tv Sen. Jeff Merkley America Is Better Than This CSPAN September 21, 2019 11:00am-12:02pm EDT
on the dark web. but i doubt that that's very prevalent. >> okay. all right. thank you. >> i appreciate the question. [cheers and applause] >> thank you all for having me tonight. [cheers and applause] >> and now on c-span2's book tv, for television for serious readers. >> tonight we are extremely excited to be welcoming u.s. senator jeff murphy. [cheers and applause] >> yes. >> senator murphy has been the junior senator from oregon since 2009 and prior to that he was a
5-term member of the oregon house of representatives serving the oregon 47th district. prior to running for office jeff ran several nonprofits in portland including the portland habitat for humanity but running for office is not the only running that senator americaly does as he is a two-time iron man refer that's amazing, yes.
>> candid voice of concerned american who believes the country stands for something bigger. tonight senator murphy and has worked since 1987 served previously as news director and program director and also serving as the host of the record and the award-winning news program the conversation. please join me in welcoming both of them here, senator and jeff reynolds. [applause] >> there's been so much going on on the border just in the last few days that i was trying to catch up on the news i realized it might be useful to begin with what's been happening lately and update us on just what's been going on in the last week or so
on the immigration issue. >> well, thank you, everybody for coming tonight to talk about this because we are in a very, very disturbing phase here in the united states of america and to answer your question about this week, i almost have to go back 14 months if you don't mind, and that is when i first went down to the border because i read jeff session's speech called zero tolerance and tough on crime, not surprising to hear by republicans and i read the details and said this cannot be, tear children away from their parents that would never happen in the united states of america. never happen. some of my team said, one way to find out, go to the border, that's right, i did.
that's when i became the first member of congress to see children who had just been removed from their parents being put into cages in aware house and then an hour later up the road, that was stunning enough, went up the road because advocates had said that hundreds of boys who had been separated were being warehoused in a wal-mart, i went to find out about it, and they decided they didn't want me to see what was going on and they instead called the police and the video went viral and suddenly all of america who was hearing about cages and secret warehousing of migrant children. >> how many of you seen the video? quite few of you. >> well, so that moment sent me on a journey, i just felt we have to speak up fiercely of when we see something going horribly wrong and there's a lot
going horribly wrong, but it was just a few weeks later that trump held a press conference and he said, i've heard from melania, i've heard it from ivanka, my goodness, i wouldn't want to hurt children, i am going to put end of child separation, that press conference was a complete lie because he was not ending child separation, the court had just ended it, what he had on the table in front of him was executive order that had in it 3 strategies for imprisonment of children and when i say this is the background of what's happening, the strategies were first go to court and ask them to reverse the flores settlement agreement and that agreement -- >> could you explain that? >> you have to treat people humanly, nutrition, place to sleep, hygiene and you can't
lock them up in a prison for more than 3 days or 20 days if there's a huge influx, humane treatment of children, that's what flores was. they went to the court and the court threw that out, that wasn't going to happen. second strategy was legislation which i became deeply involved in blockading the legislation to allow the imprisonment of children and the third strategy was to do a regulation to replace flores and that's the regulation that has just been introduced and the administration is saying we are doing what flores says, flores goes away once there's a regulation to implement it, the thing, however, though is their regulation doesn't implement it. the trump regulation destroys flores. it says they'll be no state licensing which is what flores calls for, no state inspection which is what flores calls for, no outside groups coming to inspect which is what flores gives power to both lawyers and doctors to come in and inspect, and by the way, that requirement
that children not be locked up in prison for 3 days, that's completely destroyed by this regulation which allows indefinite imprisonment of children. i don't know of any country in the world that if you're a refugee we will imprison you for perhaps years, months and years until adjudication is completing. >> they will deny flu shots to children in detention. >> yes, wow, you think about this administration saying we don't want state licensing and state inspection because trust us, but this is the president who said i'm going to block the children from playing soccer because we can't afford to monitor them on a soccer field, walk them up without exercise. this is the presidential team, 3 refugee children have died as a
result of flu, there may have been other complicating factors, we will not provide flu shots at processing centers, customs and border protection processing centers because we just don't do that was the explanation, this is the administration which appealed a district court decision to a circuit court because they didn't like the fact that they were required to provide bedding and to toot pase and soap. >> there's also talk of perhaps long-term camps on the border. >> yeah, so the president's
