Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Obama administration Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said President Donald Trump’s tweet asking foreign-born progressive lawmakers to “go back and fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came” was offensive.
Partial transcript as follows:
MARGARET BRENNAN: President Obama deported 3 million migrants from the United States. You were secretary at that time. How is what President Trump is trying to do any different?
JEH JOHNSON: Well, first, Margaret I have to say Mr. Morgan ducked your question about the president’s tweet. I will not. I cannot believe a president of the United States would make a statement about foreign born members of Congress suggesting they- they go back from where they- from where they came from. And what the president needs to appreciate, in addition to it being offensive, you are undermining your very own administration’s efforts at working with Congress constructively on what Mr. Morgan referred to as needed legislative fixes. And so Americans should not become numb to this kind of- of language and- and offensive statements and we need to work with Congress and the executive branch in order to get anything done. So, in the Obama administration, certainly the last few years I served as secretary of homeland security, we prioritized from within the interior deporting those who are convicted felons. You have to also have as a priority those apprehended at the border for the sake of border security, but the number of deportations over time in the Obama administration actually went down while the percentage of those deported who were convicted felons and who were in local jails went up. And it- it’s all about enforcing our immigration laws, but in a way that is fair and humane and promotes public safety and that was our priority. And on day one of this administration the president literally tore up those priorities.
BRENNAN: The president–
JOHNSON: And so now–
BRENNAN: The president–
JOHNSON: You’re seeing these- these ex-
BRENNAN: Sorry, go ahead.
JOHNSON: Go ahead, sorry.
BRENNAN: The president, some in his administration said they’re up to one million migrants that have pending orders of removal against them. Is- is it realistic to say that many people can be deported?
JOHNSON: No, it is not. And it’s important for people to know their rights in this circumstance. If someone from ICE ERO comes to someone’s home, unless they have a warrant that person is not required to- to admit them. They have a right to remain silent. They have a right to a lawyer and they should not be deported from this country unless there has been a final order of deportation by an immigration judge after the individuals had an opportunity to go through the appellate process and make whatever claims for asylum they- they have. And so there must be a final order of removal. Very often if someone’s ordered deported in absentia without being present in court they have a right to a rehearing. And so it’s important for people particularly today and over the next week to know exactly what their rights are.
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