tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC June 21, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
be back with me. i hand you off to another colleague that i admire and watch every day. andrea mitchell. the spin zone. after a head snapping reversal of his policy of separating children from their parents, an unusual trump retreat despite the spin at a campaign rally hours later. >> i signed an executive order. we're going to keep families together but the border will be just as tough as it's been. in limbo. the administrationill not explain what is going to happen to 2300 children already taken from their parents. >> secretary, what happens to the kids that have been separated from their parents? why did you sign? >> we're implementing it. thetrauma.
one mother describing her son having been taken away. >> sits in federal prison near seattle while her son is in a children's home in new york. the good-bye was agonizing. he just started crying and looked at me and said don't leave me mom. good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington where president trump is about to meet with his cabinet. while more than 2,000 migrant children are in limbo not knowing when they will see their parents again. kids wrapped in mie lar blankets are protesting the treatment of migrant children at the border.
kristen, this president doesn't often back down and it's not a complete reversal because the zero tolerance policy is still what they are claiming is on books. >> reporter: that's right. the way in which the president issued that executive order allows him to argue, i dn't change the policy. my zero tolerance policy is still in place but bottom line, this is a reversal for a president who frankly, never backtracks, never apologizes, rarely reverse himself. it's significant politically in that extent. he was facing a fire storm from the right and left as well as concerns expressed by the first lady, by his daughter who in private conversations, according to sources, really expressing their concern, devastation of these pictures emerging, children being separated from their families, held in cage
like structures and those devastating sounds of children crying that we all heard when the week first started. the presidenabout to start a cabinet meeting here at the white house. we expect to hear from him. here's the big question looming over this administration, what now happens to those children who were separated from their families. we got conflicting statements overnight saying they weren't going toioritized then a follow up statement said we haven't gotten explicit directions yet for how this will go down. an underscore is the president signed that executive order without having a plan in place for next steps. ga >> gabe, is there any change you can discern in policy. at least 17 adults had charges dismissed indicating they are
going to be retain their children and not be separated. >> reporter: i'm outside federal court in mcallen, texas where there's immigration hearing going on with about 60 defendants. as you mentioned ading to an immigration attorney present at this courthouse today, 17 defendants who had been charged with illegal entry had their charges dismissed. why is that so significant? according to this immigration attorney, all 17 had children and had bee separated from their children. attorney that these defendants n had been picked up on monday or tuesday. that would have been before president trump signed that executive order but now apparently federal prosecutors made the decision to dismiss those charges. that calls into question whether this is really zero tolerance as
trump administration said that policy would continue. it shows there's a lot of confusion right now in the federal court system over how to handle this executive order. those 17 defendants might have been remanded now into the custody of i.c.e. many of them had no idea how they would be reunited with their child or don't know where their child is. more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and been sent to states all over the country. more than 200, for example, in new york state we've been swi immigration advocates on the ground that continue to say this will be logistical nightmare. you heard the conflicting statements from hhs that kristen just mentioned. even among federal agencies there's, at this point, no clear plan yet on what to do with all these children. this is really playing out in realtime here at immigration court as the federal court system figures out how to handle
this. >> gabe, earlier this week when we talked you were on the bridge on the other side of the border in mexico with migrant families trying to go to a port of entry. waiting because the delays were far more extensive than anyone had ever claimed or supposedly permissible. has that cleared up at all from what you're hearing on the other side of the border? >> reporter: what we can tell you is we were in mexico over the last several days. we had seen a handful of families to more than a dozen families seek asylum. some said they had been waiting for three, four, five days. dhs continues to say anyone that's legally trying to get into the u.s. and applying asylum that's how you're supposed to do it. those parents will not be separated from their child. the problem was that because the system is so over loaded, these people were being pulled, as the rain picks up here, they were
being told there was no room and they had to keep waiting. they had to wait more than the 72 hours that dhs saying they would be processed. one o those families was there with her young son, three years old. she was able to be sent for processing. we haven't gotten an update. it was another young mother who had two children. at last check yesterday she was still waiting to get into the processing center to be able to apply for asylum. still in that sense there's still a lot of questions on how long it will take for some of these immigrants to be processed for asylum. because of that uncertainty, some of them are making the decision to cross over into the u.s. illegally. those that do and pked up are charged here in immigration court but now there's the question if you do have a child,
will prosecutors go after the charges? that's playing out in realtime. >> in miserable weather as well. it's been raining and flooding for days. they're been eating pizza and water. try to get in out of rain. here in washington, jay johnson served as homeland security secretary. it's a mess. can you sort through what effect this executive order hastily written, not necessarily legally vetted against the president of the ruling which is a 20-year precedent. how does all of this work and how do we determine what is happening to these families? >> we have to start with the
larger picture. the political crisis for trump has resolved itself but the humanitarian crisis, as you're reporting, notes in central ameri america, on the southern border, for these migrants still exist and will continue to exist as long as we do notelp central american countries address the unli underlying povertiepoverties. it's basic human nature to flee a burning building. as long as those underlying conditions exist, we'll be dealing with these problems for a long time and banging our head against the wall about the proper way to secure or border. it is the case, as many people have pointed out, illegal m migration is a fraction of what it used to be.
