▶ Watch Video: 5/14: Haley, Gonzales, Leeser

On this “Face the Nation” broadcast, moderated by Margaret Brennan:

  • Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, Republican presidential candidate
  • Rep. Tony Gonzales, Republican of Texas  
  • El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser  
  • Laredo, Texas, Mayor Victor Trevino
  • Rep. Lauren Underwood, Democrat of Illinois
  • National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard   

Click here to browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”    

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington.

And this week on Face the Nation: border politics and an exclusive with Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley.

Title 42, the pandemic era restriction that allowed the U.S. to quickly expel migrants, has been lifted.

(Begin VT)

SENATOR TED CRUZ (R-Texas): The invasion we’re going to see is going to be massive.

JOE BIDEN (President of the United States): It’s going to be chaotic for a while.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: But have those fears been realized? We will have firsthand reports from Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales and the mayors from two big border cities, Laredo and El Paso.

And what’s the solution for fixing the overall immigration issue? The 2024 election is still more than 500 days away, but, already, Republican primary contenders are offering their ideas.

(Begin VT)

GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS (R-Florida): Don’t tell me foreigners can just decide to come across the border when they want to. We decide who comes into this country as Americans.

DONALD TRUMP (Former President of the United States): When you say to a family that, if you come, we’re going to break you up, they don’t come.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will speak exclusively with former South Carolina Governor and Trump U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and get her thoughts on solving the border crisis.

Plus: As inflation slows ever so slightly, we will talk with the Biden administration’s new top economic adviser, Lael Brainard.

Finally, on this Mother’s Day, we will take a closer look at a disturbing trend, a rise in maternal mortality rates. We will be joined by Democratic Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, who’s trying to find a way for Congress to help.

It’s all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

Customs and Border Patrol says the first days of new border policies did not bring a spike in illegal crossings. But migration is still at historically high levels. Border Patrol is preparing for daily migrant arrivals to increase to between 12,000 to 14,000 per day, and they face major operational challenges, with many detention facilities over capacity.

Not surprisingly, the narratives we’re hearing about the situation coming from the two political parties are at odds. We have three Texas guests standing by for firsthand updates, a Republican Congressman, a Democratic mayor and an independent mayor.

But we want to begin with former South Carolina Governor and presidential hopeful Nikki Haley.

Good morning to you.

NIKKI HALEY (R-Presidential Candidate): Good morning. Happy Mother’s Day.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And happy Mother’s Day to you as well.

I want to start with the issue of the day, what’s happening at the border. The Biden administration has done a number of things. They have restricted asylum, barring migrants who appear at a port of entry without first having asked for refuge in a third country. If they try to enter without permission, they face a five-year ban.

They have increased deportation flights, and they plan to open processing centers in Latin America. Do you support any of that?

NIKKI HALEY: Well, I’m just surprised it took them so long.

If you look at the fact that it wasn’t broken to start with, they broke it. Five million illegal immigrants have crossed the border. I went with Congressman Gonzales 400 miles along that border. And what I saw was unbelievable.

You have ranchers that get up and get their coffee in the morning and go see if someone died crossing the fence. They pick up any little kids left over and take them to Border Patrol. When you talk to sheriffs, sheriff say, before 7:00 a.m., they have rounded up illegal immigrants, turned them over to Border Patrol, who documents them, and then releases them until their court date three or four years from now.

You ask Border Patrol what they do, and they said: We’re glorified baby- sitters.

We need to let them do their job. We have got to enforce some things. And we should do what I did when I was governor, which is pass one of the toughest immigration laws in the country, and do a mandatory E-Verify program that says no businesses can hire anyone that’s in this country illegally.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. Just for context, there is a global migration crisis, as you know.

But, for decades, Congress has failed to enact any kind of significant immigration reform, including during the Trump administration, when there was unified Republican control.

How different would it be? Why would it be any different if you were in charge?

NIKKI HALEY: Well, first of all, I will tell you, this is a crisis created by Republicans and Democrats.

This very much should have been dealt with a long time ago, and it wasn’t. What I would do is, first of all, do the mandatory E-Verify. I would defund sanctuary cities. I would go back to remain-in-Mexico, because no one wants to remain in Mexico.

I would fire the 87,000 IRS agents that are going after Middle America and put 25,000 Border Patrol and ICE agents on the ground. And instead of catch-and-release, let’s go to catch-and-deport. We have to be serious about the fact that we are a country of laws.

And the second we stop being a country of laws, we give up everything this country was founded on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But, as you know, deportation is problematic to countries where the U.S. has strained relations, like Venezuela and Cuba. So, even if you catch, you can’t necessarily deport.

