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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 14, 2016 8:00am-10:01am EDT

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any refugees until full background checks were provided for each individual coming to the states. this case after the texas case was dismissed, but in alabama they filed an appeal at the 11th circuit and that was just over a week ago. additionally, tennessee passed senate resolution 467 and this would allow the general assembly to sue the president and an interesting twist here, in violation of the 10th amendment, states rights. the georgetown lawsuit here, probably studied the sinner, not classes. this piece is a bit of a unique approach. the tennessee attorney general who would have normally brought the case said probably which are common law professor is telling you. there's really no merit to make a challenge under the 10th amendment to say the federal government is abusing this power to allow refugees into the country and place them.
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nonetheless, outside counsels like this case. and yet there is one more approach being taken and this is by our indiana governor and vice presidential candidate, mike pence who directed his voluntary agencies, the ones responsible for receiving and placing refugees in the states to withhold funds. so he's not going to allow them to get reimbursed by the federal government. he's going to stop the flow of funds until he gets some additional information from the federal government. threatening government in a sense. what made the news in this case was that one agency had our defend the process of placing the syrian family in indiana. exodus ended up going to court against the direct to an indiana said this is a clear violation of the equal protection clause given that it is identifying
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people by national origin and to refuse and are victims of refugees. yet despite all of these legislative proposals and losses and threaten lawsuits, there is no amount of begging that i could find they would know for sure that with revenge for sure the possibility that a refugee may commit a terrorist act in the future. we have a rigorous system in place already. the first one is of course federalism. the federal government under the united states constitution article i clearly establishes the immigration power to the federal government. confirmed later on a number of important cases, this is largely indisputable. extensive background checks. unlike in europe oversight in europe the united states does not allow refugees to come into the country until the background
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checks are completed. we don't necessarily have any potential threats until after we've come to the full screening process. coordination with states is very extensive. orr coordinates well with the states, giving them information about placement and of course the screenings have already been done so there's no reason for them to provide additional information to the state government. this is not an area in which the state cannot. they do have the ability to console. they do have the ability to request certain place is to say that certain placements would be inappropriate. a lack of resources, lack of community. however, i surmise any of these attacks to propose legislation, executive orders or even amendments to the constitution are ultimately going to fail. they don't have the political support and the issue is likely
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to blow over in the next year or so in my opinion as politicians move onto some demon that election year. with that, i will turn it over to my esteemed colleagues to provide you some more information. thank you. >> thank you very much, kevin. >> thank you very much. , to start explaining the irc. most people associate that with overseas crises and humanitarian assistance delivery internationally and not with the u.s. we are best known for international work we do have 29 field offices in the united states. we've been assisting refugees and others to integrate and to adapt to life in the united states than it did 30s when we were founded. we've assisted many hundreds of thousands of people who settle in the united states. by the time we have this current fiscal year but will have
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assisted for 10,000 people to resettle in the united states plus additional clients that we serve firms to communities as well as other categories. so i've been asked today to speak about the settlement from the vantage point about what has been happening at state-level. i wanted to start by repeating what was mentioned at the start. the u.s. has resettled over 3 million refugees through this program since the start of a trend in 1880 refugee at. 800,000 individuals have been reset is sent and a muffin. for the first several decades of the program, there were a few constants we could rely on. the first thing that we could reasonably rely on with this program is to visit skew program is divisive scare and unknown to no one really cared about it. this has been built on a strong
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public partnership, on community support. much of that support has come from a diversity of faith communities and congregations around the country. for that reason as well as a simple fact that it is a managed and legal pathway to protection here is also a program that has long enjoyed bipartisan political support. in that context of a security were not that many politicians really gave much thought. the other big factor here is from 1975, well into the late 1990s, most refugees settled were coming from conflict such as the vietnam war, such as the conflict, the dissolution of the soviet union and the refugees that left her in that situation. for the ideological means to be
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understanding about who these refugees were or are was very clear to average americans. but they can have any in the 1990s, a program that away from being a program focused on resettling refugees along these ideologically aligned lines to a program that began to diversify and begin to work along the lines of resettle in the most vulnerable of the most at-risk refugees regardless of nationality whether they were a refugee from the time for syria or cuba, essentially the program embraced all of these seat early based on their needs. and so we went from a program that was pretty accessible and understandable to average americans to one that was less assessable unless understandable perhaps as it had more diverse populations are rising. certainly post-9/11 you have new national purity -- security
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concerns that arise. you also have a post that delivered. with an economic recession were agencies began to find the urgent need to diversify the geographic scope. whereas we prevent here is the resettling into mainly large gateway cities of immigration. they began to diversify so we began to look for new places to resettle refugees. perhaps the metropolitan areas were arrivals of this very diverse population become more visible, where perhaps it's desirable because cost of living is lower, housing prices and costs are lower, better. research agreed new dynamics about how the program is viewed. in the 1990s, particularly with the arrival of the iraqi population, the anti-resettlement act to get some of you may have heard from refugee resettlement are organized at times to basically
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advocate against this program. in the last several years at the movement and alignment with other actors so that refugee resettlement begins to morph as part of the anti-immigrant agenda but irish. with that said, but it's been happening at the state level? already drive some of the attempts here in washington to legislate on the program at the federal level. though we had even more activity at the state level in the last year. many of you are aware that there was 31 governors that seven of the state took additional actions. you had four states and the louisiana whose governors actually took their statement
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opposing this and actually issued an executive order basically instruct in their state agencies to do something different they whether it was to cease providing different types of federal benefit to refugees, either rob refugees to assert nationalities, et cetera appeared to us that one state, texas that put out an anti-refugee regulation. make them much more onerous for that consultation requirement the professor mentioned to actually take place. you also have to state to choke the more extreme steps of actually choosing to withdraw their states from cooperation. in the steve spurrier went to stave refugee coordinator was essentially reporting to the governor and was a state employee, you have governors
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that is that our state will no longer directly participate in this, which has induced a nongovernmental agencies such as irc to actually take over the state coordination withdraws at the state. a lot of these actions have not been particularly implementable. some of these things really don't stand up to legal challenge. for example, in georgia when we had one of the first syrian arrivals who was denied federal assistance after the governor issued his executive order, the actual attorney general of the state came forward and issued an opinion saying that's simply not legal. unfortunately or fortunately for the refugee we were able to make sure they were able to access those bed early. so all of this is really the executive action. but probably the more active
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problems that we've seen in the last year have taken place were taken place were at the state legislative level. in 2016, we had 52 anti-refugee bills introduced in 19 states. a substantial number of these bills for copycat it. they were distributed pretty visibly trinational network of anti-resettlement is to become increasingly sophisticated and well organized and their average to legislators by the three state legislators are federal and also accompanied by communication suffered through some of the media outlet that are more sympathetic to this type of anti-immigrant effort. all of this legislation in only resulted in one legislative effort in tennessee that was successful. but it's required a tremendous amount of effort on part of the
