tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 31, 2013 1:00am-6:01am EDT
>> it will affect the role of the oig. i'm not there yet. i do not know the resources look i would explore the various management challenges and how resources are allocated to them. at the end of the day, it is about higher taxation and strategic planning -- it is about prioritization and strategic landing. that is what i do. we have a rigorous, strategic running process. do our best to maximize the leverage of our resources without spending too much money. and you talk about who was involved in the planning process?
>> at oig, i would talk with all stakeholders. the state department itself and hopefully this committee would be willing to talk as well and provide perspective. stakeholdersr would consult with oig staff about this. at the oig, we have a working group that is comprised of various divisions representatives for audits and evaluations and other offices. we get together and take all of the information from various stakeholders. we inventory everything. we do it based on the risk for. -- must to-do's.
>> thank you. i hope you will continue to work with this committee and report to us so we will have some sense of what you are doing. >> i look forward to that. >> the special inspector general for afghan reconstruction reported that the state department has provided adequate oversight of $50 million rule of law training contract being implemented by an italian ngo. as one of the senators raced, i wonder it it would be an issue. more can you what do to ensure that contracts are prepared with respective oversight requirements and conditions to ensure they are more successful and more cost
effective? area that clearly an his been identified as a management challenge. money onpending contracting. this is an area for which i am familiar by having worked as the andctor of a task force contingency contracting is risky . oversight is an afterthought in my experience. everyone wants to get the money out the door. heard is that we have an old story unfortunately as far back as i can remember. i have heard similar stories with lack of oversight. if confirmed, i would bring my experience to bear and look very closely at the controls at the state department has oversee these contracts. >> thank you. one of the other issues that has
been in the news recently is a report that the bureau of international information program has spent about $630,000 on campaigns to raise the number of fans as on its facebook page. that ithave suggested is not a good use of funds. i understand that they have cinch -- since agreed with some of the recommendations, can you talk about on how the role if confirmed could be employed in to get intocies not this kind of situation where money is being spent on issues that are not necessarily the direct permission for those agencies and where they should be focusing on? >> that is a fundamental role
for the inspector general to protect taxpayers against fraud and waste and abuse. that is something that we do. we would employ costs savings and provide recommendations to the agency and suggested ways to minimize costs. i'm familiar with this particular incident. i understand public diplomacy is one of the management problems identified by the inspector general. it is something i would focus on if confirmed as well. i appreciate that. missionou look at the of an agency within the or doment and determine you see that as being part of your role as you look at how money is spent? >> i do.
the articulated standards or policies that exist with the missions and those policies are not being met, it was within the ig's mandate to review how the implementation of that mission and whether or not the end result complied with that. that would be part of the oig role. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator murphy. >> thank you free willingness to serve in in this position on coming before the committee. with the expected closure of the special inspector general for iraq reconstruction, you will obviously continue to do oversight on state operations and take over oversight for civilian assistance programs. the budget calls for dish on new positions to cover that responsibility. i think about five people.
speak about how you will split overseeingetween what is an enormous state department presents along with assistance program that was previously overseeing? >> that is something i would explore if i'm confirmed. i'm outside of their right now. resources are alligator would be the first priority. the issue of iraq and the coming in afghanistan are obviously going to put and omissions potability on the state department in iraq that has a civilians present. there is more spending on housing and medical and other things that would support the civilian presence.
and has been identified as a challenge. this is something i would take a close look at and work closely with the cigar and the figure as a both sunset. the cigar will sunset at some point in the future. i would work closely with both of them. >> i hope you'll come back to us and tell us whether five people is enough to cover it nor ms. new responsibilities. one other question. think about this or take a look at it. iraq, my one trip to overseeing some contract row grahams, even at the time, tens of thousands of american troops, we could not get anywhere. in and not allowed to go see 80% of the contracting program. they were not in areas that were safe for us to travel.
this will be a problem in iraq and also in afghanistan. so, to the extent that you have thought about this, what are the challenges that are presented to you in terms of mobility? you will see things in these countries and yet today in iraq and within a year or so in this could be problematic if there is improper security to allow you to go and do the job. >> this is based on my experience. i know this is a difficult issue for oversight. you cannot do site visits and you cannot get out you do not have protection. if you are an auditor, you cannot do your job. this is something i would have to look at here it not in the position to tell you right now
how to solve the problem, but unaware of the problem. it costs money to protect folks to go out and do oversight projects and so forth. >> you're asking for protection from the very group you are auditing. represents an obvious conflict. there have experience perhaps those inherent tensions in asking for major security resources from an organization that you might the indie and critiquing. i hope you will report -- might be critiquing. i hope you will report back to us. thank you. >> just a couple of items that you might have talked about. i want to delve into it a book -- into it a bit more. to what extent did that involve international or chairman issues? >> a significant -- procurement
issues? >> a significant amount. closely with international contract task force. it included this state department ig and the apartment defense and cigar. i was involved in usa eight as said as well. also the fraud section at that time. many of those cases were invited to folks in my section. -- were involved in my section. i'm very familiar with that. >> super. in late march, the state department's oig notified the
department it was start a special accountability review board process in order to determine the process. it also mentioned recommendations regarding aftermath of benghazi. i would love to hear you talk about how that work is progressing or if you are not there yet. in termsd be your hope of continuing that work and looking at that and how it can be made most helpful? >> i have no knowledge of that review. i have not been involved in it. i have not studied the underlying facts. i plan, if confirmed, taking a hard look at all pending matters . that is one of the pending matters. i have no judgments or conclusions yet. once i am able to review facts and documents, i will be in a better position to determine the next steps. >> i have no further questions.
>> thank you. if you do thats questions come i urge you to answer them expeditiously. you can have your name up for a business meeting vote on thursday it that will depend -- thursday. that will depend on making sure we have answers to any questions posed. with that, thank you to the committee. you are excused. >> thank you. >> i will introduce them in the interest of time. i'm pleased to welcome the nomination to be the next ambassador to the united kingdom and northern ireland. united kingdom is one of our closest allies. matthew barzun is no stranger to
diplomacy. representthat he will us well. welcome. welcome him to the committee. he is from the great state of new jersey. as we consider his nomination to be our next ambassador to the republic of lebanon. many have expense difficulties from the civil war. there are many refugees from syria in lebanon. he is no standard to lebanon. -- he is no stranger to lebanon. he has served there twice. we are confident he's up to the challenge. the nominee for
understand our other nominee is stuck in security. she will be here shortly. if you would sympathize your statement in about five minutes for each of you. your full statements will be included in the record. we will start with you. oh. i see have been liberated from security. ana me welcome ms. lili ayalde. she has been nominated to be the next ambassador of brazil. this is an important bilateral relationship. especially in the role that brazil plays in international untaxed. president -- context. president obama will host a visit this coming october she has a strong
experience in them -- this coming october. she is a strong experience. welcome. >> mr. chairman, distinguished members of this committee, it is an honor to appear before you today as the president's nominee to be the next united states ambassador to the united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland. presidentke to thank obama and secretary kerry for placing their confidence in me with his nomination. it.k you for considering if confirmed, i will work every day to nurture a special relationship. that haselationship been meaningful to me for as long as i can remember. it comes from a own family's connection to england. mike 10 times great-grandfather was john winthrop.
a founding governor of my home state, massachusetts. -- my 10 times great- grandfather was john winthrop. a founding governor of my home state, must use it. he built a new life. -- wednesday, massachusetts. edell a new life. in the middle of that journey, -- he built a new life. in the middle of that sermon, "we must consider that we shall hill theity upon a eyes of all people are upon us. those words are quoted by many others. it has become a part of american dna. it is fitting that the sermon was delivered between england and america because those words also described the hopes and
expectations shared by so many around the globe for the u.s.-uk relationship. as the president and prime minister cameron has said, the united states and the united kingdom count on each other. the world counts on our alliance. our is why we stand with ally to advance our common agenda. ensuring our security and delivering economic growth and safeguarding our shared values, that is the work our two governments are engaged in right levels.ll topics at all i know there are far too many to list now, but i would like to highlight three. -- our workld work together in afghanistan, after us, uk was the largest troop into beater. second, work on the trade and investment ownership that the uk
strongly support. onrd, our work together every security challenge of our securing lasting peace in the middle east or providing humanitarian refugeese to syrian are calling for iranian compliance with standards. it is possible if we continue our long history of cooperation. as the sun the boston marathon -- as we saw in the boston it is the nature of our friendship that we always keep moving forward together. chairman, four years ago, this committee gave me the opportunity and the honor of serving my country as u.s. ambassador to sweden.
my wife is my partner in diplomacy and in life and our three wonderful children are ready if i am confirmed to serve again. mr. chairman, members of this distinguished committee, if confirmed, i would serve with reference to this body and your colleagues in congress and to the administration that nominated me. will sever the most respect for the time-tested on shared by our great nation. i will serve with purpose -- i will serve with the most respect for the time-tested and shared by our great nations. i will serve with purpose. >> thank you. --mr. chairman and mentors
members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here today i'm honored to be there nominee for the u.s. ambassador to the republic of brazil. please allow me to express my deep gratitude to the president and the secretary of state for the trust and confidence in me as shown through this nomination . please allow me to express my sincere appreciation to the committee as it undertakes this important and constitutional role of advice and consent. with a chairman's permission, i wish to recognize my friends, family, colleagues who have supported me over the years. i would especially like technology my parents and my nieces and lovely daughters. -- i would like to acknowledge my parents and my nieces and lovely daughters.
today as are you career member of the u.s. service. i've served my country for her years in diplomacy and, mostly in the western hemisphere. experience to -- if confirmed, i would ensure the well-being and safety of our mission and the american citizens who live in travel in brazil. receivedlone, brazil nearly 600,000 tourists from the united states. as the host for the 2014 world cup and the 2016 summer olympics , and brazil will receive even more as visitors and attention
in the coming years. it provides opportunity to showcase to the world is dynamism and diversity. the relationship between the united states and brazil is a strong. we share important values come including a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and multilateral relations. august inde great expanding the relationship and not just on the political level, what also and the people to people exchanges aimed at learning opportunities and promoting innovation. if confirmed, i will work to consolidate and a lower relationship -- and allow our elation ship to grow. -- our relationship to grow. it is in our interest to work with her zeal to address common challenges, environmental -- work with brazil to address common challenges.
