tv Suketu Mehta This Land Is Our Land CSPAN July 28, 2019 10:56am-12:02pm EDT
>> again welcome to the bookshop. thanks so much for coming to wear so excited to have our guest this evening. quick bit of housekeeping before we get started. as has been demonstrated the train will be roaring by threats we ask everyone to silence their cell phones so there's only one incredibly intrusive noise interfering. so sorry. if you like your more about our events this summer you can sign
up for a newsletter by the cash register. a few more things. 50% of all of our sales will be donated to immigrant comes together. yesterday was a one year anniversary, excited, congratulations. [applause] and later in the q&a portion make sure to speak into the mic so people can hear you. so our guest this evening, suketu mehta the the author of "this land is our land: an immigrant's manifesto" ." his work has appeared in the new yorker, the new york times magazine, national geographic, harpers, time and g2. he has won a guggenheim fellowship, the writers writing award and an o henry writing price. he was born in calcutta and lives in new york city ways a professor at new york university. julie clawson is a former bilingual social work at a
writer/journalist whose work is of it in the print and online magazines including national geographic traveler, outside, i took american, discover, latina, the guardian and times. the five immigrant families together she works with attorneys and advocacy groups to identify when eligible for release from ice detention facility can post the bond and manages media relations. everyone, could you please join in welcoming suketu mehta and julie collazo. [applause] >> thank you very much. so he does not know this but we have something else in common besides being writers are interested emigration. you and i believe are the only to like people from the united states who have read our books in havana, cuba, which is cuba's only english-language bookstore run by my friend connor. so, yes. [applause] >> fantastic bookstore. >> i highly recommend if you ever go. it has coffee and a source of
revolution and interesting stories. and first i wanted to say when i read your book i could not put down the book or the pen i help them enhance the entire time i was reading it and i had not underlined so much of the book since i had read burst of light collection of essays that i i wanted to give us to as a gift. >> thank you. >> while many of the essays written in the 60s or 70s, clearly these are themes that are still very relevant and important today. there so much to talk about and i think this book is extremely powerful. what i want to suggest is i have a lot of questions that i think will resident properly with all of us who are here interested in this topic. and we'll make since you whether you read the book or not yet come and certainly you want to read a couple sections as well, something about the meatball wars.
definitely we want to open up and have a conversation with all of you. this is not my computer, this is not my state solely. i want to make sure we're time to talk with everybody. i think they're so much going on that, this conversation is really important and special right now. without further ado. one of the themes in your book for me is about how much of our language around immigration is, for lack of a better word, completely mic up -- [bleep] up. i would love if we could use as a point of departure for our conversation because i feel like it really quite literally frames everything historically and also the tapping in terms of how we think about immigration records of what our critical views are. >> that's a great question, and thank you. i'm honored to be sharing a
stage, or chair with you. it's all right that the conversation around immigration, language matters to you and i are both writers, storytellers. i began writing fiction and then i've written about books about, reading a book about newark city for the last ten years, but i felt like to put that aside for a while and respond to this emergency. i'm an immigrant to many of you in this room are immigrants. in the united states today the most powerful person in the country thinks of us as less than human. he's compared immigrants to vomit. he's called the country that many of us come from should all countries. he's called us robbers and rapists. it's not just in the united
states. around the world there's a group of strongmen, like in hungry, brazil, the philippines, erdogan in turkey, modi in india. who have come to power by demonizing the other, by referring to migrants as invaders, as people who come to these countries to take. a populist as nothing but a gifted storyteller kept her hand it to these guys. they tell false stories well. and the only way to fight them is to tell the truth better. and the true story is kind of indisputable. people move across the world and make the countries that the go to better. immigrants have lower crime rates than the nativeborn and they work harder and longer, and
these country that the move to would be crude. that's basically what -- that's the message i want to convey in this book, about, very much tied to language. most migrants, etymology is destiny. like at a border when asked what are you, a difference between refugee or migrant or economic migrant, you know, , can mean literally the difference between life and death it's only very recently that human beings have that you classify themselves according to these categories but most of human history we have moved across the planet. there have been any borders. the whole convoluted superstructure is only as recently as the early 20th
century. it's been a blip in human history. we've got to fight the bad language with the good link the true language. >> when would we think about le related to immigration, particularly in the borderlands of the us and mexico, for example, how do we make words that are maybe not assessable to somebody who is not up to the eyeballs in the subject everyday more accessible? some of these words among those of us here have come up to take on a particular charge. the dog pound. how do we reclaim some words and either making meaningful for people who may not have access to the meaning, or sort of shake us out of this numbness may be
that we've come to hear certain words again and again and they have been rendered meaningless as a result? >> let's take the biggest word of all, illegals. how can a human being be illegal? but this is what 12 million people in this country have been classified, i mean branded. it's kind of branding. the idea that human being is outside the law, that he is less than legal. i call migrants in my book another word or phrase. i call them ordinary heroes. because my book as all these people move across writers, central american migrants moving to the united states or african migrants trying to get into europe, being among them. and i've spoken to them and i've gotten to know them. do you know what they are? they are nothing less than ordinary heroes. why?
