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Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur Battles Trump Campaign Spox on Illegal Immigration: Trump’s a ‘Miserable Failure’

The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur and Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany sparred over illegal immigration on CNN’s Cuomo PrimeTime, with Uygur pointing to the huge spike in border apprehensions as proof that President Donald Trump’s “get tough” border policy has been a “miserable failure.”

“Trump said he was going to stop the flow of migration. It’s gone up 32% in the last month and the most we’ve had, both legal and illegal in 13 years,” Uygur said. “So, Kayleigh, I put it to you, isn’t Donald Trump a giant failure on his signature issue? In fact, it’s almost inarguable.”

McEnany, unsurprisingly, did not agree. “No, he’s not a giant failure,” she countered. “We have a crisis on our hands. Do you acknowledge that at least, Cenk?…Do you at least acknowledge that that’s a crisis?”

According to border crossing data released by the Customs and Border Protection in March, apprehensions for illegal immigration have spiked to their highest levels in 12 years, with nearly 100,000 detentions during that month. Those are not all-time highs, however, as Border Patrol agents routinely detained more than 100,000 migrants every month during the 1990s and 2000s. Back then, most illegal crossings were made by individual Mexican males, but now the migrant profile is mostly Central American families, many with children, seeking asylum from an epidemic of violence in their home countries.

“Under Obama we had less undocumented immigrants than we do under Trump,” pointed out Uygur, who went on to mock the bombastic, “build the wall” rhetoric that then-candidate and now-President Trump has used in his incessant promises to stop the flow of undocumented aliens and illegal drugs.

“Trump said: ‘Oh, I’m going to get tough and I’m such a tough guy and I’m going to separate the families and put the kids in this place and the parents and the moms in the other place. I’m so tough.’ What do we have? More undocumented immigrants, not less. It’s a 13-year record. He’s a miserable failure on this issue. So if [people] voted for him thinking he was going to stop undocumented immigrants, he didn’t even do that. Now we have an absolute disaster on our hands. He doesn’t know how to address the core issue: Why are they coming in the first place? You just think if you punch them in the face that they’re going to go away.”

For her part, McEnany claimed that previous administrations have completely ignored illegal immigration. But in fact, the George W. Bush administration passed a bipartisan Secure Fence Act in 2006 and the Obama administration made record apprehensions and deportations of undocumented aliens.

“The only person who has taken any interest in stopping this in the last four decades is President Trump. Who secured money for 450 million miles of the wall?” McEnany asked.

“Did it work?” Uygur shot back.

“Excuse me? Did it work? It’s going to work. It’s going to be built. The 450 miles by the end of next year. We just got the funding for this. What have you done?” she said.

Cuomo, with a reality check, broke in.” Zero chance it’s built by next year. Don’t give yourself a deadline you’re not going to meet,” he told McEnany. “Your problem, Kayleigh, is it wasn’t the right fix for the problem. I’m not against physical barriers. I certainly don’t think they’re immoral, I think its about a priority. It’s not about the brown menace. These people flooding though are gates right now, they are majority kids and families. It’s not a fence is a fix away.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

Correction: This story has been updated to note that Kayleigh McEnany is a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, not the RNC. She left her post at the RNC to join the Trump campaign in February.

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