my second year in office we saw the second lowest number of apprehensions. >> people scared off by his rhetoric during the campaign. >> correct. lesson learned. illegal migration reacts to perceived changes in enforcement policy. it reverts back longer to the longer term trends giving the underlying conditions, the so called push factors in central america. we did a number of things, includi
including working with mexico. we also expanded family detention which was, i freely admit controversial. >> you got a lot of heat for it. >> we got a lot of heat for it. there were just 95 beds out of a total for 35,000 equipped to handle families. we expanded that capability. i'll freely admit i made a big deal out of it so people could see what we were doing. it was not capture and release. not catch and release. then we were confronted with this flores case. it was a settlement reached in 1997 to deal with unaccompanied minors. it was an agreement with the government that an unaccompanied child would not be held in detention and would only be held in a licensed, non-secure facili facility. the judge expanded that settlement to include families,
which we opposed and we were surprised at that ruling. that's what this administration is dealing with now. if you read the executive order very carefully, the president is saying it's now our policy to keep families together but we need to go back to this judge and get her to agree to change the terms -- >> which hasn't happened? >> it depends on the judge's permission. >> what do we think is happening to the 2300 kids who are not -- >> still out there. >> somewhere in what is being described in baby jails. we don't know what kind of facilities they are. they won't let us in. they won't let us take pictures. what will happen to these kids? >> first of all, it's a basic fact transparency is always better. sooner or later it's going to leak. somebody will find photographs. it's going to get out there any way. i learned from the 2014
experience that transparency is better. there's 2300 displaced from their parents but there's also 11,000 in hhs shelters. the's 11,000 unaccompanied kids who came here without their parents and some 40 or 50,000 migrants per month coming to our southern border now at the current rate. we've got to focus on these kids. we've got to focus on, in my opinion, helping them find their parents. >> how do we do that in we did not know until i had governor cuomo on yesterday that some of the kids seen in harlem at 12:45 a.m., six little girls, were part of several hundred that are now in new york state. they are all over the country. >> my personal view is that the government separated them from their parents. the government ought to work to reunite them with their parents. the public is very interested. there's a lot the public can do. there's a lot the legal
community can do in law firms like my own. there's a tremendous amount of interest in helping these kids and working pro bono. i hope the public stays engaged and interested in this issue. the president signed that executive order yesterday but the crisis is not over by anywe your successors gave at the white house last week is she didn't know what hhs was doing. dhs, homeland security, doesn't kn what hhs is doing in terms of taking care of the kids. they are assigned different numbers depending on who is doing the intake. how will the government help them find their parents? >> there's a little extraordinary. >> that she would not know. >> we had the spike in 2014. we were working daily with hhs to make sure we had a seamless process. >> let me interrupt you. the president has tool tld the
in the cabinet room that first lady is at the texas border. this is an extraordinary instance where lania trump is representing her husband and the administration. this is a role she has not taken in any nature. she's been a very retiring first lady compared to her predecessors. she is now at the texas border, according to the president. she's going to be visiting children and visiting parents and we would assume trying to show the more compassionate side of this administration after what has been by all accounts, republican as well as democratic and the republicans on the hill whom i've spoken to, a political disaster for this administration with the midterms looming. >> i'm glad she's there. those of us in washington who make policy need to also spend time at these facilities with these families, with these kids. i think i made 12 trips to south
texas in my three years as secretary of homeland security. my wife and i spent mother's day, 2014 in mcallen, texas and seeing these kids, talking to these kids and mothers abouthy they came here and what motivated them in first place. it was always the same answer. yes, i heard your message on the dangers of the journey but the journey was less dangerous than staying in guatemala or honduras because the gangs were going to kill my son. >> kristen welker at the white house. reacting to the news that first lady is at the border in texas.
