tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC June 20, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we have breaking news from the white house. president trump meeting with congressional republicans this hour. telling reporters in the room he will be signing something in a little while on immigration. he said he would be preemptive and matched by legislation. we're going to get tape from the meeting. we begin with nbc white correspondent kristen welker president is poised to reverse himself fp on the zero tolerance policy and effectively sign an executive order he is signaling it will end the family separations. we don't have the details but let me just read you what we
know and what we can report from the president's own words. the president during that cabinet meeting told reporters that republicans want to end the family separations and he said, "i'll be signing something in a little while that's going to do that." he also said i'll be doing something that's preemptive and will be matched by legislation. i am sure. what does he mean by that? he still wants to see a broader legislative fix to the immigration crisis this he got elected in part to fix. he wants money for the border wall. he wants tighter security on the border. andrea, here is the bottom line. there's been such a huge backlash really worldwide to this zero tolerance policy, to the images of children separated from their families at the border. it appears at this house the white house is poised to reverse against through an executive order. another thing that makes this so
significant, for days the president and top administration officials here have been insist ant it's up to congress to fix loopholes that make this policy necessary. this was dhs secretary just 48 hours ago. she said congress and the courts created this system. congress, alone, can fix it. now it seems as though president trump is signaling and i want to stress that word signaling because we don't have all the details yet that he is poised to rese reverse himself and fix this himself. he's the one who enacted zero tolerance policy. he's the one that has the power to reverse it. why doesn't he pick up the phone and do that as lindsey graham indicated several days ago. now it seems he's willing to use his pen signing an executive order to end these family separations that we've been reporting on throughout the
week. >> what we have known and i've talked to a number of republican senators that the pressure is building. building because there's so much bipartisan pressure but not just from the democrats. some democratic congress members who heckled the president yesterday when he was on capitol hill talking to republican house membe members. he has almost no support for this stand alone bill that he's projecting and his back down, if that's what he is doing is significant. the first time he's backing down under this kind of public pressure. >> reporter: i'm always nervous to get ahead of the president on things like this because we don't know what he believes until the words come out of his mouth. here is what i think might be going on. republican members of the senate were really not with the president on this. i've talked to a number of them. they said the president can and
should end this child separation policy with a phone call. they were deeply frustrated that he had not done so. he was putting this on them to solve because it does remains republicans in control of congress who would have to get a solution to this. what i think we might be seeing here is the president signing a limited executive order. possibly along the lines that tom cotton who is in the room with the president has proposed which is repealing this so called flores settlement that limited how long children could be held in federal detention and potentially putting more money into family shelters. shelter that could hold children and families. that's an amendment that tom cotton already has written. we're hearing the president say this is preemptive might be getting ahead of congress. the president yesterday was here on the hill pushing for republicans for, republicans
would like to push harder for, these two broader immigration bills that will get voted on in the house later this week. if the president takes some of the pressure off on this family separation issue, you could see that changing the alchemy a bit on how it gets treated. it's tough to see a big imgra s immigration bill brought up. we may be seeing the president taking a small step with an executive order at the urging of many of his republican allies that may be able to be followed up on by some kind of amendment or small piece of legislation to preeveryone anothmveryo pre-empt down the line. >> this all comes after overnight reporting from the associated press breaking around 9:00 or 10:00 last night shocking people throughout the country and throughout congress that infants, not just toddlers,
have been taken and put in these centers, secret centers and we've been hearing reports of this and trying to get access to them but so far the only release we've seen of any of these centers has been carefully vetted pictures released by hhs and dhs and you and your camera people have not been given any access to take pictures inside. >> reporter: that's correct. the two shelters we have images from, hand out photos, the two i've been in. over 1100 kids in this sector alone. tender age kids, little kids sitting by themselves in cage being watched by agents in a watchtower. it was just an unbelievable thing to see. it's unsustainable if the president will go through this
to have those imimages, those types of pictures coming out across the country. those are hand out photos we got from the government itself. we still haven't been given access to the girls, toddlers in the hhs facilities. we have not seen those with our own eyes. now the president may stop under the circumstances from getting in. the big question is what happened to the 2500 kids that have been separated who could face permanent orphans having already gone through this process. it may be too late for those children. >> i want to bring in one of the reporters who broke the story overnight. shocking the nation and the world. these are called tender age children in centers. i don't know what a tender age child is. i think all children are tender ails b a ages but tell us about your reporting. >> we spoke to lawyers and medical providers who have been
given access to where babies and young children have been placed after being separated from their parents at the border. they describe us to play rooms with children who are in crisis crying so much they can't even be interviewed. it's a real departure from previous policies in which these very small children and babies typically were placed with foster parents. >> kristen, i think you have more of read out of what the president has been telling these members of congress? >> reporter: the meeting is ongoing. we're getting more notes from what's happening in realtime. president trump calling on democrats to work with him on broader immigration reform. let me quote from what the president just said. he said the dilemma is if you're weak, the country will be overwhelming with people. if you're strong then you don't have any heart. perhaps i'd like to be strong. they're using the children as a ticket to get into the country.