we welcome brazil's commitment to be a full partner in tackling a global agenda. second, partnering to be lice a .rade investment potential boosting and sustain economic growth is a key part. strengthening the middle class and expanding interest in a diversified trade investment are important priority. if confirmed, i would work to investmentsficial between our private sectors and steer innovation and support growth and create jobs in both our countries. tod, rebuilding our people people capacity. our diplomacy is of vital importance. if confirmed, i would focus on education, tourism, and english language training to increase the resilience exposure to the united states on understanding of the goals in the regions. initiative would
send brazilian students to study science to connect us with results next generation of .ntrepreneurial leaders shown thatstory has it has not -- it is not necessary to choose between democracy and economic development. a commitment to democratic institutions can allow a country to usefully transform itself into a middle-class society and a global leader. brazil has created the reimaginey for us to relationships and open the possibility for both countries to construct a new kind of strategic ownership. if confirmed, i look forward with the distinguished members of this committee to achieve the goals of u.s. policy and foster relationship with brazil that is
worth both are great nations. thank you for inviting me to testify today. i look forward to your questions. mr. chairman, members of the committee, and deeply humbled to appear before you today and the trust that president obama and secretary kerry have the stowed upon me. i look forward to working with the senate and how best to advance u.s. investment -- inerest in the united -- lebanon. lebanon and its people have been a part of my life for decades. later, i returned as a deputy chief of mission and a brighter time as the country rebuilt. i learned a lot from the people, especially from their unflagging aspirations and endurance. i was proud to help build
partnership between america and lebanon. we supported lebanese efforts to gain true independence, sovereignty, and unity. to revitalize the economy and to build strong institutions accountable to all lebanese citizens. furthering that partnership remains a priority for the obama administration. it is in the u.s. national interest. if confirmed, i will devote myself to working with the lebanese to advance common goals. noconfirmed, i will have higher priority than the safety and security of american personnel and facilities in lebanon, as well as all american citizens there. i overseas career since 1990 has --
ia threatens to spill over into lebanon. there are those who would drag lebanon into the syrian conflict. hezbollah is putting its interest above those of the lebanese people. hezbollahlowest -- contradicts operation. my mission would be to do everything possible to support the lebanese of disassociation from the syrian conflict. helping to maintain sovereignty and ensure america is is helping them meet the humanitarian challenge of refugee flows. violence is already spilling over. fromnt to protect lebanon
these consequences. u.s. security assistance is a pillar of our relationship. we fight common terrorist threats. we have a strong commitment to support the lebanese so they can .rotect all corners of lebanon bowling with such institutions can lebanon -- only with such institutions can lebanon have sovereignty. a nation of only 4 million, the strain is great. our humanitarian aid helps the refugee population. with food,antaged healthcare, and schooling. i would look for new ways for those fleeing the terrible violence next door. lebanon's banking sector is the backbone of the economy. or the financial sector to --
must meet international standards. if confirmed, i will work with the lebanese banking community to ensure it remains a stabilizing force for the economy. it is more important than ever to promote the credit traditions. we recognize this is a lebanese process. leader should respect the electoral process national leaders should respect it looked for a process. there is a strong, proud, energetic community. mr. chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the
opportunity to be here. if confirmed, i hope to see your staff soon in beirut. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. >> thank you, and chairman, and members of the committee to appear before you. parentslike to thank my and my husband for joining me. i'm deeply grateful for their support. >> let me interrupt you for a moment. you want to welcome a staff director and the committee a one-time. we are thrilled that the world the way a moment. i'm honored to be considered by the senate for this important decision. and grateful for the trust and confidence president obama and secretary kerry have placed in secretaryassistant for educational affairs. if confirmed, i look forward to
be part of the policy team and advance our countries is policy goals. you want to have mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. international exchanges and joy broad a partisan support in congress. the wide range of programs and -- theives continues universal appeal of our education system, our culture and values, our entrepreneurs and innovators, scientists, thinkers, it is the life light of public diplomacy. it establishes a personal relationship of international partnership. i background draws me to the position of the bureau and has prepared me for the considerable responsibilities as assistant secretary. my work hasr years,
focused on bringing people together from across america on a broad range of issues. i build and strengthen constituencies and saw the power of shared ideas. if confirmed, i will make sure the american people remain at the heart of these exchanges. i have seen the power of people serving on the board of directors and working with educational partnership for children of conflict. when you bring people together through areas of mutual interest, you open the lines of communication and built trust that is essential for solving long-term challenges. -- thanks to a sports exchange, people learn that what they have in common far outweigh the differences that divide the communities. this has instilled in a conviction that through education, culture, sport, the u.s. u.s. can help diffuse conflicts and bring people together and build partnerships
to face global challenges. we citizens increasingly able to shape local and global events, our mission is more vital now than ever. members won nobel prizes. this is the legacy of programs such as fulbright. learning about freedom of speech and democratic values. our international program participants get to see america firsthand. eca is connecting with new audiences from every part of society and empowering youth, women, and underserved communities.
equally important is the exchange program with the united states. when we send americans abroad, they become ambassadors to our nation. learn about other cultures and gain skills needed to succeed in the global marketplace. , your constituents demonstrate american values through exchange participants through the hospitality. you open their classrooms, workplaces, homes, and hearts to people from many countries. by linking americans together with people from around the world, we can develop a lasting relationship and partnership that can overcome differences. there's a tangible benefit. last year, international students contributed to the u.s. economy. if i'm confirmed, i will sustain and build on the extraordinary record of connecting with youth,, women, emerging leaders,
and those underserved to address the challenges of today. for example, i am committed to .ngaging with the youth 65% of the world population is under the age of 30. if confirmed, i'm exciting -- i'm excited to promote mutual understanding and increases that increasing leadership skills. programs is a bridge for the next generation. if confirmed, i believe the following are also essential for eca. -- aharing programs technology and new media i would connect people through virtual exchange programs and investing in long-term relationships with alumni to increase the overall program ande eca increase opportunities for
americans. public diplomacy relies on our countries reduce assets -- the american people. when you meet americans, you meet american values. my focus will be on lasting people to people relationships that is the foundation. thank you. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for your testimony and your family members for being here. i want a simple yes or no from each of you. if you are confirmed, will you be responsive to request from tos committee and responsive sharing insights on your respective post with this committee about the chair and members of the committee? yes. i just succeeded in turning it off. thank you for that question. yes. absolutely. >> mr. chairman, i would welcome
those insights. >> yes, mr. chairman. >> yes. absolutely. >> let me start off with you. relationshiprican has done more for the future than any other alliance in the world. that is very true. you embodied in your opening statement. context, there are still challenges before us. challenges of terrorism. challenges in north africa. challenges as he still seek to pursue iran's -- to deteriorate to challenges as we seek detour iran's nuclear ambitions.
how do we get our british allies to intensify in these areas with us? >> thank you for that question. it raises an important topic. or topics, i should say. the defense and security cooperation between our two countries is unrivaled. it is precisely because the cooperation has been going on are so long and is strong, i would make to never be complacent. and aakes a lot of work talented team. if confirmed, i will engage with the team and engage on clinical, economic defense and security on all of those issues. that all comes into lay.
confirmed, i would welcome the opportunity to work closely with you and your staff and this committee to make sure that it remains just as strong as it is today. >> i appreciate that. i am concerned about iran. today you have one about ourice of votes concern of iran's march toward its nuclear ambitions. we need bridges continued leadership as we get into a phase of this increasing challenge. on a personal note, it is -- i have been involved in some questions in the guards to northern ireland.
convincing president clinton's national security adviser to give gerry adams's first these -- visa did the united states. to have some boys be liberated because they were irish catholic. we have come a long way. recent circumstances and northern ireland with protests exacerbated by the parades that take place annually on the riots -- beene been sued, effort. -- there is an i hope you will work with him and play a role in this regard. i think we have invested too much to not see the path of peace continue.
, continue on the march toward greater integration. i hope you'll consider consider that as part of the portfolio. we had a conversation about brazil. everything a partner, that is important. i think the brazilians are -- have so much potential. when i see they where theyunities in are headed sometimes. the chair the security -- there is a revolving chair of the security council. they seek further engagement syria in on libya and a way in which clearly diverse from my mind from where our views are and to the extent that they want to be a new permanent member of the security council.
in mainly concerned about their aspirations in that regard. regionally, i hear their desire to be the regional leader. i hear them do very little outside of the country on democracy and human rights. lot in common cause with the brazilians, but it hope you will pursue upon confirmation a broadening of what i hope there participation will be in the days ahead. senator, i appreciate your comments. this is going to be a priority for me if confirmed. my understanding is that the intensity of this dialogue over .he last two years has improved brazil becomes a much more active and slight global player in which we can have a dialogue and influence on these very
important issues. it has increased. if confirmed, i would want to pursue these very high priority policies objective so we can have a much more constructive way forward. you have one hale, of the most challenging post. i wonder what your perspective is on a continuing political military statement in syria. what would be the ramifications in lebanon for a rebel victory or a regime victory in syria? >> thank you. the situation we are facing today is an impasse in syria. challenging inbe a post-conflict environment.
syria willdict what look like, much less what lebanon will look like. lebanese society is moving -- in theirwoven deeply society. our hope is that lebanon will stay out of the conflict. that has below is role to drag it into the conflict -- he zbollah's rol to dra -- role to --g it into hthe conflict the violence that is slipping over the soldier -- over the borders will cease and they can take back the command of their own agenda and rebuild their country from years of civil conflict. , my time is, what do
?ou think is the view what is the degree of your view in terms of having the lebanese leadership not allow the country inbackslide into their past terms of the type of conflict we have seen in lebanon before? i think the president of the republic is showing remarkable leadership in preventing that from occurring. he has spoken out forcefully about that. he has defended the disassociation policy. he has condemned those for violating it. there have been similar courageous statements. the vast majority of lebanese and factional leaders and religious leaders, as well as
the vast majority of the population in the country, has a strong aversion to returning to conflict. evidence of what happened to that countries all around them. all you have to do is drive around the streets of beirut. everyone everyone knows the cost of the conflict. it is important that the tension rising from the conflict in syria be dealt with directly and that the political bosses that is paralyzed return to function process all elements -- that is paralyzed, return to function. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to each of you for your public service and continued public service hopefully as of this week ends. . had to step out for a moment you might have spoken to this. i would love to hear your position in the private and
public sector has prepared you for this role in cultural affairs. >> thank you for letting me be here today. i actually was an exchange student in college. i have that first-hand experience. shortly after college, i worked for first lady hillary clinton. i was able to travel to any two countries around the world. around theries world. i saw the different cultures and societies and how different cultures and societies can offer us insights. we can learn from them and vice versa. i then work with a nonprofit. these players international works with children of different races, ethnic cities, and brings them together with sports. they play together and learn more in common than differences.
