Kellyanne Conway on the President’s Immigration Plan
May 16, 2019
RUSH: We are waiting on Kellyanne Conway to reach us. As we wait, let me give you a little briefing as to what the Trump immigration plan is. Now, again, the summary I have here is from the New York Times. This could be some fake news. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to have Kellyanne here to explain it. But apparently the fundamental aspect… Ah, she’s there.
Let me just say, the fundamental aspect — or one of the fundamental aspects — of the Trump immigration plan is to change the emphasis on skills and abilities of immigrants over family ties. And this, by the way, is a legal immigration proposal and reform. It’s not specifically about illegal. We now welcome to the program, welcome back Kellyanne Conway. Thank you for joining us. Great to always have you here.
CONWAY: To the one and only Rush: Thanks for having me today.
RUSH: Okay, so, what is this? Why now, what is this, and how does it differ from what people think you’re dealing with when it comes to immigration? Most people think you’re dealing with illegal, but this is not specifically proposals to deal with that, right? This is legal immigration reform.
CONWAY: Partly. There are two major pushes today that the president will emphasize in the Rose Garden in about an hour from now, Rush. The first is full — absolute within full and final — border security. The second is a modern merit-based immigration system. Remember, it’s this president who has taken to the briefing room, the Rose Garden, his only prime time Oval address to the White House. He’s gone to the border, he went over to Congress, he’s been everywhere talking about how we must first secure the borders.
He has never stopped talking about in the four years since he began running for president, that we have a humanitarian and security crisis at the border. I’m happy to tell you that according to none other than the Washington Post/ABC poll, 17% more Democrats now call what’s happening at the border a quote, “crisis,” from January to April. So it’s significant that public opinion is starting to keep pace with a problem the president has identified from the beginning. But what’s different here is we’re not listening to politicians in Washington and what they say they need at the border.
We took the case to the professionals at the border. They’re saying they need a self-sustaining, non-politicized Customs and Border Protection system that allows them to raise fees and fines and allows them to direct those collections into a fund that keeps the border and trade infrastructure strong. We need more technology, more canines, more immigration judges. It’s all there — and, of course, the president has been very successful in getting some of this wall built. You probably saw the story last week.
The Pentagon expects 256 miles of border wall soon, according to acting director Patrick Shanahan. The president could just call it a day and run a victory lap today and say, ‘Told you so. Nancy and Chuck said it was a manufactured crisis in January. Now, many in their party are saying, ‘No hold on. I’ve seen the pictures. I’ve seen the data. Our nonpartisan career professionals say we will have one million — one million — illegal aliens coming to the border this year alone. We’ve had 100,000 the last couple of months, each month alone.'”
So we need to take the politics out of border security, give them the tools they need, and that includes the barrier, that includes the wall. But it also will combat visa overstays, it will also end the abuse of our humanitarian laws. How in the world do these Democrats live with themselves, Rush, pretending that they care about these families and these children? These girls the ages of my daughter being pushed up with birth control for that treacherous, dangerous journey northward — and then when they get to the border, we have to test them.
We have to give them pregnancy tests. We’re doing an injustice to legitimate asylum seekers by being forced to let go of the family units into the interior of our country, never to be seen again, many of them. We want to make sure that those who are giving us a credible claim of asylum have that claim processed and that they’re not being crowded out by people who are recycling children and lying about why they’re coming here. Congress could have done this!
Congress has the authority — and I would tell you the responsibility, Rush — to have done simple things like fix the Flores decision, which makes us release kids within 20 days into the U.S. And they could have fixed the TVPRA [Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act] which would have really reduced the number of people that are being recycled, because adults know if you hold the hand of a child you have a better chance of coming through. So that’s border security. The president has never left that.
