tv The Border and 2020 Election Panel at the Texas Tribune Festival CSPAN October 1, 2019 10:04am-11:06am EDT
collectively what we ought to be doing as a society. >> i think we have a lot of issues at the federal level right now, but one we should talk a lot about his gun safety. people are interested in stronger background checks, and i think that's important. no one is interested in taking away your guns. we just want to make sure they don't get into the hands of the wrong people. and, we need stronger restrictions on automatic weapons because they are not hunting guns, they have one purpose, to kill. we need to pay strong attention to that issue. announcer: voices from the campaign trail. part of c-span's battleground states tour. announcer: next, a conversation on the how the u.s.-mexico border will impact the 2020 election. garcia, include sylvia in addition to the borders
impact on the 2020 election. they also talk about how local communities address immigration and the immigration policies of the trump administration. and, what 2020 presidential candidates have the best plan to address immigration. this is about one hour. here. congresswoman, hi. okay. there we go. technical difficulties. everyone.rnoon, thank you so much for being here this afternoon. my name is laura lopez. i'm a national political and i'm for politico, thrilled to be here at the texas festival. we're going to have a great discussion this afternoon on politics, immigration, and the 2020 presidential
election. would love to welcome our panelists. right here
next to me is garcia, a an sylvia freshman democrat from texas. her district is eastern houston. we have mayor ron -- of san ntonio, and our co-executive director of the center for new ar democracy based in york city. for those of you joining us via live stream you can also follow twitter rsation on #tribunestats19. some of the stuffer we'll be we'll discuss the impact on the aftermath of the in this ass shooting state. president trump rhetoric, his rhetoric, his use of border politics and racial identity in his re-election we're also going to cover the immigration plans
eing proposed by the democrats running for the white house,
and whether or not ruby red texas actually turn blue in 2020. and near the end, we're going to take a few questions from the audience. so please have those ready to go. i would like to start with el paso. as many of you know, a lone gunman killed 22 people that border in community and he posted a racist shooting.prior to the it declared that the attack was in response to "the hispanic of texas." president trump has also used acist language about immigrants, about lawmakers of color, and has frequently used "invasion." when describing what's going on border.outhern how has the targeting of latinos el paso impacted your community at all?
question that el paso has been ground zero for a of the cruel and inhumane policies of the administration border. bviously, my sister, who is with me, was elected to two ess, being the first latinos, elected to congress from texas. e're close friends, and i have seen her go through a lot this year. border issues, the separation of the families, and it just seems that with this it just never stops. single day.e every nd when you find out that this man drives six hours to go unting for mexicans, i mean, just think about that. actually go would and target the community and is go out and seek it out,
just the worst, most inhumane thing i have ever heard of. and parcel ofpart rhetoric e and the that this president comes with from the white house. i think you probably saw the "new york times" analysis where his put together some of words and his rhetoric from the campaign together with what was manifesto. mirror images. so i think this administration allowed that kind of hetoric, in some cases, encouraged it. when he says at a rally, if we out what should we do? someone in the crowd says shoot them. know, he just kept going. he didn't admonish them, didn't that, this an't do is america, when you've got something like that coming out of the white house, it just gets worse. so it's a tragedy.
