#1560 Why Our Immigration and Asylum System is Broken (Transcript)

Air Date 5/16/2022

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JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:00:00] Welcome to this episode of the award-winning Best of the Left podcast, in which we shall take a look at the current state and deep context for why our immigration and asylum systems are broken, and why our policies have made it worse rather than better. All while stoking anti-immigrant hatred.

Clips today are from Vox, Last Week Tonight, the PBS NewsHour, Democracy Now!, Amanpour and Company, Latino Rebels Radio, In The Thick, and the David McWilliams Podcast, with additional members-only clips from Make Me Smart and the Law Firm of Moumita Rahman.

The law that broke US immigration - Vox - Air Date 8-9-21

MADELINE MARSHALL - HOST, VOX: Before the 1990s, undocumented immigration into the US looked very different. For one, it was usually temporary.

HIROSHI MOTOMURA: People used to go back and forth across the border. They would go north for the harvest, and they would earn some money and they would go back to Mexico.

MADELINE MARSHALL - HOST, VOX: And if they wanted to come live permanently in the US, there were a few legal [00:01:00] channels, but not many. If they married an American citizen, they could get lawful status. Or if maybe their brother was a citizen already, he could sponsor them, or an employer could, and these could be done after they were already living in the US undocumented.

Before 1996, the threat of deportation was relatively low. People were commonly deported for committing a crime, and it was mostly limited to major crimes like murder or trafficking. But IIRIRA together with other 1996 laws drastically expanded deportable crimes to even minor infractions like shoplifting. It was also retroactive. So say it's 1976 and someone is caught stealing some albums from the mall, they wouldn't be deported. Over the next 20 years, they never commit another crime. But after 1996, they could be deported because of that old misdemeanor. And not just if they were currently undocumented; this applied to immigrants with lawful status too. [00:02:00] And previously an immigration judge could decide if the deportation should even take place. Now things were a little more automatic.

HIROSHI MOTOMURA: Ignoring the fact that those deportations would be extremely harmful to US citizen children or to spouses.

MADELINE MARSHALL - HOST, VOX: Deportations skyrocketed and IIRIRA created the framework for future laws that further expanded reasons people could be deported, especially after 9/11. But IIRIRA also made another huge fundamental change in the US immigration system.

HIROSHI MOTOMURA: One of the aspects of the 1996 law that is particularly strict and I think in many respects, inhumane is a so-called three and 10 year bars.

MADELINE MARSHALL - HOST, VOX: Those three and 10 year bars made these legal pathways nearly impossible to obtain. They work like this: Anyone who's been undocumented in the US for six months and wants to gain legal status first has to leave the country and be barred from returning for three years. If they've been undocumented for more than a [00:03:00] year, they're barred for 10 years.

So if they want to get lawful status through a job, they first have to leave the US for 10 years, or through their brother leave for 10 years, or through their spouse leave for 10 years.

JORGE LOWEREE: It's family separation by another name. The bars were intended to try to essentially create punishments that were so severe to deter people essentially from coming here. But as we've seen with many other deterrents-based policies, that the practical effect is very different.

MADELINE MARSHALL - HOST, VOX: Instead, it incentivized people to stay in the US undocumented. Before IIRIRA, Mexican immigrants who came to the US unlawfully were about 50% likely to return to Mexico within a year. But after 1996, more people started staying in the US. There were around 5 million undocumented immigrants living in the US before IIRIRA. Today, it's at least double that.

JORGE LOWEREE: And we are somehow [00:04:00] surprised by this outcome. This is of our own doing.

MADELINE MARSHALL - HOST, VOX: Laws like IRRIRA shaped the way the US focuses on immigration enforcement as a deterrent, but really it proved that stronger enforcement doesn't actually stop undocumented immigration.

HIROSHI MOTOMURA: These laws or the politics of the nineties didn't really change the reasons why people come to the United States.

MADELINE MARSHALL - HOST, VOX: Today, views on immigrants are very different than they were in the 1990s. Most Americans now see them as a strength, not a burden. But the laws created here haven't changed.

JORGE LOWEREE: Requirements and standards that were created decades ago that aren't responsive to our needs as a nation. They certainly aren't responsive to the needs of immigrant population.

HIROSHI MOTOMURA: The idea that if we only had more guns, if we only built a higher wall, that we'd solve all the problems. I think we learned from '96 that's not the way it works. It's not that simple.

Biden & The Border - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Air Date 5-1-23

JOHN OLIVER - HOST, LAST WEEK TONIGHT: There is a lot happening at the border right now. The number of migrant encounters there, which was rising before Biden [00:05:00] came into office, reached a record high last year.

Now, that has happened for a number of reasons, including that we're coming out of a global pandemic and multiple countries from Haiti to Venezuela to Ukraine are in crisis right now. So there's a high number of people forced to flee their homes. Plus, some asylum seekers may understandably have been encouraged by Biden's rhetoric on the campaign trail, which was notably different than his opponent.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Look, I can't only imagine what it's like to see someone in your family deported. I can only imagine what that's like. And to me, it's all about family, beginning, middle, and end. It's about family. That's not gonna happen in my administration. The idea you can't even seek asylum on American soil, can't even seek asylum in American soil? When did that happen? Trump. It's wrong. [Interviewer] You're gonna change that? [Biden] Yes, I am.

JOHN OLIVER - HOST, LAST WEEK TONIGHT: Promises like that are why we cited Biden's potential to undo Trump's damage on immigration as a key reason to vote for him just a week before the election. Now, did we make the difference? Who can say? [00:06:00] Nurses are the real heroes.

Unfortunately though, when it comes to the southern border, Biden has disappointed in a lot of ways, but it is not because he's opened up the country to an invasion. It's actually in many ways the opposite. Many migrants, including asylum seekers, are finding it impossible to access this country through our ports of entry. And the conditions that they're facing are dire. In many border cities, shelters and detention centers are reportedly near capacity, with a director of one of them saying, "Every day I turn away at least 10 families with children." And just last month, at least 40 people died when a migrant center caught fire. And frustratingly, a lot of this has been exacerbated by US policies that are well within Biden's power to remedy, and yet he hasn't.

And that is basically what our story is about tonight. It's about what Biden promised to do, what he has and hasn't done, and how his latest efforts to fix things might actually make them worse.

And first, let's acknowledge it is impossible to assess what Biden has done at the border without looking at what he [00:07:00] inherited. Trump campaigned on high octane xenophobia, and his policies reflected that, from large scale family separation to attacking DACA to a so-called "remain in Mexico" policy, which led to massive encampments of would-be asylum seekers south of the border. And Trump approached all of it with his signature clarity.

FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The immigration laws are horrible. We're doing an incredible job. We're doing a record breaking job, but we have bad laws. You know, when you have bad laws, you can do good, but you can do a lot better if you had good laws.

JOHN OLIVER - HOST, LAST WEEK TONIGHT: Okay? I mean, that is total gibberish. But if you look at what he's saying closely there, you'll find it also -- and this is true -- a haiku.

I'm kidding. It absolutely isn't. But wouldn't it be great if it was? If that buffoon was capable of accidental beauty? But it's not. And he isn't. So we're back to square one.