premise, following john kelly, head of homeland security, a month later they launched operation in san diego sector, child separation down essentially secretly. from starting the administration to now, if we inflict trauma we will discourage immigration and justify the immorality, the, what i find utterly evil and dark and not acceptable under any ethical code, religious tradition, moral framework and deter immigration qe hurt kids because it will deter immigration, this is wrong, it's like we -- it's like lady liberty's torch has been snuck
out. we have to relight it and restore the united states of america. [applause] >> you worked with jeff sessions as senator, you worked with him on successful legislation and you went and talked to him as attorney general about this policy and what kind of reaction did you get? >> i thought i could have a personal connection or conversation because i knew him and had worked with him and i had seen how this was unfolding on the border and jeff sessions hadn't really seen it himself. the american people will not stand for it. it was a fairly lengthy conversation but all i got the talking point, the talking point was this, it is our job to deter immigration because we don't like it and furthermore if we
deter it then we will be helping children. jeff, how are you helping children, if they don't take a difficult journey they don't face the difficulties of a journey and therefore we've helped the children, so hurting children became helping children in this kind of twisted world. >> zero tolerance policy has been going on for a child, any evidence of achieving goal? >> that's a great point, no is the answer. the -- the premise that people who are on the verge of being killed or tortured or the middle civil war or famine, that they are not going to migrate because of some distant policy on a future border, it just doesn't work like that, let me give you an example, there was a woman in
56-year-old child that i met, a woman was gabriela and her daughter andrea and so two weeks after my first trip to the border, i took a congressional delegation back and we went to the bridge near mcallen, called reynosa-hidalgo bridge and on the bridge two weeks earlier 50 people camped out in the heat and some of them 7 to 10 days because they've been allowed the cross the center of the bridge but not through the doors to have u.s. facility, so they were stranded, so i wanted to see that and i wanted my colleagues to see it, however, we were told, there's nothing on the bridge, there's nothing to see, we will go out anyway, what did we see in the bridge, at the center line of the bridge 3 members of the customs and border protection blockading anyone from crossing that line who had -- didn't have a passport or visa, anyone who was a refugee, they were being
shoved back into méxico and so we came off -- by the way, this is utter principle of convention and federal law f someone presents themselves on the border asking for refuge, then it is our responsibility to provide safe harbor, we weren't providing safe harbor, we were shoving people back, so we came off the bridge and i asked why are you doing this, this is not what our responsibility under our federal law or international law, they said, oh, we are just overwhelmed. well, the conference rooms were empty room, back at the ursula border protection station the rooms were much, far fewer people than i had seen 2 weeks earlier, up the pipeline there's a problem and are not let anybody cross.
i said border guards, cbp at the ports of entry and border patrol outside the ports of industry, but the cbp guard let you across because you had baby andrea, oh, no, i was sent back into méxico 3 times and i was absolutely despair because you have no resources, no friends, no family, you're at the mercy of gangs and i didn't know what to do, i said, how did you get here, how did you get to the american side? and her face lit up for a moment because she had -- i saw there
were two bridges, pedestrian bridge and car bridge, there were folks watching windows for tips and someone had extra and i washed cars windows in the united states of america and maybe we need people with that innovative problem-solving in the united states. >> you know what happened to her and her baby, did you follow her story? >> so i don't -- i don't know where she is or what she's doing, she was treated as if she had crossed between ports of entry because she bypassed the pedestrian bridge. >> where's the opposition to this at the moment? the courts, are colleagues in the senate particularly on the republican side who are as concerned as you are? >> so the courts have been the effective mechanism to stop the administration from -- from doing things time and time again, for example, the
administration said we are not going to give an opportunity for an asylum process for anyone who crosses between ports of entry, this is wrong on two premises, the first is a lot of the people crossing between ports of entry are crossing between them because they were rejected at the port of entry and they're desperate because they'd rather surrender to a border patrol officer than be vulnerable to the gangs in the border cities in méxico. the second reason is u.s. laws says you cross between ports of entry, you can apply for refugee status and this was a very deliberate part of a law enacted years ago when, i think, it was under the bush administration they were seeking to if they caught people sneaking into the u.s. they we wanted to return them rapidly to méxico but refugee law you couldn't do that if they were refugee, you could ask for refugee status for ports of bring, it's written into the law, the administration simply adopts a regulation that's in
clear violation of the law and the court has to enjoin it. >> you know, clearly the president thinks this is a winning policy for him politically, you're in a state that has many different people who maybe have many different views of migration and you have encountered them since you've been front and center on this and they might tell you they support the idea of keeping out immigration, what do you say to them? >> i find that very few people support people of deliberately harming children, very, very few and you ask me about where republican and democrats stand in the senate, we are deeply divided and it is as a result of the pressure of the presidency and let me give you an example, second strategy was legislation and he said at press conference, that's what's going to happen, they'll be legislation, in the senate there was a senator, two senators who had a bill to allow
