GOP Rep Slaps Down CNN Reporter Who Claims Illegal Immigrants Aren’t Actually Committing Crimes

[Screenshot CNN]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Republican Texas Rep. Beth Van Duyne sparred with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Tuesday after Keilar claimed that migrants who crossed the border illegally are not criminals.

A week prior, House Republicans shot down a border proposal from the Senate that would have appropriated $48 billion for Ukraine and nearly $16 billion for Israel while also paying to hire more immigration judges and to expedite asylum processing and deportation proceedings.

The bill, however, also included a provision that would not require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to declare an emergency and close the border until the seven-day average of border encounters reached 5,000 daily. The lockdown would then last until the two-week average number of illegal entries decreased to 3,750 per day.

In May, House Republicans passed the more stringent Secure the Border Act (H.R. 2), and recently stepped up their calls for Senate to vote on it. According to Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who introduced the Senate version of the bill in September, the legislation would “resume construction on the wall, tighten asylum standards, criminalize visa overstays, increase the number of Border Patrol Agents, defund NGOs receiving tax dollars to help traffic illegal aliens throughout the heartland, prohibit DHS from using its app to assist illegal aliens, and more.”

Van Duyne argued the Biden administration was had forced Republicans to push for H.R. 2 by ignoring the law and failing to use his existing authority to stem the flow of illegal immigration, which she linked to an increase in crime. (RELATED: ‘Oh My Goodness’: Faulkner Laughs After Chip Roy Drops Ukraine Joke)

“I was a mayor before I was in Congress. I was the mayor of Irving, Texas, and we had a fantastic partnership with Immigrations [sic] and Customs Enforcement, where we actually worked with them to remove criminal illegal immigrants in our communities because we saw the amount of crime that it was being caused,” Van Duyne said. “We saw the people that they were preying upon was other people that were in our country illegally.”

“As a result of that partnership our crime rate dropped and we became the fifth-safest city in the country,” she continued. “Those partnerships work. Enforcing our laws work. What we have seen is the exact opposite under this administration. And you have seen people dying—”

“Well ok. Let me stop and ask you about this. A couple of things: first off, illegal immigrants’ criminal conviction rate is 45 percent below that of native-born Americans in your state. Just to be clear. When you raise the specter of, ‘They create so many crimes, they’re convicted—’ I mean, when it comes to violent crimes, property crimes, homicides, sex crime, you’ve talked in the past about rapes — the numbers just don’t support that. But let’s focus on catch and release because—”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Van Duyne jumped in. “But your argument is, ‘We’re defending those people who are here illegally’?”

“Can we focus on catch and release because I—” Keilar repeated.

“You brought up the question! I just want to make sure we’re responding to it. It sounds like you’re defending those immigrants who are here illegally, that were beating our police officers,” Van Duyne persisted, referring to a January incident in which illegal immigrants attacked NYPD officers in Times Square and were promptly released without bail.

“No!” Keilar interjected. “Excuse me, did I say that? I did not say that!”

“That’s not ok, and they should not be in our country,” the congresswoman continued.

Keilar then insisted that she does not think the Times Square incident was “ok” and accused Van Duyne of “misunderstanding where I’m coming from.”

Entering the country without going through a legal point of entry is a crime, according to 8 U.S.C 1325, making all illegal immigrants criminals.

The two then turned to the issue of catch-and-release, with Keilar threatening to cut the interview short if Van Duyne kept trying to interject.