that's a reference to the fact that typically under past administrations and under the u.s. law those who have crossed the border unlawfully are detained together and then ultimately because children can only be detained for so long, they are released, monitored sometimes with ankle braces and the like. however, they are released. that refers back to the catch and release system that the president wants to end. really sort of explaining the internal dilemma. he ran on a promise to get tough on border security and yet acknowledging that this moment is really making him rethink how he's going about trying to get some of these tougher laws. this meeting is ongoing. we continue to monitor it and one more final note. he cancelled a congressional picnic that was slated for this week saying it doesn't feel right sort of underscoring how
large this political crisis is for this white house. >> jacob, let's pick it up there. we had originally been told that only children four years old and over were being separated from parents. this reporting confirming what you had seen with your own eye, this reporting from the associated press certainly seems to confirm that infants younger than 4-year-old toddlers were involved. >> reporter: it's not necessarily true. it depends on the boarder sector. i want to respond to something that kristen said the president said in this meeting. he said they are using the children, meaning these families, as a ticket to get into the country. we know, statistically that is just cherry picking the facts. 1% of cases that come into this border patrol sector, the epicenter not only of child spr separations but the vast
majori majority, only 1% are family fraud cases. that leaves 99% are legitimate family units coming in. to hear the president say they are using the children as tickets in just by numbers is not correct. >> we understand a senior official is confirm iing that there is an executive order that would temporarily stop the separation policy. what can you tell us? >> i've heard something similar. as of last night there was talk at dhs about an executive order. a source told me not to hold my breath because this president has been known to consider a lot of things and reverse course at the last minute. it seems there's an executive order in the works and this would allow the president himself to be the saving grace here. i think he wants to get out, do
something grand and have congress follow behind. we'll have to remember he cannot be the savior of a problem he created. there's still 2300, 2500 children is that have been separated. it will take time to find parents and some could be permanently separated because the system is so complex. we understand there's an executive order that could stop this. it's important to remember they don't need an executive order. it's as easy as the president pick up the phone as lindsey graham said. this may be done in more of fanfare fashion in order to get attention for it and to show that the president has compassion which is something in the eyes of most american voters, i think this week, he's lost. >> this executive order drafted by homeland and justice. we have yet to see it would still charge families with misdemeanor for coming in illegally but keep the family together and not separate the
children, at least temporarily. that's one of the drafts that's been reported. kristen, do you have more details? >> reporter: as the reporters just left the room with the president, so hopefully we'll see this video with our own eyes but the president was asked are order.igoing to sign on a execue he confirmed he will sign an executive order accord to this pool note and went onto say the images affect everyone. he said the images from the obama administration were worse. you have double standards. not a surprise there taking a shot there at his predecessor. fact check under president obama, there were families who were held together but we didn't see this sort of mass family separations and digging into the numbers. family would be separated once per several months.
so seeing these families separations on this scale is really unique to this moment and unique to what we have seen the wakef the zero tolerance policy. again confirming just moments ago he does intend to sign an executive order. what's many the executive order? what's the language? what specifically does it call for, that's unanswered and how will the kids be reunited. >> we understand the announcement will be or the signing will take place at 2:00. we have to look at the language and joining me now is democratic governor andrew cuomo from new york. i know you had planned, you said you had the intention of filing lawsuit against the separation policy. does this moean you will back off? i know it's hard to know what the loong of this executianguag order will be. >> thank you for having me. we're going ahead.