I can tell you as a person who runs point in the White House for the president on the drug crisis, if we were talking about just the drugs alone, it would justify what he wants to do with barriers and the wall and border security. It would justify it alone. Ninety percent of the heroin comes over the southern border, 300 Americans die from that each week. The fentanyl or opiate crisis is now really a fentanyl crisis. Tiny little grains are a lethal dose pouring over the southern border. It’s Chinese fentanyl. It’s coming through Mexico increasingly.
Second: A modern merit-based immigration system. And you are right. This shifts from low-skill to high-skilled immigration. Why? Because in our country, under our current system in the U.S., approximately 12% of green cards are allocated on the basis of skill. Over 60% are allocated based on family units, and it’s often extended family. In Canada, it is the exact opposite, where over 60% are based on skill, and a much lower percentage — one-third of that or one-fourth of that — based on family ties.
So we’re going to safeguard immediate families, prioritizing immediate family over distant relatives for legal immigration. It also offers a renewable nonimmigrant visa for parents. But we also have to promote national unity. This president’s plan is designed to attract immigrants who love America, share our values, want to contribute to society. We want to make sure that those industries that need workers have them, but we want to protect American workers and help raise the wage for everyone.
Look at what’s happened in the Trump committee, Rush. We have 7.5 million available jobs. Come here legally and get one! We don’t need to force states and cities and employers to raise the minimum wage. It’s now over 22 bucks an hour naturally because of good economic policies, but immigration is also a national economic issue. The Democrats are not serious. We have not touched our legal immigration system since 1965.
The people in Congress are never term limited, but their creative, fresh ideas on immigration were long ago term limited. They’re running on the Green New Deal! They want to get rid of cows, gas, cows that produce gas, air travel, all this nonsense, all the while ignoring what’s right in front of their faces, which is kids and their parents trying to get over this border in crowds in sizes like we’ve never seen just in the last couple of months alone.
So this president is going to take his case to the Rose Garden. He will be flanked by people who would benefit from these two prongs. But he’ll also be flanked by a number of members of Congress. And I think Pelosi, to your earlier point — I was listening to your show as I do every day, Rush. I think to your earlier point: Pelosi’s got a big problem on her hands. She has a lot of Democratic legislators who won in 2018 in districts that Trump-Pence carried in ’16 and very well will again in 2020.
They want to know when the heck they’re gonna focus on infrastructure, not impeachment. When they’re gonna focus on immigration, border security, and not the other acronym for BS. And they want to know what they’re doing on drug pricing, what we’re doing to stem the flow of fentanyl and heroin over our southern border, what we’re going to do when we have catch-and-release as our law. So we want due process, but we want it to be more expedited, we want it faster, and we also wanted the rule of law to apply. So that’s really what the president will be talking about, is our American immigration tradition is of hard work and economic contribution.
RUSH: Well —
RUSH: — and it has —
CONWAY: We want families to be here, but the immediate families to be safeguarded, not, you know, your 18th cousin five times removed, which is basically the way most of the green cards are acquired in our country right now as we speak, not based on skill.
RUSH: Well, you’re describing assimilation in a sense, and I know the president from the earliest days of his campaign when talking about immigration, talked about the need for people that want to come here because they love America. They want to be part of America. They want to contribute to it. But here we are in the midst of a presidential campaign.
The Democrat Party is not gonna want to give the president anything, and many of their candidates are running around still bleating about separating children from their families. You referenced that when you mentioned the Flores decision. Which, you know, by the way, could you take just 30 seconds to explain that to people, to explain why the Flores decision is responsible for this so-called separation that occurs at the border?
CONWAY: Yes. It is a 23-year-old court decision, Rush, where we as a nation cannot legally hold children — minor children — over 20 days. So on that 21st day, three short weeks later, we must release them into the interior of the U.S., under law. We cannot keep them to try to process those claims. Now, some of those children are separated because their parents are being detained for other reasons, or they were separated by their parents before they got to the border. That’s an ever-growing percentage as well, where they’re trying to get the children into this country.
