Politicizing Human Rights

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2018 0621 Politicizing Human Rights Episode 1.10

 

Welcome to the BiCurean podcast. Hi I'm Aicila  and I am Erik. And we interrupt your regularly scheduled podcast this week due to the big news that's been happening. %HESITATION We actually pre-empted a show that we recorded last week that was going to air this week in order to talk about the big issues going on at the border right now. And the politicization of human rights. And you know that's something that- that the first thought I had when these news articles %HESITATION started pouring in. And- and the stories on the news stations was we were really actually looking at a situation where the President of the United States is violating human rights or at least close to it %HESITATION in order to bargain and to be right. And I have a real problem with that and- and I was really feeling it rise in me and you called me earlier this week and said we should do this right now. And we both just agreed. Yeah it- it's been a really interesting thing to look into you and that's part of it was I- I knew I was going to want to get some understanding of why all of the digital world was exploding with all of this. What's going on in the detention centers and so I have some- What should we start with? Well and we should say that we are recording this on the Tuesday before it's released and so we have up to the date, up to the minute news right now about where things are at but one of the reasons we didn't want to wait on this was because so much is probably gonna happen even in the next day or two. Or more horrifyingly nothing's going to happen in the next day or two or even the next week so %HESITATION. We're- we're rooting for something's gonna happen. I'm rooting for that I'm- I'm just a cynic, so...   I guess let's start with the first thing what- so there's a lot of obviously rhetoric and chaos and throwing mud. And I what I wanna do is is sweep as much of that away and sort of get down to some of the basic facts. And sort of what kicked off a lot of the current situation right now is in May -Do you want me to read this? Yeah go ahead. In May Sessions announced that the US is going to take a stricter stance on illegal crossings at the southwest border. And we are all perfectly aware that it was just Jeff Sessions, he's the bad guy here, cause Trump hasn't been saying that for months and years really, right? Well I- So I think Sessions was mouth- piecing for the administration. He was delivering an administrative policy. He is however the one who- who delivered it. Okay. And he said that they were gonna take this stricter stance. And it was gonna result and parents and children being separated rather than keeping them together in detention centers. So this is something in May he's- he's said this we know this policy is going to create that. And %HESITATION the exact quote here is, "If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don't like that, don't smuggle children over our border." And to be clear I heard a quote from Trump earlier today where he backed that up. So they're not even changing their message at all. Trump actually %HESITATION and I don't remember the exact words but it was something to the extent of this is a deterrent so that people think twice about trying to come across the border, especially if they have kids. And I will say that one of my favorite responses to that was actually a Republican Senator %HESITATTION Nebraska-  So this Nebraskan Senator, Ben Sasse, (I should look up the pronunciation). while defending the administration's efforts to tighten %HESITATION immigration enforcement %HESITATION in a Facebook post that he put up on Monday June 15th was that Monday? I don't know what day- What day was Monday? It was the 16th. There we go. I'm sorry Monday was the 18th. Oh! because it's Tuesday. So just yesterday, sorry, Monday the 18th. He said nonetheless this Senator, Republican Senator called the separation of families "wrong". And wrote "the choice between the American people does not have to be wicked versus foolish. This is wrong. Americans do not take children hostage. Period." Okay, so who was that? %HESITATION Nebraskan Senator Ben Sasse. From which party? The Republican Party. From the Republican Party. But I really liked his point because in a lot of ways what Sessions and Trump are saying is we're going to take your children hostage. Right. And that- that's a very clear cut way of expressing, this is why we have a problem with this beyond party lines. Absolutely. And so you know and I- I made a big deal just now about which party this person is from. And in some ways I just politicized human rights. But I want to defend this only because you just made the point this is now a non- partisan thing. This is now a non- partisan issue because both sides are coming out and saying just no just this is not who we are as a country. This is not what we should be doing. These should not be bargaining chips. These should not be %HESITATION anything like that. There was also the CNN guy. Which we might as well just get this out of the way because very seldomly does anyone actually have any credence when comparing %HESITATION Trump to Hitler. There is that. But it happened so %HESITATION it was actually over the weekend. So Michael Hayden, who was nominated by Bush to lead the CIA, so we can assume that he is moderate to- to right leaning I would- I would say. %HESITATION Tweeted out a photo of