Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, joins me on The Daily Signal Podcast to discuss illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, and some possible fixes to the U.S. immigration system.

We also cover these stories:

  • In a Monday tweet, President Donald Trump urges Americans to put coronavirus in perspective. 
  • Monday turns out to be another bad day for the stock market, which has been affected by coronavirus concerns.
  • To avoid coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks older Americans and those with compromised immune systems to stock up on essentials, stay away from crowds, and hold off on unnecessary travel. 

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Rachel del Guidice: We’re joined today on The Daily Signal Podcast by Congressman Brian Babin of Texas. Congressman, thank you so much for being with us today.

Rep. Brian Babin: Great to be with you, Rachel.

Del Guidice: You’re here at CPAC [the Conservative Political Action Conference] and you’re talking about sanctuary cities and our open borders and how they reward law-breakers. Can you talk a little bit about this and how this is happening?

Babin: It’s incredible. The open borders are absolutely, in my opinion, they’re the greatest threat this country faces. And in order for us to really do something about it and fix it on a permanent basis, we’ve got to have Congress to be helping our great president in securing our border. And yet we can’t get the Democrats to do that.

We’ve got over a million illegal aliens in this country who have already had their day in court, adjudicated cases, been given orders to be removed from the country, and you have the Democrats [who] don’t want to carry out the law.

They’re so hypocritical that they say no one’s above the law in this country, especially Donald J. Trump, and that’s what they use during the impeachment proceedings. And yet they’re putting millions of illegal aliens above the law.

If you want to have a nation that’s successful and with freedom and liberties, you’ve got to have a nation of laws. And then you can’t just obey the ones you like and ignore the ones you don’t like.

You ask about sanctuary cities. This is probably the most ludicrous, insane policy that I’ve ever seen in my life where you have elected officials—whether they’re in cities, counties, or whole states—that absolutely are putting criminal aliens ahead of their own voting, tax-paying citizens.

And let me tell you, criminal activity, crimes that are committed by criminal aliens, those are preventable crimes. These people shouldn’t be here to begin with. And then when they are deported and they reenter it’s supposed to be a felony, and yet they’re being shielded.

They, sanctuary leadership, the elected officials are telling their law enforcement agencies, “Do not cooperate with the federal immigration.” So they get turned loose.

New York City, just a few weeks ago, had a 92-year-old woman murdered, raped by a criminal alien who had been released in a sanctuary operation and she would be alive today had they not had the sanctuary policy.

So I think the American people are going to be really, really interested in seeing these types of policies abolished. And I’m so happy to report, Rachel, that the courts have just ruled at the president wanting to withhold funding to these sanctuary cities to keep them from getting federal funds because of their violation of immigration law, that it has been upheld in the court.

So the president has been right. We’ve been right there with him the entire time. I’ve been a very staunch supporter of our borders but the Democrats simply don’t want to do that. But you know what? It’s happening and it’s because we have a strong president that knows what to do and does the right thing.

Del Guidice: Speaking of sanctuary cities, I just recently took a trip to the border in Arizona and the city of Tucson. They recently, I believe it was in November, rejected becoming a sanctuary city. How in Texas are you seeing results or issues from sanctuary cities spill into your state? Do you see that at all in Texas?

Babin: Yes, ma’am. We see it. We see it very frequently. And you know, just a few short years ago, Rachel, the Democrats had a totally different line that they were telling. They wanted to secure the border. The labor unions did not want workers coming in, foreign illegals … taking American jobs.

Yet now it’s been a complete flip-flop. The Democrats don’t want to stop. In fact, they want to legitimize illegal crossings and they want an open border. There’s no question about it. This is what the sanctuaries are all about.

The reason they do is the very bottom line, the bottom line of having open borders is that they want people coming into this country being dependent upon the government from the very get-go and then when they do become enfranchised to vote, they will vote Democrat.

If they thought these [illegal aliens] were going to vote Republican, I can tell you they’d be singing a whole different tune already and [in] several sanctuary areas, especially the state of California, illegal aliens are already voting in local and state elections. Did you know that? And, incredibly, they offered a bill just a few weeks back to allow them to vote throughout the country in federal elections.

Unfortunately, we’re in the minority, the Republicans in the House of Representatives now, but, fortunately, the Senate is still in Republican hands so that is not going anywhere.

