tv Politics Nation With Al Sharpton MSNBC June 24, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PDT
no one has your back like american express. so where ever you go. we're right there with you. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it. don't live life without it. good morning and welcome to "politics nation." i was traveling this week very heavily, starting tuesday with a press conference in washington where i joined civil rights leaders in calling on this administration to stop separating migrant children from their families at the u.s.-mexico border. i then went to texas on thursday as part of heading an interfaith group to visit children's
detention centers housing some of those kids. i ended my week at a vigil yesterday for migrant children being detained only a few miles from where i sit right now, right up in east harlem, new york. throughout my tour of the suffering caused by this policy, i was consumed with several emotions. i keep hearing this administration saying, they're coming forth with a plan to reunite the kids with their parents after the president be la latedly signed an executive order. what do you mean you're coming with a plan? you never had a plan from the beginning, so you never intended to reunite these young children with their parents. and if you did have that plan, then why don't you just use that plan now? and if you didn't have that plan, what did you think they were, just collateral damage to
your political conquest to look tough at the border? that's where i start today. joining me now is democrat of new york congressman haquin jeffries who visited a facility in texas this week. i went to texas to see these children, and i hear they're developing a plan which says to me they never had a plan. and if they never had a plan, they had just decided they were going to break up people's families and it doesn't matter. because they sent these kids to new york, seattle, washington, all over the place, and you never had a plan on how you were going to bring them back together? even if they stayed with the separation of families, at some point they would have known they had to bring them back together? they never had a plan? >> that's correct, rev, because
this was cooked up for political reasons. jeff sessions and the boys decided they were going to use young, vulnerable children has hostages to try to extort dec democrats in the house and the senate to give donald trump $25 million for his ridiculous border wall and a road to the legal immigration system. >> give donald trump $25 billion, right? >> that's correct. >> for what? >> for the border wall. >> but mexico was going to pay for the wall. why are we paying for it? they promis he promised they would pay for the wall. >> that was their policy, but that didn't work out. donald trump has a habit of ripping children from their families and the country has
risen up and said we're not going to stand for this approach to immigration. hopefully we can use this as a building block to begin the process of reuniting these children with their families and treating their acclaims to asylum that they need. >> what happens if we can't find the children of these parents in many cases? we're talking about an 18-month-old baby. certainly he can't identify his parents, he can't identify himself. who are they now? do they get green cards? are they given citizenship? how do you even adopt them when they have no legal status that is clear? we just leave them there? what are their names going to be? >> that's correct. we are going to have to find a pathway for them toward legalization and citizenship to
the extent we cannot reunite them with their parents. but every effort has to be made to do so. this is the consequences of an administration that is often mired in chaos, crisis and confusion and chooses to do things on political whims without doing things in a very thoughtful fashion. congress is going to need to intervene. jerry nadler has introduced legislation supported by 190 democrats to stop something like this from ever happening again, and to make sure political asylum claims with prioritized. one of the things lost in this debate is jeff sessions says those who are being detained are lawbreakers sneaking into this country. nothing could be further from the truth. the majority of people i've spoken to or encountered or talked to their attorneys have been fleeing persecution, violence, extortion, rape from three very violent countries. >> that's my experience as well
in texas, and i'm glad you mentioned legislation, because nadler's legislation and others that are supportive like you of it is to make sure we are no longer at the whims of a president that would do this and that really has no plan. i mean, if anybody needed to see that they just completely have dehumanized the value of life of these children and parents is to do this to people with no plan, with no thought of what is going to happen to their lives. they just are meaningless. and that is as insensitive as you can get. let me ask you, the elections, we know, weill turn if the democrats take over. but what are the legislative possibilities right now? because we saw that your colleagues on the other side of the aisle, the republicans, couldn't even get enough votes for their own immigration bills,
bill 1 or bill 2. >> that's correct. hopefully in the senate there is more of a bipartisan pathway in terms of doing something as it relates to family reunification and preventing the inhumanity we recently witnessed at the texas-mexican, california-mexican, arizona-mexican border. in the house, as you pointed out, rev, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle weren't even able to get their act together in terms of a republican-led so-called immigration reform effort. anything done in this space has to be done in a bipartisan fashion and hopefully we can get our act together in that regard. >> i brought up throughout the last several days that there is a race element involved, and of course, the right wing says, oh, sharpton is always talking about race. but we do have two borders we're connected to, canada and mexico, and i've noticed i have not heard one word about if we find
