tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 13, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT
were responsible for killing over 240 u.s. marines at the marine barracks in 198 and instrumental in launching attacks. here's what the head of hezbollah said. iran will become richer and wealthier and more influential and will enforce the position. it will be able to stand by i its allies more than at any other time in history. hezbollah sees a stronger iran as a result of the deal, they see more support for terrorist groups in the gaza strip and more attacks against israel as a result of this deesm -- of that deal. that's very, very troubling. i'd like to take this time now
to recognize another good friend of mine, a veteran from pennsylvania and a really strong voice on national security, scott perry. as must have time as he may consume. mr. perry: thank you, madam speaker. we hear from the administration, somehow we're having the discussion, somehow we dare to question that we're on the wrong side of history, that we're unpatriotic, and literally new york many cases, the administration trying to equate those who would, in this chamber new york this body would have a discussion, would call into question some of the tenets of this framework, and then this agreement which we didn't know much about, that we are tantamount to the same as the hardliners in iran. the hardliners who have horrific human rights violations over the course of 50 years as far as
america is concern and literally do unspeakable things. and that's breath taking to me. the problem is among other things is that we're skeptical because our negotiating partner in this iran is not trustworthy. is shrimp not trustworthy. picture yourself and your own family, if you were negotiating an infraction within your own family and while you were discussing the infraction that member of your family was doing the exact same thing you were discussing about the cheating. and that's exactly what happened. madam chairman. during this discussion, during this negotiation, we found an undisclosed site in iran. we don't know how many more there are it was undisclosed. they said, oh, yeah, sorry about that you can take a look now, i suppose. but how many more are there? and why would we trust one with that? why would we trust someone
knowing over the last 35, 40 years of this nation? i think americans need to know where the negotiation started on both sides. what were iran's requirements? what were the united states' rimets? because we hear this is a good deal. we understand from the administration it's a good deal but we want to know it's a good deal with our own eyes. we want to see it, think about it internalalize it. ruminate on it, sleep on it, think about our children and grandchildren and the world they're going live in, we want to know if it's a good deal. but we're told no, this is a good deal. take my word for it. we don't know where the negotiations started and ended for the most part. but we do know that a year ago enriching uranium for iran was not allowed not only by the united states but by the community of nations, by the united nations. and now with this framework we have legitimized not hundreds of
centrifuges but hundreds of thousands of centrifuges. countries across the globe have peaceful nuclear processes and don't have any sentry funals. if that's true why did they need them? and why would we have agreed to that? so we're right to be skeptical. you know, iran practices stra teemic delay. at this point, the guy who wrote this book who lauded himself for duping the west and other -- in other negotiations is at the top of the heap right now and you wonder why people in this body -- forget people in this body. what about the vast majority of americans that are skeptical? this is their voice. we're not necessarily only speaking for ourselves. we're speaking for our constituents and the majority of americans that say, hold on to the administration.
you say it's a good deal but let's look with our own eyes because of these things. because of the negotiators that negotiated the deal with north korea the nuclear deal with north korea that was going to disallow them to have nuclear weapons, they're the same negotiators that we have now in many cases. and by the way new york case you haven't kept up on current events, north korea has nuclear weapons. so sit really imprudent, improper for us to be skeptical cal? is it imprudent improper for taos ask questions? the biggest part of this is there can be no mistakes. there's no margin of error with nuclear weapons. if one or two terrorists gets set from -- set free from guantanamo and back on the battlefield, that's un-- unacceptable. that's different than a nuclear blast. we live thousands and thousands of miles away but israel is described by their enemies that
would have this nuclear weapon as a one-bomb country. that's all it will take and it will all be over for that country. certainly that's bad for israel. it's israel, they're over there, we're over here which begets the next question. why are intercontinental ballistic missiles not included in the negotiation? what is the need for interon the innocental ballistic missile. i'll tell you it's to deliver armament. what armament in a nuclear warhead you don't need one to get to israel you need one of those to get the united states. these folks call israel the little satan. madam speaker, madam chairman you know who the big satan is that's uh us. so if this is so good so obviously good, why isn't that included in the negotiation, in the agreement, in the framework? we're just foolish americans, but it seems to make sense to us
that that should be there. and you've got to ask yourself, i've heard the administration say, well during the duration of this term, this presidential term, we can be assured there'll be no nuclear weapon in iran. well, thank goodness for that, but what about the rest of us that are going to plan on living out the fullest part of our lives and our children and grandchildren that are worried past the next two years. two years, 10 to 15 years is a blink in the eye a moment in history. that's still too short. never is the right answer. never is the the right answer for people and nations that act like iran. now, i heard recently that the administration said that they might let congress express themselves. i thought about that. express themselves. yop where that verbiage came from. but it seems to me, i'm looking at my rulebook here, it is the rules by which -- it's the
recipe by which we fol to run the country. it says here under article 2, section 2, regarding the president he, shall have the power by and the advice and consent of the senate to make treaties provided 2/3 of the senators present concur. now if you wonder what a treaty is look it up in the dictionary. it's an agreement. i keep hearing this is a framework for a historic agreement. folk, ladies and gentlemen, this is an agreement between the citizens of the united states and iran and theth president is encumbering you when he sipes this to everything therein, where whether you agree with it or not. we understand we have representative government but that is why the congress is supposed to be involved. that's why article 2 section 2 says the senate must provide advice and consent so your wishes are heard. is your concerns are heard. not so that one guy, one person
makes a decision for the entire country on issues that are so important. let's talk about other issues of like importance. there's strong precedent, historical precedent for congressional view of nonproliferation. three stark treaties with russia. the nonproliferation treaty, the biological weapons convention, the chemical weapons convention, the u.s.-india cooperation agreement and the civilian nuclear energy agreements with vietnam and taiwan submitted for congressional review by this president in 2013. if it's ok for them why is this one any different? i would say to you that recently we heard that the country is stronger when the congress and the administration work together and that was in reference to the authorization for the use of military force to confront isis. now, isis is a regional threat in that portion of the world
that might become a growing cancer outside its bounds. but what is more important than nuclear war? and if it's good enough for an aumf with isis, why doesn't it apply here? and finally with your indulgence madam chairman, we're told that this is a good deal and we should just trust the administration. but with all due respect, i think it's important to review the recent foreign policy issues and the record. so i'm just going to highlight a couple of events you might be familiar with. the syrian redline, the redline is syria for the use of chemical weapons. we drew a red line and watched it violated a dozen times before we said something. then we packed off. and now we're talking about having discussions and some type of agreement. so that didn't work out too well. russia. they're doing whatever they want to in ukraine. we've convinced the ukrainians to dismantle their nuclear
program saying we would be there for them if they were ever attacked and we're nowhere. you know, i served in iraq so did my good friend from florida and we think about all the lives and the energy and the hardship lost in iraq and i think you can hardly call that a success thunder current administration. afghanistan. we were staying we were going we were stay, we were going. hardly a success in my mind. in egypt the great wellspring of democracy where we chose the wrong side and the egyptian people had to choose the correct side. the iranian revolution when they tried to rise up against oppression and america closed its eyes and turned its face. libya where we helped overthrow a dictator and now have a failed state. and yemen, the moe -- and yemen, the model of success for counterterrorism. and what about the exchange of bo bergdahl for terrorists?
