Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Center for Immigration Studies Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan to the newsmakers line to discuss the ramifications of a broken immigration system and the political consequences for the Biden administration.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.
And, Jessica, you have been with the center since 1992. Before that, you were a foreign service officer with the Department of State.
Have you ever seen the implementation of our immigration laws at the border so awful?
Vaughan: Good morning. No. This is really a historic time in a bad way for border security. Things are truly out of control. The Border Patrol is overwhelmed with people arriving illegally.
The policies today are encouraging people to show up here illegally, knowing that most of them are going to be allowed in. If they can get to you on U.S. soil, they will be allowed to stay here indefinitely with little threat of immigration enforcement under the policies of the Biden administration.
And they’ll get here one way or another. Some are searching down the Border Patrol to turn themselves in if they’ve come with a child because that child is a free pass into the country.
Others if they’re single adults or just trying over and over again in the vast areas of the border that do not have any barriers or where the Border Patrol is distracted by all of the child and family arrivals.
They just keep trying over and over again until they get in again, because, under the Biden policies, there is no threat of immigration enforcement.
Leahy: We’re talking with Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies. A longtime expert on American immigration law. Now, Jessica, I am not an expert on immigration law.
I don’t play one on the radio, but when I look at this and I hear people say, well the Biden administration is just they’re just not doing it competently.
I look at this and I say, no, no, no. It doesn’t look like that to me at all. It looks like they are intentionally violating American immigration law. Do I have that right? Or is there a nuance that I’m missing?
Vaughan: (Chuckles) Well, I wouldn’t claim to have any special insight into the motivations of the current policymakers.
I just know that there are more than 100,000 people every single month who are arriving illegally and being allowed to stay here, and it’s going to be more than a million new illegal arrivals this year.
They’re in charge of the policy. They know that it’s happening. I think that there is probably a raging debate within the Biden administration about this.
I think that it’s probably along the lines of, well, this is a good thing for our country, and we feel good because we’re helping people from other countries get a better life.
A few others are saying we’re okay with this, but this is a political disaster so how can we kind of hide what’s happening? There are definitely, I think, are people who are aware that this is going to cause political problems.
I don’t think that there are many people within the Biden administration who understand that this is actually a problem for our country on many other levels, including the enormous burden on state and local taxpayers to provide services to these new arrivals.
The loss of job opportunities to Americans and legal immigrants at the lower end of the income scale who are going to be displaced from employment opportunities.
The public safety problems caused by letting in people that we don’t even know who they are. The potential national security implications.
Because we’re getting people now from all over the world, including the Middle East and African countries, as well as Haiti and parts of South America.
Not to mention just the integrity of our immigration system. One of the casualties of this is going to be that the public is going to not be interested in any of the mass amnesties that the Biden administration would like to enact for illegal immigrants that have been here for some time.
And we don’t have any integrity in our immigration system. Our border is simply porous right now, and I think that there is going to be real dissatisfaction among voters with the situation.
And I think that in the long run, the Biden administration’s political goals of more open legal immigration are not going to happen because they’re not controlling illegal immigration.
Leahy: Can you stay with us through the break? I got a big question I want to ask you about Alejandro Mayorkas.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed author and former acting director of ICE Tom Homan to the newsmakers line to discuss the motives of the Biden administration’s lack of law enforcement at the southern border and pending lawsuits.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmakers line by our good friend, former acting director of ICE under the Trump administration. And like me, a native of upstate New York. The man from Watertown, New York, Tom Homan.
Homan: Good morning sir.
Leahy: Well, Tom, I look at this disaster on the border over the past, what is it now? Almost going on six months. And my question to you is, is what Joe Biden doing, is what the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas is doing, violating the immigration laws of the United States, is that an impeachable offense in your mind?
Homan: I think it is. Their number one responsibility to protect this country and protect your sovereignty. And they have abdicated their responsibilities to secure our border.
They’re ignoring existing law. What they’re working really hard at, they’re making illegal immigration legal. They’ve already told ICE they can’t arrest anybody for just being in the country illegally.
They are releasing people at the border without any court date. And now they’re talking about and in the process of reinstating the CAM project, where people can apply for asylum in their home countries, and we will transport them at the taxpayers’ expense in the United States to reunite their families.
It’s at a point where I actually wait for they cannot believe where we’re at as a nation.
Leahy: Tom, what’s the solution to this problem?
Homan: You know, we can’t wait for 2022. I’m involved with several lawsuits. With the state of Texas, they’ve got five separate lawsuits filed against this administration. I’m a party to four of them.
I’ve written more affidavits, against the Biden administration than I’ve written in my entire career against criminals. (Inaudible talk) I’m a part of the Arizona lawsuit.
So I’ve been acting as an expert witness for a lot of the state attorneys general suing the Biden administration before and they’re doing exactly what you said they’re doing.