Now, to Biden's credit, he created a task force to reunify the separated families, he strengthened protections around DACA, and he suspended the Remain in Mexico policy.

And yet there remain huge [00:08:00] numbers of people stuck just south of the border in camps that look an awful lot like the ones that were there during Trump. And a significant reason for that has to do with a policy called Title 42, which allows the US to kick migrants out of the country with shocking ease. And we've talked about it before, but just as a refresher, it's not actually an immigration law at all. It is an arcane public health order aimed at preventing the spread of communicable diseases. The Trump administration implemented it in March of 2020, invoking it as a safety precaution intended to prevent COVID-19 from spreading through border patrol stations. But the truth is, long before Covid, its use had been floated by Stephen Miller, a child's answer to the prompt "draw Squidward from memory."

In fact, the invocation of Title 42 was referred to as "a Stephen Miller special. He was all over that" -- a sentence I truly hope no one has to speak or hear ever again. And Miller has bragged about Title 42's sweeping powers.

STEPHEN MILLER: The principle of it is very [00:09:00] simple, which is that during a pandemic, if you come into this country, your very presence here if you enter unlawfully, is a threat to our public health. Full stop. You. Go. Home.

JOHN OLIVER - HOST, LAST WEEK TONIGHT: While Trump claimed that the order originated with the CDC, one former health official said that they were effectively forced to implement it, adding it was either do it or get fired. In fact, the CDC scientist said there was no evidence Title 42 would actually slow the spread of coronavirus.

But the reason Trump seized on it is pretty obvious. Under normal circumstances, migrants have the legal right to ask for asylum no matter where they cross the border. But like Incel Cayo said, Title 42 gave the government the power to rapidly expel any migrant without giving them an opportunity to make a case for staying in the country legally, including to seek asylum. And you would hope that, upon taking office, Biden would move as fast as possible to get rid of it, but instead his [00:10:00] administration has been all over the place. Just a few months into his presidency, his Secretary of Homeland Security sent this message to potential migrants.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: The message is quite clear. Do not come. The border is closed. The border is secure. We are expelling families. We are expelling single adults under the CDC'S authority under Title 42 of the United States Code because we are in the midst of a pandemic. And that is a public health imperative.

JOHN OLIVER - HOST, LAST WEEK TONIGHT: Except it wasn't a public health imperative and everyone knew it.

And look, if you're gonna parrot Trump's harmful talking points, at least throw in some of the funny ones as well. Every time you do a press conference to bolster some bullshit xenophobic policy like Title 42, you also have to go off on a tangent about how Robert Pattinson should have dumped Kristin Stewart. It is the least that you can do.

For months afterward, the Biden administration let the policy stand, and even at one point defended it in court. Then to be [00:11:00] fair, they did try to end it, only for a federal judge to block those efforts, with the reporting at the time indicating that the ruling was met with a sigh of relief inside the White House.

Moreover, Biden actually expanded who could be expelled to Mexico under Title 42 because while the order initially allowed the US to do that with migrants from these four countries, he chose to broaden it, first to include Venezuelan migrants, and later to those from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua. And the administration will point out, and not wrongly, that they have issued humanitarian exemptions to Title 42. It's estimated that around 187,000 migrants were granted exemptions from May of last year to just last month.

But not only is that a fraction of those seeking asylum, the administration's been criticized for a lack of clarity and consistency in who is eligible. And in general, some have argued that there's been a pretty glaring discrepancy in who the country has and hasn't decided to allow in.

ARCHIVE NEWS CLIP: At a migrant shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, claims of a double standard: special treatment for Ukrainians fleeing the [00:12:00] war and being admitted to the US. "I love that the government is helping them cause they, they go into a really hard situation." "But that's not what happens for people here." "Exactly. We should all be treated the same, the same way."

"How do you guys account for the difference in the treatment between them and you guys?" "Racism."

JOHN OLIVER - HOST, LAST WEEK TONIGHT: Yeah, of course. Racism. It's the answer to so many questions, like, why are some people treated differently at the border? Why did Roseanne Barr get fired? And why does your grandpa insist on pronouncing Kamala the way that he does?

The US has a 'thirst' for immigrant workers. Why do so many struggle to get legal status? - PBS NewsHour - Air Date 5-20-21

Paul Solman: In affluent Mount Kisco, a New York City suburb, undocumented immigrants for hire. At the train station, at Henry's Deli, and at Neighbors Link, a nonprofit that serves the newly arrived. They line up at 7:00. Contractors, even just homeowners, like Tony Archie, soon follow.

Tony Archie: Trees came down on my property, so I want to move the firewood from one side of the house to the other.

Paul Solman: And he's spreading mulch, a two-person job for which only one worker was available.

Man: He is wanting $17 [00:13:00] today.

Tony Archie: How many hours you going to work? Cuantos horas?

Paul Solman: In the end, no deal. Pool company owner Chris Carthy also out of luck.

Chris Carthy: There's a labor shortage across the country

Paul Solman: Even at Neighbors Link?

Chris Carthy: I come here every blue moon to pick up those extra few hands for excavation, and we can't get anyone.

Paul Solman: And so the nub of the economic argument for letting some 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. remain legally.

Carola Bracco: So, let's just be clear that immigrants are coming to this country because of our thirst for this work force.

Paul Solman: Carola Bracco runs Neighbors Link.

Carola Bracco: They are taking on jobs that often complement the work force that was born in this country because of the fact that they're willing to do these jobs.

Paul Solman: Jobs in agriculture, construction, landscaping, cleaning. And who's busing tables at restaurants, washing dishes, cooking?

Man: This is the apron with the logo.

Paul Solman: This man, whom we have decided not to [00:14:00] name, has worked in restaurants for 20 years, since slipping across the desert from Mexico.

Man: A couple of restaurants in Manhattan. Also, I used to work in the airport, JFK.

Paul Solman: Catering for American Airlines. In 2008, he moved up to Trump National Westchester Golf Club. [To Man] Were there many other undocumented people in the club?

Man: A lot. I would say 30 percent of the employees, maybe, maybe more, in the grounds, kitchen, waitstaff, maintenance. We're pretty much all over the club, illegal people.

Paul Solman: Did people know that you were undocumented, the people who hired you?

Man: Yeah. Yeah, they know.

Paul Solman: How do you know they know?

Man: This is the card that they tell me it's too fake for accept it.

Paul Solman: How could they not have known, he says, given that they noted the obvious inauthenticity of his I.D.?

Man: So, I got to get another one. I got to spend another [00:15:00] $45.

Paul Solman: Both bought on the street from people hawking fake I.D.'s.

Man: All you have to give is the picture, and they do the rest.

Paul Solman: Now, this man lost his job at Trump National Westchester in 2019, after news reports that the club had hired undocumented immigrants. At the time, Eric Trump said the company planned to check workers' status in the future. But in his decade at the club, this worker had risen to banquet chef, selfie-ing with the likes of baseball legends Pedro Martinez and Mariano Rivera, and earning as much as $70,000 a year, between the club and odd winter jobs. [To Man] Couldn't they have found citizens to work for that kind of money?

