tv Colorado College - Inside the Migrant Caravan CSPAN February 18, 2019 10:02am-11:34am EST
and public-policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. coming up later today on c-span come our road to the white house 2020 coverage, with presidential candidate kamala harris visiting new hampshire. the california democrat senator is holding a town hall meeting in portsmouth at 4:45 p.m. eastern. you can watch that live on c-span. with "time"nalist magazine talks about her travels with the micro caravan as it made its way to the southern u.s. border. this was hosted by colorado college in colorado springs. a half.hour and
corey: hello, everybody. thanks for coming. good evening. i know there's something else you could be doing at 7:00 p.m. this evening. glad to see you here. i'm corey hutchins. on behalf of the program and the journalism minor, i want to thank you all for coming tonight. i want to particularly thank the newly founded journalism institute here at colorado college, director steven heyward, as well as the journalist and residence program which is funding this lecture. we are soon excited to have roxanne gay on campus, and upcoming speakers also include -- andng and, see coats
ta-nehisi coates. as you know, we are just coming off the longest government shutdown in u.s. history. this time sparked over a debate about funding for a physical wall president trump wants to build along the border with mexico. we've heard plenty from the president about that. and about the caravan headed toward the border. so we thought it would be enlightened to hear from someone who has been on the border and write being migration around that part of the world, alice driver is a bilingual journalist and her work focuses on migration, human rights and gender equality. she recently imbedded with the migrant caravan for "time" magazine. she's reported on the border for national geographic. she spent 18 months covering migration in central america. and worked on a two-year project for reveal and long reads called the road to asylum. she's currently producing a radio story for the center for investigative reporting on transgender migrants. so flying in from mexico city, i have it on good authority that she might not exactly be prepared for the weather here in colorado. [laughter] but she's certainly prepared to talk about a very timely and important topic. so, alice driver. [applause]
forgot to say this. c-span is in the house filming this, and they requested everybody please turn off their cell phones. if you have a question, we're going to do a q&a afterwards. please raise your hand, someone will come over with a microphone. thanks. alice: thank you for having me here tonight. i'm really excited to take you on a trip along not only the border, but traveling up from el salvador through guatemala, u.s./, and along the mexico border, going through sort of all the things that have been happening for the past two years politically that you have maybe seen from here, from the perspective of washington, from the perspective of twitter, of our president, and we're going to take a look at what was happening with migrants on the border, with people on the border. s, nuns, ranchers.
i mean, what is going on on the border? i think it's really important to look at it from the perspective of people who are living there, who are experiencing this and it's an exciting and interesting time and i think for whatever reason, a lot of people are approaching it with fear, and that's never been my perspective. i'm really curious, interested about what is going on. and so we're going to take a journey. we are going to hitchhike. this is migrants in oaxaca. they were traveling with a migrant caravan. i was there in oaxaca, mexico in october. a lot of migrants are walking, hitchhiking, taking buses. here you can see they're walking. we are going to ride some rafts. a lot of migrants cross, when you're crossing from guatemala way mexico, the most common to cross is on these innertube
rafts. i've made that trip several times with migrants. crossed the equivalent of about -- it costs the equivalent of about $1 to make that trip. so, here's -- this gives you an idea of some of the migrant routes through mexico. it's a very dangerous journey. most migrants are riding on a train called the beast. it's called the beast because a lot of people don't survive that trip for various reasons. and we are going to meet migrants at different points along this route. this is a sign at one of the shelters for migrants telling them how far they have to go. i mean, if we are thinking of these journeys, these are people that are traveling thousands of miles essentially on foot.
on foot, hitchhiking, different means of transport, but generally quite difficult. difficult for me as a reporter, and i'm not even -- i'm making part of the trip. i'm staying in a hotel, and it's really a challenge. ok. here i am. this is on a bus in san salvador. one of the projects i've been working on, i traveled with a trans woman from san salvador. she was making her way to the u.s. to request asylum. i went with her to mexico, and then i've been following her life for the past year and a half. she is now a -- she received asylum and she lives in san diego. she's learning english. so, there's a lot of really inspiring, positive stories.
and i think it's interesting that so many people, especially on social media, contact me and say, aren't you depressed? isn't this terrible? and not to negate the difficulties of these stories and the lives and everything that is happening, but there's also a lot of really empowering, positive and hopeful things that i've seen covering migration. so, if you're traveling with the migrant caravan, you might meet a lot of pets. i was surprised to find the number of migrants traveling with their puppies, kittens and some other exotic animals, which you'll soon see. ok. i'm often traveling with
photographers. this is from last year when we were crossing the river, the river between guatemala and mexico. one of the reasons i chose this photo is that i always try and work with women or nonbinary photographers because internationally, women make up only 15% of photographers at media organizations, and i think it's something that -- the way, what we see in the news is very much dictated by the male gaze, and it is something that i want to -- i want to change that narrative. the only stories we see about migrants are often about men. it's about violence. it's about blood. it's about gangs. and that's not the only story.
that's not the reality of migrants and of migration. it's a much more complex story that needs to be told not only in writing, but in photography. this is the rio grande river. so this is where a lot of migrants swim across. i was working with national geographic here. this was last june. and i actually saw a group of migrants, maybe eight or 10 of them, holding on to these plastic bags filled with their clothes. they were in their underwear and they're just floating to the other side. here's my favorite. [laughter] my favorite member of the migrant caravan. i was in mexico city, and all the migrants were in mexico city for about five days.
