Gov. Andrew Cuomo: New York Suing Trump Administration, Executive Order On Immigrant Detention Is Illegal

|

New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York intend to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over family separations at the border. N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joins CNN's Wolf Blitzer to explain what he hopes to accomplish.

The Trump administration has described Flores v. Reno, known as the "Flores settlement," as the reason it is "forced" to separate parents from their children to prosecute them. The ruling states that children are not allowed to be detained with their parents. Trump's executive order seeks to change this.

"Our federal Constitution provides due process rights to citizens and noncitizens, undocumented people," Cuomo said. "If you could have modified the decision, you wouldn't have had the problem in the first place. They couldn't put the children in the detention center once they arrested the parents, so they had to fly 2,000 children to parts unknown."





"Now they come back in the executive order and say, we will set up a family detention center and put the child in with the parents," the N.Y. governor explained. "No. You couldn't do that in the first place. That's what created the problem. And that little caveat is, if you go back to court and get a judge to modify the Flores decision, if you could have done that, you would have done it in the first place, and you would have never sent 2,000 children all over the country."

"So they just came full circle. This is the problem. When they decided to arrest all the parents and hold the parents in detention, and they couldn't put the children in the detention centers because of the Flores decision," he said, "they had to move the children."

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: The basis of the lawsuit is very simple. It is a violation of the due process of the parents and of the children. Our federal Constitution provides due process rights to citizens and noncitizens, undocumented people.

One of the fundamental rights is a parent's right to care, custody and control of their child. And that has been violated. Now, this executive order, I don't think, does anything of legal significance. I think it's more of a press release than a legal document.

And if you read it, Wolf, it basically says, unless they go to a court and get the court to change what's called the Flores decision, the Flores Settlement, which has been a 20-year-long court battle, you can't implement this.

That's why literally it's just about the press and trying to slow down the press. They have just come full circle. What happened here was, April 7, they announced the zero tolerance. They arrest the parent. When you arrest the parent, the question became, what do you do with the child, because you cannot, by law, by the Flores decision, put the child in a detention facility?

BLITZER: For more than 20 days.

But on that specific point, Governor, the executive order does say that the president orders the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to promptly file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify that.

Would that solve this issue of you can only detain the children for 20 days?

CUOMO: Wolf, if you could have modified the decision, you wouldn't have had the problem in the first place. They couldn't put the children in the detention center once they arrested the parents, so they had to fly 2,000 children to parts unknown.

Now they come back in the executive order and say, we will set up a family detention center and put the child in with the parents.

No. You couldn't do that in the first place. That's what created the problem. And that little caveat is, if you go back to court and get a judge to modify the Flores decision, if you could have done that, you would have done it in the first place, and you would have never sent 2,000 children all over the country.

So they just came full circle. This is the problem. When they decided to arrest all the parents and hold the parents in detention, and they couldn't put the children in the detention centers because of the Flores decision, they had to move the children.

It happened overnight. They were not prepared. Now their answer is, we will go back to court and see if the court will allow us to put the children in the detention center. My guess is, they won't, because, when you read the Flores cases, it's clear this is the very activity that the court was trying to prevent.

So, I don't believe that the administration is even trying to solve the problem. You know, the title of the executive order is affording Congress an opportunity to settle the issue.

This publicity, I think they're using to put pressure on Congress to do something. I think they're using the 2,000 children as political pawns to put pressure on Congress.

But this executive order is not going to do it. And using 2,000 children, pulling them out of the arms of their parents is as disgusting a process as I have ever seen. And it really says, as a country, we should take a look in the mirror. And are we still the United States of America?

BLITZER: Yes, what's very worrisome is that the executive order -- and you're right -- it's entitled "Affording Congress An Opportunity to Address Family Separation." The executive order doesn't deal directly with the 2,300 kids over the past several weeks who have already been separated from their parents.

It deals with what could happen down the road. And, obviously, there's enormous concern about these children who are being kept away from their parents right now.

Comment
Show comments Hide Comments

Latest Political Videos

Video Archives