‘That’s Sweet. They’re Illegal Aliens’: Heritage Foundation President Spars With MSNBC Hosts Over Illegal Immigration

June 23, 2024 10:48 AM ET

Dr. Kevin Roberts, the president of the Heritage Foundation, sparred with MSNBC hosts Saturday over issues related to a second Trump term and illegal migrants.

“The Weekend” co-host
Symone Sanders-Townsend pressed Roberts over the Heritage Foundation’s perceived plan to start “institutionalizing Trumpism” as proposed in Project 2025, a series of conservative policy proposals for the administration of the federal government. Roberts denied the former Biden-Harris senior advisor’s claim that the plan was “cooked up specifically for the second coming of the Trump administration,” stating they “couldn’t do that” because the Heritage Foundation is “not partisan.” Roberts said he “would have been thrilled” if President Joe Biden “asked for a briefing.”

Roberts was then asked about “using the National Guard” to conduct
deportations. Roberts responded, “First of all, we need to close the border,” before calling for “the biggest mass deportation system ever in the history of America.”

Kevin Roberts


Biden’s border catastrophe—the worst in our nation’s history—is fundamentally reordering America.

It is unjust, illegal & evil that >10 million illegal aliens have entered our country.

We need to close the border and implement the largest mass deportation system in US history.

Watch on X
9:30 AM · Jun 22, 2024

“It is unjust and illegal and evil that more than 10 million illegal aliens have come to this country. It’s imperative that we send those people back. Invite them back to come through the legal system — we love immigrants at Heritage — but we also love the rule of law,” Roberts said.
“So, how do you plan to carry that out?” Sanders-Townsend asked. “Are you talking about going door-to-door?

Because that’s what I can read from the plan. But I think— ”

“The first thing is that there’s going to be a lot of self-deportation. The interesting thing, as you no doubt know, is that simply talking about this and beginning to implement a plan — and President Trump deserves a lot of credit for talking about this — causes people to say, ‘I don’t want to run the risk of being arrested for doing something illegal.'”

Roberts added “there are great plans” using the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and that “even a majority of people on the political left agree” with mass deportations because of the “damage” caused by the border crisis.

Sanders-Townsend then appared to override co-host and former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele’s attempt to close out the segment, saying, “I think we want to take a couple more minutes,” despite being “called to wrap.”

“I’ll stay as long as you want,” Roberts remarked.

“So what do these people do? What are they doing now?” Steele asked Roberts.

“Which people?” Roberts asked.

“The folks, the 11 million, 20 million, whatever you wanna deport,” Steele clarified.

Roberts told Steele that “a lot of them are committing crimes” and referenced the alleged murder of Jocelyn Nungaray, 12, by two Venezuelan migrants in Houston. Nungaray’s body was found Monday.

“So that’s one, that’s one, out of 11 million,” Steele said. “What is, what is— ”

“We can take the remaining time of this segment and I can give you a lot of examples,” Roberts responded as Sanders-Townsend cut in with statistics.

Sanders-Townsend insisted she was “just giving the numbers,” prompting Roberts to challenge her to “tell that to the survivors of these people” whose family members were killed.

“What is the different between an illegal immigrant who who unfortunately engages in that activity?” Steele asked Roberts.

“We don’t like that — I wanna be clear. We don’t use the term ‘illegal.’ Undocumented individual,” Sanders-Townsend chimed in.

“That’s sweet. They’re illegal aliens,” Roberts said.

Roberts told Steele most illegal migrants “are not even making an attempt to be legal” when he asked for the number of illegal migrants committing crimes in the U.S. Sanders-Townsend quickly switched the topic to abortion after accusing Roberts of “weaponizing a horrific murder to smear 11 million people.”

Mary Margaret Olohan

A)That’s not a fact check

@SymoneDSanders is wrong (despite her womb)

C) men, especially fathers, should absolutely weigh in on abortion

The Weekend on MSNBC

“As a person with an actual womb that is not true.” @SymoneDSanders fact checks @KevinRobertsTX on Project 2025’s stance that proposes “abortion is not health care.”

4:42 PM · Jun 22, 2024

The Heritage Foundation is a major American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1973, Heritage rose to prominence during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, having helped shape his administration’s policies through recommendations and studies, including its “Mandate for Leadership.”

The Daily Caller reached out to Dr. Roberts for comment.