i don't mean to be overly critical but it seems to me if future performance is predicted by past performance we have a right to be skeptical. all i'm say, and i yield the balance of my time i have, all we're saying is it is right it is our duty, to question and to make sure that this is indeed good for the american people and if it is good, then the administration should have no problem showing it to us and allowing taos vet it like so many other historical presidents have and the greatness of it will be obvious to the american people and their representatives. their representatives here in this hall and the hall across the building. with that, i thank the gentleman and i yield back. mr. desantis: i thank the gentleman for yielding back. i thank the gentleman for putting this all in a broader perspective in terms of this administration's approach to the world. i think if you look around the world, there are probably two countries that we have better
relations with than when the president took office and almost uniformly everywhere else we're worse off. cuba we have much closer relationships now. the president shakes the hand of raul castro a bloodstained hand, a hand that has suppressed thousands and thousands of people, that's killed dissenters, that's caused thousands of people to flee in shark-infested waters to try to reach the shore of florida. but the president is doing business with him. not helping the cuban people. you actually see political repression has increased since we changed policy. but the president seems fine with that then iran. we talked with iran a lot -- we talk with iran a lot more than we ever have. is that a good thing? i think the answer is, a dance with the devil foreign policy has never really been tried before and i think the chance of it succeeding is almost zero. so part of the problem we see
with this framework,ic, is symptomatic of a larger failure to properly address the hostile actors throughout the world. goodness gracious we need to look at our allies, like israel like the democracies in europe, and know that -- they need to know we're going to stand with him. -- with them. we have an approach to the world right now with our alvies -- allies can't depend on us and our adversaries don't really fear us. that's a bad approach and i think unfortunately it's an approach that's going to invite more danger rather than keep us out of trouble. so i appreciate all my friends who came and made great comments, the president said recently that the criticism of this deal needs to stop. mr. president, we're not going to stop. we're going to be here. we're going to make the case on behalf of the american people, and we're going to be urging the congress to speak loudly and
clearly on behalf of american security and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is -- does the gentleman have a motion. mr. desantis: i move to adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly the house stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. >> the house of representatives today approved several deals. one changes some rules for lending in rural areas. another allowed mortgage lenders to share more information with state and federal banking regulators. later this week, legislation to make changes to the tax code. id of people bill on irs targeting of political groups. -- gop bill on irs targeting of
political groups. republican senator marco rubio announced 2016 presidential campaign today. the son of cuban immigrants called the white house race a generational choice. that is next. then a conversation on how u.s. immigration policy could play out on the campaign. later, hearing on whistleblowers at the department of veterans affairs. tomorrow, marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of president abraham lincoln. at 10: 15 p.m. on april 14, john will smith entered the box and shot president lincoln. he was carried across 10th street to the peterson house. tomorrow night, we will be live from 10th street at 10:00 p.m. eastern, where ford's theater will re-create the vigil for the president.
we talked to historians and others about the assassination and take your calls from c-span2. the president died the following morning at 7:22 a.m. also on c-span two. florida senator marco rubio officially launched his presidential campaign with the republican nomination. he is the third gop candidate to announce a 2016 run. he was elected to the senate in 2010 in a three-way race that included former governor charlie crist. senator rubio made his presidential announcement in miami at the medium tower. [applause]
[crowd chanting "marco"] senator rubio: thank you. thank you. that is a lot of cell phones. [laughter] thank you. thank you for being here. after months of deliberation and prayer about the future of our country, i have come here tonight to make an announcement on how i believe i can best serve you. i chose to make this announcement at the freedom tower because it is truly a symbol of our nation's identity as a land of opportunity. and i am more confident than ever that despite our troubles we have it within our power to make our time another american century. in the very room five decades ago, tens of thousands of cuban
exiles began their new lives in america. that's part of a larger story of the american miracle. how united by a common faith in their god-given right to go as far as their talent and work will take them, a collection of immigrants and exiles, former slaves and refugees, together built the freest and most prosperous nation ever. you see, for almost all of human history, power and wealth belonged only to a select few. most people who have ever lived were trapped by the circumstances of their birth. destined to live the life their parents had. but america's different. because here we are the children and the grandchildren of people who refused to accept this. [applause]
both of my parents were born to poor families in cuba. after his mother died, my father had to go work when he was 9 years old. my mother was one of seven girls raised by a disabled father who struggled to provide for his family. when they were young, my parents had big dreams for themselves. but because they were not born into wealth or power, the future was destined to be defined by their past. and so in 1956 they came here to america. to the one place on earth where the aspirations of people like them could be more than just dreams. here in america my father became a bartender. my mother, a cashier, a maid, a k-mart stock clerk. they never made it big. but they were successful. two immigrants with little money or education found stable jobs
owned a home, retired with security and gave all four of their children a life better than their own. my parents achieved what came to be known as the american dream. the problem is now, too many americans are starting to doubt whether achieving that dream is still possible. hardworking families that are living paycheck to paycheck, one unexpected expense away from disaster. young americans unable to start a career or a business or a family because they owe thousands of dollars in student loans for degrees that did not even lead to jobs. and small business owners who are luck to struggle under the weight of more taxes, more regulation and more government. why is this happening? in a country that for over two centuries has been defined by equality of opportunity? it's because while our people and our economy are pushing the boundaries of the 21st century
too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the 20th century. [applause] they're busy looking backwards. so they do not see how jobs and prosperity today depend on our ability to compete in a global economy. and so our leaders put us at a disadvantage. by taxing and borrowing and regulating like it was 1999. [laughter] [applause] they look for solutions in yesterday, so they do not see the good paying modern jobs require different skills and more education than the past, so they blindly support an outdated higher education system that is too expensive and too inaccessible to those who need it most.
and they have forgotten, they have forgotten that when america fails to lead global chaos inevitably follows. [cheers and applause] so they appease our enemies, they betray our allies and they weaken our military. at the turn of the 19th century, a generation of americans harnessed the power of the industrial age and they transformed this country into the leading economy in the world. and the 20th century became the american century. now the time has come for this generation to lead a way towards a new american century. [cheers and applause]
if we reform our tax code and reduce regulations and control spending and modernize our immigration laws and repeal or replace obamacare, if we do these things -- [cheers and applause] if we do these things, if we do these things, the american people will create millions of better paying modern jobs. if we create a 21st century system of higher education that provides working americans the chance to acquire the skills they need, that no longer graduates students with mountains of debt and degrees that do not lead to jobs, and that graduates more students from high school ready to work then our people will be prepared to seize their opportunities in this new economy. [cheers and applause]
if we remember that the family not the government, is the most important institution in our society. [cheers and applause] if we remember that all human life deserves protection of our laws. [cheers and applause] and if we remember that all parents deserve to choose the education that's right for their children, then we will have a strong people and a strong nation. [cheers and applause] and if america once again accepts the mantle of global leadership. [cheers and applause] by abandoning this administration's dangerous concessions to iran and its hostility to israel. [cheers and applause]
by reversing the hollowing out of our military, by giving our men and women in uniform the resources, the care and the gratitude that they deserve. [cheers and applause] by no longer being passive in the face of chinese and russian aggression. [applause] and by ending the near total disregard for the erosion of democracy and human rights around the world, especially cuba, venezuela, nicaragua. [cheers and applause] then, if we did these things then our nation would be safer our world more stable, and our people more prosperous. [cheers and applause]
these are the things that we must do. but this election is not just about what laws we're going to pass. this election is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be. just yesterday a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. yesterday is over. [cheers and applause] we're never going back. we americans are proud of our history. but our country has been about the future. and before us now is the opportunity to offer the -- author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of america.
but we can't do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past. we must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them. [cheers and applause] that is why tonight, grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, i announce my candidacy for president of the united states. [cheers and applause]
i know my candidacy might seem improbable to some watching from abroad. after all, in many countries the highest office in the land is reserved for the rich and the powerful. but i live in an exceptional country. i live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dream. [cheers and applause] i live in an exceptional country where the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dream and the same future as those who come from power and privilege. [cheers and applause] i recognize the challenges of this campaign. and i recognize the demands of this office that i seek. but in this endeavor, as in all things, i find comfort in the ancient command. be strong and courageous. do not tremble or be dismayed for the lord, your god, is with
you wherever you go. [cheers and applause] i've heard some suggest that i should step aside and wait my turn. but i cannot. because i believe our very identity as an exceptional nation is at stake and i can make a difference as president. [cheers and applause] i'm humbled by the realization that america doesn't owe me anything. but i have a debt to america i must try to repay. this isn't just the country where i was born.
