Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway talked about a "big immigration package,” addressed President Trump's opinion on Special Counsel Robert Mueller potentially testifying before Congress and responded to some backlash over Tiger Woods' acceptance of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Regarding immigration, Conway said on Tuesday, “Jared Kushner and others have been working assiduously for quite a while now on a big immigration package.”
Conway made the statement hours before a group of Republican senators are expected to meet with President Trump to discuss the forthcoming immigration plan from the White House.
“Obviously border security is top of mind for this president,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday.
“I took note, great note, that since January, Democrats are now 17 points more likely to refer to what’s happening at the southern border as a quote ‘crisis.’ Remember that it was in January that Schumer and Pelosi went on primetime television following the president's oval office address and said this is a manufactured crisis. People in their own party now increasingly think that they believe what they see. That we have a true crisis."
"So border security, top of mind, but also the president will be considering a merit-based immigration system,” Conway said.
She added, “The president put together a 70-point plan and submitted it to Congress in October of 2017. So anybody who seems surprised that this president wants to end the visa lottery system, end chain migration, have a merit-based immigration system, deal with (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ) DACA as he can and certainly continue to secure our southern border.”
Conway added that relief for immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children “could be” on the table, adding that she doesn’t “want to get ahead of it, but it could be. We’ll see.”
She added that Democrats “have to stop pretending that they want to reform our immigration laws.”
The Trump administration has pointed to a 20-year-old court agreement known as the Flores Settlement and a 10-year-old human trafficking law, called the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, or the TVPRA, to explain the current climate.
President George W. Bush signed the TVPRA, into law in 2008. It seeks to combat child trafficking at the border. The law says that unaccompanied minors who are not from Mexico or Canada are “exempt from prompt return to their home country.” Under this legislation, minors from Central American countries are covered.
The Trump administration has tried to amend TVPRA on the grounds that not all unaccompanied minors are victims of human trafficking. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) calls the law a “loophole” that “invites more illegal immigration” and “creates recruiting opportunities for gangs.” The administration believes TVPRA should be amended so that children who are not victims of trafficking can be returned home regardless of national origin.
“Right now we have a couple of judges across this country in charge of the nation's immigration laws. That just can't be. We're all co-equal branches of government,” Conway said on Tuesday.
“And if you’ve got a few judges out there giving us things like the Flores decision and Congress refuses to fix Flores. They refuse to fix TVPRA which is allowing so many of these kids just to be smuggled and recycled.”
The Department of Homeland Security has also warned of "child recycling," cases where they say children allowed into the U.S. were smuggled back into Central America to be paired up again with other adults in fake families — something they say is impossible to catch without fingerprints or other biometric data.
“That has to stop and Congress can change that by just tweaking, fixing the TVPRA or just fixing the Flores decision,” Conway said adding that Democrats "refuse to act.”