it's a group of around 5,000 migrants. they were staying in a sports stadium. and about 50%, over 50% of the caravan is made up of children. i feel like that's something that often gets lost. and this man, he's from honduras. i saw him on the metro. mexico city made the metro free for migrants, which i thought was a great gesture. and i saw him -- he actually had the iguana tied to his head when i saw him. i was like, what is the story here? and he said, well, you know, he was with his wife and three kids. and he said, this is diana. she's my pet iguana. i was leaving honduras and i just thought, no one else is going to love her like i do. [laughter] and so, people are so
amazing and bizarre. you find these stories and you're like, what is this? this doesn't fit into any narrative in the media. and so that's something that i really took away from working on the migrant caravan. and then there were just so many children. children were being born during the migrant caravan. there were lots of babies. a familyally environment, which, you know -- i'm traveling with the caravan, and i'm on all the social media because as a journalist you pretty much have to be, so i get a lot of questions and things. people are like, you must feel so, you know, scared, and it's so dangerous. are you worried about your life?
are you risking your life? are you going to get raped? and my experience was really -- it was like traveling with a gigantic family. lots and lots of babies. like, i'm holding babies for people. women are breastfeeding. i'm playing card games with kids. the entire migrant caravan stopped to watch a filming of "coco." [laughter] alice: i mean, it's kind of -- there's so much tenderness in those memories and in that reporting for me. so this is -- this was in oaxaca. migrants are just staying in tents and sleeping bags and all kinds of sort of make-shift cardboard homes. there's a lot of volunteers. volunteers from the u.s.
i met doctors from el paso, from different places, who would come down to work with migrants, and so for me, there's so many interesting, really positive things going on in terms of people sharing their expertise and trying to support and make sure that people are healthy and safe and all that kind of stuff. so i wanted to talk just briefly about how i got into what i currently do. i grew up in rural arkansas, in the ozark mountains, in a town of 200. i did not have any exposure to spanish growing up. i didn't travel anywhere. i didn't -- i mean, my parents actually didn't have a tv for a long time. i read a lot of books. and so when i finally made it to
college -- i went to college in kentucky at a school called baria, that if you get in, you're fully funded and you work for the school. so it's a school that really supports children from families that have a lower socioeconomic background. and that's where i started studying spanish, and my spanish professor took me to mexico and i fell in love with mexico. i fell in love with the language, the culture, the literature, the food, and i became obsessed. so i eventually got a ph.d. in latin american literature. as soon as i finished that, i left academia because i wanted to write. i wanted to write not an academic book. i wanted to write things that people were reading, and i wanted to use my language skills
, and i wanted to be traveling. 2017, right when this new administration was coming in, i got funding to work on migration, which has been a long-term interest of mine, and i started a project right here. we are in juarez, mexico. i'm sure many of you have heard a lot about juarez. and i lived in a migrant shelter for two weeks. and this is the shelter right here, which was a really interesting experience because in a lot of shelters, especially in dangerous areas, the migrants are locked in so they can't leave. i mean, they can leave if they are moving on, but as long as they are staying there, they are in. so once they leave, they can't come back. i was also there with them 24 hours a day, eating donated food. even the act of eating all
donated food is challenging if you are used to your normal life. you know, it's like whatever comes in is what you are eating for two weeks. pies dreaming of cakes and and ice cream and things at night. no, this is not about me. and i wanted to understand the experience of the migrants, why they were coming through. and this is -- his name is darlin'. he actually wrote me the other day on facebook. he is from honduras. he's 38 years old. he had tried to reach the u.s. 15 times over 12 years. he said he began trying when he was 26. and when i met him he was 38 and that was his 15th attempt. and he said, where i'm from is
-- from, there is nothing for me. there's no jobs. there's no future. there's gangs. my family has been threatened. my family has a huge amount of --t from some of these oftentimes gangs, if you will have a business, they will come in and demand money, extortion, and you end up in a situation in which you are in a lot of debt. he did cross the u.s., but -- cross into the u.s., but got deported and is now back in honduras. he does not have a job, and he's thinking of trying to come again. and this is at the migrant shelter in juarez and the mural says, "no human being is illegal."
couple with a small child. they had an interesting story. they had had difficulty traveling when they crossed from guatemala into mexico because often, people with small children will get accused of trafficking. people will say you are not the parent, and that has happened some come also in the u.s. with the child separation policy. that has been a tactic of the current administration to separate children from their parents and say you're not really the parents. you are trafficking a child. this is right on the guatemala-mexico border. i met a single mother with her three children. she was very excited to see me because there are so few women working this beat.
it is a very overwhelmingly in terms of migrants at the shelter most of the migrants , were men. and in terms of reporters, it is a very male-dominated beat. she was like, oh my god, i'm so excited to see you here. and i think it's really important because often the issues that are getting highlighted -- like, i'm interested talking to her about what her experience has been as a mother. for example, a lot of women will talk to me about how they deal with their period when they are on the migrant trail, which is a real issue. when you are traveling on a train for 36 or 40 or 50 hours and can't get off.