So, for Cuba and Venezuela, would you keep those Trump era sanctions on those countries, which are already economically distressed? And some would say the sanctions make it even worse, sending migrants here.

NIKKI HALEY: We always want to take care of people who have been persecuted, but we got to take care of Americans first.

We got to start looking at the fact that every state’s a border state, that we have had enough fentanyl cross the border that would kill every single American. The number one cause of death for adults 18 to 49 is fentanyl. Why don’t we focus on that first? We can’t take care of anybody else if we can’t take care of ourselves.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you would keep the sanctions on those countries is what I hear?

NIKKI HALEY: I think — I think we need to stop the bleeding at the border and completely do immigration reform…


NIKKI HALEY: … before we can think of taking anybody else into this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How would you change America’s asylum policies? Because many of those people coming to these ports of entries are doing it legally. They are asking for protection.

NIKKI HALEY: Well, I think there’s legal immigration that we can focus on at the same time, and I think that needs to be focused on. What does our country need?

Let’s do it by merit. Let’s do it by talent. Let’s do it based on what the businesses need. But let’s not do it just because people happen across the fence and get away. Let’s not do it because we have crowded facilities and we can’t hold any more. That’s the wrong way to go about it.

We have to make sure this is a national security issue. We have to vet them. We have to know exactly who’s coming in here. Iran has said that the easiest way to get into America is through the Southern border. We shouldn’t wait for another 9/11 to realize that Republicans and Democrats have to get in a room and figure out immigration reform…


NIKKI HALEY: … and start working for the American people, instead of the other way around.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you revive President Trump’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents as deterrence?

NIKKI HALEY: It should never get to that point.

No, we should not be separating families. But we shouldn’t be taking families that we don’t have any control over. That’s the biggest issue, is, no one wants to be inhumane about this. I saw when I was at the United Nations what happens to these people who are trafficked.

I mean, if a child loses a shoe, they just leave the child there. If a person gets sick, they leave them to die. So we shouldn’t be saying — waving the green flag in the first place. This started when Biden took office and said, America’s open. We never should have had that happen.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, migration has been spiking for years now.

But let me ask you about another issue, and that is abortion. It is legal in your state of South Carolina up to 20 weeks post-conception, which is a law that you signed back in 2016 when you were the governor. There are exceptions if a mother’s life’s in danger or the fetus cannot survive. Do you want that to be the national standard?

NIKKI HALEY: Well, I don’t want unelected justices to be deciding something that’s personal.

I have long said I am pro-life not because the Republican Party tells me to be, but because my husband was adopted. But, having said that, I think what happened when it went back to the states, now there could be consensus in each state. There’s some states that have been pro-life. I welcome that. There are some states that have erred on the side of abortion. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is.

I think that we need to make sure that people’s voices are heard. And I think we need to do this from a humanizing standpoint, and not a demonizing standpoint, which is done in the past.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. So the law you passed in South Carolina, you would not necessarily want as the national standard?

NIKKI HALEY: Well, the law in South Carolina was the furthest we could get it at the time. That was before Roe was overturned.

For a national standard, I think we have to tell the American people the truth. In order to do a national standard, you would have to have a majority of the House, 60 Senate votes, and a president. We haven’t had 60 pro-life senators in 100 years.

So the idea that a Republican president could ban all abortions is not being honest with the American people, any more than a Democrat president could ban these pro-life laws in the state. So let’s be honest with the American people and say, let’s find national consensus. Let’s agree on getting rid of late-term abortions.

Let’s agree on the fact that we need more adoptions. Let’s agree on the fact that we need accessible contraception. Let’s agree on the fact that mothers shouldn’t be jailed or go to — get the death penalty for abortions.

But I will also ask you, let’s go and, if we’re going to talk about weeks, ask Kamala and Biden, are they good for 35 weeks, 36 weeks, 37 weeks? At what point are they OK?


NIKKI HALEY: Because, up until now, they were up for abortion up until the time of birth.


NIKKI HALEY: Is that — is that what they think the national standard should be?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, President — well, President Biden said he would sign Roe into law, which would be up to the point of fetal viability, which was roughly assumed to be about 24 weeks.

The majority of abortions are performed…

NIKKI HALEY: Which is six months, which is six months, which is late-term abortion.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The majority of abortions are performed under 13 weeks.

Two of your fellow South Carolinians, including one that’s going to run for president, Tim Scott, we think, has said that he would sign into law abortion protections up to the 20th week. So, he is picking a week. Some of your fellow Republicans are. Why do you feel like that’s a misdirection?