they have a northern ireland and israel and the west bank. it was fascinating working with peace players. when you work with people who have not formed hard opinions of people who are different with them, you have much more in common than differences. i also work with education partnership or children of conflict. one of the first things to go on a child -- in an environment of conflict is school. back in stunned that countries growth -- that can stunned a countries growth. when you bring people together and open a dialogue, there is more that we can accomplish together than apart. is that you the eca open doors to people around the
world. we bring them here to this country. they see american ideas and values. they are exposed to american democracy. they go home to their country and share the experience of america. that benefits us in the long term. i think senator lindsey graham called the exchange program a national security insurance. if you send people back to their home after they have been here and see what america is really like, perhaps something that had not been exposed to in their own media, it gives them a chance to see how much broader their horizons can be. that impacts us in the long term in terms of how this country deals with leaders who have been exposed and been through our exchange program. it is a powerful place to be. i feel that my background is suited to accomplish a lot in this role. i appreciate your
question. >> thank you. we had had difficulties over the last few years were certain efforts have taken place to clampdown on programs where we have had people coming here to the u.s. and learning a great deal about entrepreneurship and enterprise and all of those things that make this country great. i do hope if confirmed, you will work with us to ensure these programs are not lamp down upon, but when resources are available, expand it. i agree. it is a tremendous opportunity for us to share values with people in other countries and take it back to their home. there have been efforts to curtail these activities. i hope you will help us ensure that does not happen. thank you for being here. i know you'ree, asked questions about lebanon. i think you talked a little bit
about it. right now as things sit, what is it that you think we can be doing to help stabilize lebanon with the conflict that is occurring in syria? >> thank you, mr. ranking member. there are a number of things we are doing now. and i will continue to do it to help stabilize the situation. i will make sure that washington has a clear picture of the impact of the developments on insecurity andon the humanitarian situation. we have to stay focused on that issue. we want to help work with the refugee issue there. we want to make sure the lebanese leadership is thinking ahead of contingencies related
to the refugees so that they are prepared and the international community is also ready with planning. policy,to work with a rhetorically and behind-the- scenes. one of the most important and tangible ways we can help is to continue our concrete support for lebanese armed forces. have been fidgeting sources to them so they can train and equip to deal with the security challenges inside the country i'm including countering the terrorist threats and controlling the border. make sure that has blood -- making sure that hezbollah there is a strong state that can carry for the security of the country. >> thank you for your
willingness to serve in another country. i am out of order here. i apologize. there are a lot of of changes taking place in brazil right now . what do you think we can do? there was tremendous turmoil and growth for an amount of time. think we as a country can do to help move brazil along in a productive way? >> thank you, mr. ranking member. thank you for the question. potential tremendous on all fronts. throughest situated various dialogues going on that try to hone in on some of the barriers to trade. we are well poised.
it is dynamic. a very active -- working together and trying to identify with essential barriers might be and how we can help address them jointly. there are opportunities in the energy sector that we are looking at eagerly. there are some businesses that will be looking for resources explanation -- exploration. we're looking forward to those. there are a number of areas we work with theto brazilians to try to take advantage. we are doing a lot. exponentiallyown from the united states to brazil to the unitedl
states. we have had to accommodate and address the streamlining. we have the highest -- one of issuances inisa the world. with that said, you mentioned the recent turmoil or protests that have not been a lot of public attention. we believe that is a sign of the resilience of the democracy. despite the voices coming out and protesting, the president was able to respond immediately in a peaceful way. those concerns are being taken seriously. the government is looking at ways to try to address the call for improved health services and education and better
transportation. also, opportunities for our engagement with infrastructure as well. there are new projects on airports. we are looking forward to seeing more u.s. engagement. if confirmed, i would work with our private sector and the brazilians to try to make sure that there are rules for the economic engagement. >> thank you. willingness. your thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the witnesses for your willingness to serve. inppreciate your mention your list of the top three issues that will confront you in your new post.
but service in the house was not what hundred percent supporter of trade, but i'm a big supporter of this one. it has enormous economic attentional and large consequences if we get it right. that being said, it would be maintain anforce and -- tip that we hopefully during abe there really consequential time for the identity of that nation. expect there will be a conversation, perhaps a eu's -- then the u.k.'s participation in the uk. dispositionbout our
and your position as england and the uk goes through. and their decisions to perhaps withdraw or further limit their participation. >> thank you for raising very important topics and topics i do plan to deeply engaged on if confirmed. i think the president said it quite well when prime minister cameron came to visit earlier this spring. i will echo those words in answer to your question, which is, it is important to say right up front that the uk's decision for however works with and within europe is an internal matter for the u.k. that said, our interest is, as the president said, for a strong
u.k. voice in a strong eu, for the reasons you touched on, senator. a strong u.k. boys, we share a commitment to fair trade, we get a deal done with the eu that is the u.s. and for the u.s., it sets high standards for the rest of the world. that is how i plan to handle it if confirmed. of course i look forward to working with you, your staff, and this committee to monitor progress. >> thank you very much. >> in our conversation before today's hearing, you are referencing comments regarding the syrian refugee inflow to 11 on as creating an existential crisis in lebanon. this strikes me as one existential crisis layered on
top of another, perhaps layered on top of another. this is about a confusing country as you get. is playing out right now as the generals are both seeing their terms expire and you have political groups trying to figure out who comes next. it often causes consternation here in congress because for theance we look at sometimes watered-down willingness of the lebanese security forces and to wonder why we are continuing to fund them if they are not taking the kind of rigorous posture that we would like them to. thatmetimes have consternation because we misunderstand the complicated political coalition building today and we probably
misunderstand the importance of nonsectarian armed forces in trying to be one of the legitimate brokers of peace and stability. we talked about this privacy -- privately, but talk to us about the role you can play to helped us make a case to appropriate that we should continue military funding for lebanon. there is a line they can cross that would cause us to change that this position, but how can you help us make the case that this is an incredibly important funding stream for the lebanese people and for regional security interest? >> that is an absolutely essential issue that you have raised and i think you have captured very well the nature of the challenge we are facing on this. cast things in the
following way. this has got to be a long-term effort. i saw the lebanese armed forces and the end of the civil war and it was a broken vessel. we have been helping them build up literally from their boots up since this period. one of the reasons that hezbollah was able to become what it is today is that it thrived in the back of that was left by this absence of state security authority. if we have a long-term ambition as we do of making sure that hezbollah is no longer the militia and terrorist threat that it is today, then we've got to have in place state institutions that can carry on the security tranche is that our present 11 on and around the region. that is the long-term goal we have here. notould anticipate there is want to be a military solution to hezbollah. we saw that in 2006.
there has to be much more complex approach to it. the rest of a political strategy by lebanese to reach a consensus that has a lot can no longer be the one militia that is still around and still armed and still controlling and making decisions that affect the like citizen without any accountability at all. we will never get there if we don't have these institutions in place. think of the alternative. engaging inot bolstering lebanese armed forces, you'd have not only hezbollah but a whole host of terrorist groups seeking haven ownebanon, finding their sanctuaries, fighting amongst themselves and spilling all that over into israel and other countries. we have seen that movie. it is the last thing we want to see happen in lebanon or anywhere else in the world. i believe this is the right investment to be making. >> thank you for your comments
about the strong lebanese american population and your willingness to draw upon them to try to make some of these cases and only make your job and our job easier. >> your inspiring story about john winthrop makes me want to offer a sentimental piece of the dice to you to exemplify the same point, the great connection between our countries. tiny anglican church inew blocks from the thames the community and there where it flows into the sea. there is a well attended grave and that is the grave of the archetypal virginian, pocahontas. the english settlers who came to jamestown, frankly they did not know how to survive virginia weather. if it had not been for john smith, they all would have died.
pocahontas state her father's hand as they were about to kill john smith and that began a peaceful relations between virginians, native americans, and the english. pocahontas married another virginian and travel back to england. they gave her the christian name rebecca. she is coming home and fell ill on the journey down from london and was taken ashore and died. the english have taken care of her grave there since the early 1600's. in the church there are two stained-glass windows over the altar. one as rebecca, her christian name. the other one was ruth. james know from the king bible that john winter probably preach from, ruth is the story of the wonderful old testament story of ruth and naomi, the
mother-in-law and daughter and all who were of different nations. when naomi tow route to go back, after her husband died, ruth made her quote. that is why the stained-glass windows are there and why the grave as been so carefully maintained for so many years. it will inspire you in your role as evidence of your proposition. ofthat is just an example the tip of the depth of knowledge that exists in this committee. [laughter] i thank the center for exhibiting it. i am really interested in this gotland referendum. -- in this scott lundburg referendum.