because there willing to do anything, make any sacrifice to ensure a better life for the children, and it's breathtakingly moving. out the one story from a book. i met a 23-year-old honduran-year-old honduran mother at the woman shelter. she made this incredibly journey for motown and hunters. she lacked her family. one day her husband happen to see him he was a bystander andy witnessed a murder and had to flee for his life. the gains came to her home and said basically they would take her little boy in payment for her husband fleeing. we will come for now or we will come for later when he has grown up. so she immediately took the next
bus north. she's going to claim asylum, which by international companies that the united states has signed, she is entitled to because she had a well-founded fear of persecution. this is at the height of the comma separation crisis last year where we shamed shame ours a nation by snatching crying babies from the arms of their mothers. and i said, you're going to claim asylum which have right to do so, but you know that they might take your baby away from you. she had this angelic 18 month old baby who was in her lap, a beautiful child. and she started crying and she said, yes, i know but this is what a mothers love is. i would rather never seem again and know the estate somewhere then have to put him six feet below the ground in the box back
from a come from. she is an ordinary you. she's willing to do anything to ensure safety for her child. it's about language. >> there's another word. which is undocumented people when the family so detained in immigration detention since come out of detention and someone post bond for the is i.c.e. retains their passport or national id or whatever identity paperwork they brought with them. it restricts restriction movem. then you have this whole stack of paperwork that put you on another piece of paper called a secure flight list. it's true, you walk around.
a lot of the language about immigration is also very imprecise. i'm very interested in, you and i were talking earlier about how we reclaim words, how we reclaim narratives but also who gets to tell narratives. i'm wonder if we can talk more about the ordinary heroes you've met and how they share the stories and what kinds of spaces they share their stories and what we talk about which was about the agency, iq has the right to tell a story and what do they tell it? >> absolutely. i am an immigrant myself. i came from bombay to jackson height in the south asian community. when i was 14. i can speak to the immigrant experience but i didn't come as a political refugee.
i am trained not just as a storyteller but as a listener. doing this for a long time i know how to go to people and listen with empathy. one of the stories in my book is a little family from the country of guinea in africa. i met them, and a mother, fathd newborn child and that you're on moroccan coast. they were going to take their little baby and try to cross the mediterranee. they showed me they can about their going to do this on. there was a little, not even a lifeboat, like a little plastic dini, the kind children used to play on the beach. i feared for the life and i feared for the baby because
they're going to drag this boat to keep them quiet by their teaching them to the beach on the journey. i told them highly dangerous thing to do. and i got to know their story. they had fled guinea because there was no life possible there. then i spoke to them for days. i hung out with them in their little room that they lived in. i walked around the city with them and they listened. and then i went into the history of guinea. that's also very important because they have the story but it's important to put the store in context. why are they leaving guinea? i came across these -- dini is not a poor country.