that was followed by a statement from carter with all the living first ladies joining in in statement that was a little bit more ambiguous. i think someone got a new statement from first lady. if you can hand that to me right now. i want to share that with our viewers. this is a statement from the communications director on behalf of the first lady. she's arrived in texas to take part in briefings and tours at non-profit social services for children who have entered the united states illegally and the processing center. her goals are to thank law enforcement and social service providers for hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efts inin reunite children with their families. >> reporter: this is hugely significant development. she's been deeply invested in this issue. someone who has made it her platform to work to make the
lives of children better but also obviously as a mother. something that's touched her personally. based on our reporting she's been speaking to president trump privately behind the scenes about this very issue, about those deeply disturbing images of families being separated at the border. those cries that we heard from children in the moments after they were separated from their families and effectively the message she was sending to her husband behind the scenes has been he has the power to change this. he needs to do something to change this. based on our reporting she's been instrumental of getting him to the place of signing that executive order yesterday. it's also significant because remember she did have what the white house described as a procedure and she was in the hospital for a matter of five days. she wasn't allowed to travel. she had gone to new york since then but this is really her first extensive trip and it's clear that she is not only there as an ambassador for this
president, for this white house, but also doing a little bit of political damage control. this has been a political crisis for this white house. the fact that she's there on the ground presumably will be meeting with families impacted first hand by all of this. she is sending signal that the white house does care about the human suffering that we've all been reporting on for several days now. >> you're seeing pictures from mcallen, texas from the social services. thaths the travel pool traveling with the first lady. this was all done in secret. there was advance notice to some network people in washington and print people as well. the news media was sworn to secrecy as these secured trips are taken. she's now in mcallen, texas. we expect to see her shortly. jeh johnson, you've been in the cabinet. you've seen it all as part of the obama campaign as well back in 2008.
this is a very dramatic step for fairs l a first lady who has not done very many trips on her own, if at all. >> i'm glad she's there. i think one of the things she will discover when you talk to these women and children. when you look into their eyes you'll see desperate people who want a better life. you won't see, for the most part, you won't see people who are criminals. you'll see women who want a better life for their children. literally clinging to their children who have contemporary d -- carried them. >> we're talking about thousands of miles. >> struck by the physical strength that must go into a woman carrying her child that whole distance and how they are desperate for a better life in the united states. >> what we understand is there you can see that she is at this
center. it's a lutheran center we're told. non-profit. she's accompanied by the hhs secretary. craig melvin, i believe this is an hhs facility as well. you're done there in mcallen. please join us. >> reporter: that's our thinking right now. the other big story along the border for the past two days and we're told this will likely affect the first lady's travel in and around mcallen. the torrential rains and floodiflood ing that this part of texas has been dealing with for the past few days has been significant. it rain non-stopped for nine hours yesterday. it's rained for the better part of four hours today. we're being told there is some concern on the ground. that her travel plans woulde
affected simply because several of the roads, some of the main thoroughfares are flooded. the airport is about 15 minutes from where we are right now. i think we've got this statement from the communications director that's been handed to me. >> we already shared that. we're seeing pictures of her now. she's got secretary with her. craig, if you just stand by for a moment. jacob has just joined us by phone. jac jacob, have you been to that center or do you know the conditions? >> do we know the name of the center? >> lutheran social services center. it's for children only and run by hhs.
