tv White House Briefing CSPAN June 18, 2018 5:14pm-5:50pm EDT
% increase in family units entering the country illegally and a 1700% increase in claims resulting in asylum backlog today in our country of 600,000 cases. since 2013, the united states has admitted more than half a million illegal immigrant minors and family units from central america, most of whom today are at large in the united states. at the same time, large criminal organizations such as ms 13 have violated our borders and gain a deadly foothold within the united states. bes entire crisis needs to -- is not new. it has been occurring over many decades. currently, it is the expose of product of loopholes and our federal immigration law that prevents illegal immigrant minors and family members from being detained and remove to their home country. these loopholes create a functional he opened border, apprehension without detention
and removal is not border security. we have repeatedly called on congress to close the loopholes. i have met with as many members have been willing to meet with me and testified seven times and will continue to make myself available to ask they work with us to solve this crisis. loudlyce most criticizing enforcement of the law are those whose policies created this crisis and whose policies perpetrate it. in particular, we need to reform three major loopholes. mindy 2008 trafficking reauthorization act which is much easier -- this law encourages families to put children in the hands of smugglers to bring them alone on this dangerous trip northward. make no mistake, we have talked about this before. this trip is dangerous and deadly. second, reform our asylum laws
to in systemic abuse of the silence was them and stop fraud. the system now fails to assist asylum-seekers who had legitimate needs. we are a country of compassion and heart, we must fix the system those -- of those who truly need asylum can receive it. third, a man an agreement -- amend an agreement that allow currently -- which would allow for family detention during the removal process. we need congress to fully fund the ability to hold families together through the immigration process. until the loopholes are close by congress, it is not possible as a matter of law to detain and remove whole family units who arrive you legally in the united y in the unitedl states, congress created these problems and can fix it and until that we will enforce the law to defend the sovereignty and security of the united states.
those who criticize the enforcement of our laws can offered only one countermeasure, ". -- open borders. the release of all families and the decision not to enforce laws. this policy would be disaster. the private aphasia would be the smuggling organizations and the prime victims would be the children who would be plunged into the smuggling machine. there is a lot of misinformation about what dhs is and is not doing related to families on the border. here are the facts, this administration did not create a policy of separating families at the border as we have a statute we take seriously to protect alien children from human smuggling, trafficking, and other criminal actions all enforcing our immigration law. ,e have a long existing policy multiple administrations have followed that outline when we
may take action to protect children. we will separate those who claim to be a parent and child if we cannot determine a familiar or customer relationship exists. if there is no documentation to confirm the relationship between an adult and a child, we do so if the parent is a national security, public, or safety risk, including when there are criminal charges. and it may not be appropriate to maintain the family in detention together. we separate a parent and child if the adult is suspected of human trafficking. there have been cases where minors have been used in traffic by unrelated adults in an effort to avoid detention. in the last five months, a 314% increase in adults and children arriving at the border fraudulently claiming to be a family unit. this is obviously of concern. separation can occur when the parent is charged with human smuggling.
under those circumstances, we would detain the apparent in a secure detention facility, separate from the child. what has changed is that they no longer exist entire classes of people who break the law. everyone is subject to prosecution. dhs refers a case to -- against a parent or legal guardian, the parent or legal guardian will be placed into the u.s. marshals service custody for pretrial determination pursuant to an order by federal judge. any accompanied shot would be transferred to the department of health and human services and reclassified as an unaccompanied alien child. that is in accordance with the tvpra, a law passed by congress. and a following court order, neither actions the donald trump administration has taken. when americans commit a crime anywhere in the united states, they would go to jail and be separated from their parents, this is not controversial.