this was a clear legal violation of the due process of the children and of their parents. in the united states of america, even non-citizens, undocumented people still have fundamental rights and one of them is due process and that's been violated. let's remember what this is all about. when sessions changed the policy to the so called zero tolerance policy on april 7th, what they then decided to do was arrest every one at the border. once they decided to do that and people were arrested. they had to separate the children. they had no plan or accommodations for separating the children and that's why you see the picture of them in cages and kennels and shipped all across the country. we have about 100 in new york, by our counsel. the federal government says 300,
in all different facile itiefac. it's mayhem and chaos. it was the worst type of policy. it was not thought through. it has the premise if we arrest people, we will deter them from coming. that didn't work. there was the premise that said this will put pressure on the congress to actually do something. that means you're using children as a political pawn on a chess board to pressure congress, which is disgusting. now they have thousands of children all over the country. they have no coordination with the children and the families. i bet you dollars to donuts they are still going to insist on the arrests of the family at the border and then the question is going to be, okay, you're going to arrest the whole family. you're going to keep them at the border. where are you going to set up
all these family detainment centers and how long is it going to take you to do it. what is that going to look like? i think they are digging the hole deeper. when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. they should stop digging. the zero tolerance policy is the problem. you don't arrest everyone who comes to the border. people seeking asylum. this is america. for many years we have done this. they can be detained if they need to be. they can be released. they have a court hearing. they created this problem with this zero tolerance, get tough. he didn't get his wall built so this is a de facto wall. when you come to the united states, we arrest you. >> let me ask you about some footage that new york one shot of six young girls in harlem in
new york city about 12:45 this morning. do you know anything about the kids and where they went and how many children are in new york city. >> we have about -- we have confirmed 100 in new york state. most of them are in the city. the federal government says there's 300 in new york state. this has been a organizational failure. they never anticipated this. they're sending children through a program called the uac, unaccompanied alien children program to different facilities all across the country, where ever they can find a bed. these are not unaccompanied alien children. these are children you took from their parents arms. now they have a hodgepodge where they are looking for beds where ever they can. they are putting children, as
you've shown the pictures many times, in basically kennels at the border where most people wouldn't allow their goidog to y and using private facilities around the country but they have lost connection with the children and can't put them bac with the parents and the parents don't know where the children are. think about the trauma that these children have gone through. child walks into a country, doesn't speak the language. is pulled from their parents, put in a car, flown to a different state. i mean you could potentially scar these children for life. forget the politics and all the garbage their doing in washington, this is humanity. this is decency. >> apparently right now we're going to have to cut to the president announcing how he is backing down from this policy. we want to thank you. we'll listen to this. >> we are very strong at the
border. we're very strong on security. we want security for our country. the republicans want security and insist on security for our country. we will have that at the same time we have compassion and want to keep families together. it's very important. i'll be signing something in a little while that will do that. the people in this room want to do that. they're working on various pieces of legislation to get it done. i'll be doing something that's preemptive but will be matched by legislation, i'm sure. we're having a lot of problems with democrats. they don't want to vote for anything. they don't care about lack of security. they would like to have open borders where anybody in the world can flow in include frg t -- including from the middle ea east. tremendous problems with that. tremendous crime caused by that. we're just not going to do it. i do want to say because we're all so busy and i just mentioned
to the congressman and the senators in the room that we are going to cancel and postpone tomorrow's congressional picnic. we have a congressional picnic tomorrow. i was walking over to the oval office and i said it doesn't feel right to have a picnic for congress when we're working on doing something very important. we have many things important. weer ta it didn't feel exactly right know. we'll with officially postponing the congressional picnic for tomorrow. we'll make it another time when things are going extremely well. they are going for the country e tre -- extremely well. we want to solve this immigration problem which is going on for 40 years. we want to see if we cansoever i -- solve it. would anybody in the room have
any question or statement that you'd like to make while the press is here? anybody? >> on the issue of immigration, trade and investment, these are all areas where congress has a lot of authority under the constitution and you have authority and executive branch has authority under the constitution. i think that's why meetings like this are really important. bringing the leadership on both sides together because of important issues. appreciate the opportunity to let you see our views, hear our views on these issues where we share authority on important matters. thank you. >> we all have much have the same views. we want to keep family together. we have to be strong on the border. otherwise you'll have millions of people coming up. we have to be very strong on the border. we want to be very
compassionate. >> on the issues on trade, on immigration, we have a partnership under the constitution. we have some authority. the president has authority. we need to work together. i was thinking this morning when we looked at president nixon's portrait in the white house, we think he did the unexpected and he went to china because he could do that. he was in a position to do it. president reagan did the unexpected, he went to moscow. you're the president who can help us solve immigration problem with your leadership. you may be able to do for immigration what nixon did for china and reagan did for the soviet union. a lot of us would like to work with you on that. >> thank you very much. we need the democrats support because we need their votes.