>> that's not one of the centers i went to. i went in brownsville with the 1500 young boys ages 10 to 17. there are religious organizations like the ones you mentioned that do take care of these young, unaccompanied minors and now children that were separated from their parents. what i'm most struck by about the first lady's visit is she will have a chance to look into the eyes of the young people that her husband has demonized and these are people that have been affected directly by this policy and if she's in the south texas area she will run into young children, maybe tender age children, little kids and inf t infants that have been taken away from their parents as a direct result of this policy. as we talk about this, as she's on the ground there, there's 2500 children who are still separated from their parents and
who don't know when they are going to see their parents again or if they will see their parents again. it's a big remaining unanswered question as the how those children, if they get grandfathered out of those detention centers, shelters is what they are called and reunited with their parents. perhaps the first lady's visit will affect what happens with those children. >> what we're seeing now craig and jacob, if you'll stand by with me. this is the director of the center. he's briefing the first lady. let's listen. >> one of the things we have experienced, mrs. trump is the evidence demonstrates for any child to be successful, whether you're child or my child or the child in texas or here at new hope is we need to surround them with the five markers of success. that's safety, life slls,
health and health would be emotional health, spiritual health as well as physical health. education. you'll see at our charter school later and vocation so every child has the opportunity to live out his or her call. we appreciate you to be here today. we're honored to show you our shelter. it's a shelter that cares for 58 children. the children who come from very difficult journeys and we treat them like our own children. with that, i'm going to allow the secretary to say a few words and to introduce our special guest. >> thank you so much for welcoming us here. i want you to know how very grateful we are at the department of health and human services for the work for the children. we're delighted to hear more about it and hear more about
your sense of passion and what you do. we're privileged to be with you. i'm delighted the first lady is spending today with us and we're going to get to meet your children and meet you and hear from you. thank you very much. mrs. trump. >> thank you so much for having me here today. i'm glad i'm here. i'm looking forward to seeing the children. first of all, let me recognize each of you and thanking you for what you do for your heroic work that you do every day and what you do for those children. we all know they are here without their families. i want to thank you for your hard work, your compassion and your kindness. i'm here to learn about your facility and which i know you
housed children on a long term basis. i also like to ask you how i can help to these children to reunit with their families as quickly as possible. thank you again for all what you do. thank you as well. thank you for you what do. thank you very much. if you could say a few words. >> absolutely. thank you for being here. >> as you heard the first lady saying she wanted to thank the workers there, the social workers, doctors at the lutheran medical center. the lutheran social services center for their work, for their compassion, for their kindness. she's there to listen and learn more about the children. this is a contracted, non-profit
lutheran center. contracted by hhs. jeh johnson you've seen this. these are very expensive contracts that are now taking place. this is something that is not run by hhs. they are run by the lutheran social services. >> it's a private contractor hired by hhs. hhs does not have the onnel to run an operation this large for 11,000 kids. i've been in these facilities myself a number of times. it's 24/7. it's a school. it's a cafeteria. it's a playground. it's basically a way for these kids to live. >> this is very different from the kids in cages on concrete floor with mylar plan kblankets. >> correct. the infrastructure for the boarder patrol is not equipped for dealing with young children. when we constructed these things years ago was for the single adult male coming from mexico.
it was not for the women and children. >> what's the youngest child that you encountered? what was the age level from which you would separate children from parents? >> well, as you know, we did not as a policy or practice separate children from their parents. >> unless a violent criminal parent who is in a different -- >> if there was some health issue or danger issue. you see kids that were newborns. >> let's hear more about what melania trump is asking. >> that's great. three of them. those children, how many times they speak with their relatives or families per week, for example? >> well, the children are allowed to communicate with their family twice a week. they get a ten-minute phone call. first we have to ensure the
persons they are contacting are indeed their families. there's a process. they have to follow our policies and regulations and make sure that we positively identify that the persons they are communicating with are their family. that could be through verification of birth certificate or identification. they do communicate with their families. >> so when the children come here, what kind of stage, physical and mental stage they come here? what you would say the percentage how they come here? >> usually the great majority are guatemalaan. it's a higher percentage rate. they are very distraught in the sense they don't know where they are at. they are thinking they will continue in the process of processing them and when they see the environment and see the other kids and see the yard,
they start relaxing. the first 24 hours are crucial for us. making sure that we get them the basic needs, showers, clothing, foot and before we even start the assessment. within those 24 hours our managers in charge of doing a brief update as to what's going on with them that way we can address it immediately. then eventually every department takes a turn to be able further assess. it's a process. >> they are very happy and love to study. they love to go to school. >> absolutely. >> absolutely. when the children first get here, there's a process. they go through an orientation. they go through a 24 hour orientati orientation. this is where we get as much information as we possibly can from the children to assess and make sure we're not missing
anything. if there's any medical need, mental health issues that needs to be addressed we bring them in and take after they do an orientation, they go through several orientations. they will go through the shelter. they will go through case management orientation and go through clinical orientation. they get an understanding of their current placement and this is to inform them and keep them a as calm and possible as reassure them they are in a safe place. they will be well taken care of here. they don't have anything to worry about. now they are in a safe environment. free from abuse. every someday is something new with the children. we provide a lot of structure here. during the monday through friday schedule they attend class.