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local agencies and allies to try to stand this. so i wanted to mention a few of the main themes that these anti-refugee bills. some of them have been trying to actually prohibit the state agencies from participating, prohibiting passing funds through the state to actually support refugee resettlement. some of them have tried to prevent the resettlement on about refugees, the specific certain populations. many of these bills have attempted to assert more state control over refugee resettlement. including asserting the right to veto the resettlement, which as their previous panelists mentioned is really challenging the federal authority in this area. some of the bills that have been struggling to assess refugee advocate and people who are working directly with the population, some of these bills have mandated the refugee personal information beastie
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shared and the public domain or have suggested that the state government should monitor refugees in clear violation of privacy -- the privacy standards. one bill in particular would make resettlement agencies such as the irc liable in civil court for any crimes or acts of terrorism that might be committed by a refugee, which would certainly place the resettlement agencies and an antenna ball position in terms of the insurance we would meet again such liability. finally, some of these bills have been suggesting that states should have the authority to audit our program in ways that are much more -- much, much more detail band is required under the federal program. so having made out that sort of depressing scenario, the local and national respond -- the local response in particular has
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been quite different. we've seen a tremendous disconnect between the national and state level political discourse and the actual book on the refugees are receiving. throughout all of these. then particularly since the photo at the syrian boy on the turkish beach went viral last september, we have seen a tremendous dramatic increase in the number of volunteers and community donations to resettlement agencies, not just ours but the other eight have received. we've had a really interesting variety of new corporate partners have stepped up, have come to the table to partner with us. if you look at the president, the white house website on the partnership of the corporate partnership for refugee resettlement camille cemented take names by western union, microsoft link didn't and many,
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many corporate markets of lesser names that have stepped forward in different locations to support the refugee resettlement agencies, whether it is through donations or trying to help us find more affordable housing models at carteret. i've also seen amazing community response is in the face of what we do believe are so isolated incidents against refugees. to set an example, is suing 3 million to sound who unfortunately within a few weeks of arrival had to be moved because they received a threatening note on their door from an unknown person in the community. that situation provoked an outpouring of support. they let them know based on having and that the wider
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community wanted them to be there. yet the album meant that this whole situation really provoked is perhaps new ways of working at the state and local level. before the threats against the resettlement program, really a lot of the advocacy is certainly the lobbying that this community has done was quite separate from our immigrants right colleague and what this site has proven is that we really need all the allies at the table. all of the resettlement agencies around the country, especially in light of the state legislative threat have really found the need and the utility and allies from immigrants rights community from and we've demonstrated with in a year how far we go with his partnerships. we were able to mobilize to make
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sure only one of those resolutions was passed. just to finalize by saying what has really worked in the face of all these thread. in terms of advocacy tag digs, the first thing that we have to refer to is really just countering rampant information information -- misinformation. how they are screened and what happens to them when they arrived, how quickly they become self-sufficient, how quickly they move off any government assistance, et cetera. we also had to stretch ourselves in terms of national information gathering and sharing across that network again in order to mobilize a wide array of pro-immigrant civil rights and civil liberties partners, we had to double down on our intel gathering and our analysis at the state goes to share with
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folks so they can use the information if they take too at the state level. we've done a lot of support of local actors to make sure local immigrants rights organizations want to be active on this issue, have the access they need to refugee resettlement, which is so a bit of a secure topic. we've also had a lot of factors that when the mouse comes to mind is human rights first. they've done a great job at mobilizing security validator is, mobilizing veterans that are poor -- per refugee. train to mobilize notable voices that can beat to the utility and the importancimportanc e of this program is supposed by refugees are not a threat. a tremendous amount of work we've been doing that we need to do much more as the years come on. uplifting of community support in demonstrating how much
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support there is that a community level as well as telling refugee stories. just about why they fled and why they are deserving of protection but also telling their stories as they integrate here and as they become not just economically self-sufficient and contributors to a community. they have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us. the political narrative facing refugees at the center of this toxic debate. i'm a little bit less optimistic than my colleague, kevin about whether this will go away in that year. to a certain extent but there is anti-immigrants come of grassroots activism in the state, many state refugees will continue to be part of that agenda and so i think we have quite a bit of work ahead of us. thank you. >> alex, help us understand what is going on.
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thanks, andy. kevin said we have no obligation to admit refugees and that is all right and that is curious that the refugee convention does have a norm against return but no duty to admit to asylum seekers as well as people they select from overseas to come to the states. think about the cost of resettlement. resettlement averages 10, 15, $20,000 of refugees for resettlement. united states takes and 80,000 a year. talking about a billion dollars a year spent on refugee resettlement. the budgeted for the care of 15 million refugees. so it's an interesting question about why we have settlement. i think they are very good answers to the question that we need to think this through.
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first of all, resettlement obviously improves human minds in human well-being for 10,120,000 refugees in much better shape. the vast majority of refugees that had protected refugee situations, which are situations that go on for more than five years of at least 6 million or more refugees living in these long-term situations. you're basically that they might send them to pay depends on international assistance are now assisting than giving them an attempt or possibility to rebuild lives. moreover, before they sell out the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement in this are then taken in by other countries at the world. a huge gain in the welfare of people who are resettled.
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secondly, there is an international duty on all states who are part of the refugee regime and that is more than 150 nations who signed the convention for protocol to participate in international burden share. right now we have a situation where peter southerland has faced a special envoy on migration described as responsibility by proximity. refugees flee to a country near their home country and they tend to stay there. in the middle east, 4.5 million refugees and countries of turkey, lebanon and jordan. a country of 4 million citizen is 1 million refugees. when kevin talks about the low number of 10,000 syrian refugees come that you can have 1 million in lebanon. there is a duty to spread the responsibility around the world. you can do that in a couple ways. i have a noncontiguous countries
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give money, which is what the u.s. largely does have a paying 40% of the operation budget. the other way to do that is through dramatic resettlement programs. if you had dramatic resettlement out of turkey and lebanon and jordan since the beginning of the refugee flow out of syria, you would not have seen 1 million people attempting to come by boat through smuggling and trafficking, but to europe in the last year or two there's been an orderly resettlement and the nation step up and under undertaking their response abilities to participate in the global system of refugee protection. thirdly, there is a benefit to the states. we tend to think that the cost of the refugee and this is a big benefit of the receiving states. of course scales. teachers saint einstein was a
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refugees. there's obviously people to come in and work at all levels of society. if you're talking about 80,000 refugees a year, there's no impact was the weather on the economic system that the united states. certainly not a cost of the u.s. but not an obvious benefit. there's much more to the values as who we are as a country. imagine these governors saying we will not take refugees in to our state. this is not a serious political position. they are plainly of the columbus statues and the constitution of the united states. it's clearly political. wouldn't offload a goal and political statement built on the notion of protecting refugees to say no to refugees. we know of the history of st. louis also a path through our history when we've done that. it's one thing to talk about building malls. another thing to talk about torpedo ships it seems to me.