it's rich in mineral resources but there's an american hedge fund which controls most of the bauxite in guinea. after this i was sued by the fcc and the justice department and had to pay tens of millions of dollars in fines for practices in africa. not to the guineans but to the americans and the justice department. >> that was billion, right? >> billion. but being the head of a hedge fund, he didn't nestled have to move out of his previous residence which only cost a mere $100 million which was just down the road.
michael cohen bought a 900-acre english estate and countryside. what i i can do is connect thee stories. this samatha told me, they're both both educated, willing to work. there are going to work at any job they could in europe, and they did it because not only did they not have a future in guinea but the child had no possible future in guinea. so who stole their future? the hedge fund. the for the i connected through, because i'm a journalist, to the larger picture beyond just guinea, so 40% of the multinational profits in the world are immunity moved to tax havens. so most of the money is not taxed in africa. it's shifted to all kinds of
financial shenanigans to places like the cayman islands and the city of london where the multinational corporations and going to places like africa, great for the stretch, we provide jobs, we pay taxes. most of the tax man is without and most of the benefits of this kind of corporate colonialism which is why i call it go to a small group of the local elite. >> i think that's a really nice segue to the opening part of your book in which your grandfather, right, is in london and a white londoner comes up to a man says can what are you doing here? your grandfather very small pieces, we are here because you were there. i just want to pass that along
to everybody. that is become their new motto. guinea i think is one of hundreds of examples around the world. you also talk about the world is not a pipe. there's not some sort of finiteness to what we have available to us, it's about how it gets distributed. you talk so much in the book about so many different kinds of folks and cultures who are not moving across the planet because they were there, because someone else's are taking from them what was theirs. beside that characteristic of corporate colonialism what of the other trained you see that are forcing the folks you've met, all these or heroes, to flee or to seek a light summer else? >> there are four identified in the book. the first is colonialism. as my grandfather said to that
man and why are you here? about your country? you came to my country. you utah, gold and diamonds so e are the creditors. we've come to collect. the figures about colonialism are just staggering. during closing europe's share of gdp increased from 20% to 60%. when i wander around europe, it's a beautiful cathedrals and opera houses, the spouses can i said that's actually my house. i should have a room in there because it's my money. so that's the first. the second is when the colonialists left, you know, imperial crown might have moved on but they let the corporations behind to continue raiding and looting. that's what i described in the corporate colonialism section. and if you go to any small african country and you see, go to the local hilton or sheraton, it would be a group of local
elites, the general order, president for life, huddling with two or three white guys in suits plotting how to divvy up the countries spoils. the third is war. we the united states launched an illegal and unnecessary war in iraq under false pretenses. 600,000 iraqis lost their lives as a result and set office conflagration. if there is any justice, and 900, -- [inaudible] we cause people to move because of the wars that we engage in, and also when the colonial powers left, they divide up the former colonies entirely
infeasible maps that ensured constant conflict between these people. when britain left india after two or jews of rolling and exploiting it, and they exploded by pitting muslims and hindus against each other. but when they left they brought in an english barrister who would never been to india and gave him six weeks to draw two lines down the map where around 2 billion people now live in have to bear the consequences of those two lines which now divide india, pakistan and bangladesh. i've been to the spores in south asia. there were people in pakistan and india would did know which side of those lines they would be until days after independence. most massive ethnic cleansing made by bad mapmaking pick the french and a british went in
there and the french and british together made 40% of all the board's in the world. they put these lines directly through tribal territory, so all the small scale conflict you about in africa, they are about tribes trying to regather themselves over these colonial made maps. guns, that's another massively in which we cause people to migrate. during the nicaraguan conflict, the united states put in 1.8 million guns in honduras to arm the contras. 75% of the guns in mexico come from the united states. 98% of the guns in the bahamas come from the united states. we arm these countries where basically it's a civil war happening. we arm their militaries.
