tv Democracy Now LINKTV September 10, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
09/10/19 09/10/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! pres. trump: i don't want to allow people that were not supposed to be in the bahamas to come in to the united states, including some very bad people. amy: just days after hurricane dorian ravaged the bahamas, president trump sends a message to survivors -- don't try coming to the united states unless you have full documentation. this comes after more than 100 storm survivors were turned away
after boarding a ferry bound for florida. we will speak to a florida lawmaker pushing the u.s. to do more to help the people of the bahamas. the death toll is 50 and expected to soar. we will go to mexico where thousands of african migrants are essentially stranded after being blocked from traveling north to the united states and canada. plus, we will look at the remarkable story of a palestinian student from a lebanese refuge camp who made it to harvard but then was initially deported from lolon airport. >> my naname i is ismail ajjjja. i'm m years old. i scored thhighest rks in .iololog i i scor the h highest marks in examination inin the south regin and received a scholarship to study biophysics at harvard university.
the president of harvard waiting, the student was allowed to attend the freshman class at harvard. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. calls for commerce secretary wilbur ross to resign are mounting after reports emerged monday he e threatened to fire staff at the national oceanic and atmospheric administration for pushing back on president trump's false statements about hurricane dorian and its risk to alabama. on september 1, trump's -- trump incorrectly tweeted that alabama "would most likely be hit much harder than anticipated." the statement was swiftly denied by the national weather service. last friday, noaa issued a statement disavowing the national weather service's denial. "the washington post" reported
over the weekend noaa warned its staff not to publicly contradict president trump's false statements. the agency reportedly sent a similar message after trump showed a doctored hurricane prediction map last week with a hand-drawn extension added by black marker to include alabama. noaa's acting chief scientist told coworkers friday he is investigating whether the agency's response to president trump's dorian tweets constitute a violation of agency policies and ethics. the commerce department's office of inspector general has also launched an investigation into the matter according to "the new york times." meanwhile, national weather service director louis uccellini publicly backed noaa forecasters at a meeting of the national weather association monday for dispelling the falsehoods about dorian's threat to alabama. in related news, president trump threatened monday to create obstacacles for entry for asylum
seekers from hurricane-ravaged bahamas. pres. trump: but we have to be very careful. everybody needs totally proper documentation because, look, the bahamas has some tremendous problems with people going to the bahamas that were not supposed to be there. i don't want to allow people that were not supposed to be in the bahamas to come in to the united states, including some very bad people and some very bad thing members and some very, very bad drug dealers. amy: trump's comments contradict those of acting commissioner of customs and border protection mark morgan, who said just hours earlier the agency was already prococessing entrants s without documentation. "this is a humanitarian mission, right?" morgan said to reporters. the death toll in the bahamas has reached at least 50 people, bill expected to soar as thousands are still missing. an estimated 5000 people have fled the bahamas following the
devastating hurricane. on sunday, over 100 people seeking asylum in the us were turned away after boarding a ferry bound for florida. the ferry operator has since apologized for kicking the passengers off the boat. we'll have more on this story after headlines. the british parliament is officially suspended for the next five weeksks as the battle overer brexit continued to heatp monday. members of parliament voted for the second time against prime minister boris johnson's bid to call a snap election in october. lawmakers s opposing the move sy measures blocking g a no-deal brbrexit must first bebe put ino place. also monday, a bill to prevent a no-deal brexit in october received royal assent and was passed into law. under the law, boris johnson will be forced to seek a delay until january 31. lawmwmakers also directed johnsn to hand over g government documents relating to the suspension of parliament and its plans for a no-deal brexit. as the official suspension of
parliament started in the early hours of this morning, some lawmakers protested by gathering around house of commons speaker john bercow holding signs that read "silenced" and shouting, "shame on you." speaker john bercow announced monday he will step down either on october 31 or at the next election, depending on which comes first. united nations human rights chief michelle bachelet warned that the worsening climate crisis is the greatest threat to human rights around the world and the window to fight the catastrophic effects of a heating planet was closing. she spoke at the u.n. in geneva, switzerland, monday. >> a proximally 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 from malnutrition, diarrhea, and heat stress alone. in many nations, cat of weather