Man: I guess not, because it was days that I started at 6:00 in the morning, and I was in the club until, like, midnight, nonstop. So, I guess not everybody do that. And, sometimes, I was mad, of course, because this is too much. But, [00:16:00] at the same time, I feel like I got my hands tied. If I say something, they might be fire me, they might say something to the authorities, the ICE, in this case.

Paul Solman: Because you're always at risk, yes?

Man: Yes. Yes. We are at risk every day

Paul Solman: So, economic argument number one: The undocumented do jobs nobody else will. OK, another point: somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of undocumented workers pay taxes, says the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Man: I have got all the taxes that I been paying since I'm in this country, since 2002 until 2020. I got to pay taxes like a normal person, like a person with documents. So, they contribute to the economy in production and in taxes, which pay for benefits the undocumented can't always use.

Carola Bracco: Medicare, [00:17:00] Section 8, they don't qualify for food stamps, a whole variety of services that they don't qualify for.

Paul Solman: Undocumented immigrants provide yet another economic advantage, for those worried about Social Security's finances. [To Man] So, you paid Social Security?

Man: Yes, every single year since day one.

Paul Solman: Will you get Social Security when you get older?

Man: I don't think so, because I, you know, no documents, no Social Security.

Carola Bracco: There is a large fund that the Social Security Administration has that are benefits that will never be paid out to the people that paid the funds in.

Paul Solman: So, that's pretty much the case for legalizing the undocumented. The case against?

Dan Stein: Illegal immigrants clearly cost taxpayers far more in benefits than they pay in taxes.

Narrator: Isn't it time for Washington to prioritize the American people?

Paul Solman: Dan Stein, who runs the Federation For American Immigration Reform, insists that the undocumented do not pay for themselves when you consider, for [00:18:00] example:

Dan Stein: the social safety net, the cost of the social safety net, education, public schooling.

Paul Solman: Worse still, he says, they drive down wages.

Dan Stein: The percent of Americans who are in the labor force is at an all-time low. One of the reasons is systemic illegal immigration. Employers prefer to hire illegal immigrants over American citizens, because they're pliable, they will do menial jobs for very low wages. They prefer them.

Paul Solman: But I talk to employers all over the country, and they say, we cannot find people to do the jobs we need to have done. That's not true?

Dan Stein: Employers are constantly crying that they have a labor shortage. Why? Because employers like the labor market dynamics of hiring illegal labor.

Paul Solman: I put Stein's argument to Carola Bracco of Neighbors Link. [To Carola] Isn't there a good argument that undocumented immigrants drive down wages?

Carola Bracco: Wage theft is actually the big issue as it relates to undocumented immigrants.

Paul Solman: But, regardless, she says:

Carola Bracco: if there weren't undocumented [00:19:00] immigrants doing this work, employers wouldn't be able to find anybody to do that work.

Paul Solman: And if you deported them:

Carola Bracco: you would find a significant reduction in our economy. What we have basically done is created a second-class citizen that is ripe for abuse and exploitation. I think we need to rectify that issue and bring in immigration reform.

Amid Growing Anti-Immigrant Hate, 8 Killed as Driver Plows Into Group Near Migrant Shelter in Texas - Democracy Now! - Air Date 5-8-23

JENNIFER HARBURY: All of us here that have been working so closely with the migrant community since 2017, many of us are heartbroken today. This certainly is a — I can only describe it as a hate crime. It was motivated by hate, that has been, of course, fomented for a long time by the right wing, and especially during the Trump administration.

These people had made it from Venezuela and other countries, all the way across Mexico, which is a horrific journey, and managed to make it to the [00:20:00] border. I work on the Reynosa side, Matamoros side, and have since 2017. And I would say close to 100% of the people I have interviewed have suffered either a rape, a vicious attack, a kidnapping, or worse, on the way north.

For these people to have fled Venezuela, made it all the way north, waited their turn, crossed legally across the bridge with the new app on their phone, spent the night at a shelter, and then were at a bus stop to go to the airport so they could reunite with their families at last and wait for the courts to decide on their immigration status — for them to be plowed down by a vicious American spurred on by hate, it’s killing all of us, to be honest, all of us that have seen what they’ve been through. We’ve held their children. We’ve held their hands when [00:21:00] their children have died, when they’ve tried to tell their stories. These are such horrific backgrounds that most of us are pretty traumatized, too. And to have them needlessly and irrationally mowed down, literally, with an SUV, I just — I’m at loss of words.

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: I wanted to ask you about the comment of the ACLU of Texas noting the crash followed weeks of escalating anti-immigrant policy that has been made by Texas lawmakers, and while the Biden administration considers imposing a new ban on the right to seek asylum in the United States when the Trump-era Title 42 ends on Thursday. In a statement, the ACLU wrote, “President Biden, Texas Gov. Abbott, and other elected officials continue to spread fear about immigration instead of treating the needs of people crossing the border as a humanitarian [00:22:00] matter.” Can you talk about the context this is all happening in?

JENNIFER HARBURY: Yes. Certainly, there’s been a ridiculous amount of fearmongering and villainization, politically inspired, against migrants from the beginnings of the new migrant waves, certainly starting in 2017, but even before. Remember? “They’re all rapists and murderers.”

In fact, a majority of them are families. The forced recruitment age by gangs in most of Central America — if your little boy is between 8 and 10, they’re going to come for him. One mother said no, and they chopped the child’s fingers off with an ax to convince her. What we have to understand, these people are not coming here to buy a fancy refrigerator. This is an incredible migration north out of desperation to save the lives of their children, whether from political violence or from cartel violence, which is now [00:23:00] out of control. I note that for Reynosa and Matamoros and most of Tamaulipas, the United States Department of State has declared it a category 4 insecurity. That makes it the same as Iraq and Afghanistan. When we tell people to wait in Mexico or go back where you came from, we’re saying, “Why don’t you just sit down and watch your children drop dead?”

We need to think about that. We need to think about it not just legally, but we need to think about that in terms of our national identity. This is us, a nation of immigrants but for the Native Americans. We’re telling these people they should sit and watch their children die? Why?

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: You know, Jennifer, you were responsible for the release of that famous audio —

JENNIFER HARBURY: Yeah, the crying babies.

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: — of babies crying in 2018.

JENNIFER HARBURY: Yeah, I’m laughing only because it felt good to release that, but I think people need to see and hear the [00:24:00] reality. I watched a short video clip last night of the scene, when people were still lying on the ground, literally bleeding to death last night in front of Ozanam. And needless to say, it made me ill. I haven’t recovered yet. But it was not the blood and the incredible scene of cadavers lying helter-skelter where they’d been thrown through the air by the van. The worst was the soundtrack accompanied by a shadow of a man holding his hands to his head and screaming for his brother: ”No, no, mano! No, hermano! No, manito!” “No, no, my brother! No, no!” But the tone of utter despair. They were just about to reach safety with their families, and now the young man is dead.

