All-Star Panel: Humanitarian and political crisis over immigration

Insight from 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 2, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As a first step I'm directing the secretary of homeland security and the attorney general to move available and appropriate resources from our interior to the border. Protecting public safety and deporting dangerous criminals has been and will remain the top priority.

RONALD ZERMENO, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: All of our operations have been suspended. Everybody in the field have been taken out and placed to process. We're understaffed. We don't have the manpower. And when we ask for manpower here to help us, you know what the agency said, they would send us five supervisors. We asked, are these supervisors going to help us process? And the answer is no.


DOUG MCKELWAY, GUEST ANCHOR: With the immigration crisis, some American citizens taking matters into their own hands today, refusing to allow illegals to disembark in the California city of Marietta. A crowd of 200 to 300 people surrounded those buses carrying detainees and caused those buses to turn around headed back for the border. They were left off at an immigration center somewhere near San Diego. We're back with the panel now.

Charles, I think it's difficult for people here on the West Coast to understand what a real infringement, what a crisis this is for people who live on border states.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It is. And this I think dovetails with the earlier segment. A.B. talked about Obama checking out. Part of the reason he checks out is he doesn't know what to do. I can understand you don't know what to do when Russia encroaches on Ukraine or if ISIS crosses the border into Ukraine. This is our border. We have a crisis at the border. He does nothing for a couple of weeks. And then last week he comes out and we hear he is going to make a statement, what he is going to do about this.

So what is the statement? The first three quarters of it is an attack on Republicans and saying if they would only pass my immigration law this wouldn't have happened. That's a complete non sequitur because in fact it's his policies of loosening the deportation of people who came here as children which is encouraging of this influx of young children who think correctly that once you are here you are going to it stay.

And then secondly what he does is he is says I'm going to ask homeland security the attorney general to come up with the best ideas and present them to me in September. He has been in office for five and a half years. Have they not thought about this? He announces as the president that they are now going to collect ideas? While the crisis is happening he has lost on these issues, lost on the issues abroad. He doesn't know what to do, and, thus, he goes out and plays golf.

MCKELWAY: You say he doesn't know what to it do. But some say he knows exactly what he is doing. He is flooding some of these border states, many of them red states, with immigrants who will eventually vote for his party, change those red states to blue.

A.B. STODDARD , ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, they're not going to be able to unless there is some kind of reform and a path for them to become voters. I think most Americans on both sides of this issue, anti-reform and pro-reform, and in defense of President Obama he has waited for reform. He has given Republicans a year of space on this issue. They are not doing this for purely political reasons. Everyone is well aware of that.

He also had a huge spike in deportations under his first several years in office which he has eased up afterwards. But I would like to say. People on both sides of this issue are asking how is this possibly happening? How are our border and porous, like a typhoon of floodwater came into this home? That's not what's going on here. People are pouring into this country and being bused around from state to state to places where they are not wanted? This is unbelievable what's going on.

The problem is it hardens everyone's positions on both sides. If he takes too much executive action I think he is going to really suffer with independents who are pro-immigration reform that don't want to see him doing so much pen and phone leadership on his own without any consultation from a co-equal branch of government. On the other side, Republicans are really losing eventual voters. And 55,000 Latino citizens reach voting age every month, citizens. They have been taught in the last few years that Republicans are against them. So, in the end, the pain politically is much worse for Republicans, but I think for all of us right now, this situation is a disaster. And there is no explanation for how it happened.

MCKELWAY: Steve, beyond a humanitarian crisis and political crisis, it's threatening to become a public health crisis. We had had a report in FOXnews.com by Todd Starnes who documents many of these children in a facility in Texas, Lockland Air Force Base, have measles, scabies, lice, tremendous amounts of them. They are being bused and airplaned to various locations. Those kinds of things remain in airplanes. It's a virtual petri dish it would seem to me for the spread of some of these diseases.

STEPHEN HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD : Yes, which sort of compounds the tragedy. I think there are reasons that we are seeing this influx and reasons that we're seeing it now. Just a couple years ago we had 14,000 child migrants come to the United States. Since October we've had 60,000. There are projections as high as 130,000 for next year. So there's no question that we are seeing a surge. I think the reasons are basically twofold. One, as Charles mentioned, the president's policies. There has been an open door policy by the president of the United States, and also a sense that that policy is going to change, that there will be, whatever kind of reform comes out of Congress, comes out of the administration, comes out of compromise after the election. There will be change and there will be some tightening of the border. And I think people see that in the future and know that they need to get in now.

The other problem, I think, is the increase in violence and the decay in governance in Central and South America. I mean, you have seen local governments basically take up with drug cartels. You have seen murder rates spike in places like Honduras and El Salvador. That is tragic, and I think it explains why people are willing to send their children here even though there are tremendous risks.

MCKELWAY: That's it for the panel.

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