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Trump on Immigration; Building a Border Wall. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired September 1, 2016 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:42] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.
It is Thursday. We're talking politics today. Vice President Joe Biden just slammed Donald Trump after 24 hours of confusion and contradiction from the Republican nominee. Let me fill you in. First, Donald Trump backtracked from backing off his immigration plan. Then he toughened his position on undocumented immigrants. Now Trump himself says there will be a, quote, "a softening." You with me?
Let's actually just start with the photo-op here the Trump campaign was seeking. This is what we were talking about all day yesterday. The Republican nominee standing next to the president of Mexico there after his visit behind closed doors in Mexico City. The tone at first cordial. The optics, admirers say, absolutely presidential.
Spoiler alert, it didn't last long. Several hours later, Trump reverted back to talk of an immigration crackdown that prompted several of his Hispanic supporters to say, no thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We did discuss the wall. We didn't discuss payment of the wall. That will be for a later date. This was a very preliminary meeting. I think it was an excellent meeting.
On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall. And Mexico will pay for the wall. They don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for the wall. And they're great people and great leaders but they're going to pay for the wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: All right, so fast forward to this morning. Donald Trump said on a radio program that there will be, quote, "a softening" once he expels the criminal undocumented immigrants. We'll get to that in a second here.
This afternoon, back to the vice president, he dug into Trump, dug into his foreign policy plans at an event in Ohio, the very same hour actually Mr. Trump was holding a rally in the very same battleground state. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Vice President, did you actually see Trump's speech from last night?
BIDEN: I (INAUDIBLE) -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think his immigration policy is (INAUDIBLE)?
BIDEN: I don't know that he knows his own immigration policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: The vice president was in Warren, Ohio. But let's track about three and half hour south to Wilmington, Ohio, where Donald Trump was today. And that's where we find Phil Mattingly watching the speech there among a crowd of, you know, huge Trump supporters.
You were there firsthand. You know, I was listening to you today. You said he was a bit more - not quite as aggressive, but, still, same themes in that speech there, Phil, as we heard last night in Phoenix.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no question, Brooke.
Look, this is an area of Ohio that is Trump country. These are diehard supporters of Donald Trump. And he made sure to repeat some of the key themes on immigration that you heard last night in Arizona. Now, he did say he had a very good meeting with the Mexican president, Pena Nieto, yesterday. But, his focus was more on Arizona than it was on that visit to Mexico. And, Brooke, you did a really good job breaking down what has been kind of a head-spinning not just 24 hours but last couple weeks when it comes to deportation.
I want you to take a listen to what Donald Trump Jr. told Anderson Cooper a couple of days ago and then what that radio interview you mentioned between Donald Trump and Laura Ingraham after his speech last night. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: He wasn't softening on anything. He didn't change his stance on anything. What he did was - and what he's done all along is, he's speaking with the people.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Oh, there's softening. Look, we do it in a very humane way and we're going to see with the people that are in the country. Obviously, I want to get the gang members out, the drug peddlers out. I want to get the drug dealers out. We want to - we've got a lot of people in this country that you can't have, and those people we'll get out. And then we're going to make a decision at a later date once everything is stabilized. I think you're going to see there's really quite a bit of softening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: So how does one define "softening" I think seems to be the key question here. Look, what this all has to do with, Brooke, as you laid out, is the deportation of the 11 million plus undocumented immigrants that are currently in this country. Now, Donald Trump has backed off what was an earlier campaign promise that he would immediately deport all 11 million. As he noted last night, and as you pointed out, he wants to prioritize. First, criminals, then folks who overstay their visas. Then, after doing that, after building the wall, then he will talk about what to do with the remaining undocumented immigrants.
[14:05:05] That is backing off what his initial plan was. But make no mistake, that speech last night was a very hard line speech and a speech directed at his core supporters, making clear that if you thought a softening was coming, it certainly isn't coming in the way that maybe some Republican strategist hoping that he would pivot a little bit had wanted for the last couple months.
BALDWIN: Head-spinning. Head-spinning. Phil Mattingly, you did an excellent job. Thank you very much, my friend, in Wilmington, Ohio.
Trump's habit of the reversal, the re-reversal on immigration, I know it's frustrating a lot of people. It's also rallying a huge core of Trump supporters, of course. But for a growing number of Latino voters, especially those who said they weren't quite sure if they were fully supportive of Trump or not, some of them are confused and some are now stepping away from him.
Let's talk to one of those voters. This is what we call the follow-up, 24 hours later. Pastor Alberto Delgado leads the Alpha and Omega Church in Miami. He also met with Trump last month as part of that National Hispanic Advisory Council. And we just spoke this time yesterday.