-- scotland referendum. the have any sense about how all that would likely go? i know the u.s. would have no position on it, but i am just curious. >> thank you, senator. you are right, the scottish referendum will be at the end of 2014 and you are also right that of course is an internal matter for the uk, so it would not be appropriate for me to speculate about future outcomes. i would like to ask your permission to use that story about pocahontas early and often, if confirmed. that is fantastic. >> just one little thing that
interests me, the chairman talked about his concerns about brazil speaking to you, showing independence that a great nation and great economy would have. one interesting thing about their relationship with iran is this. brazil is one of the few nations in the world and gave up a nuclear weapons program. they were developing nuclear weapons and had a military government in the 1970's and 1980's, largely because of their concerns about argentina. in 1990 they voluntarily abandon their nuclear weapons program. they are one of the few examples, i think south africa and libya might be the other two, as examples of nations that were well on the right to developing nuclear weapons and then decided not to. withed to do things respect to iran, strong diplomacy and sanctions. yet at the same time there ought
to be some positive examples out there of why nations have decided it is in their own long- term interest to abandon nuclear weapons programs. i hope that story of brazil as an example of a nation that abandon nuclear weapons program might be something that you and your colleagues and the brazilian government could use because it would offer some lessons to iran and possibly north korea and other nations that are deciding to pursue nuclear paths. >> that is the kind of positive move we are trying to encourage, the global partnership dialogue global issues including the relationship with iran and we hope to be able to move in those directions to a .iplomatic dialogue
the experience you have highlighted certain points to ways in which this can happen, but we want to be seen that more frequently and obviously more robustly. >> spanish-language tv and radio networks are trying to spread the influence of iran and brazil. we need to pay attention to iran in the southern hemisphere, not just in the middle east. i look forward to working with you on that. saw in turkey and jordan the effect of syrian refugees. we did not go to 11 on and have extensive discussions about the effects of syrian representative use an lebanon. turkey they had to be encamps of about 10,000 each and when a camp was filled, then you build another camp of about 10,000 each.
i suspect because of the ties theyen syria and lebanon, would blend in more with family or friends or connections and other parts of the country. could you describe the effect of syrian refugees currently on lebanon life. not tolebanese decided set up camps. there are pros and cons and all of these decisions. there are cans and other countries where the syrian track bees themselves are extremely unhappy and have rioted because of conditions in those camps. i think you have put your finger on the reason why the syrian refugees are able to integrate a little better into the society. they are literally spread all over the country.
nearajority are in areas the damascus highway and the coastal highway that comes down in north lebanon. the impact is on almost every aspect of life. their resources are beginning to dry up. they have rented apartments and so forth, but others do not have resources. they are living with extended families or overcrowded housing and not able to meet their basic needs. they are doubling up in school. the lebanese have opened up the schools but the demand is very great. i saw this in jordan. i served there during the conflict in iraq. one of the objectives we had this to make sure that our assistance goes to the community where the refugees are, not just to the refugees, because their demands are spilling over into areas that are already disadvantaged. ake jordan, the lebanese have
neuralgia about refugees, and you can understand why. that arertions generated in society. going back to the chairman's initial question, everyone is looking to us all so to see there is going to be a solution to this problem. is to findthe answer a political solution inside syria. >> i agree with everything you with reference to the importance of educational and cultural affairs of the bureau. there is an effort underway to make significant reductions of the department's funding to the tune of $144 million below the state permits request for fiscal year 2014.
againstally will work that, but i hope it does not yet realized. the challenges when you are looking at the overall resources for state department or foreign service abroad, this is an area that seems to be ripe for those to get on the stand, that this is probably one of the best placed resources, germinating our ideas across the globe on democracy, freedom, and the potential of each individual to fulfill their god- given potential. that we aret restricted with sequester and other challenges looking ahead, if you were to be confirmed, how at, how do you prioritize this effort to the world? had we look at the changing realities in the middle east and north africa? had we tailor our programming, or should we tailor our programming as part of an overall mission to fight
extremism? in my mind, we love everybody to then go see and engage, back in their own countries and promote these values that they will see for themselves are in essence not just american, but universal. thatere a prioritization we should be pursuing in this regard, especially in light of the budget challenges that we consistently face? >> you make a critical point and that is an excellent question. we work to ensure that our program at any given time is in line with our foreign policy priorities. times, we doet have to make sure that the programs we are developing are the ones that are most helpful
to our foreign policy priorities, and they meet the the changing global landscape. there is a program called tech women that started with women in the middle east and has now been expanded to parts of north africa. but they do is bring women from the middle east who are interested in developing skills in tech. they come here for a mentor ship program silicon valley where their match with women who teach them tangible skills and technology. they go back to their home country with marketable skills. they know how to start a business and develop these things. we have now empowered them, taught them the skills. they have benefited completely from the united states. women invest in their children and in their children's education and help form the opinions that the children are
going to grow up with about the united states. >> so if you are confirmed, you will oversee a department that will be nimble enough to respond to the changing challenges we have within the context of your fiscal constraint. >> exactly, and making decisions about which programs we need to prioritize based on what the current needs are for our gold. using new media platforms as a way of expanding our reach globally within the context of public diplomacy, can you expound a little on that? especially when we are having budget challenges. this is an opportunity to reach whereudiences, which is
and how they seek to communicate. >> thank you, that is a very important point. one of the things focused on the lely are virtual exchanges, where people can learn from us online. we can develop programs where they can sit at their computer in the country and learned intually with programs here the united states. that is something that will be a priority. it is much lower cost and transporting people. virtual exchange is something that is on the horizon and i look forward, if confirmed, to continuing in that effort. in terms of what you have raised and how can accomplish these goals and meeting people needs through other means, we already have very strong english- language programs around the world.
what that has accomplished and i hope will continue to accomplish at lower cost is purely by teaching american english to people around the told, you then enable them read american media, to read english online in a way that would not have been able to before. to be exposed to ideas on line, purely because there are these english-language opportunities that have been a priority for very long time. and i hope that do not get cut in any budget cut because english-language teaching is a very subtle diplomatic tool and a very powerful way to engage people thought only with the insights and information.
>> i hope we are teaching highbrow new jersey english. [laughter] >> we could debate that. i want to thank you all again for your service. we have two more panels coming up and i will be very brief. barzun, we have a special relationship with the uk as you have mentioned. >> the fact is that the same time there are only three nato countries that are living up to their obligations as it relates to binding defense. the u.k. is barely doing that right now and it looks like through budgetary cuts could, in fact, brought down below. i assume you will be a strong advocate for the u.k. in spite of the fact that we have a special relationship with them, and maintain their obligations
to nato and that regard. >> absolutely. thank you for raising the issue of around this important nato ally. thes my understanding that chancellor of the exchequer in his most recent budget laid out a defense budget that would remain above the 2%, and both of our countries know that maintaining a moderate, deployable forces is expensive. because the mardi cooperation with the u.k., we are committed to working with that strong relationship to make sure they remain full spectrum capability, that they remain interoperable with us and also that they finally are able to continue to lead missions on behalf of nato. it is an area of critical concern, one that i will engage on when i get on the ground, and i look forward to working with
you, your staff, and this committee if confirmed. thank you. >> thank all four of you for your willingness to serve our country in this way. i look forward to a long engagement with each of you. thank you very much. officeof the program administers is called the change visitor program. this is like a constituent question. it is to bring international teachers to virginia who have been very enriching of the students experience. i just wanted to put on your radar screen for the day you are doing the job that the traditional time for these international visits is about three years, but the state department and virginia have worked cooperative leave for some time and allowing those to go to about five years. patricia will have that letter
on your desk as soon as you are there. i just want to encourage you, i know you know the value of this program and how much it enriches students, but just to encourage that. in virginia we have found that to be an important program that your office operates. >> it is a very important program. the teachers come over here teaching critical language exposing ourey are students to different cultures. if confirmed, i look forward to working with you. >> thank you all for your testimony, your willingness to serve. if you do receive a question, i urge you to answer it expeditiously. it will depend ontestimony, youo serve. having answers to all questions at that time. and 9 bytes excused
ask senator nelson to make some statements. senator nelson's comments will hear from the four nominees in the order i introduce them. first, kurt is a friend who has been nominated to serve as ambassador for singapore. he has had a distinguished and very successful career. i am pleased to welcome him before the committee. the position for which he has been nominated is an important one. singapore's role in helping to forge a new, regional architecture, singapore is a innovation capital and
there are great exchanges of information and ideas that could be forged in this role. i will introduce senator nelson in a man who will say more. , as a seniorrence member of the foreign service, he brings extensive leadership skills coupled with strong management and interagency experience. his previous service in challenging countries such as mali and nigeria have and still necessary inside to serve in the country began to find its way after a long and difficult civil war. crisis following the disputed presidential elections -- revive the economy
and rebuild state legitimacy, a sizable agenda. steadfastas been a partner in these efforts and efforts to promote national reconciliation. continue to be a ivorian people. the democratic republic of congo is wealthy and natural resources yet it remains poor and/conflict. welcome the to ambassador as we continue to
consider his application. a congolese people deserve no less than the people of the united states can offer. presents great challenges but there are few people in the service of the united states who understand the challenges and opportunities. he has promoted security reforms and the establishment of a broad base governments across the continent. , huge sapulpa opportunities and challenges. he is a perfect candidate to champion the nation's international information and
communication policy. i am pleased to welcome him as nominee for deputy secretary of state for international community with a rank of ambassador. he is well known here in congress for his expertise on global telecom internet issues as well as his extensive experience working for senators obamal as for president and secretary of state carried when they were still senators. the administration is obama pura of trade andet investment issues. i want to welcome all the witnesses before us. thank you for your public service. i will begin asking senator bill
nelson of florida to say a few words of introduction. i am going to ask my ranking member what i am supposed to do next. i would like to ask senator corker to offer some introductory comments. but the think you have done an outstanding job of introducing me to these great candidates and nominees. we have a very distinguished senator from florida who is waiting patiently to speak. i will defer and look forward to your testimony, and thank you again for your willingness to serve. >> as you said, it is my privilege to be back to the committee that i spent many of d very happy years as a member of this committee. thank you for your dedicated service, doing one has to be done, and the confirmation of these nominees. kirk wre on behalf of
eiger. he is the university of miami law graduate. he has his own miami-based law firm, and he has a passion for justice and advocacy. someone possessing those characteristics, it is no wonder the president picked him for a very sensitive, diplomatic and political's, and that is singapore. because singapore is a major trading partner, it will continue to play a major part in and trade efforts in asia. our ambassador there oversees
the 17th largest trade relationship. it is worth $50 billion a year. singapore fortunately has a history of championing trade agreement. to these to looking specific trade agreements coming is going to be all the more important that the ambassador representing us and singapore and the trans-pacific partnership negotiations is going to be very crucial. interestingly, singapore plays a very strategic, military role for us. not because they have an army but because we have an agreement with them that the u.s. navy maintains a logistical command unit in singapore, and it
serves in coordinating warship deployment and logistics. at the right there narrow passage from the pacific to the east to the indian ocean to the west. our u.s. representative in this tiny, in effect, nation state, is critical. squadrons of u.s. fighter planes are rotated to singapore for a month at that time and a naval vessels make regular port call. cooperation with this little country is extremely important to the interest of the united states, and i want to commend you for
your consideration kirk weiger as our ambassador. >> we understand you may have but weuties to attend to appreciate you being here. >> it is an honor and a humbling experience to appear before u.s. president obama's nominee to be the next u.s. ambassador to the republic of singapore. i am blessed to be a citizen of the greatest nation on earth. i was the first member of my family to attend college. this country has provided me with my family, education, career come home, and numerous opportunities to serve in our political process. i store is not possible in any other country in the world premiere of like to thank
president obama for the faith he is shown in me. i assure that committee that i do not take it lightly. we cannot ask for a more dedicated and gracious champion. his examples one have followed and will follow every day. i would like to recognize my family. i was adopted at 4 months old and the most loving of families. while my parents could not be with us today, i must acknowledge it is because of their guidance and strength that i have achieved anything in my time on the planet. like to introduce my beautiful wife. she serves as a model inspiration every day and her willingness to embark on this adventure on behalf of the country move both of your love ventures we will do the best job we cannot behalf of the american people. if confirmed, it would be my honor to serve as ambassador to
the republic of singapore. it is a region that president obama has made clear is a priority for our future. few countries surpass singapore as a partner and friend to the united states. singapore is eager to have processes that make it easy for us to cooperate on broad range of activities. an example of the death of merkt shared interest to peace and prosperity in the region. i will work tirelessly to keep this relationship moving full steam ahead on a positive trajectory. the second pillar is economic cooperation we have with singapore. ourfree trade agreement was first free trade agreement in
asia. it set high standards and broke new ground for the future fda. u.s. investment in singapore is why so we have in china and five times that of what we have in india. we are building on that success to be a partner with singapore. centurycreated 21st trade and invest agreement among a dozen countries that make almost 40% of gdp. singapore has strong protections for intellectual property rights. american companies base their regional headquarters in singapore. this would be an exciting
challenge for me. we have used these tools and resources but it is time to update the cooperation to use 21st century tools to combat what faces us. i look forward to working with singapore if confirmed on coming up with moderate and mutually beneficial products. i came to this country because of the values that make america great. freedom, equality, an opportunity. those values will be intertwined throughout all i will do if confirmed.
