tv America Tonight Al Jazeera January 11, 2016 9:30pm-10:01pm EST
on "america tonight": breaking the flood gates the desperation crossing european borders and how refugees seeking shelter find themselves facing new exploitation. >> i don't see anything i don't hear anything i don't say anything. typical attitude. >> "america tonight's" sheila macvicar on germany in crisis and what the new year will bring. thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. tensions are rising in central europe where protests by the far right in germany and counterprotests from their opponents point to an emerging crisis that's grown out of the arrival of tens of thousands of refugees all desperate for help. what makes their plight even
more tragic those who would choose to exploit them in their hour of great need. "america tonight's" sheila macvicar saw it all tirs hand ifirsthandin germany. >> all along the refugee trail, a trail that last year alone saw more than a million asylum seekers make that long journey, from turkey to western europe, all along that route there are helping hands. but where many see human struggle and need, others see opportunity and profit. sometimes, that impulse is down right criminal and beyond cruel. take the owners of this turkish factory arrested last week for producing fake life jackets, meant for the refugee aid, stuffed not with the buoyancy
aid, but guaranteed to sink a drowning refugee. even the most welcoming of countries for long established systems for resettling refugees have found themselves overwhelmed. what governments and specialized ngos used to take care of and carefully oversee is now most often in the hands of private companies. >> this area we have a kind of cafe here so people can come and talk a little bit and get a coffee. >> hugo helps to run a neighborhood drop in service in berlin to help refugees adjust and meet their neighbors. a year ago, he was working at a privately owned refugee center until he blew the whistle on conditions there and filed a lawsuit.
the problem he says not just the numbers of refugees but the private companies paid by the government to shelter and feed them. complaints of overcrowded conditions, no hot water, inedible food, too little food, no childcare. all agreements the companies agreed to produce for city. and it's a lot of money. germany's interior ministry estimated it spent nearly $7 billion to meet refugee needs last year. european home care is the largest provider of refugee
services in germany, making profits, but has been accused of making a huge profit, abusing refugees under its care. we met zena with her three small children outside the old berlin airport that had been converted into a refugee center. she's syrian and been in berlin for less than a month. we weren't allowed inside the camp but she says the conditions she and her family are living in came as a shock.
>> in many charges, the conditions are really catastrophic right now. >> at berlin city hall, fab ethiopiafabiorinehart. >> we heard for example, there is not enough hot water or no hot water at all. we heard about mold on the walls. we heard about the problem with insects. there was a problem of not enough privacy like huge rooms of ten or 20 people, without any walls in the rooms. >> have refugees become a business in berlin? >> refugees definitely have become a business in berlin but i would also say in any part of germany and probably also in other countries where refugees are coming right now. i've seen that there's many ways to make money of refugees on their trip because they are so
dependent on people. because they don't have so much information. and also, because they are so desperate in making their journey. >> reporter: profiteering at the expense of refugees is not a problem limited to germany. in next door austria wii has alswhich hasalso taking in thouf refugees, paid tens of millions of dollars to operate all the country's refugee shelters. the living conditions outside of vienna, the largest in austria, were described by the u.n. refugee agency as, quote, beneath human dignity. in spite of that, the company has had its contract extended and has expanded operations into germany. >> there's a lot of companies that are just looking for
profit. they are not interested in the human individual. >> there's another problem. one that is surfaced repeatedly in austrian and german media. like this documentary report on one of germany's main tv networks, zdf. known and like this man convicted neonazi sympathizers working as camp security guards. in the eastern city of dresden, ulrich wolf has looked into the issue of security guards. >> translator: >> we are often told that the security is the right wing connections, have right wing connections. >> reporter: wolf's newspaper uncovered abuse by a dresden based security company after this credit individual of guards
threatening refugees surfaced. pegida, anticorporate anti-refugee group that demonstrates every week in dresden and across germany. >> they are not very motivated and have a feeling that these are foreigners which we don't want to have here. >> reporter: why are the city officials not paying more attention to who is providing security? >> that's a good question. you have to ask them. >> it is easy for the city to turn a blind eye and basically ignore. >> i don't see anything, i don't hear anything and i don't say anything.that is a typical attitude. >> reporter: these are not isolated incidents. in one german state, the officials have estimated that one out of every ten known right wing extremist works for a security agency. rating, quote, an extreme potential for conflict. even security guards working on contract for city of berlin in the city's own refugee
