Kellyanne Conway asks why migrants can't wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed

Kellyanne Conway says that she believes migrants should wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed

By Matthew Rozsa

Published April 14, 2019 4:00PM (EDT)

Kellyanne Conway (AP/Susan Walsh)
Kellyanne Conway (AP/Susan Walsh)

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday and defended President Donald Trump's immigration policies by, among other things, asking why migrants seeking asylum in the United States can't wait in Mexico until their claims are processed.

"At least give us some latitude on the Remain-in-Mexico policy. So many of the liberals want the illegal migrants to remain in America. Why not remain in Mexico while your claims of asylum are being processed?" Conway said to host Chuck Todd, according to Newsweek. She added that "it’s safe passage for those families and unaccompanied minors."

Conway's comments are a reference to a policy implemented by the Department of Homeland Security in January. The Migrant Protection Protocols state that "certain foreign individuals entering or seeking admission to the U.S. from Mexico – illegally or without proper documentation – may be returned to Mexico and wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration proceedings, where Mexico will provide them with all appropriate humanitarian protections for the duration of their stay."

The policy was justified on the grounds that "the U.S. is facing a security and humanitarian crisis on the Southern border. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is using all appropriate resources and authorities to address the crisis and execute our missions to secure the borders, enforce immigration and customs laws, facilitate legal trade and travel, counter traffickers, smugglers and transnational criminal organizations, and interdict drugs and illegal contraband."

Conway also used her time during the interview to blame congressional Democrats for Trump's new immigration policies, arguing that legislators should spend less time reacting to "every single Donald Trump tweet" and instead work toward immigration reform, according to NBC News. She accused Democratic legislators of being "an unserious Congress that is not coming to the table."

She added, "The Republicans failed to do their job when they were in charge, no doubt. And the Democrats now are failing to come together in the House."

Conway also defended Trump's controversial recent proposal to move undocumented immigrants from federal detention centers into sanctuary cities that are controlled by Democrats.

"It wasn’t a brow-beat, it was taken that way," Conway insisted. Her defense was echoed by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders

"If Democrats would step up and help the president fix the laws, this all could go away, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, and that would be the best thing for the country and that would certainly be the best way to solve this crisis and fix this problem," Sanders told anchor George Stephanopoulos.

She added, "If Democrats continue to be unwilling to do that, then we’re going to look at all of our options and we don’t want to put all of the burden on one or two border communities. And Democrats have stated time and time again they support open borders, they support sanctuary cities. So, let’s spread out some of that burden and let’s put it in some of those other locations if that’s what they want to see happen and are refusing to actually help fix the problem."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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