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anyway, let me move on. in stating we should be taking refugees, resettlement does have a cost in the global system in the following interesting but unanalyzed empirical way. that is that there is a few and this is probably right that if there are robust resettlement programs out of the country, the first assignment will provide disincentives to return home. there are many people in refugee camps around the world who will stay for a long time upon the hope that they will be resettled. the chances of being resettled there like winning the lottery. 100,000 a year for 15 refugees. nonetheless, the benefit are so huge it may have an impact and their something that perhaps induces departures to get to a place where they can then apply for a settlement to the resettlement countries. we have to be realistic about
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the overall cost on the much larger picture seems to be the benefit of robust resettlement programs that are much larger than any of these kinds of costs. we should talk about challenges. actually one attack that opportunity in my remaining few minutes here. that is about a private sponsorship of resettlement. the program described here is our public model, which brings in anywhere from 50, 80, hopefully 100,000 refugees to the united states. but i think the demand and supply is far higher. what they mean is the number of people who likely resettled in the united states is obviously higher than the generosity of the american people aspired to be 80,000 people this year. if we can find a way to tap into generosity by saying to private groups and private individuals who can sponsor at no cost to the government. you have to be responsible and pay the cost and worry about health care and other things
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like that. i think we would find enormous appeal, enormous support for these kinds of programs in this country. for two reasons. one would have our neighbor to the north. canada has had private resettlement since 1979. under their program within 275,000 refugees have been brought to canada with great success very sponsorship -- private sponsorship program. i won't go into details. there's several different versions of it, including one that lists online the potential refugees without their names and the ngos can go online and pick the people they want to sponsor them and you can do this all virtually to bring people in. secondly, the united states itself has had private sponsorship. ronald reagan initiated the small programs during his presidency. about 16,000 people entered under private sponsorship
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program that can be done at an existing presidential authority. the program shut down because of cost of primarily health costs, which may now be taking this states that expanded medicaid and the aca, making up for doable. it's time to make this more serious about a significant private sponsorship program. the refugee council at the united states, which is the umbrella organization of the ngos of which irc is one of the leading length has put together a model working with human rights first, migration policy institute and the organization international refugee program are now working on a very robust model on what private sponsorship at the plate. it would be terrific if the state department would take a close look.
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there is interest in the state department and the white house to think about a private sponsorship. and the benefits i think would be enormous in two main categories. first, the numbers of people we could take in. assuming people still have to be screened in the security check would still have to be done of course. but in terms of the public support, imagine if the public were given a chance to say sponsor refugees of congregation and other groups could bring people in. tens of thousands of groups of people i think interested in bringing refugees in. the numbers but zero well. secondly, it's a terrific advocacy tool because i think there needs to be more. we have to help the irc and other organizations pushing back on the negative cast put on the word refugee in this country,
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which is new in my lifetime. i've never seen a moment where the word refugee was so negative. it's the american public or private sponsorship to say we will take it everyone form. we believe we can support and they need our support. it's a wonderful way to push back on some of the ugliness that we have seen. for the program to work, it needs to be additional numbers coming in. one of the fears of the advocacy groups has-beens oppose the president says will take 10,000 more refugees of private sponsorship, but tad on the public site simply shows from the public to the private side and does increase the numbers. if private sponsorship is adopted, it would have to be additional numbers. anyway, this is something to push for it. i think you have a white house that might be open to death and i would urge you ought to think
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hard about supporting private sponsorship and maintaining strong resettlement programs. thank you. >> thank you, alex. we have some time for questions so i invite those who have questions to come up. while you are doing that, it struck me as i was thinking about these issues that the resettlement program was different than our legal immigration program precisely in the vocal support aspect of it. it is always involved spreading people out to local communities that wanted to invite the mid-and that even though it's coming through the federal government. your local irc chapter result of faith-based and non-faith based groups and their chapters that were inviting people in. i was in even the strength of the program. it was seen as a way to ensure
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support at the local level and avoid the concentrations of people in verse reactions. it's been turned on its head by these challenges. trying to figure out how to do that again and use the local level support would be great. yes, please introduce yourself. >> thanks. i'm a congressional reporter for the hispanic outlook. i'm concerned about what is happening in europe and with the refugees bear and it relates to hear, how is it that we don't seem to condemn the arab countries to have it taken in refugees but we are condemning now alabama are some others who want to limit or choose the refugees they want to come in. what kind of double standard are we putting here?
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you alluded to it and i would like to know what your thoughts are. why aren't the nations of the world, even in europe supporting the u.n. hcr programs. the u.n. was founded to help the refugees. that's the whole idea of it. why has it lost so much support and how can they get it back? >> well, i can take the first part of that. while i wouldn't say the irc has condemned european states, we have called them out on settlement in europe. we did a report a few months ago when we asked the member states of the european union state 109,000 syrian refugees on resettlement to next year, which doesn't sound like a lot, but you have to start somewhere. so i think that this is something that needs to have been. the irc recently began to
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partner with the u.s. government to implement capacity building and 10 european countries to build the capacity for resettlement. not only in terms of how it works procedurally to process people and bring them to a country that had to do that successfully in the current environment where there may be seen of phobia and islamic -- islamic phobic rhetoric and national spaces, et cetera. [inaudible] >> you are talking about outside era. wow, i think we would like as many countries as possible around the world to embrace resettlement regardless of the type of country they are. that being said, alex could speak to this more as a senior official, but some of those
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countries you mention have profoundly difficult challenges in even getting them to protect the refugees had arrived on their territory. every country and every regional habits challenges of this certainly agencies in the u.s. have been promoting resettlement of not america. there have been attempts in the past for several african companies to become resettlement countries. i take your point. i think we need to have many dozens of countries around the world contributing to the effort and not only a select few. >> i don't think it's right to say the unhcr has lost support in recent years and the budget has tripled over the last 10 years. i think there's increase support. i think you are right that many of the countries are not stepping up. there's been a slow number in the countries that have begun to
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do a settlement. it grew out of earlier the last taking the east. that is where it starts. it has been seen as a western province if you will, a western function which should be shared worldwide. that's at a global system on refugee protection should be. there's a lot of traditionally most resettlement has been done for the u.s., canada, australia and other states slow to join the group. i would say however i think it's erroneous to say the muslim countries have not supported refugees. pakistan and iran are two of the largest refugee hosting countries in the world. iran has hosted a million refugees -- a million afghan refugees when it was in the soviet union. there is substantial support in those countries that more should be done.
