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12/03/21 12/03/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> this is a really low moment and it has forced a mont of recking for the abortion rits movemen i think one of the things that stoo out i the interviews i d with dozens of people across the movement ithat the failure to act withrgency on the erosion of the rightsf poor people and women of color mny decades ago helped lead the
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movement to the point of where it is today, where it has lost so much ground on the issue of abortion rights. amy: as the supreme court looks poised to uphold mississippi's 15-week abortion ban and possibly overturn roe v. wade, we will speak to the nation's amy littlefield about the christian legal army behind the mississippi law, as well as anti-trans laws acss the country. pl, we get remarkae look inside the irwin county detention nter in georgi the subject of a new documentary called "the facility." >> how is everybody doing? what is happening? >> i am really scared i'm going to die. >> this is what we came up with to try to protect ourselves. in and what happened to the haitian asylum seekers in texas, some of whom were whipped by u.s. borr patrol agents? >> my colleagues and i have been
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working to liberate some of the same men who were und the bridge in del rio, texas, two months ago and are now detained in the horrible detention center. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the biden administration is ready to reinstate the contested trump-era remain in mexico policy as soon as next week after it reached an agreement with the mexican government. th means asylum seekers who arrive at the southern u.s. border will once again be returned and forced to wait in mexico while their cases are resolved in u.s. courts process , a that could take months or years. advocates warn biden has expanded the program to now potentially include asylum seekers from the entire western hemisphere. this comes despite mounting reports of human rights violations and other grave dangers faced by asylum seekers while stuck in mexico. this is a salvadoran asylum seeker in juarez, mexico,
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speaking thursday from a migrant shelter near the u.s. border. >> i have been here 22 days. staying here for a long time is desperate. we have children. we're here without our families. to stay here for another six month is difficult. thank god we have food, but it is hard to be without families. amy: advocates have vowed to continue fighting remain in mexico. the aclu's immigrants' rights project said in a statement -- "the reimplementation of this illegal and cruel policy will inflict on thousands of additional people seeking asylum the same harms that were well documented under its previous implementation: horrific abuse, including torture, rape, and death, and the denial of any meaningful opportunity to obtain asylum." german leaders have ordered tough new restrictions for people not vaccinated against covid-19 as germany and other european nations experience their worst surge of the pandemic.
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germany's new rules bar unvaccinated people who have not had a previous infection from public life, from restaurants, theaters, stores and many other public venues. outgoing german chancellor angela merkel said officials may make vaccinations mandatory by february. meanwhile, covid-19 cases in south africa have nearly tripled in just three days amid a fourth surge linked to the omicron coronavirus variant. on thursday, south african scientists warned people with a previous coronavirus infection appear to have little immunity to omicron and are highly susceptible to reinfection. president biden visited the national institutes of health in bethesda, maryland, thursday, where he laid out his public health strategy for battling covid-19 this winter. pres. biden: and it does not include shutdowns or lockdowns but widespread vaccinations and boosters and testing a lot more. amy: biden's plan will require private health insurers to reimburse their customers for
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the cost of over-the-counter, at-home covid-19 tests. 50 million tests would be made available to the uninsured for free through health centers and rural clinics. this comes as hospitalizations and deaths are once again on the rise across the united states, with more than 1000 u.s. residents dying of covid-19, on average, each day. at least five states have detected cases of the omicron coronavirus variant. here in new york, governor kathy hochul urged all 53,000 people who attended a november anime convention in manhattan to get tested after a minnesota man who traveled to the event was found to have been infected with omicron. other cases have been found in new york, colorado, california, and hawaii. on capitol hill, house and senate lawmakers approved a stopgap spending bill thursday evening that funds government operations through mid-february. senators narrowly defeated a republican amendment that would have defunded covid-19 vaccine
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mandates for businesses, military members, and federal employees. many republicans had threatened to shut down the government in protest of vaccine mandates. oregon congressmember peter defazio said wednesday he will not seek reelection in 2022. defazio is currently chair of the house transportation committee, serving his 18th term in congress. he's the 19th house democrat to announce their retirement ahead of midterm elections next year, in which republicans are expected to benefit from gerrymandered congressional districts and sweeping new voter suppression laws. last month, california democrat jackie spear announced she will not run for another term in congress. a survivor of the johnstown massacre which was a congressional aid in 1978, she more recently coletta resolution to censure republican congressman paul gosar after he posted a violent animated video to picking himself murdering commerce member alexandria ocasio-cortez, for which he was
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censured. human rights groups are demanding the united nations reopen an investigation into atrocities committed in yemen after the u.n. human rights council voted in october against extending an independent war crimes investigation. dozens of organizations, including human rights watch and amnesty international, said in a joint statement thursday that saudi arabia and the united arab emirates bribed, coerced and arm-twisted council members to win a 21-18 vote ordering an end to the war crimes probe, which was set up four years ago. agnès callamard, the secretary-general of amnesty international, said all parties to the conflict in yemen, including saudi and houthi forces, have committed atrocities with impunity. >> no ended site for this war. there is no light that we can see at the end of the tunnel. for that rson, we ve to act nobecause every day that goes by far more people are bei harmed and killed.