NIKKI HALEY: I’m not going to lie to the American people. Nothing’s going to happen if we don’t get 60 votes in the Senate. We’re not even close to that on the Republican or the Democrat side.

Why try and divide people further? Why not talk about the fact that we should be trying to save as many babies as possible and support as many mothers as possible? I think the media has tried to divide them by saying we have to decide certain weeks. In states, yes. At the federal level, it’s not realistic. It’s not being honest with the American people.


I want to ask you, as a conservative woman, do you think it undermines your party if the Republican front-runner is someone who was just found liable, legally liable, for sexually abusing a woman?

NIKKI HALEY: I have always said that anyone that feels like they have been sexually assaulted in any way should come forward and have their voice heard.

I also think anyone that’s been accused should be able to defend themselves. I was not on the jury. I’m not the judge. I think that both of them had their voices heard. There’s been a verdict.


NIKKI HALEY: And there’s been an appeal.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Trump was offered the…

NIKKI HALEY: And that’s for Trump to defend, and that’s Trump to decide that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He gave a deposition, but he didn’t go in to defend himself. And it was a jury that came to this conclusion.

Are you drawing into question the legal findings?

NIKKI HALEY: No, I said there’s a verdict and I think there’s been an appeal. And I think it stands where it stands. And I think the American people need to make a decision based on that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Nikki Haley, thank you for coming on today, making your case.

We’re going to go now to Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales with more on what he is seeing at the border.

Good morning to you, Congressman.

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES (R-Texas): Good morning, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know you have shared with us some videos that you filmed Friday inside a Customs and Border Patrol facility in El Paso.

I want to show them to our audience now. And I want you to tell us what we’re seeing here. Why do you think this is significant?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: Yes, first, I want to thank Nikki Haley for coming to my district a month ago and spending the day with me, seeing it firsthand.

This is what I’m hearing on the ground from mayors, from Border Patrol agents, from embedded media. Everyone is saying, it’s not that bad. So, on Friday, I visited El Paso. I went to the central processing center. And you’re seeing these videos. And this is what not that bad looks like.

In that — in the El Paso Sector, there’s over 6,000 people that are in custody. In this particular facility, it’s meant to house 1,000 people. It’s housing over 3,000. In one of these rooms, it’s meant that max capacity is 90 people. There was over 400 in here. That’s a 450 percent capacity.

In another room meant to house 120 people, there was over 700 people in there. We can’t allow not that bad to be the normal.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: Just this week, there was a migrant child that died in HHS custody. It’s only the second time in history.

I’m not looking to point fingers. I’m trying to go that we should not allow not that bad to be the normal.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, that was the second death that we know of during the Biden administration of a child in custody. There were about six during the Trump administration.

And it is horrific, I agree with you, in terms of children passing away like that.

But to the point you’re making about overcrowding, this is at the very heart of a legal dispute right now. As you know, in a Florida court, a federal judge has blocked the Biden administration from releasing migrants, even though the administration said they would monitor migrants if they had to release them.

They’re doing that because of the overcrowding. So what is the alternative, if a court is saying — a judge is saying this?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: Yes, the Biden — this is where I disagree with the Biden administration. The Biden administration is getting it wrong, because you’re so focused on illegal immigration.

They’re trying ways to streamline it with the app and other areas, that what needs to happen is, we need to focus on legal immigration. This is what is happening. You have got — you have got McCarthy on one side, Kevin McCarthy on one side, that is demonizing those that come over illegally. You have got Chuck Schumer on the other side in the Senate that makes it a morally good thing to help people that are coming over illegally.

Who gets hurt and this is people that have legal claims.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: You mentioned it earlier, legal, legitimate asylum claims.

And immigration reform gets further and further behind when we only focus on the illegal part. What we have to do is, we you have to enforce the laws that are already on the books. And Congress has to create a route where people can come over illegally.


Well, but, to that point, if someone is asking — is waiting on processing and they need to be held, they can’t be deported, or they are waiting for an asylum claim, what is the alternative to releasing them?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: The alternative is bringing — the president should have surged, should surge immigration judges to the border, and that person should get their case heard in days, not years.

Right now in El Paso, if you apply on the One app — I was at the port of entry — if you apply on the One app, your court date is 2031.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I mean, that’s eight years from now. The president can surge — instead of surging 1500 troops, surge immigration judges. This is America. Get your day in court.

