DHS Nielsen: We Will Not Stand By As Our Border Patrol Are Attacked

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SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Joining us now is Secretary Nielsen. Madam Secretary, good to see you.

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Good to see you.

HANNITY: Let's talk first about the weekend. Let me quote one border patrol chief, Carla Provost. "Our agents were being assaulted. a group rushed the area throwing rocks and bottles at my men and women putting them in harm's way." And numerous other similar reports. How bad was it?





NIELSEN: Well, you know, Sean, first of all, let me just say, this is a testament to the training and professionalism of the border patrol that no one was hurt. We had 1,000 people rushing the border in a very violent and lawless way. We will not stand by as our border patrol are attacked. So, they defended themselves.

HANNITY: Yes. I don't know if they have any choice. The thing is, we see now that the mayor interestingly of Tijuana said, excuse me, Trump was right. This is an invasion. And they have now had a lot of issues that they have had to deal with.

But the migrants, the caravan are still coming. And they are coming in bigger numbers. What if larger numbers of people rush the border, are you--

(CROSSTALK)

NIELSEN: We were--

HANNITY: -- confident you are prepared?

NIELSEN: We were prepared this time. We will be prepared for any additional migrants. The president has made it quite clear. We will not tolerate illegal or violent entry into our country.

So, this time, he talked about it for a month in advance as the caravans were making their way up. He raised awareness. He called in the military. He called in Concertina wire. We hardened the ports. We called in additional law enforcement, state and local and federal. And we are prepared. We will be prepared. We will not allow illegal entry into our country.

HANNITY: One thing the president said, if they are going to be seeking asylum, they are not going to be in this country or allowed in this country while whatever process goes forward.

One of the problems had been, people cross the border, they claim asylum, they get a court date, they are released into America and they never show up again. So, how insistent is the president that they stay in Mexico? And how are relations with Mexico considering they were told a long time ago they should be dealing with this?

NIELSEN: Yes. You know, this is an important point that you raised, Sean. Ultimately, we only see about 9 percent, 10 percent of Central Americans who make an asylum claim actually be granted asylum by an immigration judge. And that's really important. That's really important to put in perspective.

So, 90 percent of those making asylum claims are not making the claim that can be honored under the statutory framework within the United States, it's not a valid reason for asylum. You have heard me say it before. If you are coming to get a job, that's not a claim for asylum. If you are coming to be with your family, that's not a claim for asylum.

HANNITY: Isn't it likely they are going to be coached? And if they really want asylum, didn't Mexico offer them work permits to work in South Mexico. That was apparently rejected by most. How many people are we now talking about in the remaining caravan still making its way north?

NIELSEN: So, we believe there will be about 10,000 ultimately. There is between 8,000 and 10,000 now. But you're exactly right. The government of Mexico offered everyone asylum. They also offered work permits.

That's why this caravan is very different than ones we've seen in the past. Not only is it violent. But to the extent that it claims that its members would like to seek asylum. They have been offered asylum but they've turned it down in Mexico.

HANNITY: Let me play a shot from 60 Minutes, tis was Scott Pelley. The argument was about the separation issues and how there was a warrant for one 3-year-old. I do want to get your response to it. The president tweeted out, and we have images of even young people, when Obama was president, that are behind fences. They would say its cages if it was Donald Trump. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT PELLEY, CORRESPONDENT, CBS: The Trump administration made the decision to separate children from families. What responsibilities did they take on in your estimation?

CECILIA MUNOZ, FORMER OBAMA OFFICIAL: They issued an order without consulting with the agencies who were responsible for carrying out that order. We take better care of people's effects when we send them to the jail than we took care of the children who we took from their parents.

PELLEY: You quit your job at homeland security. I wonder why.

SCOTT SHUCHART, FORMER DHS OFFICIAL: I had taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. We were being asked as a department to do something that violated the civil rights and civil liberties of persons.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: I want to get your reaction. Wasn't it President Trump that stopped the practice through an executive order?

NIELSEN: Sean, it was. But, you know, I am so disappointed in that piece. That is journalism. That's not journalism. That's factually incorrect. We did not have a policy to separate families from the children.

What the president said and what all presidents have said before him, we enforce the law. This president takes that very seriously.

So, what you saw was as we enforced the law against those who chose to enter illegally, mind you, not go legally to a port of entry but enter illegally. They were prosecuted. And because of that, if they had children with them, so as not to put children in a custodial jail, they were separated and put in the good care of HHS.

HANNITY: All right.

NIELSEN: Yes, 60 Minutes, they need to go back and check their facts. They should have taken more time to understand how the immigration laws of this country work.

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