U.S. because they have children with them, right?

ALBENCE: Well, we know that the fact that we haven't been able to detain these families is a large pull factor. What this does is help reduce that pull factor so that individuals that do come have the ability, have their day in court, make their asylum claim, stay in a secure, safe, humane environment while we do so. And if the end of that process, if the judge allows them to leave, which, in most cases, it does not happen, they have to be removed from the country. If the judge orders a removal, we can effectuate that removal.

KEILAR: Director, isn't one of the major pull factors the conditions in the countries they're fleeing?

ALBENCE: It is a push factor. There are certain things within those countries that the government has provided certainly large sums of funding to these countries to improve their conditions. But what we saw, when there's a -- and every time, in the immigration enforcement context, when there's a consequence to illegal activity, we get less of that illegal activity.

KEILAR: So the choice then facing migrant families as they are in ICE Custody is, it appears to be then stay detained as a family in a nice facility without a quantitative limit, because you haven't been able to tell us one, or make a decision to waive their children out of custody, separate -- by separating the family so that the kids can then go be with a sponsor. Is that the choice?

ALBENCE: No, that's not the choice at all. Look, this is --

KEILAR: So let me ask you this because --

ALBENCE: No, let me answer your question. This is -- the whole purpose of this regulation is to allow families on remain together during the course of their immigration process. So the choice is, they can remain together in the immigration process, make whatever claim they want in front of the judge, have it heard, and all --


KEILAR: Remain together in detention.

ALBENCE: Remain together in the family detention center.

KEILAR: In detention. OK, in detention versus outside. Because a spokesman for the DOJ, Devin O'Malley, says, quote, "The court does appear to acknowledge that parents who cross the border will not be released and must choose between remaining in family custody with their children pending immigration proceedings or requesting separation from their children so the child may be placed with a sponsor."

I mean, this is -- is he wrong?

ALBENCE: I'm not sure where that's from.


ALBENCE: -- from litigation.

KEILAR: That is from the Department of Justice.

ALBENCE: Right. But I don't understand what context it's in so I can't answer --


KEILAR: What do you mean what context it's in? This is the Department of Justice describing --

ALBENCE: Right. I don't know what context that was given. What I'm telling you is that the family residential centers allow the families to remain together during the pendency. That's the sole purpose of --


ALBENCE: -- this regulation

KEILAR: In detention.


KEILAR: It allows them to --

ALBENCE: It allows them to stay in a safe, humane, secure environment, that is very humane. It provides medical care, provides recreation, provides education, provides unlimited food, provides unlimited access to non-governmental organizations and pro bono attorneys, as well as other attorneys if they want to have access to that.

So they have a full gamut of due-process rights while they're held in these campus-like environments while they go through immigration process.

KEILAR: Does ICE have the capacity that it needs?

ALBENCE: So we have about 3,300 or so family detention beds. We do have capacity now where we can put additional families within those facilities. But, also, again, this is just one lever of the entire border security spectrum that we're working on. So some families will not come to this, that far. They may remain in Mexico under the migrant protection program. KEILAR: So you say you do have the capacity but you are not actually

adding any beds to these family

ALBENCE: Well, we could add --


KEILAR: I wanted to ask, you're not adding beds. I mean, this is what the DHS -- DHS briefed this yesterday. "No immediate plan to increase the number of family detention beds."

So you have increased capacity but you don't have -- you're not increasing beds. This would -- if you're keeping families in detention versus releasing them, clearly, you're going to have larger populations in these facilities. But you're saying that won't be a concern. It seems like a simple math problem where you're going on see, at least in the near term, a ballooning in population that could cause concerns.

ALBENCE: Well, we don't put more family units into family residential centers than they can hold. So we never go above capacity.

KEILAR: But what the -- will there be beds for them?

ALBENCE: Again, right, we're not putting anybody in a facility to hold them. And generally --


KEILAR: Hold. Beds? You said that they will hold.


KEILAR: That they'll all have beds?

[13:49:59] ALBENCE: So if you think of yourself as a college dormitory, that's what the rooms look like. So there's bump bed. There's televisions. There's video games. There's free access around. There's Zumba classes. There's nail salons. There's hair salons. There's day care for the mother's if they want to have their children watched while they go avail themselves to some of these services or meet with their attorneys.

So the individuals -- we do not overcrowd them, generally, because of makeup of the family constitution. We do not have all the beds filled. There will always be several hundred empty beds just because we don't want to mix certain populations together while they're in there.

KEILAR: But are you expecting more people in the detention centers, though, as a --

ALBENCE: We control the --

KEILAR: -- result of this.

ALBENCE: -- detention center. So we only intact what we can handle.

KEILAR: Then, if the move is to increase families in detention versus --


KEILAR: -- into releasing them out, how would there not be more people in the centers?

ALBENCE: It's a regulation which fulfills the Flores settlement agreement to allow us to detain families together for the pending of the immigration process. That's --


KEILAR: But how does that fulfill the Flores settlement agreement, when you're looking to get rid of the Flores settlement agreement?

ALBENCE: Again, part of fulfilling that agreement and in turning that agreement is providing for detention facilities that meet the required standards and allows families to be held together.

KEILAR: The rule -- this is from DHS: "The rule will allow for termination of the Flores settlement agreement."

