(CNSNews.com) – Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” that Mexico has done more to crack down on the illegal immigration crisis during the past week than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats.
“The president gave Mexico a one-year warning this past week, he also calls a crisis. Why wait a year?” Fox News’s Bill Hemmer asked.
“Keep in mind, I think that word about waiting a year dealt with drugs. There's a couple of different things he said this week, which is we need help right away on the migrant crisis, on illegal immigration, folks coming across the Mexican border. We also have another longer-term issue with Mexico on drugs that I think if you go back and look at his statement, he said we need help within the next year on drugs,” Mulvaney said.
“The good news there is that in the last week, Mexico really has stepped it up for the very first time. They are preventing people from coming in on their own southern border down towards Guatemala and Honduras, and they are also accepting more of the folks that cross into the United States back into Mexico,” he said.
“In fact, I know it's hard to imagine, but again, Nancy Pelosi runs the Democrats in Congress, Mexico has done more in the last week to help our illegal immigration crisis than Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the House. It's been a pretty good week,” Mulvaney added.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, Trump said Mexico has been captured people crossing into Mexico from Central America and returning them to their countries.
When asked “what changed,” Mulvaney said, “I think they took him seriously. I think when the president comes out and says, look, if you don't start helping us, we are serious, we will look at closing the border. We will look at tariffing your automobiles. They recognize that's not an empty threat for the president of the United States.
“The situation on the border is a crisis. We have been talking about that for I guess almost three or four months. Very few people believed us at the outset. I think more and more people now accepting the fact it is a real life, crisis. I think even The Washington Post and The New York Times acknowledged that for the first time this week,” he said.
“It is his number one priority and when he sets out and says, look, Mexico, if you don't help us, we will have no choice but to do these things, I think Mexico pays attention,” Mulvaney added.
“He also threatened to cut off aid to Central American countries, is that still a threat today?” Hemmer asked.
“Absolutely for the same reason. This is his number one priority. Keep in mind, dealing with health care is nice, dealing with the economy is nice. The president's first responsibility is to defend the integrity and the safety of the nation, and we really do believe - and I think again most folks are starting to agree with us now - that the situation on the border is a national security crisis,” Mulvaney said.
“The issue is this, broadly speaking, families arrive here with children. They are willing to turn themselves in. The facilities that house them are overloaded and then they are released into the country. Have the smugglers, Mick, have they beat us at our own policy?” Hemmer asked.
“They certainly game the system. They're not stupid. Keep in mind, these are Mexican cartels oftentimes that can reach hundreds, if not tens of hundreds of millions of dollars, moving people. They traffic human beings. The goal has been deeper to what you just said. It's not just about families,” Mulvaney said.
“If an unaccompanied child crosses the border, DHS can only hold that child -- this is a child already separated from the parents by the choice of the family. Only has to send them to HHS, but if HHS doesn't have room for them, DHS cannot keep them, cannot send them back to the country they came from. There's legally nothing that the DHS can do with the children,” he said.
“But the smugglers know the weather is going to get warmer, and now is the time for them to ask. I want to get to a lot of things. Just to cut through on this issue, what is the plan to get out of this current crisis?” Hemmer asked.
“Number one, Mexico has to continue to do what they are doing by preventing people from coming into Mexico and then accepting people that we send. Number two, the Northern Triangle countries have to prevent their own people from leaving, and number three, this is one we don't get a chance to talk about enough, Congress must act,” Mulvaney said.
“The laws are what is acting as this giant magnet for these illegal immigrants and Congress has to chase those laws. Again, I think for the first time, even Democrats are starting to recognize that,” he said.