I think most people like to read statistics. They like dry press articles. [00:25:00] If they — I invite any of them to come down here. People are pretty much scared to come down here now that there was the shooting in Matamoros. But that’s an hourly reality for all of the migrants. Someday history is going to show who the migrants really were, and the fact that we knew perfectly well who they really were. And then everyone is going to ask us, our children and our grandchildren, “Why did you turn a cold shoulder to them?” This is a time for a moral and historical decision by all countries.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist on the Expiration of Title 42 - Amanpour and Company - Air Date 5-12-23

CAITLIN DICKERSON : Title 42 is just one of literally dozens of bandaid policies that administrations both Republican and Democrat have applied to the border since 9/11. That history is traced in the article I wrote that you referred to.

So, under the Trump administration, which was really desperate to curtail the number of people requesting asylum. Steven [00:26:00] Miller, who was President Trump's chief immigration advisor, he scoured federal law looking for ways that the president could bypass Congress and shut the border down himself. I documented this in a front page story in the New York Times. He finds Title 42. He tries to put it in place initially based on small public health issues, outbreaks of things like lice and the flu and White House lawyers tell him, no, this isn't serious enough to invoke this public health rule. And so when the coronavirus pandemic comes around, it actually offers an opportunity to Miller. The Trump administration pushes forward Title 42, under the guise of a public health concern, but it was really just an attempt to minimize the number of people seeking asylum.

But here's the problem with bandaid solutions that cut off access to a portion of our immigration system, but not the entire thing: When Title 42 cut off access to asylum, illegal crossings rose really dramatically. They had [00:27:00] been very low, because prior to Title 42, most people crossing the border were turning themselves over to border agents and requesting asylum, so illegal crossings close. Now we have Title 42 lifting, which afford some people access to asylum again, but the Biden administration, attempting to replace it with yet new band-aid solutions, that I think as you mentioned, are both being challenged in court and I think are just not going to meaningfully address the much more powerful factors, those that draw people to the United States, are very significant labor shortages, American employers who are frankly desperate to higher migrants. And then on the other side of the border, factors like climate change, instability, violence, severe hunger that are pushing people to the United States. These minimal policies really are no match.

But in terms of the quiet that we're seeing on the border today, it's very typical for a surge in migration to [00:28:00] occur right before a transition in administration or a change in policy. Those moments offer smuggling organizations the opportunity to basically start a fire sale and say, Hey everybody, you need to take our services because things are changing. And then the change takes place, numbers go down. This is very much typical and not surprising, and so that's why I'm trying to take the opportunity to draw the conversation to our bigger immigration issues, and not just the border on a day-to-day basis.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA - HOST, AMANPOUR & COMPANY: It's so important that you just explained it the way you did and laid it out the way you did, because clearly this is an issue that's been grappling multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

And it's notable that the difference it makes when a candidate is seeking the presidency, as opposed to when they're actually in office. Because then candidate Biden was really campaigning harshly against Title 42, and yet here we are, two years into his administration, and finally you see this program lifted.

I do wanna play sound from the [00:29:00] president who, is under no illusions that this process is going to be without chaos. He addressed it and said as much, just earlier before this expiration, let's listen.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: So, but it remains to be seen. It's gonna be chaotic for a while. And as an example, as I raised in the meeting when they said, well, we're gonna cut, no spending more money. So what the hell happens? If you cut, you're gonna cut people at the border? You're gonna cut agents to the border? We need more at the border, not less at the border.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA - HOST, AMANPOUR & COMPANY: So your right to describe these policies are really band-aids and what needs to happen is Congress needs to get its act together and on a bipartisan basis really enact significant change here.

Without that, once again we are seeing this president and administration taking unilateral action. Can you just explain for our viewers the difference, because there have been criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, about this policy that has been introduced by President Biden [00:30:00] looking quite similar to the policies that had been enacted by his predecessor.

CAITLIN DICKERSON : Absolutely. So I think one of the things that the Trump administration created, former President Trump was so focused on immigration and immigration policy that he made it seem to the American public the president sets immigration laws, which of course is not true. So what presidents can do is issue memos, issue regulations that chisel out different ways in which the existing set of laws are applied. Many times presidents will attempt to go too far and that's what the ACLU, which is challenging the Biden administration in court now contends it's the same thing that they argued against ways in which the Trump administration eroded the asylum system.

So the baseline, an important thing for people to understand is that the United States immigration laws are very outdated. They have not been updated in decades. And they don't address the current geopolitical [00:31:00] realities. They don't address the circumstances that are drawing people to the United States, nor do they address those pull factors I mentioned earlier -- the need for migrants who ideally would arrive in the United States in a safe and legal way.

A Nation of Hating Immigrants - Latino Rebels Radio - Air Date 5-11-23

ROBERTO LOPEZ: So, we are in such a terrifying place here in Texas. This week, the state legislature put forward some of the most dangerous pieces of legislation on the border, and I think it's in part because the federal government has really done nothing but keep the status quo over the last few years, or over the last decade. In 2014, I think, is when we saw a large number of unaccompanied children from Central America come to the US and since then, the main response has been either to build more detention centers or to send in a law enforcement operation. And I think what that has done is just made our border communities, made our state, much more normalized to that [00:32:00] sort of approach. Our local economies depend on these jobs. The culture is setting in. People are much more connected to border patrol agents. When I go home in the Valley, you can't drive through one town without seeing some form of law enforcement. And so it's a big, huge part of the culture.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS RADIO: The amount of border patrol vans that I see, the amount of law enforcement that I see, like, you're going shopping or you're just going down a little, like, the commercial area or you're in a residential area, it is so overwhelming, like, you're surrounded by law enforcement. Right? I mean that's so clear.

ROBERTO LOPEZ: My whole life, I have seen border walls rise. We've seen surveillance towers rise. We've seen more and more of these facilities in each of our small communities that have also grown with it, and it's become so normalized that people accept that this is the way it has to be. We don't question why we can't welcome immigrants. And so I think what [00:33:00] that means is because of Democrats complacency or lack of boldness or lack of a spine, the right has really seized that narrative, they've seized this moment to continue to invest in law enforcement, to continue to call immigrants an invasion, and they see it as a winning narrative. And so that's why we've had counties across the state of Texas, I think maybe more than 50 at this point, some counties which are overwhelmingly Latino, but they're run by often White county commissioners. We've seen them declare disasters. Calling immigrants an invasion, saying that this humanitarian emergency is something like a natural disaster. And the years of that rhetoric building and building with our communities' buy-in to that this is the way it has to be, these are our jobs, these guys are good. They're my cousin, they're my uncle.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS RADIO: Right, and not to interrupt, but the point saying, it's like, that's, you know, working for federal law enforcement in Rio Grande Valley, which is predominantly [00:34:00] Latino. Right? Those are some of the better paying jobs. So we're patrolling against ourselves. The language being used, you mentioned the natural disasters, I mean, the amount of headlines that I see, you know, 'US Government Bracing For Title 42 Migrant Crisis' as if there's a tornado coming in, it's a category five storm. But the other part that I'm sure you're gonna have many opinions and thoughts about, given Texas, because I know this is a reality in Texas, when you talk about the cases that happen in Allen and in Brownsville, the right-wing is quick to make the argument that these tragedies have nothing to do with White supremacy or being anti-immigrant because both the perpetrators were Latino, right? There are Latino lawmakers in Texas, like Representative Ryan Guillen, who are pushing anti-immigrant legislation, not to mention Canadian born Senator Ted Cruz, who has made an industry for his contempt for migrants and immigrants, like the irony of that, I don't want to get into [00:35:00] that. And in the specific case of the Allen tragedy, the shooter had a patch with the initials RWDS, Right-Wing Death Squad, which anyone who is a scholar of Latin American history or comes from Latin American countries, that touches a nerve. So, talk to me about the myth that Latinos can't express White supremacist views, because I feel like that's just par for the course and people, they shouldn't be surprised. Your thoughts on all this, Roberto, because all of a sudden everyone's discovering this. This is the new discovery. And like I said in my tweet, you can be Latino and a White supremacist, you can be Latino and anti-migrant. Your thoughts?

ROBERTO LOPEZ: Yes, 100%. Half of my family, over the years I've seen them go into law enforcement because they are the best jobs. I have an uncle who didn't finish college, but he has an incredible job right now through the federal government working for ICE. And I have watched as my cousins, I've seen how the culture, [00:36:00] compadre system within the agencies, seems to really, it's like an echo chamber. And so I've seen cousins over time become QAnon conspiracy theorists and it just blows my mind because I remember them completely different when I was younger. And I think that's a huge oversight that that leadership all along the border is missing, that often Democratic leadership are not realizing, I think, that they're funding their opposition, that they are funding systems in their communities. It's a feedback loop of creating more and more Latinos who are charged with separating other Latinos who are charged with basically incarcerating kids. And there hasn't been critical reflection on this whole industry that is growing and that has been building over the last several years and decades, there hasn't been critical reflection in the mainstream.

JULIO RICARDO VARELA - HOST, LATINO REBELS RADIO: And then it becomes like an economic engine of the Rio Grande Valley. So then you have people like [00:37:00] Representative Henry Cueller, who is a border hawk because he comes from that world.

I have a lot of friends from the area you grew up, and your story is so common, right? You know, I got 10 cousins and seven of them work for CBP or ICE or whatever, and it's just normal, right? And this feeling of... I still have hope in the Rio Grande Valley because I actually think it's the future of America. I feel like that's where the real, like, where the rubber's meeting the road, where you see it and you're like, Wow, okay, this is the United States, like, this is where I think the United States should be in terms of understanding, you know, biculturalism, bilingualism, and having a more global view. You know, growing up next to Mexico changes your worldview, right? When it's simple, it's just like, Oh, I have family in Mexico. It's just, you know, it's a ride in and a ride out, Sunday. So, I think that's the part that people are missing about the Rio Grande Valley, in you growing up and your experience and others. So, as you watch this coverage, and you [00:38:00] probably shake your head a lot, as someone who has grown up in that area, what do people really need to know about that area that makes you feel proud to be part of the RGV?

ROBERTO LOPEZ: I think what has been, you know, what's sad sometimes is if I tell people about the area that I'm from, they may gasp or they may say, Oh, you know how, oh, I'm so sorry. And what I know is that, even in the humanitarian emergency, what's been really beautiful is just the strength, the level of dedication that Valley residents have given to these folks. The type of welcome. There are people who have forgotten their history and forget that our families were immigrants and the ones that don't, the ones that want to welcome, that want to honor their story, that understand that it's the most human of things to move around the earth, it's been so inspiring to watch people rise to the occasion all along the border, especially in McAllen and Brownsville and Matamoros. There are Valley residents that have set up [00:39:00] schools to help children who are waiting outside of our ports of entry, to make sure that they continue their education and seeing that level of determination in spite of all the odds. My home community is one of the poorest in the country and despite all of that, many of us smile through it. We laugh, we do our, you know, we have our little, our Valleyisms, and that keeps me motivated. And I think that if my family can do it, then I can, too. And I feel like they gave me so many opportunities and I want to give back to my community, and I want to fight for what is right and what we all deserve.

The Abuse of Migrant Workers - In The Thick Air Date 4-26-23

FERNANDA SANTOS: We've been hearing a lot of stories lately about migrant labor, specifically child migrant labor in the meat packing industry in the Midwest, and in plants manufacturing some very well known products. There's also the horrific results of a 2021 investigation by the Department of Justice that found Georgia farms treated workers like modern day slaves. [00:40:00] All of this not only underscores the importance of your investigation into the H-2A visa program, but also the importance of migrant labor in feeding the country at all times. In fact, let's take a listen to this clip from part one that explains how vital H-2A workers were during the pandemic.

FERNANDA ECHAVARRI: When the pandemic hit in early 2020, when the United States closed its borders, there was one major exception. The US not only continued issuing H-2A visas, it made the process of getting them easier.

FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So, they're gonna come in and they're gonna be given a certain pass, and we're gonna check 'em very, very closely, especially over the next month. I've given the commitment to the farmers. They're gonna continue to come.

FERNANDA ECHAVARRI: We couldn't eat without them. We still can't. It's been like that for decades. Ever since the US needed to address labor shortages during World War II.

ARCHIVE NEWS CLIP: It isn't easy to find men willing to take on such [00:41:00] undesirable kinds of work. Understandably then, the American farm labor supply falls short and is supplemented by Mexican citizens.

FERNANDA SANTOS: As we hear this, could you tell us, Fernanda, about the disconnect between the need for migrant labor and our disregard for the people behind the labor?

FERNANDA ECHAVARRI: Yeah, I think it's pretty clear after reporting on this for many years, that these men, because they're mostly men, are not seen as people. They are workers. They're not fathers, they're not sons, they're not brothers, they're not human beings. They are a labor force. And I think that when you look at the pandemic, I remember I spoke with the vice president of the US Apple Association at the time, and what they told me was that without these workers, everything ceases to exist. And that's because the US has become increasingly dependent on H-2A workers. So, the US didn't used to be this dependent on H-2A workers as early as, you know, the early two thousands, but now we are. So, when you close the borders and in the pandemic, when literally no appointments, nothing, [00:42:00] but we could not do without H-2A workers.

So there's this exception to the rule, and they start to expedite the visas. So instead of saying, like, let's slow down because of the pandemic, it was the opposite. It was like, How can we get these workers here? Like, US farmers and US farms were scrambling. They were like, How are we gonna... how? We can't do this without the workers. And you would think that when you rely so heavily on a workforce, when these are essential to the true meaning of the word essential workers in our agriculture industry, you would maybe consider them human beings. You would maybe pay them what they're supposed to be paid. You would maybe house them in places where they should be housed, where like animals shouldn't even live.

Like, that's sort of the extreme that we're talking about here. We could not eat without them during the pandemic, and yet we put them in situations that did not show at all, not on paper with their pay, and not in their work and living environment, that they were indeed essential.

FERNANDA SANTOS: Yeah. And we still cannot eat without them, right? I remember, as I heard the two [00:43:00] parts of the investigation, you mentioning both the benefits and also the drawbacks of this program that's clearly very necessary for the American people, the American economy. Could you maybe, Tina, break down the pros and cons of this program?