patterns are already reversing development gains, accelerating conflict, displacement, and social tensions. hampering economic growth. the world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope. amy: bachelet also sounded the alarm on mounting attacks against environmental and human rights defenders, making particular note of activists in latin america as well as swedish teen greta thunberg. greta thunberg recently made the journey to the understates with the zero emissions sailboat to attend the upcoming u.n. climate action summit and the global climate strike on september 20. she will then head to chile in december. on friday, greta thunberg and students from the new york city area took k part in the weekly student climate strike in front of the u.n. headquarters. >> even though [indiscernible]
i said i would demonstrate on friday no matter where i am. so that is what i'm doing now. amy: meanwhile, a group of amazon employees announced monday they would be joinining e youth-led climate strike to protest amazon's environmental policies. in more climate news, the french health ministry said they linked nearly deaths to the 1500 record-breaking heat waves the gripped the country -- and mumuch of eueurope -- in july. paraguay's justice ministry has launched an investigation after human remains were found buried beneath a home that once belonged to the former dictator alfredo stroessner. he was a staunch u.s. ally who seized power in 1954, ruling paraguay for 35 years. human rights groups say his regime murdered or disappeared hundreds of people as part of a campaign of torture and terror against political opponents. stroessner also provided a haven to several nazi war criminals, including dr. josef mengele,
known as "the angel of death" at auschwitz. bangladesh has imposed a mobile phone blackout on rohingya refugees, furtheher isolating up to a million displaced rohingya muslims living in refugee camps. by order of the bangladeshi telecommunications minister, only residents with national identity cards will be allowed to possess local sim cards. the order also bars the sale of cellphones in rohingya refugee camps and will fine telecom companies that violate the ororder. two years ago, hundreds of thousands of rohingya fled to bangladesh from burma's rakhine state e after burmese authoritis launched a campaign that the u.n. has desescribed as a bobook -- textbook example of ethnic cleansing. north korea has proposed restarting denuclearization talks with the u.s. later this month. nenegotiations between the countries stalled in february after trump walked away from a failed second summit in hanoi. but in junune, trump visited the demilitarized zone with north korean leader kim jong-un, where the two heads of state expressed renewed interest in resuming talks. this comes as north korea
launched two unidentified projectiles towards the sea of japan tuesday morning, the eighth such test since july. the cia extracted a russian informant in 2017 who provided top-secret intelligence on russia for decades according to multiple reports. the intelligence included information on russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. "the new york times" is reporting the informant helped u.s. intelligence determine that russian president vladimir putin was directly involved in those efforts in a bid to help to trump win the presidency. cnn reported the decision to extract the informant from russia was driven by u.s. intelligence concerns that trump may have leaked classified information that would lead to the revelation of the informant's identity, including during a white house meeting in may 2017 with russian foreign miminister sergey lavrov. "the new york times" is reporting president trump has a deal with scotland's prestwick airport since 2014 to help
increase air traffic at the struggling airport in exchange for sending flight crews to his turnberry resort, some 20 miles away. the u.s. air force, meanwhile, struck a separate deal with prestwick airport to refuel military planes and help arrange local hotel accommodations for flight crews. this arrangement r reportedly ld toto a seven-persoson air forcew en r route to kuwawait staying t the e trump turnbeberry in marc. a federal court in california has reinstated a nationwide injunction against president trump spent on most migrants seeking asylum at the u.s.-mexico border. last month the night court session not circuit court of public -- appeals partially rolled back u.s. district judge jon tigar's initial ruling, saying it applied only to california and arizona. yesterday though, judge tigar reissued his original injunction. melissa crow of the southern poverty law center said -- "with this decision, regardless of where they cross the border, vulnerable individuals and families should be able to seek asylum. sadly, while this ruling removes a major hurdle, far too many obstacles remain, as this administration's war on asylum-seekers appears to know no bounds."