the Birkenau death camp at Auschwitz writing "other governments have separated mothers and children". Hayden, who was director of the National Security Agency under President Bush and Bill Clinton explains on CNN's Newsday Monday morning that his tweet was a warning of where the U. S. could be headed. "Let's run the clock back to 1933,   which is really what I was trying to address," Hayden said, " And in 1933, what did we see in Germany? A cult of personality, the cult of nationalism, a cult of grievance, a press operation that looked like it was the ministry of propaganda and then the punishing of marginalized groups." There's also you know- I don't- I don't think Trump is Hitler but I think what we're doing and what he is doing right now looks a lot like that. This guy's right. Cause he never actually said Trump's Hitler. He said this looks like what they saw in 1933. Well and I- I definitely have a strong reflex against any- any reference to Germany in that way. And I- I did feel like this was a legitimate question to ask in terms of who- in terms of the German people were you know economically depressed. Yes. And looking for someone who would make it better. Yeah. And we have that situation. And what ended up occurring was- was pretty atrocious and part of it I- I think happened because people stopped noticing what they had in common with each other. Well let's at least take some comfort that- that is not actually what's happening right now. %HESITATION The American people are not rolling over and taking this. We've got bipartisan people coming out. That is one of the things that I- I really appreciate is that %HESITATION you know like Laura Bush's statement a you know, she says, "I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries but the zero tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart." And- and as someone who didn't always you know agree with the Bush Administration, I really feel like it's powerful for her to step forward and say, "Hey this is- this is too extreme for us as Americans." And for this Nebraskan Senator to say we as Americans don't take children hostages. It's not what we do. Right. And I think that's important for us to embrace some aspect of our American identity that is about the values that we strive, the ideals we strive to live up to. Yeah. You know I - I heard earlier today that %HESITATION somebody local for us, Cory Gardner, had come out against it. And I've certainly had some disagreements with some of his policies but I am finding at least a little bit of respect for a lot of these people that I had just written off as being probably against most of the things that I was for. And realizing all right we've got at least something in common here. We're humans and we believe that humans should be protected. So one of the things that I looked into was the you know there's a lot of so one of the things that Sessions talks about is he knew that this would separate families as required by law. That makes it sound like there's a law that allowed-  that state's families have to be separated from their children. %HESITATION And what it is is there was a law passed in 1997 %HESITATION called the Flores Act I think let me double check that %HESITATION the Flores Agreement- Flores agreement, yes. And what that- what that did was it's- that minor children had to be you know released from custody or put into like the most the least restrictive, most nurturing environment possible. Right. And why this particular thing would separate children from families is that up through now %HESITATION if a family had a minor child with them then the needs of a minor child were the first thing considered in the situation. So %HESITATION the family had to be detained in different kind of facility that addressed the needs of the child. Right because if the- if the parents are going to be in jail awaiting trial -then they'll be separated from their parents. So right they needed to be put somewhere and- and- and this was based on the idea that if somebody was caught coming across the border they would go to jail for breaking the law. So where they're now- then that's the difference right, Sessions is criminally prosecuting them. Prior to this it was often, unless there was another reason for like a violent behavior or you know background concerns, someone crossing the border %HESITATION illegally would not be criminally prosecuted. They would be given a misdemeanor offense and therefore would either be released into the community with their children with like some kind of digital monitoring system. Right. Or held in a family detention center %HESITATION with and the family detention center had to meet the needs of the minor children. Right. And that was determined by a federal judge in 2014 when Obama %HESITATION who also Obama the Obama and the Bush administrations had both %HESITATION indicated that they didn't feel that the families with minor children should be held to the same standards as minor children who are on their own or unaccompanied. However the federal judge said, Oh no, actually families need to be treated, if they have minor children, at that same level. So that was actually won through a court case in 2014. And ended %HESITATION the practice of families being kept in centers with children that weren't quite up to standards or theoretically. Yeah and we need to be clear that %HESITATION there is some culpability about where we're at based on the fact you know we don't really have much discussion and discourse