Not only are they ignoring the law, we believe they’re actually breaking laws. One of the lawsuits clearly says in the statute in Title Eight of the United States immigration law says that ICE shall detain those convicted of certain drug offenses, those who have final orders of removal from an immigration judge, and those who have committed crimes in perpetude.
It says I shall detain these people. They’re not detaining any of them. They’re releasing them. And I’m not blaming the ICE officers.
They’ve been put in a tough decision by this administration. They were given a memo basically saying that you can only use somebody in the United States for being here illegally if they have been convicted of a serious crime.
So for some, it’s almost like being in this country illegally isn’t illegal anymore? And they don’t think that serves as another enticement for cartels.
Look, we’ll get you to the border and we’ll get you in the country, you can even lose your case. And you win because no one’s looking to remove you.
This administration, I said many times, isn’t mismanagement. This is incompetence and by design. This is what the border looks like.
Leahy: I think you are right. I think it is by design. Let’s talk about this character, Alejandro Mayorkas. He seems to be perhaps one of the most practice liars I’ve ever seen.
In other words, he tries to set forward an explanation, couched in legal terms to explain why he’s violating the law. What’s your take on this guy?
Homan: I don’t recognize him anymore. When he was deputy secretary, I was third in command of ICE back in 2014, 2015.
We had a similar surge, not this big, but we had a surge. He knows what causes surges, and he knows how to stop them. I’ve had over 100 meetings with him.
Leahy: You’ve had over 100 meetings with Alejandro Mayorkas?
Homan: Yes. Back in ’14, ’15. And we stopped the surge. How did we do it? We built detention facilities with over 3,000 family beds. 3,000 beds.
We tell people long enough to see a judge. And when a judge order to remove which 90 percent would be able to removed, we removed them.
The numbers went down. He’s doing the complete opposite of what he knows works. They are not detaining them and they are working as quickly as they can to release them as fast as they can.
They’re being released without a court date. And we can’t remove them because ICE can’t remove someone for just being here illegally anymore.
He’s done the complete opposite of what we did in ’14, ’15 when he was a Deputy Secretary on how to stop this surge. That’s what I’m saying. This is by design. He knows how to stop this. He just won’t take the steps.
Leahy: Would you say Mayorkas is a highly intelligent man?
Homan: He was a US attorney. He’s an attorney by trade. He’s not a stupid man at all. What he’s doing with these open borders is he sold out to the progressive left, just like Joe Biden did.
And they’re running that an open borders agenda and he is facilitating it. Here’s a sad thing. I’m 59 years old. We have the first president in the history of my life and I’ve been in immigration law for 35 years, and the first Secretary ever that is actively facilitating illegals entering this country. Actively facilitating cross-border crime.
Leahy: Now, let me ask you about this. What’s the motive here? In your view? You react to what really is right. You probably don’t look at motive that much.
But I look at this and I say, okay, who’s behind this? Is this Biden’s desire? Is it Mayorkas’s desire? What are they trying to accomplish?
Homan: In my opinion, the open border advocates have control of the White House.
I know for a fact, a lady by the name of Esther Olavarria is working at the White House as a senior policy advisor who is an immigration activist out of Miami.
She and people like her have hijacked this administration. Like I said before, Biden sold himself out to win the progressive left. He knew it was important for him to get the votes from the progressives to become president.
So he sold out just to become president. And I think about this all the time. What could actually benefit? Here is who benefits. All these people come across the border, millions of them are going to sanctuary cities.
What happens then? Well, Biden also overturned the Trump census, which means then I’ll be counting the next census. But what’s that equal?
It equals more seats in the House for the Democrats which leads to the Electoral College. They’re offering amnesty to millions of people.
They think they’re future Democratic voters. This is about Democrats set the stage playing the long game for perpetual power.
And I’ve met with 20 Republican congressmen out in Texas about a month ago, and I told them, you guys need to pull your head out of your butt and pay attention to what’s going on.
Leahy: You didn’t say butt, I’m pretty sure I did.
Homan: No I didn’t. I said, maybe you don’t care, but you won’t win another election in 15 years if you don’t wake up. The Democrats are playing the long game and you’re ignoring it.
Leahy: Yeah, I think that’s it. Let me ask you this. Mayorkas. Now you’ve been in with him. He’s an interesting fellow to me. I think he’s very, very clever, but totally amoral in my view.
I’ve never met him. But you said you’ve been in hundreds of meetings with him. Is this like a one on one meeting you’ve been in? Or meetings with like 500 other people?
Homan: Mainly one on one meetings and many group meetings. And I would tell them how do we ran into this surge in ’14, ’15 and what we need to do to stop it.
And Jeh Johnson listened to us. And they did it. Listen, Jeh Johnson when he was Secretary and Mayorkas was deputy, we built with their approval 3,000 family beds.