we try to educate them. we try to assimilate them to what the public school education system is going to be like. we also integrate recreation nag actibasi -- basic recreational activity and spiritual care. this is their home. they refer to these as shelters but it's really a home for the children. their bedrooms are their bedrooms. as you'll see, the children and the smiles on their faces. you'll hear them giggle. it's fantastic. the staff that we have heefr, we have a tremendous passion for working with these children. and we see them as if they were our own. we do maintain boundaries and we
follow all our policies and guidelines. just the passion that is there in working with these children, ensuring they are safe and ultimately reunifying them with their parents. >> how long is the time that somebody spend here until they are reunited with their family? >> right now we have 42 to 45 days. it's not an extended stay. we're always following our policies and procedures and guidelines as part as reunifications for the children. the average length of stay is 42 to 45 days. >> there's some occasions where some children do not have anybody to go back to. those situations they are further assessed by the legal service provider that can help
identify if they qualify for some type of legal relief and eventually some children will move onto refugee status and not unaccompanied children. again it's few and far between but we do have that process where some children do not have anybody to go to, whose families have been killed, murdered and just different very tragic situations and hopefully when you get to see some of the children, a couple of children, you'll see that there's not hope for them to go back to a country that they are leaving. we getspectrum. we have kids that come into custody and reunified rather quickly if everything is in order. we have some children that unfortunately, and fortunately stay within the system a number of years until they qualify for refugee status and move onto our sister program.
>> these children, most of them come here alone without parents? >> the majority of our children. they are unaccompanied and were detained by dhs and border patrol for the majority. that's a big part of who we are and who we work with. >> they are between 12 and 17 years old, right? they kind of understanding and know where they are. >> yes. >> they're not young, young children. >> yes, that's correct. >> do you have the capability to take care of younger children here? younger than 12? >> our state license does allow us to take children up until as young as six but for the current census right now we are asked to stay within the 12 to 17 range. >> you often time will place younger children in our foster
homes. >> can you explain that process how you do that? >> at the time of detention or apprehension we work closely with our partners over at homeland security. they identify young children from 0 to 5 years old. we have a series of network of foster homes throughout the united states that are licensed in that particular state to work with children from 0 to 5 years old. it's family setting that these kids work in and the same standard applieapplies. we assess them for any medical need or any serious complication where we may have to use doctors, hospitals in that situation. we get every type of child in our custody. somebody who is non-mobile, non-verbal to somebody whose mom
may have parished. those kids are taken care of. very special circumstances and throughout the united states also. >> we have foster care programs in corpus christi as well as el paso and currently serving around 100 children in those programs. >> thank you so much. i'm looking forward to meeting the children and tour the facility. thank you very much again for what you do. thank you. >> we'll go and wait -- >> they are about to go on a tour. melania trump says she want to meet the children. jeh johnson is with me. the children are between 12 and 17. they are licensed to take children as young as six but they do not. there are other facilities that take children from 0 to 6. all of this is contracted out by
hhs. this is a big new mandate for hhs. washington post matching what chris hays reported earlier that discretion is being shown in these cases where migrant adults are not being charged if they are accompanied by children. >> right. i'm not surprised at that. i think there was some discretion going into the prosecution decision even before yesterday's announcement. i think this deserves a little context. the way th has traditionally worked is families, unaccompanied children are a i apprehended at the border control. they are brought to facilities where they are processed. they are interview and processed for health concerns.