, there are things that i think don't get considered that i want to talk about. that's why i'm here. this is also a shelter that is specifically for migrants who have been mutilated while riding the train. this is amarellis. i think she was 11 and i met her. -- 11 when i met her. she is from guatemala. and if you fall off the train, it's very easy to lose a limb. it's a very dangerous and difficult task to ride the train because the train is moving, and you have to run and jump on it. and so, the entire shelter is -- they work with the red cross and fit people with prosthetics. but i think this is something -- it's like, why should we require
that people lose limbs when they are crossing a territory? i mean, these people are often which -- situation in which is something that doesn't get talked about very much, a lot of migrants are fleeing climate change. i ask, what do you do? i'm a farmer. so how was farming? well, there's no water. nothing's growing. there's a drought. there was a mudslide. these are things that could happen to anyone. that could happen to me, that could happen to you, and that are clearly the sign of our times. we really need to think about the way that we're dealing with this because it's not something
that you can blame someone for fleeing, i think. these are other migrants at the shelter. and a lot of young men. this is a migrant who i met in warez. but -- that's her son, but she gave birth at the migrant shelter. she traveled pregnant, and her daughter was three days old when i arrived. and in terms of the caravan, because of the current president, he got upset about one particular caravan, but
caravans have been happening for the past decade. it is simply a way that migrants organize themselves to be safer. if you don't want to lose a limb, if you don't want to get threatened by a gang, travel in a big group. this is one of the caravans that 2017 in exodus city. it was a caravan specifically of transgender and gay members of the lgbtq community. the woman in orange, her name is genesis. that's something i want to put in context. there's always been caravans, and there are going to be more caravans because it is a way to be safe. but in the overall context of migration, migration from central america has been dropping for the past decade. speaking, what is the crisis?
people are intelligent. they are more organized. they are traveling in groups because it's safer, but that doesn't mean that there are more of them, or that they are flooding our borders, or that they are attacking us. they are just being organized about traveling. say?at does the sign , so the sign says, "we are going north, we have been raped, and we are fed up." with the trans community, they have experienced a lot of violence. el salvador is a conservative environment in terms of laws, btq way people view the lg community. there is much more violence than you see in the u.s., so they are definitely a community that will often receive asylum in the u.s.
because they have a lot of documented violence that they have experienced. and so this, i started a year and a half ago. i went to el salvador. caravan in men's go city. members were from el salvador, and said that el salvador is the most violent in their treatment of the lgbtq community, and in their treatment of women. i wanted to do work on this, and something i'm interested in. i went to san salvador, which is currently the most violent city in the world outside of a war zone. and i met the woman in the patterned shirt. woman, and she is
also a human rights defender. international awards. she founded an organization to support the lgbtq community in el salvador. i met her, and i am never sure of what i'm going to find with my stories. i met with, her and she said she wanted to introduce me to some different people. it was interesting because at a young age, they knew they were trans. orey dressed up in women's girls' clothes. they had feminine gestures. they wore makeup. and as soon as they, for example, exhibited feminine gestures or had long hair, they got kicked out of school, the parents kicked them out of the
house, and they ended up on the streets at the age of 10, 11, 12. that is something that i think gets lost. there is a reason that trans women end up in sex work because all the doors of society are shut. if you want to go to school, you will not go to school. if you want to study, you will not study. if you want to work, you will not work somewhere. there is such a high level of discrimination that most of them end up living and working on the streets. and so one night, i met a woman doing sex work on a corner and sell solid or. introduce me to her. i asked if we could have coffee. when we had coffee, i noticed
she had a large scar on her neck coming from her back, and i asked her what happened. she said that gangs control the streets of's el salvador, and if you are a sex worker, it is like paying rent or extortion for where you work. often it is exorbitant and random. one of the gang members attacked her with an ice pick, punctured a lung, and she said she had just recovered from this and she said i'm fleeing to the united states tomorrow morning and i'm going to request asylum. i said, can i go with you? split second. a this is a story that i'm after. is this what i want to do? you don't know where it's going to take you. so i traveled with her from since all the door -- from send
salvador -- from san salvador on bus and raft. we crossed the river at night, a little bit dicey. and here she is at a bus station in guatemala city. and then i followed her all the way to the u.s. she was in detention for eight months. and actually, when she arrived in tijuana to request asylum at the border, which is a legal international right, although you might not be aware of that only speaksews, she spanish, so she arrived at the border. the border agent was there, and she was trying to tell him in spanish -- [speaking spanish] -- and she said he only responded in english and didn't offer to get anyone who speaks spanish, which is weird because
that is also a legal issue, and there should be someone at the border who speaks spanish and english. she said he started asking her, are you requesting asylum. she is like, si. do you have any weapons? si. she said she didn't know. she just said yes to everything. do you have weapons? do you have drugs? now that she is learning english, she finds that entertaining. [laughter] alice: after that she was sent to what is known as the icebox, which is where some children have died. , the place they send migrants before they send them to detention. in a maleeight months detention center in the u.s. that is another policy the u.s. really needs to examine because a trans woman in a male detention center is almost certainly going to experience violence.
and she called me from detention, which was actually -- in order to be able to -- for her to call me, i can't call her. first i had to track her down. i didn't know which detention center she was in. , and io track her down i had help at the -- and help from the center of investigative reporting for that. and i had to write her a physical letter because it's the only way you can communicate with someone in detention, saying, hey, i hope you're ok. i would really like to talk to you. could you call me at this number? and i'm going to put money on your detention phone system because phone calls from detention are some of the highest rates in the world. so she was not going to be able to afford that very likely.