we will continuously represent these values with dignity, sensitivity, and humility. and consider working to --rease it will be my distinct honor to serve as ambassador to singapore on behalf of this great country that has given me everything. thank you for inviting me to testify before you today and for giving my nomination your serious consideration. i am pleased to answer any questions you may have. >> we have been informed there may be a series of seven senate votes beginning in a few minutes. we will keep you posted as to when we will come back to questions. >> i am honored to appear before you as the president's .ominee for title of ambassador
fullld like to submit my statement for the record and summarize it for you now. i want to recognize my wife, heather higgins bomb, who happens to be a secretary's counselor as well. i want to recognize our baby my parents are in florida but i want to recognize their support and express my appreciation to them. i served 12 years in the u.s. senate or four senators, as you mentioned. i am well versed in these issues and understand the importance of striving for an open structure. the state department office promotes international wireless and satellite communications. the office is charged with defending in promoting internet
governance that has allowed the global information's system to revolutionize how we work to educate, and express ourselves. in the coming years, we will base internet -- international proposals, you can be confident the administration's position will continue to reflect the consisting, bipartisan approach that has prevailed in the 1990's. if confirmed, i will look to you for guidance and assistance. i take your oversight authority very seriously and i know the innovation is critical to the economic welfare of the country. thank you for giving me the opportunity to appear before you today, and i look forward to any questions you may have. >> i would like to recognize three people who are here with us today. first, a great friend and
i believe there following this on a webcast. with nearly three decades of service in africa, most recently as u.s. ambassador to nigeria i am eager to remain on the continent'. i believe strongly the success of our engagement abroad depends on our people and i will make it my highest priority to ensure their safety, well-being, and security as well as that of the private american community in ivoire. and to promote the interest of the u.s. will continue to press for the peace and prosperity the
people deserve. after more than a decade of ivory coast is on a corrective yet challenging path and several key areas. the company -- the country held free and fair elections in 2010 and has made progress in investigating crimes committed during the pre electoral crisis. yet there is much more to be done. if confirmed, i resolved to engage with our friends to promote transparency, inclusiveness, equity, and accountability. justice and reconciliation will not be successful without a credible and transparent legal process. nationally and internationally that ensures the investigation of crimes committed by both sides in the conflict and hold those responsible to account, irrespective of political affiliation.
withnfirmed, i will work international partners to press for progress on this critically important issues. our decosta is improving and the u.s. is corruption address and improve the investment climate to promote stability and economic growth. if confirmed, i will make it a priority to pursue our economic agenda supporting and advocating for american businesses that seek opportunities in cote d'ivoire. the country can and must redouble its efforts in both areas to realize its considerable economic potential.
lifted restrictions on d'ivoire. to cote we are also providing assistance for democratic , including respect for human right and the role of democracy. we are keystone country and region of growing interest in the united states, and a stable and by representative cote d' ivoire. our agenda is challenging and ripe with opportunity. if i am confirmed as u.s.
ambassador, i will be a vigorous advocate for america as we advance our relationship with this important country. i thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and i welcome your questions. >> i am honored to appear before you today as the nominee to serve as u.s. ambassador to the democratic republic of congo. i am grateful to the president and secretary for the confidence they have placed in me. i will briefly summarize the longer prepared marks if they could be entered into the record. >> without objection. >> before beginning more formal testimony, i would like to recognize my wife and my cannotn, who regrettably be with us here today, but i am thinking of them. as you noted in your opening remarks, i have donated most of
my foreign service career to as desknd serving officer in the mid-1990's. then six years when i was assigned to our embassy. if confirmed, i look forward to drawing on his extensive background to advance our interest in the democratic republic of the congo and the great lakes. has significant interest in the democratic republic of congo. it is the largest country in sub-saharan africa. of some 70pulation million people. a stable, prosperous, and well governor, would advance peace and development throughout central africa, yet regrettably, in recent decades, go has instead been more notable for recurring cycles of cross border conflict and the like.
i see three sets of issues. first, we must intensify efforts to help the congolese resolve a longstanding conflict in eastern congo. there are many dimensions to this decade long human tragedy, including the current mailing by neighbors, proliferation of armed groups, lack of significantly capable security forces and a culture of impunity for human rights abuses. these challenges may seem daunting but we are encouraged by the opportunity for peace -- that was done among 11 countries in the great lakes region earlier this year. that same work agreement has now been bolstered in recent months
by actions such as an , butcedented joint visit the appointment by secretary general ban ki-moon of former robertson.dent bill the u.s. has also stepped up its already considerable efforts in the great lakes region with the appointment of former senator russell feingold, a former member of this committee. secretary ofk and thested a meeting
security council focused on the great lakes. >> the second main area of they held national elections in 2006 that were generally hailed as credible and reflect the will of the people. a setback withas the flawed 2011 elections. a presidential election in 2016, to put that right and ensure they are afforded a free and fair choice of leaders. the third emphasis must be on continue to work to unleash the economic potential of this resource rich country and its people. this means working to develop the human capital that population and working to foster a stable, predictable, an attractive investment climate in
order that,'s potential can be there. let me mention to overall priorities that will guide my work every day. first i will give priority to the well-being of all american citizens, and they number in the thousand. i take responsibility if confirmed to lead and ensure the safety of the entire u.s. embassy team. once again, i am honored to testify before this distinguished committee and stand ready to answer any questions. we will try to tag team on most of this. i will start with just that thank you, especially those of
you are a career and stay with your families here. i am struck by the challenges of your career. i know there is excitement but the frequent moves and challenges that poses for spouse and kids are very, very notable. you are all to be commended for being willing to serve in these capacities. i am fascinated with the singapore story. as a small fishing village, not that many decades ago, that has become our 17th largest trading partner. they have a very innovative and i for venereal spirit too many of the innovations in singapore were renovations they went out and found. here in the u.s. that a significant effort to improve their financial situation. they came to the u.s. and
decided that rote memorization techniques for not getting that now.ow -- faor wonderful innovation track record. and this one to ask you about how you think in your role as a master you can be the champion of american innovation but also bring back some good innovation ideas and continue to deepen the relationships between our two countries around that theme. >> that is a great question. one of the most fascinating things i have learned as i have got more and more familiar with the day to day mechanism of singapore is their commitment to excellence. it crosses every sector, and high standards and higher rewards when they are met. yale is starting a new project
in singapore, partner in with the national university of singapore. their first class right now is in new haven. 154 students, and there were 11,000 applicants for those bought. this is the kind of innovation that we can work with singapore on a daily basis, and it is something i think is the role of any embassador but particularly important in singapore. >> i would like it if you would talk a little bit about the thetes going on in international telecommunications union, and talk a little bit about the administration's approach to advancing our telecom technology objectives
and what is the administration's approach in those debates were addressing concerns raised by other governments -- other governments about governance issues. allies haveof our significant concerns. what is the administration's approach to dealing with those concerns? >> it is a longer conversation a 150-year-old body that developed over time. its primary purpose is to ensure that we have global communications that are interoperable. satellite services, spectrum as well as water services. and that those communications work on a global basis. there have been some questions relative to the internet because it is not a person to person communications but computer
communications. has been governed by an international multi stakeholder system in which scientists, industry, academics, and government all play a role in ensuring that the internet continues to operate and that the day-to-day functions are managed by technical experts. is our goal to propagate that system is it has worked quite well. whole networks come together and you see the internet exchange of information and services working extremely well to generate innovation crew want to continue promoting that. there are a number of developing countries to feel like they are not reaping the benefits of the internet. they are predominantly consumers of services. they are not producing the kind of services they would like to see and the prices are not where they would want to be.
