Colorado’s Morning News, Mike Coffman, June 26, 2018

Station:    KOA, 850 am

Show:       Colorado’s Morning News

Guests:    Coffman, Mike


Date:        June 26, 2018

Topics:     Pro

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[PRESIDENT DONALD J TRUMP TAPED AUDIO]: [00:00:03] [from South Carolina rally appearance, in support of Gov. Henry McMaster]: WE WILL MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN, Henry! And we will make America great again.

HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH: [00:00:13] President Trump [was] campaigning last night for South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. They have a primary there today. The president [is] touting tougher immigration policies, but what’s the likelihood of a reform bill actually passing? They’re looking at several things this week. Joining us now, Colorado’s GOP Congressman Mike Coffman. Good morning.


ZESBAUGH: [00:00:30] Yeah, what is the latest on what you’re going to be looking at, and will there be a vote this week?

MIKE COFFMAN: [00:00:33] Well, I’m going into a briefing this morning, here in Washington. So, I’m trying to look at some additional changes. Right now, there’s no Democrat support. So, we’re looking at adding in some version of E-verify, some reform to help with agricultural workers, on top of the current bill that we have. The president spoke to us early last week — I think [on] Tuesday — and told us how important this version is, [the version] that we have right now — I mean, without the E-verify, without the agricultural worker part, but with the four pillars that he had involv[ing] securing the border, closing loopholes of the border, the dealing with the DACA kids, ending visa lottery, ending chain migration. He spoke to that, but then what happened is, 40 hours later he tweeted out — after he told us how important it was, behind closed doors — and he tweeted out, “Oh, it’s really not important. Wait till after the election.” Really? I mean I was down at the border last week, and it is a crisis situation. The problems that we have are a symptom of a broken immigration system and we have to deal with this now!

LENTZ: [00:01:46] Is this more of a refugee crisis? You were there Congressman, so I wonder if seeing that firsthand, does that change your views on how things are being handled by us?

MIKE COFFMAN: [00:01:53] Well, I tell you, things are a lot worse than I [had] envisioned that they were. I mean, yes, the administration did this boneheaded thing about separating families. You know, they should have anticipated that would be a problem. [They] probably should have gone to Congress for a change in the law. They did not. They went forward with it. But here’s the problem down at the border and that is that we really — when the president says that his opponents are for open borders, we have open borders today! There is nobody — practically no one — that isn’t allowed in this country, that comes in illegally. What they do is they come in and claim status under one — even if they’re arrested for illegally crossing — then they claim status under one or two provisions that are that are effectively– I believe — loopholes in our immigration laws that need to be tightened up. Certainly, there’s some legitimacy, but it’s overused. One is they come in as unaccompanied minors and claim — from Central America — and claim status under a law that was passed to prevent the international sex trafficking of children. They come there, or they claim — if it’s a family [or] adults, then they claim political asylum, and that they have a credible fear — they have some kind of credible fear.

ZESBAUGH: [00:03:12] Yeah.

MIKE COFFMAN: [00:03:12] And so, they claim those two statuses. It takes at least two years to adjudicate somebody through the process. We don’t have the ability to detain them for that long. So we let them into the country. And they never — and then they don’t show up for their court appearances.

ZESBAUGH: [00:30:04] No, it’s a mess! The president has repeatedly slammed Democrats for their lack of support. Do you feel like the Democrats have been encouraged to be part of the process? And can you get a package passed without them?

MIKE COFFMAN: [00:30:13] Well, I think that sometimes the loudest voices on this issue love the issue more than they love resolving it. And I think that’s a problem on both sides of the aisle, and that we need better leadership from this president. We need him to say exactly — what he says to us behind closed doors, he needs to say to the American people, and not have different messages. But we need to get this crisis resolved now. I mean, the separation of families is, again, a symptom of a broken immigration system, that is just bad policy. But at the same time, the biggest problems on the borders are how we’ve written these laws that are that are a magnet, now. Because what they’re saying to people in terrible — under terrible conditions in countries that we ought to be doing a better job in helping them down there — but it says, “If you come to America, don’t go through the legal process. Just go across the border, and if you get caught, it’s no big deal. Yes, you could get prosecuted — that’s suspended right now — for crossing the border illegally, which is a minor misdemeanor and nobody cares. But then just claim this political asylum.” So, we have effectively open borders today under this president. And we’ve got to do immigration reform to bring sense into this system.

LENTZ: [00:31:26] Congressman Mike Coffman, thanks so much for your time and your candor. We appreciate it.

MIKE COFFMAN: [00:31:29] Thank you.