Pastor, my new friend here -
PASTOR ALBERTO DELGADO, ATTENDED TRUMP'S NATIONAL HISPANIC ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING: Hello, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Good to see you two days in a row.
DELGADO: How are you, Brooke?
BALDWIN: I am wonderful. I have been waiting to hear - you know, you said, listen -
DELGADO: Yes. Yes.
BALDWIN: I want to listen to the speech.
DELGADO: He finally spoke.
BALDWIN: How did he do? DELGADO: Well, listen, the truth is that - there's some areas of
confusion here. And I know -
BALDWIN: That was a sigh, pastor.
DELGADO: There's some areas of confusion because we need to know exactly how he's going to apply what he wants to do. Let me tell you something. Some people now I hear that they are retreating or are retreating from the group - of the counseling group that we have because they are upset at his speech yesterday. But I think that if we leave, we have an opportunity to continue talking or continually injecting to him what we believe is more humane and trying for the families to have the least amount of pain. But we all knew what was the basic of his plans. Nobody has a plan. He is the only one to has one and we know that he has no amnesty in it and we knew from the very beginning that he wants to get everybody -
BALDWIN: So how do you feel about that? How do you feel about all this?
DELGADO: Well, it's not what I feel. It's what it is. You see? It is what it is. There is no other plan. This is the only plan.
BALDWIN: So are you saying he has a plan or he doesn't have a plan, pastor? Forgive me for jumping in.
DELGADO: Well, no, he - well he doesn't have a plan. But the thing is, how can we inject in that plan, that when he applies that plan, it will be less painful for the families and the quicker returning to the country, allowing the family not to be separated for a great length of time? And this is the situation. He said yesterday that he wants - of course we know about the wall. We know about the criminals, the sanctuary cities -
BALDWIN: Pastor, pastor, pastor, pastor, let me - let me just jump in.
BALDWIN: I promise you - you know, I really appreciated having you on yesterday. And I swear I'm trying to follow you about the plan and the no plan and the plan about the plan. But can you just tell me - after watching Trump last night, will you vote for him?
DELGADO: Yes, I will. I will because this is only -
BALDWIN: You will?
DELGADO: Well, this is only one issue. There are many issues. I believe - I represent the evangelical Hispanic groups. I don't represent him. I don't represent the Democrats or the Republican. I believe that the - Christianity is being persecuted directly in some countries and indirectly in this country. We know that by the amounts of laws that are coming out. So there are many other things and many other issues. Hillary -
BALDWIN: But what about - let's just stay on this issue on immigration and you mentioned it a moment ago. I mean there you were sitting around the table with Trump and other members -
BALDWIN: Of the National Hispanic Advisory Council, what, two Saturdays ago now and you mentioned some folks around that table who are now in the wake of last night's speech. They're not supporting Trump anymore, including Alfonso Aguilar, who was on CNN this morning. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALFONSO AGUILAR, ATTENDED TRUMP'S NATIONAL HISPANIC ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING: He gave the impression and the campaign gave the impression until yesterday morning that he was going to deal with the undocumented in a compassionate way. And in that speech he's basically saying, we deport you, or we self-deport you. It's even worse than what he initially proposed. So today I'm saying - not - and not only I'm not - I'm considering withdrawing my support, I'm telling you today, I'm withdrawing my support from Donald Trump. And it's not only me. Many like me think the same way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Pastor, do you feel him? Do you understand where he's coming from?
DELGADO: Yes, I understand. I understand where he comes from. Yes. And also the lawyer, Jacob, that was in the - in Wolf's program late - before you - your program. I understand how they feel. But if we retreat, we cannot continue speaking. We cannot continue showing what we believe that should be done.
Now, he - we knew that he want - the only method that there is for him is people to leave and to return. How can we make that easy? Now, I - when I spoke to them, I said, hey, give them a re-entry. Now, he said that they have to leave and they will have to apply for a re-entry. They will apply is the one I didn't like at all because if you may apply for something and not receive what you're applying for. So I believe that when you are out of the country, you don't apply for re- entry, you apply for a visa. You apply for a re-entry inside the country. So I - I need some more clarification in that area and - because that will be -- if they leave -
[14:10:25] BALDWIN: OK.
DELGADO: And they have to apply for a re-entry and take months or years, that is a devastating thing for those families. I was expecting that he is going to, yes, you have to leave. They'll leave the country and will return 24 hours or some of the -
BALDWIN: You make great points. Do me a favor, the next time you speak to Mr. Trump, let's have him clarify a bit more. Pastor Alberto Delgado, thank you so much. Two days in a row, it's been wonderful talking to you. I really appreciate your voice. Thank you.
Coming up next here on CNN, we're really delving into how realistic Donald Trump's wall is. You're looking at Gary Tuchman there in Mexico. CNN goes to the border to find out exactly what could happen.