over immigration when Obama was in office. Other than you know some of the some of the Republican Senators and Congressmen saying that they wanted stricter standards and all that sort of thing. But you know in our research one of the things that- that is it's obvious that I expected was that Obama wasn't particularly light on it by any means. He was less dramatic. So he did, instead of doing the in person raids, he did paper raids. So they would %HESITATION evaluate I-9s I believe it is, of businesses. Look for certain discrepancies that indicated they were hiring people that weren't necessarily legally able-  legally able to work. And then they would %HESITATION sort of- Which is a deterrent in and of itself because again %HESITATION if you make it clear that they're probably going to be less opportunity here, it might be a deterrent. It was effective. It was that- he was an effective and and the the thing with the paper raids is that they're significantly less expensive. He deported a lot of people based on it. Yeah it there and the- the the raids that Trump started doing he didn't necessarily do more. He just did more expensive, more dramatic raids. And he talks about it more. Obama didn't have a %HESITATION an agenda to- to kind of be tough on immigration. He didn't get elected on the basis of building a wall. He did not get elected on the basis of building a wall so it wasn't something that he spent a lot of time going on talking about. He also tended to focus very specifically on like things like the they call them the paper raids or people who committed violent crimes or had felony offenses. That doesn't mean that everybody that was deported under Obama was a criminal. There are there are plenty of people who - By the letter of the law they are here illegally they are criminals. Okay that's fair but I mean just in terms of like the next level. He was- he was going for the next level of have they committed a violent crime in this country. Where are they at in their different statuses to become a citizen. %HESITATION There was a little %HESITATION acronym called DACA that was about probably the biggest thing I think Obama really did. And that's a deferred action program so that actually was anybody who registered for DACA was given %HESITATION a temporary social security number. And they had to either do two years of school or two years of military service in order to %HESITATION to be eligible. And essentially what they were registering for was de- deferred deportation. They were basically putting themselves on a list, to say I know I'm here undocumented. And, you know, and the hope was, they call these kids right the dreamers, cause you know the hope was that this would give them a chance to be part of the systemA and show how they, you know, so they put a lot of trust and faith in the government and said we're gonna take- we're gonna take this risk to see if there can be a path to citizenship for us. Right. And and the only reason I wanted to illustrate all of this was to say that you know the steps that got us here are not just the Trump administration. %HESITATION These are things that have been around for awhile. %HESITATION there was good and bad things about everybody's immigration you know policies probably for the last twenty years. But in this case- Well and so this one article I found that I know I sent to you on this from actually a January of 2016, so I don't really think we can hold Trump accountable for this one. And- and essentially we don't like to fund social services. And what happens is when unaccompanied minors arrive at the border %HESITATION then they have to be obviously treated in this other way. So a lot of times what they do is they try to put them in foster families. And when there's an a large influx, they don't necessarily do their due diligence. And so this New York times article came out in January 2016   said that %HESITATION the Department of Health and Services- Health and Human Services had actually placed more than a dozen immigrant children in the custody of human traffickers. %HESITATION And-and you know there were like fifteen more that they said %HESITATION. I-I did read the article. And let's clarify that the human traffickers were agricultural primarily, although there were found to be some sex trafficking %HESITATION rings that were going on with that. Yeah and sometimes- And- and you know we- we- we mention this in previous shows but it needs to be mentioned again, human trafficking is by and large agricultural agricultural and domestic workers. Yes. But nobody wants to outlaw those two things. I don't know why. Right. Cause that would put a stop to human trafficking. Yes. Okay my sarcasm can be moved on from. And-and the and so that- so this problem is complex. It's larger than parties. So we want to simplify it down to you know, bad Trump whatever. However he's the guy in charge right now. And that's the thing that I think is really important when- when people bring up well you know Obama did this or Clinton did this or Bush did that. It doesn't actually matter because right now the person who is in a position of authority is Trump. It is his job to set policy and he set a policy that Sessions enacted which is to criminally prosecute these parents knowing it would mean they would separate they would be separated from their children. It was an attempt to deter people. And it was done knowing that it would create this situation. Exactly. %HESITATION And you know I've heard quotes from everybody