TINA VASQUEZ: Yeah. I think historically the program has really been presented as being mutually beneficial, and Fernanda did a really good job of showing, you know, that there are generations of men and families in Mexico who have financially benefited from participating in the H-2A program. And of course, it's good for American employers because they're getting their foreign labor workforce to do backbreaking agricultural work that many Americans don't do, which is why American employers have to hire foreign workers.

But when we were kind of going into this reporting, we had a lot of conversations about framing, because that is the story that we always get about H-2A, right? That it's mutually beneficial. It's a win-win situation. That's the story that we often hear. And so kind of going into this investigation, [00:44:00] we talked a lot about maybe flipping the script a little bit and talking about the problems of the H-2A program, not focusing on the benefits or that kind of win-win framing, but really delving into the injustices and the power imbalances and the kind of historically racist laws that shape how the H-2A functions and allows for the kind of systemic abuses that we kind of break down in the reporting. Everything from, you know, wage theft to labor trafficking, all of this is enabled in agriculture because the standards are so poor and in a lot of ways the standards are so poor because you can kind of draw a direct line from slavery and anti-Black racism in agriculture to what is happening to our predominantly now migrant labor force in agriculture.

FERNANDA ECHAVARRI: I just wanted to add, I think it's important when we talk about the disposableness of these workers, it's important to think about history. Just for, like, a super quick context: during World War I is the first time that the US does like a [00:45:00] "official" guest worker program where the US talks to Mexico and like the two governments set up this program. They bring men to work the fields, and then when the Great Depression hits and the US becomes, like, it goes into this like protectionist phase and super anti-immigrant, then it's like any Mexican, whether you were born in the US or not, I mean, we know about the deportation or what they call the Mexican Repatriation, where many of them were never repatriated because they weren't even born in Mexico. But this idea of like, bring in these men, these hands, these backs, these legs, when we need them. And then when we don't, or if we don't, like, if we are feeling like we don't want immigrants or we're going through a bad time as a country economically, then they gotta go. Like, as if their roots, their lives, that didn't matter. So this was, you know, beyond H-2A workers, but to sort of show how the US has treated this. And then World War II happens and it's like, JK, we need more workers again. And that's when the Bracero Program starts. And so there's just this really [00:46:00] nasty history. This is not an issue that is just about the H-2A program. This is an issue that goes to the core, to the core of how we treat non-White labor in this country.

The case for immigration - The David McWilliams Podcast - Air Date 2-6-23

DAVID MCWILLIAMS - HOST, THE DAVID MCWILLIAMS PODCAST: The history of humanity is travel, right? Humans migrate, we got up out of Africa on our hind legs and went for a stroll.

We haven't stopped walking since, but the other history of humanity is tribal behavior. So you've got these two things hitting each other. So the humans want to travel, we are curious, we are adventurous, we are opportunistic. We want to break out of the tyranny, many of us do, of our hometown, our home country, and we wanna make a life for ourselves. This sort of idea of striving.

Then the other side is we also like, as a social animal, to be quite tribal. It's these two things are rubbing up against each other. What I wanna do in this podcast is I want to nail the idea, for once, that immigrants leech off [00:47:00] society because that is the message that has been given to people.

It's an easy message to accept, and if you look at the data — and that's the one thing about economics, it lives or dies by statistics and facts and data and numbers — and if you look at the data it is unambiguous that immigrants, maybe because of the inner fire in their belly when they leave their country, that immigrants change the host society for the better.

On an economic basis, every single metric is overwhelmingly pro-immigration. So it's important to actually come out of that...

JOHN DAVIS: I was just gonna say, just on that point, the very fact — the energy and the initiative that it takes to actually get up off your arse and go, not to leach off somebody else...

 You go for a reason, and the reason is to better yourself and you better the community that you enter.

DAVID MCWILLIAMS - HOST, THE DAVID MCWILLIAMS PODCAST: You're absolutely right. We are gonna come back, one of the [00:48:00] statistics on that is welfare tourism. The European Foundation has shown, right?

One of the big myths is that people from Eastern Europe come to Western Europe cuz our welfare is better. You hear that all the time, particularly in racist nationalist politicians. The data says the opposite, that immigrants from Eastern Europe are far less likely to be dependent on welfare than anybody else.

We'll go through the figures, but there is one thing to say at the very start, right? Is that all of us Irish people have a brush with an experience of immigration. Whether unusually a wee bit like me, you're actually someone whose grandparents —bizarre decision to take to immigrate into Ireland in 1910 — this was not a, this is not the most clever move in the whole world. So there's, some of us have that background, but most of us have the opposite experience. Yeah. Which is having gone to other places, so stuff, we should be aware of our history, but our history echoes the idea that we were those people.

JOHN DAVIS: And not only that, [00:49:00] there's a great line in the Louie McNeese poem, Dublin, which is, I'll read, it's the last verse of the poem. It's one of my favorite poems. Fourth of the Dane Garrison of the Saxon Auguston, capital of the Gaelic nation appropriating all the alien brought you. Give me time for thought.

And by the jugglers trick, you poise the toppling hour. Oh grayness run to flower, gray stone, gray water, and brick upon gray brick. That's our city. That's dub. That's our city. Dewey McNeese.

DAVID MCWILLIAMS - HOST, THE DAVID MCWILLIAMS PODCAST: Exactly. And it always has been welcoming foreigners and I'm fucking evidence of that, right? Yeah. So let's look at what's how going on right now.

The first thing to point out is that there has been a very big increase in immigration in the last 12 months, so this is why. I think these senses are really heightened, and it's true. If you just look at the numbers, right? 120,700 [00:50:00] immigrants arrived in Ireland in the last. 12 to 18 months. Yeah. And the reason it's a bit different is we've got accurate data up until April of last year, and then with more of estimates, right?

Yeah. Yeah. So that is a 15 year high. The last time that amount of immigrants came in was 2007, one year before the great crash. And they came in here to basically work on the sites. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So that is true. Okay. It's the second largest. Year of immigration in the last 30 years. So that is a fact.

The country is now experiencing much more immigrants. Right? The majority of these people, John, are, came from beyond the eu, are the uk, right? And that's largely from Ukrainians. So 28,000 Ukrainians came here from April. I think that's figured close to 60,000 or 65,000 now. So if people feel that there are a lot of more foreigners here.

It's true. There are, right? Yeah. And in, in total, the immigrant population is 13.8% of the total population, which is about 700. 68th thousand people. And that is set to rise. The Fiscal Council of [00:51:00] Ireland who do all the projections for the future. They say that we're at about 13% now. The immigrant population will be about 17 or 18% in 2050.

Okay. So that is the background noise. Yeah. So it's definitely happening. Now. The question is for Irish people is that we are the country that has done probably the best in the world out of globalization. Probably the best in the work. So in the last 30 years, living standard of this country have expanded dramatically.

The opportunities, all that stuff. Globalization is a compact, which is free travel of capital, free travel of talent, open borders and free trade. Yeah, that's it. Yeah. Yeah. So that mix, whether you like it or not, has. Serve this country extremely well. You cannot have free capital coming in, investment, multinational companies, all that sort of, and block immigrants.