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could save millions of lives is not an exaggeration. amy: the u.n. estimates about a quarter of a million people have been killed as a result of yemen's war, with some 4 million yemenis displaced since the u.s.-backed, saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015. a new report by human rights watch finds burmese security forces encircled then killed anti-coup protesters at a demonstration in rangoon in march as part of a preplanned attack. at least 65 people were shot dead. according to a local rights monitor, over 1300 people have been killed by the military junta since the february 1 coup. this comes as the announcement of the first verdict in a series of charges against deposed and detained civilian leader aung san suu kyi was delayed until monday of next week. a record-breaking winter heatwave had residents of washington state, montana, wyoming, north dakota, and canada feeling like it was mid-spring this week.
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parts of british columbia hit 72.5 degrees, a record high for the region. in montana, the unusually hot and dry weather has set prairies ablaze, with two dozen homes and businesses catching fire in the rural town of denton. in southern oregon, canadian oil and gas company pembina pipeline has abandoned plans for a fracked gas pipeline and export terminal after years of organizing and community pushback. opponents argued the project violated the clean water act and threatened local wildlife, livelihoods, and indigenous land. in otherlimate vtories, shl has pulled out of the cambo oil field project in the u.k.'s north sea. the announceme came aftean innse pressure campaign by actists who petitioned the british government against the potential environmental disaster. shelcited econom reaso for canceling the project. climate activists are demanding the government follow suit and drop its support of the oil field project. u.s. secretary of state antony blinken indicated president
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biden will likely speak to russian president vladimir putin soon as tensions continue to mount over the military buildup at russia's border with ukraine. blinken made the statement after meeting with russian foreign minister sergey lavrov thursday. meanwhile, ukraine's military said it is conducting artillery drills near the border of russian-annexed crimea. russia has denied it has plans for any military action and blamed ukrainian allies for the current situation. this is sergey lavrov. >> nato continues to escalate the situation on our borders, refuses to consider our proposal to de-escalate tensions and prevent dangerous incidents. amy: the biden administration has rejected calls to ban the use of lethal autonous weapons, also known as killer robots. during a united nations meeting in geneva thursday, the u.s. instead proposed establishing a code of conduct for their use. activists across the globe have long warned of the growing threat posed by robots that use artificial intelligence and lethal weapons to kill without a human overseeing the process.