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>> thank you. >> and the german political foundation. i also want to speak about the international dimension of sentiment and what do you expect from the u.n. summit taking place next week at the obama summit where we see -- [inaudible] >> i really think it's a shame. we went through 2016 with a lot of pledging conferences. the worst humanitarian summit in may and istanbul. one by the u.s. because they couldn't get around one. i see the commitments coming out of this. the summit in terms of additional money in settlements, but in terms of the reform of the system needed like a world where responsibility sharing program or new ways of working on the ground.
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i think what is one good aspect of it is that it does say in two years, u.n. h.r. should come back with the global framework so the real work starts after the summit when people start thinking hard about what i should be. clearly the current system has failed and is broken in terms of solving the situation of refugees left in long-term situation. this summit will not do anything about that, nor will it do anything about the so-called crisis in europe. we do have two years to think about where should follow. >> thanks, alex. we have our two final questioners. you've been waiting patiently. thank you. >> i work in the division of policy at the office of refugee resettlement work for our -- orr for sure. the u.s. department of state as
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a geographic conjunction with voluntary agencies has responsibility for the placement of refugees in the united states. the office of resettlement has no role at all in the geographic placement of refugees inside the united states. in fact, orr has no overseas function at all. unfortunately, people in states think we do have a role and they sue us. i want to go on record in front of 200 people. >> so you're popular. >> yeah, in the wrong way. i just wanted to clarify that point. there is no overseas proponent and no immigration component strip in social service agencies to refugees that the
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populations. >> thank you for that clarification. o. r. plays a very important role in that resettlement program. >> my name is heidi. i'm from baltimore city. i work as a decision specialist. prior to that i have to preface my question by saying prior to that i worked as a coordinator for barbara maccoll ski. what i see working in baltimore city, we just had 22 shootings is past weekend. chicago has shootings the weekend and while i admire deeply what you do, have you worked with those african-american students who start and overcome it getting ged's, as well as refugees and immigrants, what level is anyone doing for us to justify the fact
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that we are choosing recreation centers while we are spending a lot of money and i understand why. i want to understand and explain to my populations of students, why are we spending millions of dollars paying for eight months of rent and subsidizing winner need of african-american population is in crises. >> i can respond briefly, it's not a fixed pie we are looking at. federal funding is going to support refugees in baltimore county, for instance, does not need that others will not get access to resources. it's not one or the other. we're mixing a good day doesn't mean the federal money will go to a different program within your community. i don't think it's necessarily apples and apples were talking
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about. i can understand the concern but they're really separate programs. >> there's a question about richer dialogue. >> i'd be happy to complement. such a strong supporter of this program in particular and that's because it is a city trying to revitalize and they are often seen as a driver of that. we don't bring refugees to be here an assistant. the bring them to get them off of assistance is quick as possible to make themselves assistant into the drivers of growth and higher others in many cases. we do also offer a lot of our services to local low in some populations. we tried the best that we can. if we are good at something in his local area, whether it is tax prep or whether it is economic empowerment, we try to offer a wide range of services possible to local populations as
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well. we have been the last year -- we work in baltimore committee irc does as well as several other agencies. we've done a lot of outreach this year, especially everything that's happened in baltimore in the last year. we do a lot of dialogue with the local african-american program could we also do a lot of dialogue with local police authorities said the arrival of newcomers, especially newcomers quite different, not the lendale is moving from philly to baltimore to repopulate baltimore, but to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible. i fully agree with kevin that it's not an either/or. we really have to do both. if you look at strategies to revitalize the city of baltimore to create our jobs for everyone, i don't think our program goes against that. i think we are very much blossoming into a
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community-based organization as opposed to a refugee resettlement agency. that's what we strive to do in cities across the u.s. >> thank you very much, and not. it is nice for a change of pace today to end on a more positive note or a panel of the we've been discussing very difficult issues thoroughly, i want everyone to get a round of applause to our panelists. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> hello, folks. anything to try to stick to a schedule, we are going to start. all of you are in the margin. can you please take a seat? so, not surprisingly we saved the last panel for the most important issue in the lives of people for a very long time.
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i think before the supreme court decision we all thought this entire conference are beyond implementation of darpa and expanded darpa. indeed, some of the last year with an entire panel on how we thought this is going to rule it and let the implication of that was going to be. there was a major supreme court decision which a lot of people stand up as one of the most consequential supreme court, which kept intact injunction against the implementation of darpa and expanded darpa. and then our precious years we are going to college is green lack of clarity. essentially, this is a panel to discuss the legal and political fallout from the supreme court's agenda in texas. and to inform this debate,
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extraordinary people for the last panel. david schooley and i'm a further strike is a deputy counsel at dhs whose job is to put off a small fire is out at dhs to a pie made on major policies. before he had the job, he was the chief counsel at the emigration on u.s. house of representatives. both administrations of lawmakers respective to this debate. steve legomsky considered as the field as he can find. he has that emeritus professor at the washington university school of law at st. louis, co-author in for two years as chief counsel in the u.s. eis.
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christina is considered one of the most dynamic and attractive young readers in the emigration rates today. she is thus a cofounder and director, one of the organizations that list of these considered key for president obama for not meant at the darpa program. last but not least, shahoulian at chop up -- [inaudible] the drop boxes are full. [laughter] but it is prior to the job talks that is often of intrigue to this group. she was a very important member of immigration issues on the senate and house that. she was assisted to speaker boehner on policy before this
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speaker. she was chief of staff for senator mccain and highly involved in a involved in the situation on immigration legislation with senator mccain is co-author senator mccain was co-author with senator kennedy. the most recently, "washington post" -- [inaudible] >> bleeding within the gop. thank you to all of you for being here. we will start with david. so frankly, we thought this would be the time, but most of that in this gathering would be implementing darpa and instead they are attending this conference. so how did we get here from the
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announced plan of your secretary in november 2014? >> if i can i want to set the stage a little bit. i want to talk about my time on the hill and when i got to dhs. the immigration laws are broken. we all understand to some degree. i did not understand how fundamentally broken they were until i affected dhs. i think this helps people understand what we did and why we did it. we all know about the 11 million people and i think most of us know that also although there are 11 million people in the united states who are subject to removal, dhs has resource to remove a small fraction of those individuals. what i think people know to a lesser degree is the fact that those are not the only people subject to removal.
