White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sparred with “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace when she defended President Trump’s claims that terrorists are pouring across the southern border.
The commander-in-chief has said he needs $5.6 billion for the barrier because drugs, human traffickers and terrorists are crossing the Mexican border into the US.
At a White House news conference last Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Customs and Border Patrol stopped more than 3,000 “Special Interest Aliens” trying to get into the US via the border.
“But Special Interest Aliens are just people who come from countries that have ever produced a terrorist. They’re not terrorists themselves,” Wallace said to Sanders after showing a clip of Nielsen’s remarks.
“And the State Department says that there is, quote, their words: no credible evidence of any terrorist coming across the border from Mexico,” he added.
Sanders responded: “We know that roughly, nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border.”
Wallace said he studied up on the issue because he knew Sanders would bring it up.
“Do you know where those 4,000 people come — where they’re captured?,” Wallace asked her. “Airports.”
“Not always,” she said.
“At airports,” he insisted.
“The State Department says there hasn’t been any terrorists that they’ve found coming across the southern border with Mexico,” Wallace continued.
“It’s by air, it’s by land and it’s by sea. It’s all of the above,” she said, then tried to change the topic to overall border security.
“But one thing that you’re forgetting is that the most vulnerable point of entry that we have into this country is our southern border, and we have to protect it,” she said.
But Wallace wouldn’t relent and continued to hammer home his point, refuting the administration’s claim that terrorists are entering through the border rather than at airports.
“I’m not disagreeing with you that they’re coming through airports. I’m saying that they come by air, by land and by sea,” Sanders said.
And until the border is fully secured, she said, “the more that we’re going to have an influx, not just of terrorists but of human traffickers, drug inflow and people that are coming here to do American citizens harm.”
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