Trump blames Democrats for 'dead' DACA deal

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," April 2, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Mexico is going to help us at the border. If they're not going to help us at the border, it's a very sad thing between two countries. Mexico has got to help us at the border. And a lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA.

AMB. GERONIMO GUTIERREZ, MEXICAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: We certainly understand that concern not only that President Trump has come about people in the United States here have about immigration. What we are trying to do precisely is to work with the United States and Central Americans.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The Mexico ambassador on the show earlier. The president, the administration talking about concerns along the border. This as the Washington Post is just moving a story citing multiple sources saying the Trump administration is working to speed up deportations and impose quotas on immigration judges, in other words, to get the guidelines where a new quota system to ensure that the cases are completed in a timely, efficient, and effective manner. The concern being about this caravan of immigrants coming across or to the border in coming days, we believe.

Let's bring in our panel: Matt Schlapp, contributor with The Hill; A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at Real Clear Politics and host of "No Labels Radio" on Sirius XM; Guy Benson, political editor at Matt, we should clarify that the president said they were going to come across to take advantage of DACA. You can't do that.

MATT SCHLAPP, THE HILL: Well, you can in the sense that people confuse all these terms. You have DACA which is for a certain period of time, but then you have this group of people that folks call dreamers. And this is what a lot of people don't realize. Every day, every week at that border, there are unaccompanied minors and minors who actually are accompanied who by our own law we have to accept into the country.

So the idea that there are illegal people coming to this country regularly under our laws is one of these loopholes that President Trump wants to stop. He wants to stop this catch and release, this insane problem that leads us to this whole question of amnesty 10, 20 years later.

BAIER: I asked the Mexican ambassador about the Mexico laws, which are very strict on immigration. The deport tens of thousands.


BAIER: Repatriate he said, in numerous different ways today. But it is the same issue, different country.

STODDARD: Right. I think that in your interview what was clear and what is more important than President Trump getting a lot of backlash from conservatives after signing a spending bill that everyone is upset about, just trying to really galvanize people about a caravan and what he calls Democratic laws that are weak on immigration and Democrats not wanting borders and everything, the most important thing is that him is using Mexico as a cudgel and NAFTA and the negotiations that are very sensitive and ongoing for a year. Republicans are very concerned about what the state of these negotiations are.

And when he uses this political bullying on Twitter over immigration and this caravan arriving and the Mexicans having a cash cow which is NAFTA, and I will punish them this way to get what I want out of them on immigration at the border, using NAFTA, that is the place where this becomes incredibly serious. He and DHS, and if there is a legislative fix, can go ahead and try to mitigate this problem at the border. That is separate from the very sensitive negotiations with Mexico over NAFTA right now.

BAIER: If you look at his negotiating style, some would say that Kim Jong- un is at the table because he was aggressive like this. A.B. is right. It's very sensitive, the negotiations are pretty detailed and complex on NAFTA. But supporters would say, why not?

GUY BENSON, TOWNHALL.COM: I think the argument from Trump supporters would be, vis-a-vis Kim Jong-un being at the negotiating table at all and being willing to meet with the president is the unpredictability of this president and his administration where I think for the first time in a long time in Pyongyang, there are people wondering are the Americans going to stick to the international script that we have become very accustomed to, or is he going to go rogue and do whatever he wants?

BAIER: Does that work with Mexico I guess is the question?

BENSON: And I think that is a legitimate question to ask because I think the Mexican government, you were sitting next to their ambassador moments ago, they are probably sitting in Mexico city wondering, OK, if the president is willing to blow up these negotiations over NAFTA because of border security issues and this caravan, maybe we can throw some bones to be Americans on internal enforcement to show that we are doing our part and our northern border and then maybe get him off our backs because that should be a separate issue. Making it convoluted and all this cross- pollination is very difficult, frankly, for some of us to keep track of sometimes. I don't even know if it is strategic specifically, but the general unpredictability may sometimes lead to positive outcomes.

BAIER: What the president says and tweets a lot of things, but behind-the- scenes you have the secretary of Homeland Security traveling to Mexico a couple of weeks ago, meeting with officials, dealing with security on their southern border. So things are happening outside the sound and fury, perhaps.

SCHLAPP: Yes, that's right. Actually this is working. The idea that the president goes out, mostly on Twitter but in other venues as well, makes it very clear over and over again what he expects from the American government's point of view, and there is no question that it brings people to the table. There's no question that DHS is working with their counterparts in the Mexican government, and I think it's really important what everyone has said on this panel. They repatriated over 250,000 people in Mexico. Mexico would not accept a child at the border. There laws don't say they have to accept them like we have to accept them. We should have laws that are sane and that bring us security at the border just like all these other countries we are dealing with. It actually makes a lot of sense.

BAIER: Senator Dianne Feinstein, A.B., tweeting "President Trump is absolutely wrong on DACA. He unilaterally rescinded DACA-for no reason-and has rejected every single bipartisan proposal that would protect Dreamers from deportation. It's simply false to say that Democrats walked away from the table." Where is the ground truth on this?

STODDARD: Well, the truth is that the president -- there have been bipartisan proposals on DACA and obviously is something that really should be solved in a bipartisan way. But the truth is that when the president offered his own plan, it was a four-pronged approach --

BAIER: Chain migration, other elements.

STODDARD: Many in his party thought 1.8 -- they called it amnesty. Legalization for 1.8 million, beyond the pool of what Matt was referring to as the precise DACA population, was a nonstarter with conservative Republicans. So it's really unfair for him to say that the Democrats killed it and the Democrats don't want borders and everything. The Democrats want a sweeter DACA deal that doesn't involve a lot of border wall money. They would like to give some stuff for fixes to existing fences. They have not gone far on exchanging a border wall for a DACA fix.

BAIER: So you don't think a $25 billion allotment or down the road version tied to DACA would pass?

STODDARD: I actually think that it would. It would be a bipartisan bill. It would have to be -- you get around these rules of whether or not -- I think it would. It would depend exactly what the terms were.

BAIER: What you called it.

STODDARD: Yes. They don't want the chain migration and the diversity lottery package in with that. But it is a problem on the Republican side, as well as on the Democratic side. And he said many times to Democrats, including Dianne Feinstein, that he wanted to fix that problem and now he's walking away, therefore her tweet.

BAIER: So this is one day. We also have, we didn't talk about it, the China pushback on tariffs. These are big, big things that would be page one, leading shows, but there is so much. There is another day.

BENSON: Drinking from a firehose all day, every day. And yes, we are seeing, and this is relatively modest at the moment, but a retaliation from a Chinese, another escalation on the path to what some of us worry would be a trade were. And the U.S. taking shots in that trade war invites retaliation. That is something that does not benefit anyone. And people who believe in free trade think that when you escalate the other side responds, and consumers in both countries and the economies in both countries lose. And these are the simple rules of economics, and we are seeing them coming to roost in a smaller way. And the concern is will it develop, will it get worst?

BAIER: We will see how it plays. Panel, thank you.

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