children in custody are being well taken care of. the department of health and human services provides meals, medical care, and educational services to these children. they are provided temporary shelter and we work hard to find a parent relative or foster home to care for the children. parents can still communicate with the children through phone calls and videoconferencing. a parent released from custody can be a sponsor and ask hhs to release the child back into their care and these minors can apply for asylum and other protections under u.s. immigration law if eligible. we take allegations of mistreatment seriously. we investigate, we hold those accountable, when and if it should occur. we have some of the highest detention standards in the country, claiming the children and their parents are treated
inhumanely is not true. it disrespects the hard-working men and women at the office of refugee resettlement. third, parents who entered not legally are by definition criminals. crime asntry is a determined by congress. by entering the congress illegally, often dangerous circumstances, they have put their children at risk. ice officers are properly trained to care for miners in their custody. dhs and hhs creates all individuals with dignity and respect -- treats all individuals with dignity and respect. need toorces the consider the best interest of the children and mandates adherence to established protocols to protect at risk populations. that includes standards of transport and treatment of minors in dhs and hhs custody. and all u.s. border patrol personnel on the southwest
border are bilingual, every one of them. they are directed to clearly explain the relevant process to apprehend individuals and provide detainees with written documentation in spanish and english that lays out the process and phone numbers to contact. finally, dhs is not separating families legitimately seeking asylum at ports of entry. if an adult enters at a port of entry and claimed asylum, they will not face prosecution for illegal entry. they have not committed a crime by coming to the port of entry. dhs does have a responsibility to protect minors and in that case, we will only separate the family if we cannot determine there is a familiar relationship , if the child may be at risk with the parent or legal guardian, or if the parent or legal guardian is referred to prosecution. theave a duty to protect american people and that is one
i take seriously. here is the bottom line, dhs is not ignoring the law, we are enforcing the law as they exist. as long as he legal entry is a criminal offense -- illegal entry is a criminal offense, dhs will not look the other way and execute the laws enacted by congress as we are sworn to do. beginning of the unraveling of democracy when the body who makes the law, instead of changing them, tells the enforcement body not to enforce the law. i asked congress to secure our borders and uphold our humanitarian ideas. these missions should not be against each other. if we close the loopholes, we can accomplish both. before i take questions, i want to ask that in your reporting, consider the men and women idea just dedicated -- at dhs who are dedicated law enforcement
officers and put their lives at risk, their sacrifice and commitment to this country should be remembered. i will take questions. >> you talked about dhs is not ignoring law, you are calling on congress to change law. members of congress on the democratic side you are using children as a leverage trying to get them to take legislative action. what do you say? >> that is a cowardly response, it is within their power to change the laws and they should do so. yes? >> have you seen the photos of children in cages? have you heard the audio clips of the children wailing? >> i have been to detention centers. i would reference you to our standards and the care provided, not just by homeland security but the department of health and human services. >> is that the image of the country you want?
>> the image i one of this country is an immigration system that secures our borders and so -- uphold our humanitarian ideas and congress needs to fix it. bush said this is cruel and she supports an application of the law, and the current first lady said we should be a nation of laws and do so with heart. do you have anything you want to tell them. do you believe there is a component of this policy, you are using in a way that is more intense than other administrations and creates the separation issue? >> calling attention to this matter is important. this is a very serious issue that has resulted after years and years of congress not taking action. i would thank them for their comments and their concern.
i share the concern. congress needs to fix this. major: this is not cruel? >> this is not a policy. dhs policy is to enforce the law. bush compared this to japanese internment during world war ii. do you believe that the effect , butis policy, not the law the effect of separating children from families is ethical and american? >> we should exercise our democratic rights in america and fix the problem. >> how is this not child abuse? >> be more specific, enforcing the law? >> it sounds like we have seen from the big box stores, how is , innocenthild abuse
children being separated from the parents? childrenst majority of in the care of hhs, 10,000 of the 12,000, were sent alone by their parents. not when they were separated. we have completed everything. they are separate issues. 10,000 in custody were sent by their parents with strangers to undertake a completely dangerous and deadly travel alone. we care for them, we have high standards, we give them meals and education and medical care. there are videos, tv's, i visited detention centers myself. >> the hundreds not included, you said 10,000, for the hundreds we have seen, any
examples of child abuse and how can this not be child abuse? not the one sent here with their parent blessing with the smugglers but people taken from their parents? >> i am not in any position to deal with hearsay stories. if someone has a specific allegation, as i always do when i testified, i asked them to provide information and we will look into it. we do not want any situation where a child is not completely adequately taken care of. yes? where are the girls? >> i am not familiar with those images. we have children in dhs care, after 72 hours they are transferred to hhs.