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at least 60 schools in michigan closed on thursday after police warned of potential copycat killings following the oxford high school shooting on tuesday, which left four students dead and seven people wounded. on thursday, prosecutor signaled they may bring criminal charges against the parents of the 15-year-old shooter. the boy's father, james crumbley, purchased the semi automatic stole used in the killing just days before the massacre. prosecutors say the gun was in the boy's backpack during a meeting with his parents and teachers just before the shooting. to discuss reports of "concerning behavior." after the meeting, the teenager was allowed to return to class. prosecutors said thursday they discovered videos on the boy cell phone made the night before the shooting in which he talked about shooting and killing students the next day. and social and climate justice advocate martha "marty" nathan
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has died after a battle with lung cancer and congestive heart failure. she was 70 years old. dr. nathan was a co-founder of climate action now and the founder of the environmental group 2degrees northampton. she was also a retired physician. nathan spoke to democracy now! in 2019 to mark the 40th anniversary of the greensboro massacre when 40 ku klux klansmen and american nazis opened fire on an anti-klan demonstration in greensboro, north carolina, killing five anti-racist activists in a span of 88 seconds, including her husband. >> five people were killed, including my husband, mike, and 10 people were injured. the police were nowhere to be found. amy: amy: the police departments complicity in the killings. dr. marty nathan said the greensboro massacre showed how white supremacist violence
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continues to threaten movements for social and economic justice. >> please stand for the rights of people to live and to live decently in a time of climate change, threat of nuclear war, and including economic disparity. we all have to be in the streets and we do not want to get shot. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. coming up, we talked to the nations amy littlefield about the christian legal army behind mississippi's abortion ban and anti-trans legislation around the country and more. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: "wonder woman" by lion babe. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today's show looking at the fight for reproductive
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rights as the supreme court appears set to uphold mississippi's 15-week abortion ban and possibly overturn the landmark 1973 roe v. wade ruling legalizing abortion nationwide. if roe v. wade is overturned, almost half of u.s. states could rapidly make abortion illegal thanks to so-called trigger laws already in place. for decades, right-wing group s have been waging a war on abortion rights and they appear to be closing in on their goal of overturning roe thanks in part to donald trump's appointment of amy coney barett and brett kavanaugh to the supreme court. one right-wing group has played a key role in this movement has been the alliance defending freedom self-described "legal , a army" to fight abortion rights and lgbt rights, especially trans rights. we are joined now by amy littlefield, the abortion access correspondent for the nation. she has two new pieces out this week, "the christian legal army behind the ban on abortion in
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mississippi "in the nation and "where the pro-choice movement went wrong," which was published by "the new york times." welcome back to democracy now! can you start off by responding to what happened, what you thought was most important to understand about the oral arguments on it supreme court on wednesday. you were outside. amy, you are muted. if you could start again. >> can you hear me? amy: yes, we can. >> ok. so in terms of what was most remarkable inside the court, you have amy coney barrett suggesting the state forcing people to carry pregnancies to term in a country
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that has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, three times higher for black women than for white women, no big deal to force people to give birth because they can't just bring the baby to the nearest fire station and give them up for adoption. you have brett kavanaugh confirmed a site over again that roe was settled law, he was preceded, and that was that it. then on wednesday, listing of all of the different precedents the supreme court had overturned and would you be a good thing if they did that again. so clearly the three conservative justices that were appointed by donald trump are getting ready to do exactly what they were put on the court to do, which is overturned roe v. wade and take away the nationwide right to legal abortion in this country. i want to say the biggest evidence, the biggest argument if anyone had any remaining doubt that that is what they intend to do, not what was going on inside the court but what is
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going on many miles away in texas where for three month people in the state of texas, one of the largest states, has been dealing with this slow rolling emergency where almost all abortions in the state are banned under a law that empowers anyone to become a bounty hunter and enforce an antiabortion law against friends, families, abortion providers asking when helping someone get an abortion. the supreme court could have stopped at law before we need to affect at any point the past three months. that has not happened. the writing is on the wall and that is why i said i think the most important thing i saw was not what was going on inside the supre cot thathey're going to do what e christn right has beenlayingor deces, t what i saw osias an abortion rights movement that was really emboldened, that was
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prepared, that was debuting the messaging that is going to be needed to rebuild a mass movement to change the culture and to reshape the fight in the years to come after the right to legal abortion falls. amy: i want to go to what was happening outside just hours before the oral arguments on wednesday. activists shouting "shout your abortion" gathered outside the supreme court building. they chanted "abortion pills forever" and then four of them proceeding to take mifepristone in union, the first medication in a typical two-step self-induced medical abortion. >> abortion pills forever1 amy: explain what they were doing. >> these were activists that gathered outside the court and had white boxes with
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mifepristone in them that they had obtained legally from a group that sends abortion medication overseas to people all across the country. the loss vary state to state on that access, but they were able to obtain the legally. it is the first medication that people take in the typical two-step medicine that is administered in clinics but the same regimen that you can take at home. they took the pill in front of the court. these were four people who had had abortions with taking the drug by itself will not cause an abortion but they were taking a point that republicans might have the courts, but we are out here having abortions. they can't stop them. that was the point. they are in open defiance of the court. there saying you can ban
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abortion legally, but now that these pills are out there, you can't actually stop people from having abortions. the caveat is, huge caveat is what the state can do and has that is criminalize people for involvement in self managed abortion. we are likely to see that further with roe false. i think this direct action is part of sending the message and trying to raise awareness about getting these pills into people's hands. art of the strategy of the movement, figuring out how people are going to take care of each other and those who need abortion in this future that is eminently approaching. amy: which sounds like the pre-roe past, though they may not have had those drugs at the time, people helping each other. >> exactly. that is the key difference. though self-support works are there. that is rising up. that has been there for a long time in states like tex that
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have heavily restricted abortion even before this year, but the tools are very different. you're talking about safe medication come the same medication that you can get prescribed in clinic that many people are now accessing in their own homes. the key is a lot of people don't know the medication is out there. i think the activists are trying to say, hey, everyone, tell your friends these pills are available on the internet and there are safer options now than there were before 1973. amy: but of course there are severe danger, whether people are able to link into those networks. you're also talking about the poorest people in the united states, people who it would not be easy to cross state lines. for anyone, it is difficult. but for people who don't have economic means, this will hit especially hard. we are talking about almost half the country, half of states. >> half of states.
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it is already happening. abortion providers and activists in texas are witnessing this reality every single day of people who cannot afford to travel, who cannot get childcare, who cannot take off work who are pregnant and they cannot escape their state where abortion is banned except in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. so they are giving up because they have no choice. that is already the reality for texas, which i think i would measure it is home to one in 10 women and reproductive age. we will see that multiply a potentially -- not all states are the size of texas, but we could see 26 states that are likely to ban abortion if roe falls. amy: talk about the christian legal army behind the ban on abortion. >> this is really important.
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i went back and listen to your reporting from 2018 went alliance defending freedom, which is a legal engine behind the christian right agenda, at a conference and an ads attorney said we are going to lay out our plan to eradicate roe. it starts with mississippi ban on abortion at 15 weeks that was just introduced this week in mississippi. we introduced our model before getting abortion at 15 weeks and this is going to go all the way to the supreme work. at the time, she was saying this is going to go to the supreme court and the we will come in -- we will come in a complete ban. there been a couple of changes since then. they have gotten two more supreme courest stjuic . they did not have to wait to ask the court to go ahead and ban abortionutright using this this is of the law developed in 2018, but i thought it was important to point out this group was the legal architect of
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the bill that it now seems is going to be used to reverse -- amy: i want to play a clip from that tape you're talking about of attorneys with the alliance defending freedom unveiling the plan, as you said, to "eradicate roe." this is adf senior counsel denise burke speaking at the evangelicals for life conference. >> we're not looking at regulation, we are moving to enact an abortion ban. we are working with allies and a number of states to do that. our first ban we're looking at is a 15 week limitation. sure you have heard about 21 states have a 20 week limitation at this point. the majority of those limitations were never challenged in court. i can speculate, but i think they did not want to get a bad decision. there were concern the court would go along with the 20 week ban. i can guarantee you they're not going to be able to ignore the
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limitation, which is limiting to the first trimester. and we are basically bating them . we have already set and established. i'm happy to say the first 15 week limitation based on our model language was just introduced in the state of mississippi this week. amy: amy littlefield, respond. >> she is clearly say, hey, this is the plan. we will introduce the 15 week ban. more than one third of states have ban implemented the 20 week ban. i said that was not enough to get the challenge we wanted and so we are going to go ahead and move the line up to 15 weeks and then once we get that 15 week ban, we will go further. this is part of a carefully orchestrated effort to strike at the heart of roe v. wade. mississippi is getting a lot of attention right now. everyone is talking about
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mississippi as it this is a state that -- a bill that grew organically out of the soil of mississippi. that is not the case. it was written by an organization with a $50 million annual budget that is out there to derive the christian right agenda. they write auto bills. they work with states. when the bills get challenged, they defend those bills in court . they find the legal cases they don't defend themselves. what i most wanted to get across in this piece is the crucial connection that this organization that wrote the mississippi law that is before the supreme court now is also the same organization that is driving the record number of anti-transgender bills that we're seeing a state legislatures across the country. this year shattered records for intake trends legislation and antiabortion legislation.
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we are talking about those issues as if they are two separate things. really what i want to point out is this is the same organization that is driving these efforts as part of the christian right agenda, and we have to understand those connections. amy: i want to go to imara jones. on thursday, democracy now! spoke to imara jones, investigative journalist and host of the anti-trans hate machine podcast. we spoke about the alliance defending freedom and about how these attacks on reproductive rights, as you're saying, are connected to the attacks on transgender rights. >> which these movements are linked is, in one way, very simple to explain. its the sa groups and this groups of pele. we know that groups such as the family research counc, the ritage fndation, analyze defending freedom havell in on the cutting edge of the antiaborti movement for decas now.
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they just simply have taken the tactics that they have learned from the antiabortion move and are now applying them to the anti-trans movement. for example, we are seeing doctors who provide gender affirmg ca now been targeted by the right with demonstrations outside, with posters, with videos online. it is also the case that we have to remember that for the this is one right. there is not a separation between the antiabortion fight and fight over trans rights. for them, they are essential in the vision of gender that for them is motivated and deeply rooted by the bible. they feel the united states is a whe christian nation, that it waordained that way both by
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god and by the constitution. and what they lieve is that women having abortion, people being able to express whom they love for sexal oriention, and the ability to be able to live your true gender identity are all key elements in undermining white chstian america. for em, againthis is one fight. this is not the way progressives view this most oday view trans rights as ancillary, on the margin, as not being an essential fight, something that may be good or may not be good. but for the right, this is an essential fight. amy: that is investigative journalist imara jones. amy: a that leads into the piece you wrote for "the new york times" this week "where the pro-choice movement went wrong."
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can you talk overall about your thoughts on this? >> yeah, i mean, this is a low moment for the movement. there are ample factors that have led us to this moment that are will be on the control of anyone in the abortion rights movement, from dr. ruth bader ginsburg during the trumpet administration to gerrymandering by republican lawmakers. what i want to do is understand how the abortion rights movement is reckoning with this moment of loss. i spoke to more than 50 experts, abortion providers, activists, people involved in the struggle in one way or another, and a really important thread that emerged is in the course of basically since roe v. wade happened, the white led groups that have had the bulk of the resources and political capital within the abortion rights movement have often ceded ground
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and chosen to fight through the courts and fight a more defensive strategy that has really surrendered in ma key momes the ght of womeof color, black wen in partular, poor people, those whose rights and access were sort of the first to disappear in this criminal battle over abortion rights. and that really starts in 1976 with the passage of the hyde amendment. representative henry hyde who brought it forward said he wanted to restrict abortion for everyone, but alas, all he had was medicaid bill so you would have to restrict it for poor people on medicaid. the hyde commitment, which banned federal funding of abortion and to limit access to abortion for most people who are on medicaid in the state, there were attempts to oppose it at the time but what ended up happening is the democratic party and abortion rights
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groups, a lot of which were white led at the time, were willing to trade away access for poor people for other political priorities. sohe hyde amendment, the ban on funding of -- federal funding of abortionecame accepted precedent and accepted routine part of the process for many years. we are only starting to see that shift now. i think thats because the reproductive justice framework, the movement led by black women that has always known that roe was not enough to protect rights for everyone, that has always known the courts are not going to save abortion rights because they haven't saved rights of people of color in the past -- quite the contrary -- those movements are moving to the center of the frame and becoming more mainseam. we are seeing for the first time in history that planned parenthood are the by women of color.
