On Friday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – host Leahy welcomed Congressman Scott DesJarlais to the third hour of the show to speak on comprehensive immigration solutions and the recent impeachment inquiry.
Towards the middle of the segment, DesJarlais described what’s needed to be done as far as immigration and pointed out that illegal immigrants seem to have carte blanche over Americans when it comes to obeying the laws of the country. He added, “People expect we all be held to the same standard of law. And I know it’s very frustrating for law-abiding citizens to watch as people take from federal programs.”
Leahy: Welcome Representative DesJarlais.
DesJarlais: Good morning, Michael.
Leahy: Are you surviving the craziness down there in the swamp that’s going on in the past couple days?
DesJarlais: It’s never great up here, but it has been especially wild this week. It’s unbelievable to sit and listen to what’s going.
Leahy: It’s unbelievable is the right word. We’ll get to that unbelievable stuff on the impeachment inquiry in a bit. I wanted to talk to you about the pressing issue of border security and immigration. You’ve been a leader on that. We were up at the FAIR in Washington, D.C. yesterday and the day before.
I heard a lot of compelling Sheriff’s up there and immigration experts. Tell us what you see as the main issues in the border security today and what you’re working on.
DesJarlais: First of all, we’ve got to support the Sheriffs and our ICE agents. There’s actually members of Congress wanting to abolish ICE and have open borders. It’s just mind-boggling that people can think that. I’d have to say the group of sheriffs up here was really impressive. I attended a rally for the Angel Families the other day.
And there was 185 dressed in their best standing there proudly looking directly at the Angel Families who had lost loved ones to various crimes around the country. We’ve had two in Tennessee. Kerry King from my own district in Shelbyville, Tennessee lost her life to an illegal alien who was a drunk driver and has escaped custody and is still on the loose.
There was another death in Knoxville. And we have tougher laws in Tennessee than most places. The sanctuary cities are a huge problem. They’ve been around for a while. But as Obama had taken office there were only about 40. By the time he left office, there were 300 due to his lax policies and almost encouraging illegals to enter this country.
It’s continued to rise under Trump because of the way the court systems were set up. And we need to change we enforce our laws. There are great laws on the books people to look the other way. And it’s a violation of the federal statute for these cities to ignore the rule of law.
They don’t allow local and state law enforcement to even ask the status of somebody whether their illegal or not. But you and I are expected to show a drivers license and abide by the laws. But there’s a whole separate set of rule for the people that are here illegally.
Leahy: Yeah, that’s one of the things that really irritates a lot of folks. It’s almost as if illegal aliens have superior rights to American citizens these days.
DesJarlais: Man, that’s spot on. And they do. And it’s mind-boggling that we have court systems like the Ninth Circuit which Trump is doing great things to reform. But people expect we all be held to the same standard of law. And I know it’s very frustrating for law-abiding citizens to watch as people take from federal programs.
Whether it’s food programs. Or education programs. Or healthcare programs. When they’re struggling to make ends meet while people who are undocumented here illegally continue to drain those coffers.
Leahy: Congressman DesJarlais, what is your number one legislative priority in the area fo border security and immigration control in this session of Congress.
DesJarlais: The priority would have been the bill that we didn’t get past at last congress which was a comprehensive bill that would have ended chain migration. Ended the visa lottery. Ended sanctuary cities. And it was a shame we should have had the votes to get that passed.
And we need comprehensive immigration reform and we have to secure the border first and foremost and stop this influx of illegals. It’s almost like the media has put a flashing light saying, come to America. Nothings going to happen to you. They’ll detain you for a few weeks and we’ll release you into the country.
And oh come back on your own good merits in six months to a year. Well we know that doesn’t happen. So we have to support the people who protect us at the borders.
Leahy: Our all-star panelist, Carol Swain, who you know I’m sure and was a former candidate for Mayor here in Nashville has a question for you. And as you know she’s written a book on immigration as well, Carol.
Swain: Well, I know that comprehensive immigration reform, every congress has been trying to do that and we’ve not had a major reform in more than 30 some years. So, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. What advice would you give the listeners and people that care about not just the immigration but the conservative agenda?
What can we do to make sure that the Republican and the conservatives, the ones that are truly conservative that they’re able to stay in power and have influence and educate the people that are being deceived by the progressives? That’s a long question.
DesJarlais: First of all. Don’t listen to the fake news. It’s hard to get a straight story anywhere in the newspapers, radio, TV right now. Thankfully Americans are smarter than what they feed us in the propaganda-driven news media. Supporting our President who obviously take n a tough stand on this.
Tougher than almost anyone who’s ever come before him. But he’s being fought every step of the way. So you need to reach out to your elected officials. Make sure they understand where you stand on this issue. Make sure that we elect people that will follow this agenda. In Tennessee, we’re in pretty good shape.
But there are other states around the country that need to try to get involved in elections and get people out. But your right, I don’t see anything helping initially because there’s so many quid pro quos here. You can’t address a single issue at one time. But the comprehensive is maybe the problem.
If we could just address building the wall or cap the number of refugees or asylum seekers or change the catch and release policy. We could probably chip away at this one by one. But Congress always wants to give a pathway to citizenship or grant amnesty. And that’s from the Democratic more liberal side.
So that’s where we always get to a sticking point. When you try to do a big bill there’s always poison pills out that tend to kill it. The President’s done a great job through executive order. He’s got to change the courts, I totally agree. There’s an emergency at the southern border. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to go see it. And just stay vigilant. We can’t give up on this. It’s too important.
Leahy: Well, my sense is that the only way you’ll get immigration truly reformed is we have to use a process sort of like what Congress used years ago with the base closings. Where you do have a process that’s secretive and that’s a package and you vote it up or down. Otherwise, the lobbyists will undermine and destroy everything.
DesJarlais: Carol, obviously you know a lot about it. I can’t disagree with that.
Leahy: Congressman DesJarlais, the big question: Do the Democrats want to do anything for the country except taking down President Trump?
DesJarlais: That seems to be their primary agenda. A great example would be the US, Mexico and Canada trade agreement. It’s an issue that’s been vetted. Mexicans want it. The Canadians want it. The US businesses and manufacturers that want it.
There are Democrats on that side of the aisle that I rallied with just a couple of weeks ago on getting Pelosi to bring this to the floor. And the only reason this has not come to the floor is politics. It’s a great solution to NAFTA. But they know it would give Trump a victory and they will not do anything to make Trump look good. They’d rather see America fail than Trump succeed.
And I think right now based on what’s happening this week. The dye has been cast and they’re going to fight this all the way to the next election and hope that somehow they can take him out either fair or unfair. But right now it looks like they’re chasing another witch hunt that looks eerily similar to the Mueller investigation.
Leahy: Do you see in the cards a floor vote on impeachment in the house sometime in 2019 or early 2020?
DesJarlais: Well based on what we saw yesterday and the frenzy that they whipped themselves into it wouldn’t surprise me if the Democrats bring a vote to the floor and vote to impeach the President. Of course, that will go nowhere in the Senate so it will be a purely partisan act.
And the voters will have to decide who they want running the house of Representatives. I think an impeachment against Trump doesn’t necessarily hurt him because they are basing this allegation
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