[captions copyright national able satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> what terry and all those in the building trades did was something courageous. they took a chance that senator mccain and the senate could arrive at a decent deal. they are looking at more people coming into the country to take jobs while you have some 20% unemployment in the construction industry.
what they did is reached a common sense compromise with the u.s. chamber of commerce with how to deal the future flow of workers. i won't call them lower skilled. did the work. it takes a lot of energy and talent to stay out there in the sun doing the work with those tools out there. they compromised and reached a deal for the good of the country. if you deal with all four aspects of immigration reform, you will have a system that works. >> i didn't answer your question very well. y the way, congressman becerra went from honest work to politics. e verify is so important. one of the least talked about aspects of illegal immigration is 40% of the people here illegally didn't cross the border illegally. they came on a visa and
overstayed the visa. we have to have a system where employers have to have a verification system where the person they are hiring is in the country legally. i can buy a birth certificate for about $40 today. so we have to have the e verify system so that the employer also have to know whether that person is a legally -- can be legally hired stand that employer hires someone who is here -- and if the employer hires someone who is here illegally, they pay a tough penalty. the agriculture worker program, there are jobs american citizens will not do. i will show you that. it is tough. new immigrants always grab the bottom running on the ladder and thank god they move up. we need a program that will work d finally to stem -- the
majority of students who are taking advanced degrees in those majors, advanced degrees, the majority of them are not american citizens. so we want to give them the opportunity to remain in the united states and work here rather than go back to china or india or wherever that they came from. that is one reason why the high-tech community is so supportive of this as well. those are other elements, but i want to emphasize again the e verify. unless that employer has a way of ascertaining whether that person is in this country gally or not, then obviously that we cannot -- we're going to have to make sure that that magnet is drying up. >> i know you to get back to capitol hill, but one final question, if i can. policy are showing growing support for comprehensive immigration reform including
citizenship. officials have their own sense of pebble beach opinion. given your experience, where do you think the public is on immigration reform and especially on the question of citizenship. senator mccain? >> i have great faith in the american people. i have a great confidence that the american people, good, judeo christian nation who are willing to work and sacrifice for this nation. i don't know why i mention it but one of my dearest friends and heroes who i was in prison with passed away the other day. he inspired so many generations. by the way, i would like to point out among the many wonderful things hispanic contributions have made to america is when you look at the percentage of hispanic citizens who served in military. so i believe in america. i believe at the end of the day we're going to do the right
thing. we're not going to talk about people with captain lope cal fs. e're not going to -- cal fs. we're not going to indulge in that rhetoric. if i could just mention one story very quickly to you. in 2007, senator gram, leishman and i were in baghdad. petraeus organized a reenlistment ceremony and asked s to speak at that ceremony. 200-something brave americans had decided to re-enlist and tay and fight. who were green card holders. looked there were four empty
seats in the front row with boots on who were supposed to be part of that citizenship ceremony who had been killed in the previous 48 hours. nothing is more moving than to know people who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to become citizens of the greatest nation on earth. that's what america is all about. that's why i believe we can pass this legislation. [applause] >> bill, i think the people have been way ahead of the politicians for a long time on immigration reform. but at the end of the day, it is going to be the courage of some of those americans to step forward. i think all the folks who work on behalf of working men and
women for believing that we could actually reach a deept deal that could protect the rights of workers in this country. because in many ways, those impacted by immigration have been american workers. i have to shout out for the dreamers. there is just no way we would be where we are today if it weren't for the dreamers who had the courage to get out in front of the camera and say i've been in this country without documents for sometime and i dare you to tell h american that he or she has to leave the country that he or she has grown up loving and working so hard. the courage of a john mccain and some of the other senators to stand up to the politics and to some of the hateful rhetoric, and i find that everything that senator mccain has said that i agree with.
this is not a pam of a democrat and a republican. -- panel of a democrat and a republican. it is two americans for a system that should be producing good for america and not producing chaos. we have always done this. think about our history. we have always done this. i feel it most from my parents. i'm the son of immigrants. my parents are originally of mexican dissent. and i always mention this story. i'll just say it very quickly. because you have probably heard it about three times from me. my father, when he was a young man, recounts when he was young working in this country, he would walk by the restaurants hat had signs that said no dogses or mexicans allowed and he did work.
he canned the tomato in the soup that you drink and he said most of the time worked as a road construction worker building the highways that intersected our states when we were in the boom of building freeways in the 1960's and 1970's, but he remembers that he could not walk into a restaurant after building this country. well, if he could not walk into a restaurant, he could sure make sure his son got educated and become the first in his family to get a college degree from stanford, university. he didn't have to worry about walking into a restaurant. because of his son, he could walk through the doors of a white house and that is what it is all about. having courage to just work, even though you couldn't go into a raupt. a belief -- restaurant. a belief in passing a bill with a bipartisan vote. saying i'm an american.
let me prove to you that i love this country. we're not going to undermine our own jobs and find a common ground to get to a good bill. at the end of the day, it is those maces i think most about. while we hear those vile words from some, the people so far ahead of the politicians that we're going to get there and it is because of the courage of the american people. i think we're going to do it this year. >> could i say we're not going to do it without your active involvement and engagement, and please treat your opponents, those who disagree with you, treat them with respect. we want to keep the high ground in this debate and i thank you for all you're going to do. >> thank you, senator mccain. [applause]
please join me in thanking senator mccain and congressman becerra. [applause] >> thank you, senator mccain and representative becerra. before we begin our next discussion, we would like to take a moment to recognize the people who are missing from today's conversation. please take a look around the oom and see the artwork of day laborers. these life sized pictures of imgrant workers and families represent 400,000 people who are deported from the u.s. every year. and 1,400 who are deported every
day. these life size pictures -- please join us for a moment of silence to remember the struggle of those immigrants and their amilies. thank you. now let's start our next panel on the economic aspects of citizenship. moderated by ross from the economic policy substitute. journalists and documented activist, jose antonio vargas, douglas hholtz-eakin, manuel astor. >> great to be here. can you hear me? is my mic working? good. this panel, although it is about economics and i think it is going to be inspiring, almost as
inspiring as the national you just heard. we have two economists and a non-economist. and i'm going to introduce all three of them and then in the order that they will open and each of them will have opening remarks and then i'll ask them questions. so in the order that we'll have, douglas hholtz-eakin. the president of the american action forum which is a relatively new conservative think tank in washington. he is both an economist and a political strategist and in my view, the most important accomplishment of his life was do i have serving as the director of the congressional budget office in a very sort of interesting time, after the tax cuts were passed, the last round of the bush tax cuts and he played a very important role was another example of a
profile the courage at that point. served under president george bush. manuel pastor is the professor of sewsology in american studies at the university of southern california. also the director of their program on environmental and regional equity and for our purposes today, most importantly, co-director of the center for the study of immigrant integration. he has published a couple of reports recently that he'll bring to light today about the importance of citizenship. jose antonio vargas is a pulitzer prize-winning journalist, filmmaker and the ounder of define american. he is another profile in courage. in 2011, in the "new york times" magazine, he publicly revealed himself as undocumented and
shared his life story of being raised by his grandparents in the u.s. from the age of 12, when he left his birthplace in the philippines. he has since become a national immigrants rights advocate and leader for comprehensive immigration reform activists including the dreamers. so we'll start with douglas hholtz-eakin and my first question to you is -- actually why don't i let you each have five minutes of your own and won't even lead you. i'll just let you talk about what you know about this issue and how important it is. >> that's good because we probably wouldn't answer your question anyway. thank you. thank you for the chance to be here. it is a great honor. it is my first time in this auditorium. i just want to say at the outset i don't think i have ever been more flattered than the kind words of congressman becerra and my former boss, john mccain
about my work. time heels all wounds and -- heals all wounds and let us hope we can get over the wounds of past efforts on this topic and get something done this year. i'm an economist. that means i have the capacity to strip all of the interest out of any conversation. so let me begin. from an economics point of view, citizenship per se really is not the issue. it is getsing to a legal status so that workers are in the labor force and in the workplace with the rights and the benefits and protections of all legal workers. having said that, i permanently upport a pathway to earned citizenship in a humane and american way to deal with the undocumented workers who have been contributing to this society for so long. the question for me is how do we get the votes?
it is wonderful to have goals, but we have to get over the finish line this time and i would say that a couple of issues arrive now. you're all familiar with these. it is worth thinking about them. the first is that the house of representatives embarked in a new process. the senate process is done. there will be a new piecemeal in the house. that is a political reality we have to accept. for democrats, a refusal to offer votes for anything other than a comprehensive immigration reform bill is to kill immigration reform this year. you need to understand that in the spirit of my old boss, if democrats refuse to vote for the ing other than comprehensive immigration reform, they will kill immigration reform. on the inside, it is important that the vast majority of the
republicans who support this recognize that the disgraceful comments of a vociferous minority need to be ignored and they need to respect the wishes of their constituents. if you look at republican primary voters, they think the immigration system is broken. they want comprehensive immigration reform. that is the majority. they think it is appropriate. as senator mccain said with penalties, back taxes, there be a pathway to legal immigration. this is not the death fell in of a republican who is trying to run for re-election. they 100% support the notion that congress needs to fix this. i have -- i have worked on this
issue for years now. i cannot say enough good things about the potential for good immigration reform to reinvigorate this economy. i cannot say enough about the contribution. i would say at this moment, it is at the key juncture in the politics of getting immigration reform done and i would echo the sentments of the previous -- to make a difference and i would encourage you to keep this moving forward in the house. it will be a different way of doing business, but it is a different way to get this done. >> before we move on to dr. pastor, i think it is worth telling people, because you have looked at this closely, just what are the benefits of this legislation? what are the economic benefits? a lot of people, for example, are worried that this bill is going to lower their wages or cost them their jobs.
