Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin Says There's 'a Humanitarian Crisis' at Border

Susan Jones | April 29, 2019 | 8:21am EDT
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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

( - The situation at the border "is a humanitarian crisis, there's no doubt about it," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told CNN's "New Day" on Monday.

But his concern focuses on the crowded detention centers, not on the mass influx of hundreds of thousands of foreigners into the United States on flimsy claims of asylum.

Durbin, just back from a visit to the El Paso Border Patrol sector, described what he saw:

When I looked into this cell where we are holding detained immigrants, capacity 35, and saw 150 men shoulder to shoulder -- I don't know how they survived there for days and weeks at a time. Next to them, another cell, capacity 16, with 75 women including nursing mothers.

They're pleading for help. This is not what America should be about. This is not our image, it's not our values.

I've told the Mr. McAleenan, the acting (Homeland Security) secretary, we've got to do better. And we gotta do it very quickly.

"What? How?" host John Berman asked.

“Well, treat people humanely first,” Durbin responded. “Particularly mothers and children. That is a must. I think we don't have the capacity now to deal with those, and we need to make sure that we can.

(Durbin later told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens are not "invading," they are "presenting themselves.")

“But the president needs to sit down and get real about this situation. You can't cut off foreign aid to these three countries and then marvel at the fact that these people are flowing to the United States because of the disintegration of their economy and the disintegration of their society. This president's approach to this of getting tough isn't working."

It's not working because Congress refuses to change the laws, President Trump told Fox News's Maria Bartiromo on "Sunday Morning Futures."

"Well, people are pouring up because our economy is so good," President Trump said. "And our laws are so bad -- the combination of having a great economy and having the weakest immigration laws anywhere in the world by far, and we have catch and release. And we have chain migration and a visa lottery. We have things that nobody in their right mind would have.

"We're trying to get rid of them," Trump said. "The Democrats won't do it. Now, we need some Democrat votes. We're unanimous with the Republicans, but we need some Democrat votes. And they go out of their way to allow these people to come in."

Trump said other countries can just turn illegal immigrants away, but "in our country, you have to bring them to court. You have to have Perry Mason involved. Another country just says, sorry, you can't come into our country, and they walk them out. In our country, you have to bring them to court."

Trump said the influx at the border could be solved "in 15 minutes if the Democrats would give us the votes."

"What we need is new laws that don't allow this, so when somebody comes in we say, sorry, you got to go out."

Trump indicated that his administration is working with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on a "large-scale" immigration plan.

"The problem is, we need workers," Trump said. "And we're doing a plan based on merit, where people come in, Maria, based on merit, so they can help us. They have skills. They have talent.

“We have people coming in under these crazy laws that -- I mean, if they need welfare or if they need handouts for the next 50 years, they -- they're almost incentivized. Those are the people that we're supposed to be taking. And we take as few as possible of them, I will tell you."

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