If you do not qualify for asylum, which nine out of 10 people don’t, you get sent back to your country of origin. The other part is this. Where is Secretary Blinken in this argument? His job is to build relationships with Cuba, with Venezuela, with Nicaragua. He is nowhere to be found.

Everything is put on Secretary Mayorkas as to solve. It’s unfair all the way around, in particular to the Americans that live here.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you saying lift the sanctions off Cuba and Venezuela?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I think someone should go there and have a conversation…


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: … and work with these places.

I mean, these places aren’t easy places to work. There’s a reason why people are fleeing Venezuela, right? So, Instead of having them go down the asylum route, where we know they’re not going to qualify, where they’re going to have to spend their entire lives living in the shadows, why don’t we create a route where people can come over legally?


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I think that’s through working visas.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, yes, but you need to get a law passed. You need to work with Democrats to do that.

So, I need to ask you because you just said something about Speaker McCarthy and demonizing some migrants. Homeland Security Chair Mark Green said this morning he has a five-point plan to build a case potentially to impeach the homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas. He wouldn’t say something like that if the speaker hadn’t signed off on it.

Is that where you should be focusing, Republicans should be focusing their energy right now, instead of brokering deals on new laws, an impeachment?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: Well, what you see is, you see career politicians blame somebody else. It’s always somebody else’s fault, and not them.

And if the light can be shined on someone else, the more, the better, the more, the merrier. And, right now, the light is shined on Secretary Mayorkas. The reality, this is all of our problems, starting with the president of the United States, who needs to lead this country, and starting in Congress.

And you’re exactly right. I have been working with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to come up with a piece of legislation that can get passed in the 118th Congress, not what I want, not what they want.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: What can we pass today to move the ball forward?


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I think this country needs leadership, not – – not pointing fingers at one another.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. Is Speaker McCarthy leading on migration and border reform?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I think you — we passed this H.R.2 bill this week.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: And what you’re going to see is, everyone’s saying, we did our part. It’s those Senate Dem — Senate Democrats that aren’t doing their part.

But in a district like mine, which is 42 percent of the Southern border, 60 percent of El Paso County, we’re not looking for symbolic bills that have no chance of becoming law.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: We only get help when a bill becomes a law and the stress is alleviated at all levels.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: What I’m seeing is, this overcrowding is becoming normal. It’s normal to release people. It’s normal to have these folks live in the shadows.



MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, I have to ask about one other thing.

You’d said in the past, if there were un-Christian anti-immigrant bills brought to the floor by Republican leaders, that you would block a vote to lift the debt ceiling. You used that as leverage to get some things taken out of this border bill that just passed.

Have you committed to leadership that you will vote yes on any debt ceiling bill that the speaker is able to get through in terms of his negotiations?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I have not. And, yes, no, that’s what — that’s what leadership, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, always wants you. They want you to give your vote away to them.

I’m not — my vote is for the people of the 23rd District. And one of the things that I have fought so hard in H.R.2 was to make sure that these anti-immigrant bills, like H.R.29, died on the vine. This was a bill that banned legal — legal claims.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: That’s what I have been fighting for. And many in Congress, there is a new generation of both Republicans and Democrats that are fighting for legal immigration.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: And we are absolutely against illegal immigration.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I think you’re going to see our voice get louder and louder as we go on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, we will be tracking that work.

Thank you very much, Congressman.

Face the Nation is back in a minute.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to check in with the mayors of two cities on the Texas border with Mexico, starting with Mayor Oscar Leeser of El Paso.

Mr. Mayor, are you getting the resources from the state and federal government that you need?

OSCAR LEESER (D-Mayor of El Paso, Texas): You know, we are.

And it’s really important to talk about that, because Secretary Mayorkas, FEMA, they really stepped up to help us make sure that we do the job of the federal government. We all know they’re not coming into El Paso. We know they’re coming into the United States, so it’s — we’ve been working with them to make sure.

And we all know the immigration process is broken. There’s no ifs and buts about it. But we are getting the resources that we need, because our city and the Southern border couldn’t do it without federal aid.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you seeing any kind of health impact in your community?

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER: Any what? I’m sorry.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Health impact. There have been reports about health facilities — facilities being overburdened.

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER: You know, and one of the things that’s — when the judge passed that law that says that they have to have a court date prior to being released into the community, we’re prepared.

we are prepared. We have two schools that were — that were empty, that — that were not being used. We’ve opened it up to be ready to help the asylum seekers, to help them go, because, once they get their A-number, then they’re prepared to go through to their destination, whether it’s to meet with family, friends, or a job that they’ve arranged.