she did call me from detention, and she was pretty shaken up. she said she had experienced violence. she did not want to talk about it. she just felt traumatized at that point. she didn't feel she was going to get asylum. but she did get a hearing, and the judge, after hearing her story, did grant her asylum, and she now lives in san diego. she is enrolled in community college. she is learning english, and she has officially changed her name to michelle. [laughter] story haslowing her been very moving. i visited her last august in san diego. she was wearing a business suit, and her hair was curled, and she had on jewelry and was talking about her community college classes and how she was going to speak perfect english. she wanted to work in a
restaurant. and i just think that's the kind of person we want to be a u.s. citizen. that's the kind of person i want to be a u.s. citizen, at least. border of my work on the has been chasing down the latest stories connected to decisions made by the president. so "time" magazine called me , ok, soe, and they said the president is separating children from their parents, migrant children from their parents. we want you to go find someone who's been separated. we want that story. and it's a hard story because when parents are separated from their children on the u.s. side, the parents are sent to
detention and the children are sent to shelters or foster homes, and neither of those places are ever going to let me, as a freelance journalist, in. part of what is happening with this current administration is that detention centers have almost become -- it's like you can take a guided tour for 30 minutes if you are from the "new york times," but you can't talk to anyone. i mean, what kind of freedom of the press is that? so for me i know, on the u.s. side of the border, i won't get this story. so i went to bar as and was back -- i went to juarez and was basically scouring the town. i went to the migrant shelter, and to this point where all of the deported immigrants are dropped off. i started talking to people there and i found this woman who had been separated from her son. she was from an area of mexico
that has a lot of drug cartel activity. she and her son -- her son was older, he was 17 -- their house was burned down by a local cartel. there was some kind of cartel turf war going on, and fleeing -- and they were fleeing that violence. when they crossed into the u.s., they were separated and her son was immediately deported back to morelia. and she was sent to detention can request asylum. she's thinking, my son was just sent back to a very dangerous area where he is alone and i'm going to sit in detention for six months to a year waiting to request asylum? so she self deported. she said i'm going back to get my son. i met her in juarez, where
she had just been deported. and when i was interviewing her for this story, she got a little ding on her phone, a notification. it was like, president trump has ended the child separation policy. and she said, you know, he's going to change in minutes or hours. and so that's something that stuck with me. -- stuck with me, is the experience of migrants who are policies.se in any circumstance, can you say that separating a mother from their child is a policy? mean, that's my central question i think, because it is something that's ongoing.
there are still children that have not been reunited with their parents. and as of two days ago, the official administration response was that it would be too traumatic to reunite them with their parents. this was another migrant i met juarez.yes -- in i remember him because he gave me -- i have this on my desk -- the detention centers they give them craft projects. one of the projects was making baby shoes, like origami baby shoes. i don't understand. but it struck me. and the other thing he told me was that he was working at the detention center, cleaning the detention center for $1 per day. so we have these private-run detention centers taking in a lot of money, and they are then
hiring the detainees to run and clean the center for $1 a day. i also do not understand what kind of a policy that is. when i was working with national geographic, we were traveling along both sides of the border. this was last june, right after i went to juarez. pass on thegle texas side. i interviewed a lot of -- this priest, he is working in mexico and runs a migrant shelter. he had seen a lot of parents be separated from their children, and he was talking about the impact of that on the parents and on the children. i interviewed a sheriff in texas. if you look, you can see the gun rack above his desk.
he's got the big hat. he has boots. -- i wasnking, i bet thinking this guy might have some sentments that i may not agree with. [laughter] alice: and it was interesting because he was saying, you know what? immigrants are working in agriculture. they're doing all of the bothruction in this area, documented and undocumented. and he said, i really wish i could create policies that recognize this and allow people to work. in eagle pass, i went on a ride-along with some of the members of the police force who work often in conjunction with the border patrol.
and there were several women on the police force, also all of them bilingual. i think that is really important. in the u.s., i don't know why we are so against learning languages. we should all be bilingual. there is no reason that we should not speak another language. it is amazing. it opens your world. it's empowering. i love it. for me, it's one of the most empowering things i've ever done, switching back and forth between english and spanish. it is sort of like driving a stick shift -- [laughter] -- which may be some of you haven't done, but i grew up in the country, so i had to learn how to drive a stick shift. she had these pink handcuffs and said she loved arresting men because pink handcuffs
they get so upset. [laughter] alice: she said, you wouldn't believe how angry they get! [laughter] this is still with national geographic. we were looking at how people feel about migration on both sides of the border. the is the mexican side of border, but it is an international bridge, so people are lining up to request asylum. i have been working the border for a long time, but this was the first time last june that i saw people, families were sleeping on the bridge. at the time, i was like, i haven't seen this, but it's because the u.s. has been restricting the number of people who request asylum. so they essentially just are hanging around, waiting to be able to request asylum, which is problematic in terms of the law
. what has happened recently is that this administration has decided that people who request asylum have to wait in mexico in tijuana. it is problematic because if you thing about safety and think about the fact that it often takes six months to a year to , let's say you are a trans woman in tijuana waiting six months to a year to request asylum. the chances that you will experience violence is high. this was a single father traveling with his son. i will never forget what he said to me. he said, i am both the mother and the father. this is more -- this is all the people who were lined up on the international bridge. another really amazing woman
photographer i worked with. she is chilean. there were quite a few venezuelans on the bridge. if you are following what is happening in venezuela, you would understand why people are fleeing venezuela. these were actually kids. they were like 16, 17, 18 years old. and they said if you want to see someone kill a stray dog and eat it in the street, go to venezuela. and then they offered me the money. they said, it's worthless. you can have it. this was also working with national geographic. this was at a center where deported people were dropped off that had just been deported from the u.s. this guy had a bunch of neck tattoos. and something i love to do is ask people about their tattoos because it is such a stigma.