and, in fact, actually export our militia. if you look at these games, ms-13 and these terror gangs that trump and steve miller are so fond of, or declaring a threat to us, the actually came from the presence of los angeles of california when we entered our prisons and sent the most hardened criminals can we do for them to these countries. they had no capacity to take them. these are people often been, come here as children and can know how to make a living in the northern trying to countries. they form these militias and our arm but our and then we sold the product -- we bought the product they had to offer, the only product left, which was drugs that's the 13. and the fourth and potentially the biggest rival of migration is going to be climate change. you think 4 million civilians are thinking refugee in germany
as a problem now? what if bangladesh gets flooded or 400 million bangladeshis have defined dryland? where will they go? the study on climate change, it's incredible. 2050, anywhere from 200 million to 1 billion people are going to be displaced by climate change. plan that is home to 650 million people now is going to be underwater by the middle of the century. and one-third of the earth will be home to 1.5 billion people will be desert. let's look at the chain of responsibility. who made this happen? we americans -- we put one-third of the carbon in you. the eu another quarter. we are responsible for it. when these people move, they are moving not because they hate their homes or their families what you want to just leave home for the hell of it, for the lights of broadway or to see the eiffel tower.
they are moving because colonialism, war and climate change of rendered their homeland uninhabitable. >> so i think about this a lot, right, but i feel like these histories of colonialism, history of we, westerners being there, still is not sorted for a general public being restored to curricular narratives. i have a nine-year-old, a five-year-old and a four-year-old who go to a public school a few blocks away from you. i grew up in south carolina and i'm now 41 and i am astonished by how similar the lessons that they learn, not talked about math, still are. i go to one my children's classes and they are singing you're a grand old flag. i'm like really? we're still sing the songs? still learning about columbus framed as a hero? that actually happened this year. one of the things people often ask me when i speak of pills or
go to events is what can i do to help you? i like intervene with curriculum. like help educate some people about these historical context. i feel like that is next level. one of the things i think you do so beautifully in your book in terms of counting these ordinary heroes, individual stories within a larger context of statistics and facts, right? which are readily available to any of us with google. and i feel like that maybe is also still very difficult but maybe even the first order before we get to sort of rewriting history the way it should be written for everybody. why is it so hard for, pick your villain, trump, stephen miller, to accept the kinds of facts that you included in this book statistically, actually, while
the quantitative evidence we have suggest, not a threat to us on any level, economically, in any way. so why is it so hard to help people -- why is it so hard for them to understand facts? you realize i'm trying to therapy here. [laughing] >> and i will speak for them. immigration is an absolute economic boom for the country. if it had not been for immigration, the growth rate of the united states would be 15% % lower than has been in recent years. britain would be 20% lower. every series economist agrees that immigration is a boon to the country. but it's not about numbers when it comes to trump and miller. it's about fear. it's about race here. and i know this well because i grew up in queens.
and so did donald trump. the queens struggle. it's the most diverse neighborhood in the united states and the least the first person in the united states. it's like when he grew up -- when he was growing up was almost an entirely all-white and that it's filled with all kinds of people come from all over, you know, have the money. the same thing, in the caribbean catholic school, it was one of the first minorities, they called all kinds of names. the same catholic school now is filled with immigrants. we overwhelm them by sheer force of numbers. what trump's base fears is being replaced with all these people
in charlottesville that were carrying these banners saying we will not be replaced. this kind of race here that people with my skin color or other skin colors will somehow, this country will become nonwhite. the great fear they have is the year 2044, by which time the united states is slated to become a majority-minority country. >> will all be dead by climate change by then anyway. >> think about it, the whole concept of race and whiteness is being challenged daily. is obama half white or half black? one out of four americans now mary someone not of their own race. many hispanics -- anyone who considers themselves white, they
have to take the hispanic or latino box in order to be offensive. the whole concept of race around the world is being challenged. but it's a very important vehicle to rally and electric bass. so much of this is about politics. this is where what is called the alliance between the mob and the capital company. steve bannon one said the origin of the current populist wave was at the migrant way world, it actually originated the current weight in a 2008 financial crisis. now, steve bannon and i don't agree on much, but this is one point where i think he has it right. during the 2008 crisis ordinary people bought homes with money at the banks offer to them, homes they couldn't have afforded by the banks sold them as a result.
