Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) raised eyebrows on generally friendly CNN during a Wednesday interview with host Jake Tapper.
Tapper was surprised with Pressley repeatedly claimed that the southern border is secure.
Fox News reported that though Pressley “acknowledged that waves of migrants [were] flowing into the United States,” she maintained that “the border is secure.”
During the interview, Tapper asked Pressley to comment on the impact immigrants crossing the southern border were having on America. Tapper asked if she felt “something needs to be done” about the “crisis at the border.”
Pressley offered a confused response, noting that something needed to be done but also stating the border was secure. She said: “No doubt about it, our border is secure, and we are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, and we have to fix a broken system.”
A surprised Tapper interrupted the representative to see if he heard correctly.
Tapper pressed: “You think the border is secure? Or it is not secure?”
Attempting to avoid the direct question, Pressley repeated that America is “in the midst of a humanitarian crisis” and that U.S. taxpayers must support migrant families.
Before addressing Pressley’s comment that the federal government must provide funding to support migrant families, Tapper returned to his original question:
He asked a second time: “But just to get some clarity on this … do you think that the border is secure? Is that what you said?”
Cornered, Pressley echoed what border czar Vice President Kamala Harris and Homeland Security Chief Alejandro Mayorkas have said, “Yes, the border is secure,”
Pressley quickly added, “And we’re in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that has been created by a broken system,” not explaining how having a secure border and a “broken [immigration/border crossing] system” can both be true.
Tapper pressed: “But if you have millions of undocumented migrants coming into the country, how is the border secure?”
Again Pressley attempted to avoid the question by indirectly blaming former President Donald Trump for the “crisis.”
“This is not a new crisis,” she said, before lauding her work as chair of the House Haiti caucus and representing “the third-largest Haitian diaspora … in one of the most diverse constituencies in the country.”
Tapper returned to the original question, asking Pressley to state why she believed the southern border is “secure.”
The CNN host pressed: “I’m not disagreeing with anything you’re saying, except for the idea that the border is secure. If you have people crossing the border, it’s just by definition not secure.”
Tapper added, “It just seems like just such a refusal to acknowledge reality to say that the border is secure when we all know millions of people are crossing the border illegally every year.”
Pressley responded by arguing the migrant crisis is a “consequence of a number of things” including “climate refugees” and people fleeing “violence and corruption.”
Pressley then claimed that “asylum is a human right.”
Tapper returned to his original question, saying, “Okay, it sounds like in there you acknowledge that there are millions of people crossing the border illegally, which would mean that the border is not secure. Would you grant me the point that the border is not secure?”
Pressley dodged the direct question, saying, “Jake, that is a conversation for another day. Right now I’m squarely focused on preventing a government shutdown.”
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