Senator James Lankford (R-OK) spoke with Brian Kilmeade about his recent visit to the border, the democrats false narrative about immigrants not having toothpaste, working with democrats to help speed up the process on asylum claims and Speaker Pelosi not wanting to pass legislation to fix the border crisis. Plus, Senator Lankford on why he is skeptical of the bipartisan deal in the House to raise federal spending and raise the governmentís borrowing limit.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS RADIO HOST: Senator James Lankford knows all about it. Heís out of Oklahoma. Heís on the Finance and Homeland Security Governmental Affairs Committee and Appropriations. Senator Lankford, welcome back.
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): Thank you. Gad to be back with you again, Brian.
KILMEADE: Senator, do you like the presidentís latest move?
SEN. LANKFORD: I do actually. Heís trying to explore every option thatís put to there to say what is a way that we can legally do it to be able to go through the process? When people cross the border without legal status, they are excited that there is anyway that they can stay, and theyíre working through loopholes.
And quite frankly being told by a lot of people that are cartel members that hey, if youíll pay us $8,000 or $4,000 or whatever the amount happens to be that day, we will get you in. And we know the way to be able to get you in to America. And so they are just paying the money and coming and hoping all this works.
We need to be clear to the cartels that are making billions of dollars off of people, and the people that are coming, is that we do have a legal system to be able to come to the United States and have 1.1 billion visas that we actually go through every single year to allow people to — legally to come to the country.
If you want to be able to come to and work, glad to be able to have you come do that, just come legally.
KILMEADE: So the whole thing is, Senator, this is a logic thing this isnít a political thing, I would think. Comprehensive immigration, DOCA, wall — political. But asylum seekers in holding tanks and border patrol, apolitical. Thereís a movement now with Sinema–
SEN. LANKFORD: Yes.
KILMEADE: — Johnson as well as Jones, Democrats, Republicans–
SEN. LANKFORD: Yes, Iím on it.
KILMEADE: Youíre on it.
SEN. LANKFORD: Yes.
KILMEADE: Tell us what you want to do and tell us where youíre at.
SEN. LANKFORD: So we want to be able to just process people faster, if we can move to having asylum officers at the border.
Right now, someone crosses the border across or across the international bridge and says I request asylum or whether they come illegally and actually swim the river and try to be able to cross over or come to the dessert, and they say I have credible fear, I want to be able to go through the process.
Itís years to be able to get them to a decision on that. That is difficult for the 15 percent or so folks that actually do qualify for asylum because theyíre in limbo for years. And for those 85 percent of people that do not qualify, theyíre in our country for two or three years awaiting that.
And many of them never show up for their hearings, they just disappear into the country. We got to be able to fix that, so getting asylum officers to the border, getting a faster hearing process, making sure that we actually get the information out, can make a faster hearing process, making sure that we actually get the information out can make a faster decision, can also tell people, hey, you do not qualify for asylum.
There is a legal way to go through the process, go through this legally like other people do, but don’t try to cross our border illegally, or claim credible fear in asylum when you really don’t qualify.
KILMEADE: Are you trying to go — meet with the president on this?
LANKFORD: I am actually. And we met with some of the president’s team and with the vice president’s team, and we’ll continue to be able to work through this process. So, we’ve sent the information, we worked with the White House on it. They’re working through every available option; we’re trying to do the same.
I was on the border this weekend with our Border Patrol and many of the facilities there around McAllen, Texas, and they’re doing a remarkable job in a very difficult circumstance.
KILMEADE: I watched the Squad go in there and make sensationalistic claims about drinking out of the toilet, and they were be abused and gawked at and disparaged by Border Patrol people. I have not heard that, I have not seen that, anything but respect from them. Have you?
LANKFORD: No, they were extremely professional. The people that were there at Border Control, they are in a difficult situation, because the Border Patrol offices are kind of like police stations. They’re set up to be able to process, and then they send that person somewhere else for actually detainment.
Border Patrol offices are not set up to long-term keep people, ICE is. And so, when Democrats have said for months now, they want to defund ICE, they don’t want anymore funding for ICE, what they’re really saying is, they don’t want any money for anyone being held. That is backing up individuals now into Border Patrol facilities.
