CNN anchor pushes back on GOP lawmaker regarding president's power to shut border: 'You are just wrong'

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CNN anchor Brianna Keilar pushed back on GOP Rep. Josh Brecheen’s (R-Okla.) assertion about President Biden’s abilities to shut down the southern border, telling the lawmaker, “You are just wrong.” 

Keilar asked Brecheen to voice his concerns about the bipartisan Senate border deal that came out after months of negotiations. The legislation was endorsed by the Border Patrol union.

Brecheen, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that the solution to close the U.S.-Mexico border has already been available for decades but that the current administration refuses to enforce the laws. 

“The real solution is, it’s already been on the books for decades, and they refuse to enforce it,” Brecheen said Tuesday. “2017 it was being enforced. You had the lowest number of illegal immigration in our nation’s history, 40 years. And yet what’s the difference between 2017 and to date? The difference is an administration that chooses to be lawless, and Republicans go ahead.”

Keilar pushed back, saying the law Brecheen was citing, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, also allows people to ask for asylum when they come to the border, even if they step into U.S. territory without authorization. 

“And if you’re citing that bill, you should be very much aware of this, because this particular bill in the Senate side would change that,” Keilar said. “It would give the president the ability to do exactly what you were citing, the part of the bill that you’re citing, because in November of 2018, when former President Trump tried to use that very bill that you’re talking about to curb illegal migrant crossings, he was prevented from doing so by a federal court because it violated the very law that he was trying to use. The law that you were saying is on the books.”

Brecheen responded, saying that Biden utilized the law previously, a statement that got him even more pushback from Keilar.   

“The law that’s on the books. President Biden on day five utilized it when it came to Brazil, South America, South Africa, excuse me, and United Kingdom. He utilized that, that provision of law,” Brecheen said. 

“It can’t apply to asylum, congressman,” Keilar said.

The bipartisan border deal that came together in text on Sunday already faced a death blow in the upper chamber as Senate Republicans backed away from putting the bill on the floor, with more than half of the GOP conference coming out in opposition to the legislation that took months to craft.

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