america's literally the place that changed my family's history. i regret that my father did not live to see this day in person. he used to tell me all the time, he used to tell us all the time [speaking foreign language] [cheers and applause] that means, in this country you will achieve all the things we never could. [applause] on the days when i'm tired or discouraged, i remember the sounds of his keys jingling at the front door of our home, well past midnight, as he returned from another long day at work. when i was younger i didn't fully appreciate all he did for us. but now as my own children grow older, i more fully understand. my father was grateful for the work he had.
but that was not the life he wanted for his children. he wanted all the dreams he once had for himself to come true for us. he wanted all the doors that closed for him to open for me. and so my father stood behind a small portable bar in the back of a room for all those years so that tonight i could stand behind this podium in front of this room and this nation. [cheers and applause] that journey from behind that bar to behind this podium, that's the essence of the american dream. and whether we remain a special country will depend on whether that journey is still possible for those who are trying to make it right now. the single mother who works long hours for little pay so her children don't have to struggle the way she has to.
the young student who takes two buses before dawn to attend a better school halfway across town. the workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late night janitorial staff who clean our offices and even the bartenders who tonight are standing in the back of a room somewhere in america. if their american dream's become impossible, we will have just become another country. but if they succeed, this 21st century will also be an american century. [cheers and applause] this will be the message of my campaign. and the purpose of my presidency. and to succeed on this journey i will need your prayers and your support and ultimately your vote.
and so tonight i'm asking to you take that first step with me by joining us at our website, marcorubio.com. my wife, jeanette, and my four children are here tonight. [cheers and applause] the next 19 months will take me far away from home. i'll miss watching amanda run track. and daniela play volleyball and anthony play football and dominic play soccer. but i have chosen this course because this election, this election is about them. theirs is the most important generation in america. [applause] and i'll tell you why. because if we can capture the promise of this new century, they will be the freest and the
most prosperous americans that have ever lived. but if we fail, they will be the first generation of americans to inherit a country worse off than the one left for their parents. the final verdict on our generation will be written by americans who have not yet been born. let us make sure they record that we made the right choice, that in the early years of this century, faced with a rapidly changing and uncertain world our generation rose to face the great challenges of our time. and because we did, because we did, there was still one place in the world where who you come from does not determine how far you go. [applause] because we did, the american miracle lived on. because we did, our children and theirs lived in a new american century. thank you, god bless you. god bless the united states.
>> democratic candidate hillary clinton will be in monticello, iowa talking to students and educators at kirkwood community college tomorrow. we will have live coverage at 1:00 eastern on c-span two. where you a fan of c-span's first lady theories? first ladies is now a book of the -- focusing on public affairs, focusing on the first ladies in american history. based on interviews with preeminent historians and biographers. read about who -- what made these women who they were. their lives and unique partnerships with their presidential partnerships. the book " first ladies"
provides lively stories about the scrutiny of the white house sometimes at great personal cost while supporting their families and famous husband and sometimes changing history. it now available as a hardcover or e-book for your favorite bookstore or online bookseller. secretary of state kerry, energy secretary, and the treasury secretary met with house members in a meeting on the iran nuclear agreement. following the meeting, secretary kerry and several house members spoke to reporters briefly. secretary kerry: let me just say i very much look forward to the opportunity to share thoughts listen to questions, have a chance and discussion with members of the house. and i'm particularly pleased to be able to go into some detail because there have been a lot of
representations, misrepresentations, a lot of questions raised. it is good to have an opportunity to be able to discuss with people what is really contained within the parameters. and also to lay down some of the work we have left to do. we have two and a half months margin negotiate. that is a serious amount of time with serious business to do. we hope congress will listen carefully and ask the questions that it wants, but also give us space and time to be able to complete a very difficult task which has high stakes for our country. it involves a major national security, major issues and potential conflict, versus peaceful resolution. we are very hopeful this dialogue will be very productive. thank you all. >> there are very skeptical. they have already made up their minds. >> legally and see. that's why we are here.
-- we will wait and see. that's why we're here. >> question? >> did you hear anything in there that change your mind? >> i was skeptical before. i remain skeptical. i think we have to give the time necessary to negotiate this. someone between the wholesale condemnation of this deal by some and the wholesale integration of the steel by some is the truth. it is not as good as it could be. it is not as bad as it could be. i think we need to wait for negotiations to conclude. there are still very specific questions being asked, with respect to specific provisions of this deal. we have an obligation to allow the administration to take the time necessary to give us a
deal. i reserve the right as a member of congress to vote yes or no. the congress ought to be able to vote. >> after a june 30th agreement you will be willing to give additional time? >> they will negotiate with the iranians. every president has the right to negotiate with foreign leaders and foreign governments. i also believe congress has not just the right, but responsibility to approve or disapprove this deal when submitted. >> did he say he would hold off until the deal came through? >> he did not. he was focused on the and and not the process. >> did you feel you got more information, was there something that was revealed you were not aware of? >> as to more -- more classified briefings than i thought. because things changed, every classified briefings provided
new information and insight. >> congress can vote anytime it wants along any matter. what is it that the corker bill will allow that would otherwise be lacking? >> like the iran negotiations, it is fluid as well. is he negotiated as well. best it is being negotiated as well. i believe the corker bill should work its way through the senate. i believe the house of representatives has the right to take a vote. that is what this is all about. whether congress has the right to take a vote. i believe we have that right and responsibility. [indiscernible] >> i would need to see what the bill is. it is being drafted. until we have an agreement, there is nothing to agree with or disagree with. i support the principle of congressional oversight. and a congressional vote for or against a bore down, -- up or
down, approve or disapprove the deal. it is the substance that counts. i have concerns. i believe congress has the right responsibility to vote yes or no on the substance. >> you want the administration to continue negotiate on the final agreement? >> the corker bill actually says that when and if there is an agreement, it would have to be submitted to congress within a certain amount of time. they would vote yes or no. i don't believe -- my view is, and my mother was disappointed for not going to law school, but my own view is where congress passed sanctions only congress can unpack think is by i active congress. i think the law is very clear. >> vetoproof majority on the
corker bill? >> i just don't know. ok? you bet. >> you just said you were unpersuaded? >> so far. they announced 10 days ago. i don't think we had an agreement. within a few hours the white house releasing a fact sheet, we have iranian leadership countering almost every important element. right now i think we are asking for details that are yet unresolved. the secretary asks that congress gives them some space. are you willing to give that? >> of course. we are willing to do that. but i think the lack of success in this administration many of us are moving cautiously and
went to monitor and be involved as much as we can. >> what is your view on the corporate bill? >> i think congress needs to be involved. there is bipartisan support for that. and the house now, i'm talking. many of my friends are democrats and they believe they should have some involvement. ? in-->> in terms of giving the administration is there a vote? >> it serves our security better when congress is involved. >> did you get any more clarity from misrepresentation? >> he says there are misrepresentations in the media, but i don't see that. i see a lack of understanding between americans and the iranians. do they lift sanctions the day the agreement is done?
they say yes, we say no. those are numbers are the best misrepresentations as much as they are vast disagreements. >> [indiscernible] >> i'm sure that we will. from others. >> are you satisfied you are getting enough information? >> i think so. we may not like the answers, but they are providing us with information. thank you all. >> it is very important we focus on the facts and the issue of transparent a. whatever it is, we have the ability to inspect any kind anyplace, and the ability to put sanctions in right away.
that is what we are looking at. you have to see the final agreement. at this white we have to look at allies at the table. china and russia altogether. china and russia don't want other countries like saudi arabia and turkey and the united arab don't want a raise. -- race. we have get over the politics and get to the facts. >> data secretary make a plea for congress to week -- w ait? >> he was just giving the facts. >> do you support the corker bill? >> i'm just doing my thing and listening. i've been briefed on this for years. the will say this, i have a problem with the senate sending a letter. the united states of america undermining our president.
