CNN's Cuomo Ignores Facts on Immigration Debate

February 21st, 2017 1:09 PM

On CNN's New Day Tuesday co-host Chris Cuomo expressed concern in an interview with Florida Republican Representative Carlos Curbelo about President Donald Trump's immigration policies. Additionally, Cuomo not only cited inaccuracies about immigration policy presently, but also historically.

This week the Trump administration is expected to roll out both a plan targeting undocumented immigrants and a revised executive order on the temporary travel ban issued hastily last month. The latter measure is expected to still focus on the seven terrorist-haven nations, including Iraq, Iran and Sudan, some of which the US either does not have good relations or does not have relations whatsoever, therefore necessary communication between the US and those countries, for vetting purposes, is almost, if not, non-existent.

In the interview Curbelo expressed optimism over the former, which includes the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects children of undocumented immigrant parents from deportation. "We need to do it all. Border security, Visa and to find way for legal status for those contributing in our country, who aren't violating our laws," he said. "And some of the good news from my perspective in this order is the continuation of DACA. We have many young undocumented immigrants in our community, many people brought to our country and those stay in place."

Cuomo responded and asked Curbelo, "But in terms of the recent enforcement actions are you concerned that some of these principles that you want to make sure are part of our reform are not in place? That some families have been jeopardize and broken up by enforcement actions? Is that something you you’re going to speak out against?"

Curbelo replied that while undocumented immigrants who committed crimes should be deported, families should not be broken up, an answer which apparently took Cuomo by surprise. "It's interesting to hear a Republican state the fact that Obama's administration had been very aggressive, indeed, deportations, he let everybody stay," Cuomo said. "He didn't kick anybody out. So do you think you're going to get a lot of resistance from people when you speak out that way?"

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"The principle that this travel ban must embrace is the main of a threat even though there are these new accommodations made with the travel ban," Cuomo added. 

The CNN host asked, "It doesn't seem to deal with that primary problem that the people that you want to keep out of this country, even if for a little while and for an assumed purpose of figuring out better procedures, there is no major threat that they pose statistically to warrant banning them. That's what the critics will say. How you deal with that?"

Apparently, the outrage from Cuomo and the Left on immigration policy has only been applied to the current administration, whereas under President Barack Obama, there was, if any, a lack of criticism over the former president's immigration stances.

Under Obama, the number of deportations included those turned away at the border. Notwithstanding the number of those denied at the border, deportations hit a decade-low figure in 2015 with just under 235,413 removed, compared to fewer than 410,000 in 2012. Furthermore, families were seperated under Obama.

Finally, in the interview Cuomo seemed to ignore the history of immigration. "The only caution is it's rare where we came to be less inclusive and led to becoming more inclusive," he said. "Congressman, I appreciate your candor on this. We'll see what's in the executive order."

History contradicts Cuomo's assertion. For example, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943 and replaced with the Magnuson Act, which was repealed in 1965.

Here is the February 21 exchange:

New Day


7:05:42 AM – 7:12:37 AM

CHRIS CUOMO: Let's welcome in Carlos from Florida. Let's put up again from the audience. Thank you for joining us as always. This will expand the use of expedited removal proceedings. In other words, tightens laws, orders a surge in immigration judges and detention facilities. Gives more authority to immigration officers, leaves DREAMER program intact. Are you happy with what you expect to see? 

REP. CARLOS CURBELO: Well, Chris, the first thing I will say is this country like any country has the right and responsibility to secure its border and enforce its immigration laws. Now, having said that, we need to do that in a smart and compassionate way and I'll tell this administration the same thing I told the previous administration. If we're going to solve the immigration puzzle in this country, something we've been debating for ten years now, the administration has to engage the Congress and the solution has to come out of the Congress. It can't be only compassion on those. We need to do it all. Border security, Visa and to find way for legal status for those contributing in our country, who aren't violating our laws. And some of the good news from my perspective in this order is the continuation of DACA. We have many young undocumented immigrants in our community, many people brought to our country and those stay in place. That's something else that calls for a solution from the Congress. 

CUOMO: One step sideways and then we'll get back to the travel ban. But in terms of the recent enforcement actions are you concerned that some of these principles that you want to make sure are part of our reform are not in place? That some families have been jeopardize and broken up by enforcement actions? Is that something you you’re going to speak out against? 

CURBELO: Absolutely. And without question there's a tightening here from the policies of the previous administration, but I remind everyone of the previous administration removed more undocumented immigrants more than any other in the history of our country. Now, the way in which we do that has to be smarts. These orders do focus from what I can tell on criminals, people who have committed crimes in our country. Of course, I think most Americans agree that those people should be moved. Now, people who are just here working, contributing, breaking up families, those are the kinds of things we don't want to see. They're not good for our country and not good for the family. 

CUOMO: It's interesting to hear a Republican state the fact that Obama's administration had been very aggressive, indeed, deportations, he let everybody stay. He didn't kick anybody out. So do you think you're going to get a lot of resistance from people when you speak out that way? 

CURBELO: Look. I think in recent years the truth has gotten lost in a lot of our debates. The fact is the Obama administration has deported more people in our history. The fact is we have a much more secure situation at the border than we did ten years ago. Now, do we need to keep going? Absolutely. The American people are tired of this debate. It's been ten years since McCain/Kennedy. We need to act. In order to accomplish this, no administration, whether it's Obama or Trump can act alone, Congress has to be part of the solution. 

CUOMO: Right. And it doesn't have to be one big ominous piece of legislation either, it can be piecemeal. Last thing, Congressman. The principle that this travel ban must embrace is the main of a threat even though there are these new accommodations made with the travel ban. It doesn't seem to deal with that primary problem that the people that you want to keep out of this country, even if for a little while and for an assumed purpose of figuring out better procedures, there is no major threat that they pose statistically to warrant banning them. That's what the critics will say. How you deal with that? 

CURBELO: Chris, first of all, I welcome any improvement from the previous order and I think General Kelly has been very involved in the drafting of this new order. Here in south Florida, we know General Kelly very well. I feel good about that. Having said that, I don’t like these blanket policies. I prefer surgical policies. We should have strong security tests for anyone who wants to come into this country. This policy focuses on these seven countries where, without question, there's a great terrorist threat. But we have people from all over the world trying to get into the United States. Here in south Florida, we know it well. We have people who come in and defraud Medicare with millions and millions and live our country. Focus should be on dangerous people, not different countries. Having said, that I look forward to seeing the new order and hopefully it's a drastic improvement from what was hastily issued some weeks ago. 

CUOMO: What I don't get is if it's still from those same seven countries and going after the refugees, you're still going to be deal being populations that by the most generous estimates pose the most threat to mortality, 1 to 3 million, 1 to 3-plus million in terms of a threat. You have to weigh that against what does it mean to your foreign standing? What does the it mean to propaganda? What does the it mean to those now desperate somewhere else to come to the United States? Is anybody going to balance those interests at any point? 

CURBELO: I understand what you're saying, Chris, and to an extent, I agree with you. Look, South Florida is a community replete with refugees who came to this country who really didn't think they had a choice. Fear their lives. I'm very sensitive to that. I hope this policy is only temporary and we can shift back in the future to a policy that focuses on dangerous people out of the United States no matter where they should be coming from. I do agree these blanket policies don't send a good message and I hope they're only temporary. 

CUOMO: The only caution is it's rare where we came to be less inclusive and led to becoming more inclusive. Congressman, I appreciate your candor on this. We'll see what's in the executive order. Thank you, sir. 

CURBELO: Thank you. Have a good day.