what is the -- what is your view on this? >> let me say a couple things about it? for example, there is there is a recent report that came out from the regional economic modeling corporation. this is a group that does solid economic modeling. their estimate is just the path way to citizenship in the senate bill would create 600,000 jobs. that is not taking jobs from people. that is creating new jobs. the whole bill raises the economic growth -- .3% more for g.d.p. that doesn't sound like much. i'll just remind everyone, from 1776 until now, the u.s. grew roughly .3% faster than england. it matters a lot. it means a trillion dollars in an improved budget outlook. a problem that has plagued this
own for several years. allow us to overcome low fertility rates in united states. good immigration reform is at -- that's f choosing the economic point of view. thank you. >> dr. pastor, can you give us a summary, perhaps a five-minute summary. i know the work you have done has taken years, but in five minutes, can you focus on wh why citizenship itself is so important. not just a pathway to legalization, but a pathway to citizenship. >> so i'll reduce my life's work to five minutes. i did want to let everybody know that afl-cio is encouraging folks to tweet with the hash tag citizens 2013. i think those of you who are
young know what to do. those of you a little bit older, a hash tag does not mean what you think this -- think. i do want to add one thing that is a little bit different and i would echo a lot of what doug said. there is actually a premium for citizenship. it turns out when you do studies looking at the difference and look at ames the difference in a cross section analysis, you find out that citizens controlling for the industries that they are in, free human capital, english speaking ability, etc., tend to make about 10-11% more than noncitizen imgrands. when we look at california, where we're able to control who is documented and who is not, we
still find a citizenship premium. that premium seems to come because being a citizen gives you a wider range of jobs that you can move into. being a citizen encourages people to make much more u.s. specific investments. it also serves as an important signal to employers, partly because of going through the citizenship test as well. citizenship is actually quite important. these findings just for the nerds moppings us are not purely cross -- amongst us are not purely cross sectional. it pretty much squares with the longitudinal studies that show that citizenship for the same person has to lead to a gain. so there is a really important benefit to the individuals themselves and then an important benefit to the economy as a whole, because as their income goes up and as their spending goes up, it has huge multiplire
impacts on the entire economy. there is a couple of other things i want to say about this that are important. it has to do with the fact that when we think about what is going on with immigration reform, we tend to think about how it is going to impact the immigrants themselves, but we just did a study in california. we have 2.6 million undocumented residents, but perhaps more significantly, we have 1.5 one on children who have undocumented parent. that is 1/5 of california's children. it would make things more secure for their parents and allow their incomes to go up. create the opportunities for parents to feel more empowered to engage in their kids' education by being able to go to school and interact with the teachers, etc. there is an economic premium to citizenship, but frankly, there is a moral premium as well. if you think about the idea of
creating a permanent second class of people who are going to somehow get eelized but not able to become citizens -- legalized but not able to become citizens, that is really distasteful in terms of what the principles are that this country was founded. i had the opportunity a week and a half ago to be at the george bush library for a naturalizeation ceremony when president bush talked about the benefits of immigration reform. being at the ceremony reminded me that there is a thing that is unique about this country, which is that you don't become an american by virtue of your race or ethnicity. you become an american by virtue of your willingness to buy into certain kinds of principles and notions of liberty, of equality, of citizenship. and that is fundamentally what is protected by making sure that citizenship is an important part
of the immigration reform. this, i think, is something that we have to be insistant on as what comes out of the immigration reform process. >> thank you very much. . vargas, on this panel, you're the one who can make this come to life. you're in the situation of being not just a legal permanent residents, hoping to have citizenship, you actually are an undocumented worker and resident of the united states. tell us about that. five minutes. we'll give you another round or two. >> when they asked me to do this, i really wasn't sure the i wanted to do it. this whole question of why citizenship matters. but i have great respect for the the io and i looked at
website and i use a lot of the numbers. that's why i'm here. i cannot think of a more important word than citizenship, because i've been fighting forette my whole life. citizenship is something that a lot of people in this country take for grabted, which is really ironic given where we are as a country and where we're going and how we're looking at each other. let's focus on the economic argument. since you know, i came here when i was 12. went to school. went to middle school, high school, college, all public schools. i'm a beneficiary of the wonderful public school systems in this country. started working at subway sandwiches. worked at the "washington post" just a few blocks from here. with you was a reporter for five years. been paying taxes and social security since i was 18 years
old. i've been traveling in this country for the past few years. i have done about 150 events in 31 states in two years. iowa, alabama, wisconsin, south carolina. i did a documentary. at the same time, just meeting people. i'm a reporter at heart. i wanted to know. i wanted to look and i wanted to who to the faces of people seem to think that people like me are a burden to this society and that all we do is take. and as i have done this, i brought my social security forms, which said how much money i had given to the system. that people like me have actually kept social security solve ent. bring with me my tax forms, some done at h & r block a few blocks from here.
to show what i have paid into the system. numbers are important. it is interesting to me, when i talk to people, birmingham, alabama, been to alabama four times. i do kind of a jay leno man on the street thing outside of a wal-mart talking to people about the law and start engaging them about oh, i pay taxes. oh, but you're the good one. what about these illegal mexicans at wal-mart? what about them? the economic conversation that is important. as you pointed out, the moral conversation is tied to that. and, look, i think we understand at this point in this country, that there are some people who'll be convinced by numbers. there are. and that is wonderful. but there are some people, i would argue that there are more people, who need more than numbers. and that is where it gets a
littlicy. i've been sitting here listening really hard it is o be an undocumented american. i'm looking at debbie because she and i talk about this a lot. i am an american. my country just don't recognize it yet. to look at sometimes the farce and the level of conversation and the framing of this conversation, it is almost laughable. in how much it is drenched in ignorance and misinformation. but senator mccain said i am not n a position to speak from a holier than thou antagonizing. i'm going to be as polite and as american as i possibly can, as i talk to my fellow americans and tell them that i am not an economic burden to them.
that i'm not actually taking away a slice of the pie, i am actually making the pie bigger. more than that this next week, mark zucker entering helping co-host a screening of the documentary i've been working on. gabby will be there with me. we're having a marriage of unlikely allies. i grew up in malibu, california. that is where google is. i invited people from the center to come to the screening so we understand silicon valley's interest in immigration reform is far beyond engineers. it has to be beyond the dream act. this has to be beyond visas. it has to be about a natural conversation about all of us. and i guess the last thing i want to say, i don't know if everybody here understands that next smopt the 50th anniversary
of martin luther king's speech. the march in washington, which was a march for jobs and freedom, which is really in many ways parallel to this conversation right now. and the quote that has been ringing in my ear as i have been preparing for this event with zuckerberg in silicon valley next week is this. history will record that in this period of great transition, the -- est tragedy is not the of the bad people but the appalling silence of the good people. far too many american people have been silent and we need you. >> thank you very much. [applause] i would like to turn a little bit to the mechanism of why this change -- why the legislative change is so important.
senator mccain pointed out that are unundocumented workers as he said exploited and mistreated. can you explain why it is that a ? th to citizenship can help doug, i'm going to quote you. you said those present and working illegally will become covered by labor market protections that are more likely to raise wages than anything else. can you talk about the mechanism for how the workforce will be changed by this? >> i would be happy to. but i want to say to the poet on my right, i have lived my life on a notion that the numbers can win an arblingt. they never do. -- argument. they never do. i promise you. keep talking. there are a lot of miscon semmingses and sometimes
distortions about the role of immigration reform in the workplace and labor force in our economy. there is this notion that somehow immigrants, undocumented or legal will come and take jobs. simultaneously they are going to come and live on the welfare state. they can't do both. and if you actually bothered to look at the data, you will find that immigration flows to those states with jobs. not those states with the most robust safety net. the idea that somehow folks from going to come here and not work is just wrong. they are going to come to work. how will they work? well, they should work in an american workplace with full protection of the laws of land. this country has a proud history of both economic growth and commerce and enterprise, but also in taking care of its workers and making sure that they are safe in workplace and making sure there is a lack of
discrimination. if you want to remind yourself of this, go to a workplace and look at all the signs in the workplace or the kitchen about things that workers should know they have the right to get protection from. that's what everyone in the workplace should have. that's what would happen. you can't if you're an employer, be subject to an open compliance with that and exploit the workers and pay them less, pay them minimum wage. i have found this notion that somehow this is going to depress wages quite bizarre. it is also true that the reality of the 21st century, we are right now in competition with every worker on the globe and that the competition has little to do with whether they are currently sitting across the room, across the street, across the city, across an ocean. if we are going to have a competition, werked open the
doors and welcome them into our country and get the benefits that they bring as well. i don't see this as a threat to american wages. i see this as a great potential boon. >> do you have anything to add to that, dr. pastor? >> aside from the fact that i'm glad i went before jose antonio vargas instead of after. i just have a couple of things to that. one is and i think that doug will agree. most economists are not worried about too much immigration. they are worried about too little immigration in the future. when you look at the fact that immigration flows have slowed down in the country. net migration from mexico is probably zero and may be negative, but we're afraid if we say that, you'll think we're crazy. because the mexican economy is doing a bit better and because there have been some fundamental changes in fertility in mexico.
30 years ago, a woman over the course of her lifetime would have five children. now the fertility rate in the united states is 1.7. people are worried about who were the we will have enough workers to move the economy forward to make sure we make the social security benefits in the future. another thing i would add is to understand that high-skilled work and low-skilled work actually go together. which is a little bit of the point that jose antonio vargas was making. everyplace that you find high-tech workers, every software engineer is an army of nannies and day care folks and gardners and service workers, etc., who are also part of the economies. so austin,st boston, the silicon valley, places where they have lots of low scale mexican immigrant workers are a part of
that economy as well. so that, you cannot divorce those two kind of labor errors from one another. - laborers from one another. >> mr. vargas. >> call me jose. >> jose, you have had all of these conversations with people all across the country. do you have scenes of what it is like. you -- sense of what it is like? you have been in the workforce. >> i'm going to talk about anecdotes. did a week long series in tuscaloosa, alabama. teaching a class called dirty jobs. imagine a class about 100 people, mostly male, mostly white, blue collar, sons and grandsons of farmers. blue collar workers. at one point, the conversation gets really interesting when this young man says wait a
second. my dad is a roofer and my dad wants to charge that and these illegals come in and they will take less. suspect that unfair to my dad? suspect that unfair to -- isn't that unfair to my dad? a very valid point. all one of us and all i have to do is listen. this is where my experience as a journalist really helped. i followed sarah palin around in ohio and just listened. [laughter] so you're blaming the illegals, as you call them -- how about the employer? you're in the south. the same south that was built on the back of cheap labor. the history of this country has been addicted to the back of chief labor. we say to mexico keep out.