You never see them do that today. And the so-called cages and what everybody is screaming about and said that Trump built, no, those were built when Alexander Mayorkas was Deputy Secretary.
That’s why I’m saying he’s doing the complete opposite of what he knows works. This isn’t an accident. He is not the same man he was back then.
He believed in border security. He let us do things to stop the surge. You can’t name one thing. You can’t name one single thing they have done to slow the flow or to add a consequence and returns.
They just keep making things easier. They stood out on the national stage a month ago saying, hey, look, there is no overcrowding border trouble cities.
We’re processing these quick kids quickly and getting them out. That’s a success. You may call it a success, but I call it a failure.
Because the quicker you release people and brag about it, the more they’re going to come because they know they won’t be detained.
Leahy: Yeah, that’s my sense. You were an acting director of ICE for a period of time. What’s morale in ICE like?
Homan: It’s never been this bad in the history of the agency. I mean, last month, you said the lowest number of arrests in the history of the agency.
At the same time, we have a record number of people coming to that border and entering illegally. The lowest number of arrests.
They’re not allowed to do their job. And I said before, and I mean, this is I can put in one sentence. An immigration agent or a law enforcement officer can no longer arrest somebody from being in the country illegally.
An illegal alien gang member can walk up to an ICE agent today and say, I’m here illegally. I was ordered to be removed by an immigration judge last year.
I didn’t go. What are you going to do about it? The answer is, they can’t do a thing about it. They can’t arrest them. This is where we’re at as a nation.
The men and women of Border Patrol and of ICE truly feel the President United States has abandoned them. They truly feel that they don’t support them. The Secretary or the President or the Vice President won’t even admit there’s a crisis on the border.
Listen to the full first hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Republican Mayor-elect Javier Villalobos of McAllen, Texas to the newsmakers line to discuss his background, border policy, and taking on federal immigration burdens in his community.
Leahy: We are delighted to welcome to our newsmaker line, the Mayor-elect of McAllen, Texas, Javier Villalobos. Welcome, Mr. Villalobos.
Villalobos: Hi. Good morning. And thank you very much for the invite.
Leahy: It has been a busy week for you, hasn’t it?
Villalobos: You know what? It’s been incredibly hectic, but in a wonderful way, though.
Leahy: So you were elected mayor of McAllen, Texas. It’s a very growing border city in the southeastern corner of Texas. Right across the border is Reynosa, Mexico. I’ve been to McCallen. It’s a great place. What’s the population of McCallen?
Villalobos: The population is about 150,000 right now.
Leahy: That’s a pretty big city.
Villalobos: It is considering, of course, when you take everything into consideration, the rest of the states, of course, everything is pretty much together have a population of close to about a million.
Leahy: What struck me about McCallen when I was there, which was about 10 years ago, a lot of new construction, a lot of sort of export-import business. And people there really seem to be growing businesses.
It’s still a thriving community, except for the past six or seven months have been a problem, haven’t they?
Villalobos: Well, you know what? It has been economically. You really should come to visit it again. After 10 years, we wouldn’t even recognize it. But, yes, of course, we’ve had some different issues. I think I know exactly what you’re talking about.
Six months ago, it was a little bit better. We are about 13 miles away from the border. And, of course, we’re having a few issues right now at any given time. McCallen has two international bridges.
Hidalgo-Reynosa and Anzalduas and at any given point we have hundreds, and I’m talking about hundreds of immigrants, which are transported, really to McAllen. Fortunately, we always say, look, immigration is not a municipal issue.
It’s a federal issue. But we’re kind of tied up. Border Patrol comes and they bring usually hundreds a day. We help process, even though we shouldn’t have to, but we do it for purposes of public safety.
Leahy: Yes, for safety.
Villalobos: To make sure the immigrants are ok. Yes, definitely. Because the Border Patrol comes, drops them off near the bus station. Unless we do something, we don’t know what’s going to happen or where they can be.
I’m not talking to whether pro or against the immigrants. However, we make sure that we take care of business, even though it’s not our responsibility. We keep on talking about it and asking the federal government, the president, Congress, Senate, to take care of the business.
It’s not our responsibility. Our taxpayers should not be burdening or have any responsibility for the issue. And it does. After a while, it becomes very burdensome.
Leahy: You said something there that kind of surprised me. Let me see if I understand this correctly. You said that the Border Patrol takes, I guess, is illegal aliens or who people have crossed the border illegally in buses and they take them in downtown McAllen and then just let him go. Did I get that right?
Villalobos: Fortunately, we have an organization that assists. Not a municipal organization. It’s a nonprofit that will assist and at least logistically keep assisting them until they are prepared to go to wherever they’re going to be going. And logistically, we assist the city assistant in transporting them to the bus station, to the airport, wherever we can. And that’s about it.