it's very simple. people say we have a majority, well we have a one majority in the senate. we need 60. we don't go with the majority. we go with 60. some day somebody will explain why. that's the way it is. we need 60 votes. we have 51 votes at the most. we need democrat votes. tom, you were going to say something? >> i think it's very important we protect our border. we cannot allow a child to be a get out of jail free card and get into the u.s. free ticket. we'd like to keep families together. chemoth keep them together at the border. i'm glad you're looking for a solution to that. i know that we in congress are working on legislation that will allow our hard working border patrol agents to keep familying together at the border while we process claims in a timely fashion.
>> our border patrol agents and i.c.e. agents have done one great job.s growing by the thousands. we arealwe need laws that don't them to come back in. do you have anything to say? >> there's a number of issues that we're going to be able to discuss today that touch on our country's national security. controlling who and what comes across our border is an element of national security as we do the compassionate thing with families. i look forward to working with you to further strengthen our military. together we have turned around a declining situation. that's also part of what we need to do. back to pla mar's poen-- lamar'e
can do this together. >> if we weren't strong on the border, you'd have hundreds of thousands of people pouring through. they would be pouring through. the country would not be the country anymore. lindsay. >> we have a big massive mess that's been going on for decades and we're all going to fix it one day. we got a specific problem that puts the country in the dilemma. if a family shows up at the border and we let the family go into the country and say please come back for your hearing, about 80% of the time the adults never show up for the hearing. i think most americans feel like that is bad. it will create a third wave of the legal immigration. i want to be fair to the people that came here under the old system but i don't want to create incentives to create a third wave. the other choice is if you detain the parents that broke the law, you have to break the
family up. there's a 1997 spring court case we have to deal with. you're in a real bind. if you detain the adults, the law requires the children to be separated. if you let the adults into the country they'd never show up. seems to me we want to keep the family together and have the parents show up for their day in court. to senate schumer. i know there's a lot we don't agree but we can fix this court decision because the country is in a bad spot, not just you. >> lindsay, is dilemma is if you're weak, if you're weak, which some people would like you to be, if you're pathetically weak, the country will be of run with millions of people. if you're strong then you don't
have any heart. that's a tough dilemma. perhaps i'd rather be strong but that's a tough dilemma. >> we held 30 hearings on border security, you know how much i like that and senator graham mentioned the fact we have these incentives. there's nothing of enticing people to take very dangerous journey through the desert. we have seen pictures of dead bodies in the desert. there's nothing passionate about that. since 2012, since daca, unaccompanied children, prior to that, 3 or 4,000 undocumented children came into this children then daca was instituted in 2012. that problem skyrocketed. number above 225,000 from central america. about almost half a million family members. we've got another 750,000
individuals, very sympathetic, we're just incentivizing for coming. we have to stop. the goal of our policy should be to reduce the flow of people. that's what str enforcement does. >> this deal was just about done. we had a deal. president obama signed daca. when he signed it he said i'm really not allowed to sign this. i'm going the sign it any way. he said i'm not allowed to sign this. never going to hold up. they got a judge who held it up and they got another one who held it up. we had a couple that turned it down. it's going to be a supreme court issue. before it was held up, every one assumed the daca would not be held up. we had a deal with the democrats. it was a deal that everybody agreed to. it was $25 billion.