We’re prepared. And we have gotten the help. And we do see that the — the Border Patrol sector is full. But, this morning, I got a number, and they’re at 5,700. And — but we are prepared. We’re ready to move forward.


MAYOR OSCAR LEESER: And, you know, Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden administration has been a big help to our community, because we couldn’t do it on our own.


Well, there have been some complaints from nonprofit organizations that one of the problems with the federal funding through FEMA is that the government will only reimburse for documented migrants, not undocumented ones. That puts some strain on those local aid groups. What’s the impact?

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER: And that’s — and that’s correct.

So, the — we — we had the Red Cross come in about two weeks ago to help the NGOs, help the diocese to provide food, provide help, and continue to work with them. So one of the things that, if you go into a federally aided shelter, that is the — what ends up happening.

But we have had the Red Cross. The Red Cross is here in El Paso. And we’re — they’ve been prepared to help. They’re continue to help, to help them overburdened, because the — you know, we need the manpower. There’s no ifs and buts about that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Red Cross? I mean…

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER: Yes, the Red Cross.

MARGARET BRENNAN: … when — when you hear, I — I think that’s just a — a statement that Americans hear about the Red Cross going into crises overseas. They don’t think about it in a U.S. city.

But that help is what you — what you need. Are you seeing a concern with the undocumented population in your city?

MAYOR OSCAR LEESER: You know, that — those are the ones that are not able to move through and continue to move through. And those are the ones that are continuing to be — to work through the immigration process.

One of the things that, if you saw on Monday, we had about 3,000 that were out at Sacred Heart Church. The federal government, the Border Patrol went in there and actually helped them all get — filled out the documents, get moving forward, and then the ones who couldn’t figure that out, they were returned into their — hopefully into their country.


MAYOR OSCAR LEESER: But one of the things you see is that we did something that hadn’t been done, and that’s to help them register…


MAYOR OSCAR LEESER: … to help them do that, so they can move forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Mr. Mayor, good luck to you.

And we’ll be back with a lot more “Face the Nation,” including Laredo Mayor Victor Trevino.

Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: A programming note: Be sure to tune in to Tuesday’s CBS Mornings.

Nate Burleson sat down with former President Barack Obama for a wide- ranging interview, including the work of his organization My Brother’s Keeper.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back with a lot more Face the Nation, including the new head of the National Economic Council, Lael Brainard.

Stay with us.



We turn now to Mayor Victor Trevino for a look at what’s going on in the southwestern border of Texas in Laredo.

Good morning.

DR. VICTOR TREVINO (Mayor of Laredo, Texas): Good morning. Thank you for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s great to have you here.

A few days ago you said your city was boarding up like a hurricane in preparation for the end of Title 42. Does your city have the resources it needs? Do you feel like the hurricane has passed?

VICTOR TREVINO: Well, first – first of all, there’s no doubt that we’re seeing historic challenges in our border. And as a doctor I had already been seeing this. Even before the end of Title 42, our local hospitals were already at or near capacity, and there’s no pediatric intensive care unit.

But everything that we have been doing since the declaration of emergency has held up. And we have not been overwhelmed at this point. But yesterday we did receive around 700 migrants. And, however, because we received the overflow from El Paso and Brownsville, we’re still on high alert. And until we see the numbers at the border patrol custody centers go down, this is when we can say the episode has passed.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You just said that there is no pediatric health center in your area. You said you were already medically underserved as a community. What’s the health situation for the migrants, particularly the children, that are coming?

VICTOR TREVINO: Yes, before they are mainly individuals. Now they’re family units. And family units have children that have traveled miles and miles. And, obviously, they will need some medical care. So, because we don’t have the pediatric intensive care unit in our city, that makes it concerning because as it is we’re at capacity most of the time in our hospitals. And ambulances sometimes have to wait outside the emergency room for one or two hours before we can treat patients.

Now, with this surge, this was very concerning. That’s why we activated the declaration of a disaster.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The mayor of El Paso was just with us and he said he was getting what he needed from the state and federal government and thanked Homeland Security.

Do you agree? Are you getting what you need?

VICTOR TREVINO: Well, we’re getting the buses. And migrants come in. They get processed. They get sent to our NGOs. And the amount of migrants we’re expecting initially, the big flow, is not here yet. A lot of things have to do with Mexico taking some – some migrants and the asylum rules have changed. We have to ask for asylum in different countries before you get here. And also Title 8 changed. You have to — if you get deported, then you can face being barred for five years.

