tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera January 22, 2016 9:00pm-9:31pm EST
>> it's good to have you on the program. congratulations, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> and can you find winter on fire on netflix. that's our program. thanks for watching. i'm john siegenthaler, ali velshi is flex. >> i'm david schuster in for ali velshi. "on target" tonight the billion dollar holding system, private companies that are making a huge profit off of immigration detention centers. plus, lost in mexico. a generation of children born in the u.s.a. who are fighting to survive miles away from their american dream. america's immigration system is broken making it a hot button
political issue on the campaign trail and republicans are turning on each other over what to do to fix it. >> i want immigration reform to pass and it allows those who are here to come out of the shadows. >> people are pouring in and they are doing tremendous damage. if you look at the crime, if you look at the economy we want to have borders. >> meanwhile democrats agree on the need for immigration reform. but that has not stopped president obama from deporting more people during his time in office than his two pre predecessors, 2.4 million at latest count. why deportation and federal detention facilities, facilities run which for profit corporations are making big bucks. al jazeera's ines ferre reports. >> head about an hour south of phoenix into the arizona desert and just off the deserted
highway, you'll see the eloy facility. a federal facility under the authority of the department of homeland security immigration and customs enforcement, or ice. but day-to-day operations at eloy is run you about cca, part of what activist carlos garcia says is a troubling trend towards detention. >> what we see is, what's important is the bottom line. the cost of detention is about $160 per day per detainee. that comes out to $5 million a day or $2 billion a year. companies like cca say they run the facilities more cheaply than
the federal government. focusing on the bottom line can result in inhumane and even lethal conditions. >> eloy is the deadliest detention centers in the country. we've seen 12 deaths in the last year. >> grass roots group based in phoenix. >> we have seen people lose their babies, not access to food legal services others have complained of being treated as slaves. people inside these private facilities work for a dollar a day. >> specific allegations of mistreatment made by detainees are hard to confirm and cc aferlt saycca saysprograms are e with ice standards. but while most deaths at eloy were related to medical
facilities, some were suicides. higher level of violence, environment ripe for abuse, neglect and misconduct. >> do you think a government could do a better job? >> ists that much harder to keep that company or that prison accountable. glu. >> reporter: by law, private prison companies are not subject to the same standards of transparency and liability that govern federal agencies and there's limited state oversight. that's why yah says he wants to shut eloy down. every night puente holds a meeting for all the families held at eloy. sandra is a regular at these meetings. >> they don't have access to medication, they can only drink water if they feel sick if they're in pain, water if their stomach hurt water if their head hurts water. so he's afraid.
he's very afraid. >> her husband of nearly two decades juan miguel has been in eloy since may. he is seeking slum after already being deported back to mexico four times. >> it's a detention center, some would say it's not supposed to be a nice place. >> translator: well it's not paradise. it's hell. it's supposed to be a detention center. not a jail. they're not criminals. they're not rapists. they're not drug traffickers. >> what's your worst fear about your lust being at eloy? >> that something my happen to him. that later, he'll suffer some injury and that they'll say he took his own life. >> reporter: those fears stem from the latest death at eloy. on may 20th authorities say 31-year-old mexican national jose committed suicide by stuffing a sock in his throat.
his family disputes that, saying he had no signs of distress. >> translator: this is what has us so angry that we don't know the truth. >> juan and other detainees heard him being beaten before his death. we went inside eloy to hear what he had to say. >> he was beaten in the area that i was. that's where he was beaten. he was screaming and begging the officers to spare his life. >> reporter: that's when twoond detainees at eloy staged a hunger strike. >> at that point we panicked and felt we needed to organize. any community would also organize to make sure that it didn't also happen to us. >> he says he spent a month in solitary confinement punished for speaking out. a spokesman for ice says he was disciplined for attempting to organize a disturbance at the
center. but puente organizer says: >> some have been put in solitary confinement. their phone privileges is been taken away. >> have you spoken at all to cca? have you tried the contact cca? >> we have attempted to contact cca numerous times never had any response. we mostly communicate with immigration and customs enforcement. asking them to hold cca accountable. >> what have they responded? >> they say to look into matters, they are communicating constantly with cca but them too they duet to hide behind cca. >> cca declined our request for aan interview but said it takes seriously those under is care. strict guidelines and detailed
requirements. >> there's much greater awareness of the private prison industry and the fundamental problems with their business model. but they still rake in enormous revenues. so they still are a force to be reckoned with. >> carl takei is an attorney with the national prison project of the aclu. $3 billion private prison industry's biggest income of the year. >> from 2008 to 2014 it's estimated that the private prison industry spent more than $13 million on lobbying congress. and much of that was focused on the committee that can allocate money for detention facilities. >> reporter: cca says it doesn't lobby for or take positions on detention laws. but takei says the math is simple. the more detainees are rounded up the more detain ebeds are
needed and the more business for private prison companies. juan miguel cornejo, seen dancing with his daughter at her 15th birthday party, probably won't be reunited with his family soon. some have been kept inside eloy for years. >> reporter: what will you do next? >> translator: right now i'm going to continue fighting for my case, i trust in god. i trust in god. i trust there's justice in him. >> what do you tell your children? >> to forgive me for not being with them right now. it's out of my hands. >> reporter: as a mexican citizen odds are less than 5% cornejo will be granted asylum. for now all his children can look forward to is their weekly visit to eloy.