i think that is wrong. and i'm really concerned they did that because that weakens the united states. let's get the politics height as and move ahead with what is best for the country. -- politics behind us and move ahead with what is best for the country. >> now a conversation on u.s. immigration policy with immigrant rights activists and the archbishop of miami. the panel was critical of congress and the obama administration for not doing more to address undocumented immigrants in america. they also discussed how immigration will play out in the 2016 presidential race. the florida international university of miami posted this event. -- posted this. [applause] jorge duany: thank you, dean and
michael, for allowing us to participate in this event is co-sponsors of the panel today. i am pleased to introduce our guest speakers. we will have the fourth one in a few minutes and then after the interventions i will moderate the question-and-answer period. i think we are going to change the order of presentation. but we first introduced the first speaker, the award-winning bilingual journalist who also posts political talk shows and moderates the weekly public affairs issues. i could say more, but i will be very brief and go to the next speaker. secondly, father thomas wenski who has been the bishop of orlando and had a red bird -- a -- record working with immigrant groups between cuban and haitian in miami.
our third speaker will be his dahlia walker-huntington, the principal of law offices of dahlia walker and counsel to hamilton, miller in miami. she practices in the area of immigration, family and criminal law. and is a native of jamaica. the fourth speaker who is just here so welcome will be gepsi metellus, who is a director of the haitian neighborhood in miami, strong advocate of the haitian community in south florida with women and refugees. without further ado. ms. ferre: i would like to thank fiu for hosting this conversation. i like that it is framed as a conversation because we have too few conversations in our country in general. we shout a lot but we don't talk about this a lot and it's one of those things that really deserves meaningful conversation . i love it that this is occurring today after st. patrick's day
where we celebrate, but it's so fascinating to the irish tradition. which seems so foreign to us here in south florida, yet it is such a central court to many hispanics and african-americans who were sporting green yesterday in recognition of st. patrick's a. it is interesting because that is part of the immigrant phenomena, which is so much a part of the fiber of our country. we have always had a struggle with immigration. anyone who is irish or a few generations back and tell you that being irish was not always an easy experience. hispanics will tell you we are the ones that have replaced the irish and we are the ones who are experiencing it. of course the haitian-american community could also speak to that. i will leave that to others to address that issue. it seems odd we're talking about
immigration reform at this point in time, a country that is what we consider the number one leader in the world of the -- that is one of the greatest democracies in the world. a leader on so many fronts cannot get this issue right. it is one of those things that just keeps us stalled in policy debates, as if this was part of the foreign conversation, when it is not. it is so basic and elemental and the heart of the fiber of our country. and yet we see that it is stalled regardless of who is in power and where the majority lies in washington, d.c. when democrats were in power in absolute -- in power in 2008 from 2008 until 2010, i would have thought that they would have taken the happy opportunity to pass immigration reform at that point in time. and they chose not to. they passed other legislation,
including health care reform and the one promise that was made to the hispanic community was squandered, something that had been reminded of that democratic community and president obama in particular time and time again. the republicans complain about illegal immigration and do the same, nothing. they stop all discussion and all conversation as if doing nothing is an answer or a solution to the problem. border security is an important part of the conversation, and republicans will tell you it is the first thing that needs to be addressed. many would agree, but go ahead and address it. and yet they do not. and when you do have border legislation, it is scuttled because there is this desire to have a majority republican voice
in this thought or in approving this piece of legislation when it really is not necessary. and one would wish that leadership on both sides of the aisle would reach out to each other and say, what can we do to make this happen, to bring the country together, and who would disagree that we do not need to bring the country together on this important issue? what to do with the undocumented immigrants that are here, here is the news flash. the undocumented ultimately end up becoming citizens. why? because they have american-born children, who when they become of age, ultimately claim their parent, not the case for all, as dreamers will attest. but certainly it is a reality for very many. in very short period of time
40% of the workforce will be hispanic. non-hispanic working age men and women, their growth in the job market is going to be almost 0%. minority communities are having more children than the nonwhite -- white non-hispanics. from an economic perspective from a religious perspective i'm going to leave that to discuss, but out of humanity out of history, out of a sense of community and an understanding of our history immigration reform should be resolved. and in 2016, if this is not a resolved issue, it will further divide the country in ways that will be more than unfortunate.
thank you. mr. wenski: i'm archbishop wenski, and i worked many years in the haitian community, 18 years, began in the late 1970's more through the 1980's and into the 1990's. when i became auxiliary bishop of miami and bishop of orlando and archbishop of miami. immigration has been a part of my life all of those years. last major immigration reform was accomplished in 1986 under president reagan, and that included an amnesty, and amnesty that certainly benefited this community to the good in many ways. by the end of the 1990 path, we realized that legislation did not address all the issues that needed to be addressed, and it was clear that we were facing a
broken immigration system. so since that time, we have been trying to advocate for a fix to reform the immigration system. the united states catholic bishops in the year 2001 issued a pastoral letter that was also signed on to by the bishops of mexico entitled "strangers no longer," in which we set out our priorities on immigration reform and what shape it should take. we were lucky in that both the staff of senator ted kennedy and senator mccain used that document to put forth an immigration reform proposal that was on the table in the early part of the 2000's. i remember i went up to
washington, d.c., in september i think it was september 9 and 10 of 2001. i think on the ninth, the president vincente fox addressed a joint session of congress at which he also underlined the need for immigration reform. the next day i saw another bishop went to see the head of ins at the time. and he said, we are going to get it fixed. i got on my plane flew back to miami, and i got up the next morning to go to work and 9/11 happened. 9/11 basically changed the equation. america went into a bad mood and we have yet to emerge from that bad mood.
it has been stymieing our efforts to initiate immigration reform. so we had the senator mccain bill, that should basically be the gold standard, the kennedy-mccain bill came out in 2001. it was going to provide a very good, very reasonable and humane and just immigration reform. it did not make it, partly because of the bad mood. resulting from the 9/11 attacks, later on senator mill martinez from florida attempted another iteration of immigration reform will in 2005 or he and senator 2006. hagel. it was not as good as the kennedy-mccain bill, but it was acceptable, and that was not able to get through partly because by that time president bush had lost his political
capital because he supported the kennedy-mccain bill and he supported the martinez-hagel bill, but he lost political capital to twist elbows to get the necessary votes in to get the necessary votes in the house and the senate. at the same time, it was interesting note that the democrats who generally have been at least double the in favor of immigration reform decided to let president bush out alone on this issue. in fact, rahm emanuel, now the mayor of chicago, was a big influential guy in the house at that time. he went around to democrats in the house and said do not you dare vote for immigration reform now. if you do, the party will not give you any money for your campaign. and why did he do that?
basically, because he wanted to make sure that immigration reform would not pass while there was a republican in the white house. so they were going to wait until a democratic white house so they could do immigration reform and also use that to their political advantage. and as you already heard, when the democrats had both the white house and a majority in both the senate and the house, they did not act on it. we still are advocating for immigration reform. we were happy for daca, which was a relief for the dreamers. we were happy for it because it was not what we wanted. we wanted to dream act. we cannot get it. so we applauded the administrative resolution, not a solution, but a band-aid that provided relief for thousands, hundreds of thousands of young
people. we supported dapa, which is the latest administrative action of president obama to provide relief to parents who have children who are u.s. citizens or residents. that was going to help perhaps of the 11 million or so 5 million undocumented in the country today. the president announced it, and in doing so he angered republicans, and of course they initiated some action in the house to defund it, to derail it, in one way or another before they had a chance to do that. some judge in texas basically ruled it unconstitutional, and
it is on hold until it is appealed to a higher court, and hopefully that will be overturned. unfortunately, even if it is overturned, it is only a temporary fix the cause it does not provide legalization, it does not provide a path to citizenship. it says only for x amount of months you can get that work permit and a driver's license and be in the country without legal status. that is not a permanent solution. but we support it and we think that the president did have the authority to do it. and we think it is a good temporary stopgap measure.