And also with the event of the TRO, that changed things a little bit. You have to get a court date before you get enrolled into a detentions — into the – in to NGOs.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. Right. You’re talking about all the things the Biden administration has tweaked to make it essentially more difficult for those going through asylum, though still having that legal pathway there. More difficult meaning there are more restrictions around it.

When you hear presidential candidates talk about shutting down the border, what do you think about that?

VICTOR TREVINO: I think this is not a Democratic or Republican problem, it’s an American problem. And things should have been done a long time ago. Immigration and reform is long overdue.

And what we’re seeing now is a result of that. And as Americans, as — we need to do better as a country. And the leader of the free world, these are things that we are the example of humanitarian efforts. But we have to have the laws also to coincide and do in balance with that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I think a lot of Americans would agree with that.

Where do you see the disconnect between the conversations in Washington and what you are seeing on the ground?

VICTOR TREVINO: I think that’s one of the reasons we have to have real time information from border patrol and people that work and live here. Border mayors, and cooperation is crucial. We need to have these things set and they need to listen and come down here to see what the actual situation is. And that is the disconnect I see that has been happening. Unless they get the real-time information and the real perception of what things are, then I think they can move on and make adequate rules.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Dr., Mr. Mayor, thank you for your time. Good luck to you.

And one quick note. I called Customs and Border Protection border patrol. So, my apologies to those agents. It’s border protection.

We’ll be right back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to the economy and the new chairman of the National Economic Council, Lael Brainard. She was most recently the number two at the Federal Reserve.

Welcome to FACE THE NATION. Good morning to you.

LAEL BRAINARD (Director, White House National Economic Council): Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Happy Mother’s Day.

LAEL BRAINARD: Happy Mother’s Day to you too, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have certainly been busy in this new job. I want to ask you about where we are with the state of negotiations over the debt ceiling. The president has said talks are moving along. The secretary of the Treasury said negotiators have found some areas of agreement. That sounds like movement. How close are we to a deal?

LAEL BRAINARD: Yes, so the staff is very engaged. I would characterize the engagement as serious, as constructive. And, you know, I think it is, though, Margaret, helpful to just lift up and talk a little bit about what is at stake here. So, when I talk to CEOs, to business leaders around the country, they tell me things are actually going very well. But their biggest concern is that Congress might fail to prevent default and that that would be catastrophic.


LAEL BRAINARD: It would lead to higher borrowing costs for cars, for mortgages, for small businesses, even for the U.S. government. And so the most important thing is making sure that Congress fulfills its basic responsibility to avert default.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said talks were constructive. I know Leader McConnell said the U.S. is not going to default. And the president, when he spoke, he said there was substantial movement in the sense that most everyone agreed that the — defaulting the debt is off the table. So, you’re saying it’s not necessarily off the table?

LAEL BRAINARD: So, default is something that Congress knows how to avoid. Congress has acted —

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s still very much a risk?

LAEL BRAINARD: Congress has acted 78 times in a row to avert default, to prevent default, and we know they have done it. They certainly did it three times under the last administration. So, our expectation is that Congress will do what is necessary, even as we continue to have parallel discussions on the budget, which is a normal thing that Congress needs to do every year.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that’s what you’re talking about now, the –

LAEL BRAINARD: Absolutely.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, the president was asked if the only option was a short-term lift of the debt ceiling. And he said he still thought there was time for a whole deal. Is that what you’re saying, it’s budget and debt ceiling and this can get done before June 1st?

LAEL BRAINARD: You know, a short term is not a fix. It’s not really addressing that core uncertainty that CEOs are talking about. It’s just really important to take default and address it. And Congress has the tools to do that. They have done it again 78 times previously.

Meanwhile, we also are at the staff level seeing productive discussions around the budget, separately, but in parallel. And those discussions are also important and, of course, that’s something that Congress wrestles with every year. And so our hope is that those conversations also continue and arrive at a constructive place.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, the goal is still whole deal by June 1st?

LAEL BRAINARD: So, right now, the focus is on the budget and those discussions, but our expectation is that Congress will act to avert default in a timely manner.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you were just talking about your conversations with business leaders. I mean it seems like we’re in this like game of chicken here. JP Morgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, said that he set up a war room for contingency planning. They meet once a week and he’s going to have them start meeting multiple times potentially starting next Sunday. So, he’s planning for potentially the worst.

Was it a mistake to let things get to this point? Were you not the head of the largest bank of America – in America having to do this? Should the White House have started negotiating earlier?

LAEL BRAINARD: So, this is really a responsibility of Congress. Let’s just step back again. The U.S. always pays its bills. The discussions over the debt ceiling, Congress’ basic obligation, is really just about paying the bills Congress has already passed laws to authorize.