the unending incarceration of migrant children. tillis and cruz, i believe the tillis had 40 republican sponsors, reestablishing a vast system of internment camps in the united states of america, i could not believe that so many would sign onto that vision, there was not a democrat on it, on my bill, on stop cruel treatment of migrant children there are 40 democratic senators and i can't get a single republican senator, that's the vast division, the president six months out to zero tolerance policy announced by jeff sessions 6 months from the last election in '18 made immigration like the defining issue for the campaign and if you think about it, i can characterize it this way, in general, republicans are trusted more on national security issues than democrats,
they voted for more defense spending and therefore they feel if they have a fear factor it will help them in the elections. democrats have in general been in the fight more for healthcare housing, education, living wage jobs and feel like they're more dependent on a hope factor to do well in the elections. so how do you get a fear factor, the administration looked at the issues from two years earlier, ebola was no longer feasible, disappeared and barely reemerged in democratic republic of the congo, isis has scared people but that no longer was a factor because they were mostly out of the territory and the idea of crime in our cities didn't really scare people because crime rates have come way down, government take get away your guns didn't scare people because republicans are in charge of all branches government and so what
was left, immigration became the fear factor, this was the conscious strategy of the administration was to drive that and therefore it has really disrupted collaboration to find solutions, we had democrats and republicans in the senate in 2013 that did comprehensive immigration bill, we had a dreamers bill that was bipartisan in the senate, the first bill we passed in the senate, the comprehensive immigration, it went to the house and republicans in the house killed it. this was in 2013, the dreamer bill, the president, president trump pulled democrats and republicans and had press on a tuesday for cameras rolling for over an hour and it was a bipartisan, and the president said i will take the heat, we will saw the dreamers problem, by me bipartisan bill, 3 days later conservative senators,
moderate senators, liberal senators went together and said here is our bipartisan bill and the president threw tantrum because he had taken heat from breitbart and the conservative styed, steve miller within his office and folded. we are deeply divide forked. >> we've got a president and a democratic senate that is holding firm on this, what is to be done? >> you say president and republican -- >> democrat -- >> it is republican. >> can we change that, please? [cheers and applause] >> i say that because we have to publicize this, we have to have people know about it, understand it, not just one little piece of information here and here, it's a comprehensive whole, that's the major reason i wrote the book, is to take all the visits that i've done to different facilities, all the conversations and try to lay out
a coherent understandable fashion along with stories of the migrants who are fleeing persecution and so that's what we can do now, and that means book groups, conversations, people talking to their neighborses and in the near future, we are almost there, means campaigns, it's through campaigns that we can change the incumbent out of the oval office and change mitch mcconnell. [applause] >> i'm sure that when you speak to constituents they don't agree with punishing children, but might share we share concerns about migrants coming into the country, what do you say to them? >> i say, one, we should work with the countries of central america, what happened in the
last couple of decades, drug cartels have moved in, drug cartel has money and guns, they can bribe their way in one strategy and threaten their life in another strategy and those are very powerful instruments an overwhelm traditional institutions of government and justice, if we want things to change for people fleeing death threats, then we are going to have to help the traditional institutions reestablish control. that's going to have to be an investment, when the president says i will cut off their money if they don't fix it, well, one we don't send very much money and second of all that won't fix, we will have to help institutions be a lot stronger and second of all, virtually everyone agree that is we should
have an improved asylum process where there's timely adjudication in the range of 4 to 6 months so people have enough time with assistance to get their information from their home countries so they can present their case to asylum judge but doesn't go on forever, democrats and republicans work together on -- on making that happen. and when you say what i am arguing for is simply when a person goes to that process we treat them with respect and decency the way we would want our family to be treated if they were to arrive on the border as refugees, people kind of get it. something we can identify with. >> what democratic presidential candidate has the best ideas on this issue? >> yeah, well, there's -- [laughter]
>> there's really bad ideas, way over here, i guess on the audience right, and there's a whole cluster of individual who is have similar ideas, essentially every senator who is running for office is a member of -- cosponsor of my bill and has same basic understanding, decent treatment of people as they go through asylum process, recognize this, when you go through a sigh -- asylum process, that's not a free ticket, you have the burden of proof, most people do not succeed in asylum process, 15 to 30% depending on the sector you're in which means a lot of people are sent home who go through the process, they aren't able to document before judge because it can't just be i want a better life that doesn't give you asylum status, you have to prove a credible fear that you'll be or the houred or high-level of likelihood you'll be injured or killed upon return, that's what you have to demonstrate, that's a pretty high test to get a refugee status. >> among those senators that
