MSNBC Stacks Panel With Liberals to Trash Sessions, Trump on DACA

MSNBC may have made a big deal a couple of years ago about booting a number of its more far-left hosts as the network tried to shift more to "straight news" programs, but one only need monitor the news network for several hours to observe just how consistently to the left it still is.

In the aftermath of Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing Tuesday morning that the DACA program that benefits many young illegal immigrants will be ended in six months, the left-wing news network immediately hosted several guests who trashed the decision, with guests using such words as "dark day," "shameless," "lie," "black eye for the country." One guest even invoked the "white supremacists that were marching in Charlottesville" as having a similar agenda.

It took from 11:12 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. for the first right-leaning guest to appear who actually voiced support for ending the DACA program as New Jersey Republican Rep. Leonard Lance argued that Congress should now pass a similar plan so that it adheres to the Constitution unlike the Barack Obama executive order.

Over those first three hours, eight left-leaning guests -- not including journalists -- who opposed the Trump administration decision appeared and gave their reactions against the action. There was one Republican guest (strategist Michael Steel who should not be confused with former RNC chair Michael Steele) who did not clearly state his view on the Trump decision, but did fret that "ending it peremptorily would be a humanitarian catastrophe, an economic catastrophe, and a national security catastrophe" as he argued that Congress should pass a replacement.

It was almost 4:00 p.m. before a second Republican appeared, and the first one to voice support for Trump ending DACA as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that it was unconstitutional for such a program to be created by executive order. He took no position on how Congress should respond to the program's end as he merely indicated a willingness to accept whatever Congress legitimately enacts as law.

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At no point in the reactions to Sessions was there any inclusion of the right-leaning view that conservatives should press for more border security measures that would help prevent such a large illegal immigrant problem to exist again. Also absent from the discussions was anyone advocating the argument that rewarding law-breaking encourages more illegal immigration and short-changes those who followed the law to enter the country.

For her part, shortly after noon on her Andrea Mitchell Reports show, liberal MSNBC host and NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell fretted over Sessions using the words "illegal aliens" during her discussion of the DACA move, and dismissed the suggestion hinted at by Sessions that rewarding law-breaking encourages more law-breaking:

ANDREA MITCHELL: Let me just play a little bit more of Jeff Sessions talking about controlling our borders, which has nothing to do with these people who arrived prior to 2007.

[ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS]

MITCHELL: To say nothing of his use of the word "illegal aliens" which is offensive to a lot of people and not correct. But, Michael, the fact is, I don't know what he's talking about when he talks about the border because this has nothing to do with the border.

MICHAEL STEEL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The surge of folks from Central America to the border in 2014 was not related to DACA. I don't think there's a credible argument to be made that it was.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of MSNBC Live with Velshi and Ruhle, which got the liberal ball rolling with all left-leaning guests appearing during their 11:00 a.m. time block:

11:17 a.m. ET

STEPHANIE RUHLE: All right, let's bring in our special panel this morning. Gregory Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association; Jared Bernstein, the former chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden; and Vanita Gupta served in the Obama administration as the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Jared, let's start with you. President Trump -- who touts himself as a pro-business President, a job creator -- has got to answer to Warren Buffett, Mary Barra, Mark Zuckerberg, and 300 other business leaders urging the President not to do this. Why? This isn't just a social issue for them -- this is about business. There's a real economic impact.

JARED BERNSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST OF VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: You're absolutely right, and I'll get into the analysis in a second, but, first, I just have to say this: what we just heard from Jeff Sessions was one of the most shameless presentations I've heard -- and that's saying a lot these days. Some of what he said, especially on the economy as you suggested -- veered from misleading into lie -- and I'll be specific. But if you guys could zoom in on the Statue of Liberty right now, I expect she'd be shedding a tear. This is a dark day for our country.

(...)

ALI VELSHI: This is some of the criticism that the administration has had -- number one, that this wasn't President Obama's job to do, that immigration is the purview of Congress, that Congress should have done it, that they're facing legal challenges from a number of states, so something would have likely happened, Congress should be the ones to fix this. On the face of it, are those criticisms fair?

VANITA GUPTA, FORMER HEAD OF JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION: Look, I think that you saw Attorney General Jeff Sessions make a deeply nativist and political appeal that was being sanitized in legal arguments. I don't buy it for one second. The program -- the DACA program has been in existence for five years. It's been a very successful program. It's, you know, entrepreneurs, university graduates, folks who are really contributing to the economy have come out and are part of this program. And what Jeff Sessions is doing is hiding behind legal arguments. This program has withstood all prior legal challenges to date, and so to suddenly introduce this kind of sanitized legal picture, there's a real reason why the Trump administration put Jeff Sessions up with the Department of Justice's emblem behind it. Don't question for a second, this Attorney General and Stephen Miller, who is on his staff, and Steven Bannon with whom the President has been talking to throughout last week, have had an anti-immigrant agenda --

RUHLE: But put their agenda aside -- do they have a legal -- legally, do they have an argument to make here?

GUPTA: Look, they are preempting a decision. They -- the Justice Department before defended the DACA program. They absolutely could have here. This is a question of prosecutorial discretion and the executive branch having, as they say even in defending the Muslim ban, executive authority over immigration policies. And so they absolutely could have and should have defended the DACA program, and they are being bullied by states attorneys general. This was entirely a creation of the Trump administration, this crisis. They did not have to be -- put themselves into this situation. And now Congress absolutely needs to act. They should not wait for six months. There are 800,000 people's lives at risk, and Congress should pass the Dream Act. The concern now is that the Trump administration is going to try to use the Dreamers as bargaining chips to try to say the Congress won't enact or shouldn't enact DACA legislation to protect those 800,000 without funding the border wall. There is a deeply anti-immigrant agenda that is the same agenda as those of the white supremacists that were marching in Charlottesville. It's a very dangerous and nativist place for this country to be in.

ALI VELSHI: Gregory, we've had a lot of conversations with a lot of people who claim to be representing the administration's perspective here, and they're talking about "get rid of these people." You even heard it in Jeff Sessions's comments that it's hurting American jobs. Now, one of the interesting things that has come out of this announcement, is that they're talking about a six-month delay asking Congress to do something, and the suggestion is that the administration's priorities in which they've said that they're getting rid of bad hombres and drug dealers and gang members, and that's the priority.

RUHLE: Except those aren't the participants in DACA.

VELSHI: Right. So my point is, Gregory, for people who are participants in DACA or those 800,000 people, you deal with this as immigration law, what should they be thinking right now? Should they be worried that they just moved up a list in terms of potential deportees?

GREGORY CHEN, AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION: Well, thank you for having me on the show, and the truth here is that the 800,000 DACA recipients are very much at risk now. They have actually already been at risk over the past several months of the Trump administration, and he has deported people who have received DACA protection. And these are Dreamers.

NB Daily Charlottesville violence Immigration Ending DACA Race Issues Racism MSNBC MSNBC Live Jeff Sessions Ali Velshi Andrea Mitchell Stephanie Ruhle Donald Trump Barack Obama


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