like of, that's a gang member. that's a bad guy. he's from ms-13. so i asked him, what are your tattoos? on one side of his neck he had liliana, which is one of his daughters, and the other daniela. i think we forget that people have different ways of remembering. if you are fleeing and you cannot take anything with you, how do you remember your family? so this, for me, was just a really touching and important reminder that everyone remembers things in a different way and under different circumstances. this was at one of my most
recent projects. i went right across from mcallen, texas. two shelters for migrant minors under the age of 18, most of whom have traveled alone from honduras, el salvador and nicaragua. i wanted to tell the stories of these kids because there is so , why don't these people stay or where they are -- stay where they are? they are such bad parents. they should tough it out. i think if you really look at the circumstances that are causing people to flee, you wouldn't say that, and especially imagining a child traveling alone, making this journey. so this is a mural at the
migrant shelter made by the children. the story, the main girl that i interviewed, she was 15. she had traveled from honduras alone. she was fleeing domestic violence. in her case, a family number had threatened to kill her -- a family member had threatened to kill her. she said that she loved to read maps. she was just like, i'm going to make this journey and put it together and plan it out. she dressed like a man. she rode the train. reynosa.it to one of the things she told me was when she got to mexico, she was looking for work, trying to make money. she told some old guy who was out sweeping or something that she had come all the way from
-- and heand she said said, girl, where you have made it, many men have failed. [laughter] excited,e wasn't super and wanting to come to the u.s. and study, and telling me about her favorite classes. just bright despite -- her favorite classes, and just despite all the crazy and difficult circumstances. she was very much thinking about her future. useddent ortega last year force against protesters, and began killing mostly students, some children in the streets.
there's just so many forces at work about why people are leaving countries. this is just one situation. up to theow we are current migrant caravan, the one that was traveling through mexico that is now in tijuana. a lot of kids. a lot of people write phone numbers on their shoes or inside their -- i mean, if you wanted a place that -- because if you lose that, a lot of times they lose phones. things get stolen. it is a real tossup of whether you will even, once you get to the border, do you even have anybody in the u.s. to contact. a lot of times it is parents who left children when they were months old. so these children are looking for their parents. that's a quest that makes sense
, i think, to most people. you want to be reunited. and this was a mother of four from nicaragua. she was fleeing the violence in nicaragua. with four kids, i would imagine. and this is volunteers giving out food at night, and lots of donated clothes and things. this is a baby that was just a few months old. you can see eating some beans and rice, tortillas. oh, and this is everybody watching "coco." [laughter]
alice: i mean, it was so interesting to be here. here i am, it's like, one of the most moving moments seeing all these migrants watching "coco." volunteers set up a screen. and at the same time, i'm getting these messages like, are you safe? are you going to die? is everything ok? and i got messages like, who's paying these migrants? like, just come down here. if you walk with them for a day, you know that no one is paying them. i mean, how much would you have to pay someone to walk several thousand miles with four kids under the blazing sun? i don't know. these are volunteers.
there were so many volunteers. that's another thing that i found very moving. people preparing food and doctors from both sides, from both mexico and the u.s. this is who was traveling with the migrant caravan. i mean, it's not that terrifying. it's such an interesting experience being there versus all the news and all the worry . and all of this is not to say, like, anyone who shows up at the border gets into the u.s. no. anyone who shows up at the border has the international right to request asylum, which is a legal process that you go through. and the fact that we are not protecting that and upholding that is worrying.
feel for thet a amount of children. people playing cards. i mean, one of the things about this photo, you look at the scar when there's so many scars. and for me, every scar is a story. pretty tired. everyone asked me how migrants are bathing. do they get to take baths? they would set up these big containers of water, and then migrants would just cut containers of water in half and dump water over themselves. yeah. these are volunteers, doctors with medicine because illness is
a real issue, just in terms of coughs and pneumonia and getting tired or worn out. i got tired and worn out, and when i was with "time," i was there for only five days. it's not an easy trip. so this guy i remember because he is a climate change -- he left -- he's a farmer. i said, what if you leave? he's like, well, there's a drought. there's no water. he didn't say climate change forced me out of my country. you know? he didn't put it in those terms, but what he was talking about was climate change. it wasmy sicko city, interesting. i noticed this. we were giving out -- in mexico city, it was interesting. i noticed this. they were giving out birth control, which is another issue
that doesn't get talked about. women have to worry about sexual violence, and so this is important. women should have options to think about not only family planning, but the potential that they will experience sexual violence because it's a real issue when you are traveling as a woman, as a girl. so that's something that i highlighted in my work for "time." these are migrants sleeping. of mexicothe letters , and the migrants were sleeping inside. so i thought that was pretty representative. and this is leaving mexico city. a lot of christmas decorations up, and this is the way out of the city. migrants were hitchhiking and we passed a christmas tree. this is the trends woman -- the trans woman from el salvador in
san diego, putting on her makeup. so i just talked to her the other day. she is working at a pizza restaurant, and she will be sharing her story in a radio center'm doing at the for investigative reporting. that should come out soon. she is excited because she wanted to share the story of a trans woman. she said she felt like she never had any information or any feeling that there were other people like her. that's why she wanted to share her journey. and then the other trans woman i worked with, carla, is calling her mother. they both received asylum in switzerland after receiving death threats in el salvador. neither of them finished elementary school. they are currently learning french in geneva.
and carla is working with the u.n. migrants arek doing such difficult and important work, often with very little education. and i know that carla has changed my life. there's no doubt. , this isis is really what i'm taking away when i think about migration, when i talk about migration. think there's a real humanity and a depth to it that we need to bring into the conversation when we are meeting policies, when we are talking about what kind of country we are, and i just wish we would do that more, and that this could be a less divisive issue.