that's how it's supposed to work. for the unaccompanied kids. >> what we also heard melania trump ask is how often they can speak with their parents. the director said the parents, the adults are vetted to make sure they are the custodial parent and can have conversations twice a week with their parents. jacob, you have some context for this kind of facility compared to the facilities you were in mcal enalen and brownsville. >> reporter: according to the pool here, six of children in this facilities of the 58 were separated from their parents. the first lady didn't really get into specifics about those children. i'm curious if she will meet those children while in there because those children wouldn't be afforded the same consideration as far as getting in touch with their parents especially if their parents are in some kind of penal
institution, a jail as a result of being charged, prosecuted for entering the country on a federal misdemeanor crime. the inclement weather reversed the order she's planning to do this trip. she planned to visit two facilities first. i think she's in for a bit of an unpleasant surprise if she does continue onto that next location. that's where i saw with my own eyes and i would imagine jeh johnson saw where the children now separated are sitting in an area alone playing by themselves over seen by a guard that works for a security contractor because those are children separated from their parents. it's very likely that some of those children are still in that facility today. >> we just also point out that there wads announcements
overnight that the pentagon will create tent cities for the intake of some of these other kids. that lawyers are going to be sent as rachel maddow reported sent from dod to help prosecute some of these cases. joining us now is the former acting director of u.s. immigration and customs enforcement during the obama administration. john, your take of what you're witnessing here which looks like a nice elementary school anywhere in the usa. >> reporter: i think what we're seeing is a lack of planning. as secretary johnson knows you cannot adopt a radical policy shift without exteiv planning, without extensive budgeting and logistics. we're facing are the children going to are reunited with their family. the reason the administration can't answer that is because they never worked out the who, what, when and where before they implemented this. regardless of what you think about this policy change, it can
e if he cfe effecutate something like this without good solid planning. >> we have seen so many conflicting statements from the secretary of dhs, now the justice department is saying that wasn post report about a change in policy, about prosecuting adults who come with their children is not correct. we don't know whether that is just the washington post was speaking to someone in the agency. i want to ask you also jer about kirsten nielson and the way she's exceeded to this policy and failed to explain it properly to the public. >> well, i hesitate to criticize my successor. the job is tough enough without criticism from your predecessor except i've been out spoken about separating children from their parents.
it's incumbent upon cabinet officials, the president to explain with great clarity exactly what we're doing. that's been a challenge for this administration. one moment they're saying this is to be a strong deterrent. another moment they're saying it's not a deterrent. there's no policies separating families. >> blaming it on the obama administration, plblaming it on democrats and saying it can't be changed by executive order and two hours later it can be changed. >> we're a nation of borders. we're a sovereign nation. we don't have open borders. we can't have open borders. we have to enforce our immigration laws and we have to do that in a humane way. illegal migration is a fraction of what it used to be. it's women and children from central america which makes for a much more difficult, challenging environment. we in the obama administration
did our best to deal with this problem. we had med results. we had some success. we had our challenges clearly. this administration is finding out that if you miss treat kids, you mistreat families there's going to be a sharp public reaction. we were determined to try to keep families together to the greatest extent possible. unless you address the underlying conditions in central america, we'll be dealing with this problem for a long time. >> where we don't have dip employlow mats, ambassadors, top veteran diplomats. in about two minutes we're going to hear from the president. among the things he's said is to blame mexico. again, beating up on our southern neighbor for not doing enough. let's pick up on something that jeh johnson was saying. how difficult will it be to
reunite kids with their parents once they're dispersed to foster care, with no disclosure to where kids are and no ability for the media to go in and verify. >> it's going toe incredibly difficult. especially after the parents been deported. there's no system in place for the u.s. that tracks the location of a parent after being deported. you have a thicket of complex laws. once a child is put in the foster care system, they can be in there for years. guardians are appointed for them. parental rights are stripped. now you have some third party representing the best interest of the child who say it's not in the best interest to be sent back to guatemala even if the parent is there. you might need a junl to hear from the parent to hear they are fit or if the child will be
placed in conditions that are safe. these are the things none of which were thought about. this isn't a simple decision. if you want to tackle the problem, i couldn't agree with seety johnson, you can't treat mexico as the enemy. you have to treat them as the partner. there's a lot that can be done to stem the flow. >> at this point let me say the president's tape, i believe the tape is about to play, is that dire correct? let's join the comments from the president in the cabinet room. >> hello, everybody. thank you very much for being here. it's cabinet meeting and we have plenty of things to success and plenty of success. we've had a tremendous amount of success.