then 10 yards in, we say jobs wanted. so instead of blaming these illegal workers. why are we not looking at the employers saying wait a second. everybody loses. your dad loses. these other people get exploited. i'm like you're right. i'm thinking to myself, is this really -- as somebody who works for the media or was a reporter for 12 years, the media, i have to say this, has largely failed us on this issue. failed us. not tom lack of information, but the contacts. we have such a big narrative problem. we have a huge narrative problem. the disconnect has to do with information, numbers, what people feel and because we haven't fully explained to people and given them the context of what we're talking
about. as senator mccain said, this august is going to be crucial. the fall is going to be crucial. if we don't have these uncomfortable conversations in town halls and communities across the country, we're not going to get anywhere. this has to be a town by town, community by community, let's bring together as many different people as possible and actually have a face-to-face conversation and not get stuck in our little corners. >> nobody has said anything specifically about collective bargaining and i'm not sure whether anyone on the panel can actually do that. but one of the rights that is lost to undocumented workers is the right to go on to bargain collectively. to go on strike and to get back wages if your rights have been violated. the supreme court has said you don't have the right if you're here without status, but i think
it is time to wrap up. i'm going to give each of you a chance to say the burning thing that you have been waiting to say. i'll start with you, dr. pastor. >> asking an academic to say just one burning thing. labor has a couple of interests and immigration reform. one is the issue of not finding competition with workers that are exploited because they are not protected in the way that you're talking about. but the second is that undocumented work verse turned out to be quite unionizeable. they have been very big drivers in a lot of the service sector unionizeation. this is one way for the labor moverment to build itself. labor has strong interests in making sure this is successful, but we all have a bigger interest. not just the economic interest, but the moral interest.
i moved from santa cruz to los angeles about seven years ago the summer before i left santa cruz, there was a community meeting organized by some community folks. people asked for more english as a second language classes and asked for more college prep programs in the community and a mexican immigrant got up and spoke eloquently in english about why we need these things for the community to be able to move forward. i felt that night they got what they wanted and felt this was democracy in america in action just watching this happen. that night, that fellow who was the president of the p.t.a. and the owner of the business and the owner of a house and whose
daughter was a valticktorian in high school got picked up by ice and deported. it turned out he was undocumented. he was trying to regularize the situation. he got caught one a bad lawyer and the family was separated for years with the daughter in charge of three kids who he left in the united states. that is not the kind of america i want to live in. that is not the kind of america we want to be and unless we actually move forward on this comprehensive immigration reform package and make sure, ensure that citizenship, full citizenship, full engagement, full participation and democracy is a part of this process, we're not living up to either our economic potential or our moral potential. doug? for the thank you
chance to be here today. one of the things that is different is that young conservatives see this as something they want to get done. it is a very big change from 2006 and 2007 and previous it rations of this, voices like marco rubio and paul ryan are prominent in the debate and it gives me hope that we will get to the finish line in this reform. i will remind everyone that america is a shining city on the hill. it is a beacon of freedom and it is also a messy process. this is going to be a messy process. i would encourage everyone to exercise toll thrans senator mccain mentioned, but more than anything, i would encourage those who have a voice but have been quiet so far, to speak up. i think that is the difference among conservatives this time and if we continue that, i see great hope to get this through the house of representatives signed by the president of the united states.
>> jose, you get the last word. >> i guess be uncomfortable. that's probably my main message. i think we have gotten too comfortable. not challenging each other. sticking to our corners and our guts and our bullet points. so i think -- i beg of you, frankly, to try to reach across the aisle. to try to talk to people who don't agree with you. to explain why you don't agree with them and try to kind of unpack this very messy -- because people's lives are at stake and our futures are at stake and i frankly don't know how long i can keep waiting. >> ok. panel.thank this [applause] thank you all. >> the second panel. i'm the immigration editor at fusion, which is a joint venture
of abc news and univision. we're kind of at the beta stage as a didge at the network. -- digital network. there is the plug. we're targeting mill length ya'lls, young people and young hispanics as well. i would like to introduce the panel here. gaby pacheco, who is a dreamer and an activist from florida. you may have seen her before. she -- in this immigration reform movement, there have been kind of a couple of moments i guess you could stay in the last few years and gaby was at the center of one of those. she walked 1,500 miles from miami all the way to d.c. and along the way, just telling stories, telling her story and listening to people's stories and talking about this issue.
and i think it is without moments like that and with what jose has been doing as well, it is very hard to have these conversations that we need to be having. so i think that is an important thing to move this issue forward. we also have mae ngai, a professor of history and asian american studies at columbia university who has written an amazing book on immigration that i'll be honest, i started reading last night but i have made some good headway. it is called "impossible subjects." what it does is actually gets into the idea that america wasn't always regulating immigration in the way that it is doing today. and that there came a certain point when the nation began to envision itself differently and its borders differently and she breaks that down and tells us how we should look at policy moving forward and that this
isn't something that has always been the way that immigration laws work in this country. -- the have alejandro chief managing officer and managing partner for latin works based in austin, texas. they are an ad agency that targets hispanics and also has done some big contract work with companies like pepsi, anheuser-busch and also dominos. and a super bowl commercial as well, which i also watched last night. so what i would like to start things off with, because we heard the economic piece and we heard from jose about kind of the meaning of citizenship to him, i would kind of like to move more into that realm of personal conversations and what citizenship has meant personally
and why you think it is important for a broader group of people in the u.s. and gaby, you're all the way on the far side from me there. if you don't mind, maybe we'll just start off with you. what engaged you in this struggle to begin with? >> so, i wanted to have cal fs the size of melons. [laughter] so i actually got involved in this movement because i felt that people who wanted to go to college should have an ability to go to college. like it didn't make any sense to enter we are about the 21st century and myself and other individuals who were afraid to tell their stories, that i used to go around high school telling people that i didn't have papers. i don't papers. i can't go to college, and
people used to come to me with so much fear and would tell me, please, i'm going to tell you a secret. i'm going to tell you i don't have papers. and their dreams and desires to go to college were about to blow up. they were about to hit a barrier when they hit that graduation, when they receive their diploma. i thought how weird is that? that we have women who fought to be able to get an education. that we had african-americans who who were segregated and fought to have an education, and here we were again, young people who were fighting to have an education. so i got involved through that way. i felt that education was a right and that we needed to fight for that right, and then i stumbled upon a big r issue, which was immigration and when i came to the united states, i ame at the age of 8.
you turn the globe and it says equator. when i moved to miami with my family, it wasn't until i really looked at a family and saw that ecuador was a tiny country in south america and i was really far away from my family and friends. but i grew up being an american. i grew up pledging allegiance to the flag. i grew up learning english and being with my friends and playing with my neighbors. and going on trips and being part of the rotc and wanting to join the air force because i wanted to serve the nation and i wanted to get a degree and do all of these things. and i felt that once they told me i couldn't go to college, i would be deprived. not so much of people telling me you are not part of this nation.
but being deprived of my humanity and being deprived of my ability to give and be part of the country and the society that i was living in. entered feel, as we this whole idea of going on to college and realizing that you couldn't do it, did you feel there was a racial or ethnicity component to it that certain people were kind of either being targeted or affected by this and not others? >> so i think race has a lot to do with this conversation and i think we would be naive not to talk about it or just scared to have a real conversation. i have come to understand that recently, when a friend of mine told me, gaby, how can we be fighting for citizenship in the context that we have been fighting here in immigration when a young boy, who was only
17 years old, trayvon martin didn't have citizenship. it took me a while to understand that. i was puzzled. i was like what do you mean, he didn't have citizenship? and so in the broader context of citizenship and what it means, right? and what it means to us as americans as as human beings, citizenship is beyond a piece of paper. citizenship is the rights that we are given as human beings to have the opportunity to live. to have an opportunity to be engaged in our community. to have an opportunity to be seen as equal. and so for me, it has taken a while to realize the race component because i lived in miami, where you have immigrants from all over the world.
i think miami is the microcozzm of the world, and you have immigrants who look white. you have a friend who is colombian. when we were walking through the trail, he was the white token guy that we would send in first, because we were afraid and we had to test it out to see if it was ok for us to go into certain places. so we would say juan, go. go into this gas station first and tell us if it is ok. when we were in the middle, like to heart of the south. he would start a lot of conversations going -- actually when we started talking to the k.k.k.'s he went in first. he brought us in, it was just a little bit odd after that. >> you -- did you run into the k.k.k.? >> we actually wanted to have a conversation with them. we were trying to engage them.
that is prior to the d.o.j. saying oh, my gosh, what are you guys doing? stop that. they had a rallyy. before that, we were just engaging them because we wanted just to talk to them and see and understand where they were coming from and try to have a dialogue with them. yes, this has a lot to do with race. i didn't understand it then and i'm still trying to understand how race is at the heart of this debate. >> i think i would like to shift gears and hear from alejandro. you're the only naturalized itizen i believe on the panel. tell us a bit about your experience and whether, you know, as you became a citizen, whether you saw a change and kind of a difference in your life. >> the short answer is yes. a huge change. let me start by saying that my
experience is the experience of the undocumented. i went through the process that people go through, many more years ago where fear was more oppressive leapt than it is today. it is essive lant than today. we had a sister that was born in united states. we had to go through the process of going to school, always worried that we were going to get caught. i shared earlier before we started this meeting with you and a couple of other people, the fact that my parents were not unusual. i think our family was not unusual compared to other families that were in a similar situation that we were. the goal for being in the united states was opportunity.
it was about education. it was about trying to get the children in the family to move forward. i often tell of that little piece of our story when i hear about the burden that undocumented people supposedly ave on this country. so we started going to high school. my mother was told by the people at the school administration that we were all eligible for free luncheses. they were really nice free lunches. especially the dessert. my mother and my dad absolutely refused to allow us to apply for those free lunches. they were like we will make whatever we need to make and we'll give you guys something, but you're not going to be getting a free lunch, because that is not what we came here for. i would love to be able to tell you that made our family unique.
most of the people who were in our situation behaved exactly the same way. my mother, when we eventually made it to college, she wouldn't even allow us to apply for financial aid because it sounded like aid. we're not here to get aid. we're here to get opportunity. so we had to work our way through there. we had to do the jobs a lot of people had to do. i worked on the weekend at a hospital, you know, washing dishes and things like that. and so went through all of that, our entire family had to do it because we were not here for handout. the difficult part is we lived in a constant state of fear. we were worried that at any point in time we were going to get caught. there were people we knew that one family member got caught and before we knew it where is so and so? he is out. they september him
remember being 20 years old and having that constant sense of fear. applying for a job as a wary. mother wasamily her - you can do it and we can do it and we will make it. fairly in a humane way of living. everybody that talked earlier today touched on those points about the humanity piece of this entire conversation and what that's all about. am the faith -- the face of what happens after you grant someone legal status in this country. since i am here, in my particular case, i chose the path of business. i was fortunate enough to work at fairly high levels