it was all done. all of a sudden they weren't there anymore. that's what happened. that's why we're in this mess. we had a couple of court decisions which will force an issue to the supreme court that shouldn't be forced to the supreme court. >> thanks for inviting us up on these important issues and ha having these sdudiscussions. the context i want to make sure i want to talk about is we made incredible progress. we mad tremendous progress on regulatory relief and it's reflected in our economy. now we can do the same thing on trade. think what that means for our country. the we have to look at it in that context. when we talk about trade it's on top of tax relief and regulatory
relief and now if we can get the right policies in place on trade, think what that means for our country. >> we're doing well on trade, i will say. we've been really hurt as a country on trade for many years despite bad trade deals we're doing well. now we're making good trade deals. you'll be seeing that. it will be announced pretty rapidly. we have a couple that are made. we're making great trade deals. we have a lot of kpaeps comcomp coming into our country. we need people. we need people that work for these companies. they are congresswomaning inco nobody thought possible. we want them to come in based on
merit. we want great people that will be great for our country. we want them to come in based on merit. we're going to need those people because we have so many companies coming to the country. john, you want to say something in. >> to your point, network is the most generous country in the world when it comes to legal immigration. i think we ought to draw a clear line between legal immigration that benefits the country and illegal immigration which is a threat to public safety. i want to make the one point. i agree with what tom cotton and others have said about being able to enforce the law and keep families together. it's not a mutually exclus i ha have -- exclusive choice. we can do both. coming from a border state like mac and i do, the illegality along the border is a complex problem. it's commodity agnostic. they said it's people, it's drugs, it's weapons and you talk
about an opioid crisis in the united states. it's heroin that comes from mexico in is a very complex situation. we need law and order along the boarder. everybody agrees with that. we need to be compassionate the way we handle these families. the cartels and the criminal organizations that benefit from this, they just make a lot of money and keeping this situation very dangerous for everybody involved. >> in many ways they are using their children. in all ways they're using the children as a ticket to getting into the country. we have to remember that. there's a number of the 12,000 children, 2,000 with the parents and 10,000 came up with some really horrible people in some cases. you have the coyotes, the traffickers, the human traffickers. not only drug traffickers but
human traffickers. they use these children as passports to get into the country. it's a complex guilty. it's been going on for many, many years. many, many decades. we're doing well at solving problems. when i became president, we had north korea. we had the iran deal that wasn't good. we had lots of bad trade deals. there's a lot of things we solved and we're solving that in theory i shouldn't have had to solve. that he has should have been sovd f sovd f solved for a long time. we shouldn't have had china get to the point there's a $500 billion deficit. we should have gone up together. not where you allow one to get so far ahead.
one of the big problems is immigration. i hope that not too long distance -- i mean beyond this one problem of immigration. you can mention the word com comprehensive where you don't have to use it. i really think we have an opportunity to do the whole immigration picture. david, you want to say something? >> the last year and a half has shown a turn around in this economy. we were faced with eight years of 1.9% economic growth. we focused on regulation. this year we put a bipartisan bill.
this is real jobs. this economy is moving. the rest of the world is paying attention. we have a new free trade agreement with korea. we're headed in the right direction. i hope we can focus on our priorities to get equal access. poverty in the united states has remained flat. that's not right. >> yes. >> i appreciate the fact that you call attention to what's really happening with the economy. two things. the tax bill and the regulation. the biggest accomplishment is what you've done with the
military. we changed it. we had to go for a lousy budget bill to do it but it is changed. we're now rebuilding. >> job s a far second. we're going to have a military like never before. mike, did you have something to say? >> thank you. i know i speak for the president when i express the gratitude of this administration for the support of the members of senate and the house that are gathered around here. you have delivered to the american people on national security, rebuilding our
military. on tax cuts and regulatory reform, restorming our economy. what the president reiterated again yesterday and he's said every day from when he sought this office is we have a crisis of illegal immigration. as the president made clear, we don't want families to be separated. we don't want children taken away from parents. right now under the law, we said with these lawmakers, we only have two choices before us. number one is don't prosecute people who come into our country illegally or prosecute them and then under court cases and the law they have to be separated from their children. what i want to be clear about is we're calling on these lawmakers not just to solve this problem in the way that confirms to law and order and compassion which we can do. the president's vision articulated in his state of the
union is let's solve the whole problem. let's close the loopholes. let's solve the problem. let's deal with law and order and compassion with this issue of family separation at our borders. the senate is considering legislation. the president has postponed the congressional picnic. we're calling on congress to act. let's roll our sleeves up. let's work the whole problem. let's end this crisis of illegal immigration. >> thank you. does anybody else have anything to say? >> thank you and just from the house perspective i want to say as the still serving guard member, you're my commander in chief, there's been a marked difference in the security and the good feelings in the military. they understand we're investing again. even though we're asking them to do a lot. secondly security plays a big role. that includes border security and the build up we'll bring up
