Dan Crenshaw and MSNBC host debate whether border is in crisis


A conversation between Rep. Dan Crenshaw and MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan devolved into cross-talk as the two debated whether a crisis exists on the southern border.

“Are you confused?” Crenshaw asked Hasan at one point as the two engaged in an animated debate over the effectiveness of Trump-era immigration policy.


Crenshaw, a Texas Republican, defended the effectiveness of former President Donald Trump’s border policies, including the “remain in Mexico” policy which returned migrants across the border while they awaited the adjudication of their asylum claims.

“So when you tell people, ‘If you bring a child with you, you’re going to be released into the interior,’ well, then, they’re going to have a bigger incentive to come,” he said. “Now, under the Trump administration, they said, ‘Okay, we’re going to tell you to remain in Mexico and adjudicate your claim there, or even better, you can go to your home country or a neighboring country and adjudicate your asylum claim there.'”

Hasan disputed the effectiveness of this policy.

“Seventy thousand people were sent to Mexico under the Remain in Mexico policy out of 1.5 million people encountered at the border. That’s less than 5%. That’s hardly a solution,” he said.

The MSNBC host accused Crenshaw of distorting the number of migrants coming through the southern border during an interview with Fox News last week when the Republican claimed illegal border crossings happened “overnight” as a result of President Biden rescinding the “Remain in Mexico” in February.

“This happened overnight, okay, when President Biden rescinded the remain in Mexico policy when they rescinded the Asylum Cooperation Agreements with the northern triangle countries. So Biden has the nerve to say quietly don’t come, wink, don’t come … If you come here, we’re going to give you a bus ticket wherever you want and not going to deport you,” he said on Fox News.

Crenshaw said the more than 100,000 migrants encountered at the border in February were spurred on by Biden’s rhetoric.

“Migrants will tell you, as reporters are interviewing them, that Joe Biden invited them, that cartels are passing this information along, but there were very specific policies that were reversed as soon as Biden took office,” he claimed.

Hasan, who disputed Crenshaw’s assertion that the surge since Biden assumed office was a “crisis,” pointed to data showing migrant crossings were rising for months before Biden took office, with nearly 70,000 migrant encounters reported each month between October 2020 and January 2021. He also argued against Crenshaw’s claim that Biden was inviting migrants into the country, saying the representative was wrong to imply the Biden administration is pushing an open-border policy.

“I’m wondering why you went on Fox and said, ‘People are not being deported’ when 72% of the people apprehended at the border last month were deported under Joe Biden. Can you deal with that point?” he asked.

Crenshaw said that statement proved his point, arguing he “never said nobody was getting deported.” While single adults can still be deported, unaccompanied minors and family units are incentivized to cross the border due to new Biden administration protections, such as the rollback of “Remain in Mexico,” Crenshaw claimed.

The Texas representative invited Hasan to come down to the southern border to witness the situation firsthand.

“You should go down there. You need to go down there and see this for yourself,” he said.

The United States is facing a surge of migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, crossing the southern border. Federal officials say more than 100,000 migrants were encountered at the border last month, and reports indicate an unprecedented 117,000 migrant children are set to enter the U.S. by the end of the year. The most recent border surge saw the entry of 80,000 unaccompanied minors into the nation in 2019.


The interview was spurred by a Twitter spat last week between the two over President Biden’s immigration policy. The exchange culminated with Hasan telling Crenshaw he was “welcome” to appear on his program to debate immigration.

“Gladly,” Crenshaw replied.

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