Hours before news broke that DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had been fired so that Donald Trump can take an even harder line on immigration, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News that dealing with health care and the economy is “nice” but not nearly as important as immigration. Host Bill Hemmer didn’t challenge a word.
On Fox News Sunday yesterday, Hemmer asked Mulvaney whether Trump is still threatening to cut off aid to Central American countries. Mulvaney’s answer suggested that Trump plans to scare us all into thinking that we’re so threatened by a brown invasion that we should stop thinking about our health care (that Trump is doing his best to sabotage) or the economy that is not gangbusters for lots of us.
MULVANEY: 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.
Hemmer, if not already clued into the talking points, immediately got on board.
HEMMER: 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?
Sure enough, that was an opening for Mulvaney to argue that Trump should be even harsher on immigrants.
MULVANEY: 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. 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.
Mulvaney went on to call for Mexico and the Central American "nothern triangle" countries to keep migrants from leaving and entering Mexico (except for the ones we send back) and for Congress to act.
But now that Nielsen has gone, the demands may be a whole lot less reasonable. As Politico noted, Nielsen’s ouster is a manifestation of immigration extremist Stephen Miller’s increased power in the White House. Greg Sargent explained that Trump and Miller have a depraved, crazy and illegal agenda they are working to enact. Buckle up, folks, we’re probably on the verge of major turbulence.
Watch Hemmer enable Mulvaney below, from the April 7, 2019 Fox News Sunday.