Del Guidice: You mentioned how you are seeing effects of sanctuary cities in Texas. If there is one result from illegal immigration that you see most often, most widespread in Texas, what would that be?

Babin: I can tell you, in my district, in my district alone, and one of my counties, we have a school district there [whose] student population has grown almost 400% in about five years. And it’s simply due to illegal aliens coming into the area and the open borders down south. My district is probably 250 miles from the border and we’re being impacted by it.

And we have to educate these people. We’ve got to medicate these people. Every single one of the Democrat candidates for president have said they want to give free medical care to people who are here illegally.

And so I think the sanctuary cities—and they’re in Texas to Houston, Austin, there’s a number of them—the criminal activity, the people who are being impacted negatively due to crimes and also the overwhelming numbers and the costs of treating these people medically and educating them in our school districts and this one school district is being overwhelmed, overwhelmed.

Del Guidice: How are you seeing and are you seeing effects of drug trafficking in Texas? When I was in Arizona, one of the sheriffs in Pinal County talked a lot about the huge influx of illegal drugs they see coming across the border and how those are funneled into the country from the desert in Arizona where illegal immigrants come up from Mexico and come into Arizona. Are you seeing that in Texas?

Babin: Ah, yes. We are definitely seeing the results of an open border where we have an enormous number of illegal drugs coming in.

I voted repeatedly for anti-opioid, anti-drug smuggling legislation, and when we see that the percentage of these drugs coming in across our border and 75,000 Americans dying of opioid overdoses and drug overdoses each year, it’s just an incredible thought. So that is another really visible aspect and result of our open borders.

Del Guidice: The Democrats have a piece of immigration legislation called the New Way Forward Act. I know that you have a lot of thoughts on this. What do you think about this piece of legislation?

Babin: It’s the worst piece of legislation I’ve ever seen in my life. … I can’t understand how anybody who is a United States congressman representing a district of the United States of America can offer a bill with a straight face that’s this bad. …

We would go from having sanctuary cities and sanctuary states to a sanctuary nation if this thing passes. And I think at last count they had 44 to 50 Democrats already on this thing.

It’s essentially open borders. … If you commit a crime in the country today as an illegal [alien], you’re supposed to be deported. If you’re sentenced to a one-year prison sentence, then … you’re eligible for deportation. This would make it five years. Basically, you can hardly commit any kind of a crime that would have an automatic deportation.

It’s going to give an enormous amount of jurisdiction and authority to immigration judges. They can overrule deportation orders. The whole thing is just insane and it’s a prescription for disaster for the United States. And, you know, it’s the “New Way Forward,” I think even many of the Democrats know that this really is a bridge too far. …

Who wants “Medicare for All,” to spend $3.2 trillion a year, almost the amount of our whole budget, just for health care? Who wants the Green New Deal, which would eliminate fracking and oil and gas production, cattle raising? Unbelievably, this would destroy a number of states, including the great state of Texas.

If you get rid of fracking, you’re going to put about 7 million people out of a job across this country. You’re going to cost the gross domestic product at least $7 trillion to $8 trillion, and it’s just not going to work. This is just another way for our comrade [Sen.] Bernie [Sanders] and the rest of these socialists to ruin America.

Del Guidice: There’s a county in your state, Harris County, and they recently approved a legal fund for [illegal aliens] to give them the defense funds.

Babin: That’s right.

Del Guidice: What is your thought on that development?

Babin: [It’s] another insane plan. … This was come up by our county judge down there, Judge [Lina] Hidalgo, and basically what she’s going to do is have the citizen taxpayers of Harris County, Texas, that’s Houston, basically pay for legal representation for illegal aliens if they get in trouble with the law, deportation, immigration, anything. She’s going to load that cost onto the backs of her own voting citizens to pay for. It’s insane.

I’m hoping that the people of Harris County will certainly not appreciate what that is intended to do in [the] great county of Harris County and in my district, as I represent part of Harris County.

Del Guidice: The Trump administration had recently announced that they’ve reached 100 miles of border wall construction along the southern border with Mexico. What other measures, along with building a wall, do you think [are] necessary to really secure our border and reform our immigration system?

Babin: There’s a number of things we can do. Certainly the barrier. We’ve already seen some of the walls been completed near El Paso. Illegal crossings are down 80% where these barriers are.

We’ve got to have more personnel. They’ve got to have more resources. … We have to start taking care of our Border Patrol and our CBP [Customs and Border Protection] and all the federal agencies that are involved. We’ve got to start funding them like we do our military.