even- even Homeland Security you know folks talking about how %HESITATION they're just doing what they were told to do. And this is the letter of the law. And again you know it we're in another one of those positions where we can you know debate the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law and all of that. But Trump already told us exactly why they're doing it. He wants this to be a deterrent. He figures less people try to come over if they're worried about getting caught and having that go badly. Well and so one of the things that I think also needs being acknowledged is that the- the net immigration result right now from Mexico is zero. Like and that doesn't even just account for deportation. It's that in the last ten years immigration from Mexico into America has decreased by twenty six percent. Right. And so- But that's also one of those statistics because twenty six percent is meaningless. How many people is it really? What do those people look like? How many kids are in camps right now? 1995. Okay. So however there's this rhetoric that you know that there's this influx of immigrants. And- and the reality is that the current percentage of immigrants in our country is lower. It's kind of funny because I think America has been a melting pot for so long. And I mean I think since about 1790 probably we've been led to believe that this is a place that people want to come to: land of opportunity, American dream, white picket fences. And realistically we haven't been that and these numbers are are showing that not just Mexican immigration but I would imagine all immigrations probably down in general. We're down- we're not as high- the highest that it was 1890,   15% of the population. Right now it's at about twelve percent, and they go with percentages rather than numbers simply because the populations the world population is so much larger. Right. %HESITATION And- and I think that speaks to what you were saying as well as that it- it's not easy to emigrate to any country. You know most countries that have borders have- have rules. And- and usually the people that- that they want to attract are people who have money to invest in the country; have skills that they want to bring into their country; like most countries are pretty picky. There was a few years ago, I had a friend that moved in New Zealand. And became really kind of obsessed with the idea of maybe moving down to New Zealand. Cause Xena was filmed there. And Lord of the Rings, actually, that- that was my motivation. I was like I want to go live where they filmed Lord of the Rings. And Xena. And so I looked into it with my partner and we were just kind of going through it. And it's like Wow. It's a point system. Do you have a degree? How many languages do you speak? Do you have skills in these particular fields? And you just total up your points and see if you like cross the threshold to even get in. We are by no means here in the U. S. the hardest country to get into. And- and it's not and that's the tricky part like so Canada has a refugee program much like we do. And you can seek asylum- Yeah- %HESITATION and their approach, they did a pilot program that I thought was really brilliant. Where when someone, when a family comes, a group of Canadian families actually sign up to spend a year helping orient them and integrating them to the country. So that that group of families will help them get their driver's license and drive them around. And help them pay their rent and figure out the bureaucracy of things. I mean we all'd kind of like to have group of Canadian families helping us, but- It's very socialist of them. %HESITATION But in a positive way, right, like we'll do this and we'll make them a ward of the state essentially while they integrate. And what it does is they like the- the reason like that for instance we have policies around family members getting a preferential so you- you know if you're here and you want to bring a family member over, they used to you I don't really know where we're at in all the changes, have a little bit more of a preference because you could sponsor them. And- and part of that is really just social cohesion. Right. The- the more integrated you are into a community the more likely you are to participate and be a good contributor, to be less likely to have angry feelings about where you're at. Like it's basic. I mean it makes sense. And- and regardless you know in this country we've really just sort of had the doors open and that there's some words on some statue somewhere that say they we welcome the sick and the poor and the huddled masses and all of that. %HESITATION Because that was what we've lived under but people don't even really want to come here as much as they did. And I mean I'll be honest I- I feel like you know here in Colorado we have a very strong economy but we- we're only slightly below the national average when it comes to unemployment. So this idea that there's not enough jobs here %HESITATION or anything like these arguments that are made. %HESITATION Even if they were relevant, they might even relevant fifteen years ago. Well there's a couple things, so there's been a lot of studies on the impact of immigrants in our communities. Specifically the economic impact because that's often the- the sort of the boogeyman tactic, right? They're going to cost a lot of money. And they're going to take our jobs. You're giving me this look that this is gonna be a BiCurean    stat. Well it's just really interesting to me because