el paso is strong. i know there are hearings. couple hearing there a of weeks ago. we met with a lot of people there in el paso. going through a lot. they are going through a lot just like so many other across this country that have been victimized by shooters. this one is different. targeted, targeted immigrants and latinos. >> i can't say enough about it. this toxic political climate, targeting in el paso created heightened fear in your community? how is that manifesting there? >> yes. and thank you again for having me on the panel. here has been, there has been incredible amount of frustration on d about lack of action matters of immigration but
certainly of how we deal with in our in general communities. i would say that it's been in many ways to the conversation about ending gun community to the local here you're seeing governments now take action to urge their counterparts at the and federal level to go beyond what they have done in of gun emory on issues violence. but the conversation now about the direct line that you can between the rhetoric and the highest office of this premeditated murders that you've seen in el paso has been too hard for ignore any longer and it's becoming part of the conversation about how we move a number reforms on of these issues. >> i would like to hear your as a nonelected on whether or not you're seeing atinos or other demographic groups react by taking political
tragedies esponse to like el paso or other issues community? >> first, i went to start by surprised that we're seeing violence that's hateful rhetoric coming out of the administration. the fact is that president trump made from day one of his rhetoricanti-immigrant the centerpiece of his political program and he's done it not talking about building the wall but by telegraphing to people outside the country that invasion, and using that is extremely to get -- incite fear in people. alking about an invasion is away of inciting fear, wfg the country,at are in this "atlantis" in this country and eople who are arriving at the
borders as criminals, as nimals, as rapists, is both language that serves to and advance ople policies that are dehumanizing like the separation of families border, but also, it's -- it's that evokes evokes some of the kind of core sentiment that has justified racial violence in country against black people. so when trump says the people in caravan are mostly men, he's ous rapists what saying is they are cupping for our women and we must protect women. therefore, it's okay to not say america, we don't shoot people who are different. telegraphing language that
actually, reason -- for decades, for hundreds of years. it's a very intentional ppeal to a core, kind of the centerpiece of american politics has, you know, justified, entrenched some of the grace hat is we have in our institutions, that we have in our political system. every time that my community s under attack, people react with both a combination of fear and like urgent act initiative protect each other. and so, people under attack, trump, are both trying to overcome the terrible fear -- by targeted and mess each other up by saying things what dream verse been saying over the few years, which is, i am undocumented, i am unapologetic,
stay.here to this place is my home and kind of highlighting, we could have olicies that dehumanize but actually our ability to remain and our dignity and de human belongs to us. that is the essence of our movement. >> so despite the fear that you ay the community is feeling or that "atlantis" are feeling, you politically ming active, more saying that they despite the vote fact that they feel attacked based on incidents like el paso rhetoric coming out of the white house? >> i think people are both, we'll have elections, right? we had elections in november and e saw the level of participation of young people, of communities of color, and the ways in which those young women in communities of color, ushered in a new very diverse, s the most female congress, very progressive. seeing some demonstrations
also, political activism is not just voting. it's showing up for rallies. trump een under the administration, "atlantis" and in this country, who feels repulsed by the separation by the deaths of people at the board. hey show up to do massive demonstrations, to really -- ecause we're exposed to the ugliness and the brutality of immigration enforcement system, eople aren't able to ignore it anymore, and so it's not just are under attack, who know about the brutality, images of s seen the children crying because they are separated from their families who have heard the cries of children, who say, well, we can't really ignore this. we have to show up. >> did you want -- yeah, i wanted to add, i in houston, st we've seen an increase of people
attending rallies. i remember one that we did for act, and a number of other issues, we were in the at noon in e heat houston, and it was massive people.of we went to one where we were doing a rally against the a detention center. marched.in, we i think the next time it snows in houston we'll march in the snow is, people are upset, and in some way it -- it's helped us organize. the fear is still there. a little more eightened, this is a fear of your your life. being a target, it's a different reality. it's going to help get people energized, organize,
get people to vote because quite frankly, if you want to et even, if you want to get even this will be your next shot, in the next election so e're telling everyone get involved. whether it's with your group assistance, ousing or your group organizing against increases, or against --- -- it's a way for even.o get we should go throughout and do it. election,out the next the immigration plan specifically that we've seen come out from the democratic seeking the presidency, seeking the nomination to take on trump, for of the candidates including bernie sanders and elizabeth warren, they have followed the lead of castro in calling for the de of border tion of the crossings.