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on top of the 11 or 11.5 million people we have people arriving every day and it's a responsibility to remove them. we have individuals unlawfully unlawfully here who commit crimes and also make themselves subject to removal because of those crimes. so not only are we resource to remove a fraction of those individuals, but it's even a smaller fraction when you consider additional individualist attitude that every year. in addition to that, both morally and politically and congressionally, we are essentially directed particularly through appropriations but also authorizing provisions in the law to focus our removal after his son to carry the border so new entrants at the border and to focus particularly on persons convicted of crimes by the severity of the crime as the way
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the law speaks about it. so i get there of course had it's not like i created any of this, but that is all true. we are also facing tremendous headway in at that time that we haven't faced before with respect to the populations at congress and to be honest i believe morally and politically were directed to focus removal effort on. at the border we have an unprecedented shift in demographics. people arriving, i love surveyed to kind of face that we have historically seen which are mexican nationals coming across the border to deal with large populations of mexican nationals attempting to cross the border. a few other privations is also pretty inexpensive to remove the mexican national that we encounter at the border near the port of entry. it is significantly, exponentially more difficult and expensive to remove someone over
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the last few years is a precipitous drop, a real job in the number because of our first efforts but also the mexican economy. a drop attempting to cross the border. what we've seen is a significant increase in the number of non-mexican nationals crossing the border and that has meant a significant change in the way we resource border enforcement and also the length of time it takes us to remove people we encounter at the southern border. with regards to people convicted of crimes, we've seen over the last five years jurisdictions a sickly cooperating with us across most of the jurisdictions in which immigrant is and we have seen -- we've also been to some degree and in our actions by the federal court both
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through the border and people with criminal convictions in her ability to remove even that has been significantly altered in hand hurt. .an additional reality we were faced with at that time. taking all that into account, this administradministr ation, the president and secretary decided to tackle all of those problems holistically. what to do about border force by considering the change of the progressives. what to do about aliens convicted of crimes. and then after to further secure the border because that is a real priority for the secretary among other things. i know are not going to get credit for it in many circles, but i can tell you the secretary every single morning looks at the border apprehension numbers and what we see in central america and mexico and other places and he just cares about that issue as much as anything else he does.
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we focused on all of those issues and we came out with a package on november 24th team of executive actions to address issues across the board. one of them is if of reprioritization of our effort. we moved resources from the interior to the borders. we focused the remaining interior resources on people convicted of crimes. again, we were no longer easily getting individuals from the poachers fictions. instead, we had to go out to pretty large enforcement efforts and find individuals before we were just having transferred directly to us. we also took on a massive effort to win back jurisdictions with regard to cooperation and we also went top of everything else tried to focus on dealing realistically with a population that is going to remain behind.
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just to again put this in dave, when we started the whole thing, there was already a fraction of the undocumented population here. when you focus on border enforcement, new entry and end when you're taking into account the difficulty removing individuals and focusing on people that are illegally here, there were even fewer resources than you take all that into account that for the undocumented. so part of the package included taking a population of those populations within the 11 million that were the lowest of the lowest priority and those are the people that have been here for a long time into researching through no fault of their own order had u.s. citizen or lawful permanent resident children in the united states. the people that with the lowest priority we wanted to set them aside. we wanted to have them applied,
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go through background checks. we learn who they were and they would give work authorization. it would take them out of the underground economy. we thought that was good for america and was that those people aside and we wouldn't have to focus resources on them and do all of that with their resources rather than around. that is what we went to do. as most of you know, we were quickly sued by 26 state who brought the lawsuit in a very smart venue. they felt in brownsville at that time there were only two active judges. one of whom was a senior judge and wasn't taking cases that they essentially guaranteed that a particular judge to we've been in front of many times we take the case. as you all know, he issued a preliminary injunction.
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i will add a few more facts that during the course of the litigation they were in your assists are good judges in the case in supreme court justices and i just want to point out this fact. there were two times for the preliminary injunction came up for review in the fifth circuit. in both those cases they were the same two judges on both of those panels that ruled in favor of keeping the preliminary injunction therefore against our policies. there were two different judges decided to send to both of those cases that would've upheld policies. essentially there is a 2-tube tied as far as we are concerned to medicate why not the supreme court and faith in a justice court at that time and for all intents and purposes, we understand there were four justices that likely would've struck the policy down to four justices that would've upheld the policy.
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another tie from the supreme court. so the judge in brownsville that is so far been able to stop politics and taking effect. >> what are your plans for the rest of the administration? >> one escapes that question pretty quickly. after the supreme court ruled in issued no decision of the summary opinion, essentially keeps the fifth circuit opinion in place, we filed a motion for rehearing before the supreme court and that remains pending with the supreme court has enacted yet were dismissed it by taking it either. we continue to wait. the judge has stayed proceedings in the district court until the supreme court rules in this last order also depending on how the
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supreme court rules allows a 30 day meeting to confer meeting to confirm the site had to move forward. >> keeping the executive action, is there any other plan for the remainder of the administration to do executive actions? >> that may just say there are things on the table that we announced. there are things that we are looking at that may affect some small portion of those individuals. we announced a long time ago we put out, for example, for public comments, guidance on what constitutes extreme hardship for its statutorily authorized. we are still working on the guidance and a few other things. as far as i know, nothing we are working that hasn't already been. >> the supreme court injunction, a nationwide injunction.
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in august of this year, a lawsuit was filed in federal district court in new york, challenging the nation of our injunction. two partners. from your head, does that have any chances of success and do you think it should ever succeed? >> you put a lot of pressure on me. first of all, let me say i thought the description of the forest and the trees is excellent. i'm no longer in government. i can be much more responsible than i usually am. the lawsuit you are referring to is the federal district court in new york. there are a lot of narrow technical issues by the case, but a big question in the case is whether a federal court in one jurisdiction may set aside a
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nationwide injunction issued by a court in another jurisdiction and if it has that power, should it do so in this case? i have a strongly held view about whether it was proper to make the injunction's nationwide in continuing along the line i will preface my comment by saying that i feel very strongly the executive actions in question are well within the administration's legal authority and therefore no injunction should have been issued at all. i think your question is focusing on weather was otherwise okay to issue an injunction. i believe there was not. the governing legal principle here is that an injunction is an extraordinary judicial remedy and that means among other things the court routinely said when the court issues an injunction to both issue it in the nearest possible terms should be no broader than is necessary to protect the
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interests of the plaintiff. the question of whether making sure the actions don't operate another state while in between. it is hard for me to see how texas was hurt by people receiving executive action in the state of new york. in fairness to texas, they have one argument. the whole long line of cases before the supreme court expand more than 100 years in which the court has consistently said that on matters of immigration, it is imperative that the nation speak with a single voice. that part of texas argument is correct and you can easily see where the court would say this. it is a one to 50 different immigration laws and policies operating type simultaneously. the key in my view is this. and every single case in which the supreme court has tapped about the importance of uniform
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nationwide policies, his point has been this has been this despite these policies have to be set at the national government rather than by individual states. to say now that one state allowed and texas gets to dictate what the nationwide uniform either supposed to be. one judge in brownsville, texas gets to make that decision. that's one thing. maybe texas could say, it is true we can't come up with an argument as to why the harms that we claim are going to incur would be recommended by women in texas. there are 25 other states that would've said would've joined us and a nationwide injunction to protect that. first of all, none of the others stayed would demonstrate they've been injured and therefore even have the legal standards to sue in the first place.