they found their life savings wiped out. they found they had to walk away from homes, and the banks that did this, because the whole financial crisis that only walked away scot-free, not of the bankers were jailed but they became richer than ever. so there's a giant upward shift in wealth. and you see this in world inequality today. the eight richest people on the planet, altmann, no surprise, own more than half the planet of 3.5 billion people combined. so as ordinary people see this inequality rising all across the world, the white working class in pennsylvania and ohio, and i have spent a lot of time with him talking to them about why is it that they are so angry? their future, too, was stolen. their future was stolen by the elites in these countries who are richer than ever, but the elites being no fools knew that
this outrage could be a serious threat to them and their big houses. for the outrage has to be directed onto someone else. and who better than the weakest and the forest, the immigrants? you see this in country after country. trump rose to power on the wave of i'm not wall street really, i'm a self-made businessman, even though he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he somehow managed to hoodwink these people with his false narrative that he is going to look out for their interest. what happened? he comes in to power and the never trumpers and republicans got around to supporting them wholeheartedly and he gave been the biggest christmas gift in history, the tax cut, which again is going to make sure it even more money goes to the top. these people voted for him, the thing that healthcare is being devastated, their jobs are being
lost not to china but automation. it's taken some time for them to catch up but again such a power of this narrative, in every country there's these scapegoats. and for that, again what i'm trying to do with my book, to make these connections and help people in pennsylvania would read along with people all over. .. >> my book is a book about global migration. it finally has elevated the humanization of refugee to a new level. then mark has gone one step further rendering its own legal reference.
in 2018, they know ghettos in 2030. according to -- one of the three criteria for designating a ghetto is half or more of the inhabitants are from non- -- companies. they contain more than 60000 people as quote ghettos in which parents will have to abide by an entirely different set of laws from the rest of the country. the initiative includes 22 separate measures. starting at the age of one, ghetto children will be separated from their ghetto parents for a mandatory 25 hours of instruction a week not including nap time. "da'esh values which include celebration of christmas and easter even if the children are muslims. if they don't have obeyed their welfare payments stop. non- welfare children can stay home until their six.
if ghetto parents want to make extended trips to their homeland which they dubbed reeducation trips the government wants to jell them for 2 - 4 years because their schooling, language and well-being of the children would be harmed. but if leg da'esh parents would try to defend for britain or boarding school then no worries. there's a war going on in denmark. what the danes call a meatball war. it's a b ball war. denmark has 5 million people in 30 million pigs. politicians want to redress the imbalance. in 2013 the prime minister railed against da'esh childcare centers dropping pork from their menus because they thought it might offend muslims. a newspaper found that often countries 1719 childcare
centers, exactly 30 had stopped serving pork but the meatball war had begun in earnest. that year the da'esh people's party now part of the ruling coalition announced it would drop out of work globally -- campaign if they promise to serve more pork meatballs and public canteens. in 2018 the immigration asserted that was limbs observing ramadan work a danger to all of us and demanded those fasting during ramadan stay home quote, to avoid negative consequences for the rest of da'esh society. i fasting bus driver might crash a bus. a spokeswoman for one of the countries the main bus operators say they never had an accident with a driver who is fasting. if the ministers dark fears were true the entire muslim world would be a traffic accident and
medical malpractice during ramadan. in 2016 the pro meatball side won a battle in the da'esh city they decreed that all public buildings must report. we will ensure that da'esh children and youth can have pork in the future councilman stated. another councilman said the idea of a da'esh food culture is absurd. this is a problem that does not exist. we don't have any suspicions. so, it just gives absurd, but the absurdity of now real. we are living in this all of these governments and political party try to outdo each other. >> we are living in a global onion story. >> so, let's take your questio
questions. >> sorry for my english, i am not from here. i wanted to ask, i come from italy. we have -- which is your trump. my question is, i would like to have an answer or may be a hint, how do we normal people get people who don't want to listen to listen to the truth? the problem as you said, it's that the truth is clear, the facts are there and are assessable, but it's easier to listen to his twitter account where hatred is shared every day rather than read the truth.