laws on the books that would allow prosecution of undocumented immigrants. to ask you, congresswoman, do you support that proposal? i would like all of to you answer? do quite simply. eople forget that immigration law is really civil. he criminalization and what trump has done to not only criminal lies immigration but border, is rize the shameful. i'm not suggesting that we need to do away with everything but get a ly need to just white board and put down everything that's good about hat's happening with ice, everything that's happening that's bad and the third column would we like t to see? be reshaped eds to and redone. i support abolishing ice. hat it's doing today is not what it was intended to do, and for become, in my view,
cruel and inhumane with the policies that are in place. got to do so ve much to make sure that the erson at the white house changes, so hopefully the policies will change. >> mayor, do you support that well?al as >> i do. and i think if you look across he country on this conversation, it's been moved significantly forward by bringing up this issue, about criminal should be a offense or a civil offense to cross the border illegally. people say that most would agree it would be a sad day in america if it's a crime to look for a job and that's happening at at's the border is you have people coming fleeing violence, fleeing economic hardship, looking for a better life for families, and it's now become the cause of the trial ion in our federal courts when, for years, the had ial system at least discretion, but now that you're seeing sort of the mandate to
crossings as criminal offenses, you're seeing a reakdown of the very immigration system that was at least somehow moving people into asylum process as well. of making border crossing a criminal offense is punished en has to be by the criminal justice system. as a , when we treat it civil offense people are still crossing the border, it's still not goingbut they are for, who sh in jail knows how long. without access to their families but the criminalization of order crossing has made it to ible for trump -- institute the policies that promote such a powerful rejection, promoting the families. to institute the
in jail put children under criminal law. thankful for the castro has hat demonstrated, because for a long away emocrats have run from talking about immigration at the federal level. in presidential elections, and by running away, essentially conceded a ot that allowed the other side to define the vision, and so he has really helped, in many ways, like kind of speaking from the ovement that precedes these elections, the incredible demonstration that is we saw the leadership of, of people inside ongress saying we support believe g ice, and we in a more humane immigration
system. shaping the debate, and finally llowing democrats who are running for president to actually speak to a vision that's ore humane and about a country that welcomes people here. >> i want to get in on what you a bit of a here is disconnect sometimes between the movement and the base, and then elected officials, and so ecause you all agree with castro on that proposal, but the current frontrunner, joe biden disagrees. that.es not support former obama secretary -- johnson disagrees with him. actually in an op ed that de criminalization would give an easy attack line to the g.o.p. president trump and his campaign ave already attacked the democrats based on open borders. so the question i have
come there danger there, election time, or is it this way, as you'rect suggesting, for you guys to go and st conventional wisdom aggressively talk about immigration? >> well, i think what -- instead of talking about tag lines and doing the right thing you're in the wrong business. on the bible nd and say we're going to do for country, and when we do that, in the constitution, we everybody. you've got to remember that some coming over have committed no crime. did law doesn't say if you come nd seek asylum and you cross the board you should be a criminal. lot of people come over. they may have long documentation. the may come over with right visa and overstay. in fact, they are more people
airport on the overstated visas than there is coming through the southern board. reality is, we shouldn't be calling them criminals in the first place and we should never calling them illegal aliens. in my view, aliens are the green mars that we read about in the comic strips. me, we shouldn't get away from it. onshould embrace it and work it, because that's part of who we are as a party. standing for all americans and justice for all. when we say all, it should be all, and that includes people that come across the border. think the danger s in being dishonest about the impact of immigration on the united states, and the united tates economy, and the contributions that people who are coming over the border have but to our communities holy also to the national economy. we have a labor shortage in the
united states right now. we have more jobs than there are people to fill them. recognize at the highest levels the impact that immigrants are contributing to the state, federal and local level. is to use the r about criminal penalty versus civil penalty as a proxy for solving immigration. there are other solution that is to be looking toward for a comprehensive package that these issues. things like do we need to get serious? and when will we get serious about a pathway to citizenship for people who are here and undocumented? he solution that have been offered so these issues. things far by this have been without kinds of wards those conversations. the leading f candidates, have not released
and they n plans yet could potentially be one of those could be facing trump who makes 2020 very much about about then, very much border, because building a board all was one of his major campaign proposals. so is that a problem? s that a mistake by those candidates to not be more forceful addressing immigration or do they have enough time? >> it's a problem. begs the question of why not? why not if they have put out on other really important issues in our country, and if going to face a president that has made one of his core issues, and kind of the political of his program. how are they going to respond to that if they don't have a plan they don't do the work to
and to getheir plan, people to understand and to get people to own it with them. that's the danger. and i'm not surprised that biden that ing, you know, and johnson is saying what they were obama policies signed. obama was the chief. as much as we love him, truth is immigrants, obama only delivered the enforcement enforcement part -- the comprehensive immigration program, he did do daca, after eight years, or seven years of a lot of pressure. he tried to do daca, and -- >> the dream act. daca. did it just didn't get through.