Yeah. You just can't have it. Now, it doesn't mean you don't have an immigration policy, you have to have some sort of immigration policy, but this idea that you can actually cherry pick and say, we [00:52:00] want that little bit of globalization, the one that it's all the nice little, yeah, all the nice factories and Google and Facebook.

We want that little bit, but we don't want the immigration bit. You can't have that because it's actually part of an overall package. And I've, as I've always said, if we want to have a high wage, high skill society, we need to supplement our population with foreign talent. Now we've done the low skill, low wage option.

Yeah. Think the 1950s and 1960s, and it wasn't that pretty. So I think that yes, there's lots of immigrants here. Yes, the figure is going up, but it's time now to nail this idea that immigrants are scrangers, are in some way leeches or in some way dosers. Because first of all, as you said, the fire in your belly, the type of person who comes.

Absolutely. Yeah. Is a get up and go type of person. Yeah. They're not coming, they're not coming to sit in their Swiss, they're coming to actually generate opportunity for them and their families. And actually that's what happens with, with my [00:53:00] grandparents. They came up by Grand. I was a sign writer, had a little business, little painter and decorated business, and then he phoned his cousins from Scotland and they came over.

And so that's what happens. So eventually you do build your network, you build your family comes over, but somebody has to go in the first place to the foreign place. And deal with whatever. Yeah. And they are, they are definitely, there's definitely barriers thrown up against you because you don't know, the way that people say, it's not what you know, it's who you know.

Yeah. If you're an immigrant, much more likely you don't know anyone. So much more likely. You start out and you're taught, you're going to business on your own. This is why immigrants settle businesses. They don't set them up because. Maybe they want to, but they set them up cause they have to.

Yeah, because they've no one to look. Don't worry, I'll phone mic and he'll follow Tommy. He'll give you a job or give your kid a start. Yeah, yeah. You don't have that. Yeah. So you actually are a complete self-starter as an immigrant. And that's psychologically a totally different place to be.

The law that could bring Florida’s economy to a halt - Make Me Smart - Air Date 5-12-23

KIMBERLY ADAMS - HOST, MAKE ME SMART: With the expiration of Title 42, they're gonna be a lot stricter about people coming over, putting in new [00:54:00] rules that people have to at least try to apply for asylum in other countries. There are lawsuits involved. Um, But the national immigration story is one thing, but there are also a lot of state level immigration stories.

Mm-hmm. And that's almost where you see these issues playing out more. And case in point, uh, Florida, this week, governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate bill 1718, which will make it extremely, uh, risky for any undocumented immigrants to work in the state of Florida when the law goes into effect in July.

And I'm reading from, uh, local channel here, click Orlando. Uh, when the law goes into effect in July, businesses could face a $10,000 fine for every undocumented employee found working for them, and the state could revoke their business licenses. Business license, uh, and [00:55:00] the hospitals, before they file for Medicaid, for people getting treatment, they're supposed to check the doc, uh, whether or not the people are documented.

And there are all of these reports in local news in Florida and all over TikTok, which is how I saw it. Mm-hmm. About, mm-hmm. Abandoned construction sites and. Homes that have just, people just stopped showing up for work even though this law is not in effect yet. People no longer showing up for work and production and construction and home building all over the state.

Just kind of grinding to a halt. And yeah, somebody music the gateway and the YouTube chat was just saying Florida will grind to a halt in July and. You know, there's always the argument that people make about immigration. It's like they're taking jobs from American citizens or they're pushing down wages.

And I imagine we're going to be hearing very loudly from business owners in Florida, uh, in a couple of months. Yeah. That it's not [00:56:00] that Americans don't want to do these jobs, it's that they won't do these jobs. Right. And. Industries like construction and agriculture rely so much on the labor of undocumented immigrants.

Now, in an ideal world, there would be a pathway to work visas and documentation. Mm-hmm. For these folks may be paid livable wages, but the reality of the situation is the reason everybody's orange juice is so cheap is because there are undocumented migrants. That's right. Working in orange groves and strawberry fields and all other types of agriculture in this country at wages, American workers would not do those jobs for.

Yeah. And um, I'm, I'm not going to say the exact thing, but the front end of it, but, uh, Florida's about to do the back half and find out.

KAI RYSSDAL - HOST, MAKE ME SMART: Yeah. Yes. Uh, those of you who don't know what Kimberly's talking about, text me and we'll, we'll set you straight. Look, this economy is screaming for [00:57:00] workers. It is screaming for workers and the idea that politicians are taking the short-sighted political move, I know I'm expressing what is really false outrage here because I'm not outraged cuz politicians do this all the time, but it's just, it's so self-defeating because they are gonna get clobbered later on by, as Kimberly said, business is looking for labor. It's just amazing. It's just.

KIMBERLY ADAMS - HOST, MAKE ME SMART: I mean, truly not to mention, you know, the, the human part of it, which is that there are gonna be people who are big parts of the communities in Florida who've been there for a long time working and Yep. Now are probably gonna leave the state and, oh yeah, that's, that's gonna be something else.

Florida's New Immigration Bill Is A DISASTER! - Law Firm of Moumita Rahman - Air Date 5-12-23

MOUMITA RAHMAN - HOST, LAW FIRM OF MOUMITA RAHMAN: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law a new immigration bill that is essentially designed to make life unlivable for undocumented immigrants inside the state of Florida.

Now that it has passed, the bill is expected to take effect [00:58:00] July 1st. Many see this bill as DeSantis' way of building support within his Republican base in anticipation of his bid for the presidential campaign. So this bill is as extreme as possible. He is doing his utmost best to try to beat out former President Trump's anti-immigration stances.

So we are going to go over some of the most important provisions in this bill that you, as an undocumented immigrant, should be aware of. Second, we'll talk about how you should protect yourself and what you can expect. So here are some of the restrictions that are getting the most attention from the immigrant community:

First of all, there will be an ID restriction. This law prevents counties and cities in Florida from issuing an identification card, or document to anyone who cannot prove that they are legally present inside the us. This law will make the use of IDs obtained in other [00:59:00] states — such as New York, Washington, and New Jersey, where undocumented immigrants can go ahead and get an ID despite the fact that they don't have legal immigration status — it will make those IDs null invalid. Without a proper identification, an immigrant is essentially rendered unable to operate in modern society. Unable to drive, unable to open a bank account, unable to do the normal things that most of us take for granted.

Employment restrictions, this law makes it illegal for businesses to continue employing someone who is not legally present inside the United States, and requires employers to use the E-Verify system to confirm the eligibility of new employees within three business days of hiring them. If a business is caught employing undocumented immigrants they can be fined up to $10,000 per violation, and will be at risk of losing their business license. Some important details to note is that this does not [01:00:00] apply to businesses employing fewer than 25 employees, and it does not apply to existing employees, only new employees hired after July 1st.

Travel restrictions. This bill originally had criminal penalties imposed for persons caught transporting undocumented immigrants within the Florida state lines. Now that crazy provision at least has been modified a little bit, and now the criminal penalties are imposed upon anyone transporting undocumented persons between the Florida state line. Now the final version says that it is a third degree felony to transport anyone undocumented into the state of Florida.