and, it's beautiful that we are all here today, but, i think if we are here is because we empathize with this theme of immigration and know all of the things that we are talking about. and but i think that no one here would vote for trump or in italy, how do we share this feeling and empathy with people who don't listen and don't want to listen. >> i was just in italy, and in milan. >> is full of immigrants and they make the country. >> it's great that all of these immigrants because i'm sick of eating italian food every day. so you're right, there are some people for whom -- certainly not
everyone. i've been getting death threats from white supremacists calling for immigration. the people are going to hate my message passionately. screw them if i tell the truth. there will always be people who are brainwashed that nothing i say or what they could say could reach them. my book is an angry book but an angry book with a happy ending. the happy ending is that when immigrants moved to this country everyone benefits, because the rich countries are not making enough babies and immigrants are needed most of all to pay into the pension symptoms. second, in many cases it's a question of life or death and that sort of the countries that
they move from benefit because is the best and targeted way. the money that immigrants bring back in 10200-dollar -- is 100 times more than all the debt relief. so, they met my book to answer your question of what to redo about people that might be so amiable. and it's a story about my brother-in-law who grew up in north carolina but he is indian american and, that horrible year, 2016 he called me up and said i am going to run for state senate. they said no i really think --
and since his family i went on a campaign for him. and he was running in a district that was 70% white ten his opponent was a southern gent and my brother in law name was jay who most of us constituents can pronounce his name yet to train his campaign staff and how to train his name. jay went out and knocked on doors. he knocked on 14000 doors, he knocked on 10000 doors personally. i went out there and it was not always easy, my son had a rumpled on him. i had a dog on me, although it was a small dog, but he knocked on the doors and he spoke to
these people about what is important he said the republicans had decimated public schooling in raleigh and he was going to make sure teachers got paid a different wage. on they saw that this brown man was coming to their doors and addressing their concerns and you know what, he went he wanted in a landslide. he's now sitting in the north carolina senate and he is a democratic within the senate. it is still possible in this country there are some people who will listen to our message and other people who won't but what matters is politics, we have been given this instrument, democracy. we have been given the option to run for public office so we need enough of us to go out there and participate in the public sphere. >> i would like to engage with that, i'm curious, i feel like false stories or false stories
move faster than true ones were the kinds of stories we would like to spread. i feel like it takes more time, attention and effort to make a true story stick and resonate with someone who may not have the context or background to process it. since starting immigrant families together, one thing that was so shocking about family separation is it was just so beyond, regardless it transcended political parties and it was so shockingly wrong that you could get behind resisting that. one thing i saw with immigrant families together was how many people including my father who was a lifelong republican and former member of the nra really reached out with this hunger to know, connect and hear stories of people who are not like them for lack of a better term. i am married to a black cuban
man, we visit a lot in south carolina and frequently find ourselves in the very uncomfortable position since we have three children i always get the question, what are they mixed with? can i say, sugar and spice and everything nice. but, as opposed to shutting down, particularly for those of us who are white and privileged, there is a certain responsibility to engage that. i hate that that is true. i feel like it's a burden sometimes but it's important for me to answer questions and not shut down. so when people have questions that i think are down why do people come here? i think it's also about try not to judge and being patient with the questions and trying to make more of those true story stick and make them feel really real
and relevant, the people for whom is so far beyond their frame of reference. >> i have spent a lot of time in done research gathering statistics and arguments and so often people are home for thanksgiving and they have got some drunk uncle saying why are these people coming here they should go back. we'll give uncle a copy of my book. you know why they are coming and i had a fact checker to go over every single statistic to my story. it's a book of with the thing that you need for these thanksgiving arguments. >> up i was very active in the fight against the vietnam war. there is just nothing short,
there's nothing quick about the need to build movement really. i remember the demonstrations that we had in opposition to the roar, the few of us that basically t is the mentality of my country right or wrong in the early part of the war, but we demonstrated, we had small demonstrations, we won over hearts and minds and that's not only because of our opposition but the valiant struggle was vietnamese people and the american gis to this eventually but it took a lot of reaching out, getting into the streets, telling the truth, and that is what we need to do now. there is no easy answer but it has been done before and we