we've got to make sure we're being fair. there were more deportations under any than previous president but i do some and i think the vice president, the vice against the separation of children. good lso been really about, you know, wanting to restate daca. else, you w what know -- i don't know his position on the particular question. there is more he could do, some of the policies that you supported, like doing away with ice and saying we need to agency.t an enforcement is, bide isn'ting till using the old framework that was different. that framework, those policies more the way for enforcement, expanded the thatcement system in a way as been really harmful to
people, and didn't present a different vision. we don't have a different vision we can't expect to have a different immigration system. sanders have to put out a plan. sanders has says things like he do, he'll do a moratorium on deportation. tos said things like we need use our resources differently, inhumane enforcement at the border. so he hasn't put out a plan but spoken to a different vision. the truth is that for people organizing and building a movement that will have an expression, lack of a plan speaks -- it's not like we don't see it. a message to nds addressed.ds to be >> reinstating the aid that we give to the triangle countries. think that was one of the
worst mistakes that trump has done, because all it does is ring more people across the border. the things that help people. >> you're talking about the triangle. >> right. so, and those that the vice president does favor doing that [inaudible] you're right it's about the work force. it's about the dollars to this economy in a lot of the southwest. i know when the president talks mexican tting down the we were talking about the terrorists being upset about it, they just kind of went like, what? do that. they can't. >> that's right. >> is there any candidate in is sending out to any one of the leading andidates, i know castro has pushed this conversation but he's still in the single digits n polling, is there any candidate who is standing out to
immigration? >> i'll be perfectly candid with you. i've been so y -- busy between judiciary and everything, the challenges we some of the work we're doing at financial workces with our oversight on trump finances, that i went but except for the questions -- it doesn't get talked about enough. it just doesn't. really don't know what for.body is pushing i know vice president biden, because i had a conversation houston when he visited prior to the debate. but i don't know enough about others. the i know that elizabeth warren and la harris both have talked about have talked about abolishing ice. beyond that -- >> do you plan on endorsing anyone soon? >> probably not. mean, i really am busy.
>> couldn't tell. >> it's going to get busier when we get back. it's still too to be and i've got perfectly honest. if there are any bernie people n the crowd, it won't be bernie. i still see him as an independent who just uses the when it's party convene to get the nomination so he's off my list. single us about being in digits. 2019, and a lot could happen, and castro has moved this conversation forward. at least within the democratic where it's e point become now leading conversation. the issue of immigration and on icular solutions immigration have been leading on now for a few ge months. and several of the leading
candidates have adopted his position. so there is a role for this kind of debate and really pushing of the envelope to really make honest about what the current policies have produced, and i applaud him for it. i think he's done a great job. y'all should applause. [applause] bit to more turn a of the policies, trump's crackdown along the border that dramatically affected migrants. of september 1, some 42,000 have been september back to mexico to await decisions on their asylum claims and more been 00,000 families have arrested at the border between october 2018 and august 2019. political co-analysis found arrests border patrol continue with a three-month drop n august with approximately 51,000 migrants arrested.
the slowdown at the border is expected that trump is to heavily campaign on. mark it as a victory, a check heading into re-election. but, ron, i want to ask you, fixed the rootit cause of the immigration crisis, doing?g that he's been out of sight, out of mind, just across the border and can you talk a little bit about the those policies have had on san antonio? i would say it hasn't solved the root causes in the slightest. you know, again, you have people, families mostly, with oung children, coming to the border seeking refuge from seeking job opportunities to help with their families back at home. seeking to contribute to our country. and when they get here, they are cases, very some inhumanely. those numbers have started to slow down because i think there fear that's
developed within communities what's going to happen when they reach the border. i'll tell you the impact it had in communities like ours in san antonio. hroughout starting probably in march, even through what's goin when today, we've hundreds of migrants, mostly families, literally just dropped off in the center of san antonio, with our community having to figure out what to do. what we did was we s of migrany opened an old abandoned be efront which happened to next to the bus station as a processing center for migrants over, and we g gathered up volunteers from all over the community, the faith-based communities, san antonio food bank, unifaith welcome coalition, a constellation of well-meaning citizens, who anted to do something to help we can be at compassionate as our country figures out a way through this crisis. we haven't really counted number