in technology news, attorneys general from forty eight states, the district of columbia and puerto rico, launchehed an anantitrust investigation into google monday. this is texas attorney general ken paxton speaking in washington, d.c. >> many consumers believe the internet is free. certainly we know from google province of $117 million that the internet is not free. this is a company that dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet and searching on internet. amy: big tech has come under increasing scrutiny as companies like apple, amazon, google, anad facebookok are accused of stiflg market c competition through thr search, social media, and retail practices. last week, new york's attorney general letitia james announced multiple states were launching anti-trust probes into facebook and looking into whether the company endangered consumer data. the federal trade commission, the justice department, and the house judiciary committee are also investigating
anti-competitive practices in big tech. the white house announced the 30-year-oldwill be white house a minute straight of assistant berkowitz. berkowitz, who has no foreign-policy experience, has been serving as the assistant to senior advisor trump's son-in-law jared kushner. he will grew closer -- he will be replacing jason greenblatt after greenblatt announced he was resigning last week. described previously berkowitz's duties as "daily just excited in coffee and corn aiding meetings." and voters in north carolina's ninth district head to the polls today for a special election, the final uncalled election from last year's midterms. last november's race was never certified after evidence of voter fraud started to emerge and was linked to republican mark harris's campaign. harris dropped out of the race in february. democrat dan mccready now faces off against pro-trump republican dan bishop. trump spoke at a north carolina
rally in support of republican bishop monday night. during his speech, trump railed agaiainst sanctuary cities and made false claims about illegal voting in california. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show with the bahamas, where thousands remain missing and thousands more have had their lives thrown into disarray since climate field hurricane dorian swept through the island nation last week, decimating entire communities and leaving 70,000 homeless. the death toll hit 50 monday and it's expected to keep rising exponentially. while search and rescue missions continue, many survivors of the category 5 storm are now seeking refuge in the united states. at least 4000 hurricane survivors have traveled to the u.s. since the hurricane hit,
but many more are facing a struggle with paperwork and mounting confusion about what's necessary to gain entry. amy: on monday, the acting commissioner cbp, customs and border protection, mark morgan, said the u.s. is considering extending temporary protected status -- known as tps -- to bahamians and that he would discuss it with president trump. republican senators marco rubio and rick scott also called on the trump administration to lift certain visa requirements to speed bahamians' entry into the u.s. but onon monday, trump dismissed the idea of easing travel requirements for people from the bahamas. pres. trtrump: but we have to be very careful. everybody needs totally proper documentation because, look, the bahamas has some tremendous problems with people going to the bahamas that were not supposed to be there. i don't want to allow people that were not supposed to be in the bahamas to come in to the
united states. including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers. very're going to be very -- let me just explain. large sections, believe it or not, of the bombs were not hit. and what we're doing is bringing the people from the sections of the bahamas that have not been hit. juan: that was president trump referring to some of the survivors as very bad people. his comments came just a day after more than 100 people seeking aid and refuge in the united states were turned away after boarding a ferry bound for florida over the weekend. the passengers, including young families, got on the ship in freeport, bahamas, on sunday. but before the boat left shore, those without u.s. travel visas were told to disembark. wsvn reporter brian entin reported on the incident from aboard the ferry and spoke to
one remaining passenger as the ship left shore. >> i think this is terrible. i think they should allow everyone to come into the u.s. they originally said you could come without a police record and now they're taking that back. that is really ridiculous. >> how many people do you think had to get off? >> they said 130 people had to come off. >> and now? >> we are leaving them and now there are only like 200 people on board now. amy: the ferry operator -- a spanish company called balearia -- has since apologized for kicking the passengers off the boat. a spokeswoman for the company said the u.s. immigration officials had told them to allow people without visas to board before reversing the decision, saying bahamians without paperwork would need to leave for the u.s. from nassau. customs and border protection has blamed the ferry company for the incident. according to "the new york times," u.s. authorities said monday only travelers arriving by air would be allowed in without visas. well, for more, we go to miami
where we're joined by shevrin jones, democraratic florida stae representative. he is bahamianan-american and hs family in the bahamas. he has been lobbying the trump administration to waive visa requirements for bahamians. representative jones, welcome to democracy now! can you talk about the situation in the bahamas now and what you're calling for in terms of bahamians seeking refuge in the united states? >> thank you so much. thank you all for bringing light to this very important humanitarian issue. i'm currently now within the bahamas, they are still in search and rescue mode. while being in search and rescue mode, there are individuals who are t there who have lost everythingng. they are just looking to get back on their feet. what we have asked the trurump administratition to do is if thy can ease the requirements for individuals to come overer to te states. as you know, and as you just
reported, there have been indidividuals who were taken off of the ferry because they did not have the correct documentation. but to our understanding, it was not the federal government but mades the company that that action. the company is now saying the federal government did it. what we are saying is it doesn't matttter who did it, we are askg we all look k this as a a humanitarian effort and we make sure that we get these individuals to a place of safety where their families are until they can get back on their feet. juanan: what were the policies n terms of bahamians coming to the u.s. previous to the hurricane? do they need be says? for could easily just come into the country? >> previously, individuals who are coming over from the bahamas come all they would need was a valid passport and a clean criminal record. it was not until now were this a
administration is making it more difficult for those individuals to come over. again, the only thing that individuals needed in the past was a valid passport and a clean criminal record. that was a letter that came from the bahamian goverernment police department. juan: are you asking for the government to extend tps or temporary protected status to bahamians as a result of this disaster that has struck the islands? fors you know, tps is given those individuals who are already here in the state. some of those individuals who are here in the states, they have been affected by this. so tps should be granted for those individuals. but for those who are still on the island, the hope is that we will allow them over here, pair them with their family or a sponsor -- because there are individuals who desire to take in people from the bahamas and allow them in their homes until they can get back on their feet.