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even if the argument otherwise based on merit, at the very most he argument is justified to those 26 days. and not to the 24 other states and certainly not to the majority of those 24 other states. they feel affirmatively benefited by it and they actually incurred in the court to deny the request for the injunction. there is one other little point made. texas has, well, if the injunction was admitted to texas, the undocumented immigrant who moved from texas to relocate another state and take up permanent residence there, if texas is going to be honest and consistent, distal argument has been this undocumented immigrants are hurting our state and it shows
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us even more to spend money issuing drivers licenses to them. you think they would be thrilled. .. it's been our position all along in the briefing that the district court should not issued a nationwide injunction. >> are you done? >> yes, i'm done.
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[inaudible] this will either be a trump presidency or the clinton presidency. i take it there's nothing to prevent president trump from rescinding the executive action, while the case is pending. second, if there is a president clinton presidency and she is expressed her support of the action, what choices does she have to help to get this implement did in light of the litigation? >> that's a great question. i think in part the answer depends on what happens in any intervening litigation. first we do have a pending government petition for rehearing before the supreme court that david has subscribe. second, there is the case which will tell us whether it's possible to lift the injunction outside texas. and third going in the other
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direction, we don't have any way to know whether texas or perhaps other states are planning to bring an action to enjoy daca. presumably it would be brought in the judges corporate which doesn't automatically mean texas wins but pretty close. assuming none of those things happen, let's say the government petition for rehearing is denied, let's say the case is dismissed for whatever reason, then the administration have to decide whether there are options to pursue. it seems to me there are both legal constraints and strategic constraint. the big legal constraint is a nationwide injunction. doesn't apply? is their way of distinction the particular program? may be the best legal strategies for the government to pursue would be first of all to use the formal notice and comment
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rulemaking procedure, which the judge thought for not using in the case of daca. i believe it's not legally required whether i'm right or wrong there our judges who think that it might be wise to use it just in case. second one of the objections was a rather program lease in its implementation as being left discretionary than purport to be. so maybe a future program would give greater prominence of discretion, maybe instead of sing a special criteria, five years right here before, maybe would say you are the factors that the agency will take into account any time anybody individually request deferred action. how long have you in your? how old were you when you came? are you elderly now? you have a disability? do you have family ties in the u.s.? it's possible they could bring in even the parents of daca recipients who op up to now that
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been covered by any of these programs. >> i will let you to take a rest and move to the politics. this was you folks fought very hard for this and you have a big success in daca agendas is also expected to be a great success. it didn't happen. so tell us first what has been the reaction of the community's decision, and what is your plan to deal with the outcome of this litigation for the rest of this administration? >> thanks for putting this together and for having us here. you know, it was heartbreaking. i have it on parents who are eligible for the program and united we dream most members of family members who were eligible for the program. so having family members, my mom, my dad included, feeling let down by the court decision was a difficult moral moment,
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and for the spirit of our communities. one, because the news that once again the their lies and their experiences and their folded to deportation is not important, being played by the politics, even though the community understands that the supreme court is involved now for them come and for people like my parents it's all about politics and not feeling like their lives really matter in the context of the political debate on immigration. i think unfortunately the nondecision from the court had that sort of reaffirmation of that feeling. and at the same time i will say what you saw immediately particularly and committees that a lot more organized is the desire to say we need something. if the court is going to say no to us, if congress is going to say no to us, we need to figure
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something out and we want something. immediately community members werwere coming out to the press conferences or community gatherings, even direct actions across the country saying if we don't have protection from deportation, deportations need to stop the our families need to continue to be together and we need immigration reform. that's what you're. when we hear the term immigration reform, for different people it means different things. but basically once been really clear from our community is that there's urgency about the situation changing. you have people like my own parents who have been here for over 16 years undocumented. they have gone through the cycle of president fox at the time ambushed or needing right before 9/11 happen. they were talking about an immigration reform deal and it was help, and we know what happened.
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then there was the 2007 debate about immigration reform and how that failed. and that community failed again. then you have 2010. then you have 2013 begin. i feel like there is both emergency but also skepticism about even the promises that candidates like hillary clinton have made about immigration reform. organizations like united we dream feel greatly encouraged to hear that issue is to become president she will prioritize immigration reform, but there is a lot of skepticism to overcome insecurity. will she really deliver? we experienced something similar under an obama administration of commitment about immigration reform, the issue ended up not being a priority. we did not see a bill after the house and republicans saw a process in 2013. we have seen almost 3 million deportations. in the midst of all of that, daca has been a glimmer of hope but i think what we are up
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against right now is urgency and really desperation from the community to see something. whether that's administratively or legislative in 2017, i think for the community it's about solutions that is going to change their lives. it's about people like my parents feeling like after 16 years of working here undocumented and raising a family that can finally live without fear. that is the urgency that our communities have. so for us a mandate from the community at our membership is really clear. our organizing and advocacy needs to focusing on figure out how administratively or legislatively we are going to get a win for our community. so even though there's encouragement about the conversations around immigration reform from one candidate and they both have the factor of trump and how that has had a huge impact on the committee, and the risk of you pointed out in this conversation that if
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trump was to become president we will even lose the protection that we have about 800,000 young people that have daca took so it's a very commits a moment where the community feels and knows there's a lot at stake. but therefore i think the community is feeling that we cannot believe all the words we're hearing from other preparers and organizers to push for actions, and in particular if trump was to become president i think it is expected for her to be a real leader and to deliver beyond the words and the commitment that she's made. it also to be different than what we've seen in the obama administration from day one, particularly when it is come to the deportations and the violations that we constantly see from i.c.e. and portable to agents in our communities. because with the recent administration and increase on race, i feel like really the fear in our community is increase. there is an expectation for what
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a potential clinton administration would be like, and our community expects that to be different from day one. >> so what would secretary clinton have to do to get a more galvanized latino vote, as president obama got off the implementation of daca? >> we know that immigration for particularly to let you and the immigrant vote is the key issue. poll after poll we've seen that. in the last presidential cycle we saw how daca was really helpful for obama to get reelected and how that invigorated the latino vote to come out, to vote coming for the president to get reelection and get huge support from the latino and immigrant voter base. i believe in a similar way voters do not only want to hear words, there is huge encouragement from the commitment and the conversations we've heard from hillary
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clinton, but there is a question and skepticism about the action. so what can a potential clinton administration do to galvanize and mobilize the community and move the community beyond its skepticism? number one, she to be completely different than obama. there's a whole host of things that she could do in terms of using her administrative authority or administrative powers, for example, to close detention centers and family detention, review enforcement priorities, et cetera, which would send an immediate signal to our community that this administration is going to be different, that they're not going to be targeted by i.c.e. and border patrol agents as they have been under the obama administration, and that she's serious about the commitment of caring for our families and for immigrant communities. so i think that would be a very critical signal to send to the
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community from day one so that you could even have a galvanize community that is going to engage in immigration reform debate. because you don't want just a commitment of hillary clinton and the potential work with both republicans and democrats on this to be part of the political play. you need a community to be engaged and galvanize around this. for her to be able to win that and lead that strategy company to be an immediate signal on day one that she will be different to galvanize the committee. >> and to be completely nonpartisan if president trump is president in 2017, as is only indicated as you said, that he would rescind daca. what is your strategy going to be? >> well, as good strategist and committee organizers we are prepared for either once knew. united we dream has launched to critical things we work with many other partners actually the icq within the immigrant rights movement and immigrants rights
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advocacy committee. number one is about our communities to know how to protect themselves and the rights. so having deportation defense networks all across the country, we are testing a model like this in houston, texas, which hosts the united states that supports the most number of people in the country. and it is about having communities that are able to protect themselves from deportation. number two, we launched a hotline that is available to the communities so they can report deportations and i support a patrol activity that would allow us to keep accountability within the agency. so all of that is to say that if trump was to become president, we are really seeing, it would have been concerned and outraged about the out of control enforcement that we have seen in the last few years, it's going to be much more worse.