They’re saying Border Patrol watches the border, we don’t hold people. They’re having to now move 60 percent of their force to actually humanitarian aid in detainment. So, that’s pulling people off the border.
And so, Democrats wishes of, you’ve got to just release everyone into the country, which is really what they’re shooting for, this open border policy, is failing, because Border Patrol is saying, we’re going to go above and beyond, and we’re going to do what we can.
But really what needs to happen is, ICE needs to be funded so they can have detainment and Border Patrol needs to be allowed to be able to do their job. But, by the way, I went to every supply cabinet in five different locations that I went to along the border this weekend. Every place I said, I want to see your supplies. Every place had toothbrushes and toothpaste and all kinds of hygiene products. They had diapers, they had everything. Every location has that.
So, this whole thing of there aren’t toothbrushes and toothpaste is not true. There may be some people coming out of Central American and other countries that don’t brush their teeth, that that’s not just a habit they have in their personal life, but that’s certainly not true that those supplies aren’t available, they are available.
KILMEADE: And plus, you’re coming into another country illegally, and there’s pressure on us to all of a sudden say, OK, these guys who have already violated our laws, to take resources from American citizens, taxpayers, and not just take care of 10,000, 20,000, take care of 100,000 a month. And we can’t move the previous 100,000 out. The Border Patrol are horrible people, or Donald Trump is a horrible person. You — this is just comic books — this is comic book stupid.
LANKFORD: I tell you though, the worst of the worst on it is, all this accusation about keeping kids in cages. That facility that the media keeps showing and saying, look at this place that has this chain-link fence, these are kids in cages. That facility was built by DHS in 2015 under the Obama Administration.
So, the Obama Administration built that facility for 1,500 juveniles, that’s what was designed for, to be able to help process and be able to hold those individuals temporarily until they could find another place. That’s the facility they say — or is all about kids in cages.
It’s not a inhumane facility, it’s full right now and they’re trying to get some additional places to be able to help put people. But that facility was designed and built during the Obama Administration and was praised in 2015 when it went up, to say this is going to be a tremendous asset.
KILMEADE: So Ö
LANKFORD: Now, suddenly it’s kids in cages.
KILMEADE: All right, so do you have a time schedule, because — to get to the White House and try to pass something?
LANKFORD: So, I’ve got several meetings actually with the White House. Passing something is a much more difficult thing right now, because, as you know, the Pelosi’s House is not interested in doing anything. Theyíre continuing to be able to focus on defunding ICE, when their defunding of ICE is actually whatís casing this problem along the border.
KILMEADE: Real quick yesterday, the $320 billion compromise deal was out. Itís going to go right in to red ink. A lot of people are upset by it, some are relieved that you did something together. Where does Senator Lankford stand?
SEN. LANKFORD: Well, put me on the side thatís skeptical of this and a little concern because there is no plan to be able to get out of this. I canít support proposals that are just adding red ink with no plan to ever solve it.
This is continuing the status quo and the status quo is not what is helping us on the spending side. So I — you canít fix the deficit problem, you canít fix the debt problem in one year, but you can get started. This doesnít get started, it goes the other direction.
KILMEADE: But what are you going to do to fund defense? If Democrats donít want to do it and you guys want to fund defense, you could either close the government again, be in a standoff that hurts everybody and innocent people usually making government level wages.
I mean how do — if youíre the president, if youíre Mitch McConnell, what do you do Senator Lankford?
SEN. LANKFORD: So again, that is the grand challenge. I actually have a proposal to end government shutdowns, so we can continue the fight in D.C. but hold federal workers harmless. Because it doesnít ever help us to be able to get in to a government shutdown. In fact, it costs the taxpayer more money.
It causes the chaos in all those federal workers and their families, thatís not right for them and itís not right for the country long-term.
SEN. LANKFORD: And so I actually have a bipartisan proposal to stop the government shutdowns. What I think needs to happen is, weíve got to have the sit down, real adult conversations saying hereís where we are, hereís where we need to go.
KILMEADE: Yes, and what about a camera (ph). Senator Lankford thanks so much, people of Oklahoma especially in Tulsa.