amy: can you comment on what president trump said about "very bad people" coming from the bahamas? in thee are bad people united states. there are better keep it in miami. there are bad people all over. say whatevermp can he wants, but the true reality is this. the true reality is we have a humanitarian issue on our hands, that dealing with our neighbors, individuals just on vacation there. the heymans practically help desk the heymans practically helped build south florida. being the president of the united states is now saying they're very bad people in the bahamas and we should not allow those individuals to come here within the states, we can deal with the bad people -- the bahamian government are killing with those who are considered bad people. what we're asking is those
individuals who have families, who have children, the seniors, the medically needed -- those who need to come over to the states to get back on their feet, those are the ones we're allowing to come over. thishe president creating narrative there are bad people in the bomb is who we do not want here in state, the truth is, i'm sorry, mr. president, there are bad people here currently in our country right now. outannot throw the baby with the bathwater and consider everyone from the bahamas bad people because there are truly people who really just want to get back on their feet. and we should allow that to happen. set the politics aside for a moment so we can get these individuals to a place of safety and help these individuals get back to some normalcy in their lives. juan: representative jones, your family and the bahamas. how are they faring? also, there been several reports of conflicts between the bahamian government and some of the aid groups in terms of how the aid is reaching those who are most in need? >> thank god my family is doing
well. we had one cousin who we cannot get in contact with who the search and rescue did find two days ago. he is now waiting to go over to nassau with my family. as it pertains to the aid actually reaching the individuals and the conflict that is happening, right now the biggest thing is the bahamian government and the u.s. coast guard have an understanding with each other and how this aid is supposed to reach the most needy individuals. but that also plays a rolele ino how this humanitarian effort is currently happening in those people who are here in the states who are helping out, i know there are a lot of people who arare wanting to help. there are a lot of people who are helping. but we have to make sure we are working directly with consul general mackey and her office and making sure what we're sending out to the bahamas, making sure it gets into the
hands of the right people as it pertains to the conflict that is happening ovover within the bahamas between the bahamian government and the coast guard and making sure is being placed in the hands of the right people, it is my hope that we do not have the inward fights when it comes to making sure people are receiving this aid which is needed. the bahamian government, they are accepting of the help that is coming g in from the u.s. government, but there has to be an organized movement to make sure the people who are most in need, making sure they get the aid and receive the need that they need to get. amy: republilican senators marco rubio and rick scott of florida visited the bahamas last week and have written a letter urging the trump administration to waive visa requirements for bahamians fleeing the devastated island. the florida lawmakers wrote -- "perhaps one of the most basic yet meaningful steps our government can take immediately
is to ensure that those who have lost everything, including family members in some instances, are provided the opportunity for shelter and reunification with family in the united states." representative shevrin jones, florida state lawmakers have also written a similar letter. talk about the support you have received at the state and national level. has the trump administration responded directly to you? are they speaking yet in one voice? >> that is a very good question. considering senator rubio and scott and myself, we sit on very opposite sides of the aisle come especially on a lot of issues. but it is amazing what has happened over the course of the last few days and how we have been able to join together. senator rubio and senator scott get it. they understand that florida has a deep, deep connection with the bahamian community. the response they have given has
been amazing. the response my colleagues in the house have given is amazing. i don't to leave out governor sanchez did not travel over to the bahamas also to look at the damages. -- did travel over to the bahamas also to look at the damages. rather than the president saying , senator rubio's editor scott, you are right, we need to allow those individuals who are medically needed, who are in need, our seniors, artillery with families. we need to allow them over here and let's figure this out instead of rhetoric and calling out there are bad people within the country. they both have responded. i believe they're going to continue pushing. sooner rubio tweeted something yesterday to speak about him continuing to push the efforts to make sure that we can get these people to a place of safety. it is my hope that the white house understands the necessity of us making sure that our
neighbors are taking care of. that is my hope. and other president himself would look at this a as a humanitarian effort and not look at this as a political push. amy: finally, we just have a minute, but what is your understanding of what is happening to the haitians who live in the bahamas, specially abaco island? many of them had to escape to shelters. if you can talk about the haitian community in particular in the bomb is? >> absolutely. the bahamian community and the haitian community, all of those individuals who have been affected by the storm, noah should be exempt. here is the fact. their lives have been destroyed. i don't care where they come from. they need help. they need our h help and we need to give it to them. amy: shevrin jones, thank you for being with us democratic , florida state representative.