but what we do need and we cannot do it without congress, we do need a fix to a broken immigration system. and the catholic bishops have been saying for the past 10-plus years that immigration reform should have three legs. like a three-legged stool. one leg is a path to citizenship for the 11 million or so who are here in the country already. these people are already part of our american society, even though they do not enjoy legal status. they have american citizens who are their children, they might have spouses who are american citizens, their neighbors. they are already integrated into the fabric of our society. and even the republicans admit we are not going to be able to deport 11 million people.
we are not going to deport them. so we should give them a path to legalization. and that path to legalization really is not only in their interests, it is in our own-several interest -- our own self-interest, because by leaving 11 million people outside the legal status, we are basically creating in our nation and you sanctioned underclass that is exploitable because they do not have legal protection. last time we did this as a nation we called it jim crow and we have not been able to overcome the effects of jim crow even to date. so why would we want to do it again for 11 million people? that is the first leg. giving the 11 million people in
this country and path to citizenship. the other way would be family reunification. one of the reasons why we have this trouble at the border of people being smuggled in, like the children that came in or are still coming in over the south texas border, is many of these people are looking for reunification with their families who are already here. when in the 1990's, our government started to increase security on the border by militarizing the border, a lot of people that used to go back and forth from mexico and go work, tech apples in the seattle area, they found it harder to get back and forth a must so they stayed in the united states. they wanted to have their wives
with them and their children with them. and that created a whole new business of coyotes smuggling women and children across the border. we had more than one case of women and children dying in the backs of trucks, suffocated, because they were being product also border, in a desperate attempt to unite with family members. right now if you are a mexican and are a legal u.s. resident or citizens and you have a wife or child in mexico, you have to wait 10 years before that person can get a visa to get into the country. the same is true if you are in the philippines or other countries. when people say, why don't you stay in line, in many cases there is no line or the line has no end. so family unification pleases have to be rationalized and the
backlogs eliminated so that there is not an incentive for illegal migration for people that are just wanting to reunite their families. that is the second leg. the third leg is a worker program. we have to assure our american businesses a supply of legal -- a legal workforce. i think most people working in service industry, working in the agricultural industry, would prefer to have a legal workforce. and right now you have agribusiness, they are very nervous, they tend to vote republican, but they are in favor of immigration reform because they have a very narrow profit margin, and their ability to harvest crops and get
chickens to market and all that can be blown out of the water by some crazy enforcement measures taken by immigration authorities, etc. so they want immigration reform. and right now we have a system in which if you survive a dangerous gauntlet of going across the border, you will find a job someplace. and immigrants have gone into every one of the 50 states. a done it without any federal program directing them. but they go to where there are jobs. if you look around our communities in the united states, the immigrants are not sleeping under bridges. they are not the ones that are sleeping under bridges. they go to where the jobs are and they find jobs. so you find central americans and mexicans working in onions in new york state, no clean -- milking kells -- tells --
cows in new hampshire, working in alaska, everywhere. so why don't we rationalize this and allow these people to work legally? that is immigration reform. those three legs. take care of the illegals, that are here, the undocumented that are here, by providing them with a path to citizenship, work out the kinks in the family unification program, and assure a legal workforce for our industries that require workers, especially those on the low end of the economic scale. now, back to 1986, when we did immigration reform, it was a tough lift back then, too. reagan got it done. and it was interesting because what we are seeing today in the united states, on this anti-immigrant feeling expressed in different areas, we lived it here in south florida in the early 1980 prosperity it was
mostly focused on the haitian's. in fact, we had an indefinite detention policy for everybody. i got to shut up soon because i am exceeding my time. let me say this, is that what was a local problem here has now become pretty much a national issue. however, let's look at south florida. we survived it. our experience of immigration in the 1970's and 1980's have shown we have nothing to fear from immigration. immigrants are not problems. their opportunities because they bring gifts and possibilities and dreams and determination etc.
we can see how -- we should be able to say that our south florida experience should show to the country that there is no reason to fear immigration, that it is a positive for american society. a few weeks ago i saw that are cuban-american congresspeople were advocating that now is the time to do away with it. i thought that was a full list thing for them to say, because that is what the castro government has been saying for over 20 years. so here we go. politics makes strange bedfellows, doesn't it, that we
have a hard lining cuban-americans basically advocating for the position of the cuban government that has been advocating for two decades, to do away with the cuban adjustment act. i think the cuban adjustment act or be a template how we should treat immigrants coming because the cubans have been the most successful immigrant group in american history. one of the reasons for their success, surely they have their own towns, genius, etc., but one of the reasons cubans succeeded was because there was a cuban adjustment act, which meant that one year after they were from they had their green card, and five years later, six years later, they were citizens. so i remember in the 1980's there was always a lot of comparisons made between the treatment that cubans were getting and the treatment that haitians were getting. and cubans were treated better than the haitians. but the haitians were not treated much worse than the mexicans, hondurans, but the issue should be that we should treat the cubans as -- the issue should not be that we should treat the cubans as bad as we treat everybody else.
the argument should be that we treat everybody else as good as we have a treaty and cubans because the cuban adjustment act works, and if it worked for cubans, it can work for everybody else, with that i will be silent. ms. walker-huntington: my answer is that as attorneys we have to be both. we problem solve, we negotiate and we also advocate. most attorneys who practice immigration law in the united states are members of a national organization called the american immigration lawyers association. it is an advocacy group that has over 13,000 members. the mission of the group established in 1946 is to promote justice and to advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy. certainly, any immigration law context, lawyers are the people with the most intimate knowledge of the laws themselves. process, and we are the ones who
see the day-to-day impact of immigration laws on individuals and families, both inside and outside the united states. we see when parents are separated from sons and daughters for seven to 10 years, and in the mexican context, 21 years, if you are filing for a son or a daughter who is over 21 years of age. and siblings who are separated for up to 13 years. the group has a national day of advocacy. this year it is an april 16 in washington. attorneys and representatives from all across the united states converge on d.c. to lobby congress for meaningful immigration laws, not just immigration reform. because while we do know about the numbers varying between 10 million and 50 million people who are undocumented, there are also laws on the books that separate families, and i will give you an example.
if you are the parent of an american citizen and your son or daughter is over 21, you have remarried, and you now have a new family, if you remarried after that son or daughter was 18, that step child cannot file for their step parent. and also, if they file for their siblings, the sibling goes into a category that says they have to wait 13 years. so you have once again the separation of families. and as helen said earlier, although america has a history of immigrants, we also have a bad history of limiting immigration as group similar it turns against next wave of immigrants. irish, germans, italians, the haitians, the mexicans, they were not always welcome to america, but now they are established, and they are being resisted.