now changed her name to michelle. she's on the bus in san diego. beingreally excited about in a place for the first time -- she said it is the first time lgbtq couplesn holding hands and kissing. she found that really moving. i want to open it up to questions. feel free to ask whatever you're curious about. [applause] alice: someone is going to come around with the mic. >> how did the ladies get to switzerland? alice: so in the case of carla, she had been nominated for the
highest human rights reward. the ceremony was in switserland -- switzerland and it coincided with her and her mother receiving death threats. the organization that gave her the award helped her sponsored , her through the asylum process , and she just got asylum in december. she wrote me a letter. and it made me cry. and so, yeah, she's now trying to get used to life in geneva, which is such a different and new process. yeah. >> is the option to go to europe for mexicans, is that very real? alice: no. no. karla ended up in europe precisely because she is a well known human rights activist and
. she has won a lot of awards and been in the news and media and has done some really incredible work and has also won awards. and so she -- because she was -- had been nominated for this award in switzerland she ended , up getting support for that. when i met her, i had no idea, that this was going to happen. >> in your work, did you talk to border people about what they as i guessng officials? and is there an official stance that the border people who are hired by our government told to be hostile? i don't know, i just want to know the feeling that is there. alice: i mean, it's interesting,
because even with border patrol and police and the sheriff, so much of the border is bilingual. half of the families in mexico and half the families in the u.s., it is a very interconnected space, even financially, commercially, and so much of the economy on the u.s. side of the border is coming from mexico. most people i interviewed were very pragmatic about it. i wish we could make some policies that made sense because , you know, people need -- people who are in agriculture, they want workers. people who are in ranching and cattle also. people in construction. and a lot of times, just like the president, they are hiring undocumented workers. i mean what greater irony is , there? clearly, we want undocumented people here doing work.
if it's coming from the president and members of the senate who have nannies who are undocumented, i mean, it is all there. it is in the history and the present. so the real path is why can't we discuss creating policies to make that legal? >> you were embedded to travel -- you trouble a lot met a lot , of folks. much courage on your part. much compassion. you are emotionally involved. of all the people you met, any indication, any documentation of drugs, guns, crime? the things that we hear about?
alice: i mean, let me think about this. work,onally in all of my and this does not mean it does not exist, but i personally have not seen any drugs or any weapons. the interesting thing is most central american countries have strict gun laws, unlike the united states. consumption is -- drugs aredrugs ar coming to the u.s. because they are being consumed in the u.s. drug consumption in mexico is quite low. we just do not talk about these iron is enough. off this image of mexicans are doing drugs. no. they are selling what we are buying. and that's not to say any population. any people, there are people who do drugs and people who have guns.
it is not like this is all angels traveling to the u.s. not at all. there are people who clearly will never ever get asylum, absolutely without a doubt. and that's part of the process. you know? you can request asylum, doesn't mean you get it. >> how many, if any, are the mexican government willing to take on and give them status? at theso when i was caravan, they were allowing anybody who wanted to work, to go through the process of the paperwork involved to be in mexico and work legally. and i think the issue is for a lot of people is that some of
the things that they are fleeing maybe from other countries, especially if you are a member of a marginalized group, there or a woman there are some gangs , that are still present in mexico. a lot of people want to request asylum in the u.s. and people have parents or children in the u.s. who they would like to be reunited with. there is a very complex -- some people do stay in mexico. and do work in mexico. not everybody. mexico has opened up that process at least. >> i'm wondering how, as a journalist, you don't with the ethical area with covering the somebody's story and being part of the story. when you were, for example, covering estrailia's journ, did journey did you want to help
, her or did people ask you for toways you were not supposed or did people ask you for financial help or some kind of thing like that? alice: often migrants ask me for money. i don't take it personally. i don't get upset. they are people who need money. there is no doubt about it. the economics of this are very imbalanced. i clearly am at least financially stable for now. in the journalism world. and one thing i do is i really try and treat them like intelligent human beings and adults and talk about ethics of journalism, ethics of journalism, and we don't pay for interviews, and don't give anyone money, and that part of the beauty and the truth of
telling a story is that someone wants to share it for whatever the reason may be and if they don't want to share it, that's fine. i always accept a no. i'm not trying to struggle to get someone to tell me their story. that's not the stories i'm interested in. i'm really interested in people that have a very clear ethical or human reason for wanting to share. like with estrailia, she really said these are stories i could have never heard that could saved me heartbreak and feeling alone and i want my story to be that for someone else. migrants absolutely asked me for money but i try to have a discussion with them about journalism and what that means. and they have been respectful of that. or if they're not, i just say , well, i'm not going to share
your story because i don't want to deal with this. >> there's the drug cartels that that we hear about and i have heard that a lot of migrants do mention like fleeing from gangs and stuff. so i'm just thinking, the drug cartels as organized crime and a lot of spinoff gangs that are all over the place? how thick are the thieves, and do you have any idea how extensive the drug gang-type culture is in the countries where people are migrating from? alice: so that is a very complex question. i think the more interesting way to frame it is that these drug cartels and gangs extend from
central america into the u.s. and we never talk about the u.s. side of who is moving drugs and , who is moving money, who is laundering money. this is all something that is clearly happening. this isn't something that stops at the mexico side of the border. it's something that is a continuous presence throughout central america and into the u.s. and i think it is unfortunate investigate,s research, and talk about central america and never about the u.s. side of this. because it does exist. and as for cartels and gangs, it's country-by-country. like,, yo you know when i was , working in el salvador, it was a very different environment for
me in mexico. in mexico city, i walked the streets and had a pretty normal life. in el salvador, almost every area of the city is controlled by gangs, very few people out. people are always in a car. people congregate at shopping malls. it felt very restrictive and dark for me. so it really depends on where you are in terms of what gangs and cartels are running things. and it evolves quite quickly. there is old cartels and new cartels. the other day i was talking to somebody who works on cartels, and he said the old drug cartels are media friendly. like, you want an interview? and the new drug cartels that 14-year-old,un by they are like isis. they might shoot you if they are high. you have a lot of different dynamics, and i don't specifically work on drug
cartels, so i wouldn't want to try and explain that. >> hi. howve a question just about we can do things, like donate money. at the end of the day, we can consume these stories and we can laugh at the man with the iguana, and and we can be happy estralia, but we can all back to our beds at night and sleep soundly. so i was wondering if you are familiar with any organizations that we can use to donate time or money or things like that? i'm familiar with one in texas, but i do not know if you are familiar with any others? alice: the thing you can all do first is subscribe and pay for news, whether it be local,
