White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert appeared on ABC’s This Week on Sunday to discuss President Trump’s plans for illegal immigration following his order to move National Guard troops to the border. Fill-in host Martha Raddatz deployed the classic liberal media tactics such as selectively picking data points and placing false blame in an effort to trip up her guest. But Bossert held her off and schooled her on the issues.
After Bossert noted the 40-year low in illegal border crossings and knocking those who said it was “good enough,” Raddatz tried to grill him on the need for the National Guard. “But you bring up those lows. 46-year low in apprehension. So what was the crisis here? Why did he have to rush the National Guard in,” she pressed.
“Yeah, so this is the problem with statistics and comparisons,” Bossert quipped. “What I'll throw back to you is the more appropriate comparison, what we briefed the President on was the trends that we're seeing and what we're seeing is a 200 percent increase this month, March, this past month in apprehensions.” Bossert noted that along with that large increase came some 50,000 apprehensions.
Raddatz tried to downplay the increase by arguing it was just the seasonal uptick, but Bossert had a counter for that too, noting: “No, so, that's exactly the point, Martha. The seasonal uptick normally begins next month and what we're doing is taking action now at the appropriate time instead of waiting as others have in the past for that uptick to get in front of us.”
“Did someone in the White House or somewhere in the administration conduct any kind of intelligence assessment on why you needed to do this now,” a skeptical Raddatz scoffed. Bossert explained that the President came to the decision to put the National Guard on the border because of Customs and Border Protection briefings on the issue. “So the over 200 percent increase coupled with the pending seasonal uptick coupled with the caravan that is an annual event all trended in the wrong direction,” he said.
Raddatz also pushed back on President Trump’s claim that women making the journey across the border were being raped in large numbers. “Do you have any sort of government data to back that up,” Raddatz demanded to know.
“That's very difficult to collect because it's Mexican government data and they don't collect it but at this point, well-known practice and don't trust me, trust--” Bossert began before Raddatz interrupted, again demanding to know who specifically knew. He cited “all the people in this trade and by the reporters in Mexico,” including anti-Trump critic Jorge Ramos. “So no government data,” she huffed.
It’s really ridiculous for her to demand such specific answers since the government can’t get exact numbers on rapes here in the U.S. since many go unreported. But according to the left-leaning Amnesty International, “Rape is widespread. It is believed that as many as six out of every 10 migrant women and girls experience sexual violence during the journey.”
Raddatz also tried to put Congress’ failure to codify DACA solely on the President. “It's just the Democrats' problem? (…) President Trump could have accepted a compromise,” she told her guest. But Bossert reminded the ABC host that Trump put a DACA offer on the table that would have put 1.8 million so-called Dreamers on a path to citizenship, something not even Obama offered them.
The relevant portions of the transcript are below, click "expand" to read:
April 8, 2018
9:05:54 AM Eastern [7 minutes 52 seconds]
TOM BOSSERT: I think the guard has always been something we've considered and what we do is look carefully at trend lines. So, there's been a little misreporting on this and see if I can help with that. A lot of the reporting tends to suggest that because we've seen record lows over the last 40 years on an annual basis that's good enough. We've got a leaking boat on our border and we're all quibbling with how much water is in the boat and how fast we're bailing it out. I think at this point the President's been pretty clear enough is enough. Fix the actual problem and stop that leak.
MARTHA RADDATZ: But you bring up those lows. 46-year low in apprehension. So what was the crisis here? Why did he have to rush the National Guard in?
BOSSERT: Yeah, so this is the problem with statistics and comparisons. What I'll throw back to you is the more appropriate comparison, what we briefed the President on was the trends that we're seeing and what we're seeing is a 200 percent increase this month, March, this past month in apprehensions. It's alarming. Over 200 percent increase and we’re talking about apprehending over 50,000 people attempting to cross our border in one month.
RADDATZ: Is that a seasonal uptick? Hasn't that happened in the past in the same month?
BOSSERT: No, so, that's exactly the point, Martha. The seasonal uptick normally begins next month and what we're doing is taking action now at the appropriate time instead of waiting as others have in the past for that uptick to get in front of us.
RADDATZ: And did someone in the White House or somewhere in the administration conduct any kind of intelligence assessment on why you needed to do this now?
BOSSERT: Yeah, absolutely. So, the Customs and Border Protection leadership provided us briefings on a regular basis and that's where we get our statistics. So the over 200 percent increase coupled with the pending seasonal uptick coupled with the caravan that is an annual event all trended in the wrong direction. So, the problem here, and the points to remember, is while there was an improvement it's a comparative improvement. That has nothing to do with the alarming trend of border crossings that we're seeing and at this point we don't have the capacity to address that problem. That's the more troubling point the President needed to address.
RADDATZ: Do you have any idea how much this will cost, the federal government will pay for it?
BOSSERT: The costs will depend on our time-phased deployment and how long we stay there. Maybe this is a good opportunity to explain how it works. The purpose of using the National Guard isn't just to augment the Customs and Border Protection capabilities. It'll be short term and I think the message there is CBP is hiring. We need more people and they're looking to on-board and train them now. But the message here is that governors are also equally troubled. This isn't President Trump's concoction where he sits around thinking, “I need to make a political point.” This is an operational need. An operational deficiency. We have a requirement that's being met.
RADDATZ: This started this week, these comments about that caravan and President Trump said Thursday that on the journey coming through Mexico to the United States women were being raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. Do you have any sort of government data to back that up?
BOSSERT: That's very difficult to collect because it's Mexican government data and they don't collect it but at this point well known practice and don't trust me, trust –
RADDATZ: Well known by?
BOSSERT: By all the people in this trade and by the reporters in Mexico. I mean, Jorge Ramos is one that's been a critic of President Trump. And if you look at his pieces they're alarming. Don't take me as the source, take him. We have at this point reached a sad state. His words, in which the price of entry for an illegal female entrant trying to sneak across our border is at this point rape. In fact, it's apparently a well-known practice among some of the female immigrants trying to come here illegally to start taking birth control. It is an absolutely heinous price to pay.
RADDATZ (Cutting off Bossert): So no government data.
RADDATZ: I want to turn to DACA. The President has made his position clear that he believes DACA is dead. What does that mean for the kids whose status was put into question? What could you tell them?
BOSSERT: I would tell them that there is a democratic leadership this congress that has chosen point blank this is a better wedge issue for them to run on than a problem for them to fix.
RADDATZ: It's just the Democrats' problem?
RADDATZ: President Trump could have accepted a compromise?
BOSSERT: President Trump is the one that in a shocking fashion came out and did something I don't think any Republican president has ever done. He not only increased the numbers of peoples he was willing to address and put on a pathway to citizenship but addressed the scope of the problem in a way that allowed for 1.8 million if there was an appropriate compromise on the other side.