>> saturdays all week long. >> to just see he's okay but it's also like, well you know that lady comes up to you and it's like okay you have five minutes left. it's like okay, i have to quickly hug my dad. say good-bye. >> ines ferre, al jazeera, eloy, virginia. will it help or hurt the party in the general election? lost in mexico, american citizens living in dangerous territory like kids without a country. written everyday. it's not always pretty, but it's real... and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight.
>> america's broken immigration system remains a controversial issue on the presidential campaign trail. republican front runner donald trump has made waves calling for mass deportation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. while not going that far, the other republican candidates are calling for greater enforcement and border controls. charles butler happens to agree with trump. genesis communication network, we asked him if it was wise for republican candidates to alienate hispanic voters? >> first of all, i don't think they're alienating his pac panic voters. most of my latino friends or hispanic friends are certainly against illegal immigration, all the polls especially pew research they list immigration at fourth or fifth on the list
of legal or american citizens who happen to be latino or his pac panic in their concerns. >> when you have donald trump or ted cruz, who say maybe we do need massive deportation, idea that we would take 11 million latinos, take them and send them out of the country even though some of them have been here for 13 years that that's not very wise politically. >> it's very wise politically. we have 30 million people who are here illegally. they have been using that 11 million number since 1994. that is a number that's ridiculous and ludicrous. the american people need to come forward. >> let's move away from that. in terms of policy in order to
deport 11 million people you would need too find and deport 15,000 people a day. >> uh-huh. >> do you think that the united states has the law enforcement manpower and money to do that? >> well, i think yeah, i think the media has tried to build a case against deporting illegals because the media, a liberal media has its own agenda. the bottom line is we have operation wetback, and operation wetback, supposedly i've read statistics where we say two to five million mexicans back to mexico, yes it is possible and yes we should fine people who hire illegals. here in chicago for instance we have people who have city contracts who are clearly hiring illegals. we have city and state and government jobs where they are hiring illegals with taxpayer money and also demanding that people be bilingual and by
bilingual they mean speaking spanglish, in teaching construction and a number of things it's unfair and discriminates against americans. >> one of the things that came out in the piece that we just ran, there's huge lobbying that goes on for these detention facilities. there's also a lot of lobbying as you know from the chamber of commerce that does want comprehensive immigration reform. would you agree that we need to get some of the lobbying money out of this? >> i agree that we put the american people first, that's what i agree, put the americans' interests first. illegal immigrants i don't care how they're here we need to deport them. go to san diego off the shelter island to the sheraton hotel where they whrows a lot of the f them there, as refugees who come
through tijuana. there is a lot of waste and you're right maybe we do need to get -- we certainly need to get the chamber of commerce out of this issue because they're definitely on the other side of the issue from me. >> what do you think realistically is going to happen in 2016 and moving forward as far as some of these immigration changes? because again donald trump stands alone in terms of this idea of deporting everybody. >> no he doesn't. let's talk about the candidates. donald trump is saying what the media want to hear and that's what the media and establishment politicians can't wrap their mind around. we're tired of the media and politicians trying dictate what we think. donald trump is our guy because he is saying the things that we want a politician to say and we want the politician to do. he has the chutzpah to do. , if you want to decrease unemployment deport the 11 million people you talk about, the 20 to 30 million people that
i talk about. >> it may be possible for donald trump to simply bypass congress and do it through executive orders but he can't really bypass the supreme court which has said that every one of these illegal immigrants are still entitled to due process under the law. in other words there has to be an administrative judge that gives them the opportunity to prove that they belong in the united states. you would have to hire something like 40,000 administrative judges to deal with all of that. >> to that david i have this to say my fellow wolverine. here we go again, the media making fallacies, trying to scare the american people. that we will use the immigration policies, we will use the immigration process and people will self-deport as mitt romney tried to point out and was made fun of. mitt romney made several points you guys in the media made fun of, such as russia being our
biggest threat. >> coming up. american children living undocumented in a region dominated by drug cartels. in them, they just don't know it. >> facing up to old demons... >> i am really, really nervous... >> lives hanging in the balance... >> it's make or break... i got past the class... >> hard earned pride... hard earned respect... hard earned future... a real look at the american dream hard earned only on al jazeera america
children of immigrants who were sent back to mexico even though they were born in america, in other words, u.s. citizens. many of these are loss in mexico without papers or language skills. as david ariosto tells us, living in areas controlled by drug cartels. >> a friendly neighborhood soccer match. it's a welcome distraction for these kids. many are undocumented, struggle with the language and are displaced due to poverty and violence. it is a sad though familiar story but there's something different about these children. some are actually american. those like 14-year-old salvador were born in the u.s., in his case a small town just north of san francisco. but today, he's living here.