>> we have not seen any of the girls. you are saying they are well cared for. how can you make that claim if you do not know where they are? >> the vast majority of children are held by health and human services and they are transferred after 72 hours. they have an error all over television -- aired over television. kids being held in cages. >> i will look into that. you continue to insist that this is something congress can change and this is something that was enacted after the attorney general enacted a zero-tolerance policy and never happened before that. >> that is not true. the obama administration and bush administration all
separated families. they did. their rate were less than ours but they did do this. this is not new. they separated families. at this rate is new and specific to this administration once the attorney general announced a zero tolerance policy. why doesn't the president change the policy? >> he is trying to find a long-term fix. congress can fix this tomorrow. i think you were next. >> president trump as have a lot to say about immigration but he offered no compassion to the families being separated at the border. do you know why that is and why policy --all this called the policy until the long-term fix? >> he has been attending to work
with congress and see has been in office and has made it clear that we will enforce the wall -- the law of the united states. as part of that, he is reaching out to congress to fix this. in the last few days, he has done that, told congress to please work with us, the system is broken, the only people who benefit from the system right now are the smugglers and traffickers, those peddling drugs and terrorists. less fix the sick -- let take the system. that's let fix the system. >> does he go compassion for the family separated that does he feel compassion for the -- does he feel compassion for the families? >> he wants congress to act to end the loss that require separate -- laws that require separation. teame president and your
said that this is not the policy of the administration but today, it seems that the message is different, saying it is our but we do not have the resources to move families entirely. which of those is the most precise way to describe how this administration feels and given blow back by republicans and democrats, are you considering rethinking this or is this your position going forward? >> laws prohibit us from detaining families while they go through prosecution for illegally entering the border, and while the goat through prosecution for integrating procedures. we can keep the family's together by closing the loopholes. which as they did in the last
administration and torque -- until a court ruled he cannot do we have to 20 days, release unaccompanied children and accompany children, and that means we cannot detain families together. the only option is to not enforce the law. >> going back to other questions, you said you want congress to close the loophole. you also said that you want to make this work. are these kids being used as ponds -- pawns? democrats say there is no law this white house can separate children? >> the kids are being used by the smugglers and traffickers. adults showingn up with kids that are not a family unit. those are traffickers, smugglers, ms 13, criminals, abusers.
closing the loophole will enable us to detain families together throughout the proceedings as they have done in previous administrations. >> are you saying, are the ns --ren being used as pww pawns? >> they are not, we are trying to protect the children. >> the legal framework for the decisions you are making? we see the pictures, audio, , are the the intended consequences of the administration or unintended consequences? >> they reflect the focus of those who post such pictures and narratives. the narratives we do not see are the crime, the opioids, the
smugglers, people who are killed by gang members. andican children recruited are beaten. we do not have a balance to deal with what is happening but what is happening at the border, the border is being overrun by those with no right to cross it. if you are seeking asylum, go to a port of entry. you do not need to break the law of the united states to seek asylum. that is incorrect. we have limited resources. we have multiple missions. but we do is, based on the very high standards we have, if we do not have enough bed space, do not have enough medical personnel, do not have enough caretakers on staff, we will tell people to come to the border, they need to come back. we are not turning them away.
we are saying we want to take care of you in the right way right now we do not have the resources at this moment. come back. >> are you intending for this to play out as it is playing out and parents being separated for their children? are you sinning a message? -- sending a message? >> that is offensive, why would i create a policy that does that. no. the way it works, that is not the question you asked, the answer is, it is a law passed by the united states congress. rather than fixing the law, congress is asking those of us who enforce the law to turn our backs on the law and not enforce the law. the answer is to fix the law. >> will the administration
refrain from its current policy if the congress passed something close to what you want, or will you require the separation of parents from their children until he gets exactly what they want? >> if congress closes the loophole, many of which are closed in the two bills we hope are taken up this week in the house, then they close the loopholes and the families will stay together throughout the preceding. thank you. that of secretary -- madam secretary? secretary sanders: thank you secretary nelson. i will go to other questions and news of the day. steve? >> the president said he would talk to the north korean leader yesterday, do you know if that happened? sarah sanders: the president has spoken to administration officials working on the details following the summit.
we will keep you posted but i'm not aware of it. the united states and south korea have agreed to suspend joint military drills. in august. are you aware of this? sarah sanders: those conversations ours that are ongoing, if the north koreans act in good faith as we saw in singapore, we expect those things to be involved. >> as the president discussed them with separation policy with the first lady and light of her statement, and does he have plans to address the american people and take questions about that? the president did take questions on friday and he said very closely mirrored what
the first lady said, he says he hates seeing this, he has called on congress for months, democrats in congress to work with him to fix the problem. the president is not trying to kick the can down the road but trying to work with congress to fix the problem. jeff? will take your question because you and your network falsely accuse me of not wanted to be here. >> why did you have the secretary answer questions instead of you? sarah sanders: i am answering questions but i thought it was important for the secretary, one of the primary experts on this process and the things going on, to come and have a chance to speak to you and so you can ask questions directly of her. and the leaders in this administration. i am standing here in front of you. >> what the president signed a bill -- would the president
signed the bill that did not include border funding, if it closed the loophole the secretary talked about? what he signed that bill or does he require an entire bill with the $25 billion? sarah sanders: we laid out but we would like to see. there are two bills in the house and the president supports both of them. pieces of legislation we have voiced support for the details. the president does not just want to see a band-aid on this but fix the immigration system. he is tired of administrations claiming they want to help but kicking the can down the road. he wants to secure our borders. this is not something we can tinker with, we have to fix the entire system and he is committed. we have laid out what we want in legislation. we are committed to fixing the system and hope congress will do their part.