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he has committed to triple the capacity of i.c.e. agents and the agency over all. he is committed to build a wall. he has committed to deport massively our families. and so enabling the community to be protected will be key. but number two, we know there's also a very lively debate about sanctuary cities or communities across the country. and for us that's going to be a localized movement that needs to be led by our communities in every city and every state across the country so that even within our cities and communities and states we can protect our communities from an out of control and even more scary administration under tru trump. >> so, becky, no pressure. you are the leading immigration expert. so keeping the injunction in place, a lot of people could argue that republicans won that debate. they feel vindicated against
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overreach by the president. having gone there, do you think republicans now feel the pressure to do something on the issue, and what do you think that is likely to be in 2017? >> to be honest, the republican crowds that were celebrating the daca-dapa injunction are probably not the committees within the republican party better feeling any pressure to work on this issue. i think those are probably two separate groups of people. so to take a step back, when i was working for speaker boehner and executive actions came down, i'm sure you all follow this but this turned into, this frankly caused this issue suddenly pop up in congress again and became the issue du jour.
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we almost shut down homeland security offered on a funding bill. and resulted frankly in a resurgence of some really nasty immigration amendments, particularly appropriation vehicle that we've managed to tamp down and avoid for a little while. and to be clear, the executive overreach issue is not isolated to immigration. i think what our republican members would say is that this is just the latest in a string of administration overreach on a number of issues. you saw this in, anywhere from something small like the designation of the wilderness in new mexico light on the mexican border that have been opposed by congress for an extended period of time. you saw this with the waving of a number of mandates under obamacare. we saw this with some energy and climate change issues. a lot on energy issues.
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and so this had been a frustration of our members for a long time and, frankly, was probably what they would say the indigo at this administration to proceed the law as written by congress, with minimal issue cited for why our republican members did not feel like we could move forward with immigration reform as a whole when we broached the subject at our republican retreat in the beginning of 2014. the fact is that they cited all of these issues that are just listed previously, and that is to say we could have the most perfect immigration bill that would put all the resources in place, secure the border and legalize into a temporary worker program but as soon as the project gets its hand on they will ignore and do whatever they want to do anyway. if you look at, if we take a really frank look at what would've been in place if we've implemented an immigration law, let's say that we did do a
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two-year delay on legalization was a goodie measures were put in place, which is one of the things people were talking about doing. do you really think the administration would've continued deporting people that were otherwise going to be legalized in two years during that two-year window while we were supposedly putting our enforcement measures in place? of course not that it would a lot of course challenges. there's something to be said that makes these concerns legitimate. now, so i put that into one pocket and i think it's important to understand the context that this is not just about overreach on immigration, but this is but republicans of congress feeling like there was a pattern of abuse of power. and that we were sharing about this on a lot of issues prior to even executive action taking place, but then that would like obama on this issue. 's within the question is republicans feel the pressure to move on this issue. i think it depends on which republicans are talking to.
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republicans who are pro-reform, in my experience, are people who look at this issue in a very practical way, not frankly in an emotional way. it's an economic issue. our laws don't make sense as david was saying. how do we practically find our way out of this hole that we dug ourselves into? i think it's interesting to see how republicans, having conversation between republicans and democrats around reform. democrats can to talk more about the personal side, the personal story. republicans really to focus on more the practical. that's what you look at the numbers who are advocates on this issue. ryan case -- speaker ryan, a practical guy. he's a strong economist, and i think, and while he's also a devout catholic, and as will be
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recalled a compassionate conservative i think it seems to his own -- his main motivation, this comes from one of the practical movement. on the logistics side of this i think there's no question that this bill is going to go through the house of representatives first. the senate advocates, the senate folks who worked on this in the past made it very clear they're not going to get hung out to dry by the house of representatives again. having done this twice with them. so yeah, it's going to have to come through the house first. i think that privately is going to be a republican house. if you look at the election it's going to narrow but republicans are likely going to hold. so then you are looking at what speaker ryan is willing to do. i really do think it does come down to him, whether he wanted to or not. and i question is, and i'm sure going to get a hillary question
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in a minute, but i'll be honest. my concern on this is that if this is, if this is a first issue that president clinton moves to, if she becomes president, i worry and i'm concerned that she will feel the need to overreach to the left to appease some of the bernie voters. and that flight and it's unfortunately immigration would end up being a bit of a sacrificial lamb in that case. because there really is going to have to be in order to get to the house of representatives, will really have to be bipartisan and moderate in nature. and if it's an extreme reach to the left it's going to shut down our folks that are even willing to approach and talk on this issue. unfortunately, you know, i love casey and i must be to write a date with him in his position by do think it is going to fall to his seat in 2017. >> so this falls at his feet.