amy: "nterini" fatoumata diawara singing here i in our democracy now! studio. to see our interview and her songs, go to democracynow.org. this is democracy now!, i'm amy goodman. juan: we now turn to mexico, where hundreds of african migrants are protesting the country's refusal to grant them travel visas to visit united states or canada where they want to apply for asylum. for months, thousands of migrants from countries as far as angola, eritrea, liberia, and the democratic republic of congo have been forced by the mexican
government to stay in the southern state of chiapas -- at the border with guatemala -- where most of them have been sleeping in tent cities, cooking on the streets, and bathing their children in buckets without the promise of temporary -- shelter, food, or work permits. with president trump's new restrictions on asylum seekers, including the remain in mexico policy, thousands of others are stuck at the u.s.-mexico border. amy: these conditions have wereed protests in chiapas many have been protesting in tapachula since mid. minas the protesters have been met with violent repression from federal l police and the nationl guard. this is one of the african migrantsts at the recent protes. >> police are beating all of the people. from the beginning, there was note violence but the guards hit people with their shields. there are beating all of the africans. there billy -- beating children.
they don't want to help us. they are saying they don't want any problems with us, but they are the ones who started beating people. they are insulting people. the military in the federal police threw tear gas at us. i don't know what we are going to do. we don't have good conditions here. we don't have a place to be. we need help. we need help getting out of here. are inre comrades who the hospital being with the police shield in the head. we're all human beings. people are mistreated here every day. in their they are abusing africans. if they don't want as here, then give us a visa to get out. we don't want to be in mexico. we cannot be forced to stay in mexico. juan: the long wait for african migrants begin in june when it was reported authorities were ignoring requests by african and haitian migrants to legally cross through mexico. this came one month after the trumpet administration threatened the mexican government with tariffs if they did not decrease migration
through mexico. in response, mexican president andres manuel lopez obrador quickly struck a deal with president trump to increase militarization of mexico's southern and northern borders migrants fromget africa, central america, and the caribbean for apprehension and deportation. amy: for african migrants, the journey to mexico often takes months as they first must cross the ocean anand then embark on a dangerous trek through the colombian jungle and multiple central american borders. for more, we owe to mexico city to speak with carolina jimenez, americas deputy director for research at amnesty international. lay out the issue them a particularly for african migrants, with people to give up migrant -- when people think of migrants, they think of people from the northern triangle, but also mexicicans, they rarely thk about african migrants.
