WASHINGTON – Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who ran for president in 2012, told PJM that former President Obama ended the “wet foot, dry foot” policy for Cubans shortly before Donald Trump took office because Cubans typically vote Republican.
A Pew survey showed about half of Cubans in Florida voted for Trump, which helped him win the state in the presidential election.
Days before leaving office, Obama ended the 1995 “wet foot, dry foot” rule, which stated that migrants from Cuba who attempt to cross the border into the U.S. are allowed to apply for U.S. residency one year later.
The Department of Homeland Security said earlier this month that the refugee program was scrapped for the sake of “ongoing normalization of relations between the governments of the United States and Cuba” and “a commitment to have a broader immigration policy in which we treat people from different countries consistently.”
Bachmann, who told PJM she might return to D.C. in the near future, said Obama proposed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) policies because immigrants from countries such as Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala are potential Democratic voters and weren’t eligible for the “wet foot, dry foot” policy.
“Here President Obama, eight years ago, put his hand on the Bible and said that he was going to uphold, protect, and defend the laws of this land, and he did just the opposite – as a matter of fact, not only did he not uphold the law of the land but, what was worse, he made up his own laws. He would speak law into existence without going through the democratic process, probably one of the worst things that he did was DACA. It isn’t legislation – where he just spoke that minors, and we find out that minors are like 35 years old, but that minors that illegally come across the border into the United States – all of a sudden he waved the magic wand and they were allowed to stay and they were un-deportable,” she said of the policy that offered a legalization path to adults brought to the country as children during an exclusive interview with PJM during the inauguration.
“Then in about 10 seconds after that, he announced that the parents were also allowed to stay and not be deportable. In other words, if you get on our soil, it’s kind of like the Cuban ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy. If you get here, you are here, but how interesting that he held back on the ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy because anyone who is a Republican or a potential Republican voter, they had to leave. But if you’re a potential Democratic voter you get to stay, and that’s what the reality of all of this is. Forever this has always been about more Democrat voters. It’s a taxpayer subsidized voter registration drive. That’s what it has and always has been for the Democratic Party, because if these were potential Republicans coming into the country, there is no way that we would have open borders,” she added.
Bachmann, founder of the House Tea Party Caucus, applauded Trump’s approach to the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.
“I think that the great thing about Donald Trump is that he is not intimidated by the same old tricks of the left. He really does deal in reality and he deals in truth, and the fact is that all of us know that all Donald Trump wants to do is enforce the laws already that we have on the books. We have great laws dealing with immigration; the problem really wasn’t laws, it was Barack Obama’s illegal non-enforcement of the laws,” Bachmann said
PJM asked Bachmann how she thinks Trump should handle the current recipients of DACA, which totals about 750,000.
“I like what Donald Trump has said. He is going to start with the most egregious violators first, which are criminals and they will be deported first. I think he is going to do what he says. I really do. I think he is going to do what he said and I think he is going to work down through the list and I think, for instance, just today it’s being reported that people are flooding across the border because they know with Barack Obama it’s been a wide-open, completely porous border,” she said.
“Why should those people be allowed to stay who broke the law? And I think for every person that comes into this country that’s one more African-American kid who’s going to have a tougher time getting a job, one more Hispanic kid who’s born here who’s going to have a tougher time getting a job, and Donald Trump really is about making America great again for all Americans including African-American inner city youth and Latino inner city youth who really need a break,” she added.
Bachmann continued, “So out of a true heart of compassion he needs to deport people. I don’t care what age they are or whatever, he needs to deport them, if they broke the law there has to be a consequence. And so I think he’ll start with the most outrageous cases, which is right, and just move down the line.”
Bachmann recommended that Trump follow through on his pledge to cut off federal funding for sanctuaries cities.
“There is no question, it’s very easy, you cut them off financially, you cut them off and then we’ll see how defiant [sanctuary cities] are because they live off of the government checks that come their way and you just cut them off, just like the UN you cut them off, just like the Palestinian Authority, you cut them off; this is not tough to solve,” she said. “We can solve our budget problems but we can solve a lot of domestic and international problems. I think is going to be a great roar and fun and I am happy for Donald Trump, that he is going to have fun while he is being president, setting our nation back on the course it should be on.”
She said mayors like Rahm Emanuel of Chicago have publicly stated they will continue to not cooperate with federal immigration authorities because “they have never seen a Republican with guts.”
“They don’t know what a Republican with guts looks like because they’re so rare, and I actually think and hope Donald Trump is going to do what he said,” she said. “Donald Trump is independent enough that I don’t think he’ll succumb to political pressure. I just hope he isn’t persuaded to go another way. I think Donald Trump is really a tough guy, which is good.”
In Bachmann’s view, 2016 was a “policy-driven” presidential election and people supported the policies of Trump.
“People loved and embraced the policies of Donald Trump. It wasn’t just his rhetorical flourishes – it was really the policies he laid out. He was clear on immigration. He was clear on vetting Muslims that are coming into this country,” she said. “He was clear and people said, ‘darn tootin’ it’s about time this happened.’ So I think if Donald Trump follows what he said during the course of this campaign, this country is going to zoom. I absolutely believe our economy is going to go boom and zoom to the top.”
Bachmann told PJM she recently met with Austrian members of parliament who want to help the United States avoid similar immigration issues as their country.
“They wanted to share their experience with us. They’re very excited about Donald Trump winning,” she said.
Bachmann said the Austrian lawmakers told her that by 2050 more than 50 percent of the youth in Austria will be Muslim and it’s “dramatically changing” the country.
“Many other nations now wish they had taken the aggressive stance that Hungary did so with Austria. Just this last week, there’s this 15-year-old girl that was beat up by a group of Muslim kids who said next year they are going to pound her even harder, I mean, it’s just, she had blood coming out, this is routine,” she said.
Bachmann may have been referring to a November incident in which a 15-year-old Muslim girl was beaten by other Muslim teens at a shopping center in Vienna, reportedly for removing her headscarf.
“It happens all the time now and what we were told by the Austrian lawmakers is often times these thugs don’t even get jail time. It’s not reported in the news,” she said. “One young couple started a website and local officials brought them up on a hate crime, so hate crimes are the big issue. The hate crime is not for the perpetrators who are committing the violence. The hate crime is for people who are warning other people that maybe it’s not a good idea to have unlimited immigration coming into the country.”
Bachmann said the European Union’s original purpose was to help facilitate trade between nations but has been upended by immigration problems.
“They are telling us that the trend is turning in the Trump direction, where people do love their country. They want their own countries to succeed. They are upset with the EU,” she said. “The whole idea of the Schengen [Agreement] where you step one foot into the EU and then you can go anywhere in the EU was meant to facilitate trade and has ended up hurting these nations when it comes to migration, and Italy is collapsing. They see the mess. They don’t want the United States to go down that road and they are thrilled that Donald Trump is coming in.”