democrats have got to stop playing political games and get real about solving the problem. >> ig report and the hearings in congress with michael horvitz and christopher wray. that thedent said robert mueller investigation is still a witchhunt, he said on friday that after reviewing the ig report, shows no evidence of collusion. thefbi director today said report is not a witchhunt. how is there a disconnect between what the president believes at one another branch of his administration is doing? he was involved in his campaign and has laid out that there was no collusion. he feels this is a witchhunt. he says the ig report calls into question the credibility of james comey and many other senior fbi investigators involved in the rush investigation.
that report validates the claims he has made. >> the governor of massachusetts, a republican, reports course and order the national guard -- reports course -- reversed course and said the national guard should not go to the border because of the inhumane treatment of children. would you comment on that and have you seen any other impact of border operations? sarah sanders: i have not seen the comments but i would tell him to call congress and ask them to fix the law. only one body that gets to create legislation and it is congress and our were job is to enforce it. we want congress to fix this and that is what the president has called on them to do that. >> what was the president's reaction to laura bush's piece in the "washington post?" sanders: i did not speak
with him about that but i will address the concerns and echo what the secretary said, the president said that he does not like this process. the job of it is congress to change the law and we call on them to do that. 2008law was signed in under her husband's leadership. we are not responsible for creating this problem. we are the first administration stepping up to try to fix it. john? >> i have figures from the german ministry of the interior. downys that crime has gone 5.1% in germany. it is the lowest rate in a century in germany with violent down,down 2.4%, burglary 11.8%.ft down
where does the president get the statement that crime was up in germany under the angela merkel plan? sarah sanders: i will check into it but i am not aware of the report. i will be happy to check into it. john? >> i read the statement about the -- on the first lady and she seems troubled -- i read the statement from the first lady and she seemed troubled by the policy. is there daylight between the president and the first lady? sarah sanders: we have made it clear that they like exist between democrats in congress and their ability to change this law. notpresident said he does -- he hates these images and hate the process. that is why he wanted to be fixed. we keep ignoring the fact the
president does not create the law but congress's job to create the law. the president has laid out and loudly stated a number of times -- gladly stated a number of times he wants to fix the immigration system. people should be begging and banging down the doors of congress and asking them to join you president instead of fighting them. instead of criticizing, why don't they offer solutions? nancy pelosi and chuck schumer complaint and attack because they have no message and have no solutions. we have laid out solutions and want them to work with us to put it in place. there are republicans and some very prominent members of some of the president's base, evangelical christians, as the president heard from those
evangelicals, have they discussed with the president about this policy? can you fill us in on discussions the president may have had? sarah sanders: any evangelical or church that feel strongly, they should open up their doors and help facilitate some of these individuals. that is their calling and the mission of the church. they should fulfill that. if they want to fix the immigration system, they should call congress. >> there is some confusion about the force the president announced today. did he sign anything? does he believe this can be done without the approval of congress? the air force is opposed to it. where is support coming for this? sarah sanders: the president asked the department of defense to start this and we will work
with the department of defense and other relevant parties to put it in play. >> if the administration is not using the children as pawns, why not just have congress pass legislation that narrowly fixes the separation issue and deal with the other aspects of immigration? sarah sanders: we want to fix the entire system. we do not want to tinker with it. the president is tired of watching people not take responsibility and fix the problems we have. we are dealing with this particular situation right now. sarah sanders: that is not the only situation we are dealing with, people are flooding the border. we want people to come legally after the right process. that is what we are asking. there have been a number of
individuals permanently separated from their families because of the illegal aliens who have come across the border and murdered and killed american citizens. where is the outrage over that are smart we do not want to just tinker with one part of this, this is broken and we have to stop ignoring this. i will take one last question? that inpompeo said exchange for denuclearization on the korean peninsula, the united states is committed to updating the armistice agreement in place. can you confirm the president made this commitment to kim jong-un and what is that's what does updating the armistice mean? does it put u.s. forces at the border in question? sarah sanders: we are finalizing the process. i will confirm mike pompeo's comments and will refer you to
the state department and its prominent defense. thank you and have a great day. house briefing wrapping up just now and the senate judiciary committee held a hearing on hillary clinton email investigation which ended within the last hour. here is a portion of the hearing. we start with michael horowitz's opening statements. mr. horowitz: thank you mr. chairman, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. page00 plus report provides a thorough and comprehensive and objective facts of the fbi handling of the clinton email in the station. it was the