LAEL BRAINARD: And so the conversations that are ongoing right now really very much focused on the budget, which is the future of the fiscal commitments that the U.S. can make. But in terms of the responsibility to pay our bills –


LAEL BRAINARD: America isn’t a deadbeat nation. We do pay our bills. Congress has always acted. And they know how to do it. And they have the capacity to do it in a timely manner.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sure. But the bottom line is, you have to get to a deal by a hard date on the calendar. So, more time, I think, would have been helpful, no?

LAEL BRAINARD: So, you know, again, that is Congress’ basic responsibility. I think there is a very clear record here where the American people want the U.S. to pay its bills. And I’m sure Congress will see its way clear to making sure that happens.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m going to ask you about banks in America. The Fed is the main regulator for many American banks. That’s where you were before you came to the White House.

You said the banking system is sound back in April, but since that time we saw another bank failure. We’re still seeing pressure. Why still, if it’s actually sound?

LAEL BRAINARD: So, it’s important to remember, Margaret, that our banking system has nearly 5,000 banks. Banks of all sizes. Small community banks in small communities all over the country, to the largest banks, the money center banks. And so, you know, back in March we did see the failure of three banks that are of midsize banks. And those were dealt with in a way where depositors never had any question but that they would have access to their deposits. So, in that sense, Americans have confidence.

The banking regulators took strong actions. We have the tools and they can be used again.


LAEL BRAINARD: More broadly, though, the banking system is sound, although we are monitoring very carefully.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But doesn’t the fact that we still see pressure here show the government sort of ad hoc decision-making on backstopping depositors hasn’t solved the problem?

LAEL BRAINARD: So, look, the environment has changed a lot over the last few years with interest rates going up by a large amount, and banks — several banks that have now failed and been taken over by healthier banks didn’t manage their risks.


LAEL BRAINARD: Those were isolated problems. But, of course, we’re all monitoring the situation very carefully. But we have the tools. We’ve taken strong actions. I think people know what the playbook is. And so in that sense —

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, no more failures?

LAEL BRAINARD: Well, in that sense, the system overall is sound. I can’t speak to particular institutions, obviously. That sits with the bank regulators. But, overall, you’ve seen that the banking system is sound and – and deserves continued vigilance.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Lael Brainard, thanks for joining us today.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Here in the U.S., maternal mortality is at a 60-year high with minority women facing a disproportionately higher rate. Democratic Congresswoman Lauren Underwood joins us from Naperville, Illinois.

Good morning to you, Congresswoman.

REP. LAUREN UNDERWOOD (D-IL): Good morning, Margaret. Happy Mother’s Day.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you very much for saying that. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there.

Can you tell me, with – with those mothers in mind, why are so many American women dying?

LAUREN UNDERWOOD: So, we know that the United States leads the industrialized world in maternal deaths. And since 2018, maternal deaths have increased 89 percent. We’ve seen deaths among moms in all racial and ethnic groups. And a lot of that has been due to the Covid pandemic. Eighty percent of these deaths are preventable. We know why moms are dying and we know what policy solutions to take to save moms’ lives. And so I’ve introduced a piece of legislation called the Momnibus, which is that evidence-based solution to end this crisis.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You put forward that package actually in 2020, again in 2021, including when Democrats controlled Congress. And I know Vice President Harris has been an ally on many of these issues. But why didn’t Democratic leadership push more of these into, you know, progress? Like, you’re still chipping away at this.

LAUREN UNDERWOOD: You’re right. So, in 2021 we were so pleased that the first bill from the Momnibus, the Protecting Moms Who Served Act, to support our veteran moms, was signed into law by President Biden. That piece of legislation passed the House with unanimous bipartisan support. So, you’re absolutely right, the American people are united behind this as a priority, a shared value. And we’ve had broad, bipartisan support from the Congress to solve this problem.

We have several bills within the package that are bipartisan at this time. We have another bill to protect veteran moms called the Maternal Health for Veteran’s Act. We have one to address maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders and another to make sure that the technology tools that are available on the market are available to all moms across the country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ve said many of these — but none of those things that you are proposing now have a promise to make it to the president’s desk, right? I mean you’ve — you’ve got to really push this and build a bipartisan coalition to turn this into law. Do you have Republican allies?

