Kellyanne Conway is the first woman to win a presidential campaign, but she is a Republican, so magazine’s editors excluded her from their 2017 list of ‘the most powerful women.’
The editors then set her up for a media ambush on Wednesday at Fortune’s summit in Washington, but she quickly flipped them onto their backs.
Moderator Pattie Sellers, the assistant managing editor at , casually handed the microphone to a self-described feminist and staffer who has disparaged President Donald Trump. The staffer, Michal Lev-Ram, quickly accused Conway:
You and President Trump have repeatedly talked about immigrants as criminals and yet statistics show that immigrants, both documented and undocumented, are less likely to commit crimes than people born here in this country,” said Lev-Ram, whose recent work includes a commentary on her complicated relationship with Barbie dolls.
You’ve also talked about them in the context of taking jobs from people who are born here and I’d like to point out here that the most entrepreneurial demographic is foreign born.
So can you please explain what good the restrictions that you’re proposing on immigration, the anti-immigration rhetoric that you’ve put forward does other than foment division in our country?
“That’s your perspective and the fact is the president just put forward a 70-point immigration plan,” Conway calmly replied, adding that the plan is available to the public.
“The fact is there are many Americans that are out of work who are looking for jobs,” Conway said. “And this president has made a commitment to make sure that the law is enforced.”
“The president in his immigration reform plan is talking about 1,000 more ICE agents at the border because we hear from those at the border that they simply don’t have resources to meet the demand at the border,” Conway said, adding that the plan addresses the safe return of unaccompanied minors who have entered the U.S. illegally “to their home countries.”
“We want to make sure that the 300 new immigration judges that the president has in his plan come forward because they too tell us that there’s such a backlog in cases that they can’t keep up,” Conway said.
“It’s not a lot to expect people to obey the laws,” Conway pointed out.
Then Conway hit back at the Left’s view that illegal immigrants are needed in the U.S. labor force, that U.S. employers need to be held accountable and that some of the illegal aliens in the country are, indeed, criminal illegal aliens.
“I find it very elitist and arrogant when people say — and plenty of Republicans and Democrats — have said the following: That illegal immigrants are here to do the jobs Americans don’t want to do … I personally know people that are looking for jobs and are willing to do jobs — but they can’t take $6 under the table — they can’t do that,” Conway said.
“We also want to make sure that American employers are being held to account,” Conway said. So e-verify is in the 70-point plan and, again, you can read it,” Conway said.
She also chastised the Fortune writer for the tone of the question, and for the Left’s decision to ignore the harm done to Americans by illegal alien criminals.
“I think casting it that way is not having a very meaningful conversation about the gaps in the system,” Conway said. “Nobody can deny that in some cases folks that have been deported and committed crimes many times — like Kate Steinle’s murder — she should be a household name and nobody wants to make her that.”
Kate Steinle was a young woman who was fatally shot in 2015 in San Francisco by an illegal alien who had had seven previous felony convictions and was deported to Mexico on five previous occasions before he murdered an innocent U.S. citizen.
“I’ve met — face to face shoulder to shoulder — with parents of children who were … murdered by those who have been deported and should not have been here and who have committed crimes,” Conway said.
“That’s not everybody. That’s not most of them,” Conway said. “But to deny that is to deny the grief of those families and it’s to deny us coming together to have a better system.”
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