people coming across the canadian border illegally, we're going to grab their children. because i don't think america, the part of america that mr. trump thinks is his base, would tolerate snatching white babies from white mothers. i mean, have you heard any kind of rhetoric in washington about both borders, or is this basically concentrated in mexico? >> everything has been concentrated on the u.s.-mexican border, and you have sort of xenophobic individuals like steve king from iowa who continue to fan the flames of hatred in a wide variety of ways, focused on immigration from people coming from countries like guatemala, honduras and el salvador, three of the most violent countries in the world. many of the things that have been created in those countries that folks are fleeing, as general kelly himself pointed out several years ago, are related directly to the appetite
in the united states of america for drug consumption. and gangs like ms-13 were exported from california down into el salvador to help create the type of crisis that exists. we as united states policyholders have to take a look at how we can improve the conditions back down in those countries. >> thank you, congressman jeffries. coming up, president trump is asking for suggestions on who to pardon from jail. and my next guest has some ideas. be right back. but meningitis b progresses quickly and can be fatal, sometimes within 24 hours. while meningitis b is uncommon, about 1 in 10 infected will die. like millions of others, your teen may not be vaccinated against meningitis b. meningitis b strikes quickly.
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i am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me, because that's what they're protesting, people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system. >> i told the nfl players indrei indirect indirectly, you have somebody w who are aggrieved. i have not heard from them. maybe they called the staff but i personally have not heard from them. >> president trump got his response tuesday when the "new york times" published an op-ed from four nfl players, three active, written tired. its title is a direct response to the president's proposal. quote, here's whom you should
pardon. and rather than make individual suggestions, the editorial counters that, quote, a handful of funds will not address the systemic injustice that nfl players have been protesting. what would help the athletes recommend is a blanket pardon for nonviolent drug offenders, specifically elderly prisoners like alice marie johnson whose commutation by president trump earlier this month after serving 20 years in prison was achieved only with the involvement of celebrity kim kardashian west. joining me now is nfl player benjamin watson who, along with malcolm jenkins and quan bolden wrote that op-ed telling president trump what to do with his pardon power. and also joining us,
sportswriter howard bryan, author of "the heritage: black athletes, a guided america, and the politics of patriotism." let me go to you first, benjamin. you and your colleagues wrote this op-ed piece and i was very intrigued when i read it and happy at the same time because you answered the president, but at the same time you didn't bite the bait, as i would term -- not your term, mine -- to go into free this one, free this one, free this one, and said wait a minute let's deal with the systemic problem of why people have taken a knee and deal with a real problem of systemic high incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders, you ought to pardon them, something many of us worked with president obama toward. >> yes, sir.
it's important that we address these issues. it's one thing to look at it and say, okay, the president was kind enough to ask us about people to pardon, and while we should commend him for people to pardon like alice johnson, there is a big problem here at stake. and when there is inkarcarcerat of blacks for nonviolent drug offenses, all those sorts of things that players have been trying to bring attention to, it's important that we not simply try to help one or two people, but we look at it from a whole. because instead of helping hundreds, we could help millions if we were to be able to change policy. and so while it's tempting and while we should try to free the individual, it's more important to look at it from a systemic and from a wide lens so that we as americans, really, can understand the issue with the criminal justice system in this country. >> now, if you look at the fact
that he did pardon ms. johnson after kim kardashian west interven intervened, on the basis of that, why wouldn't that logic carry over for many more like you and three of your colleagues that helped write that? it's the same logic. you can't say it's enough for one person and not enough for everyone that is similarly incarcerated under the same exact circumstances. >> it is the same logic, but it's a lot easier to do something kind for an individual than to address a larger problem. again, it is important that we look at individuals. i know right now that the president's staff and his administration is looking at thousands of people who should be eligible for pardon or clemency, and that's vitally important. but he could also use his pardoning power, he could use his power to lead congress and to lead them into criminal
justice reform, which is something he said he would be dedicated to, especially after what happened with kim kardashian, the way she was able to bring miss alice's situation to the forefront is great. but everybody doesn't have a celebrity that is willing to tout their name. not everybody has a celebrity willing to shout their name from the rooftops so everybody can hear it. so our desire as players is to, yes, deal with the individual but also try to change things so that in the future, these things will stop happening. in the future, fathers who have been in prison for a long time for these offenses will be able to come home to their children and grandchildren. in the future, people won't be getting these unfair sentences and the judges will have more leeway and more control and that mandatory minimum sentencing will actually be moved out so that sentences can be more fair and actually fit the crime. we're looking at a time where, in our jails a lot of times, they are serving -- instead of treating addiction, we're simply punishing people instead of rehabilitating them.
>> that's exactly right, detaining them, not correcting them. howard, in your book, which i think probably has more than any book i've read lately, "the heritage," you talked about a whole tradition and history of athletes getting involved and really being part of the ongoing movement for social justice, but you were concerned and quoted people that were concerned, including me, that this had legs to it, that this wasn't just a drive-by kind of activism, but that they were really involved. i think when i saw the op-ed piece by benjamin and his colleagues, it gave me a little ray of hope that this is a little beyond some celebrity drive by activism, but that this would be an ongoing involvement, at least by some of the athletes to deal with systemic problems
that are not going to happen with a one-day news cycle. >> no, absolutely right, rev, and i think one of the things i like about this is that ben watson has been involved in this, because he's been involved talking about a lot of these issues since ferguson and probably a little before that. i remember him with his facebook post during that time, and i think the players are using this opportunity to do the things they said they were going to do. the thing i was a little concerned about, though, when i'm looking at this and when i read the piece as well is this sort of balance. i think the players really have to make sure that their involvement on the criminal justice side and on the legislative side is also balanced by protest. it's not one or the other. you still need both. and i think that the players did a great job in making sure that they didn't turn this into a reality tv show in terms of who should i pardon? it's not a game show. and i think that they're due and i think you had representative jeffries on earlier talking about the first step program he's got going on here, and i
think one of the big issues that the players are going to have to fight with here are the difference between mandatory sentencing issues and prison reform. they're not the same thing. and i hope they make sure that they pressure the president to recognize the difference. >> and the danger of that, howard, is that they don't need, to their credit standing up, the president to play them against those of us who protest all those in the legislature. one of the things that people in the past, whether it was jim brown or bill russell or whomever, they worked with those that were on the front lines of civil rights and worked with those in the legislature. they did try to supplant them and therefore be used against each other where the end game is the status quo remains the status quo because the president really doesn't want to do anything. >> rev, that's one of the big issues. when you use the word "bait"
it's a very appropriate term. on the one hand you have the president talking about these players and questioning their citizenship for being outspoken and protesting, and on the other hand he's asking, who should i pardon? what i fear for the players is that they are strong enough to recognize the difference between actively being involved in the process but also making sure they're not being used politically, because every single time that the president is trying to use something for his base, he's been using the players. so do you want their help in this, or is this part of the game show? >> yeah. all right, thank you both. thank you benjamin watson as well as howard bryant. thank you both for being with me this morning. we're going to keep our eye on this. up next, you heard the joke about trump's voter fraud commission? i tell you, it's a funny ending whending.
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kobok who this week saw his voter suppression efforts smacked down for the second time this year. some background first. mr. kobok was named secretary of state in 2011 and along with demonizing immigrants, has made the specter of mass voter fraud his pet political bogerman. so much that when president trump launched his fraudulent voter fraud commission last year, kobok was tapped to help lead it. an obvious choice considering kansas passed one of the nation's strictest voter fraud laws which watched inquiring applicants to provide u.s. citizenship in order to register. the commission folded earlier this year after several states refused to comply with white house requests for sensitive voter data and civil rights
groups sued the administration for overreach. you would have thought kobok would have been prepared for all the litigation, because in 2016, the american civil liberties union filed a lawsuit against the secretary over kansas' voter i.d. law. a suit kobok personally argued against in district court, claiming during the trial in march that his office had confirmed a whopping 11 instances of non-citizen voting since 1999. a stat he called tip of the iceberg. but district judge julie robertson wasn't having it this week ruling, quote, there is no iceberg, only an icicle largely created by confusion and administrative error, end quote.
she struck the law down as unconstitutional, ordered kobok, a harvard grad with a law degree from yale, to take a six-hour class on legal procedure. secretary kobok, i got a tip for your next poorly executed voter suppression scheme. it's not the type of an iceberg but it's just as cold. i gotcha. need a change of scenery? the kayak explore tool shows you the places you can fly on your budget.
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in september of 1968, the reverend dr. martin luther king jr. sent a telegram of support to mexican-american activist caesar chavez who was in the midst of a nonviolent campaign to aid america's farm workers, many of whom were hispanic immigrants facing racial discrimination. king wrote, quote, as brothers in the fight for equality, i extend the hand of fellowship. our separate struggles are really one. this week i joined the coalition of black and latino activists castigating the white house over its family separation policy, and calling out its justice department which has proven itself to be quietly effective
common enemy to black and brown americans under attorney general jeff sessions. not only reducing modest obama era reforms but civil liberties progress for the nation's minorities. joining me now, executive producer and host of "reality check" on wurd in philadelphia, and a correspondent for the philadelphia tribune clarissa decastro at unidos sand politicl host of the podcast. let me start with you, clarissa. when i was in texas this week
and a reporter said to me -- i was playing with some of the youngsters in the families we saw there at the center. as i was on the ground playing, the reporter said to me, why are you getting so personally involved and looking so personally moved, reverend? and i said, many of us, there is no comparison to experiences, but it evokes from us memories of our own fights, like dr. king referred to in that letter to chavez. i thought about how my people went through family separation ordered by the state. i said to a reporter, my name really is not sharpton, my great-grandfather was named sharpton after who owned him, and we've been able to trace that. and so family separation hit to the core of me even though it m may manifest itself differently, we've gone through the
experience. and jews have been through that experience. i think a lot of us are shared experiences that might have been manifested differently but is fighting the same kind of insensitivity and bigotry. >> yeah, no, that's absolutely right. i think it's brought back a lot of memories of our own history, not even going beyond that to other countries or other parts of the world. one of the things that i think this has generated the outrage all across the country among all americans of good conscience regardless of color is that you just don't mess with children. you don't set out to traumatize children as a matter of policy. and then for many of america's communities, it has brought back the memories that you were mentioning. we have been hearing japanese americans talking about the
period of internment. we have heard from our native american brothers and sisters about how their children would also be put away in separate schools away from their parents. the history of mexican-americans bho who were forcefully removed from the country. part whaf we'of what we're seei now is not saying this has never happened before, but hopefully we can learn from what happened in the past and fix what is happening right now swiftly and effectively. and hopefully they don't say they have ended this practice and that should bring an end to it, but for all americans, we should know this is not over. in fact, children are being separated from their families all over the country. >> charles ellison, we cannot put a totally rosey picture on
it, because people in communities, people in black communities can't understand why we would get involved in this, there are people in other communities questioning it. i remember earlier in this century, we had the navy doing bombing exercises in an island off puerto rico, and it was causing asthma and medical defects on the kids growing up there. i joined the protest skpendand up being put in jail for three months as i joined some of the latino leaders in protest. people said, why is he in jail for them? you get it on your radio show "reality check," i get it on my radio show. blacks say we should be fighting our fight, they should be fighting their fight, not realizing we are them and they are us. >> good morning to you, reverend. our struggles and issues are aligned in the context of civil rights, voting rights, human
rights, also labor rights. those issues and struggles are nearly identical. another thing, too, is that as far as african-american sentiment regarding this crisis on the border, this is arguably just as much of an important issue to us as african-americans as it is to any other demographic group because of the trauma, the systematic chattel-like trauma that's been baked into our dna for several hundred years. >> i might add that the first one snatched, according to congresswoman jackson lee, is the baby snatched from an african woman in the congo. this is not just dealing with latinos, and i would fight even if it was that this is going to have influence on haitians, on and on, so let's not act as if this is segregated, and even if
it was, it is certainly immoral. >> absolutely. and immigration is not just a classic brown orla te latino is. 20% of the black population is composed of black migrants, from africa, from the caribbean and from elsewhere, and also from south and central america, too, there are a lot of afro-latino or black brothers and sisters who are from latin countries of african ancestry. we also have to look at what's happening on the border kind of beyond just that location. we have to look at it within the context of the u.s. just now announcing that it's pulling out of the united nations human rights commission. it's sort of setting the stage for making the u.s. policy on immigration or the trump administration's treatment of migrants sort of the new standard for how we're treating
refugees around the world, including many who are within the african or black diaspre. we have a global crisis unseen since world war ii. we have nearly 7 million refugees around the planet, many of them black, who look like us around the united states. this is a very important issue. >> it's a crisis all over europe. you know, julio, we're also dealing with the profiling of people, particularly in the latino community. when i see former candidate mike huckabee post this, a picture of gang members, ms-13 gang members, saying this is nancy pelosi introducing her campaign committee to take back the house, i mean, to me this is blatant profiling and a blatant manipulation on the fears of a certain element in this country. >> yeah, absolutely, reverend.
wh this is the new willie horton ad, right? the united states has been terrorizing brown and black bodies for decades, for centuries. so in the case of central america, for example, we created this problem like the reverend -- i'm sorry, like congressman jeffries said. people need to remember there were civil wars in the '80s that were funded by the united states. this is sort of our silent vietnam. we have created this policy of displacing thousands, i mean millions of people killing thousands not only with our civil war policy, but the fact we created the gang problem. the united states created this gang problem. and i think it's very important to remember that what's happening now, and when you see the case of governor huckabee which is such a perversion of xenophobia, fear-mongering and racism, every mexican family,
almost every latin american family, and yes, jamaicans, haitians are seen as criminals, right? the trump administration has criminalized immigrants and people seeking refugee, seeking asylum. so when you step back and realize this overgeneralization is happening, this is american history, the ugliness of american history happening again. we've seen it in previous katca for sure, but what i'm concerned about, reverend, is that people have accepted this. the fact that the trump administration is touting that 64,000 americans were killed by undocumented criminals, that's not even real. >> and it is not even challenged, clarissa. >> exactly. >> it's almost as if people have gone and let it go. i've been shocked at even the media letting them get away with announcing this new plan to reunite without ever asking, you mean you never had a plan bef e
before? when you started this, you had no plan? this has been going on a couple months. you never planned to reunite them? >> this is one of the reasons why the attention and the outrage that we're seeing right now needs to continue. i believe that what the president is doing is setting up a game where he's going to say, okay, we separated some people. we don't know if we'll be able to bring them back together, but in the meantime what we are going to do is start building structures to hold and jail families indefinitely. and i think that regardless of whether -- how you feel about the issue of immigration, one of the things that is outrageous about what's going on is that this is a continuation of three strikes you're out. the collusion of politicians and lobbyists for a business proposition, a money-making proposition that tries to feed bodies into prisons whether
immigrants or other folks to keep making money for these corporations. and i think that right now they are looking at how to criminalize immigrants in violations that used to be civil violations turning them into crimes to keep those beds full, and that's what the administration is going to argue for. >> and those people running these are making a lot of money, and this does go through the privatizing again of certain prisons in terms of the federal inmates. wish i had more time. i'm out. but that's a whole segment on itself. we'll have all of you back. thank you, charles, clarissa and julio. my colleague is hosting her show today from the texas border. that's am joy today right here on msnbc. up next, how one virginia school is correcting a racist
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federal apologist to run for senate, a virginia school board voted overwhelmingly to name its own public school commemorating a federal leader after the jeb stewart school whose student body is 95% black will be renamed barack obama elementary school, adding to a growing list of schools honoring the 44th president, correcting for a racist past or in this case both. joining me now is jason cameras, the superintendent. and a former education adviser to president obama's 2008 campaign. thank you for being with me, superintendent. how did this happen? >> well, first let me say thank you so much for having me. the community in richmond has
been trying to change the name of jeb stewart for quite some time. i joined the district in february and this issue came up again as a response to some of the discussions around removing some of the monuments from the confederacy here in richmond. so i proposed that we revisit this issue and rename the school and that kicked off the process. >> so it kicked off the process and you must admit whether it was your plan or not that not only taken stuart's name down which in itself many americans would agree should have never been honoring someone that led a treasonist army, but now to replace it with barack obama was a real extra touch there and a real point. and deserving.