or national, or international. become a subscriber member of something. i don't care what. "new york times," the local newspaper. pay for news. so many journalists have been laid off. i don't know if you saw last week, buzzfeed, vice laid off huge amounts of their staff covering national security. why would you lay off people covering national security right now? that is a really burning question that i have. and even myself as a freelancer, financially every day is a mystery and a struggle. every day that i can continue to do this, i'm like this is a win because people have gotten used to not paying for news. another organization, which i love, is called immigrant families together. it was founded by a mother of
children in new york who is three married to a cuban, who heard on the radio about an immigrant mother being separated from her three children. the mother was in arizona. the three children were sent to a shelter in new york. writer who i happen to know. she said, i'm going to raise money to bond out this mother who has been detained. i don't know if you are all familiar. but when you are in detention, even if you are requesting asylum, there is a bond starting atyou usually starting $7,000 going up to $30,000, $40,000. this woman, her bond was $8,000. my friend rose the money and drove her from arizona to new york and reunited her with the kids, at which the shelter said point you cannot have your kids back until you have an apartment paid six months up front and one room for each child. and then we will give you your children back.
so my friend raised money, got the apartment, got everything. and then, suddenly, how many parents are separated from their children, how many immigrant parents? she started hearing about people and had a gofundme and now has raised over $1 million and has formally created a nonprofit and has a book deal. so i'm just excited to see what she does because there are still children who are not reunited with their parents and that is a really good organization and . you can find it online at immigrant families together. >> as you were traveling with the caravan, i was wondering -- guess you were treated by other people, the locals the , people that actually live in the area?
i was just wondering how they were treated. was it welcoming? alice: the migrant caravan when it coming through mexico, the both the migrants themselves and everyone was -- my experience was that people were helpful and wanted to donate baby food and diapers, and doctors were there, and there is even a chiropractor volunteering and giving people adjustments in mexico city. it was an interesting mix of people. once they got near the boarder to tijuana, they started encountering more resistance and racism and violence and protests against migrants and things like that. >> maybe i didn't hear you mention it, but a catholic church south of our borders is
so powerful as to prevent any sort of birth control and the tidal wave of babies -- i love babies but it is a tidal wave which will engulf this continent, too. alice: ok. i don't like to use language like tidal wave and flooding. i think when, you know, your wife has a baby you don't use the word tidal wave so i wouldn't use that word with anyone else. as i said, migration has been declining for the last decade, so there is no tidal wave. just because you see a baby or several babies, statistically speaking, that does not mean that we are being overrun. there is all this language of like armies and invasions and things, and it's meant to strike fear.
>> [indiscernible] alice: no, not at all. it is an important discussion. >> i'm one of them. i only have two. alice: that's different. i'm talking about overall statistics. i think it's important that we remember that migration is at a actually at a low point right now in terms of central america. so what are we actually really worried about? >> i would just love to hear what you think are some of the best outlets that are publishing on migration? alice: ok. my favorite outlet is "propublica." doing absolutely unbelievable investigative work. i don't know if you heard the audio of children crying in a detention center published by ginger thompson, who is my hero in terms of reporting. so that audio was heard around
the world. so ginger got ahold of audio of children who had been separated from their parents, crying. in detention. so anyone who can listen to that and still say, wow, this is a great policy for deterring migrants, i think you really have to think about that and people did rethink it. actually, trump announced the end of his policy right after that audio was published. so that is important work, it's also really well done, really creative thinking about, i'm going to go to a detention center and request that audio. and so that's one outlet that i follow a lot. they do stuff in spanish and english, which i love. i think it's really important. a large number of people in the u.s. speak spanish and it's -- we should be producing content
that gets to them that is related to them as well. in terms of other outlets, let me think. i really like any outlet that's doing multilingual work. i work at a site that supports longer-term projects. they do work in multiple languages. if the story is about japan, they will publish in japanese, in germany, they'll publish in german. i think it's important to think outside the box of the united states. that's the kind of work i'm interested in. >> the microphone. >> hi. i'm just wondering why it seems like so much of the focus we have with crime is immigrants perpetuating that crime themselves, and we forget to acknowledge the like legal injustices happening in the u.s. , and you already mentioned
some, whether it's a border patrol agent not speaking spanish or estrella facing gender and sexual identity-based violence in a detention center. and so i'm wondering what action , if there's any happening now, to have legal justices acknowledged, if any work is being done, and what you think should be done to confront those and help people. alice: i think it is really important as citizens that we -- first of all, american citizens commit crime at a higher rate than immigrants. just think about mass shootings. i don't know why we can't have that discussion, but it's white all white male u.s. citizens committing those acts of violence. it is something that we as a nation aren't willing to have an honest discussion about. and in terms of helping
migrants, there's a lot of legal organizations, lawyers doing pro pro bono work, i think that's important. people that are volunteering as translators in court, there's a writer who i really love. she lives and works in new york , and she volunteered as a translator for children in the courts. and think of how many children we have right now in court. i mean, you have probably all seen video of like the kid crawling on the court table with crayons. it's so bizarre. you know? so if you come at it from what can you offer, can you translate, can you write, can you just be a concerned citizen who calls your senator and says , hey, this is not ok. and so there is always something you can do. hi. off, thank you so much for
what you are doing. it is really important. really quickly, i have two questions. was michelle called you and talking to you from the detention center, do you know if that was a designated detention center or a prison turned into a detention center? do you know any details about it? alice: it was all at the mesa detention center. that is all i know about it. as whenhen as far , therants are deported centers you were talking about, what happens after that? is there people helping them come up with a game plan? or when they are in that limbo? alice: often what happens when they arrive at the centers is the mexican government will pay wherever bus ride to
or if they are going to el salvador, they get a bus from mexico and are on their own. so game plan i would not say so much. it is like, here is a bus ticket. go. >> say more about the bonding process. i just became recently aware of a 21-year-old nicaraguan girl who ended up in tucson. she went through all the process of applying for asylum the legal way. well, the way i heard it, threw her, locked her up,
and put a $75,000 bond on her. what is this about? is this the process? alice: yeah. i actually do not understand how the numerical -- like, i know people have had a $7,000 bond. some have a $30,000 bond. i don't know who makes the decision and what they are based on, so that is something i have not researched. and i would be very curious to know as well because it seems like a great mystery to me. i feel like most people are not aware of it as well. >> first off, thank you very much for everything you are doing and the reporting. i was able through some of the emails to read the published online stuff.