registration center have been caught on tape hitting refugees. this man, a german citizen originally from syria volunteers inside the registration center. we talked with a spokes woman at the main registration center in berlin who defended the guards. >> the security is not always so like we would like to have it. and they tried the best, they tried to install new persons, and to qualify new persons. and they have done really good work. >> but the day after our
interview, another damning video surfaced in the german press. security guards employed in the berlin registration center and working in the center's control room saying refugees should be sent to concentration camps. the european commission now estimates that three million asylum seekers could arrive in europe by the end of 2016. that's triple the number that came last year. if the commission is right, and the wars driving the refugee crisis do not end, that can only mean more misery and more profits. >> "america tonight's" sheila macvicar with us now. so you've seen what's been happening in germany and a lot of reviewers have probably heard over the last few days there are
signs of those tensions growing. what happened in cologne, it is being braime blamed on refugeesk women? >> a very disturbing incident, a square between the cologne cathedral and the main train station. it's not entirely clear what happened but we know enough about what happened that it was truly horrific. for the victims there are now more than 329 complaints many of them of sexual assault, two complaints of rape and many others of theft. >> just a mob scene. >> reporter: a mob scene, police say that many of the men were apparently drunk which is a little bit confusing, it's not clear entirely who the perpetrators are. but what is clear is the impact that that has had on germany's politics and its refugee policy. where because many of the perpetrators are of north
african or arab origin. >> foreign-language speakers. >> refugees. an association was played with the new refugee population. that's not entirely proven. so there are some people who have been arrested or who have been identified who apparently are recent arrival in germany. what this has done in germany is it has galvanized the far right. the far right who has been demonstrating antiimmigrant antirefugee antimervelg, there waanti-merkel, thechancellor had changed her language on refugees. she says listen if you are convicted of an offense we must find a way to deport you, deport you to where is not clear and there would have to be change in german law for that to happen.
>> this is not just a problem for germany where tensions are rising in the native population, this is all over europe. >> including sweden which is the most tolerant and the most welcoming to refugees. a similar incident where there was a series of mass assaults, people having their pockets picked, groping, it's not so clear that what happened in cologne was covered up as opposed to thought clearly understood but the information of what happened did not come out quickly on new year's day has angered the residents of germany. >> "america tonight's" sheila macvicar thank you. next, the captured fugitive el chapo and why his next stop could be chicago. later parental politics.
>> by now you've probably heard about the recapture of the mexican drug kingpin known as el chapo and emerging scandal to his ties to hollywood star sean penn. there are more connections to the u.s., we've told you here on "america tonight" that the path of his bloody cartel leads straight to chicago where prosecutors have already prepared ocase agains a case ag. "america tonight's" christof putzel on why el chapo could end up in a chicago court. >> what's the game what's the product what do you sell? >> crack, goat, x. if it's here we're going to sell it. >> what do we have here? >> crack. >> that's crack. >> crack $10 a bag. >> $10 a back? >> yes. we sat down with the street
disciples, sizable stash of drugs and illegal guns. all hid their identities. >> how old are you? >> 17. >> how many of your friends have been killed? >> seven. >> how about you? >> 15. lost a lot of friends. >> how young? >> 14, 15, 15. >> shot? >> yeah. >> so how do you involve the corn boys? >> the guys on the street? they're my enemy. i hate them, they hate me. ttys way you should be. good versus evil. today you're sitting with good. >> jack reilly, the dea in chi. gang members, supplied by chapo guzman's sinaloa cartel, provides a system of crime and
violence in midwest chicago. >> in general now, the most significant hub for cartels in the country. >> we haven't heard many people mentioning the cartel, is that because they aren't looking at the root of the problem? >> yes, historically, they haven't made the connection. the 80,000 are the chapo amway army. >> where do the drugs come from? >> mexico, colombia, we don't care where they come from. it's how we feed our families every day. >> next, the campaign for moms in this presidential race, parents struggle to keep from being left behind.