talk about the crises they are facing in the fact that many of them are not even trying to come into the united dates picking it to canada. -- i get to canada. >> unfortunate, african migration to latin america in general is a very invisible issue come although in the last few years we have noticed an important increase in the number of africicans coming from mexico trying to reach the u.s. as you were describing, despite the fact many of these people are people in need because they come from countries that are facing internal conflicts in extreme poverty, the mexican government has basically decided to crack down on these migrants instead of allowing them to transit freely from mexico -- as they used to until very recently, until they changed the policy to seek asylum in the u.s. what we have right now is a
situation of hundreds of people basically trapped in southern mexico, unable to move north to seek asylum in the u.s., living and very, very difficult tents,ons -- in basically lacking any access to basic services. they, when it comes to migration, although the numbers of african migrants are increasing, there is no policy in place to deal with their needs, their specific demands. we are very concerned the situation will only get worse. this is the reality. thousands of africans are coming through what is a very difficult journey, reach mexico on their way or trying to reach the u.s. due to the trump administration's pressure on mexico, the mexican government is failing to provide these thatnts with safe passage
could improve the current situation. , mostlyrolina jimenez what we associate in the news african refugees or migrants come it is usually to europe across the mediterranean, which is obviously a much shorter trip than this trip the african migrants who end up in mexico are taking. is it your sense that as the european union has sought to crack down and prevent african migration that this has had an effect of forcing africans to take this much longer route across the atlantic ocean through south america and up through central america to try to get to a country that can provide them refuge? >> we believe so. unfortunately, it is a global trend when it comes to enforcing more restrictive migration policies. europe is not the exception. if we compare the data, we see
the number of african migrants coming in from january to june 2018 and we see the numbers in 2019 from january to june this 20% increase. so clearly, migrarants are forcd basically to take much more to be able toes reach safety. so this is a trend that is likely to continue as we see restrictive immigration policies being implemented in europe, in the u.s. am in australia, etc. amy: what caused the initial protest in chiapas? >> until recently, when migrants from africa came to mexico, they were given the choice to seek asylum in mexico. what this implied a practice as they were giving but -- given a
document, it allow them to travel north. without any expert nation, the mexican government changed this policy in july this year, clearly due to the pressure they're receiving from the u.s. -- and now they are forced, basically, to leave mexico only through mexico southern border. this means they have to go -- they are unable to move north. this change in policy obviously has a negative impact on their plans, on individual choice to choose the place where they could seek asylum. and this is what created the situation you were describing earlier. .hey decided to protest unfortunately, there were clashes with security forces. it became a violent one because there was repression.
they could not continue to protest. but the change in policy toward african migrants is actually inlective of a broader trend mexico's immigration policy, a trend that implies ensuring migrants that come to mexico are not able to travel north and seek asylum in the u.s. and this is a very said mexicoon which we see basically complying with the enforcement policy of another country, the u.s. juan: i want to ask you about that specifically and the policies under president lopez obrador. the pressure the trump administration has put on lopez obrador and also the expectations that people had that he would have a more enlightened policy when it came to immigration and immigration
crackdown from the u.s. your sense of what the pressures are on the current mexican a administration and how they are responding? >> well, lopez obrador came to power with a promise that he was going to implelement humanee immigratation policies in mexic. of course, there were expectations he would comply with those promises. and fortunately, to to pressures from the u.s. government, inething we see in the news june when presidential basically threaten mexico with imposing presidenthe narrative .brador had until then changed and what has happened is mexico has been -- has decided to give in to ththe pressure, notot onlo implement a very strong border enforcement both in the south and northernrn border -- it is known the government has spent
-- sent more than 6000 troops during the migration management task. in pololicy which basically meas those seeking asylum at the border are sent back to mexico to wait for their applications to be heard. the trend is very clear. we did have expectations that this new administratioion will right-basedre migration policies, but the reality is it is complying with what the trump administration has requested. and very s sadly, migrants and asylum-seekers were the bargaining chip of those negotiations that ended up forcing the mexican government and l law-enforcement
and not a migration system that could be focused on people and not entree. amy: we going to end with african migrant who took part in a recent protest in chiapas. here.are we're still here. it has been 10 days and we're demanding to be given a pass to cross into mexico, but there are no solutions. we're suffering repression from the police. the national guard is here beating us, kicking prevent -- pregnant women and childrenen. >> we realally wish to see a debate on migration that is both efefficient for goverernment --t understands -- a debate that takes into consideration that government has deeds and priorities, etc., but it is right-based. if we could see countries cooperating in terms of human
rights when it comes to protecting people the way we see countries and governments cooperating whenen it comes to enforcement, i thinknk we woulde in a mucuch better place.. mexico has international obligations that it needs to fulfill when it comes to protecting people's rights to seek asylum. amy: carolina jimenez, thank you for being with us americas , deputy director for research at amnesty international in mexico city. when we come back, we look at the remarkable story of a palestinian student who grew up in a lebanese refugee camp who was accepted to harvard then deported when he got to logan airport. well, he has made it back and we will find out how. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