support your bill, which one of them you think has the best thought out -- [laughter] >> stand on immigration issue? >> you know, there's not much distinguishing factors right now, you saw -- you may have seen in a debate real effort to create argument over one piece which was in the law it current i will say that is crossing between ports of entry, there's two options for penalty, one is a criminal penalty and the other one is civil penalty. in general, former presidents have used the civil penalty, you get caught, you get a civil penalty, you get returned. so you saw in the debate, i think it was -- oh, julio. >> castro. >> castro who proceeded to say it should be -- no criminal penalty, it should be civilian penalty and he put beto o'rourke kind of on the defensive on
that, well, listen, my opinion on this is that there are cases criminal penalty is appropriate, you are smuggling women across the border to be used for prostitution, trafficking people, you're moving drugs across the border, but in most cases the civilian penalty is the right way to go, you catch someone, the main penalty is you're returning them across the border but it wasn't a nuance conversation, let me put it that way, i don't think a lot of light was shed on the topic. >> sounds like there's an impasse in the senate and white house on making any changes, is there anything moving in the courts that could put a stop to some of the things that you've been talking about? >> just as of last night, 19 states have challenged the new regulation to destroy flores. so they filed to defend and the attorney general of washington state, so thank you very much,
washington. [cheers and applause] >> washington, oregon, california and 16 more and made a couple more added today, so that's the big one right now. there's another one and that is does flores apply to the influx facilities like homestead, so the concept of the administration is we create these centers when a lot of people coming at once but we will put a ton of children. in december of last year, 2800 children in the newly created facility in texas called tornillo, you may have seen pictures of the desert and refugee huts and children are being marched as single file, overhead pictures, staff in front and staff behind, when i went there it was spooky because it was military-style, children not allowed to touch each other, no comfort going on, they have no idea when if ever they'll see their parents again or get out of the facility and i -- when i
was there i was -- i thought, at tornillo it was run in what i say efficient fashion, yes, there was food and clean sheets, yes, there was exercise but there was also an enormous anxiety for children who had no idea what was to become of them. the head of that nonprofit bcfs, kevin, agree today set up camp so kids would not be in the cbp holding pens, those ice-cold holding pens where people are just all crammed together, but he was not liking what he was seeing and so he started to tell the administration from the inside he was not going to sign up for another contract after january. we held a protest, i got a bunch of members of congress who went down there and held a protest, beto o'rourke was there. we called for the children who had sponsors and we were told
been applied to a, quote, influx facility, meaning it's been exempt from the three-day standard, under normal to get in a state licensed facility or get to a state licensed facility in 20 days and has not happened but a the lease advocate who established the floor less has got ban to the court anded it to be applied. they're in court now to make that happen. homested is in a hurricane path, category 2 would put a six-foot wave right through it. i called up the head and said i heard from advocates you have no plans for this, the head of it said, no, no, no of course we have plans. well, everyone else said that was not true, and they have moved all the children out right now so the point offed a vocalsy --ed a vocals si now ties punch on every lever, ann member of congress, every
senator, to say make this a -- put a spotlight on this and absolutely insist the contract that expires in november for this for profit, that runs homestead, called caliburn, that contract not be renewed. and i'll tell you the for-profit is a complete corrupting force because they are paid 750 or more a day per child, have a huge incentive to keep children locked up, no incentive to get enough caseworkers and field specialists to move children into homes and we not can have a for-profit child prison system like we have now. >> you're in -- [applause] -- you're in scorn offense taking place far away from your home state. what animates you? why is this issue concerning to you. >> this is an issue that eat at the soul of every american. doesn't matter where you live. if you care but the decent
treatment of people, deposit treatment of children, you -- you're called to be involved. all over the country i've had people walk up to me and say, please stay in this battle because theirs nothing that has upset me as much as this. the treatment of those kids. [applause] and part of my background, when i was in high school as an exchange student in ghana, in west africa, i was a blue collar kid from a small timber town and we moved with the timber economy, and sixth grade, exchange student who had gone to japan talked to my class and i went home and said that is the coolest thing in the world. somebody from our community got to travel halfway around the world and spend a summer in japan. i wanted to sign up for that. and our high school would send one person a year and i was select stowed be that person. spent a summer in a very poor family in ghana whose many asset was they owned a bicycle.