i can tell you e've processed 32,000 plus asylum seekers. a hundred m almost thousand meals. to stayprovided a place for at least a night for 22,000 igrants and we've sought reimbursement for a portion of that. but it continues even to this day. butnumbers have dropped off our approach is, that we're not going to ask you for your papers, we're going to ask you how we can help. >> the numbers have dropped off ecause of the push by the administration to either immediately send migrants back o mexico or to have them wait there? is that -- >> yeah. criminalization of what's happening has certainly dropped the numbers, you know. here is not a whole lot of transparency with what's happening at the border so i couldn't give you a definite this, but the numbers have dropped off. of course, we saw them drop off
a previous inflow back in 2014. naccompanied minors and so forth. but we're ready. the numbers have dropped off, ut we've been told to be ready at any point, because those numbers could come back up again. >> you've been told by the by federal on or officers? >> we've been told by everyone n the refugee space, as -- liisle asylum space. impeachment has dominated the headlines this last week and everyone going on, n the hill but also this past week there were reports that the administration wants to charge $1,000 to peelly their deportation cases, up from $110 that they previously would have had to pay and the white announced the end of catch and release, requiring pretty much now requiring people to stay in mexico until their
cases are heard. o you expect to feel the impacts of these in houston, on so far has it been like the ground in your district? >> i can tell you any time in hing happens, we feel it the district. you know, the remain in mexico got people, you know, ants, uncles, relatives, waiting for ouston word. the separation, we got calls uncles about, you know, what's happening to my niece. happening to my grandchild? so yes, everything that happens, it, especially in my district, because we've got 71 77% latino population and a citizen.s not so we feel no matter what it could just with be -- deportation down the deportation in los
angeles but the fear starts, what this administration is doing, they are doing everything to instill fear and to deterrent.k as a that's what it's about and sending them back to mexico and saying, no, you must apply it's just an additional burden for mexico. of course, the concern is, the lawyers still can't talk families and represent them. about the rned conditions of the facilities in exico, so i don't want to see us have to replicate our efforts to ensure that the people that being held in mexico are treated with dignity just like about it here, but there is so much going on. -- to a bill to make prohibit them from shackling pregnant women. that ladies. that i would have to file a bill
to stop ice from shackling women.t just the fact that we have to do it is insane. but that's what they are doing. pregnant hackling women, that they think are getting, i guess, postpartum or -- some of the symptoms that women go through but that's not the way to handle someone has medical needs. they shackle the 18-year-old immediately after they finish at to put themn center into the detention center. they have committed no crime. they are just 18 years old. so there are so many things that are going on that it's just time we read a different report and there has oig reports that have talked about the deplorable conditions. lack of hygiene. lack of medical needs. screenings. it. name people are treated very, very badly. another announcement this is,k that i want to touch on
policies have been very focused on changing legal immigration. this one is about the refugee program. so the administration said that to flash the american refugee program by almost -- slash the american refugee by almost half. ccepting refugees, white house says it will accept 18,000 next year, down from the current of the nd a fraction 110,000 that the obama administration said they think have been accepted in 2016 in his last year. the ou talk a bit about human impact of that, and you very closely with immigration communities. expect to come from that. > the people who are seeking asylum are escaping war, fourth most part. trying to stay alive. and find a place where they can
basic measure of safety. and survive. this is not aying that place. don't look to us for massure of your country is at war. we have an opportunity now to decide through the election, we are -- is this who we want to be, do we want to be country where people can't find refuge from war. from natural disasters. it's very coherent ith his rhetoric and with the policy program, that he's been from sively implementing the beginning. he started five days, seven days his administration, trying o impose a ban on migration from muslim nations. the muslim ban september on
anuary 27, seven days after he started in office, soon after he and the roll back daca courts have protected people abuses.s worst he has tried to end -- tried to wall at the border. separated thousands of children families. e's changing the way that people can come to this country legally. up tothink all of it adds country that e doesn't include us. we have the n that opportunity to reject forcefully i t year, and i hope, believe, that people in this country have both the ability to and find ch other common ground, and see themselves in each other's faces, and i believe that people
will tand that parents make tremendous sacrifices for their children, even if that like risking their own lives crossing a border or crossing the ocean to try to get to a place of safety. and i hope, my hope is that will kind of listen to that ability to connect with other and that shared experience that we have. we all have, which is, we love and we le that we love would do whatever is necessary to keep them safe. hope that people turn out next year thinking, i want to build a act ry where all of us can like that and we can be a country where we can take care of ach other in moments someone ether it is seeking refuge or having a crisis here. >> i also want to ask you, do u.s. has a at the responsibility to take in more refugees? absolutely think we have a