the violence and at times lawless mexican states of michoacan, which is considered the very birth place of mexico's drug wars. his parents like millions of others escaped the region by trekking across the desert and into the u.s. where they lived for nearly 15 years, giving birth to salvador and his two sisters. but the threat of deportation inand a downturn in the u.s. economy eventually forced his parents to return to mexico. >> translator: i was having trouble finding work, with three kids to support i decided to go back. >> reporter: rather than break up the family the kids went with their parents traveling south and over the border to a country they had never seen before. they had no immigration papers, no u.s. passport and no mexican citizenship. in other words they are undocumented americans living in
mexico. >> to cross the land border from the u.s. you don't need a passport. often they come to mexico without ever having been documented with a u.s. passport. at a very basic level many of them are not documented as either u.s. citizens or mexican citizen. >> reporter: nearly half omillion american children are currently growing up and going to school in mexico and with u.s. deportations on the rise that number is expected to increase. having nearly doubled in the last three years. >> this community is not only very large but it's a vulnerable community. these children are very vulnerable. >> reporter: but they're not easy to find. something the state department is trying to address. by working with ngos to identify these kids. and sending buses to go pick them up so that they can get processed. and yet those like salvador are scattered across the often lawless regions of mexico where
drug cartels battle with local militias and the mexican army. so we decided to see for ourselves what salvador is now dealing with. and traveled west to his new home in apotis beingangan, once a stronghold of the notorious knights oknights of templar. situated right between mexico city and the coast, you get all that drug sort of funneling up right into the south of the united states and it's a dangerous dangerous area. just driving around this area kind of makes you a little nervous because kidnapping is rife here, it as one of the highest murder rates in all the country. we called ahead to let somebody know we were coming, hopefully we'll make it through this area, without issues.but it's
something that salvador had to deal with on a daily basis. salvador arrived at age 9, spoke broken language, and began immediately to have trouble in schools. >> that was the most difficult part of my life. i used to cry. >> higher than average school dropout rates a among dis disdid children's, more than 3600 children have been arrested in operations against these cartels. two of salvador's friends weren't so lucky. he says they joined the knights of templar cartel only to be later killed during a shootout with federal police. >> why do you think they joined?
>> well, you see this place? i think they joined it because of the money. this place doesn't have much money. so they just want to succeed in this place. >> salvador's father earns just $10 a day working at a nearby farm. a job with the cartels can be a far more lucrative though potentially deadly career choice. meantime, students run through checkpoints in salvador's new community, some run by military, some by local vigilantes and some by cartels. it's not easy telling who's who, given that those who run these checkpoints tend to change sides. we're getting to one of the checkpoints, they're checking for arms, they're checking for drugs and they take their security very seriously here. you can see the sand bags
essentially just stacked up by my man here has the guns at the ready, and this is an area of control that's run by one of the militias that's backed by the government. you can see the rural police force. and it's got the backing of mexico city. now across that border, right there where we can kind of see those -- that bit of debris lined up that's a demarcation line. essentially the area where they don't control. beyond that line and up in those mountains are where local officials say new cartels and vigilante groups are forming. and the violence has followed. on december 16th, tensions between two rival groups erupted here in michoacan, in a gun battle that was captured on amateur video.
one of the leaders in that battle was this man, hippolito mora, who has organized in order to beat back the cartels. >> we had to defend ourselves, and these forces were created to fight because we just couldn't work with the cartel. they controlled everything. >> reporter: moore's son was one of 11 people killed during that battle. he died at the hands of those loyal to a vigilante known simply as el americano, or the american. he earned that name after several years living in the united states. while it's not clear if the american came to mexico like salvador, there is concern that if these kids are not better integrated into mexican schools they could ultimately add to the problems plaguing the region. and as deportations from the u.s. rise, the ranks of america's lost generation in