From the September 5 edition of MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson:
HALLIE JACKSON (HOST): What do you think the government is going to do, or should do, with all of that information that these Dreamers have provided?
KRIS KOBACH: Well, what the Department of Homeland Security has said is that in any allocation of our resources for deporting people, we're always going to go against those who are committing crimes and those who present -- are gang members first. So, if you've committed a crime which many DACA recipients had. Over 1,500 --
JACKSON: And the vast majority of Dreamers have not committed crimes.
KOBACH: Right. So, if you've committed a crime or you are a gang member, you better be watching out, because you are a high priority for removal. If you haven't, you're probably a lower priority.
JACKSON: But if you've committed a crime you can't be a DACA recipient. And let's talk about the numbers for a second, because you were on this network last week --
KOBACH: Actually, you can.
JACKSON: No, you can't.
KOBACH: You can be a DACA recipient. Certain --
JACKSON: Not if you've committed a crime. You lose your status.
KOBACH: OK, no, there are several, certain high-level crimes cause you to lose your status. Lower-level crimes do not cause you to lose your status.And if you've been arrested, but not convicted, you can get DACA. And so, a lot of people are gang members that are arrested --
JACKSON: So to echo what my colleague Stephanie Ruhle said to you last week, which was if you've been arrested but not convicted, you haven't committed a crime because you are innocent until proven guilty, but let me talk about the numbers. You mentioned 1,500 people have lost their DACA status, essentially, which is correct. Which according to the U.S. government.
KOBACH: It's not because they went to trial -- wait, wait, wait. It's not because they went to trial and were found innocent. It's because they were never prosecuted because counties don't have the resources to prosecute every assault, every --
JACKSON: What figures do you have to back that up? Is that anecdotal?
KOBACH: I have a testimony from [Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)] agents in federal district court about assault by DACA gang members and they were still given the benefits of the program because they weren't prosecuted.
JACKSON: But if we're going to talk about, stop. Let me just stop you for one second, Secretary, because I think this is an important conversation to have and to look at the facts when we have this conversation.
JACKSON: Fifteen hundred DACA recipients have lost their status under this program, and out of 780, or let's say 800,000 total recipients of DACA, total Dreamers. That is two-tenths of one percent. We're talking about less than half of half of one percent of people who have lost their DACA status because of crime. You have anecdotes that you talk about of people who have committed crimes. You say there are other anecdotes from Dreamers like the person that we just showed you, like the young paramedic in Houston, as well. So when you talk about the facts, the vast majority of these Dreamers are in his country, contributing to the economy, which is important to you. So, I ask, how does is this consistent then, ending DACA, with the president's promise to take care of Dreamers? These Dreamers should rest easy. How does that square?
KOBACH: Well, I'm not sure what the president meant when he said “rest easy.” Who knows? The point is --
JACKSON: He probably meant they should rest easy.
KOBACH: Let's agree on this. Dreamers represent a cross section of the illegal alien population. So, you do have some criminals. You also have some people who are doing very well and are scholars, what have you. Those individuals have come into the country illegally and at this point the question is, OK, you no longer have that illegal, that status that President Obama gave you and he had no authority to give you. So, you're back into your illegal status. I would suggest go home and get in line, come into the United States legally, then get a green card, then become a citizen. Do it the right way like so many hundreds of thousands of your countrymen are trying to do. What's wrong with that? What's wrong with following the law?