Healthcare restrictions. Once this law goes into effect on July 1st, hospitals that accept Medicaid will be required to confirm the immigration status of their patients and then submit a quarterly report to the [01:01:00] government. This is obviously to discourage undocumented immigrants from seeking medical attention due to fears of possibly getting reported as a result of being in the hospital. However, it is illegal to share information about an individual when they seek healthcare. The mere fact that a hospital will now be required to report this information will have a chilling effect on immigrants.

Now thousands of immigrants have already left the state of Florida; there are various news reports showing fields lying empty inside the state of Florida that are not being worked on, other construction jobs, and other sorts of industries that rely heavily upon undocumented immigrant workforces that are now depleating. From my own experience with my own clients, as well as from reports that we are seeing all over the news; currently undocumented persons living inside the state of [01:02:00] Florida are shook with fear, and are being really cautious and are very afraid of what will happen. So if you are an immigrant living inside the state of Florida, is there anything that you should do and should you be worried? And how can you protect yourself?

This law is not going to change anything for you right now. What this bill is trying to do is it is trying to stem and discourage immigrants from coming into the state of Florida. Trying to impose other types of penalties in order to try to force people out; such as not issuing licenses, not recognizing licenses or state IDs from other places, finding workforces where immigrant labor is heavily used.

These are meant to be deterrent measures that will desensitize immigrants from considering Florida as a home state. If you're already in the state of Florida as an [01:03:00] undocumented immigrant, if you have an immigration application already pending with USCIS you are going to be in a little bit more of a protected status because you can show that you have something pending.

As somebody who might encounter ice officials or other immigration officials, you can use this to show that you have something pending and that you are in a period of authorized stay. There are many types of immigration applications where you can have applied for VALA or for a T visa where you can actually get a license inside Florida with the simple receipt of your case or your prima facia determination.

We have several VALA clients and T visa clients who are successfully able to obtain a driver's license inside the state of Florida without even having to wait for their application to get approved, or without even getting approved for a work permit. The most important thing when these sorts of laws get passed is this, I [01:04:00] know it's easier said than done, but there's no point in living in fear.

Find out what you're eligible for get those immigration applications filed. It will give you some measure of protection and it will give you some measure of peace.

Final comments on Republicans cynically supporting and abhorring child labor exploitation

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: We've just heard clips today starting with a Vox explaining the anti-immigration law from the nineties that broke the system. Last Week Tonight looked at Biden's policies that have insufficiently turned back the tide after Trump. The PBS NewsHour discussed the need for migrant labor. Democracy Now! looked at the violence that some migrants are attempting to escape. Amanpour and Company looked at the expiration of Title 42. Latino Rebels Radio discussed how fear of immigrants has become normalized. In The Thick explored the novel idea that migrant workers are also fully human people. And The David McWilliams Podcast looked at the benefits of immigration through the lens of Ireland.

That's what everybody heard, but members also heard bonus clips from Make Me Smart looking at the new [01:05:00] law in Florida that could bring much of the economy to a halt. And the law firm of Monito Ramen had some helpful advice for any immigrants living in fear of the new law in Florida.

Note that all of our sources, including the bonus segments, are linked in the show notes, so if you need to hear that or share it with anyone in Florida, you can find it there. Or, to hear that and have all of our bonus content delivered seamlessly to the new members-only podcast feed that you'll receive, sign up to support the show at BestoftheLeft.com/support, or shoot me an email requesting a financial hardship membership, because we don't let a lack of funds stand in the way of hearing more information.

Now as we wrap up today, I just wanted to connect a few dots and, as I started thinking along these lines, I figured it would just be a quick note. And now I'm starting to think that this is probably the seed of a future episode I'm about to describe because it is worthy of getting deeper into the details.

But for now, let's just read a few headlines and some small excerpts from just the past few months.

This is [01:06:00] from The New York Times: "Alone and Exploited: Migrant children work brutal jobs across the US." "Arriving in record numbers, they're ending up in dangerous jobs that violate child labor laws, including in factories that make products for well-known brands like Cheetos and Fruit of the Loom." And then another from The New York Times: "As migrant children were put to work, US ignored warnings." "The White House and federal agencies were repeatedly alerted to signs of children at risk. The warnings were ignored or missed." Also from the New York Times: "Biden administration plans crackdown on migrant child labor. The move came days after a Times investigation showed children were working in dangerous jobs throughout the United States."

And then on a slightly, but obviously related topic, this is from the Washington Post: "The conservative campaign to rewrite child labor laws." "The Foundation for Government [01:07:00] Accountability, a Florida-based think tank and lobbying group, drafted state legislation to strip child workplace protections, emails show." Very much related, this is from NPR, but you could have gotten it almost anywhere: "Arkansas Governor Sanders signs a law that makes it easier to employ children." And summarizing a lot of this, the Gazette out of Colorado headline: "States relaxed child labor laws amid tight labor market," and the excerpt is: "Lawmakers in states such as Arkansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, say they are helping businesses respond to a tight job market."

And then finally, going back to the Times: "Migrant child labor debate in Congress becomes mired in immigration fight." "Revelations that migrant children have been exploited for cheap labor brought calls for action, but a partisan battle [01:08:00] over immigration policy has complicated lawmakers' efforts." And an excerpt: "Republicans have pointed to exploitative conditions at companies employing migrant children, documented in an investigation by the New York Times, to justify a hard line immigration package."

So what we have is businesses that are already employing children, often immigrants, illegally, and they're lobbying to make that exploitation legal, particularly in Republican-led states that can be convinced of such things, if you say that it's good for business. And at the very same time, members of that same party are using the stories of that exploitation as an argument for their brutal anti-immigration policies that result in those kids and their families being sent back to a similarly brutal experience in their own home countries, as we heard described [01:09:00] today.

I mean, there's cynical, and then there's cynical.

That's going to be it for today. As always, keep the comments coming in. You can leave us a voicemail or send a text message to 202-999-3991 or sending me an email to [email protected].

Thanks to everyone for listening. Thanks to Deon Clark and Erin Clayton for their research work for the show, and participation in our bonus episodes. Thanks to our Transcriptionist Trio, Ken, Brian and LaWendy for their volunteer work helping put our transcripts together. Thanks to Amanda Hoffman for all of her work on our social media outlets, activism segments, graphic designing, web mastering, and bonus show co-hosting. And thanks to those who support the show by becoming a member or purchasing gift memberships at BestoftheLeft.com/support, through our Patreon page, or from right inside the Apple Podcast app. Membership is how you get instant access to our incredibly good and often funny bonus episodes, in addition to there [01:10:00] being extra content, no ads and chapter markers in all of our regular episodes, all through your regular podcast player. And if you want to continue the discussion, join our Discord community; there's a link to join in the show notes.

So coming to you from far outside the conventional wisdom of Washington, DC, my name is Jay!, and this has been the Best of the Left podcast coming to you twice weekly, thanks entirely to the members and donors to the show from BestoftheLeft.com.

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  • Jay Tomlinson
    published this page in Transcripts 2023-05-16 23:36:15 -0400
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