and hopefully pass in the house this week fully funds the boarder and takes care of all these issues. i hope the house can pass it. i wish democrats can join us. it's a lot of stuff they like in there too. unfortunately, i think they like the politics of this a little better. i also want to say we wish it didn't take secretary pompeo from the house because he did a great job. he's doing great job. >> he's doing a great job. thank you very much. appreciate it. anybody over here? >> thank you. i want to echo what twas said i terms of the the change we have seen in resources for the military. we got to make sure we don't have another cr from the military. we are working hard in the house. we're hopeful we will pass defense appropriations bill next week in the house. we need to make sure that gets taken up and passed in the senate a
senate. we get a straight defense appropriations bill taken up. that will be critically important. >> thank you. say hello to your father, please. great guy. thank you very much. we appreciate it. we're looking to keep families together. we'll be signing executive order. we're signing an executive order in a little while. we will keep families together. we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be over run by people, by crime. by all the things we don't stand for that we don't want. i'll be signing an executive order in a little while before i go to minnesota. we're keeping familying togethetogethe -- families together. we will be of run with crime and
th people that should not be in our country. >> the young children at the border? >> those images affect everybody. i have to say you have double standards. you have people that want absolute security and safety and you have people that look at the children and then you have people like me and i think most of the people in this room that want both. we want the hard but we also want strong borders and we want no crime. we don't want crime in this country. we don't want people coming in. we don't want people coming in from the middle east through our border, using children to get through the line. we don't want that. we're doing too good a job to allow that to happen. thank you very much. this has been going on for 50
years, longer. under president obama, president bush. this has been going on for many years. we'll see if we can solve it. this is not something that happens just now. i was watching images from 2014. they blow away this. i saw images that were horrible. you know the ones i'm talking about. we'll see if we can solve the immigration problem like we have solved so many other problems. i think we'll get it done. thank you very much. thank you all very much. >> the president said on friday you can't accomplish with an
executive order. he's going to sign it about 2:00. according to pete williams and our own reporting it's likely a draft that's been drafted by the justice department and homeland security which will temporarily stay the spaeparation of famili but will still arrest and detain migrant families. violating an existing court order. there's a conflict here. existingorder that says you cannot keep them detained with their parents once they're in the criminal justice decision. joining us is kristin welker at the white house. roberta jacobson was the assistant secretary for this entire region.
i want to fact check a lot of what the president said. you've lived this. you just were most recently in mexico but you dealt with a whole region for decades. the fact is there was no policies that required until it was ordered by the attorney joajoa general. >> first of all, thanks for having me. i think the important thing is when people keep talking about there being no policy of separating children, when you create a zero tolerance policy and you arrest every single person who crosses the boarder without documentation, then what results is the separation of families. it was absolutely predictable and whether you want to call it your intention or unintended consequence, it's predictable and that's what happened. when the previous administration faced unaccompanied children crisis or surge in 2014, many of
these dilemmas were confronting that administration too. these were very difficult decisions. nobody considered going this step. >> the president was talking about smuggle everies posing as families. we understood that's fewer than 1%. what is your understanding? >> i don't know what the percentage. i heard jacob's reporting. i would tell you in general there are people who give their children to smugglers, pay smugglers to bring their children into the united states. that does occur. it's heartbreaking because imagining a parent who fears so much for their child that they are willing to do that has to be pretty extreme. on the whole, what i've seen from cbp and others are numbers of family units that are going up. they do a lot of screening, including some dna testing to
ensure that these are family units, paternity and so i suspect those numbers may be right in that sector. >> i want to you about the president's harsh criticism of mexico in a moment. your reactions to the president. we don't know what he's going to sign and how long it will last. we know congress is unable to come up with a fix. >> reporter: first to the ambassador, that statistic comes from the sector chief in the rio grande valley sector with the most apprehensions. i want to do another fact check on the president who say we may be of run with millions of people coming in illegally. the last time there were over a million people that came in illegally was 2006. last year the number was just over 300,000. that's as low as it's been since the 1970s. it makes no sense to say you'll have millions of people coming
into the united states. then the question that comes into my mind is number one what happens to the 2500 kids that have been separated from their families. number two, where are these families now going to be detained together and will they be detained indefinitely in these i.c.e. detention centers that breaks the law and the reason they said they would separate the families so they can continue to detain the folks or do the parents continue to go to the u.s. marshal custody where they have been sending them. in that case the children can't be detained with their families. >> you're pressing and you have been pressing for access. you've been the first one in to report and report back what you're seeing inside. we're not given our own access to take pictures. you can't bring your phone in. we were given hand out pictures that were suspect. it's propaganda. jacob, thanks for your reporting. i want to bring in dr. alfonso
mercado, a pediatrician in mcallen, texas. let's talk about the long term damage already to these kids, infants some, according to the associated press who have been separated from their parents. >> just to clarify, i'm a clinical psychologist. the long term psychological effects are significant. these children and families are fleeing trauma. they are experienced with the issues that are at hand. looking at attachment, that's the rap -- rapport. we see cognitive developmental problems. >> i want to talk al about what the president said, this is what he said in a speech yesterday about mexico. they come up through mexico. mexico does nothing for us.
