Sen. John Barrasso on border patrol, VA secretary nominee

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 24, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TRISH REGAN, GUEST HOST: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen vowing prosecution, detention and deportation for anyone trying to enter this country illegally.

This coming after President Trump called on the agency to block that caravan of migrants heading to the U.S. southern border as we speak.

Joining me right now is Republican Senate Foreign Relations Committee member John Barrasso.

Good to have you here, Senator.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, R—WYO.: Hey, Thank you, Trish. Thanks for having me.

REGAN: Is he being tough enough?

BARRASSO: Well, I think border security is national security.

We want to make sure we have integrity at the border. And people trying to get in illegally need to be stopped. For people that are coming from other countries and are saying they are looking for asylum, then we ought to do the adjudication right there at the border.

If that means more ICE agents, if it means more judges right there, I think that's the place to do it.

REGAN: That's a creative idea, right, because we are a country that offers asylum. And if you are coming here legitimately for asylum, we want to be able to protect that history of what we do.

But it makes it much more challenging, senator, if you are actually in the country, and then if it turns out really you weren't really seeking asylum, we have got to get you out.

BARRASSO: That's exactly right, Trish.

And that was going on for a long time prior to President Trump's election, where someone would come in, claim asylum. They would be saying, OK, we will give you a date to come and then plead your case. Well, those people for many times wouldn't ever show up for that court appointment, but they would be in the country and then be here essentially illegally.

So, I think what the president is recommending is the right course of action, because if we can't protect our borders, we cannot protect our country.

REGAN: And yet, of course, you are getting all kinds of pushback. You are going to continue to see pushback on this issue from members of the left who feel that this is not in keeping with our values as a country, not in keeping with who we are and the welcomeness that we have always extended to people.

What do you say in reaction to that?

BARRASSO: Well, I think these caravans aren't helpful or safe for anyone.

For the people who are part of the caravan, this is a very dangerous and can be a deadly trip through hostile, hostile territory. That is not good.
It's not fair to the people of Mexico. And, you know, those folks, many people ought to be applying for asylum in the country they get to first, which is Mexico.

And certainly it's not fair for the people of the United States, who sometimes then bear the burden of the additional expenses related to the people who are here illegally.

So, I support what the president is doing. I support what the secretary of homeland security has promoted, but it also gets to the cases we need a secretary of state to be dealing with other countries around the world, where some of those people are coming from, because when you look at what is going on in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, all of those countries, there are things to be dealt with there on the ground.

REGAN: I hear you. Yes.

BARRASSO: And that's why it's critical that we confirm Mike Pompeo.

REGAN: Senator, I don't have a ton of time, but you are a doctor by background.

So, let me ask you about Dr. Ronny Jackson. Do you think that he is out of the running altogether? You heard the president earlier today basically say, hey, you don't really need this.

Does that signal to you that he is not going to continue pursuing this position as head of VA?

BARRASSO: We need a secretary of the VA who is able to make sure that our veterans are getting the care that they need. I want to make sure the most qualified person is there.

And that's up to the president to decide who he wants to nominate.

REGAN: Do you think that some of the things we have heard surrounding Dr. Jackson and how he may have acted in the past make him not as qualified?

BARRASSO: Well, it raises a number of questions. And that's why we have hearings in the United States Senate, to ask the questions of nominees and then for the senators to decide yes or no on confirming the nominee of the president.

But the Democrats have been blocking nominations for -- all throughout the time, delaying the process, dragging it out, purely political. I want to make sure we get the right people in place, the best people. President Trump needs to get his team on the ground.

REGAN: All right, well, thank you very much. It's always good to see you, senator Barrasso.

BARRASSO: Thanks, Trish. Thank you.

REGAN: All right.

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