very different world. i worked two summers in mexico. went through central mare in 1980 because i was studying foreign relations and that at that time the issue's front stage in foreign awares. spent a sure in india, planning to spend my life doing the type of work that mercy corp does, i was saving money to good overseas, at the world bank out of graduate school, and i was offered the chance to be a presidential fellow and work on strategic nuclear policy, which is very, very different, from third world poverty but the biggest threat to the planet at the time was nuclear war. and so i felt morally compelled to do 180-degree pivot but i never forgot about the fact that people in many parts of the world are struggling under circumstances we can only begin to imagine. >> one thing that surprise met about your book is when you went to the border they turned you away, wouldn't let you into the
camps they set up. are you going to go back to the border again and do they still keep you out from going and seeing what is actually happening. >> on the u.s. side, when i was turned away by the southwest keys which operated casa padre, after that members of congress were admitted because of the huge public outcry but they still made it difficult, and then i really pushed for a 24-hour opportunity for members of congress to see what is going on in facilities and we got a 48-hour provision for health and human services, the office of refugee relocation so it would affect casa padre, 48-hour provision into the last budget bill, but it still doesn't affect the facilities run by then department of homeland security so there is more opportunity for oversight now by members of congress. then other facilities on the
border i went to the mexican side, and i went to the shelters in tee anna, seven of the shelters. their metering was in full force. you had a waiting list that was 3,000 names at the time. there's a whole ceremony that happens arch morning with the keepers of the book who come out to to a table and a square on the border and everybody whose name is called is like, i get to have a credible fear interview, and they're bussed off to a credible fear interview on the american side and then other people want to get their name in the book. can you imagine your sign your name in the book and you good, i'm fleeing persecution hayes, no money and now the waiting list is six weeks long. now in some places the waiting list is many months. and so you basically have to survive on the streets until your name is called. extraordinarily difficult, but those tijuana side or the shelters there, they want you to come some see what is going on, and so those -- you can get into
this readily. >> we have microphone and i'll go to your questions but going pivot everybody from this topic to another topic for my final question. you have called for the house to begin impeachment proceedings against the president. [applause] >> what do you think he chances are if those proceedings go to the senate, which are in for a final disposition but that it would actually impeach the president, kick the president out. >> when i was junior in high school, i read the evening newspaper, back when cities still had a morning newspaper and evening newspaper and then blue collar communities you read the evening newspaper, and i read that vice president spiro agnew had been convicted of bribery, take $100,000 in bribes and his penalty waltz $10,000. and i was just enfewerrated because i'd been raided this idea of equal justice, and i'm like, this is equal justice?
