In an interview that aired Thursday with Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed how the government could prevent the flow of MS-13 gang members into the United States.
Sessions argued for better border enforcement measures but explained there were forces domestically wanting to prevent that.
Partial transcript as follows:
CARLSON: Mr. Attorney General, how can the United States prevent MS-13 gang members from going north into the U.S.?
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, we need the wall. We need better enforcement at the border. And we need to be able to deport people rapidly who enter the country illegally. And we have to end this policy of taking unaccompanied minors. Some of which include MS-13 members and turning them over to the Department of Health and Human Services and then they take them to their destination city.
So, they say what city they want to go to, whether it’s Islip, New York or Houston or Los Angeles and we take them there. And turn them over to sometimes the gang members, sometimes relatives who have very little control over these young people and they begin — they are drawn into the gang. So, this is a very bad and dangerous policy and it can be ended and it must be ended.
CARLSON: Why would we do that and how do we end it? It seems kind of productive.
SESSIONS: Well, it’s part of the previous administration’s policies that I opposed for years. It made no sense to me because what you’re doing is sending a message to the gangs in El Salvador and other young people in El Salvador. If you come up as a teenager, a young teenager and you don’t have parents with you, and you turn yourself in to the United States officials, they will take you to the city that you would like to go to.
Even though you are illegally entering the country. It makes no sense whatsoever. This kind of insanity is the reason we have lost control of the border. There are a lot of other examples just as stupid. And we need to end it and we can end it. Once the message gets out to the entire world that you will not be successful coming illegally, the only way to get to the United States is to apply, wait your turn, then people will start doing it. As long as they are successful in entering unlawfully in this fashion, they will keep doing it.
CARLSON: A number of people we spoken to including a former MS-13 gang member have said, Mexico is a huge part of the problem. Once they get from El Salvador to Mexico, they are virtually assured passage into the United States illegally. Is the Mexican government cooperating and trying to end this?
SESSIONS: Well, I think Mexico is helping some. They don’t see it as their problem primarily.
SESSIONS: They are entering our country illegally. The president has said we are going to end this. President Trump has said we’re not going to allow this lawlessness to continue. Homeland Security Department, the Department of Justice and other agencies are really making progress. We have reduced the illegal flow by 50 percent. But we’re not going to end there. We need to eliminate illegality in our immigration system. And create a lawful system that serves our national interests that we can be proud of and that we, as a great nation, that serves the interest of our nation.
CARLSON: So, you served in the Congress for a long time. If you could describe a single law that Congress could pass to help fix this problem, which is a real problem, what would it be?
SESSIONS: Well, one of the things that we need to do, you are asking some of these specific laws that would make a difference.
SESSIONS: This catch and release policy. This idea that you can enter the country illegally and that somehow you can just say a few words or you can be an unaccompanied minor and you are taken to the city you want to go is so ridiculous. That’s the kind of thing that we ought to be able to eliminate by law. But Congress has steadfastly failed to close these loopholes.
I used to say and still do, frankly, you can get almost any law on immigration passed as long as it doesn’t work. When you propose a law that will actually make a difference and will actually crack down and make it harder for people to enter illegally, it seems that there is a forces arise and it can never quite get passed.
CARLSON: I have noticed. Last question. What are those forces?
SESSIONS: Well, there are big business forces. There are activists forces. There are liberal, Democratic, ideological forces that seem to think that anybody that comes to America, even if they come illegally should be welcomed and should never be deported. It seems to be this idea if you can get across the border, and get to Albuquerque or Houston, Texas, it’s immoral to return somebody to their home country.
This can’t possibly be the law. You enter the country illegally, you are apprehended not on the border but 100 miles in the border, or 500 miles, then you should be deported. Otherwise, you’re capitulating to lawlessness.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor