tv Democracy Now PBS February 28, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
02/28/17 02/28/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! pres. trump: this budget will be a public safety and national security budget and it will include a historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of the united states of america at a time we most need it. amy: heading to capitol hill tonight as he seeks a 10% increase in pentagon spending while slashing the budget of other agencies like the environmental protection agency. we will look back at a largely forgotten period in u.s. history when more than one million possibly 2 million people were deported to mexico in the
1930's. by some estimates, 60% of those deported u.s. citizens. what was an injustice they've done to us, being an american citizen, for them to send us to mexico when we were not mexicans. amy: we will speak with professor francisco balderrama, co-author of the landmark book "decade of betrayal: mexican repatriation in the 1930's." and we will be joined by and ex-wife.s son when they recently flew back into the country from jamaica, immigration authorities asked them if they were muslim. when muhammad ali, jr., said yes, authorities detained and questioned him and his mother for two hours. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
president trump is heading to capitol hill tonight for his first presidential address to congress, where he's expected to lay out part of his budget plan. on monday, trump proposed increasing the military budget to just over $600 billion, a $54 billion increase, while deeply slashing the budgets of other agencies like the environmental protection agency and the state department. separately, president trump is also expected to sign an executive order today aimed at reversing president obama's clean water regulation, known as the waters of the united states rule. the regulation covers 60% of the to.'s bodies of water in six protect t waters from pollution. the executive order is expected to direct the environmental protection agency and other federal agencies to review this regulation and revise or resend parts of its led to not promote economic growth.
the senate has confirmed billionaire wilbur ross as commerce secretary in a 72 to 27 vote monday. ross is worth an estimated $2.9 billion. he is one of the richest people ever to hold public office. this is massachusetts senator elizabeth war and speaking out against ross's confirmation on monday. >> mr. ross is a wall street billion over the long history of profiting from the suffering of others. he also has shady ties to vladimir putin's russia. this is not normal. and it is shameful if we ignore all of it as we evaluate the president's nominees to critical foreign-policy and national security jobs. amy: vermont senator bernie sanders and others are mocking president trump, after trump told a room of state governors that nobody knew replacing the affordable care act would be so complicated. pres. trump: i have to tell you, it is an unbelievably complex
suect. no one knew that it could be so complicated. and because senator sanders responded on cnn. sen. sanders: some of us sitting on the committee who went to meeting after meeting after meeting, who heard from dozens of people who stayed up night after night trying to figure out this thing. yeah, we got a clue. you provide health care in a nation of 300 20 million people, yeah, it is very, very complicated. amy: president trump has accused his predecessor, president obama, of being "behind" a series of leaks coming out of the white house. during monday's taped interview on "fox & friends," trump also accused obama of being behind the mass protests at republican town halls. pres. trump: i think he is behind it. i also think it is politics. bush was not going after clinton. clinton was going after bush. trump are you never know what is going on behind the scenes. you never know. i think president obama is behind it because his people are
certainly behind it. some of the leaks, possibly come from that group. some of the leaks, which were very serious leaks because of terms of national security. but i also understand that is politics. in terms of him being behind things come up that is politics. in a code that is president trump accusing former president obama of being behind the leaks coming out of the white house. yet, white house press secretary sean spicer seems to believe his own staff are behind the leaks, and he recently forced them to submit to a random phone check, according to politico. checking to see if they were communicating with reporters. former president george w. bush criticized president trump's war on the media in an interview monday with "today" show host matt lauer. >> did you consider the media to be the enemy of the american people? i consider the media to be
indispensable to democracy. we need an independent media to hold people like me to account. power can be very addictive. it can be corrosive and it is important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere. amy: during interview, "today" show host matt lauer also asked former president george w. bush about trump's muslim travel ban, which temporarily blocked all people from seven majority muslim nations from entering the united states before the ban was suspended by the courts earlier this month. >> are you for or against the ban? >> i am for an immigration policy that is welcoming and upholds the law. amy: president trump is expected to unveil a new version of the travel ban any day now. jewish schools and community centers in 11 states were hit by another wave of bomb threats monday. it marks the fifth wave of threats against jcc's and jewish schools nationwide over the past two months. at least two jewish cemeteries have also been desecrated in recent weeks. over the weekend, as many as 500
gravesites at a jewish cemetery in philadelphia were toppled or damaged. while president trump issued a statement last week decrying the bomb threats after enormous pressure, many say his administration has fostered a culture of hate against jews, as well as muslims, that has contributed to the rise in anti-semitic and islamophobic attacks nationwide. trump's justice department has dropped part of its legal objection to texas's strict voter id law, which appeals courts have ruled illegally discriminates against blacks and hispanics and violates the voting rights act. obama's justice department had sued texas as part of an ongoing lawsuit against texas's 2011 law, which created a list of ids required to vote that skewed heavily towards id's carried by whites, such as conceal carry permits, while excluding id's often carried by people of color, such as government employee id's and public university id's. obama's justice department claimed texas had a discriminatory intent in enacting the law. but under the direction of trump's attorney general jeff
sessions, the justice department has now dropped the discriminatory intent claim. sessions has long opposed the voting rights act and major civil rights groups, including the naacp, had protested his confirmation as attorney general. house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes says he hasn't found enough evidence of communications between president trump's associates and russian officials to justify appointing a special prosecutor to investigate, even though there hasn't been an investigation in order to obtain that evidence. instead, nunes is trying to shift focus onto the leaks coming out of the white house, calling them major crimes. nunes' stance puts him at odds with other republican lawmakers, including former house oversight and government reform chairman darrell issa, who on monday called for an independent investigation. a new investigation by the guardian has revealed that leaked court documents allege honduran environmental activist berta caceres' murder nearly one year ago was planned by honduran military intelligence members who are linked to the country's
u.s.-trained special forces. caceres was murdered by armed gunmen just before midnight on march 2, 2016. at the time of her murder she , was fighting hydroelectric dams threatening the ancestral land of the indigenous lenca people. the guardian investigation, published today, reveals that at least two men who have been arrested in connection with caceres' murder, mariano diaz and douglas giovanny bustillo, received military training in the united states. honduran prosecutors say phone records reveal extensive communication between diaz, bustillo, and a former honduran special forces sniper who has also been charged in the murder. prosecutors say this man, henry javier hernandez, may have also worked as an informant for the honduran military intelligence. prosecutors say one of the messages between the three men even includes a coded reference to a payment for an extrajudicial killing. in iraq, the u.s.-backed iraqi
army says it's recaptured a key bridge in western mosul, amid an ongoing campaign to retake this side of the city from isis militants. humanitarian aid organizations have issued dire warnings about the safety of the 750,000 people living in west mosul. the campaign comes as a report issued this month by the institute for study of war is already warning that another post-isis insurgency is already forming in iraq. the report reads -- "early indicators suggest that a post-isis sunni insurgency may be forming in iraq and al qaeda is trying to gain traction within it. the u.s.-backed coalition has been focused only on eliminating isis, not other insurgent groups or the conditions that grow them." unnamed u.s. officials, as well as monitoring groups like the syrian observatory for human rights, say a top al qaeda leader has been killed by a missile strike in idlib, syria. abu al khayr al-masri was reportedly killed sunday in an attack that unnamed u.s.
officials say was directed by u.s. intelligence agencies. in separate attacks, opposition activists say as many as 11 people were killed monday night in airstrikes against rebel-held idlib. the strikes came as another round of talks continue in geneva aimed at ending the ongoing syrian civil war. back in the united states and kansas, a white man who is accused of opening fire on two indian men last week, killing one, cured in court monday via video link on charges of first-degree murder and first a great him to murder. is accused of fatally shooting srinivas kuchibhotla and wounding alok madasani last wednesday. he reportedly yelled "get out of my country" at the two indian men, before opening fire. new reports suggest purinton believed the two men were iranian. a bartender at an applebees where purinton went after the shooting told a 911 dispatcher that purinton said he "shot and killed two iranian people."
authorities have not yet said whether they are investigating the murder as a hate crime. at least two black transgender women have been murdered in new orleans in recent days. on monday, police say ciara mcelveen was stabbed to death, only two days after 33-year-old chyna gibson was fatally shot outside a shopping center. they are the fifth and sixth reported murders of transgender women this year. earlier this month, 24-year-old keke colliers was killed in chicago, and 23-year-old jojo striker was murdered in toledo, ohio. and for the first time in the 130-year history of the harvard law review, its president is a black woman. 24-year-old imeime umana, the daughter of nigerian immigrants, was elected as the president of the united states' most prestigious law review at the end of january. it is the most powerful student position at harvard law school.
among others who have occupied the position was former president barack obama. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. president trump is heading to capitol hill tonight and is expected to outline part of his budget plan before a joint session of congress. on monday, trump proposed increasing the military budget to just over $600 billion, a 10% increase, while deeply slashing the budgets of other agencies likely including the environmental protection agency and the state department. trump said he wanted historic increase in military spending. pres. trump: this budget will be a public safety and national security budget. very much based on those two with plenty of other things, but very strong. it will include historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of
the united states of america at a time we most need it. this is a landmark event, a thesee to the world in dangerous times of american strength, security, and resolve. we must ensure our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they need to deter war and when called upon, to fight, in our name, only do one thing -- win. we have to win. we have to start winning wars again. juan: california congresswoman barbara lee responded on twitter by writing -- "trump's morally bankrupt budget will funnel more money to the pentagon at the expense of the poor and our planet. this is an awful idea." the united states already has by far the largest military budget in the world. according to the national priorities project, the pentagon's annual budget is roughly the size of the world's next seven largest military budgets combined. amy: meanwhile, some republicans
in congress, including john mccain, are criticizing trump for not seeking even more money for the military. we go now to boston where we are joined neta crawford, co-director of the costs of war project and a professor of political science at boston university. in september, she released a report that found the united states has spent nearly $5 trillion since the september 11, 2001 attacks on homeland security and the wars in iraq, afghanistan, syria, and pakistan. professor crawford, welcome to democracy now! can you talk about what president trump himself is calling this historic increase that he is asking for for the military? a 10% increase? >> it is his stork. there has been no increase of this magnitude in peacetime, in fact, since 2002 when the united states was running up for the iraq war. so in recent war memory. this is unprecedented.
amy: and your response to it? .> well, look there is no grand strategy here. it is unclear to what purpose all of this money will be put. anyone who calls for even more spending i think is missing the point. the united states has this year a military budget of $583 billion. billion will take us well into the $600 billion a year. thist a grand strategy for increase, what is it to be spent on? hurt theust, in fact, united states domestically and abroad. i think make us more insecure. juan: professor crawford, the way that trump has explained it, he is looking for increases in all the branches of the military and in addition, missile capacity. we're talking about this is not
a strategic plan to increase what we think may be a critical portion of the united states military. just an overall increase, isn't it? >> right. he will increase the nuclear arsenal, increase the capacity of it to make more flexible nuclear wars if that were possible. he is when increase the size of the army, increase the size of the marines, an increase the surface and submarine force of the united states maybe -- maybe. united states already has more than a dozen aircraft carriers. many submarines. we don't really need to increase the size of the navy. it can do what it needs to do, but it is unclear what it needs to do. there is no larger picture here other than more is better. that is not, to me, a plan. in fact, the united states could decrease its military spending
by 10%, 20%, in fact, and be just as say, probably more say. juan: in increased militarization of society? the president is also proposing a 10,000 increase in border patrol agents. it almost seems he is basically redirecting much of the budget into militarizing americans as eydie. >> well, it is always -- already the case that more than half of discretionary spending is spent on the military. so this will increase all discretionary spending that goes toward armed forces. when you add the increased budget dollars security, the border patrol, it is -- you are right, a militarization of the united states domestically as well. you see this when you go out to places on the, for instance, most recently where i
was in standing rock, that surplus military equipment is deployed at home. what we will have more surplus military equipment because what will happen is the united states military will buy new things and they will have a desire to get rid of that surplus so they do not have to store it and maintain it, they will give it to the police and border patrol and to other countries -- which will, in fact, we will see that military quitman abroad and we'll see how devastating using military equipment designed for can be.ome amy: speaking to the national governors association on monday, president trump criticized u.s. military spending in the middle east. pres. trump: i saw a chart the other day, as of about a month ago, $6 trillion we have spent in the middle east. $6 trillion. i want to tell you, that is unacceptable. and we are nowhere. actually, if you think about it,
we're less than nowhere. the middle east is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago. $6 trillion. we have a hornets nest. it is a mess like you never seen before. we are nowhere. so we are going to strain it out. amy: that is president trump citing your figures, professor crawford, from the cost of war project. your response? >> he does not quite have it right, but it would take too long to correct him. the gist of it is, yes, we spent a great deal of money in iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, and other parts of the world including yemen, making war. what he does have right is we're not much better off, in fact, many ways, we are worse off. in afghanistan, the government controls less territory now than a year ago and a controlled less territory a year ago than it did the year before that.
the number of taliban and other insurgents in afghanistan has in fact grown since they diminished the number of those forces in the mid-2000's. it is about 40,000 people estimated to be in those movements. you cannot kill everybody, in other words, and expect that to work because people do not like being questioned around and bullied. well, theument -- assumption that we spend more money then we have already spent is going to get better, i think, is on the face of it, the logical without a plan. , without a plan. the worst part, if you think of it, we are committing ourselves to not just spending an extra $54 billion this year, but because of the way the budget works, we're committing ourselves if we buy big weapons and increase the number of people in the military to
spending year after year that amount. you do not just spin it one year. you make commitments to buy weapons and that takes time. and you make the memos to be able to provide for the health care, and that does not go away after year. we are committing huge amount of spending for what? there is no plan. for decades. juan: the $54 billion increase aso is going to be -- create $54 billion reduction in the expenditures for other agencies. the impact is such a large -- of such a large reduction on nonmilitary? >> the first is we have urgent priorities at home. each $1 million spent on the military, not to mention the aliens, actually produces fewer jobs per dollar the nonmilitary spending.
that has been clear for decades. it is illogical to think this is going to help the united states domestically. obvious, i think it is that the militarization of the , not just jobsat are lost, but opportunities are lost in the future to do important work. then there are international consequences for such increases in spending. say, decrease in, let's and carmel protection. -- environmental protection. as the climate gets worse, unrest gets greater. onwe decrease spending diplomacy, the things were the united states could make a positive difference through diplomacy, that is not war, diminish because it has already
been underemphasized. the last several secretaries of defense have asked the united states to increase money on climate and on diplomacy. the state department. they have wanted just the opposite of what this government -- amy: and president trump has just said they are going to vastly decrease the budget for the state department as reuters reports more than 100 20 retired u.s. generals and animals urged congress monday to fully fund u.s. diplomacy and foreign aid saying elevating and strengthening diplomacy and development alongside defense are critical to keeping america safe. i want to ask you, professor crawford, about president trump calling for a new nuclear arms race. >> again, what for? the united states already has several thousand nuclear weapons ready to be deployed, that is used against adversaries.
these weapons are capable of destroying much of the planet. there is no reason, in fact, to develop more accurate or more usually used nuclear options other than the quest to maintain superiority. but we are already superior. what it does, in fact, is increase the incentive for our adversaries to increase the quality and quantity of their nuclear forces. it is absurd. amy: we want to thank you for joining us, professor neta crawford, co-director of the costs of war project and a professor of political science at boston university. we will link to your study at democracynow.org. have twoome back, we segments. later in the broadcast, we will be speaking with the son of .uhammad ali from the united states, when out of the country for black histo month. when he came back, he was
amy: joan baez, song written by .oody guthrie this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: president donald trump is slated to give his first presidential address to congress today. democratic lawmakers have begun giving their tickets away to immigrants as a protest against trump's push to increase deportations and to block residents from some muslim-majority countries from
entering the united states. last week, white house press secretary sean spicer said trump wants to "take the shackles off" of the nation's immigration agents. >> the president wanted to take the shackles off individuals in these agencies and say, you have a mission. there are laws that need to be followed. you should your mission and follow the law. a makeup last thursday, plandent trump called his during a meeting with manufacturing ceos by saying -- jump to we're getting really bad dudes out of this country. at a rate that nobody is ever seen before. they are the bad ones. it is a military operation because what is been allowed to come into our country, when you see gang violence that you read about like never before, all of the things, much of that is people here illegally.
but not toughtec, like our people. so we are getting them out. juan: this is not the first time people of mexican descent have been demonized, accused of stealing jobs, and forced to leave the country. during the great depression of the 1930's, more than one billion people residing in the united states were deported to estimated within 60% of them were u.s. citizens of mexican descent. amy: there were hearings held in sacrament were for -- survivors gave testimony about what happened to them during the forced expulsions, which the government called repatriations. this is senator dunn stressing the importance of the hearing. idea from which this nation was born was the promise to all of liberty and justice. today we examine the tragic part of american history where we betrayed the justice part of
that promise. affected ayal that staggering number of individuals. i some estimates, almost 2 million individuals were deported from the united states in the 1930's. estimate almost 60% of those that were deported were united states citizens. and they were deported for but one reason -- they just happened to be of mexican descent. amy: the state of california went on to issue a formal apology for its role in the expulsions and built a memorial in downtown los angeles to commemorate the victims. but many fear that history is now on the verge or repeating itself are ready. for more, we go to los angeles, california, where we're joined by the preeminent scholar on this often overlooked chapter of american history, francisco balderrama, professor of american history and chicano
studies at california state university, los angeles. he is co-author of "decade of betrayal: mexican repatriation in the 1930's." professor balderrama, welcome to democracy now! i think for many, especially young people, but i am sure many more, do not know this chapter of american history. can you lay it out for us what actually happened yet though >> you are right that it is largely not known and in the larger american society, the mexican nation as well as in the mexican community itself that this occurred during the great depression, a period of vast unemployment and underemployment that at least over one million 2 millionhinks almost individuals, mexican nationals
and american citizens of mexican descent were swept up and expelled out of this country. it covered the entire united states from alabama and mississippi to alaska, from los angeles to new york. this mass expulsion occurred. and of a population that included mexican nationals, many of them that had lived in this country 20, 30 years, but increasingly important is the 60% are more of american citizens of mexican descent. in other words, what occurred here was unconstitutional deportation. professor, i'm wondering if you could talk also about the role of the press at that time in stirring up anti-immigrant fervor. this began during the hoover administration and moved on to the roosevelt the
administration. what was the role of the press as well? >> the role of the press is significant, but it is also reflecting the larger american society at this time as well. the key notion that the press puts forward is that a mexican is a mexican. there is no distinction in terms .f residents in this country as i mentioned earlier, many of them had lived in this country, 20, 20 five years. most of them were documented. most of them had papers. and their children that were born in this country were u.s. citizens. no distinctions made. and that is accepted in this society and serves as a way of looking at the population that even know they had contributed during better times of economic prosperity of the united states, that now that is not recognized. they are the "other," so to speak. amy: i want to turn to ignacio
piña, who lived in rural idaho when sheriffs came to his house and took everybody in custody in the summer of 1931. his parents had lived in t united states for some 25 years . he was about to enter first grade. we're taking this from a film called "a forgotten injustice," and a now elderly piña describes what happened that day. cooking.her was i remember we were eating tortillas with melted butter. then all of a sudden, they arrived. they pointed their guns at us. one officer was standing outside. the other was inside and they said, ome on, let's go. come on." i mother would ask him "where?" they answered, "no questions, come out."
amy: "not even our birth certificates." .hat was ignacio piña you knew him. can you tell us more about the story and how typical it was? called the. piña after the hearings in sacramento. we conducted extensive interviews. getting to meet his family, his son should with me he no longer has the nightmares. this man was expressing them well into his 80's because he was able to share his story with us. , who recently is deceased, becoming an activist in regards of the apology act and the direction of the memorial here in los angeles.
i think it shows an individual that suffered with this throughout his life that even had nightmares as a senior citizen about that, became an activist and shared that story multiple times to the press, to the television, on and on, with the conviction that as many of the other survivors, that this .ot happen to anybody else when he said that in the other survivors, not to happen to anyone else, he just does it meet people of mexican descent for latino descent. rather, what he is saying is anybody else. and especially those that are american citizens. it should not happen. we should not have unconstitutional deportation. juan: professor balderrama, he
specialized in the mass specialized -- you in the mastech rotations of the 1930's. but in the 1950's, there was operation went back under the eisenhower administration. of course, during the bush years and into the obama years, there was a mass deportation that occurred. it seems every time there is an economic crisis in the united states, the first reflex is to start mass deportations of "the other" as the society begins to declare them. >> exactly ,juan. you are right on target with that. that we do have these cycles. what behooves american society to understand is that this early period i have studied, the early 20th century and the great depression, which is the most severe economic crisis of the 20th and 21st century, is the time,hat at that
developed this ideology, this set of beliefs, this way of thinking of the mexican-latino population that somehow they are not part of our society. that many of them are criminals. many of them appear to be on welfare. that somehow, someway, they cannot become part of our society. think what is especially important to keep in mind for your listeners is that as we experience the nightmare of today, the crisis of today that which is different, that same ideology, that same way of in actions still today. amy: i want to go, professor balderrama, to your late co-author raymond rodriguez. this is rodriguez speaking at committee onct citizen participation at the california state senate. and 1936, when i was 10.
i never saw my dad again. going toybody compensate me for that loss? amy: that was raymond rodriguez, you're co-author. can you tell us about him and alsoamily's experience and why just mexicans? was it only mexicans? well, -- amy: because 60% of them perhaps were americans. >> my colleague raymond rodriguez was a very dear friend. we spoke with one voice when we wrote "decade of betrayal." i had known ray for some 20 years at the time that we completed the first edition of "decade of betrayal."
at that moment, i learned his father had been every patriot. at that moment when the book was finished and we were cementing it to the publisher. i knew they had grown up with a single parent and with the mother only, but i did not know what had happened to his father. ,n a lot of ways, my co-author my treasured friend, his work together, his scholarship as well as his activism, was trying to uncover that history, his own family history. we see that thread among others as well. who inher individuals understanding this issue from reading "decade of betrayal," from hearing your radio program, from looking at this and understanding this, have developed a larger understanding. what we have seen happen is that this private history has now become a public history. as they dealle,
with this, try to become a public history come that even though ray in the excerpt you just played was the very first time that publicly he announced that his father had been a re-p atriot. what happened divided his family. his mother and siblings stayed in the united states and his father returned to mexico, and he never saw his father again. juan: professor balderrama, this whole issue of repatriation, the u.s. government labeled it repatriation because it claimed the people were voluntarily agreeing to go back to their home country. but as you know, as you reported and happens right here in the united states now, people are picked up, locked up, and then told, if you don't want to stay locked up, then you agree to be -- to self deport. in essence, leave the country
and go back to your home country. it is really a choice of staying in jail or having a chance possibly to come back legally at some other time. >> juan, you are right about that. but looking at it in the context of the 1930's, repatriation was a cover-up word. 1930's time, which marks different than today, is the big source of this expulsion is on the local level. it is in the cities and counties that took upon themselves to say to their community's, there is enough jobs for real americans if we can get rid of these other people. so l.a. county and other counties throughout the nation them pressured mexican families to leave. even though mexicans, from my research, never were a large percentage of those that were on
welfare. but to the notion or the idea that mexicans were on welfare. county, they began to call their actions deportation. the legal counsel says, no, you cannot do that. only the federal government can do that. and that is where the word "repatriation" is on, so to speak, to be used in that to maketo cover it up, it look clean, to make it look like it is voluntary. at the same time, you public raid, at the same time you have the press, talking about unwanted mexican-americans -- all of these actions are very coercive. amy: finally, professor balderrama, your response to what is happening today and the parallels you see and the ways you can see avoiding history
repeating itself? >> obviously, this is a nightmare. obviously, the legacy of this is in the mexican community -- even before this happened, i know many senior citizens who would carry around their papers, their documentation, whatever they had in fear they might get caught up in a sweep. now, obviously, those same feelings are being reported daily in the press about people staying home, people fearful to go out and buy groceries. so that has returned. but what i think marks the difference between the past and today is the simple fact that we have come in the mexican community, different groups -- the mexican american legal defense fund and education fund, other groups, and more importantly, the different across at the, progressive
groups together whether they be japanese-american am a whether they be jewish american, the various other groups who have come to gather and are very conscious of what is happening and are dedicated to those thisns of activism to stop what is occurring. amy: francisco balderrama, professor of american history and chicano studies at california state university, los angeles. co-author of "decade of betrayal: mexican repatriation in the 1930's." we will link to that book as well as yoursj,uan, "harvest of empire" the whole story would you include this as well. the son ofe back, mohammed ali and his mother joined us. why were they stopped? american citizens, when they came back to this country? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: argue a muslim? -- are you muslim? where did you get your name from? that was the question posed by immigration officials to the son of the late boxing legend muhammad ali earlier this month when he flew into florida from jamaica after attending a black history month event. when muhammad ali, jr., said he was a muslim, authorities reportedly held him and questioned him for nearly two hours. ali was traveling with his mother, khalilah camacho-ali, the boxing great's second wife and mother of his four oldest children. she was also briefly detained. amy: the incident occurred on february 7, days after trump signed an executive order
banning people from seven majority-muslim countries. for more, we're joined by muhammad ali, jr., his mother, khalilah camacho-ali, and their attorney chris mancini. welcome to democracy now! i just went to montego bay last week. i flew in back to the united states and no one asked me about my religion. , can you telljr. us what happened to you when you flew in from montego bay on february 7? >> i was headed to baggage claim and immigration for me aside and asked me a series of questions. the first question asked me was, what is my name? the second question was, where did i get my name from? the third question was am a what religion are you? i answered, my name is muhammad ali and i got my name from my mother and father who raised me and gave me the name from birth. muslim.i am
obviously, i think i did not believe me, so they took him to another -- into the back and asked me the same series of questions. it really struck me as a awe becauseock, and i'm an american citizen so i don't know what he stopped me in the first place. amy: what did he keep asking you in the second room? >> the same questions as when he pulled me aside. what is my name, where did i get money from, and what was my religion? , you khalilah camacho-ali are separated. you came in together. what happened to you? >> we came in together. we were in wheelchairs because we cannot stand. together. i said, that is my son over there. him said -- they ignored
and rolled them out. i said, you're taking my son. they said, he will meet you on the other side. i did not understand what was that about. they told me to go around and go in another room. i was going, why are they separating us? that is what sin of the red flag. honestly, something was in place. place for thisn action. they asked me the same thing. they said, we know you are muhammad ali's -- where do you live? what is your religion? i said, my religion? are you kidding me? i said, that is a personal question. is my papers in order? they said, what is your religion? ok, i will comply. i said, i am a muslim.
my daughter was freaking out. i did not understand. want to aske just you a few questions, that's all. they were very kind. but they never said why they asked me to questions. amy: apparently, since then, they have said that they were not stopping you because of your religion, mohammed. do you believe that? >> if they did not stop me for my religion, why would they ask me what my religion is? is contradictory. juan: were you in that room by yourself? >> there were other people in the room being questioned, but i was the only one that was actually muslim and black in the room. amy: has this ever happened to you? >> this is the first time. i have been to england -- i year ago,o england a and nobody approached me or asked me any question like that. amy: khalilah camacho-ali? >> i just came back from paris,
france, two weeks earlier. i was alone. they did not bother me at all. when i had my son with me, it totally changed. , yourchris mancini reaction when you were contacted and heard about this? withyou heard any exchange the immigration official since then? >> we are thinking about trying to wave her privacy rights and demanding an explanation from customs service and an apology. as i'm sitting here listening to lah, have to laugh also the difference of what happened between me two is partly the difference between our personalities. that should not be a factor whatsoever in the way custom streets you. halilah recognized immediately that there were questioning her about stuff she is constitutionally protected from having to answer. mohammed get strike back there alone and there are separated and it was quite obvious to both of them that this was deliberate. some people have asked is, could
this have been a rogue agent just decided? ,his was to separate agents ashley two separate groups of agents, as for as i can tell, having been the united states prosecutor promised 10 years, this is the type of thing that customs, border patrol does when they want to develop a profile. we have been getting calls. we have been getting emails from all over the country. and the two things that people are saying, the first one is heartbreaking, do you think i should deny my religion so i can get into the country without being hassled? that is heartbreaking. the other call -- calls we are getting, you know, i am a muslim and they asked me the same thing. then they had a list of questions -- where do you pray? what imam do you practice with? would you read? do you pray five times a day? or you a member of gareet something -- i can't remember the name s --ect?
so i don't care what customs said. secondbelieves for one that these two people, , to belly the alis separated like this, question like this, and it is just an accident. it is not possible. amy: we're here with the alis, muhammad ali's father does your father was born caches clay. muhammad ali would later change his nameews outlets initially refused to use his new name. the debate over his name even extended into the ring. during a famous 1966 interview with howard cosell, muhammad ali accused challenger ernie terrel of being an uncle tom for refusing to call him muhammad ali. >> you continue to be unafraid. >> i would like to say something right here. cash is clay, yes -- >> what you want to say that when everyone else is calling me muhammad ali echo what he had to keep saying cash is clay?
howard goes he'll is not the one who's going to fight you. hardu have made it really on yourself now. why do you call me by my name? >> what is your name? my name is muhammad ali. you're acting just like -- amy: just in that fight, mohammed ali repeatedly's tormented in my screaming, what is my name? what is my name? what you think your father would say at the airport in fort lauderdale, hollywood, if you are -- as you are stopped as you were? [speaking like muhammad ali] by name is muhammad ali. are the sonhat you
of a man who is revered throughout the world? my fatherthem that was muhammad ali, but it did not speed up the process. i think it made things worse. [laughter] of me andictures mohammed at the airport because there were travelers asking for autographs. i said, see, this is me. it kind of cooled off, but they still detained me anyway. it kind of cooled off, but they still detained me anyway. don't you miss muhammad ali? have become the focus. we're getting calls from all forms of muslim organizations all forms of support groups. i believe them although they did not ask for this fight, they took on the wrong people. i think they're going to become the focus and a rallying point
for this struggle. as far as the lawsuit, we are working towards that. we're trying to get everybody who was similarly profiled to contact us or contact an organization that we can work with. if anything, mohammed fought for respect. and so is his wife and son. >> we have to carry on the legacy. we have to help others because other people that have a problem, they don't have a voice. we have to stand up and be a voice. >> think about the muslims as citizens of the united states. the haj is a practice we do. should they be worried about getting back to the country, to the families? amy: it cannot be denied the alis fire fighters. thank you for joining us. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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