MSNBC anchors call out Breitbart's Kris Kobach for smearing Dreamers as criminals

Kobach: “We have many cases” of “gangbangers” “getting the DACA amnesty. They've been arrested, they haven't yet been convicted. But that arrest isn't enough to disqualify them from DACA.”

From the September 1 editon of MSNBC Live with Velshi and Ruhle

Video file

KRIS KOBACH: [A]n amnesty will only encourage additional illegal immigration. We saw that with the 1986 amnesty that [Ronald] Reagan signed, and it had a massive -- it caused a massive wave of additional aliens coming in illegally, thinking, “OK, we’ll come in for the next amnesty.” So no, I don't think it's necessary and I also think there are a lot of U.S. citizens who are underemployed or unemployed. This is an opportunity right now as the economy is starting to rev up for U.S. citizens to get back to work and get off the welfare roll. So no, I don’t think there’s an urgent need for an amnesty like this

STEPHANIE RUHLE (CO-HOST): Well, we're basically at full employment at 4.4, and to the president's point, illegal immigrations have dropped -- the president's number, I want to say, 70 percent, kudos to President Trump, since he was put into office. You say you could be up to 36 years old but the average person in the program came to the United States when they were six years old. They didn't know any better. So, from an empathetic point of view, why do this now? These are people who are contributing to society. We educated them, we took care of them, now they are working. They are providing tax dollars in your own state, if the people who are part of the DACA program were kicked out of the country, Kansas would lose something like 300 million bucks in GDP.

KOBACH: Well, there's a whole bunch of questions packed into that. But let me answer some of them. One is that the individuals in this program -- you said why do it now? -- the reason there's an impending deadline is that ten states have written a letter to the attorney general saying, look, we're going to sue, the state has already won a lawsuit regarding the DAPA (Deferred Action For Parents), which is a related Obama amnesty, and the courts found very clearly that that was illegal. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is illegal for the same reason. It's not a maybe, it’s definitely illegal. It’s going back to the fifth circuit.

ALI VELSHI (CO-HOST): Well that hasn't been adjudicated yet. Well hold on Kris that hasn't been adjudicated yet. The Supreme Court punted on it -DAPA has, DACA has not. Let’s just be a hundred percent clear on that. 

KOBACH: Right, right. But actually DAPA was an extension of DACA. It was written as an amendment to DACA, so there’s no question.

VELSHI: I hear your argument but let's just be clear so that our viewers don't think that this has been adjudicated.


VELSHI: Let's talk about the legality. This is not our specialty. It's yours more than it is ours. But this is based on -- DACA was based on a principle called prosecutorial discretion -- right? -- prioritizing your prosecution, getting to the most important issues first. Just yesterday, [White House homeland security adviser] Tom Bossert said at the White House press conference that we're going to give our priorities to getting the people out of here who are both undocumented immigrants and have committed some sort of crime. Again, by definition, if you are in DACA, you can't have committed a crime. If you have committed a crime, you're out. 

RUHLE: And you can't get renewed.

VELSHI: So from a perspective of prosecutorial -- and you can't get renewed, correct. From a perspective of prosecutorial discretion, meaning that we don't have the endless resources to deal with all of this, these guys aren't a priority. 

KOBACH: Well, actually, it's not correct to say that if you haven't committed a crime you're not in DACA. Actually DACA allows you to get the amnesty as long as you haven’t been convicted, and so in one of the lawsuits I brought on behalf of ten I.C.E. agents --

RUHLE: Hold on a second. If you haven't been convicted, you haven't committed a crime. 

KOBACH: Right, so what happens is a lot of gangbangers get arrested, but the state won't have the resources to prosecute all of them and so they are released. It used to be before DACA that the local county sheriff would release them to I.C.E. in the hopes that I.C.E. would deport them. But we have many cases of such individuals who are getting the DACA amnesty. They've been arrested, they haven't yet been convicted. But that arrest isn't enough to disqualify them from DACA. So the DACA cross -- we shouldn't have any illusion here, the DACA is a cross section of the illegal alien population. There are criminals, there are scholars, but it's not a -- an especially higher achieving cross section of the -- 

RUHLE: OK, but we have to make it clear, if you're not convicted of a crime in the eyes of the U.S. government, we don't believe you've committed one. 

KOBACH: Well, but on the other hand, if you have been arrested and you are a gang member, which is the case of some of these DACA aliens -- 

RUHLE: I'm sorry, sir, no. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, sir. If you’ve been -- there are many, many people who’ve been -- you're presumed innocent until proven guilty in the United States of America.


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