they could stop it. they have very, very strong laws. try staying in mexico for a couple of days. see how long that lasts. another blast against mexico. what's in our southern hemisphere of what he has been saying about our neighbors? >> it's incredibly damaging. mexico has been the punching bag for this president since the beginning. despite that, this mexican government has tried very hard to cooperate with this administration bending over backwards to some extent to their own political risk, and that kind of thing makes it so much more difficult to cooperate with the mexican government. if we're going to stay asigh lees and wait their turn, how cooperative do you think the mexican government will be that they not enter between the ports of entry, that they enter
through the ports of entry something we may ask the mexicans to help us with if we continue to speak like this. it's really inflammatory and hurt our cooperation efforts. >> the point of entry issue, how long are people supposed to wait at port of entry? because we've had plenty of evidence that they are slow walking were they're not bringing people through in realtime and they're making it for difficult for people to legally cross at a port of entry as secretary nielsen says one should and apply for asylum. >> that's right. we had reporting at the time that migrant caravan was arriving in late april that the department of homeland security was intentionally keeping resources back that would have made the process more smoothly for people to come in and claim asylum legally. we've seen this administration rush resources that are for law enforcement like ice and word border patrol to the border but they're not provide are more judges, they're not providing more aid workers, more asylum
officers who can get that initial interview to see whether or not someone may qualify. another thing that the president said that i wanted to fact check, wads he sas he said this problem that had gone on for decades. they did not separate children from parents who were merely charged with merchandise f charge with misdemeanors for crossing immaterial legally. they're crossing the border. previously those families would run up to a border patrol agent thankful to see them and say i'd like to claim asylum i'm fearing for my life. at this point because of what the president started, what jeff sessions announced that went into effect early may, those people are now separated from their children. that is new. when the president says they've been separate ford decades, the pictures from 2016, those pictures are children that were separated for their own welfare or those that entered by themselves with a smuggler.
i wanted to fact check that and we might see the white house try to rewrite the story today. >> we're already hearing the president trying to rewrite the story, this is a midterm issue. we have a lot of reporting that the white house believes that this and his projection of strength and fear, rousing fears about illegal people coming across the border is what they believe will be a key factor in the midterm strategy. you'll hear it tonight when he's in minnesota, no doubt. pete williams joins us now. pete, you've had some insight into what may be in some drafts of the executive order. we don't know until he signs it and we read it exactly what it is going to say j right. but here are the key points i'm told it will include. it will not end of the zero tolerance policy which is the one announced by attorney general sessions that says parents who cross the border illegally with children, whether they claim asylum or not, go to court for a quick hearing and are charged in essence with a
misdemeanor. so the problem right now is, or the issue right now is that when those parents are taken by the federal marshals, that triggers a federal law that says if the child is unaccompanied, the child cannot be held by immigration authorities for more than 72 hours and that's high they get handed off to hhs for the contract people who try to find places for them. so that zero tolerance policy will continue. what the exact mechanism will be to avoid triggering that law so that the child doesn't have to be turned over to hhs, i'm not exactly sure how that's going to work. but what i'm told is they've found a way to keep doing that without separating the child from the parents once they've gone through the court process, which is very fast. it's sometimes even a matter of hours. secondly, they will detain families together and they won't separate them. now this runs against a 20-day,
roughly 20-day clock under a longstanding federal court order that says you can't hold a child in immigration detention for more than 20 days. now, it's not a hard and fast 20 days in the order. the spirit of the order is best interest of the child and the government may well be able to say, look, it's in the best interest of this child to keep them with the parents and push beyond the 20 days, although that 20-day soft clock could also be something to spur congress to act. and they will be moving parents with children to sort of the front of the line for immigration hearings. right now they're at the back of the line and they have to wait a long period of time. they're going to flip that over so they go to the head of the class not necessarily they're going to have their hearings within 20 days because already there's such an enormous backlog, but it does improve their prospects. so you put all those things together and that's why they say this will end the spraition separation -- separation of children from