who was denied entry into the united states last month began classes with his fellow harvard freshmen. ismail ajjawi was initially turned away at boston's logan airport just under three weeks ago after immigration officials searched his phone and computer and interrogated him about his religion and social media posts by friends that were critical of u.s. policy. he was then forced to return home to lebanon, but his case provoked outrage on the harvard campus and among some palestinian rights and academic freedom groups. ajjawi's family released a statement after he was admitted back into the u.s., thanking supporters, harvard, and the educational organization amideast. the family said -- "the last 10 days have been difficult and anxiety-filled, but we are most grateful for the thousands of messages of support and particularly the work of amideast. we hope now that everyone can respect our and ismail's privacy
and he can now simply focus on settling into college and his important class work." amy: ismail ajjawi, who is attending harvard on a full scholarship, was educated in schools run by unrwa -- the united nations relief and works agency for palestine -- which serves more than a half million palestinian refugee children in over 700 schools. ismail ajjawi was featured in this 2019 unrwa video for thther back-to-o-school campapaign. e envnvonment is vevery challengnging. overpopopulation is s a big issn
the c cp. the houseseare too close t teach otheher. in thistmosphere,e, there's no privacy for palesestinians to dense to study. any code that was now harvard freshman ismail ajjawi, a palestinian refugee who was educated in unrwa schools. meanwhile, unrwa itself is under threat after the trump administration ended all u.s. funding for the program, a loss of about $360 million in annual funding and d e organizazation's largest single contribution. well, for more, we're joined by two guests. in gaza, matthias schmale is with us, director of unrwa operations in gaza. theodore kattouf, president and ceo of amideast, an education training nonprofit that works in the middle east and northern africa. amideast helped ismail ajjawi
win a scholarship to harvard university. ambassador kattouf is a former u.s. ambassador to the united arab emirates and then syria. we're going to start with matthias schmale, director of unrwa operations in gaza. you are there in gaza. talk about this school that ismail comes from. >> good morning to you and thank you for your interest in this story. of course, the situation in gaza is slightly different from the one in lebanon where ismail went to school but we run the same school system. schools.we have 276 anand in the school year that started about two weeks ago, we -- 284,000 students like ismail, hungry for a good educatation and with dreams s ad toes to maybe not all go harvard, of course, but to make something out of this education
by continuing to study and finding opportunities like ismail has just found. amy: talk about the number of stududents in these schools. how situation?ismail's he gets into harvard, comes to logan airport in boston, and he is i immediately deported. amazingly, they said to him they had problems with the facebook entries not of ismail himself, but of his friends. sadly, this is a situation in ,hich most palestine children palestine refugee children find themselves in. the situation is similar to those of ismail that they have the benefit of getting an education through the united nations, through the unrwa schools i mentioned earlier, but
sadly the opportunities are far and few between in terms of getting out was not in my case here in gaza, out of the gaza strip and seizing opportunities of scholarship. parallel youher alluded to. most of the children i meet, and i regularly visit all 276 schools here and talk to many of the students, many of the teachers. many of the students are just normal children like you and i would have. i have three teenage sons. they have dreams. they are normal children. sometimes they get angry, but basically they just want to fulfill their dreams for a better life. and sometimes they get punished for associationon, let's say, because some friend has been discovered publishing something on the respective social media. so you will find -- i find quite a few kids who talk about this experience of it not being taken in their own right on what they
think and feel, but s somethinga friend or relative may have said. that is definitely a challenge that many of the palestine refugees face. juan: ambassador, you're the president and ceo of amideast. i'm wondering if you can talk about the role your organization has played throughout the middle east and the arab b world onon whether the young people that giving scholarships to, whether there has been any particular problems with the palestinians, given especially the united states policy toward the palestinian-israeli conflictct? >> yes, sure. my organization has been around since 1951. we have 23 facilities spread acroross 11 countries and territories. we have five offices alone in occupied palestine, includingg n gaza city. programs.many at some of our programs arare wh u.s. government and our
u.s.-government funded. ismail himself benefited from what are known as oppoportunity grants. thatat is he went in beirut to competitive college club that helped coach him on how you apply to american university, how you can present yourself. he had to do -- he is a self-made man, but t chen how to -- harvard and other schools aware of his abilities. weweave 53 othther palestinianss currently in the u.s. studying at the undergraduate level who've gone through similar programs. in fact, we of one young man in going to stanford this year. we have a another woman from gaza goingng to smith college in massachusetts. and i could gogo on. but the point is this has not happened at the u.s. points of
-- we have hadas problems in n gaza gettinghehe kids out in past years. believee the israelis the palestinians in gaza should get rid of hamas. it wasnen they did not, more or less punishment. it is a struggle every year to get our gaza students out, including g fulbright students o are on u u.s. graduate school scholarships. eventually, they get out but it was always a tussle. israeliear, i think the government decided, hey, if they want to leave gaza, let them go. amy: ambassador, explain what happened with ismail. explain what happened when he got to the airport at logan, why he was supported, and then how you got him back in to start with the freshman class. >> you described it very well. it was a matter of social media. ththe young man hardly posted anything himself.