it is up to lawyers to partner with other groups such as churches and ngo's to make and help document the contribution that immigration's -- immigrants have made to this country. and while on the subject, it is not uncommon to hear people with the last name of rubio and cruz who are also anti-immigrant. as lawyers we have to show the american people how we benefit from the reunification which is supposed to be the hallmark of immigration, and in today's america how america can benefit from keeping students who are educated in the united states in institutions because they the 12 to 15 million of undocumented in this country definitely need a path to the legislation. and it should not take 13 years
as was proposed in the senate bill that passed in 2013. the people need to come out of the shadows, they need to obtain drivers license, he could savor for all of us on the street. they need to do pay their back taxes, pass a criminal background check, and become permanent members of the society to which they contribute on a daily basis. any are already paying their taxes, that even if they are not, they are part of the economy that contributes to the way in which we are able to live in this country, whether we want to believe it or not. now, as lawyers, as an advocate for your client, we have a duty as lawyers to be knowledgeable of existing laws and to find ways to use the laws that exist to help our clients. immigration law is complex. it is second in complexity only to the internal revenue code. it is not uncommon to have
different applications of the law and to receive different answers from different uscis agents. you: the 800 number one day and you get one answer, call tomorrow, ask the same question, and you get a different answer. so the immigration lawyer has the responsibility to update themselves on what is happening on immigration law. in the criminal law context, defendants are entitled to counsel. and even deportation, which is the most severe of penalties the , separation of families, is not considered a criminal matter. so there is no right to have counsel appointed to you and immigration law. you have the right only if you can afford it. and we saw with all of the children who were coming in, many of whom were five or seven years old sitting in front of judges not speaking the language and having representation. ngo's and churches try to provide free and need counsel
but there is limited availability and because of that, many immigrants including adults appear without counsel. as lawyers we also have an ethical duty to take on the cases within our competence area and knowing the immigration law and getting the correct advice is the difference between remaining in the united states and being forever separated from your family. we have a responsibility to be at the forefront of advocacy as far as i'm concerned because of the knowledge that we possess where we are sometimes accused of not wanting nonlawyers to benefit from the business of immigration. and it's mind-boggling to me because even after practicing law for 17 years, my colleagues and i still call each other and bounce cases off of each other because the whole study and maintaining of immigration law
is complex. and we are very overwhelmed and heavily immigrant in the community in south florida which is so unique to have so many different countries represented and some pockets of heavy different nations. we are overwhelmed with notarios and others who believe they know more about immigration law then practitioners that are submerging themselves into practice every day. so i do join with my two panelists in advocating that we need immigration reform in the united states. not only did president bush expend his political capital by not pushing, but president obama also expends his political capital by not moving within the first 100 days as he promised. to pass immigration law.
and as a practitioner that is out there and also an advocate every day, i don't see it happening in the next two years within this congress before the 2016 election. i hope to be proven wrong but i do not see it happening. what has happened in texas is that 26 states, including the state of florida, joined a lawsuit to stop the president's executive action that he signed in november of last year. and it's interesting that the judge who issued the injunction against the enactment of the executive action didn't do it on the merits of the executive action but chose to do so on the procedure, saying that the president did not follow the procedure of putting it out there for a certain number of days. and it was a procedural or a technicality as a non-lawyer
would say that has caused this executive action not to be implemented. which was going to have widespread results. not just for the 5 million people who are expected to benefit from the deferred action for parents, but also the whole revamping of immigration looking at it. and the president as the executive of the country has the authority to decide how his agencies, and this case the department of homeland security, is going to implement the law that are already on the books. and there is one right now and this is done every day that a person comes up for deportation and that deportation is deferred and they are allowed to apply for a work permit.
so what the president did in that regard was nothing that wasn't being done on a daily basis but what he was saying is apply it across the board and invite people to come in and apply, come out of the shadows get this monkey off your back and continue to contribute united states. gepsie m. metellus: it's wonderful to actually benefit from all you've heard from all these speakers. let me just add a few more elements. let me remind us of what the imperative is for us today in terms of seeking to achieve immigration reform. first and foremost, the heritage, the legacy, the values of the country demonstrate immigration is something that we embrace in spite of the times when we have been not too welcoming but still it remains in our national interest and remains in our economic interest and remains in terms of world prestige and moral authority
that we live up to our values. i think no american disagrees with this, even those who appear to be today's anti-immigrant and anti-immigration voices. second, we all agree that immigration reform requires that we secure the border. requires that the 11 million plus people in the country who seek to be legalized and seek to have their status adjusted and must learn to speak in addition to generally they do. to speak in addition to this they generally do, they must pay their taxes and they do this today through even not just through social security. they clearly want to be upstanding citizens of this country. they want to be participatory. they want to contribute to the
growth of the economy. the children are in school and want to take every opportunity that this country offers. and everyone seeks to live the american dream. i don't think that there is in the immigration reform advocacy corner, there is anyone who disagrees with this idea of reform advocacy. you heard the archbishop reference the post 9/11 mood of this country and i think there are other elements that explains the hyper partisanship, the rancor, the nastiness, that gridlock that exists today makes this difficult. the gridlock and all of the things that are dysfunctional without congress today and you know i'm going to tell you the truth.
there's a black man in the white house, i think that is an element, right? i think that the anti-immigration forces in this country have taken over and have drowned out the voices of the silent majority which is many of us, those of us who do nothing or say nothing because we do not think that voices matter. we cannot figure out a way to amplify the voices so that collectively we make an impact. and so when you have this in the country, a very minute, i will not even call it minority, a very minute group of people that are holding the rest of us hostage and finding voices through elements elected to congress and participating in gridlock and are holding others hostage. and resulting in us being the laughingstock of the world. where is our moral authority to preach to others, where is our authority for other people and other areas of the world that to do x, y, and z? to live up to the democratic
values and ideals and human rights values and ideals and to live up to all of the standards that we are known to be identified with? and here we are trampling on the very same standards where i think a large segment of our immigrants are concerned. you heard the archbishops mention the fact that haitian immigrants in this country, in this community in particular were treated very, very badly. i also think that there was probably some unwritten policy that suggested that haitian immigrants should be locked up. haitian immigrants were to be detained indefinitely. haitian immigrants were to be discouraged from coming into this country by any means necessary, whether that meant to send them back, and even when morally, we could not withstand the public and the worldwide criticism, we came up with, what was it, wet foot dry foot, some sort of policy to sort of attempt to say, yes, we understand that it doesn't look
good, and that would be strange that we would treat one group of immigrants in a certain way and get treated them under the same circumstances. i will tell you this story very quickly. a boat on the high seas has haitians on it happened to meet cuban rafters whose transport mechanism was disintegrating they pick them up, they all arrive here together. guess what happens? the haitians are sent back. the cubans are welcomed. we saw and lived through a number of similar experiences. and so i leave it to you to make the final judgment. but i want to take this opportunity to remind you of that you know what you have heard it, you know of every advocate and whether or not we are republican or democrat and
at the end of the day we all want some of these same things i've mentioned. we need all of you to not be, to not grow the sector of bystanders who are the silent majority who say nothing when you're voices are so powerful. we need you to urge your elected representatives to act on this. yes, some of us think that 2017 is possible. some say it is not, but our economy cannot sustain this, we will not be able to deport all of these people. we know the business sectors that are important to our economy need this labor force, need this workforce, so what is it that we are waiting for? clearly there are some who favor providing visas to those individuals who are considered
investors, who would invest in the economy, who are going to create jobs, who are going to help us in terms of our economic outlook. and i don't disagree with about totally but i do also think that we need to make room for family unification as the archbishop mentioned, because all of these individuals who are already in this country who are doing work that none of us would do today the work that none of us would do today, these individuals are here doing this, striving to deserve a place, a spot in this great country, striving to live this american dream, and are having their dreams, their aspirations derailed by some individuals who seem to not understand what time it is. all right? let me just close with reminding all of us, something i love to say, but i'm also careful in the way i say it because i don't want anyone to misquote me.
i like to think that the american immigration system is probably the only ponzi scheme that works, right? to the extent that, right, you come to this country as an immigrant, you apply for other relatives who come in and they apply for successive numbers of relatives who come in, and they keep growing this economy, keep contributing can keep the country moving forward, provide our talent and you all that we can to make the country what is today. is that not a scheme that works? it's in our best interest to get it right, to get it done, and it has to get done right away. i'm going to stop right here. jorge duany: thank you to all our guest speakers for wonderful presentation. please help me to recognize them. [applause] jorge duany: so now we have some time for questions and answers and i would just like to remind
you to please be brief and to use the microphone over here. we might try to group several questions together so we will have more time for responses and so on. so whoever wants to start with the first question, please. also identify yourself if you will. alberto: my name is alberto, i'm a journalist. i am not sure. we have the majority silent, i am not sure, believe me. however, how we can move the heart of this nation to understand this problem? because this is a big problem, you know? a very big problem. and, obviously, if we should have the majority of the public opinion, the final is going to be different.