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what is the likelihood that he will come up with a proposal, which is going to have bipartisan support? >> if anybody can do it he can. but i think it's going to be a challenge. it's going to be a real challenge. i think that the speaker ryan is enjoying being speaker ryan more than speaker ryan five you would. -- thought he would. i think tha think the question t they want to be speaker ryan for two more terms or is this comment is the always in the next year to two years on a speakership? resolve this a little bit with speaker boehner, right? when they brought me out of work on this issue, everybody knew and was assuming speaker boehner was getting ready, with staring down his tenure and this is his effort, this is one of his legacy issues that he really wanted to get done. some things like an eric cantor
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law, loss, the pressure of the border from central america, trump railed at this effort for us but i think speaker ryan is sincere about wanting to do this. i also worry that as this election moves forward we potentially lose some of our moderate. that the conference becomes more polarized, so the question is what does that vote count look like? currently the republicans can get anything off the house floor if they don't lose more than 28 of their fellow republicans. i think that fraction will be significantly smaller. and like i said it will be more of a concentration. we are not losing a lot of freedom caucus folks in this election. we have lost one but we will probably not lose a lot more. >> you can watch the rest of this on our website c-span.org. u.s.a. is about to gavel in continued work on a water projects bill, funding for flood control and hurricane damage in
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state and local loans to flint, michigan, and other cities with access lead levels in the water. votes at 2:45 p.m. advance of the bill. also government funding beyond september 32 to come up during the week. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. creator of life, you are from everlasting to everlasting.
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we lift our voices in thanksgiving for you satisfy humanity's spiritual hunger. today we remember your words that we do not live by bread alone but by your words that nourish and sustain us. feed our lawmakers with heaven's bread. may their labors produce a harvest of faith, hope and love. lord, give them the grace to cherish and cultivate the virtues and values tested and confirmed in the crucible of life's daily struggle.
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nourished by you, may the earthly labors of our senators fulfill a heavenly purpose. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the presiding officer: the democrat leader. mr. reid: mr. president, by now, most americans are well acquainted with donald trump, but especially donald trump's head-scratching slowing an, make america great again. he has his little hat he wears when he doesn't want his hair to be messed up. that slogan offers a peek inside the minds of donald trump and his republican followers here in congress. these republicans want to believe that our country isn't great. they want to believe this nation 's founding. they don't want to listen to the facts. they just want to follow trump. earlier this year, speaker ryan echoed donald trump when he said in criticizeing president obama, here's the quote -- "we think the policies aren't working. we have flat wages."
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close quote. why do republicans spend so much time rooting against economic growth and ensure americans' access to health care? why do they root daily against health care? because they think anything so radically based with president obama is failing even with facts to the contrary. despite what donald trump and congressional republicans say, we know that america is great already, and because of democratic policies, we're improving it every day, in spite of the obstacles. filibuster, filibuster, filibuster, obstacle, obstacle, obstacle. let's just look at the facts. yesterday, the census bureau reported median household incomes grew by 5.2% la
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for the first time since 1999, we're moving in the right direction on income, health care coverage and poverty indicators. household incomes are rising and the poverty rate is falling. that's good.
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isn't america great? we finally gaining the ground we lost in the great recession, which at the end of the bush administration started really a couple of years after he became president. in 2015, the official poverty rate dropped more than a full percentage point. that means two million americans were lifted out of poverty. we will average weekly earnings have risen at the fastest pace in 15 years. isn't america great? yes, it is. these incredible statistics show how much progress we've made, in spite of the obstacles, the filibusters, and it shows how much americans would have to lose from a trump presidency that works solely for the rich and completely ignores the middle class because donald trump daily is rooting for failure as are his republican adherents. yesterday's census data also
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contradicts republicans' false narrative on affordable care, on obamacare. because of obamacare, more americans have health insurance than ever before in the history of this country. according to the census bureau, the uninsured rate has plummeted in virtually every state. california saw the biggest drop, a decline of 8.6% of those uninsured. nevada was second with 8.4% percentage point drop. really, isn't obamacare great? if other republican governors would follow the lead of the republican governor of nevada, they would have the same statistics. thanks to the affordable care act, the republican leader's home state of kentucky had the third largest reduction in the number of uninsured people, a decrease of 8.3 percentage points. isn't obamacare great? the republican leader loves to come to the floor and bash obamacare. he was here yesterday doing just
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that. i was curious how the senior senator from kentucky picks and chooses what he says about obamacare. he refuses to acknowledge the newly insured kentuckians have access to health care because of this law. kentucky has 4.4 million people. 500,000 of the republican leader's constituents have health insurance because of obamacare. that's more than 11% of his state's population. obamacare is great. the affordable care act is helping the people of kentucky and the people of america regardless of what republicans say here on the senate floor, and they are rooting for failure. to no one's surprise, this new census data also shows that the states that refuse to expand medicaid are the ones falling behind in health coverage. there are 19 republican governors doing just that. states have expanded medicaid, have insurance premium rates at 7% lower than states that
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rejected medicaid expansion. the states that did not expend medicaid, states with republican governors and republican legislatures have an uninsured rate nearly twice as high as states that used obamacare to expand coverage. this is no coincidence. we know these policies work but republicans simply refuse to listen. this is the attitude which led to trump. the republican leader insisted that no matter what president obama suggested, it wouldn't work, and we have got the filibusters to show that. we know the truth. thanks to the policies of president obama and democrats, we have emerged from that terrible recession. we're seeing record wage growth. we're making a great nation even greater. we don't hear about the successes as much as we should. unfortunately, the president is oftentimes more interested in something more scandalous. but as all this census data shows, we have moved our country forward and we did it despite lots and lots of republican
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opposition. it's a shame that republicans didn't help. they were too interested in opposing president obama in everything. if they had helped a little, america would even be greater. but we have still a lot to do. we need to do more for the middle class, more to give americans a livable wage, more to ease the burden of student loan debt. we need to work together to improve upon the many successes of the affordable care act. if we had a token of effort from republicans, we could have made health care a lot -- even better and stronger. we must address the issue of gun violence and take steps to take guns out of the hands of terrorists and criminals. and we must do something about campaign finance reform. we must protect america from those who would turn america into a russian oligarchy. i hope my republican colleagues will take this opportunity to stop being the party of trump. the party of trump whose pal is putin and he's even gone so far
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obviously to suggest that maybe we should be an oligarchy also. so i hope my republican colleagues will take this opportunity to stop being the party of trump, stop being the party of no and work with us to build on the progress we've already made. mr. president, i would of course ask the leader time be reserved and ask the chair to announce what we're going to do the rest of the day. or perhaps i should just suggest the absence of a quorum, which i will do until the republican leader gets here. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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