he is only 17 years old. they go back five years. hehe has about 1000 0 friends on facebook.. yes, he is not really acactive with t them. theyey are classssmates and thee like. it a appears people at boston airport, the customs and border patrol people, did not like some of the postings of the people that were allegedly friends of his. but that raises a much bigger question, of course, and that is intellectual thought, freedom of thought, speech, what is the criteria, nobody accused him of havingng any terrorist tendencis or radical tendencies, so what are these people going to be judged on? not just ismail. organizationen issued a very strong statement over this matter. amy: what happened with the harvard president? president, he was incredible. he showed tremendous empathy,
tremendodous support. he was in touch with secretary of state pomomo, homelanand secucurity secretary kevin maclclaine. the u.s. embassy in beirut was tremendous turning this around. i hope i don't get them in trouble but they did a great job bebecause it was something calld opportunity grants funneled through amideast that allowed ismail to hahave the f financial whererewithal to apply to harvad and other schools of u.s. to take the kinin of tests you have to take and then to get in your life to get to the u.s.. it was the right hand of government in the left hand not knowing what each other was doing. juan: i want to go back to matthias schmale on the whole s role.f unrwa' you're educating 500,000 palestinians in your schools and yet at the same time now you are facing a cut from the trump
administration to unrwa of $360 million? , the trumpit is this administration's decision, and what is that going to do to you to provide basic education? with theay start dimensions here. our annual budget for the five fields in which we work and run our schools in primary health care centers is $1.2 billion. so if you then lose $360 million of that, that is a significant hit. how are we coping with that? in 2018, last year, we had 42 countries and institutions like the eu job in and give us additional money to the moneys we have planned for. last year, toward the end of a very difficult year because of losing this money from the u.s. government, we actually broke even.
it was from that perspective, a success story. we are like a government service so each year the e budget starts agagain in the funundraising hao start again. as we speaeak today, we still he projected deficit of over $120 million. again, we continue feeling this hit of losing our biggest donor. let me also say that there is huge appreciation here in gaza. many people may not believe this, for the u.s. investments over years, if not decades. a week ago or so i opened one of our new schools here, what of our new schools in gaza. it was financed by the last great we got from usaid for school construction. a plaque that says "built by u.s. money." the children and the teachers and my staff, we are very proud of this. we regret very much this and byent into education
the public services has ended. we take the fact that ismail got back into the u.s. to take a scholarship as one positive signal that there is a lot of solidarity be on the government in the u.s. and that convert continuing relationships -- calling for continuing relationships and maybe resuming the financncial support. amy: we're going to in with the voice of another young person. yesterday, democracy now! spoke to hatem hamdouna in gaza city. 's schools.tttended unrwa >> i have lived through three wars, one of the age of four, and other at the age of eight. and again at the age of 10. i have lived through the darkest -- scenes of war and destruction hot me my sleep. provivided us w with educacatin
during emergencies. in spite of all of these nenegative things in the gaza strip, i want the w world too change this view of perception of the gaza strip. in spite of the closure of the gaza strip without water or electricity in the absence of freedom of all these negative things, i want you to know gaza is greater and a lot more than that because children like myself in the gaza strip do not wish to be seen as victims, but rather as makers of change. in the future, i would like to become one of the best surgeons in the world. education is the means for me to realize this dream and my aspirations. however, i sometimes feel a afrd and concerned due to the shortage of job opportunities here in the gaza strip. student hatemnrwa hamdouna. we want to thank matthias schmale, director of unrwa