we're working on immigration which has been going on for many years. we have come up with a lot of solutions but we have democrats that don't want to approve anything because that's probably they think bad for the election that's coming up. there's a lot of people suffering and that's unfortunate. unrelated and before we get into that, the new employment claims recently out just yesterday show that we have the lowe esest levn nearly half a century. that's something that's incredible statistic. half a century. that's long time. the economy is booming. it's doing really well. we're re-negotiating trade deals. we're doing well in those trade deals. taking a little period of time. we put tariffs on certain countries and certain industries where it's been very unfair to the united states. our treasury is taking in
billions of dollars. these other countries are coming along that have not treated us well and negotiating very vigoro vigorously. lots of good things are happening. this should have been taking care of a wlolong time before m administration came into being. for 25, 30 years nobody ever looked at trade deals. they are out of control how bad they are. we're going to make them good. we're going to make it fair for both countries and for which ever country we're dealing with. there's plenty of them. they're all d. there's nothing good. my administration is also acting swiftly to address the illegal immigration crisis on the southern border. loopholes in our immigration laws all supported by extremists open border democrats. that's what they are. they're extremist open border democrats. you look at nancy pelosi and
chuck schumer. they needed borders for security just a short while ago. hillary clinton, we must have borders. people penetrate our borders. t our country. now all of a sudden they're big, open border people. it's a whole big con job. people are suffering because of the democrats. so we've created and they've created and let it happen, a massive child smuggling industry. that's exactly what it's become. traffickers, if you think about this, human traffickers, are making a fortune. it's a disgrace. these loopholes forced the release of alien families and minors into the country when they illegally cross the border. since 2014, alone, nearly 200,000 uncompanied alien minors have been released into the united states as a result of
democrat-backed loopholes, including catch and release, which is one of the worst. you catch them and then release them. might as well save your time, don't bother catching them. this is what we're stuck with. they're the worst immigration laws in the history of the world. the whole world is laughing at the united states and they have been for years. these alien minors were separated and sent all the way up here alone, but they really came up with coyotes. you know what a coyote is. not good, these are not good people. they were sent up here with human traffickers. because the democrats supported policies have allowed this to happen. democrats also refuse to fund the personnel the bed space, the resources that we need to house the minors. now they want us to take care of the minors and that's fine, but they don't want to give us the money to take care of them because the worst everything
looks they think the better they're going to do with respect to the blue wave, which is turning out, frankly, to be a red wave if you look at the polls. i think we're going to have a red wave, not a blue wave. they want us to take care of bed space and resources and personnel and take everybody d, you k like let's run the most luxurious hotel in the world for everybody. but they don't want to give us the money. so you can ask them about that. we have to house these minors and house them safely and, frankly, we have to house them and we should be taking good care of them and then return them back home. that's what we have to do. but every time we ask for resources the democrats say no. they say no to everything. they're obstructionists. they think that's good politically. for them, i think it's bad politically. we'll see. can democrat and court ordered loopholes prevent family
detention and lead to family separation. no matter how you cut it. i signed a very good executive order yesterday but that's only limited. it leads to separation ultimately. i'm directing hhs, dhs and doj to work together to keep illegal immigrant families together during the immigration process and reunite these previously separated groups. but the only real solution is for congress to close the catch and release loopholes that have fueled the child smuggling industry. the democrats are causing tremendous damage and destruction and lives by not doing something about this. and they know that. they know that better than anybody up there with a pen. if we don't close the loopholes there's no amount of money or personnel in the world to address the crisis. very serious crisis. it's been going on so long. this isn't trump administration. you look back at 2014 during the
obama administration, they have pictures that were so bad, they had a judge that said it was inhumane the way they were treating children. take a look at some of the court rulings against the obama administration. they talked about inhumane treatment. i ran them. i looked at them. they're all over the place. inhumane treatment. treating them terribly. we have a situation where some of these places, they really are runng them well and i give a lot of credit to secretary nielsen and all of the people that have worked. it's the nicest that people have seen, but it's still something that shouldn't be taking place. my wife, our first lady, is down now at the border because it really bothered her to be looking at this and to seeing it as it bothered me, as it bothered everybody at this table. we're all bothered by it. but we need two to tango.