so you end up with double meanings on both sides because any singular one of them on itself would stand. but you get a two for one on both the stuart side and the obama side of this. >> absolutely. and, you know, i have to say i went and visited with the students at j.e.b. stuart and asked them for their ideas. i spent an hour with the students and they had so many wonderful ideas and barack obama was one of the ones that came up the most. this was inspired by the young people at our school which makes it all the more special. >> these elementary school students, they more than any other suggestions thought of barack obama as the name for the school? >> it was one of their top three. so i forwarded that one to to the school board. and i have to really give a great, great credit to the school board and chairwoman page to vote for this and make it
happen. in the former capital of the confederacy. >> here we are, that was going to be my last point to you. this is the capital of the confederacy. a confederate figure taken down and barack obama's name put there over elementary school students. so even in the midst of all of the continued struggle and certainly there's a lot to struggle for, there are little things and in richmond, this is not a little thing. that shows us that you can make change. thank you so much and thank you. >> absolutely. my pleasure. >> thank those students for us. thank you for being with me this morning. up next, my final thoughts. stay with us. over the last 24 hours, you finished preparing him for college. in 24 hours, you'll send him off thinking you've done everything for his well-being. but meningitis b progresses quickly and can be fatal, sometimes within 24 hours.
janice, look. i'm in a meeting. -janice, look. -[ chuckles ] -look, look. -i'm looking. it's easy. you just answer some simple questions online, and you get coverage options to choose from. you're ruining my workout. cycling is my passion. with pg&e in the sierras.. and i'm an arborist since the onset of the drought, more than 129 million trees have died in california. pg&e prunes and removes over a million trees every year to ensure that hazardous trees can't impact power lines. and since the onset of the drought
we've doubled our efforts. i grew up in the forests out in this area and honestly it's heartbreaking to see all these trees dying. what guides me is ensuring that the public is going to be safer and that these forests can be sustained and enjoyed by the community in the future. as i traveled this week for national action network as its president, to texas and to east harlem and around to washington, around dealing with the immigration crisis, i also was mindful of the shooting death by police in pittsburgh of a 17-year-old young man named antoine rose. in fact, i had his lawyer on my radio show and i watched the protests there to raise the question again of an unarmed young black man shot by police.
it also is our intention to follow-up what is going on with the case of stephon clark in sacramento. we have been involved in calling for justice there. now, i preached the eulogy at his funeral. or the case in mobile, alabama of shah key sa clemons who was dragged in the waffle house. as we continue to stand and raise the issues of immigration rights, we also must continue to hold the criminal justice system accountable on the police shooting of unarmed victims. we must be active to make america what it ought to be. we do it because we love the country and we're patriots, not because we are not that. real patriots like real parents correct things they love.
they don't leave them to their own whims uncorrected if they see something wrong. that does it for me. thanks for watching. and to keep the conversation going, like us at facebook.com/politics nation. and follow us on twitter @politics nation. see you back next sunday. now to my colleague. >> good morning. i'm in for alex witt at msnbc world headquarters at 9:00 in the east. 6:00 out west. more protests planned over the migrant children's separated from their parents at the u.s./mexico border. >> i don't think people can even begin to imagine what it's like to put yourself in the shoes of a 4-year-old child in the foreign land, speaking a foreign language. >> they didn't think this through matching up what parents
go with each kids. >> the trump administration says it knows where all the children are. we'll have live reports on the effort to reunite families and plus -- >> they see any weakness, they will come by the millions. we have to have strong borders. >> the president defending his immigration policy in front of the faithful. why the criticism he's received may be galvanizing his supporters. plus, the ethics questions raised after white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders is kicked out of a restaurant and tweets about itment we begin with new details on how many children remain in detention centers as a result of the administration's zero tolerance policy. and the new plan for reunification. the department of homeland security released a fact sheet of the 2,053 in custody, 522 have been reunited with their parents. and the agency pointed out that 83% of these children in custody arrived in the u.s. unaccompanied by a parent.