responsibility. e see the rest of the world contributing to what's become a global migrant crisis, contributing in meaningful ways. san antonio like many other texas cities, for years, had a n receiving disproportionate share of refugees, in the office of refugee resettlement programs and it was a measure of pride did that. we got very efficient working with catholic charities, a nonprofits that would help integrate people coming into our country who quite often degrees, who had technical enter the ho would work force and contribute in our ficant ways to communities. and as its peak i believe it was like 110,000, maybe about four five years ago, it's been scaled back immediately, and the new administration was cut in half and now it's cut to 18,000. values think about the become ca, and it's
rite to say we're nation of immigrants. can you think of anything more unamerican than to tell a seeking a better life in america to say you're welcomed. you can't come here? >> so i thank you all. a few to open it up for questions from the audience. after that we'll get to whether can actually turn blue. anyone has questions, please stand up, raise your hand, and we'll get to you. oh, yes, all the way down there. >> thank you for this interesting discussion. i'm from germany. do you hear me? >> yes, weekend. interested,e because i am here to research
sanctuary city policies, and it seems like cities are standing up and taking action about immigration in their own hands. and also speaking out against the current government. this is taking the edge off the federal government actions against immigration, or is it just a band-aid on a wound that has to be healed in another way? thank you. did you want someone to address it specifically? >> i would be interested in what the mayor and congresswoman have to say. >> the rhetoric around sanctuary cities, particularly in texas, has become a political football. we are not going to use local law enforcement resources to do the job the federal government cannot do. we have dotted, -- have adopted a position that has reduced crime, improved
quality of life and help integrate communities quite well -- helped integrate immigrants into our communities quite well for a couple of years. >> i have never seen a definition of a sanctuary city. sanctuary city is like the mayor suggested, a city that welcome people, that doesn't racially profile, city that doesn't put jail, where ice officers are there with the sheriffs department working together and essentially making police officers ice agents. ins a city that believes dignity and respect in the values of this country we have a lot of sanctuary cities. but the reality is, we do the the cities will survive and our country will survive. and i am just glad and heartened by the fact the mayor and other
mayors around this state have not succumbed to pressure to do anything different, because by and large, for me, i'm a person of faith, i believe we are all god's children and we should welcome people and not build walls. question?her >> i just came from dubai. i was there for almost three years, so i get the immigrant thing. it is two parts, one question is, do we have asylum for people
because there are some people who would gladly go home? and number two, as far as the african-american community, and i'm not a voice for the irican-american community, have a lot of people from all demographics, different but i thinks,, african-americans and more immigrants would get behind the border issues, but sometimes they come here and they treat african-americans and other minorities so bad, and the comments that they say, like that imported racism. ,e have to address that too because my time in dubai, it was called being a nice visitor. i think we should have open borders, but you have to treat
all the american citizens with respect. and i think a lot of other people of made it harder for people trying to get over here. host: thank you. [applause] would you like to address the asylum question, mayor? i'm sorry. could you repeat your first question about asylum? >> is there a possibility they are going to offer asylum, because there are so many people stuck in traffic and other things, that are really trying to get out of america and go home or go to a safer place. is anybody advocating for asylum? they are in prison. for people to go home? other than america? >> yes. if you were to get on a plane
and just land somewhere, they wouldn't be subjected to that, they would be told to go back. so that is just meant for the southern border. there is nothing about that for people that, through airports or by shipper through the canadian border, so yes, asylum-seekers can still come to our country. they are being processed. the biggest problem is there is a logjam in the process, there are not enough caseworkers, ande are not enough judges, when you look at funding for the taken $3.6, he has billion from the military. he said mexico would pay for it, military,the including dollars to a facility in san antonio and at fort bliss. and he has also taken dollars from the department of homeland security and reprogrammed them.
that hurts everybody that works and support services. yes, the asylum-seekers can still come, but it is taking a long time to get them processed. quotas.s lowering the host: so some of the money was taken from a project in san antonio? >> from joint base san antonio. host: and some was taken from fema? >> fema was about $350 million. >> there were 120 seven military projects that were reduced because of the border wall. these are essential defense projects within defense installations that are now being scuttled for who knows how long, because of aver, vain attempt to build a wall at the border. host: do we have additional questions? i worked for the legislature last session.