They’re not staying with them. They’re self-separating from them. When people hear catch and release, I’m convinced many of them think, “You mean release them back to Mexico or release them back to the Northern Triangle?” That’s not true. And, by the way, we cannot release these minor children back to their home countries if their home countries are not adjacent to the U.S. So that’s the vexing issue now, because for years — for many, many years, Rush — the majority of the aliens coming to the border were single males from Mexico, and it was easy to bring them back to their home countries.
Now you’ve got coming from the Northern Triangle countries. That’s Guatemala and El Salvador, Honduras. What’s happening is, we cannot return them. That’s why Mexico has given us the option of remain in Mexico, which is a safe third passage for them because they have visas. They can work, they have all the humanitarian needs met, while their asylum claims are being processed by the U.S. But I’ll tell you, if anybody — if any of those Democrats — can look me in the eye or can come on your show any time with a straight face and uncracking voice and tell you with certainty they know what happens to every child who comes to this country, they’re lying.
They act like everybody just starts swimming in a big sea of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We don’t know who’s sex trafficked. We don’t know who’s still alive; who’s dead. We don’t know who’s got them in some type of slave labor. We don’t know where they are. Them just saying, “It doesn’t matter, they’ll have a better life here,” is really just rich. But you’re right. They don’t want to do anything. So the president needs to act where Congress refuses to act.
But the Flores decision means that we have one or two or three immigration judges and courts in this country basically making the laws for our entire country because that branch of government that is charged with making the laws, the U.S. Congress, refuses to make the laws. All they have to do is fix Flores. They can do it. And they can also fix the TVPRA, which is an acronym that basically says kids can be… Basically, it’s allowing people to recycle kids, because we’re trying to protect vulnerable populations of minors, and there were articles just last week…
I read two articles about a particular 8-year-old boy from Guatemala being recycled again and again. They’re putting him on a plane and bringing him back over the border so he can come back with a different adult. Our Border Patrol tells us this is what they need. They also need more technology. They need infrared technology.
They need more canines. They need more immigration judges. That’s all in there, though. The president’s border security package has always included those things. The left just wants you to think that the wall is a four-letter word, and they don’t want to hear anything else about it. That includes people like none other than Barack Obama when a senator, Hillary Clinton when a senator, Joe Biden — remember him, Rush?
RUSH: Yeah, yeah.
CONWAY: When a senator, he loved the Security Fences Act. They all loved the Secure Fences Act long before we had a full-blown humanitarian and security crisis at the border. They actually recognize and put their senatorial votes behind something called Secure Fences Act. Now the only thing that’s changed is the crisis at the border has worsened and Donald Trump is president.
RUSH: Kellyanne Conway from the White House is with us. A brief break and we will be back and continue this before you know it, folks.
RUSH: We are with Kellyanne Conway from the White House, and we’re talking about the president’s immigration reform plan that he will be announcing in just a little more than a half hour from now. As I was listening to you, you’re describing what happens to people once they get on this side of our border. They’re here. Presumably we’re talking about people are here legally. But let’s pretend here for a moment we’re down the road a few months or years and we’ve got a serious wall, we have a serious barrier, and people really can’t get in. What do you expect to happen?
Are people gonna continue to try to come and just languish the other side of that border providing photo-ops for people claiming we’re being mean and cruel not letting them in? How are we eventually gonna really get a handle on the idea that if the world could, Kellyanne, they would storm our borders because of, you know, we’re the shining light of the world. We’re the beacon of hope and freedom. We’re the prosperity of the world. Everybody in their right mind from poverty-stricken areas wants to get here, and we can’t take them all no matter what kind of policy we come up with. So where does this eventually end as a benefit or a plus to the United States and how do we keep from being overrun?
CONWAY: Sure. Well, it should shift everyone toward legal immigration. Why not be one of the 33 million-and-counting immigrants who have come here legally, Rush? We are still the world’s most generous nation when it comes to legal immigration since our founding, practically. The fact is that that should shift it because you could still come to America. But our open borders has created this very cruel and ironic and unsustainable system, where people feel like they can jump the line. They don’t even have to get in the line.