if you're an ordinary person who steals a loaf of bread you've may be in prison for five years but if you take $100,000 and you're rich and powerful you get a to keep 90% of the proceeds. what kind of equal justice is that? and they published my letter. and so i guess you could say my first political act. our institutions are in big, big trouble. the senate is in huge trouble with the routine use of a super majority. the super majority can he steroid the continental congress and is destroying the u.s. senate. the packing of the courts is is dehsieh destroying the integrity of the court. a stolen seat on at the supreme court. oval office is -- incumbent destroying the reputation of the united states around the world. it's not just institutions it is principles at risk and that principle, ecall justice under law, those words are carved into
facade of the supreme court. and that's a powerful idea, and if you asked me months ago i would have said my opinion will wait no for me mule are report. well when the muller report came out didn't come coupleth out, stain attorney general barr liked to american people. he said there's nothing it in. well, what was in it -- and went to floor and laid out all of this -- there's four cases of obstruction of justice, which he lays out there are three things you have to have to have a felony obstruction of justice. you have to have an obstructive act, a connection to a justice proceeding, and you have to have intent to obstruct. and he lays out all three of those points and he explores them on about 12 different areas, and in four of them. it's substantial evidence, substantial evidence, substantial evidence, on all three of those point us. in other words, it is textbook
evidence for obstruction of justice. there is no way that the department of justice is going act, so the only institution that can stand up for the principle of equal justice under law is the house of representatives and they have an obligation to do so. >> there are those who say that it will never -- never get the republican run senate to agree to this, and consequently a failed impeachment attempt will guarantee four more years of president trump. what do you say to them. >> it's not failed impeachment unless the house doesn't vote in a majority to impeach. on takes a majority is so it's still impeachment and the house responsibility shouldn't be based on the politicked of what the senate does and shouldn't be bailed on the politics of the next election and frank live i don't think it should be extended. there are so many things this president has done that might be considered high crimes and misdemeanors. but there are a few where
there's a lot of evidence that the house could put that evidence up, have every member become fully familiar within a month, vote and be done, then it's incumbent upon the american people to speak to their senators and say the house has done it constitutional responsibility. you, my senator, you took an oath to the constitution. are you going to have the trial as envisioned in the constitution? and perhaps the -- maybe the senate will rise to the challenge but won't rise to the challenge if the house doesn't act. >> we have a microphone over here. kuow is recording this for speakers forum and we have c-span recording this. and i say question as in short, concise question. >> i grew up in eugene, oregon, and work on the last several campaigns of senator wayne morris. a tiger of the senate and the first person to oppose the war
in vietnam. and i am so glad you are echoing his hole existence. >> thank you. >> thank you for that. i helped to resettle refugees from vietnam when saigon fell in 1975, and those people were refugees because of a declared war. these people are refugees dish mean, i cannot get my mind around how we're -- a refugee is a refugee. how can we get this thing changed because it is so devastating? >> thank you. so american law doesn't require a refugee to be a victim of war. credible fear can come from many places, and in addition there are protected groups, and the
administrations have made different cases about which groups are protected. for example, there's particularly high level of infliction of harm on lgbtq community and they're considered a protected group. those who are victim of systemic domestic violence or gang violence where a government chooses not interfere and leaves the victims completely vulnerable have also been considered protected groups until jeff sessions said, no more. in many sections of central america there is really no government presence. the government is the gang or the cartel, and so this means that a huge number of people have a weaker case at the refugee courts as long as that interpretation from sessions stands. in fact, initially the numbers of folks who were approved to
be -- for asylum dropped in half as a result of that ruling. enough it's been adjudicated and i don't know where that will come out. >> what's your name and question >> i'm jude meyers, and first just want to say thank you for coming and speaker here. it's been a really interesting talk you have had. it's been interesting to listen to you. so thanks for that. my question, is clearly the system we have at the border isn't working or being efficient. so during the presidential debates we heard a lot of -- what are why solution would be to problem and like you said, there's some ones that were pretty good ideas and some that weren't so good, and my question is, what would -- if you were in charge and you had the power to change this, what would your ideal solution be to the crisis that's at the border right now. >> i invite everybody to read the last chapter of my book because i laid out at some
length, but one is action in central america. second is, no border blockade that leaves people stranded in mexico. third is quick facilitation of children into state licensed facility and then into homes, open up the sponsored pipeline because the administration shut it down in order to keep kids locked up. fourth, provide legal assistance and case management assistance from the day a child crosses the border. with families, provide a case manager. we know -- the administration has a variety of myths they lay out there and unof them they refer to as not escape but -- catch and release. ill replying people don't show up to hearings. case management programs, family case management program had would inspector general reports from at the trump administration, both of them found that 99% of families show up when they have a case
manager. well, it seems like that would be a program the administration would want to extend wherever. 99% of the people show up if if. if you have he phone numbers -- refugee family move a lot and don't have phones or run out of money to keep the phone or can keep it charged or they switch to a different relative's house. you have to have a case manager help them know when they have to show up or they have no idea because the notice never getses to them. and in fact the government may change the location and the time a number of times so they have to really y stay on top of it. so it would make sense if i could report to you tonight that the trump administration says, this solves the problem so we expanded this program. but instead i'm reporting to you tonight, because it solved the problem the trump administration shut it down, canceled the program. which shows you the fact that they're not really trying to address the issue. it's much more about politics.