>> on the campaign trail, we're coming closer the first contests of the presidential season. the dynamic has already changed though. the candidates forced to take on this campaign, what to do when a child joins the family. the united states still lags every other developed nation in mandating paid leave, although most voters say they want it. new hampshire, site of the first primary, "america tonight" finds it's a long awaited moment for families left behind. >> you're current law mandates that employers offer 12 weeks of paid leave. >> we are the only major country that are an international
embarrassment that we don't offer family paid medical leave. >> i oppose the government mandating paid maternity leave to every jurisdiction out there. >> paying for it that does not put the burden -- >> paid leave is not a viable option. >> i think poverty is an interesting thing. and i can say that because we skirt that line. you know i'm a college educated person. i come from a good family background. i had a lot of opportunities but even me, you know, working as hard as i do, i still dance that line of what poverty is. constantly battling in the financial terms of am i going to be able to pay my rent this month? if my car breaks down there's no backup. i think cost of not having support financially when we had
kids is really the breaker. that's the break point. if i'd had the opportunity to have some paid leave i think we would be in a much different financial situation. >> the people who are most left behind are wage-workers. for me paid family leave will have succeeded when the people who work at the grocery store or the fast food restaurant have access to the same hopefully generous leave policies that all the white collar workers do. >> i'm going to make some lunch. do you want to do legos or coloring? >> i have two, couldn't have planned it better, boy and girl. sean is four and madeline was two. when sean was born i had just gotten a really great job, step forward in my career, managing a four diamond restaurant. when sean was born i took four weeks off. if you live paycheck to paycheck, you take four weeks out of that and how long does it take to come back from that?
>> currently only 13% of people nationally have access to paid leave. that is not enough. it shouldn't be a question of luck. i think presidential race is absolutely indicative that these kinds of policies are catching more and more attention at a national level. wanting to be there for the kids during the day now i waitress. we are losing women who are ambitious and talented to motherhood not because it's necessary but because of our structure and the way we've set it up doesn't allow for both. >> i didn't have any leave with hunter and i ended up going in ended up having him about eight weeks early. so he was only two pounds ten ounces when he was born and he was immediately put into the nicu. i was out of work for about three months or so and i didn't have any leave, paid leave, at all. what happened with sawyer, i ended up having some complications and at that point i was just a little bit over 24
weeks. they told me we had a delivery that day or i was at risk of having a stillborn. so obviously, you know, life is better you know for chance than not at all. so i knew that having him and he was born on june 27th, and he lived for about an hour and then he passed away. i didn't really get a chance to grieve. i went about eight to eight and a half weeks after soraya was born to where we had to go back to work because we were getting our electricity shut off on us. our gas bill was going, we had all of our savings used up. this is six months later even with me working for last three months we're still playing catchup. we are nickel and diming everything look at each other saying how are we going to pay for christmas. how are we going to be able to do some enjoyable things for our son you know to be able to have him still enjoy life as well.
the fact that she had no choice but to go back to work where she was really grieving, it was not the way. for one of the few countries in the world other than papua new guinea, that doesn't offer paid parental leave. it's sad. >> working in a restaurant as a waitress you're not supposed to be upset, you're supposed to be happy, making their experience there enjoyable and i was not even able to really talk. i was hyperventilating and i was shaking. it was just too much for me. >> a lot of times you feel concerned about the cost, concerned about the implications for business. there are three states that currently have family leave policies and what they're finding is these policies are not abused, these policies are a benefit to the families and the businesses, worker retention is improved, worker satisfaction is higher. >> the conversation isn't black and white.
i don't think we can say today that paid family leave has to be federally mandated and it's going to raise our taxes and that's the only path. i think biggest take away is, there are millions of americans who are struggling by the simple fact of having kids. and in a civilized country, that's wrong. you know even me from a very conservative background who votes probably very differently than some people who are impassioned on this issue, think that it needs to be a conversation. >> in the meantime while i'm at home, my bills are still coming in. you know we couldn't even afford a proper funeral for our son. you know? and that's sad. you know, we had to choose to not bury him. we had to choose to cremate because we couldn't afford a plot. these are things that you know it's hard enough to lose a child but to have to decide those things as well, something that is supposed to be there to honor his life, i had to make the
decision because i quite literally could not afford any other option. >> the cross section of americans that are dancing that line is staggering. consistently. do i buy bread this week do i buy the new shirts that my son needs? do i -- you know those kinds of nitty-gritty issues are something that maybe you know politicians haven't thought of or dealt with in a long time or maybe never. but if so many countries have paid leave, why in america with tall brain trust we have and all the financial resources can't we come up with a better solution for families? >> need so much for america to think about. that is "america tonight." please tell us what you think at aljazeera.com/americatonight. you can talk to us on twitter or facebook and come back. we'll have more of "america tonight," tomorrow.