should have the confidence that can be done again. >> that's very true. let's never forget that there are more of us than there are of them. 2 million people more voted for hillary than president trump. and the electoral system is rigged. if i could tell young people of voting age, one thing, it is, move to a red state and moved to -- county and make a difference. but, i believe in this countries trajectory in the long run and be in here for 40 years. the great thing about this country is its one country made up of all the other countries. when change is possible. were living through dark times right now that none of us, i did not think that we would see in administration so hateful ever in this country. and somehow they are in power,
but they're not always going to be in power because there is more of us than there are of them. the way we did it is the way we are doing it, by making coalitions together. we can also make coalitions a matter of class. there's a chapter my book about the small town in pennsylvania called warren pennsylvania which i spent some time in the summer of 2016, the town that has been devastated by industrial stagnation and only those left in this town either the war or the children or the drug trade, you see young white men and women wondering through the streets of town at midday looking like zombies because they are hooked on opioids. as a general theme there but the narrative that has been built the cause of their pain, if the
honduran mother is trying to make a better life for her child, it is absolutely false. the cause of their pain actually has more to do than the people living on this town in suburbs, wall street essentially, the people who have made out like bandits because of the pain, we can form -- with these people living there. we have got to get the message out there. >> anybody else? >> speaking of politics, you have one hour to vote in the queens da election and i just have to say if you want to know who to vote for talk to me later. anyway, my question is, is a time for colonial reparations. if they don't want us why don't
they just give the money back? >> that would be a huge hell of a lot of money they would have to get back. >> when the british arrived in india in the beginning of the 18th century the gdp was 23%. by 1947 when they left it was under 4%. so, i actually wrote this op-ed for immigration reparations and a lot of people were upset what you mean, that was so long ago. well look, the rest of the debt. they got rich by taking, by looting and by the slave trade, 12 million africans were transported across the atlantic during the slave trade. well, let's give 12 million present-day africans a chance to live a better life in the
countries enriched by the labor but this time for a fair wage. and everyone will be better off. the africans you get to come here from some of these countries that are still exploding from corporate colonialism and the countries that they moved to because they will come here to work, not to loot and exploit so, it's like yes reparations come as one question whether it's politically feasible right now but the moral arguments must be made and i think in this debate around immigration even liberal democrats they talk about immigration in terms of what's in it for us we should have more skilled labor, we should have more indians and chinese, and rather than the central americans because indians and chinese have more skills that we
need but the united states owes more to latin america not so much to china. for us calling for if there was any fairness than if countries have immigration at all this should depend on how much -- with another country. by any rate bench belgium should be filled with congolese people. the united states dominicans and hondurans. >> you are talking about the idea of needing passports and getting one place to another his early 20 century reminded me of a story, i teach english as a second language and i teach in africa last year and one exercise i often have people do just learning, if you could change the world or do anything what would five things be that you would do. they would say things like and
world hunger, create world peace, everyone would have an education. i would say i would have no borders and everyone would travel everywhere on the looked at me like i was stark raving mad. create world peace? everybody has an education? seems like normal things to want but it was beyond their way of thinking that they could go anywhere you wanted and didn't need passports. i still think about that years after. >> and book i say, i am not calling for open borders on calling for open minds was open borders seems to be such all my god the democrats are calling for open borders. during mass migration between the 1850s and 1914 a quarter of europe got out and moved to the united states with what
consequences? the united states reclaimed europe at the pinnacle of world powers in no small measure thanks to this mâche mass migration. as hard exercise tried to imagine what would happen if the borders were to be abolished. yes, there would be a huge surgeon in the short term countries would have to adopt tactics to deal with this kind of movement but, in the long term as health and human happiness get spread more equitably more people would stay home. migration is like the weather. you have an area of high pressure and an area of low pressure. and they are going to move and no border is going to keep them up when things get so dire that they have no choice but to move. so i think it is possible to imagine a border free world for people. instead what we have today we have a border free world for multinationals.