and it's the politics of the lowest kind. we heard the president in his campaigning, try to divide americans, attacks on haitian americans and african-americans and latino americans and women americans and americans with disabilities and muslim americans, and immigrants. but the easiest group to target, immigrants and that's where we have seen the administration double down on politics of racism and hate and bigotry. martin luther king said, darkness cannot -- drive out darkness, only light can do that so let have a lot of light on this poll city and drive it out. >> what's your name and your question. >> i'm -- i would be very interested in volunteering my time and energy to help migrants. what organizations around here would be -- or anywhere would be that i could help with? >> thank you so much for that sentiment. a lot of families have come up
and said, can we sponsor someone? and the answer is, the administration will not let you sponsor because they're only letting family members sponsor which is leaving more kids stranded in the system of incarceration or detention facilities. what you can do is use your voice to highlight the issue, you can help direct resources to toward immigrant groups that work with immigration groups and i don't know the groups in seattle but a i'm sure a quick google search would find them. there are -- each border city there's a -- some nonprofit that has become a respite center, where refugees who are dumped on the street come, they help them get bus tickets, get health care, get phone calls to relatives, and they do beautiful work, and they need volunteers. if you have legal skills or medical skills, then that's
triple. it's luke they really need your help. that's a group which has folks on the bored, lawyers who are escorting children across so they don't get the border blockade. i'll tell you a story but that. got a call and there was a volunteer from the other side, and they were escorting three french speaking refugee children and they had been blockaded at the border just like i described earlier, not allowed to step across the line, and so they called me and i said, link me into their telephone and they did and i said, let me talk to the guards and i heard the guards saying we're not talking to any senator. we'll talk to the president of the united states. and i said put me on the speaker phone for the cellphone so they held up the speaker phone to the guards and i said, who i was, and i said i had met with their boss and their bosses had assured me their policy was to facilitate the passaging of children as if they were their
own children. that were their exact words to me and i'm sure their bosses would like them to implement that policy. and i heard a lot of grumbling from the guards and they disappeared for ten minutes and came back and let the kid across, but -- so that's the type of volunteering of escorting children across, another very valuable thing. so, helping with refugees here get settled and assisted, get the kids into school and all that, going down to the border is helpful, whether it's basic humanitarian work, legal work, and then donating to organizations, groups like refugees international, which advocates for policies in d.c. groups like international refugee assistance program, irad in new york city, organizing lawyers across the country to help find the parents when the parents were deported, and reconnect them with the children. so those are the types of things that are going on. >> thanks for you question. what's your name and your question. >> i'm kevin, thank you again for being here tonight.
one of the areas of the law i'm not too clear about is you have been mentioning cartel and gangs and war, july was the hottest in the nope record-keeping of the climate, a climate refugee. i know in honduras there's farmers that cannot grow food, not because of what you're mentioning, i'm sure those were part of it. but because of the actual soil is depleted. they don't have money to -- the amount of fertilizer and other things. if you can comment -- it seems like that needs to be knew possibility in the 21st 21st century. we talked about climate. thank you. >> so i do mention in the book that there's been really rough seasons the last three years, and the result is that a devastating impact on coffee and on villagers growing corn. malnutrition is rampant. i was shown a picture by usaid representative that said
children in guatemala who are nine years old are six inches shorter than got got money laan christian in the united states. that's a stunting occurring on massive scale. another way to volunteer is to go help groups in central america, working with school food programs or other -- library programs, teaching programs, in those areas. and groups like habitat for humanity, et cetera, that are working down there. so, you're absolutely right. i don't know that those the bad seasons can be definitively said climate chaos but it's a strong correlation all over the world, it's getting a lot hotter. we have human effects in washington state and oregon, i've been doing a little exercise in front of every group i'm in front of and haven't done it with you i'll explain it
afterward. bear with me. breathe in and hold your breath for three seconds. we al all exhale together. breathe in, exhale. that air is very different from the air when i was born. that air that was just good your lungs, 33% more carbon. that is a phenomenal change in human lifetime. devastating copens. awe the coast the kelp forests are disappearing because the warmer seawater facilitated a virus among the see star the sea stars have died. the blue sea urchin eat thursday kelp. the kim forests are an environment for hundreds of species. we have to artificially buffer the see sea barret for baby out citieses in washington state and oregon state because carbonic acid. the impact or forest fires.