for example during the recession of 2008 the- the states in areas that had large immigrant populations actually had a lower dip and a faster rebound. And what they've shown consistently is that the immigrant population is very compatible with the native population. And I- that's the wrong word to use- the White %HESITATION pre-cursor population. I don't know. That lives here already. The existing population. The existing immigrant population that is not the indigenous people. Yes. These words are so hard but- but it's if you want to be accurate, right, like there's the indigenous people who are the native people. And then there's the rest of us who immigrated first. And are many generations deep at this point probably. Yeah. Or at least a few. And so they and there are citizens who are a part of the regime. And then there's the the new immigrant- immigrants: documented and undocumented. And and what they've found is that the the more recent immigrants and the jobs that they want and the skills that they have. And the jobs that even the laborer jobs that exist that tend to be taken or- or executed by the current residents, there's actually more of a- a synergy in that. There's less competition than people, th- this whole - it's been politicized. Right like this whole story has been politicized. And it's not actually dealing with the facts. Yeah. So it's just it's been %HESITATION like reading up on it that and they said like sanctuary counties that restrict when they will hold immigrants in custody beyond the release date solely based on ICE detainer requests are economically stronger and experience less crime than non sanctuary counties. Sanctuary counties have a median annual income that are four thousand dollars higher; poverty rates that are 2.3% lower and unemployment rates that are 1.1% lower than non sanctuary counties. This is across the country. Right. Furthermore they experience on average 35.5 fewer crimes per 10,000 people than non sanctuary counties. So there's this like idea that being welcoming to immigrants and including in your community is somehow dangerous. And yet the facts remain that it's not. Yeah. And you know, it's hard to talk about what's going on here without talking about the immigration. And- and the need for a policy this strict is really I think the the gist of what you know the point that we're trying to make with this is that %HESITATION immigrants are not bringing down our society. They are actually holding it up. Right it's- it's not a negative thing. %HESITATION You know we can look at crime stats for immigrants but then we can look at crime stats for non immigrants. Like it doesn't matter. You know we're going to break it down. There's always going to be some bad people. Of course there's some drug trafficking going on across the border. There are some negatives but at this point to the main point of why we decided we needed to do this now. This is a legitimate human rights issue that's putting us on par with places that people would never want to hear our country compared to. No eh for real. Well and so over the years I've been really curious because my perspective on this is obviously a more liberal party line. I mean that's not where I'm getting it but I fit in there pretty well. And so that the folks that I've talked to who oppose %HESITATION who I shouldn't say oppose it but who support like the super strong deterrents. It really comes down to there has to be a consequence when someone breaks the law. So my question is if- if what- if what we want is a consequence for when someone breaks the law, could we come up with something that actually serves our country? Because the what we're doing right now. It violates our identity as Americans, we're taking children hostage. And it costs us a lot of money. It- it's not helping our economy and it's driving away our future- %HESITATION our future citizens. It's driving way future residents, like immigrants- That want to come here legally.- That want to come here legally and- and- and honestly  the people that want to come here and want to be part of our country and invest in it. Even- If I was living outside of this country in just about anywhere right now, just looking at this. I would be deterred. And that's whether or not I was looking to get across the border to earn some money %HESITATION picking vegetables. Or if I was a doctor in some other country trying to you know see if my - if I could contribute meaningfully and take advantage of some of the you know perks of being a US citizen while bringing something actually usable to the table. I mean I work in the tech company and there's been a lot of talk about the different visas and stuff like that. I'm wondering how many of these tech genius people from foreign countries that we've let in on these visas are actually just saying you know on second thought never mind. I can tell you that other countries are getting just as good at tech. Because my company is based in Israel as are many other companies that I'm running into. We're actually based here but our entire R&D department and all of our developers and everything are all Israeli. And- and they are so they're getting so far ahead of the game. Like just assuming that you know because you were born anywhere near the Bay Area or- or a tech epicentre in the states makes you a genius or whatever- no, no no no We are- we don't have that anymore and so you know even this is affecting us in a bad way even with the people that Ttrump would have to acknowledge would