corporations can move as they want across the world but not human beings. >> are you against raising the demand for open borders? >> that's a little above my pay grade. i'm not a politician, an economist, look, i've also entertained arguments for people on the other side, there people who say things like the united states is a lifeboat and if too many people get on the lifeboat than all the newcomers say we will all sing, they can't just have lots of people moving at the same time. they talk about surge migration. a race to deal intelligently with the race of people coming in it is true there are schools and hospitals are getting
overwhelmed, there's towns in long island which all of a sudden there's people with students with esl needs. help needs to be given to those communities so the intelligent ways of doing it one is the expansion of earned income tax credit which would help both the migrants as well as some of these low skilled or undereducated nativeborn americans that are affected by this kind of migration. and then, it would be to impose a tax, levy or fee on the corporations that benefit by immigration in the united states. all of these tech companies, making billions and trillions of dollars on much of it is geared toward immigrant labeler. there should be a fee which i think they would be willing to pay which could go to the
community. there are ways of settling these migrants in places where they are needed. period the president recently said our country is full. that is -- expletive. we are still an enormous country with lots of space. if you go to city like utica upstate, the town is connected. . . . they didn't need public assistance and so he started physically coming down to richmond hills. the polish mayor, and speaking
in community forums in richmond hill, oh, guyanaees and come here and show them the home they could have for little or no money. and drove them to his mother-in-law's house for homemade polish wine. instead of that they came. and 10,000 guy guyanese in -- all these cities i'm hamtramck, in detroit, and small towns in med who have been revitalized by migrants. canada wants to increase the immigrant inthreefold. they need one body for the whole country. doesn't have to be either completely open borders or closed borders. what we have right now is a
national or international debate about migration with a lot of heat and very little light. >> last call. >> in the beginning you talked about words and definitions and within the immigrant rights movement forks immigrants who are here now but undocumented, to one degree or another, i've heard groups proimmigrant groups call for amnesty. am in the city is for all immigrants who are here so they're not detain or deported and living in feet. i've heard other people in the
immigrant rights movement say we can't use the word amnesty because of the definition of the word which means you did something wrong and you're asking to be forgiven for it. i think you get my point. what do you think of that? >> well in the 1980s there was a far left politician who called for and actually passed a giant amnesty. his name was ronald reagan. we have had this kind of transfer of status of huge mass of population before and the republic did nothing follow. we could easily do that right now with all 12 million undocumented or illegal or whatever name you want to use, for these human beings, men, women and children, families are suffering. every day they have to wake up to a fresh set of tweets from the hater in chief about losing
the government forces on -- loosing these government forces on them, not knowing with the children go to school if they come back, not knowing if the mother goes to work, the next time they hear from her it will be when she is in her country. horrific things to a group of people who are their work. the whole attitude about them shouldn't be apologetic one. these people may have crossed borders but what they have done is not wrong. it's not immoral. maybe another word we could use instead of am in the city is recognition, do from unreek niced to recognized people. -- u.n. recognized. recognition for the sacrifices they make, for the work they've done, recognition for the one
billion in social security payroll taxes that were paid last year -- sorry -- the $13 billion in social security payments they paid last year, and only got one billion of that in benefits. so, language is important and the narrative is important, and that's why it may rile people but immigrants have to stop apologizing for having emigrated. we have to top apologizing because for many of us, the choice wasn't of our own making. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> we have coffee -- [inaudible]
>> up next on booktv's "after words" the federalist molli hemming we were and judicial cries network's carrie seferina examination the confirmation of supreme court justice brett kavanaugh and the effect on the court. they're interviewed by david savage. "after words" is a weekly interview program, interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> last summer, washington saw a particularly fierce political fight over president trump's nomination of judge brett kavanaugh to succeed justice anthony kennedy on the supreme court. not always aned fying experience. it was a mean and ugly fight at times. we know how it turn out. judge kavanau,