Congressman Kevin Cramer talks President Trump's ZERO TOLERANCE Policy and Farm Bill

Good evening, welcome to "Point of View." I'm Chris Berg, thanks so much for joining us. President Trump literally just walking out of his meeting with the house GOP caucus to talk about these immigration bills that will be voted on later this week. Joining us live from Washington, D.C. is the hardest working congressman in the country, Kevin Cramer. Welcome back to "point of view." the most important people should know about this meeting that just took place with president trump is what?

KEVIN CRAMER
Well, I think the biggest take-away from the meeting was the president reassured the republican conference that he needs one of these bills to pass, and he's going to fully support it not only in that room but out in the public arena as well, and that he's got our backs. He emphasized over and over again how badly he needs the bill and how strongly he supports it and will have our backs should there be pushback or blowback on the bills. The good lot bill and the compromise bills are both good bills. We all would love them to do even more, but they're both good bills, but probably the compromise one does more on the issue of the day, regarding the separation of families at the border.

CHRIS BERG
We'll talk about that in just a moment. When you say he says, hey, I will back either one of these bills and I need it badly. Earlier today he was at the small-business event, he said he needed a third option. That's been squelched. And why does he need this badly?

KEVIN CRAMER
He wants to settle the issue of immigration, and he wants to settle this issue of the families being separated at the border, as part of the bill, so I think when he was talking about a third option, as you know, there are some members working on some third options, and that might very well be an outcome at this point, but we have good bills in place that give the jurisdiction at the border to DHS rather than DOJ, as long as the process is continuing, because it's the department of homeland security that can take jurisdiction of the children, and as long as the children, the families, the parents, if that's what we have, or adults are together, they should be under the jurisdiction of DHS, even if there is prosecution of the adults in the family unit.

CHRIS BERG
So they’ll be held in a family detention-center sort of thing?

KEVIN CRAMER
That’s part of the bill. We have to build more facilities that can house them in a compassionate and humane way, entire families all under the jurisdiction of DHS. We have to change the things that are creating the problem, create the right incentives, if you will, like the catch and release program for example, so there’s not the incentive for people to grab children, bring them across the border, and be released into the interior of the country, which was the status prior to the President’s policies.

CHRIS BERG
So, do both bills take care of the situation so that kids and parent will no longer be separated even though they cross the border illegally?

KEVIN CRAMER
I thinks it’s more the “Compromise Bill”, some people would call it the more “Moderate Bill”. Though it’s awfully conservative, it ends chain migration, it repurposes the visa lottery, it requires the funding for the wall to be spend on border security including the wall, before DACA as an example; the pathway to legal status or perhaps citizenship before it begins. It’s that bill that keeps the family unit in place at the border including prosecution of the adults.

CHRIS BERG

It has very strict requirement for DACA recipients to do if either one of these pass?

KEVIN CRAMER

Yeah! I think it’s uphill, frankly Chris, for different reasons. I think the Goodlatte Bill—I support both of them. I think we have to get a solution and both of these are good solutions. The thing about the Goodlatte bill is that it’s pretty straightforward, it does many thing the other bill does. It may not be as generous on the DACA side of things, though again, I don’t see the DACA piece that we’re talking about, which fits nicely in the President’s four pillars that he talked about months ago. I don’t see it as amnesty. That’s the rap on it. Amnesty, to me is when you look the other way and give a free pass. This is not a free pass. This is a very steep hill that DACA registered immigrants have to climb in order to get the legal status, and I think it’s appropriate Chris, but the repurposing of existing visas, I think a very good solution.

CHRIS BERG
If neither of these pass, then what?

KEVIN CRAMER

Then I think, perhaps there is the third option, and that third option might be an even more narrowly focused piece of legislation. Chris, I don’t think it’s appropriate that we just deal with things one issue at a time when we have a larger issue, which is what’s the incentive that draws people, whether it’s children, families, or worse yet, human traffickers from Central America to take kids all the way across Mexico into the United States of America. The bring them across illegally, not even taking them to an appropriate crossing where they could declare asylum, if that’s the reason for coming to the US. We have to deal with that problem rather than just the symptoms of the problem. So, I think it’s entirely appropriate, and I think over the course of the next couple of day, I think the President’s presence today will make a difference in our conference. The generosity should attract the Democrats to it. It will be an incredible test as to how badly people really want to solve this problem and I’m talking about both Republicans and Democrats.

CHRIS BERG
Couple things, I want to get onto the IG Hearing and President Trump coming here at the end of the month. Do you support his zero-tolerance policy that is temporarily separating kids from their parents?

KEVIN CRAMER

I wonder Chris… How do we get to a place in America where congress passes law then tells law enforcement officials you decide which ones are going to be enforced or not? We need to support the law. I think the spirit of the law, and let me put it this way: If we don’t have zero tolerance for criminal behavior, we attract more criminals. I know it perhaps doesn’t sound very compassionate, and I know that there are people in this town that are recording every word of this, but if we can’t give our law enforcement officers clear direction as to what the laws are, and the enforcement of the laws, then we’re putting way too much discretion in the hands of law enforcement officers. So do I support a No-Tolerance Policy? I do, but I also support changing the law so it’s more compassionate law.

