CHC Chair Lujan Grisham Discusses Family Separation with Bloomberg
Jun 21, 2018
Washington, DC – On June 20th, Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) joined Bloomberg's Julia Chatterley and Julie Hyman to discuss President Trump’s family separation policy and House Republican immigration bills..
Click here to watch a video of her remarks.
On President Trump’s Executive Order:
“I really appreciate the pressure by so many in this country and around the world to highlight that this has been an abhorrent, immoral practice to separate children from their mothers and fathers. Two, it’s clear that the President misled the American people about what he was required to do. But he has created a crisis that I’m still very distraught about.”
On Speaker Ryan’s Immigration Bill:
“This is not a compromise bill. This is the President’s bill that he actually couldn’t get through moderate Republicans to start with…So here’s what we have – it perpetuates this false choice that we must incarcerate and detain families who are seeking asylum; it still commits real harm to children; it doesn’t protect Dreamers. We’ve got a report that shows that 82 percent of Dreamers will not be helped by this bill and it hits all the redlines for the minority caucuses in the Democratic caucus including building a wall, family separation, no-family reunification, interior enforcement. It does everything that we were supposed to be compromising away from and here we are just where we started.”
On Trump’s False Choices: Family Separation vs. Mass Incarceration:
“He is trying to push us to two false choices: that either we separate children or we do mass incarceration. And while his reflection about the pressure, by now having an executive order that I have yet to see. I am still incredibly concerned about what is about to occur on the House Floor tomorrow that’s being perpetuated by the President, which is that we are now going to incarcerate these children with their parents, which goes against every moral and well-being issue that we know is in the best interest of these children.”
On the better way to address this issue:
“There [are] at least three things that they should be doing immediately.
“One, they should restore the funding that was really having an impact in the northern triangle. Most people are fleeing countries where there are no options for them. If your choice is your child being murdered by gangs or drug cartels, or fleeing to the United States, we have to do something about that issue there.
“Two, you have to provide visas on the front end and real asylum mechanisms for people to make their credible fear cases and we aren’t doing that. We are actually keeping you from coming to ports of entry. When you come into a port of entry we are detaining and incarcerating you. That is not how this is supposed to occur.
“And three, as we are catching up we should be hiring and funding immigration lawyers, and judges, and advocates. We know how to create a safe space for families while they make they make these credible allegations of fear so that we know how to process folks. We do not have to build private prisons and incarcerate individuals for legally trying to get asylum in this country and that is what we’re doing.”
On political fallout of Trump’s policy of family separation:
“I do think it did provide voters, right, Americans with real images about what’s occurring. And it flies in the face of the President’s rhetoric about everybody coming from south of the border as being a murderer, gang member, and rapist. When you see a three or four-year-old little boy or girl crying out for their mother or father – these are the images that all too often that members of my caucus and immigration experts have shown us. There are so many other really serious issues that we need to address. It makes it very difficult, I think, now for Republicans to say this was all in the interest of border and national security.
“I want border security; I want the drugs cartels, and gangs and coyotes and violent offenders, who try to use the border to infiltrate those nefarious practices including human trafficking in this country – I want them stopped. But I am not going to hold innocent families as hostages to make that case. We don’t need to do that. And I think they’re going to be asked to explain how they allowed this White House to put them in this corner. I hope maybe today, after this interview and a series of others, Republicans will reject these false choices and this false premise.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.