Also, we will hear what Hillary Clinton and her campaign are doing in response to the speech in Phoenix. It involves a lot of money.
And, breaking news, millions right now in the path of a potential hurricane. A state of emergency has been declared. It is expected to make landfall in the coming hours. We will take you there live.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
[14:15:36] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
In the big immigration speech, Donald Trump's return to his hardline stance included this unprecedented position on his rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am going to create a new special deportation task force focused on identifying and quickly removing the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice, just like Hillary Clinton has evaded justice. Maybe they'll be able to deport her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's get analysis. I have CNN political commentator Bill Press. He used to support Bernie Sanders. And Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York, who supports Donald Trump.
Great to have both of you back.
BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Betsy, let me just begin with you. I mean obviously the folk in the room there in Phoenix, he has that crowd on lockdown, right?
MCCAUGHEY: He played to the crowd.
BALDWIN: He played to the crowd.
MCCAUGHEY: It was a burst of humor.
BALDWIN: He played to the crowd. But as far as 68 days away from November 8th, is he broadening the electorate? Do you think he got votes?
MCCAUGHEY: Oh, yes. The last 24 hours have been so impressive for Donald Trump. First, he was clever enough to immediately accept the invitation from the president of Mexico. And there he is standing on world stage with a world leader. Hillary Clinton is MIA. And he even gets the president of Mexico to concede that border security is a major issue. Both of them talked about it.
And then just a few hours later, he delivers a tour de force speech that ranges over all the issues related to immigration. He demonstrates a great deal of factual knowledge, thoughtful policy analysis. He's explaining why Americans deserve an immigration policy that benefits them economically and secures the border and protects them from terrorism. I thought it - and - and, plus, he added that emotional one-two punch at the end with the angel moms. I thought it was a fabulous night for him.
BALDWIN: Fabulous night for him?
PRESS: Isn't it interesting how two people can look at the same speech and the same event and see it so differently.
MCCAUGHEY: We ought to get popcorn.
PRESS: I - I used a word -
BALDWIN: Just like the private meeting with President Pena Nieto.
PRESS: You may - you may remember, Brooke, on Monday, on this program -
PRESS: I used a word called a scam. I told the whole - I said, watch this. This is not real. The whole thing is a scam. He's pretending -
BALDWIN: His going to Mexico?
PRESS: He's pretending - no, his pretending to change his position on immigration. That's before we knew he was going to Mexico. And I say, you know what, I hate to say it, I told you so. I mean he goes flip, flop, flip, flop, flip, flop, and he ends up right back where he started.
I thought the visit to Mexico was a monumental embarrassment. Yes, President Pena said border security's a problem. And he said the problem is, not people going north, it's guns and cash going south, which Donald Trump is the last one to do anything about.
And then the speech last night, again, you know, he didn't pivot at all. He - he doubled down on everything and nothing changed. He's still going to build the wall. He says Mexico's still going to pay for it. And he says everybody here now, who came here illegally, 11 million, are going to have to leave.
BALDWIN: How do you respond to that, the changing of the message - the changing of the message?
MCCAUGHEY: I don't think there was a changing of the message. I think - he did what all leaders - BALDWIN: And then this morning on Laura Ingraham's radio show saying there's the softening. And then saying one thing to veterans. And then being at a rally. I mean he's being criticized.
MCCAUGHEY: Well, let me explain, right. To me, what he did was prioritize, as all leaders do. The issue of deportation has been on the table from the beginning. And last night he laid out, very convincingly, and in detail, who would be deported first.
BALDWIN: The criminals.
MCCAUGHEY: And the urgent need to get rid of the criminals and people who have been apprehended by law enforcement, and then released into the community again. And that's why the presence of all those family members who have lost relatives because of crimes committed by illegal immigrants is so powerful.
BALDWIN: And then whose - whose - those who have overstayed visas. But I feel like the question, which I'm not quite sure I have the answer on, and I know most people, especially undecided voters want, is what do you do with the non-criminal majority of the 11 million undocumented?
PRESS: He -
MCCAUGHEY: And let me address that, because he did say that. He said, we will deal with that. That requires a policy decision made by the three branches of government. Don't forget, he would only be the president. He must work with Congress on comprehensive immigration reform. But he did make it very clear, as he has in his previous speeches -
PRESS: No. No, no, no. No, no, no. To put it off -
MCCAUGHEY: That people who are here illegally will not be eligible for citizenship, for amnesty, until they go home and come back.
PRESS: He made it very -
BALDWIN: Go ahead, Bill.