LAUREN UNDERWOOD: Absolutely. So, the Black Maternal Health Caucus is one of the largest bipartisan caucuses on Capitol Hill. As I’ve outlined, there are several pieces within the Momnibus that do have bipartisan support. And we’re coming on the heels of passing 80 percent of the Momnibus through the House in the last Congress. And so we have a pathway to getting this piece of legislation signed into law this year, and we are working hard with our colleagues across the aisle in the House and the Senate to do so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, black and Native American women are disproportionately affected by maternal health issues. There have been books, like “The Pain Gap” by Anushay Hossain, that have characterized this as medical misogyny and institutionalized racism.

How much of a factor are those things?

LAUREN UNDERWOOD: Well, we certainly know that black moms are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications. We know that Hispanic moms saw the largest increase year over year in the most recent CDC data. And we know that Native American moms have significant disparities as well.

But I want to be clear that this is a problem that touches every mom and all of our families in this country. It doesn’t matter if it’s an urban or rural community, it doesn’t matter if you live on the East Coast or West Coast or in the south. This is something that touches all of our lives. And so we need to make sure that we’re passing these solutions that solve the problems that we’re facing in our health care system.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, according to CDC, the deadliest states to give birth, those with the highest maternal mortality rates, are Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana. These are all states with very large rural areas. Is it simply a lack of access to facilities?

LAUREN UNDERWOOD: So, that’s part of it. We’re seeing a lot of consolidation in our rural health care systems, a lot of hospital closures. Moms aren’t able to get into a facility of their choice to deliver their babies. And we also know that there is some real inequities when we talk about Medicaid and Medicaid expansion. We’re losing half of our moms in that postpartum period, a third in that extended postpartum period, where in a lot of these states Medicaid coverage does cut off after 60 days postpartum. That’s why I’m such a big supporter and the black maternal health caucus is a big supporter of a mandatory year-long postpartum Medicaid expansion that my colleague, Robin Kelly, has been leading in the Congress.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that matters because these maternal mortality rates, it’s not just dying in the process of giving birth, it’s going up to 40 days after giving birth. So if your health care cuts off at 60 days —

LAUREN UNDERWOOD: A full year postpartum.



MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. So those dates are key to you.

I want to also ask you about what we just heard in the recent days, that there were two children, two unaccompanied minors, one four and one 17 years old, who recently died in U.S. custody. I know you were very critical of the Trump administration when this happened on their watch. What do you make of this happening again?

LAUREN UNDERWOOD: In the United States we shouldn’t have children dying in our custody. And we have to continue to make sure that there is robust support along the border for those institutions – those agencies that are caring for migrant children, to making sure that they are getting the needed medical care. And I’m certainly focused on doing a thorough investigation of these deaths.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think these may have been preventable?

LAUREN UNDERWOOD: I don’t know. We don’t know. I’ve not gotten those details yet. But since that time of the Trump administration, we have had success in shepherding resources to bolster the medical contracts and the services that are offered to migrant families along the border while they’re in U.S. custody. And since that time we had not had any deaths of children in custody. Again, in the United States, we should not have children dying while in U.S. custody. That’s unacceptable. And we certainly will be pursuing an investigation.


Well, Congresswoman, we will look for progress on that investigation and with your bill here as you continue pushing for more protections for women giving birth in this country. Thank you for your time today.

And we will be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: On this Mother’s Day, we want to take a look at the power of moms.


MARGARET BRENNAN (voice over): Ever since I became one, the phrase “mommy” lands differently. My two-year-old is learning to talk, but he can shout “mommy” at the top of his lungs. His four-year-old brother shouts it daily around 3:00 a.m. It rarely fails to make me jump.

That five-letter phrase has so much embedded in it. Help me, I’m scared, I’m tired, I’m hungry, I want you to make it better. It’s inevitable that one day they’ll learn I’m not all powerful.

But motherhood means you don’t stop wanting to help. Whether it is mothers organizing the push for better schools, or to stop violence in them, or walking across continents to find them a better life.

Writer Elizabeth Stone said that having a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.

Motherhood is hard. I think of my own mom now with wonderment at how hard it must have been to juggle it all. I’ve learned multi-tasking is a distinctly mom trait.

My mother is one of the most sensitive and creative people that I know. She still answers around the clock calls for help from her kids, and my wonderful dad. I’m also grateful to my mother-in-law for raising a great son, and often riding to the rescue of her grandkids.

America has asked a lot of its moms in recent years. Today should not be the only day we take the time to say “thank you,” we could not do it without you.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Some of my fellow CBS moms and I did a Facebook live conversation late last week. If you want to see it, you can find it on our FACE THE NATION YouTube channel.

Thanks for watching. And to all you moms out there, happy Mother’s Day.

Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I’m Margaret Brennan.