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there is a change coming within the movement because of it reckoning with these past missteps, including, frankly, the failure to adequately protect black women and to stand up for the safety of the people whose rights were eroded first. amy: amy littlefield, thank you for being with us. we will link to your articles in the nation and new york times. amy littlefield is a journalist who focuses on reproductive health care and is the abortion access correspondent for the nation. her new piece for "the new york times" is titled "where the pro-choice movement went wrong." amy is a former producer here at democracy now! coming up, what happened to the haitian asylum seekers in texas, some of whom were whipped by u.s. border patrol agents? stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: "dance of the north." this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report.
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i'm amy goodman. we turn now to look at what happened to some of the haitian asylum seekers we first heard about in september, when the world was shocked by images of u.s. border patrol agents on horseback whipping them as they waded across the rio grande into texas. thousands were taking shelter at a makeshift camp underneath a bridge in del rio, texas, after fleeing extreme poverty, political turmoil, violence and the impacts of the climate catastrophe at home -- conditions largely exacerbated by u.s. and foreign intervention in haiti. most of the haitian asylum seekers were mass deported by the biden administration. some are still being held in immigration and customs enforcement, ice, jails. dozens are now held at the torrance county detention facility in estancia, new
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mexico, about an hour southeast of albuquerque, where they say asylum seekers are facing abuse and neglect. ice has repeatedly denied them consistent access to in-person legal services and has refused to release many of the asylum seekers to stay with family members or sponsors while their cases are resolved. earlier this year, torrance failed its government inspection over severe understaffing, unsanitary, and other unsafe conditions. torrance also saw a massive covid-19 outbreak and was sued in may by seral asylum seekers after guards pepper-spyed them for launching a peaceful hunger strike last year, protesting inhumane conditions. for more, we're joined in santa fe, new mexico, by immigration attorney allegra love of the el paso immigration collaborative. welcome to democracy now! if you can describe who the haitian asylum seekers are in
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the torrance and what is happening to them now. >> good morning. so the people being held at the torrance facility in new mexico we think are between 60 and 80 of these men who we first saw in camps under the bridge in del rio, texas. for reasons that no one has made clear to me, despite the fact i am their lawyer, we've not been told why they were chosen to be put in the detention center and were spared the expulsion flights that thousands and thousands of their countrymen were subjected to. so they are there extensively seeking asylum and being held for in a ministry to hearing for them to be removed to haiti.
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most of my class were put into the detention facility around september 21. they had been there over two months at this point. we are receiving complaints about food, water, treatment by the staff. and we are deceiving really sincere complaints of medical neglect in people's physical and mental health deteriorating inside the facility rapidly. amy: i wanted to read a statement from one of the haitians your try to assist at torrance. this is from a 25-year old haitian man who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. he wrote -- "if i don't have an attorney i think that they can deport me. i don't know what asylum is. i wasn't allowed to speak. nobody explained anything and they just told me i was supposed to have an attorney. i don't want to go back to haiti. i can't go back.
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my family member was killed and his house was burned. my mom has just been crying because i cannot go back. if i go back i can't even leave the airport." talk more about this situation and whatas to beone now. >> well, you have to imagine this is not a detention facility that is next to a big city, next to a place with a lot of law firms or law school that can help people. this is in the middle of the bear new mexico desert. and there are not a lot of lawyers who can help these people with their cases. asylum cases are intent. very, very legally complicated. very evidence-heavy claims that you need sincere legal assistance to help. for a lot of the german who are detained, it took us between
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september 27 when i first contacted the government to november 12 to speak with them for the first time in person. when my client says "i don't know what asylum is," he is being sincere. he has not spoken in his own language t someone who is on his site and can help him understand the extremely grave legal processes going through. when he said that, may have already been through one or two hearings in front of an immigration judge, actually 300 miles away in el paso, and spoke to him over video and is rapidly trying to remove him from the country and is indifferent to the fact he has not been able to secure any legal counsel or any explanation of what asylum is. detention -- i am never going to