thank you very much for all of that. so you have covered or you have talked, and we have a sense of the reporting. a life it seems like misreporting in this country about mike with caravans and the immigrants are coming in and so on, most of which seems to be nonrealistic. what is the sense of reporting in other countries like mexico around migrants and what is happening and u.s. policy? what would you say is the general feel, whether it is incorrect or correct or how they are presenting it? i do not know what the stories are coming out of those countries around this issue. economy ando's well-being is so much tied to the u.s. that, you know, they have a new president that just came into office. lopehe is known as a
populist. i think they are constantly struggling with how to maintain a positive relationship with the do seestates because i them always struggling to do that. it has been interesting because i feel like people always ask me if mexicans are mean to me, if they hate me. thing is i have not really experienced that. mediaother aspect of the in mexico and a lot of central america is the lack of press freedom, both because journalists -- mexico is the most dangerous country for journalists outside of syria in terms of the number of journalists that are killed per year. definite lacks a you are freedom because
scared for your life to report on certain issues. so i don't know if that affects the way that they talk about the u.s. so much, but it definitely is an issue in terms of press freedom. >> hi. so you have mentioned several times now that there have been a lot of violations of international law at the border. i was wondering if you could speak a little bit more about what the repercussions of those violations might be if you know of any involvement by the international court of justice in prosecuting the united states or if there is any actual backlash. alice: that is a really good question. it is not something i have specifically written about. i went trump began the migrant child separation policy that the
united nations, for example, did make a declaration that that was not acceptable policy in terms of human rights. pest ofs a real international organizations and also national organizations because, is anybody keeping the law in check? i don't know that anybody is. currently. right now, just last week, we started sending asylum-seekers back to tijuana. and i'm just wondering when someone is going to die, which i don't think you should pay. i don't think the price of requesting asylum should be you die while waiting. i think that surely we can come up with a better system than that. but that is a good question, definitely.
i want to thank you guys for having me. i'm really happy to be here. and you can feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. i'm happy to talk or exchange emails. [applause] >> next on c-span, nasa officials on the mars rover and discoveries from ours. american federations of teachers president randi weingarten. oner that, lamar alexander rising costs for higher education. at 4:00 p.m. eastern on this presidents' day, presidential historian douglas brinkley.
and on this presidents' day, some history about the holiday. 1885.ally established in it was to recognize the birthday of george washington, who was born on every 22, 1732. after congress passed a uniform monday holiday act, most federal holidays were moved to monday, starting in 1971. although federal law still recognizes the holiday as washington's birthday, is now widely known as presidents' day. this week at 8:00 p.m. eastern the-span, we will look at political careers of the four congressional leaders. using video from the c-span archives and analysis by congressional reporters . tonight, we will look at senator mcconnell's career. on tuesday, speaker nancy pelosi. mccarthy'sy, kevin
congressional career. on thursday, we wrap up the week with a look at senate minority leader charles schumer. watch this week beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news on all things that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, american conservative magazine editor discusses the political fallout from the border debate. and president trump's reelection process. arms control association's dro kimbrell previous next week's u.s.-north korea summit. and the future of the inf treaty between the u.s. and russia. and chicago tribune columnist clarence page discusses news of the day. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at some eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. -- at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. >> live tomorrow on c-span, jack lew.
he will discuss u.s. census policy at the atlantic council at the clock a.m. eastern on c-span. you can also scream the discussion life at c-span.org or listen on the c-span radio app. also tomorrow, a look at u.s. plans to withdraw from afghanistan at the center for national interest. announced last week that is mars rover is no longer operational. the rover arrived on the surface of mars nearly 15 years ago on a mission expected to last 90 days. during a press conference at the nasa jet propulsion laboratory in pasadena, california, officials talked about why the mars explorer lasted so much longer than expected and why it finally stopped working. >> hello, everyone. i'm j.e. hill. welcome to nasa's jet propulsion laboratory. i am standing in the historic von carmen auditor