snow pack the cascadeses melting earlier. it's bad for irgracious forks farmers and bad for the streams for our trout and our salmon. so, just to mention a few. yes, the facts on the ground in central america, it's getting hotter, and it is causing a lot of trouble, and in terms of the law, we do not actually really have a climate refugee law. it's credible fear if you returned violence to you, and the economic refugees or climate refugee does not fall into that class. maybe that's a conversation we should have as a country, maybe have category for helping some climate refugees from around the world but we also have to do everything we took transition off cash bop so we save our planet and get to renewable energy. playoffs applause. >> thank you for being here.
and my question is, how to counter this hateful narrative now, how to convince everyday citizens that already are -- have a very negative sentiment or -- just had shooting in el paso and they're young people, that just have been recallized in many ways radicalized in many way. we have an audience that is progressive but how to porch the ones who don't listen to facts. thank you. >> i very much believe -- thank you i very much believe leadership really matters, and the leadership we have right now is inculcating hate, hate speech, racism, and produces violent acts and that's extremely troubling. we need to change our leadership, that's part of it. but right now if you hear an
elected official or any community leader who is attacking any group in our community, be it muslims or african-americans or hispanics or refugees, consciously reach out to those people in your community, have them over, whether it's your rotary club or it's your house, and say, we stand with you. we believe in a country where the diversity that comes here is going to work together to build a more beautiful, more successful, more phenomenal nation for all. direct action to reach out and connect and counter the hate and racism with love and connectedness. >> thank you very much for that statement. i totally agree. my name is -- and i'm a german immigrant. i was 15 when we moved here to the states in 1969, shows you
how old i am. but my parents were refugees from east germany after the war and they hiked 500 miles across the country so anybody -- from south america to the american border for a better life has reasons to fear their home if they had a good home, where they were, they would not be fleeing that distance. not doing that for the fun of it. why are we as a country not finding out what we can do to help them in their home country and make the situation better for them there? why are we not investigating what is going on and what we can do to help? >> so, former vice president biden was tasked by president obama to develop a program for central america. it's called the u.s. strategy for central america and works in a program with those countries
alliance for prosperity and invests in programs in three basic sectors, the economy, the governmental justice system, and kind of the human rights sector, and i went down to those three countries to interview all kinds of people about those sets of programs, the u.s. strategy and the alliance for prosperity, and i found how little money we're actually investing, and i also found out the huge diversity of programs and i asked the question, have we evaluated to figure out which program now that we have been doing them several years are working the best, and and morales in
guatemala. and he is out now. he's leaving, and there's a bun of stuff he's done that is really not cool. but on this he actually answered the question. he said, the single most effective thing the united states could help with are school lunches. and i said, well, tell us more. and he said, big problem with stunting and malnutrition in our country, kids need a solid meal a day, and we need something that gets kids into school, staying in school, a school lunch does that, plus community leaders who provide and cook the meals, learn something about nutrition and that's helpful to the village as well. and i said to the team, our team down there, well, that's what the president said. what do you income and they basically said we're not sure. think we need to evaluate the programs. they've been there several years.
we need to have a bipartisan push to do a really significant investment, to help restore the institutions. going to be very hard. when i talked about the power the cartels and gangs have, money on the one hand and weapons and threat of death on the other, that's vary powerful. asked the countries is there any victim that managed to resist the gangs, and the answer was, in el salvador, one village, and i tell about it in my book. a case where a mayor said, i'm going to do something. he put on a bulletproof vest, got a machine gun, and he get a jeep, and he became essentially vigilante in his community, and he has never fired a gun but when he start going up and down the street people got in the jeep with him. they got in their own cars. and they created a network of communications so any gang member who came interest their village, they instantly knew about it, and they drove them
out. and that took an incredibly courageous man. i'm not sure it's a model that can be rip mix indicate but tell -- replicated that tell outside there's one example how a community resisted to the gangs and is there -- we should ask yourselves and our programs, there is a way we can help other villages drive the gang out and create a secure environment? >> we have run out of time for the public portion of the program, but senator merkley will be signing books over here. i give him a big hand. >> thank you all very much. [applause] >> the c-span cities tour is exploring exploring the american story as we take booktv and american history tv on the road. with support from our comcast we