Sen. Ben Cardin: Trump Using Immigrants 'As Pawns in His Political Game'

By Susan Jones | April 15, 2019 | 10:17am EDT
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

( - Democrats don't have an immigration plan, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told "Fox News Sunday."

"Their only plan is to fight the president."

Sanders said President Trump's call to ship asylum-seekers to sanctuary cities is not an "ideal solution," but "until we can fix the crisis at the border, we have to look at all options. This is one of them. Whether or not it moves forward, that's yet to be determined."

Immediately following Sanders on "Fox News Sunday," Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland said he doesn't think Trump's sanctuary city idea is legal.


"There is no budget for that purpose," Cardin said. "This is clearly a political move for the president. He is using the immigrants as pawns in his political game of chess. He's not really interested in a solution. He's more interested in preserving a political issue for the 2020 election."

Host Chris Wallace asked Cardin, "What is the Democratic plan? I know you talk about border security. There clearly is a problem here with people gaming the system on asylum. What's the Democratic plan to stop that?"

Cardin said Democrats wants to "take up legislation to reform our broken immigration system." He suggested starting with the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2006 but failed in the House.

"If the president would support comprehensive immigration reform and work with Democrats and Republicans, we have the consensus to pass comprehensive immigration reform," Cardin said. "But the president doesn't want that to happen. Certainly, we'll take up niche issues. We have to take up issues. I hope that we could get things accomplished. But what we need is comprehensive immigration reform.

"And secondly," Cardin continued, "you talk about more people coming to our border. We have to deal with the reason why migrants are migrants in the first place, and that is, don't cut off the aid to Central America. Let us work to reduce the flow out of countries."

Wallace asked Cardin if he would agree that "there's a problem with the asylum system" that is overwhelmed with people who do not qualify for asylum but who get to stay in this country for years (if not forever) while waiting for their claims to be heard.

"I would acknowledge that we have an immigration problem in this country," Cardin said. "Our immigration laws are not what they should be. Asylum is a very important policy for America, and it's a global value that we protect people that are in fear of their lives.

"So, we need -- we want to lead on asylum, but we need to have an orderly process. And because we don't have an orderly immigration process, we find that the asylum laws are not working the way they should."

And that's where they left it.

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