That is about it. I think the city has been doing a great job with a nonprofit where even though it’s not our responsibility, we keep on doing whatever we can for the purposes of maintaining peace and public safety and making sure that everybody is taken care of. Especially our residents.
Leahy: What is the nonprofit down there that helps process these I guess illegal aliens dropped off at the bus station by the Border Patrol?
Villalobos: They have been helpful. It’s a Catholic charity called the Respite Center here in downtown McAllen, and they have actually been assisting quite a bit. Without them, I don’t know what the city would do.
Leahy: Has the flow of illegal immigrants dropped off in downtown McAllen by the Border Patrol increased over the past year or so?
Villalobos: Of course. I think we all know probably about six months ago or five months ago they changed the federal policy and things became very different. I would venture to say it was a lot more comfortable five or six months ago.
So it has been different. Unfortunately, this is not the first time it occurred. Several years ago, the city spent close to about a million dollars. It’s different now. We’re not spending as much.
But regardless of whether it’s a million, whether it’s $10,000 or $5,000 it is not a municipal responsibility, and we shouldn’t be burdened. That’s our position.
Leahy: Tell us a little bit about your background.
Villalobos: Oh, certainly. I’ve been here in McAllen for 26 years and I’m originally from here. Actually, not a son of immigrants, but a son of migrants. So I’ve been around. I was a Republican chairman 10 years ago, which surprises a lot of people knowing my background or where I come from.
I ran for office and became commissioner. And then, surprisingly, to a lot of people, I ran for Mayor and against all odds as some people say. Because even though it’s a non-partisan race, everybody here votes Republican, Democrat, or Independent.
Everybody knew I was a former Republican chairman, and fortunately, I was elected. It was a close one. It was a very close one, but I was elected.
Leahy: Now, what do you do for a living, Javier?
Villalobos: Mostly the main business is that I’m a lawyer.
Leahy: You’re an attorney?
Villalobos: Yes, sir. What area of law do you specialize in?
Villalobos: Pretty much a lot of governmental work representing cities, schools, housing authorities, economic development, and corporations. But I like to dabble in trial work also, some of the criminal and litigation.
Leahy: So how did you personally decide to become an attorney?
Villalobos: As I said, I’m not from there. I’m from Crystal City, a small little place about 250 miles from here. I remember coming from a barrio. And that is the truth. But I played baseball.
And I remember one of the coaches, he was a lawyer, and I always looked up to him and I thought maybe one day. Of course, I didn’t think so because we were from the barrio. But you know what it was?
I always say education is a great equalizer, and I really believe in that. And that’s what happened. That’s how we did it.
Leahy: So Crystal City is a barrio in El Paso? Where is Crystal City?
Villalobos: No, it’s about 250 miles North West of San Antonio, but it’s a small little place, a population of about 8,000 people back when I was a kid and still the same.
Leahy: So you’re a baseball guy? Did you grow up playing baseball as a kid?
Villalobos: (Laughs) And I love it. Still coaching. My kid doesn’t like to play with me anymore because he’s a senior in high school. So we started another team again with T-Ballers. So here we go again.
Leahy: I’m a big baseball fan. I love playing it. I was in high school. I was probably I was a good field no-hit guy right infielder. I hit about 240 s you can see why I didn’t make it past high school playing baseball. What position did you play?
Villalobos: I used to play second base and outfield.
Leahy: I was a second basement and a third baseman, too, so it was kind of fun. Who’s your team now?
Villalobos: Even when my kids were little. Now, if you’re talking about our local team, we’re called the Villalobos. Of course, I got The Lobos.
Leahy: There you go.
Villalobos: Once again, brand new kids because our kids grew up and they don’t want to hang out with dad anymore. So we got a new batch of kids. (Leahy laughs) Let’s see what we can do with them.
Leahy: Let’s talk a little bit about baseball for a minute in youth development. When I was a kid, many years ago, in the summer, I lived on a hill and there was a valley. I would ride my bike down the playground and people would be there.
And we would just play pick-up baseball. I did it every day. Today, it seems a lot harder for kids to play baseball.
Villalobos: It’s totally different nowadays for kids. I did exactly the same back then. You just get a bunch of kids and there’s an empty lot and here we go. Let’s play ball. It’s a little bit different nowadays.
But now the ones that are organized, there’s baseball all year round now. And if it’s organized, I mean, that’s a beautiful thing. The issue we have a lot of the times not just here, McAllen but everywhere is finding spaces for practice.
Leahy: Exactly. Hey, hold on to that thought. The Mayor-elect Javier Villalobos. I want to talk about baseball. I want to talk about immigration. And I want to talk about border policy.
Listen to the full first hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Javier Villalobos” by Javier Villalobos Campaign.