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say -- there's no condition for me that depriving and asylum seeker other liberty is going to work for me, butt certainly does not work when they cannot get the basic tools and have the basic human contact they need to save their own lives. and that is what we have in this extremely remote and extremely rural detention center in new mexico. amy: can you talk about corecivic, this private, for-profit detention prison company that is running this facility, that failed an inspection this past year? >> corecivic is one of the biggest private prison corporations that profits off of keeping immigrant bodies inside of this detention center. interestingly enough, during the trump administration, because of the border closures and because of the pandemic, by the end of
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2020, right before trump left office, there was less than a dozen people inside the detention facility. which meant an enormous loss of profit, to certain extent, to these corporations. now we are watching the biden administration repopulate this rural detention center with immigrants, and it is hard not to conclude that this is to bolster corporate profits. what is really alarming about torrance's it was one of three facilities in the united states that failed their inspection this summer. failing an inspection is externally difficult to do. i think you're program i showed how terrible detention is, but most facilities pass their inspections and torrance failed yet our president and
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this administration is choosing to repopulate this facility that has not met the standard for caring for human life. they are repopulating it with extremely vulnerable people, extremely vulnerable haitians. it is a deterrent strategy. it is part of a strategy to make sure more haitians don't attempt to come into this country. amy: allegra love, we will continue to cover this issue that is so critical, aggression attorney with the el paso immigration collaborative. speaking to us from santa fe, new mexico i'm at today. as we continue on the issue of how u.s. deals with immigration, this is democracy now! i am amy goodman. the network of ice jails across the united states is vast and we turn now from new mexico to georgia, where immigrants held at the irwin county detention center were held in solitary confinement after they protested their conditions during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic.
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their fight is the focus of a new documentary called "the facility." this is the trailer. >> you're asking for these additions to be released. close i have already ruled on that. >> how is everybody doing? >> i am really scared i'm gog to die. >> this is what wcame up with to try to protect ourselves. >> eight women in her despair. >> you're recordinghis video in fear. >> i have to speak out. looks describe the experience as torture. >> they hit me. can you see? >> can you just keep itunning in >> whatave you heard? amy: "the facility" is directed
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by journalist seth freed wessler, who began investigating the story last year. this was six months before a suloor, a rse, sai wen being ld thereere beg bjected to force sterilation. at t start othe pandic, se connect with pele insi the jaiby talki to them tough vid calls tt he recorded. this is a clip.
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>> i made this myself with a sock to cover my face because i refuse to run the risk. amy: in that clip, you hear seth talking to andrea manrique and nilson barahona. in a minute, seth and nilson will join us. but first, this is one more clip from "the facility," when seth is talking to nilson just as a guard comes in and nilson confronts him. listen carefully. >> can you just keep it running? >> there is nobody infected in is facility. >> let me tell you something. a lawsuit to this facility and
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also the wardens on thursday. they declared [indiscernible] >> the people responsible are nowhere to be found. [indiscernible] it is a [beep] situation, he really is. the facility will continue addressing issues as they arrive. what that entails, i have no idea, ok? amy: well, for more, we are joined by nilson barahona, one of the two people featured in "the facility." originally from honduras, he has lived in the united states since 1999. he has since been released and helped found the group called ice breakers. also with us is seth freed wessler, who was a longtime reporting fellow with type investigations when he directed this new documentary, produced by field of vision, based in
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part on his reporting for the new york times magazine and huffpost. now a reporter for propublica. this film is about to come out on msnbc, i believe. can you talk about how you did these remarkable videos and then we will talk with nilson about being at the other end. >> when the pandemic really began to sort of turn the world upside down, i as a reporter decided i wanted to try to connect with people inside of the detention centers, the ice detention centers i had already been reporting on. i began to make calls using this paved per minute video app installed in cell blocks many detention centers around the country. i know about the apt already because i used it to talko people before the pandemic as i was reporting on ice.