for senator jose menendez of san antonio. i'm curious about what level of government you are able to be most productive in border issues and immigration, city level, state-level level, or federal? host: or advocacy. who wants to take that? senator, ias a state thought texas was spending too border security that the lieutenant governor and governor has been focused on. budget is about $150 million, more or less. troopers down there, they did a number of things, and all they are doing is issuing more traffic tickets, last time i looked. drones,o have some boats, a couple of helicopters,,
and they track what the federal government is doing. so i don't know how many layers we need, but i think it is a federal responsibility. i said that when i was a senator, i say that now to members of congress, that 350 million dollars the state of texas is spending on border security could go to better schools, pay raises for teachers, and the federal government needs to do a better sensibleving a humane, immigration process. host: do you feel more effective now as a member of congress versus when you were in the state legislature? >> remember we already passed the dream promise act in the congress. we passed a bill that set standards for medical, humanitarian needs at the detention centers. we passed a bill this week on
complaints, and we passed a bill for medical record-keeping. these are all good things. they arehem, but sitting on mcconnell's desk in the senate. we are getting things done, however, i'm not a u.s. senator. we need to talk to cornyn and cruz. we have become at the local level quite proficient in providing humanitarian relief, humanitarian solutions for the prolific amount of problems the state and federal level have created for us here in texas. [applause] garcia: and they should get reimbursed. >> send them an invoice. theicy --eral
kinds of things like, make sure the government can communicate in different languages, make sure people feel safe going to city agencies, make sure public schools are prepared to support children who are migrating onto are themselves. there are lots and lots of things. decided to have grant driver's licenses to people who have different immigration status. many states have decided to make -- decided education can be can bele available to undocumented youths. there is a wide spectrum of policies people can do to signal
to people that this is their home, they are welcome, they don't need to be invisible, they are part of the fabric and a welcome part of our society. host: i want to get to texas it texas itself, because democrats have long fantasized about changing texas to be democratic state wide, and it has not happened. a handful of house seats flipped the last cycle from red to blue, and beto o'rourke came close to ousting senator ted cruz. they are targeting even more house seats this cycle, five. a sizable number in texas are trying to do what they did in california this time. is it realistic, congresswoman? senator gardner -- congresswoman garcia: it is certainly possible. we are doing a lot of work here in texas in terms of getting
more members to congress. good chance,eally including one here in the area. and the texas house has targeted 10 to 12 to help flip, so there is a lot of effort and we have finally gotten the attention of the national fundraising dollars, and i think it is going to be doable, not this time, but next time. so it won't go blue in 2020? garcia: it is a possibility, because trump is really, really doing a lot of damage to the republican party here in texas. and if people get out there, and if you want to get even, organize or agonize and get out there and register voters and make sure they vote, organize, organize, organize.
we can do it. host: mayer, do you think texas is in play? >> i don't know the answer in terms of this cycle, but what is inarguable is it has become more competitive, and that is good thing. the number of republicans who have left because they believe or have said the republican party has left them, should be a cause of concern to the republican party. what is evident is that many more districts have become competitive. that should be the goal we all have come a republican or democrat, that we have a robust turnout and robust civic discussion around ideas, and they become competitive districts in as many parts as possible. have you seen participation changing? has the organization of
democrats changed? large amountnt a on digital ads in texas already. democrats tend to be outplayed on those fronts, so do you think they are doing enough to address that? a as someone who works for national organization of community organizers across the country, we are looking to texas to learn from you. because there are community organizations hear that a very strategic about turning texas blue eye building long-term engagement of black and brown communities, starting in urban areas. the texas organizing project as that they haven implemented in a very disciplined way to make sure that every cycle is used as an opportunity to get latinos and african-americans and other communities to feel like
democracy works for them. so they are not just talking about the candidates on the table, but the issues people care about, and engaging people in the course of the whole year, not just election day. that program has increased electoral participation of black and round -- black and brown folks in major urban areas of texas, and has really contributed to this shift. when the country was looking at beto last time, when didn't make it, the organizations here said, we really did a good job turning out in the election showed our communities are re-engaging with democracy, and believing it is possible to make it deliver for us. we are looking to texas to learn. ♪ host: thank you, everyone.
that is all the time we have. thank you to the texas tribune festival. we are going to take a short right, but at 4:30, our last conversation of the day is on agriculture in the modern world. please come back. thank you so much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]