their parents who come here. >> kasie hunt on the kill, you understand the speaker and about 25 members are heading to the white house. jeff sessions has been briefing people on the hill. what are you hearing? >> reporter: that's right, andrea. couple different efforts going on here. jeff sessions just stopped and spoke to the reporters who are inside the capitol building including our own frank thorpe. he made a brief statement to reporters. he said he was working with the president to get a fix here. he was optimistic there would be progress. he said did he need congress to act. he couldn't e wouldn't say whether he was disappointed in the president's reversal. sessions has been one of the people who has made no bones about supporting this policy. he's been very straightforward unlike some other members of the administration. but he was here meeting with the public study committee and it wasn't something we're told by a senior republican leadership aid that's coordinated with leadership. he's here talking to the conservative wing of house
republicans. now -- >> let me interrupt for just a second. >> i can show it to you quick. >> i we have some of of jeff sessions. let's listen. >> thank you. thank you all. >> can you tell us what it is please? what's the executive order? >> you've got some details, pete? pete williams. >> reporter: yes, andrea. i'm told that jeff session has played a very central role in drafting this executive order that a lot of empoe tus to end this practice has come from justice. >> well, there's also reporting from hallie jackson that there's been pressure from the first family, evinka trump, and kristen welker if you want to pick that up. melania trump also behind the scenes? kristen welker at the white house. >> reporter: learning as you rightfully point out that the first lady has been behind the scenes talking to the president about the fact that these images are disturbing and that
effectively they need to end families being separated at the border. we know that ivanka trump has also expressed her dismay at these images gnat . that is what the president told lawmakers when he met with them on capitol hill yesterday. it appears it's not just the political pressure but the personal pressure as well. and he said that himself. he said these images are disturbing to everyone. so clearly what has been broadcast across networks worldwide now for several days has gotten to him, has got tone members of his inner family. but the political pressure significant as well. this display to some of his core supporters, there's no doubt about that. you do have some people who are cheering him on. however, it seemed as though there were a lot of members of his own party who just were breaking with him and urging him to do an about-face on this policy. it's significant that he's not ending the zero tolerance policy
that allows him to walk a bit of a line and still argue that he's trying to be tough on border control. >> kasie hunt and christian, the midterm elections a major factor here. we understand that ivanka trump was in the room during part of that photo spray or even more of that conversation. kasie, this has become such a big issue on capitol hill there's no question that republicans -- republican senators signing letters all saying how upset they were and being willing to join with dianne feinstein on something that was signed by 48 -- all of the democrats. >> reporter: you're right, andrea. we've been talking so many times about at what point would the republicans break with president trump. well, you finally saw it. that's what happened. it has been happening all around. i cannot find in these hallways somebody that defends the policy of separating families. now, they of course all have different answers to the problem and they want to solve the problem in different ways, but they all fundamentally want to end this family separation. the other piece of reporting i think we should make sure we get
in is steve scalise has led a delegation of about two dozen members of congress who are potentially on the fence about this legislation down to the white house. they're telling the president these are the people that you need to convince, the speaker is there too. so that's a very important meeting under way right now. >> and we have to hand it off now to craig melvin. craig, obviously a lot happening as the president backs down on this key issue no matter how they try to cloak it. craig. >> angry ya andrea, thank you so much. good afternoon to you. we are going to of course continue to follow this breaking news right now at this hour, president trump indicating a short time ago that he will in fact sign an executive order which could temporarily end the controversial policy of separating children from their families when they're detained here at the border. president trump just a few moments ago. >> we want to keep families together. it's very important. i'll be signing something in a little while that's going to