Harris decries 'campaign of terror' against immigrants

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.

 

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 counter-intelligence, 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.”

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DAVENPORT, LOWA, UNITED STATES - 2019/07/16: United States Senator from California Kamala Harris hugs Kyrah Cortimiglia as she campaigns for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 United States presidential election at Friends of MLK during a round table discussion for women of color. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
DAVENPORT, LOWA, UNITED STATES - 2019/07/16: United States Senator from California Kamala Harris campaigns for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 United States presidential election at Friends of MLK during a round table discussion for women of color. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks during a television interview after the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator for California Kamala Harris participates in the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator for California Kamala Harris speaks to the press in the Spin Room after the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Kamala Harris addresses the crowd at the We Decide: Planned Parenthood Action Fund 2020 Election Forum to Focus on Abortion and Reproductive Rights event in Columbia, SC on June, 22 2019. - Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris attend a meet and greet at an historic home in Columbia, South Carolina on June 21, 2019. - Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks to a porch full of supporters at a meet and greet at an historic home in Columbia, South Carolina on June 21, 2019. - Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)
A supporter of US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris attends a meet and greet at an historic home in Columbia, South Carolina on June 21, 2019. - Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)
A supporter of US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris attends a meet and greet at an historic home in Columbia, South Carolina on June 21, 2019. - Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)
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MSNBC - Election Coverage "The Last Word Town Hall with Lawrence O'Donnell and Kamala Harris" -- Pictured: Kamala Harris -- (Photo by: Liz Nemeth/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MSNBC - Election Coverage "The Last Word Town Hall with Lawrence O'Donnell and Kamala Harris" -- Pictured: (l-r) Lawrence O'Donnell, Kamala Harris -- (Photo by: Liz Nemeth/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 27: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at the National Forum on Wages and Working People: Creating an Economy That Works for All at Enclave on April 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Six of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are attending the forum, held by the Service Employees International Union and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, to share their economic policies. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 05: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at the National Action Network convention on April 5, 2019 in New York City. A dozen 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will speak at the organization's convention this week. Founded by Rev. Al Sharpton in 1991, the National Action Network is one of the most influential African American organizations dedicated to civil rights in America. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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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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