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By Allan Smith
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace pushed back on White House press secretary Sarah Sanders in a combative exchange over her misleading assertion that terrorists are entering the U.S. through its southern border.
The exchange comes as the government shutdown enters its third week. President Donald Trump is refusing to reopen the government until he receives the billions in funding for a massive border wall he seeks. Democrats have refused to provide him with such funding.
During her interview with Wallace, Sanders said: “We have drugs, we have human traffickers, we have terrorists that come across our border and there has to be a stop to that.”
Wallace circled back to that comment soon after, saying that Trump himself talks about terrorists crossing the border and playing a clip of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen saying that Customs and Border Protection has stopped more than 3,000 “Special Interest Aliens” at the southern border.
Wallace then pointed out that those are just people who are coming from a country that has ever produced a terrorist — not that they themselves are suspected of terrorism. He added that the State Department said there is no credible evidence of terrorists entering the U.S. across the southern border.
“We know that roughly, nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border,” Sanders responded.
“Wait, wait, wait — I know the statistic; I didn’t know you were going to use it,” Wallace replied. “But I studied up on this. Do you know where those 4,000 people … where they’re captured? Airports.”
“Not always,” Sanders said. “Certainly a large number. … It’s by air, it’s by land and it’s by sea. It’s all of the above. But one thing that you’re forgetting is that the most vulnerable point of entry that we have into this country is our southern border, and we have to protect it.”
Wallace doubled-down, saying that suspected terrorists aren’t crossing that border, however.
“They’re coming and they’re being stopped at airports,” he said.
“They’re coming a number of ways,” Sanders responded. “I’m not disagreeing with you that they’re coming through airports. I’m saying that they come by air, by land and by sea.”