we have 51 votes in the senate. we need 60, unfortunately, because we have the ridiculous filibuster rule. so we need 60. and i think i'll get four or five or six fro setors, frankly, running in states where i won by 25, 30, 40 points with mike. and i think we'll get six senators, maybe seven, that still doesn't get us to 60. there's nothing you can do to get there. people don't understand that. when we have a majority in the senate, we have a majority by one, but we need ten votes. so we need ten potentially, we need ten democrats. not going to get they're told by schumer and pelosi, don't do it. because we want to see if we can pick up seats. they don't care about the children, they don't care about the injury, they don't care about the problems, they don't care about anything. all they do is say obstruct and let's see how we do. because they have no policies that are any good.
they're not good politicians. they have nothing going. all they're good at is obstructing and they generally stick together. i respect them for that. that's aboutave no ideas, no no the democrats. all they can do is obstruct and stay together and vote against and make it impossible to take care of children and families and to take care of immigration. we should be able to make an immigration bill that can really solve the problem, not just this -- this is one aspect of it. this is one very important, but small aspect of it. we should be able to do a bill. i'd invite them to come over to the white house any time they want, this afternoon would be good, after the cabinet meeting would be good, they are invited officially, i will let you do the inviting, let the press do the inviting, but we have to do something about immigration in this country. for 50 years and long before that it was a disaster. but over the last 20, 25 years, it's gotten worse.
every time they write a rule or regulation, it makes it worse, not better. we can solve this problem. we have to hire thousands of judges, no country in the world is hiring judges like that. they hire border people. you can't come into the country. mexico, by the way, is doing nothing for us. nothing. they have the strongest immigration laws, they can do whatever they want and keep people out of mexico. they have a 2,000 mile journey up mexico. they walk through mexico like it's walking through central park. it's ridiculous. mexico does nothing for us. so then when people say why are you being tough with nafta and i am being tough, it's a terrible deal for the united states, mexico's making $100 billion a year off us and the horrible nafta deal. i am being tough. one of the reasons i'm being tough, because they do nothing for us at the border. they encourage people, frankly, to walk through mexico and go into the united states. because they're drug
traffickers, they're human traffickers, they're coyotes. we're getting some real beauties. mexico is doing nothing for us except taking our money and sending us drugs. and doing nothing. they could solve this problem in two minutes. you wouldn't even have to do anything. but they don't do it. they talk a good game, but they don't do it. so we'll see how that all comes out. it will be interesting to see. so with that i'll end saying we had a tremendous success in north korea. we continue to work on that. mike pompeo has been fantastic, john bolton, working together with mike has been fantastic. i don't even know where -- there he is. thought he might have gone back to north korea. he's spent so much time in north korea. surprised to see you here. but, i think i can speak for both of us in saying it's been an incredible experience. the relationship is very good.
they've stopped the sending of missiles, including ballistic missiles, they're destroying their engine site, they're blowing it up. they've already blown up one of their big test sites. it was actually four of their big test sites. the big thing is, it will be a total denuclearization, which is already starting to take place and i undetand, mike, that they've already sent back or in the process of sending back the remains of our great heros who died in north korea during the war. and that's already in the process of coming back. plus, as you all know very well, we got back our hostages, three hostages who are right now living very happily with their families and we're very happy about that. we've made tremendous frog gress with respect to north korea, even since i last spoke to you. what we agree to do is have a meeting -- i know some of the
media says they agree to meet. anybody would have agreed to meet and it would not have been possible for past administrations to have met in the way that we met. this was an incredible, important meeting, all over asia, that ey're in love with t united states because of what we've done. japan, i spoke to prime minister abe, he's so thrilled, he doesn't have rockets going over japan. that makes him very happy, general, you know that, right. he's thrilled not to see rockets going over japan. plenty of them sent right over japan. he said i want to thank you. because what you've done is incredible. no more rockets going and there is thought of it. things can change, personalities can change, maybe end up with conflict, maybe you don't, but the relationship that mike has and i have with chairman kim and his group is a very good one, very strong one and i think it's going to lead to tremendous success. the document we