How is that talking about -- how is that -- terminating the Flores settlement agreement, how is that fulfilling the agreement?

ALBENCE: Again, what was required under the Flores agreement --

KEILAR: What's required of the agreement.

ALBENCE: What's required was that the government promulgated regulations with regard to how these families are held at the time. It was only UAC's, because there were no family --


KEILAR: But this would terminate -- just to be clear, this would terminate that cap on the length of time that minors --


KEILAR: -- would be in custody.

ALBENCE: No, see, and that's a great -- I'm glad you brought that up, because that's a big misunderstanding. That 20 days that you always see in the context of Flores solely relates to the individuals for the length of time necessary to make a determination with regard to their credible fear. Once an individual is in removal proceedings, that 20 days is no longer relevant.

KEILAR: But they will be in -- they will be in custody potentially longer than 20 days because this is part of -- this is part of what the termination of the Flores settlement is to do. It's the ability to keep families in detention because they include children to eradicate that 20-day limit.

ALBENCE: It doesn't eradicate the 20-day limit but what it will do is allow us to hold them during the entire pendency of those proceedings --


KEILAR: Just longer than those 20 days --


ALBENCE: In some cases. In some cases, where there's a credible fear --


KEILAR: Or in many cases, because you said the average is 50

ALBENCE: Right. Or without a credible fear, they can be returned in a matter of weeks.

KEILAR: All right. Director Matt Albence, thank you so much.

ALBENCE: Thank you. Appreciate it.

KEILAR: We really appreciate you coming into the studio.

ALBENCE: Thank you.

KEILAR: A Chicago pastor is calling out Pete Buttigieg for talking race to a mostly white audience. And that pastor is going to talk with us next.

And recession reversals. Why President Trump is ramping up his economic double-talk.


[13:55:56] Mayor Pete Buttigieg is taking his campaign to Chicago. He hosted a town hall there last night. He talked about racial inequality and his plan to tackle it but to an almost entirely white room.

The pastor who introduced Buttigieg took notice. Listen to this.


CHRIS HARRIS, SENIOR PASTOR, BRIGHT STAR CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST: Me and Mayor Pete have a little meeting in the back, and we were just talking for a quick moment. I said, now, Mayor Pete, now listen, you done brought all these white people to the black neighborhood.


HARRIS: We need some more black faces up in here.



HARRIS: We need some brown faces in here.

Next time, you can't leave your black and brown friends at home.


HARRIS: And if you ain't got none, you need to make some.


KEILAR: Last night's crowd is reflective of Buttigieg's support overall. Right now, he's polling at 3 percent among non-white voters.

And joining us now is that pastor that you heard right there that called out the audience there, Pastor Chris Harris.

Thank you for being with us.

HARRIS: It's an honor to be here with you, Brianna. Thanks for having me.

KEILAR: Thank you for coming on.

And why -- when you looked out at that audience, why do you think Buttigieg is not resonating with black voters?

HARRIS: Well, first of all, again, thanks for having me.

And let me make something clear, I think there are two things to focus on, the lack of a black and brown crowd, and also the lack of conversation when it comes to every candidate around the black and brown crisis.

So I think one of the most important things that we need to understand, this is not a Mayor Pete isolated event. We think that this concern should resonate with all of the candidates. And that's really why I called it out.

And I am currently undecided. I'm also unconvinced that many of the candidates are aware or care about the black and brown issue.

And last, but not least, I want to say that I'm absolutely not inattentive. I'm watching everybody, listening to everybody, and wanting to listen to what the concerns and plans are, and what the vision is for the urban communities.

KEILAR: Mayor Pete Buttigieg has -- he's put out a plan to address the concerns of voters of color.


KEILAR: And it doesn't seem like it is pulling more support for him, though. So -- I mean, it is curious, especially -- it doesn't seem that there's a lot of growth for him.

I want to ask you about President Trump who has said African-American voters, his pitch to them is, what do you have to lose. You said you would ask every candidate, what do African-Americans have to gain.

HARRIS: That's right.

KEILAR: So when you pose this question to Buttigieg, what is his response and what do you think about it?

HARRIS: Well, I appreciate his response. I feel that many of his answers to the various questions as posed before him are -- they have substance, I think he's sincere.

And for me, I think the worst thing that urban folks and urban community members, and particularly either the leading blacks or black leaders, whatever you want to call them, I think the worst thing we can do is take anybody's word for it.

The best way for you to know how someone is going to operate is based on looking at what they did in the past. I think a lot of the policies of all the folks who want to be the leaders of the free world, we have to ask them the questions that are necessary. If you are not at the table, you better know that you're on the menu.

And so as a person whop repeats the greater Brownsville community, I'm asking about this investment in urban communities, education. Our children don't have access to world-class education.

And then trauma. You know, now, unfortunately, in Chicago, close to 5,000 people have been murdered since January of 2012. That doesn't include those who have been shot or wounded. I ask, through the Bright Star Community Outreach, a separate 501-(c) from the church, who did or does the trauma counseling for those families, whether it be the victim's family or the perpetrator's family.


HARRIS: In most cases, nobody. And that's unfortunate.

So these candidates absolutely have to address those issues.

[14:00:02] KEILAR: Pastor Chris Harris, thank you so much for joining us.

And that is it for me.

"NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.