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Harris decries Trump's 'campaign of terror' against immigrants

Jerry Adler
Senior Editor


Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said Sunday that President Trump’s administration is running a “campaign of terror” against immigrants.

Harris made the comment on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where moderator Chuck Todd asked her about last week’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Mississippi.

According to CNN, 680 undocumented workers were arrested in seven poultry-processing plants in Mississippi. Hundreds of children were stranded at school and taken to neighbors’ homes or makeshift shelters, and video of an 11-year-old girl crying for her parents went viral.

By the next day about half of those arrested had been released and given future court dates. No officials of the plants were arrested.

Sen. Kamala Harris on NBC. (Screenshot: MeetThePress via Twitter)

Another guest on “Meet the Press” was acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who told Todd that the timing of the raids, a few days after a terror attack directed at Hispanics took 22 lives in El Paso, Texas, “was unfortunate.”

“I don’t know why they did what they did,” Harris said. “I don’t know why they decided to do it right after El Paso. The employers have to be responsible and they have to do whatever is required by law. But there’s another point here, Chuck, which is this administration has directed DHS to conduct these raids as part of what I believe is this administration’s campaign of terror — which is to make whole populations of people afraid to go to work. Children are afraid to go to school for fear that when they come home, their parents won’t be there.”

“Can [Trump] say, can he say anything, at this point, to reassure Hispanic Americans?” Todd asked.

“I don't think it would be authentic if he did. And I think people are smart enough to know that,” Harris responded.

In the wide-ranging interview, which touched on health care, foreign policy, gun control and counterintelligence, Harris, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “Russia exposed America’s Achilles’ heel” in the 2016 election: racism.

“They tried out a bunch of different things” to interfere with and influence the election, Harris said. “And you know what caught heat? The issue of race. So Russia exposed America’s Achilles’ heel. And all of a sudden then, guess what? For those who want to marginalize the conversation about race and racial inequities and say, ‘Oh, well, that's identity politics or that’s this or that’s that.’

“Guess what? Now it is also a national security issue. And we need to deal with it.”

Pressed by Todd on whether “in hindsight” the ICE raid should have been postponed, McAleenan stressed that “it was already planned and in motion” by the time the El Paso attack occurred. “Something like this has been planned for over a year,” he said. “This is a criminal investigation with 14 federal warrants issued by a judge, and ICE had to follow through on that.”

“Did you know this raid was going to happen this week in advance? Were you informed of this? Was the president informed of this?” Todd asked.

McAleenan said he knew of the raid in advance but didn’t directly answer the question about Trump’s knowledge, saying, “So, the president doesn’t run law enforcement operations.”

Asked why there were no charges against the companies that employed the undocumented workers, or executives of those companies, McAleenan said, “We’re in the middle of an ongoing investigation.

“You get a warrant from a federal judge with probable cause. You then go gather evidence at the sites. And then you look at the appropriate charges in concert with the Department of Justice and U.S. attorney to see how you proceed.”

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