CHRIS BERG
I asked on Facebook earlier today if people had questions for you. Diane Hinman says “Why is a misdemeanor warranting a separation from their parents?”

KEVIN CRAMER
Frist of all, it depends on what misdemeanor the people crossing the border are doing, whether it’s criminal behavior or if it’s not criminal.

CHRIS BERG

Wait.. wait..

KEVIN CRAMER
But the separations are based on criminal misdemeanors on a criminal code. So, there are lots of times when children are separated from their parents when their parents are behaving improperly until such time as they are vetted. That’s why the law is so important. So, if we remove that and give the benefit of the doubt to the family unit, they leave together under the jurisdiction of DHS until there is vetting and if necessary prosecution.

CHRIS BERG
Congressman, on the flip side, because a lot of people are saying “Hey, Republicans are using the kids as pawns to , you know change the immigration laws or get what President Trump is looking for
We all know President Trump could make a phone call and change this policy. Why not just keep the family units together until we get this done legislatively?

KEVIN CRAMER
Because that sends a signal that we’re already dealing with, that our borders are wide open, bring your children, come across Mexico. Mexico is doing nothing about it. By the way, cross into Mexico , no problem as long as you promise to keep going, and it’s like a billboard that says “Bring everybody across the United States. Step into our country and you’ll be afforded asylum, and before long you’re released into the center of the country”.

We’ve got to stop this. We have the most generous immigration policies in the world and people ought to know how to get here legally. Go through the process. IT’s not all that difficult. You don’t’ have to cross the Rio Grande. Just come to a border crossing and stake your claim for asylum. That’s the way to do it. We need to send that clear signal, in my view that that’s the way to do it. Otherwise, you encourage bad behavior rather than the right behavior.

CHRIS BERG
The House Farm Bill did NOT pass. The deal as let’s put the Immigration Bills up, then this Friday there will be a vote on the House Farm Bill. Is that still scheduled? If so, will it pass this Friday?

KEVIN CRAMER
Well, that’s interesting Chris, because it’s really not scheduled. IT’s scheduled by virtue of the fact that if we either vote on extend it again, the motion to reconsider, the current bill expires on this Friday. I expect we will vote on it Friday, because the deal was if we vote on Immigration Bills, we get to vote on the Farm Bill. Several members of the Freedom Caucus say they’ll vote for it. That said, I think we’ll pass it. But, I don’t know that there is anything different from 215 which is the whip number. Every member should vote. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected around here.

CHRIS BERG

Speaking of that, Peter Strzok let’s talk about the IG report, in this House hearing today, somebody said to IG that Rod Rosenstein is going to be fired this Friday. Are you hearing the same thing in the swamp?

KEVIN CRAMER

Well, we hear all kinds of things like that. I think it’s about time in the case of Peter Strzok! For crying out loud, I can’t believe it’s come to this point where somebody could get caught and one of the revelations maybe the clarifications throughout the day was these text messages between he and his lover were going to stop President Trump from being elected, how you’ve got to stop it all and the bias weren’t even forthcoming by the department. Right, until pretty significant searching. It’s about time for him to be fired, obviously.

CHRIS BERG

We’re going to have some surprises on June 27th when President Trump is in Fargo. We in Fargo could be changing “Lock her up, Lock her up.” Are you hearing anything similar?

KEVIN CRAMER

I have not heard that, Chris. I don’t’ spend a lot of time talking to people who are protesters however, I guess there are times when such..

CHRIS BERG

No. I’m suggesting that there is, again sources I talk to, that an indictment could be announced on June 27th for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

KEVIN CRAMER
I don’t see that coming. I think the Hillary Clinton shop has sailed.
She lost the election. What’s interesting to me is that all this energy is spend on Hillary Rodham Clinton now. The FBI should have been investigating her. Instead, they put all their energy into delegitimizing her investigation.

CHRIS BERG

Do you support a Second US Counsel to look into this? The thing with the IG , He doesn’t have prosecutorial powers, so you’re just going to let Hillary Clinton walk away from this whole thing? Shouldn’t there be a second special counsel to look into her?

KEVIN CRAMER
I would prefer it would be handed off to someone else. I think the IG has provided some evidence and some cause for perhaps looking into it further. Frankly, I don’t expect it, if you want to know the truth.

CHRIS BERG

Well, that said last night on Laura Ingraham, Jeff Sessions says “Yeah, I think they’re dong a great job getting this over to Nunez.” From Valley News Live, last night polls show you up by 4, 48-44 over Heidi Heitkamp. Are you seeing something similar?

KEVIN CRAMER
I’m in the United States capital talking about official business, I’m glad I’m me. It’s pretty consistent with what I’ve been hearing. I’m happy to be in the House of Representatives doing the people’s work.

CHRIS BERG
After the election, bring some popcorn and do Tyrell “ I love me some Me!” Have a great night!

CHRIS BERG

Stick around. When we come back, we’re going to get to your points of view. You heard from Congressman Kevin Cramer. You can email us, text us, leave us a voicemail. We’ll be right back.