Trump holding 'American people hostage' with shutdown: Incoming Dem caucus chair

An incoming member of the House Democratic leadership, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, discusses on "This Week" how they will handle the government shutdown and impasse over border wall funding.
7:38 | 12/30/18

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Transcript for Trump holding 'American people hostage' with shutdown: Incoming Dem caucus chair
hakeem Jeffries. He'll serve as the chair of the house democratic caucus. He's part of the new Democrat leadership. Congressman, you heard the cvp commissioner saying they're overwhelmed at this point. He's asked congress for funds to improve conditions and medical care for children. Are Democrats prepared to approve that? We're prepared to provide additional funding for enhanced fencing, technology, drones, satellites, lighting, censors, cell phone towers and the things the experts have indicated will improve border security. In addition, we want to enhance the ability of our officials at the southwest border to conduct themselves in a humane fashion and to avoid the type of tragedies that happened with jakelin and Felipe. That was unacceptable, unamerican and unconscionable. We need to do bet. Does the federal government bear any of the blame? The trump administration bears blame to the extent the buck stops at the top. At the end of the day, you had two young, innocent children die in American custody. That should never occur. The president in a tweet blamed the Democrats for the death of the two Guatemalan children saying any deaths of children or the are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can't. If we had a wall, they wouldn't even try. Your reaction. That's a completely unreasonable statement from the president, but not unsurprising. At the end of the day many families and children leaving these very violent central American countries of guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador are fleeing places that are overrun with gangs, drug activity. Many of them have a credible fear of persecution consistent with our asylum laws. They have a legal right to be heard to determine whether they have a basis for establishing asylum. The fact that Donald Trump ignores that legal reality is shameful. The trump administration announced its reached an agreement for Mexico for immigrants to seek asylum in Mexico while they await that process. Anything the trump administration says about reaching any agreement with the Mexican government. This is the same president who said Mexico would pay for the wall he plans to build. Now he's trying to extract $5 billion from the American tax payer to pay for something that clearly would be ineffective. We'll look at whatever agreement he presents. That is not a credible proposed solution to the challenges that we face at our southwest border. I want to ask you about the $5 billion in a moment. I want to ask you first about the killing of a young California police officer. The suspect is an undocumented immigrant. This is what the sheriff said leading the investigation. He said California's sanctuary law stopped local authorities from reporting the suspect to immigration officials during two previous drunk driving arrests. You defended sanctuary laws. The sheriff said if those laws wouldn't have been in place officer Singh would be alive today. T a tragic situation. My heart and prayers go out to the officer's family as well as members of the law enforcement community who work hard and sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. My experience in New York has been different. Members of the NYPD the most highly trained law enforcement entity in the country, if not the world, has been that these sanctuary laws actually help promote public safety by encouraging cooperation, encouraging communication between community and police. In California it didn't work that way. Address situation in California. He said officer Singh would be alive today. I'm not going to take issue with the sheriff's assessment of the situation being unfamiliar with California laws. Clearly it's a human tragedy. Clearly we have to do better in terms of preventing these types of occurrences from taking place and keeping our law enforcement safe and our communities safe. That's what Democrats intend to do and will continue do in a bipartisan fashion. Congressmen, let's move back to the shutdown. Nancy Pelosi said that house Democrats are considering three options to reopen the government. None of those options include money for a border wall. The president's team offered a $2.5 billion compromise. Why isn't that a good compromise? At its core our responsibility in government is to manage public money. We can manage it efficiently or waste tax payers dollars. What Donald Trump and the Republicans want to do is waste $5 billion in tax payer money on an ineffective medieval border wall that is a 5th century solution to a 21st century problem. Yes, we need to enhance border security. We are not willing to pay $2.5 billion or $5 billion and wasting tax payer dollars because Donald Trump decided he was going to shut down the government and hold the American people hostage. That's unreasonable. Is there any circumstance where you would give any funding for a wall or border? If not, what are you saying to people who said it's the Democrats' fault the government is shut down? The government S been shut down for one of the longest periods of time under a situation where Republicans control the house, the senate and the presidency. As you indicated, leader Pelosi along with chuck Schumer will work to reopen the government. We offered three different alternatives. We offered bipartisan appropriation bills. They've already been agreed Toby the house and senate related to all the parts of the federal government beyond the department of homeland security. We offered a continuing resolution that would maintain the homeland security's funding. That's a reasonable proposal. They rejected it. We offered a continuing resolution for all entities shut down through the next fiscal year that would maintain current levels of funding. That's a reasonable proposal. They rejected it. We also offered to put fort a proposal that would continue the current levels of funding through February 8th. That passed the senate unanimously. Because Donald Trump decided that he was going to respond to his radical right wing base rejected it and therefore we find ourselves in a government shutdown. We offered three reasonable proposals. Congressman Jeffries, none seem to include a wall which Donald Trump is buckling down on. Thank you for joining us this morning. Thank you. Up next the president's

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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