This essentially is an invasion. We saw it in May of last year. We had 144,000 [illegal aliens] that just walked across the border, gave themselves up, and were turned loose into the interior of the country.

So, … I mentioned this at the beginning of our conversation today, you’ve got well over a million illegal aliens, many of them criminals who have already had their … day in court, the federal government has adjudicated their cases and given them orders to be removed from the country. That’s called interior enforcement.

If we would start deporting these people—the Democrats don’t want a single one of them out here, even the criminals, it’s incredible. But if we don’t start carrying these deportations out of these criminals and these people that have already had their day in court, we will continue the green light, the welcome sign to come in, incentivizing people from all over the world to come into our nation.

We can help. I can tell you on the refugee program—not the immigration, but on the refugee program—that we bring in a number of refugees each year. It’s a United Nations operation, basically. We can actually help 12 refugees in their own countries for the price of bringing one into the United States of America.

Del Guidice: Crazy we don’t talk about that.

Babin: They need to be talking about it because, in fact, … Rep. [Ilhan] Omar, she came in from Somalia. She was one of these refugees. Now she’s sitting in the United States House of Representatives and disparaging her adopted country, which is an amazing thing to me. We opened our arms to her.

But this is exactly what we have to start remedying. We’ve got to have some common sense. Our elected leaders are going to have to start doing things for the benefit of their own people.

We want to continue to be a compassionate Judeo-Christian country to help those that are downtrodden, that want, that need help or [are] oppressed. And we can do a much better job to help them in their own countries—and we have for many, many decades—than to bring them in here and have them loaded onto the backs of our local state, tax-paying citizens, the federal citizen taxpayers as well.

We got to be smart. We want to be a sovereign nation and we want to be a nation that is not broke.

Del Guidice: That is very true. … You were talking about Customs and Border [Protection] and the work that they do, and when I was in Arizona with the sheriff of Pinal County, he was mentioning that a lot of times Border Patrol ends up—and other law enforcement agencies—being a humanitarian response to people that are out caught in the desert and illegal immigrants that don’t have enough water or food, and then they had been called out to help those people.

Babin: Right.

Del Guidice: What is your perspective of how the work of the CBP is portrayed in media? A lot of times I think it’s not news, that it’s not favorable. What is your thought on that?

Babin: They’re constantly criticized, demonized by the left. They even want to abolish ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]. I mean, that’d be like saying, “Let’s get rid of your police, your local police department. You don’t need those people. They just do bad things.” You got to have law enforcement. We have to be a nation of laws, as I’ve already said, absolutely. And the left just constantly criticizes them.

I feel sorry for these people. I’ve met and worked with some of them. I’ve been on the border a number of times. I’m the co-chairman of the House Border Security Caucus. I’ve been to that border probably five or six times and it’s been from … San Diego, California, all the way back to McAllen, Texas. So I’ve been all up and down that border.

As I said in the beginning, I think this is probably the most serious thing that this country faces, [it] could lead to our demise, our bankruptcy, loss of sovereignty. And the Democrats simply want open borders and pushing socialist programs. It’s a prescription for the demise of our nation.

Del Guidice: You mentioned socialism and we’re here talking live at CPAC. And the theme this year for CPAC is socialism vs. the American dream. So as we wrap up, why is the American dream … the fix to socialism?

Babin: Well, I think the American dream has always been alive and well. … I have 16 grandchildren, Rachel. And that’s one reason I ran for office. I want to see this country continue to give the opportunity for the American dream to all young people, in fact, young and old, that are entering our country.

Our family were immigrants at one time as well. And so we have absolutely nothing but love for immigrants, but they have to do it the right way. And they also have to be immigrants that are willing to pay their way and not come up here and get on public assistance, and that will do a day’s work and will love America, not come up here and fly their former nations’ flags. So, good, don’t fly their flag, fly the American flag.

And I think this is what a lot of people … have a problem with. And it’s nothing against [legal] immigration. … We want people to come in here and make America a better country, to love this nation and appreciate its history and what it has meant to the rest of the world. …

As [President Ronald] Reagan said, we have been a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom, and we need to continue that. And if we go socialist and we have open borders, that won’t last.

Del Guidice: Congressman Babin, thank you so much for being with us on The Daily Signal Podcast.

Babin: Great to be with you, Rachel. See ya.