be desirable. Right well that 2016 was the- the highest number of people in the recording of this experience that actually revoked their US citizenship. Like 5300 people. So it is it's definitely costing us. Although I will say that the theory is nobody really knows why. The theory is that has something to do with taxes. So you know we could call that you know what is it correlated or coincidentally you know the same thing. But it's- it's just it's a trend. It's a trend that the way they were doing things is not attracting and- and- and is not attracting new people to our communities. And our birth population is down, right? Like we don't we don't have large families. And we have a bunch of baby boomers about to retire. And that's one of the articles that I was reading they were talking about like without a strong immigrant population, we're going to be in a lot of trouble when they start retiring. Not just from the perspective of things like social security. Literally from the perspective of jobs that need to be filled. It's interesting 'cause luckily automation is coming and that will solve that problem. They you go. So then we all will have so that one's not gonna be a problem but it's just something to think about that that this this rhetoric and this fear right now we're there is %HESITATION the reactivity around sort of pushing immigrants away. And I think you know you look at some of these countries in Europe that are pretty much begging people: like we'll give you a free education and a house. And you know just come here and have babies because their population is shrinking. Right. And I th- we could put ourselves in a similar position. Well and that is all stuff that we can easily debate again %HESITATION in the future here as we get this sorted out. But at the moment right now this is a legitimate issue. I do think that America and Americans gonna do the right thing. And that this isn't going to be allowed to stand and hopefully by the time somebody is hearing this %HESITATION this will be old news or there will be an update in some positive way. I can't can't guarantee that by the first airing but we we talked about that- I was gonna say we talked about some calls to action. Okay so I'll read this Fox News because I love that this is from Fox News. And then you can read a call to action. How's sound? So %HESITATION this is from an article in Fox News about the detention center. At McAllen Texas detention center the Associated Press reported that hundreds of immigrant children waited in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had twenty children inside of it, bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets were scattered around the facility. Wow. On Capitol Hill Michigan Republican representative Fred Upton called for an immediate end to this ugly and inhumane practice, adding it's never acceptable to use kids as bargaining chips in a political process. Kansas GOP Senator Pat Roberts said he is against using parental separation as a deterrent to illegal immigration. So here's the thing. I want to urge anyone listening to this %HESITATION I would assume if if you like what we do on this podcast you probably are the type of person has a dog in this hunt. %HESITATION So first thing don't let this be political. I know you know even it- it was hard for us while we were talking about this to not fall into the Trump's the bad guy, %HESITATION the Republicans the bad guys We- we- we tried to look at this from you know the things that got us here. And it was both parties. Obama you know did plenty of this just didn't make the news. %HESITATION You know did plenty to get this set up to where it's at right now and it has been made worse. I'm not really defending any thing about it but everybody is waking up to this. So resist the urge to get in any debates and make this about the Democrats or the Republicans or even just Trump. Yes, Trump is pushing this and that needs to stop. But he's doing it as a person. His party's not behind him. It's not even the Republicans as a blanket statement. Don't make this political, this is really a human rights thing. The second one. You kind of did both, so I'll  do this one. Call your representatives and your senators. And let them know you want a better solution. That you don't want this to be about one party or the other. That you want this to be about actually solving this problem and not using children as hostages. Yeah. %HESITATION I don't know I feel like this is actually really positive thing because we've got elections coming up here in five months. And I will tell you that we have a rare opportunity because anybody is up for reelection right now is gonna be terrified to not do what their constituents want. And it's as simple as calling them and telling them make this stop. Make it stop. That's our message. So that's what we'll be doing this week. We'll get back to our regularly scheduled %HESITATION show for the next one. %HESITATION You've probably been seeing the snippets for it, so pardon the dust here as we decided to jump in on this. We're also gonna skip our BiCurean moments this week since we ran a little bit long already but %HESITATION we look forward to hearing any comments and stuff. And %HESITATION do you wanna- you wanna close us out? %HESITATION No. Am I allowed to say that? Find us on social media Facebook Instagram and Twitter or email podcast at bicurean dot com with your thoughts opinions feedback. We look forward to hearing from you. Thanks and have a great week.