but right now i think we don't have. how can we change this course? archbishop thomas wenski: i think that there is a majority of people who are in favor of an immigration reform, of a fix to our broken immigration system. what happens, though is that in the house of representatives, the congressmen do not have to respond to the majority opinion in the united states. they only respond to the majority of opinion within their districts. and so the districts have been gerrymandered in certain ways that, you know, most congressmen are coming from pretty comfortable districts that tend to either vote democratic or vote either republican and therefore, you know, some of the restrictionists that are anti-immigration reform, in their districts the pro-immigration reform people
are perhaps the minority while around the country the pro-immigration reform people are the majority. and that's one of the problems that is keeping it from happening in congress. however, i would like to be an optimist and the lawyer here says here that there will be no immigration reform before 2017. that's probably right but i would hope that, you know, maybe some enlightenment might reach congress, republicans in congress. it would not take them -- if they think about it they would see it would be to their advantage really to get the immigration issue off the table before the primary season hits us after the summer. you know. because it certainly would help jeb bush if immigration wasn't going to be a hot button issue if it was resolved by some immigration reform coming from
congress now rather than later. so, and, of course, then you could also say on the other side, well, the democrats, it might be to their advantage not to solve immigration now because they would use it as a wedge issue in the next election. and so what we have to appeal to is what both parties, better angels, that they don't look for the partisan advantage but look for the common good. and the common good would be served by fixing this problem sooner rather than later. because the longer we wait to fix it, the longer we are seeing -- and i see it in parishes around the archdiocese and beyond, people suffering families being broken up, of dreams being a dashed. helen aguirre ferre: if i could, i would like to say that in the
work that i did with univision radio, and i'm not with univision america at this point right now, but in the work that i did, it was political show and a talk show and people would call in from all over the country. and there were a lot of hispanics who would call and say i played by the rules and i came in the right way and i applied and i've been waiting five or six or seven years for my child to be able to come to the country, family reunification. and now i have, now i found out if i had brought them in illegally, they would be able to have the benefits that the dreamers have today. so it is not an easy issue. it is very complicated. part of the struggle that many republicans in congress who are in favor of immigration reform try to find a platform so that there is no preferential treatment for those who are in the pipeline in order to come here is an issue.
i think that there is an understanding as well that even though a republican congress can pass what they considered immigration reform, it might not meet the approval of the white house and it could be vetoed. and we live in a time today where politically, both sides are saying it's my way or the highway. and that is the unfortunate nature of the process today. archbishop thomas wenski: and, you know, to give credit where credit is due, last year around may, i remember, i met with congressman boehner, the speaker of the house, i met with congressman dana, and one of our local congress been and diaz-balart was leading among the republicans in the house a charge to secure a vote on the senate bill that marco rubio got passed in the senate for immigration reform. it wasn't the greatest bill
around because as you heard, it required a 13-year wait to get citizenship, but at least it would be, you would have legal status and ability to work, et cetera, et cetera. he was working on that, and what blew it out of the water was the crisis on the border with the unaccompanied minors. because that crisis was going on for a while but it hit the media in the summer, and that was the time that that was going to be voted on. and had basically, you know, the votes that mario was trying to line up to get it through, it all fell apart. not only that crisis but also canter's loss in virginia. that loss and the crisis took the wind out of the sails of attempts of republicans in the house to push the immigration forward. but hopefully, you know, we always say let's keep on going.
we continue to advocate. you know. >> taking another question. annie: hi, i'm annie gomez, a student here at f.i.u. the office assistant for the cuban research institute. i just wanted to know how, why is immigration reform so important specifically for non-immigrants? dahlia walker-huntington: immigration reform is important because you, right now there is an estimate of between 12-15 million people living undocumented in the united states. after the 9/11 attacks, persons who took part in the attacks were here primarily on student visas, had driver's license, and this is just one issue, the ability of an alien to get a driver's license became impossible, increasingly
difficult. and so what you have now are people driving on the streets of miami, fort lauderdale, all across this country who have to have jobs as the archbishop has said that they have to get to, and they have their children to have to take the school and have no choice but to get into a car and drive. they have no insurance and they're putting you and i at risk. that's number one. number two, these are people who have been here for 10, 20, 30 years in this country. they own property. they are working in all sorts of different fields. they are doctors. they are nurses. they are bankers. they own businesses. they employ people but they don't have a green card. they don't have residency so they are contributing to the economy every day. there are also the people who are doing the job as gepsie said, that we don't want to
do. my husband who is here is an executive housekeeper at a hotel. it is so difficult every time they place an ad for a housekeeper, a maid, to get someone who is an american citizen or a resident or born in america, met with an immediate immigrant past to come in and do the work. so there are industries out there who want to have employees to work. as the archbishop said, and it's always amazing to me, and i say to my office, someone will walk in who is an undocumented alien but they're working. they are working. and there are people who are born here and they will come and tell me they can't find a job. so it's important to get these people to come out of the shadows, to pay the taxes, to undergo a background check and to remain here and be a part of the fabric of what makes this country great. the president's administrative action was not about deporting families.
certainly we are not arguing for people with heavy criminal backgrounds to be able to remain in the country. and that's a whole separate issue, but the issue that the president put forward is that he wants to keep families here, to keep families together, to perpetuate this american dream. because unless you were a member of the mikisuki tribe, the seminole tribe your ancestors came from somewhere else to be here. so now i am a new immigrant because i'm from the caribbean. i'm a new face to america. i may not be from eastern europe or from northern europe but i am an american as well. and so we have to embrace the new americans who are here, who we live amongst down in south florida more than other parts of the country. archbishop thomas wenski: if you are a non-immigrant and you fall in love with an undocumented alien, and you get married, you
might find out he's going to be deported. and that you can't really fix it because he falls under the 10 year ban so he will be deported and he won't be able to apply to come back to the united states for 10 years. that's one reason you might be concerned about it if you're not an immigrant but, you know, so why should i care about the undocumented? it could come to affect you in a very personal way, so it's good to fix it, you know, to do right by everybody because it will end up doing right by you. dahlia walker-huntington: the cost of fruits and vegetables in our community would be unbearable. helen aguirre ferre: i would also like to say really quickly that this is about national security. when we talk about 9/11 and where we are today, we are talking about issues of great national concerns, and we're acknowledging that we have
approximately 11 million people who live in the shadows to say the least. and we say in the shadows because we don't have proper documentation or organized documentation but we all know who they are. they go to school with our kids. sometimes they are neighbors and we are more familiar with who they are than not, but in other communities that may not be the case because here we are very open to immigration. south florida is an exception to the rule to a great degree, but from a perspective on national security why would you not want to have a better sense of who is here, why you are here, what are you doing in a healthy sense? i don't want that big brother type of government. i don't want a government that also is going to be knocking on doors and asking for papers, et cetera. many people are here because of governments like that. that's not what this is about at all. but we do have to have a better sense and a better control of
who is coming in and out of the country. and with the issue of family reunification, i would say the issue of family reunification would be diminished if there was an opportunity for people to have work permits to go to come in and out of the country. many do not want to bring their children here if they could avoid it because they think the united states is way too liberal, by certainly by standards of other countries. there isn't enough parental control, right? so the idea of bringing the kids here is kind of frightening. and if you look at the news sometimes it is a frightening. jorge duany: we have a few more questions. why don't we take all three and then ask the panel to address them. go ahead please. student: good afternoon. i am a representation of the haitian student organization you on campus. as well as the catholic panthers. my question has to do with cuban adjustment act. as there been an attempt to implement an act similar to the cuban adjustment act by the
haitian community? jorge duany: thank you. we will take them to the next question. julio: my name is julio. i am an undocumented student. i have come here. the reason i'm undocumented, because when i, i came here when i was 16. i came here 30 days after my 16th birthday. i question is with the unaccompanied minors, and my question is a lot of immigrants are getting auto removals when they go to court, so what would it take for the government to realize there is a crisis happening right now? and what if we applied the cuban adjustment act? to these minors? because in the last 10 years we've had the same amount of cubans, 40,000 cubans, arrive to miami every year. and when we talk about the minors we call it like an invasion. and that is no different than cubans coming to the united states.