They don’t have to do the paperwork. They don’t have to learn how to come here legally. They can just take the chance and come through the border. And they’re being lied to. That’s particularly true of these women and children. They are being lied to, they’re giving over their savings and I would say and sometimes worse to coyotes who are telling them, ‘All you have to do is get there and we’ll get you in.” That just is not the case.
RUSH: Well, isn’t part of the reason for that that there are politicians in some cases from both parties encouraging this for differing reasons?
CONWAY: There are. I think there are people who are encouraging it, and there are worse people looking the other way pretending that this crisis doesn’t exist.
RUSH: Well, that’s true, too, yes.
CONWAY: And it’s really rich to watch some of these same people, Rush, who went down to the border for a photo-op. You know, silly Bill de Blasio. How apt is it that he’s number 23 in the race.? He’ll probably stay at 23. He’s banging on the chain-link fence last year, if you remember. You know, “Let me in! Let me in! Look at this,” and yet he doesn’t have a plan. They don’t have a plan. I’m laying out President Trump’s plan for you, which he will lay out in about a half hour here from the Rose Garden.
Now I’m gonna lay out the Democratic plan for you. Cue the Jeopardy music. (singing) There is no plan. They just scream about DACA here and there. They scream about a separated family here and there. They don’t have a plan. This president was willing to do a deal with them on DACA in January of 2018. He had the press pool in there the entire time, so the whole world watched the entire conversation for one hour —
RUSH: Speaking of that —
CONWAY: — and the Democrats pretended they had $25 billion for a wall. That’s authorized, not appropriated. He was willing to do a deal, but now that’s working its way through the courts. But to your point about coming to this country, we want people to want to be here legally to come to this country and to contribute to this country and to become American. There’s no question. But our immigration system is outdated. We have no idea who comes in when and for how long. We want to grow our economy for higher wages, better jobs, safer communities, but also to protect Americans, and we gotta get these drugs out of our country.
Open borders means that drugs just come to a community near you. We are losing 72,000 Americans a year and increasingly to illicit, non-prescribed opiates — increasingly to illicit drugs like heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and meth — coming over the border through our ports of entry. That’s all because of our open borders policy. The Democrats have turned a blind eye. They pretend they care about people. If they cared about people, they’d at least take a look at this and tell us what they agree with, what they don’t, what we can do together.
RUSH: They care about voters and that’s what they’ve always cared about and they’re exploiting this. I wish we had more time. I’m over time now, but I really… I love it every time we’re able to have a chat here. So, please, any time that you think we can be of assistance or you think we need to know something, let us know.
CONWAY: Rush, I’m a girl in love with policy, so I’ll come on any time to help inform your audience as to what’s going on at the White House. But thank you so much for having me today, and I know the president sends his best. Thank you, sir.
RUSH: Kellyanne Conway.
RUSH: Okay. Caught your breath yet? I don’t think there’s anybody who says more in less time, other than me, of course, complete with facts and analysis than Kellyanne Conway. I mean, she really does define the concept of listening fast, and she’s so good, you don’t need to ask her any questions. I could have taken the half hour off except for the commercial break. That’s why I said she can come back any time.
RUSH: The president’s announcing his immigration reform plan in the Rose Garden today. Again, this is a legal immigration reform plan. Kellyanne Conway said there’s two aspects to it: Really ramping up border security, the wall, what to do about people legitimately claiming asylum. And she put to rest this silly idea that they’re separating families. It’s not happening. She had a great explanation of the Flores decision.
The fundamental change here is the president is going to rework the reasons why we let people in legally to merit-based rather than family related. If your family’s already here and you want to come join them, that has been given weight in the past. Now the weight’s gonna be given to merit, qualifications, ability to work, desire to work, desire to become an American. It’s gonna be a big shift. You can look for the media to trash this like crazy as discriminatory and the usual things.