[14:20:05] PRESS: All right, wait a minute. He made it very, very clear, they're going out of the country. He's either going to forcefully deport them or they have to leave the country. These are law abiding residents - we can't call them citizens - who have families, they have jobs, they're paying taxes, their kids are in school, they've been here a long time. Their sons and daughters are serving in the military. And Donald Trump is saying, you got to get out of here and then wait in line maybe decades. It is the same policy.
BALDWIN: Well, hold on, hold on just a second, forgive me. But say what -
PRESS: And that's in the speech. I listened very carefully. That's what he said. BALDWIN: And I know you called this - this - his immigration stance a
scam. But say what you will about the speech. Do you think that there was a little apprehension from camp Clinton on how he has sort of lowered expectations, which benefits him?
PRESS: No, I don't, really. And I'm trying to be honest here, really, OK.
BALDWIN: Please be honest. I appreciate that.
PRESS: Not partisan, honest, because I think he showed that he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about when it comes to immigration. Look, immigrant - illegal immigration today is not the number one problem facing this country. Ask anybody, they'll say the economy for the most part, OK. Two, Mexico's not going to pay - build - he's not going to build this wall. Mexico's not going to pay for it. Congress is not going to pay for this wall. Are you kidding, Congress is not going to give him 50,000 more immigration officers to deport 11 million people. There is nothing real about Donald Trump's plan.
BALDWIN: I've got actually a former head of ICE coming on in just a little while and we'll go through the practicalities and the costs.
Just quickly, quickly.
MCCAUGHEY: Yes, I'd like to address the economic issue because that is the number one issue facing this country. But integration - immigration is an integral part of that for two reasons. As he explained last night, every country has a right to define what kind of immigration policy they want to benefit their own people. And he pointed out that America needs an immigration policy that will put top priority in bringing in newcomers, regardless of race or ethnicity, who have the skills, the economic wherewithal, the education -
MCCAUGHEY: To be employed and self-sufficient rather than dependent on these - on Americans.
BALDWIN: OK. We have much more to talk about (INAUDIBLE).
PRESS: And an ideological test.
BALDWIN: Right, we're going there. We're going there, trust me, in the next two hours.
Bill and Betsy, I appreciate both of you.
PRESS: All right. Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Important to hear this -
MCCAUGHEY: Nice to get to know you.
PRESS: All right, you got it.
BALDWIN: There you go.
Coming up next, Donald Trump says he will focus on identifying and quickly removing, you know, the most dangerous criminal undocumented immigrants here in this country. In fact, he just reinforced that point. But, logistically, what would it take to accomplish that? How do you do that? I just mentioned, we'll be talking to the former acting director of ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, about, you know, really putting Trump's plan into action. And a key part of Trump's plan, of course, building the wall along the border. So, CNN takes a closer look as to what exactly what that might entail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And then you're dealing with the issue of the topography. Steep terrain, mountains, streams make it impossible - or nearly impossible - to build a 15 or 20-foot concrete or steel wall.
[14:27:40] BALDWIN: All right, let's talk about this wall. The practicality of the wall. We know Donald Trump, he's doubling down on his signature plan to build that wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: But building that impenetrable wall poses some very specific hurdles, starting with the fact that the federal government doesn't actually own all the land along the border. That's one. Many ranchers own land on the U.S. border. Here's Gary Tuchman with more.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can a continuous wall be built along the entire 1,954 mile border shared by the United States and Mexico and be impenetrable, like Donald Trump says he wants? Or even close to impenetrable? Well, it helps to know some precedent. There are some tall border walls, like this one in Nogales, Arizona. And they are challenging to go over, go through or go under. But it happens all the time. They are not impenetrable. But this is harder to pass than this.
This much more commonly seen border fence along the Mexico/U.S. frontier. Railroad ties, a seven-foot fence, barbed wire, which you often see. But the barb wire is very easy to cut. And if someone is motivated to go through this desert here in southeastern Arizona, where we are right now, they could easily get through. And we'll give you an idea of how easy it is to cut. Not only is the barbed wire gone here, there's no fence anymore. Just the railroad ties. So now I'm in Mexico. Anyone who would come through here just has to go under the railroad tie and they're in the United States.
So, obviously, a big wall keeps people out much better than this does. And you can build a much more big wall along the border. But can you build a continuous wall from the Pacific Ocean in California to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas? The answer is no.
There are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, we start with the fact that there are many ranchers who own land along the border who would all have to sell their land to the federal government. Then you have Indian Reservations that are on the border.
[14:29:50] And then you're dealing with the issue of the topography. Steep terrain, mountains, streams make it impossible, or nearly impossible, to build a 15 or 20 foot concrete or steel wall. You can build a fence here, like the one that's here right now, but once you get through this fence, you would always have a gap right here, maybe a wall on this side, a wall on this side,