jorge duany: thank you. we will take a third question. laurie: good afternoon. my name is laurie. i have too many questions in my mind to really pin down one but there is one thing that i've always, always wondered. the vast majority, what exactly is it all these immigrants are running away from? i mean, all these countries, and in every country has their spark, their glory, but i can't help but notice that unfortunately, those in the higher power, like a perfect example would be cuba, castro, he has really done so so much to just demolish a culture that was once way more presentable. but i just wonder sometimes why won't, maybe perhaps we can encourage the immigrants that are here with us, teach them a way that might able to go back to their countries and try to emigrate, establish a new idea for their people, for the
government. because i know that in these countries, they are not really given a chance to learn about the beauty of democracy and such. and they are basically blindfolded throughout in their lifetime. they don't know that there is a better world they could live in and it could be the own world. they just take a stand up and say whoever is up there guiding us for the better, investing for our better outcome, please prove yourself or else, i'm sorry, you are not being well enough. i mean, i live in one nation under god. god wants us all. he loves us all. he wants us to help each other. unfortunately, some of these people in higher power, they will put on their bright, sunny
faces but, unfortunately, in the background, it's a pretty different story. they want to hypnotize the crowd into thinking, listen, you have enough, this is more than enough. and it isn't. and we have been given the chance to know that. we've learned so, so much. and perhaps maybe all i'm trying to say is, how may we help immigrants help spread the knowledge, the wealth of what we know here to those who have not been given the chance or the opportunity to learn that it could be a better place for them if they were to take control? i mean, as a majority? jorge duany: thank you. thank you for the questions. we will let the panel respond. archbishop thomas wenski: we advocates for immigrant rights.
we think there is a right to migrate in a sense if you're a human being, as a human being you have the right to live in conditions worthy of human life. so no one should be condemned to live in horrible human conditions. so that if you can't find those conditions in your homeland, and that presumes a right to look for them elsewhere. but that right to migrate is also balanced by the right not to migrate. you know, people should not be forced to leave their homelands. and many times, they are being forced to leave their homelands by political policies, by gang warfare, by extreme poverty. so that is, that is, there are push and pull factors about immigration. but part of it also is a new reality that we are living in the world today which is called globalization. our world has shrunk because of technological innovation because of communications innovation.
just think, you know, products made in china are sold in miami. so merchandise, products, cross borders every day. money crosses borders in an instant through electronic banking. the only, you know, and so do people cross borders. and what we are discussing is the dramatic ways in which many people cross borders. people are crossing borders all the time, and for a fortunate number of them, they have the proper documents, et cetera, et cetera. but there is a number that are left out. refugees are another issue, you know, people forced to leave because of politics or because
of economic reasons. so, you know, migration is a reality that is part of our globalized world and we're trying to respond to it in a human way. and one way to respond to it is by constructing laws that are just and humane, that serve the common good. and i think immigration reform serves the common good. as far as the cuban adjustment act, as i said, i think it should serve as a model or a template of how we should treat of the groups of immigrants because its work so very well with the cubans. we don't see anything like that happening yet. although in the late '80s or early 90s there was something in the nicaraguan community which was a kind of cuban adjustment act for nicaraguans. and it helped that population. i remember as soon as obama took office, we pushed for tbs for
haitian immigrant. we were rebuffed. they refused us a couple of times. but then the earthquake came and because of the earthquake then tps was granted to the haitians here. tps, temporary protected status, there were hondurans in this country since hurricane mitch on temporary protected status. that's almost 30 years now isn't it? 20 plus years, 20 plus years. salvadorans around washington, d.c., a good number of them have t.p.s. because of earthquakes or issues in central america. right now the haitians are
being, haitians that have family members that are approved can come to the united states and if they are approved within the next two years, they can come here and wait in the united states for their green card rather than stay in haiti because the situation in haiti is deteriorating. so that the humanitarian gesture. they don't have a green card ahead of anybody else but they can come to the united states, get a work permit and wait for their green card, some type of half -- something is better than nothing but could've been a lot more generous. so yeah, there is, so the cubans really have the gold standard as far as the adjustment act. and again, i think it's one way to look at it and say, you know, let's treat everybody else as well as we treated the cubans.
and i think it would have a positive effect. but i don't think that's going to be much of a chance. i say let's work on immigration reform and get it done for everybody. dahlia walker-huntington: you have to remember the context of the creation of the cuban adjustment act as well. this is immediately after the bay of pigs, after jfk's disappointment, people feeling let down, the american administration not being there to provide support. a number of things sort of collided or converged to sort of compel the congress to create come to pass this law. but in addition to the law there's so much support that is built into the cuban adjustment act in the form of help to such a people reconstruct and rebuild their lives. and i think that cubans probably by far, correct me if i'm wrong, the only immigrant group in the history of the united states who have benefited from this kind of rich support, not just in terms
of the law and the ability to arrive and be eligible for the green card a year into your arrival, and five years later citizenship, but all the support, right, support to help you pick up yourself and figure out the way that this country works. i don't think that's extended to other groups unless of course they are designated as refugees. correct me if i am wrong. right? and then in terms of people, you know, leaving their countries to emigrate, no matter where they are going, no matter where they're headed. i want to remind us that no one takes this kind of decision lightly. you're not going on a cruise when you jump into a raft and decide you're going to come to the united states. it's not a cruise. right? the ship is barely seaworthy, i call it a ship, maybe my vocabulary is escaping me for a minute, but the thing that they travel in is not seaworthy generally.
we do not know the number of people who have drowned at sea. we don't know the number of people who have become dinner for the sharks, and so i just want to remind us that no one makes this decision lightly. and next time you're on a cruise i invite you to just go up on deck top at night and look at, look at what you see out there. you see nothing but pitch blackness. all right? and so that is, that's the climate or that's the backdrop of the travel that someone knows when they come to the united states through a makeshift raft or what ever it is they create to try to cross over. that's not a decision people make lightly. gepsie m. metellus: it's also important to take note that we sometimes only think of people here who are undocumented as people that came on boats. the majority of undocumented people have come on visas and
overstated. -- and over-stayed. but even having said that, that decision to get on a plane and to leave everything you know there has to be a push, as the archbishop said, a factor causing you to want to leave, and a pull. the pull factor to come to america is everybody wants to live the american dream. or we want to get the education. we want to have the opportunity to be who ever we can be. it's the only country in the world where you can be born in a shelter and know that if you put your mind to it and to work hard every day, you can become the president of this university, or you can become the head of the hospital. while there are other countries in the world with opportunities, the opportunities that are here, let me qualify that, is more than it is anywhere else. so you find people from all over
the world who want to come to america for that opportunity. we happen to live in south florida which is the gateway to latin america and the caribbean, but if you go to other states throughout the united states you are going to find other pockets of immigrants. you are going to find pockets of africans, pockets of indians pockets of russians, yugoslavians, and they are all going through the same type of immigration battles that we go through here in south florida, but we know the battle or the plight of the haitians and the cubans and the jamaicans because that is the majority of who we have here. and so why don't people go back to their countries? that's kind of a political answer. you have hosted your political show. is what can be done from the government perspective to help other countries to build their economies so that less people will want to come here from an