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i began to meet people -- make calls to people inside the detention centers to figure out what was happening as the pandemic was spreading in this tightly packed plays ended report series about conditions, the failure of ice to protect people from the spreading virus. it struck me early that what i was saying through these cameras that are attached to tablets inside of the cell blocks really i could what i was saying preprint reporting that this needed to be a story that people could experience visually. i embarked on this film project to pull together really what was hundreds of hours of footage that included conversations, interviews with nilson and andrea many other people held in irwin, but also at times footage of life happening inside,
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sometimes spending many hours a day calling and calling and then people on the inside, including nilson, would pick up my calls. at times, i would ask him, as we just saw clip, if we could just get the camera running and i would keep recording the footage. over time, that practice of just being digitally present made it possible to be present f real things happening inside. events like the one you just saw and also just to get a sense of the routine, daily life inside this dention center. so the facility, which will come out on msnbc on sunday night at 10:00 p.m., so now available at field of vision's website, tells the story of a group of people inside the irwin county detention center trying to raise their voices to hold the irwin county detention center accountable but also, i hope,
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can bring people who see it in a sense inside. in a sense for me and for nilson and oths i talked to, this camera, not so unlike what we're doing right now, between the detention center streaming onto my computer screen and the n streaming ba, function almostike a portal for a mome in and out of a place meant not to be seen in this way. amy: it is an astounding documentary with this firsthand video footage. even when you're not talking draghi to someone, she point out, say "leave the camera on" and you hear the guards on who admit they have no idea what is going on. nilson barahona, you are there the other end. we feel you in this documentary, the fear in trying to get an honest answer about it people have covid at the height of the pandemic and how you can protect yourself. can you talk about that fear and
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what they did at irwin? now you are out, probably because, among other things, your resistance and the nurse who came forward and talked about the abominable conditions and the fact that women re beg sterilized against their will there. >> yeah, it was definitely a very frightening time. in order for me to fight this fight -- and i have said this many times, had to block my emotions because what we were living in at the ti, it was overwhelming. it was easy to freeze and not to anythi, but i am a man of faith and i give thanks to god i was able to coect with seth and laura -- my lawyers at the time.
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they were a great help. i am grateful that this documentary came out because erare no words tt can expln what we went through at that time. amy: talk about what it meant to demand answers about how you could be protected during covid. you see andrea, the other woman in detention who gets punished for resisting and going on hunger strike in the agony she goes through in this facility promised two years. you were on hunger strike as well, nilson. >> yh, it was a decision that was not easy to make. and also the fact we were all able to do this together as a family, i would say.
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there is no other way to say it because he knew that all we had was next to us. everything that we had used to fight was to us, and it was each other. that was basically it. so we have to come together and raise our voicen ordeto get thattention needed to get to solve that problem. amy: i mean, when you describe come as you are talking to seth on this video call about your son and what he said to you as you spoke to him -- he is a tiny boy. but the bond you had and what you felt was being disrupted. >> it is still hard to this point to think about it.
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i amble to say right now that that bond is stronger than ever. my boy, he is seven years old at this time. his courage and his character is so strong and i am proud of him, you know? but the truth is that it shou never have happened. i should never have been taken away from him. he was fe years old at the time when i was detained. duri -- after months went by and tried to keephat relationship going, but we were limitedn the kind of mmunication we could have. since he was born, i only spea spanish. so this iour thing. my wife is a united states citizen. she is from connecticut.
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she speaks a little spanish, but not much. i tried to make sure that he knows his background, you know, where is coming fro and our culture d all that. i felt like i was losing that with him. i felt so impotent. there was nothing i could do at that time. but what hurt me is the fact how come your own government can be doing this to you? like, my wife went through so much. when i came out, she s financially and emotionally, physally drained because all ofhe things we were supposed to do and take care of as a couple, she would have to do on her own. only that, she had an extra care of having her husband into tension. in a cup and andreas, when you are just released, after -- how long were you in irwin? >> 13 months.
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amy: and she, two years. >> i was in irwin for seven months and then after the hunger strike, i was moved to stewart. amy: and saint, why couldn't you be home all going to the process? andrea, they are breaking her. the agony we watch for andrea who had gone on unger restricts the income after they released her, why could she have been waiting for her workday all this time from home? >> i's attention in many ways is unique in the complex of ways that we lock people up in the united states in that it is routinely the case that people don't know how long it will be held, don't know when they will be released. people can be held for many months. this is detention system that is
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at the discretion of ice. ice can decide to hold people or not. everybody who is in ice could be allowed to be home with their families and that is a decision the government makes. amy: we have to leave it there. you can see the documentary on msnbc and phil division.
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