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tv   Washington Journal 04272021  CSPAN  April 27, 2021 6:59am-10:03am EDT

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c-span is your unfiltered view of government, funded by these television companies and more including comcast. >> think this is just a community center? comcast is partnering with 1000 community centers to create wi-fi enabled areas so students from low income families could get the tools they need. comcast support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> this morning on washington journal, randy caps from the migration policy institute talks about the biden administration's approach to the number of refugees allowed into the u.s. that we will discuss the infrastructure proposal that are being considered by congress with jim tymon, executive
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director of the american association of state highway and transportation officials. later, cynthia arnson talks about the u.s. southern border in the recent surge of migrants from central america. ♪ host: good morning, everyone, welcome to "washington journal." we will begin with the 2020 census, yesterday the bureau announced the first wave of numbers showing a population growth that has slowed to the lowest rate since the 1930's. it shows a political shift in the south that they believe could help republicans. part of the story is people migrating from state to state. did you move to a new state in the last 10 years? if you live in the eastern central part of the country dial
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in and tell us why at (202) 748-8000. mountain pacific areas, (202) 748-8001. you can also join the conversation by texting with your first name, city, and state. (202) 748-8003. or send a tweet to the handle @cspanwj. you could also go to did you move to a new state in the last 10 years and why? we will show you yesterday's news conference with the census bureau and the acting director announcing the results of the 2020 count. >> the 2020 census took a snapshot of all people living in the united states on april 1, 2020. the results are in. the number of people living in the united states was 331 million.
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this present 7.4% over the official population count. this population growth rate is lower than the previous growth rate of 9.7% between 2000 and 2010 census is. the growth rate from 2012 until -- 2010-2020 is the seconds lowest in history. it was only slightly more than the 7.3 percent increase between 1930 and 1940. the south grew the fastest over the last decade with a 10.2% increase in population followed by the west with 9.2%. the northeast with 4.1%. the midwest with 3.1%. host: acting bureau director yesterday talking about the numbers. what does this mean for seats in
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congress? here's what the acting director had to say. >> since 1940, the regional trend had been an increase in the number of congressional seats for the south and west at and lots of seats for the northeast and midwest -- loss of seats for the northeast and midwest. there has been a combined net shift to the south and west regions. overall the effect of the 2020 census population count is a shift of seven seats among the 13 states, the smallest number of seats shifting since the current method of calculating was adopted in 1941. six states will gain seats. texas will gain two seats. colorado, florida, montana, north carolina, and oregon will gain one seat. seven states will each lose one seat in the house.
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california, illinois, michigan, new york, ohio, pennsylvania, and west virginia. the number of seats for the remaining 87 dates will not change. host: the acting director of the bureau for the u.s. census department yesterday laying out the numbers from the 2020 census . there are many reasons why you saw seats shift in congress. low birth rates, increasing death rate. a part of the story is also people moving. we want to hear from you this morning. did you move to a new state in the last 10 years? what were the factors? was it a different job? better housing? better schools? maybe better weather. we will get your calls in a minute. joining us this morning's reid wilson. use the national reporter with the hill newspaper here to talk about what this means for
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congress. your headline, six states to gain house seats, seven to lose seats. was this expected? guest: alabama, rhode island, and minnesota -- all three of those states kept their seats. good news for them. there were at least a couple of states, texas and florida that the game seats but we all thought they were going to gain more seats. outside estimates thought texas might gain four and florida would gain at least two. they only ended up gaining one. a lot of looks thought arizona would gain a seat. basically a congressional district in los angeles county moved to phoenix over the last decade.
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it was not quite enough to get there. some of these margins that states kept or lost seats were incredibly narrow. new york lost its district by eight -- 89 people. but his two buses full of people if they stayed in new york, new york would've kept their extra seat. that's even house went to minnesota, they kept their seat by 26 residents. it tells you just how close a lot of these final seats are decided. host: could be states contest when it is so close? guest: i think we will see some, especially a place like new york. we will see what they are going to do. there's always some a litigation about accurate counts, where people live, anything like that. with the pandemic, the shift in
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the census, they had to make up a lot of procedures on the fly in the face of the pandemic. i think we will see a little litigation around that. things could get nasty when two states end up suing each other, those lawsuits go straight to the u.s. supreme court. it will be headed to the court soon. host: what does this mean for political power? guest: it's a pretty minor shift. it continues a trend we are seeing the last century of people moving out of the northeast and into the sunbelt. one difference is for the first time, california lost a house seat instead of gaining one. in the last census they stayed flat at 53. that tells you people are moving out of more expensive areas and into the sunbelt and some of these growing areas.
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we talked about explosive growth in texas, arizona, nevada, the entire mountain west. the number of electoral college votes will shrink in states that joe biden one -- won. though states are the ones that are changing the most quickly. looking at the lens, that is sort of looking backwards as opposed to looking forwards with the shift in the coming years. host: does this impact the 2022 election cycle for congressional seats? guest: much more deeply than the states gain and lose seats. they are required to redraw their political boundaries. there are going to be new lines in four states. six states have at-large members
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are they don't draw a district lines. the other 44 states will get together and draw new maps. that will matter over the long run. the numbers we got yesterday were statewide numbers. we know who will gain a seat. we don't yet know the data that will tell us where those seats actually go and how the balance of power shifts. it is going to shift and not just in the state for gain or lose seats. host: how many states have required an independent commission or source to do their legislatures? guest: i should've counted before we went on air. the number has grown in recent years. new mexico just past an advisory council that will create this
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and they would could tinker with the legislature if they want. that was the big trend of redistributing in the last decade. they want to create as many of these new districts as possible to draw the lines out of the state legislatures. looking at where either party controls the redistricting process, it is clear republicans have a substantial advantage. they have the power to draw somewhere around 187, 189 -- of course you've got big pockets of democrats even in red states. to present the democrats who have the power to have about 80 districts. republican start off with an advantage. they are controlled by that independent redistricting commission or the six states that have one member but don't get to redraw the congressional maps. host: states like california and
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new york spent hundreds of millions of dollars to get a complete count. that is a quote from your story. why would they spend money to get an accurate count, what is on the line? guest: the u.s. census is the number the federal government uses to decide how they will spend money. the funding for the department of education, you man-made government program, there are some estimates that say for every single person that a state counts in a u.s. census is worth something like $20,000 or $30,000 over that tenure. we are talking about billions of dollars at stake. states like california and new york want to make sure absolutely everybody got counted.
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rhode island pioneered a program where they would pay people to live in the state. i guess that works. other states like west virginia tried to do the same thing, they tried to pay people to live there, that did not work. in a state like texas, they did spend a lot of money on a complete count campaign. they used some covid stimulus money in the last part of the last year. texas and florida both lost out on what we thought was going to be an extra seat. texas got two, we thought they would get three. florida got one, we thought they would get two. it is not clear to me yet that this would've made a difference. texas was about 200,000 people away. host: our question for our viewers this morning's did you move to a new state in the last
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10 years? you write in your piece another quote from your story, we continue to see movement to the sunbelt but not quite as dramatically in the past. the great recession held it up a little bit in the giving of the decade. people are leaving coastal costly places, i think california is a piece of that. that is from william fray. what did you find, what did he find in these numbers? guest: one of the things that really stood out to me with these population numbers over the last decade is just how much of a hangover we are still feeling in the great recession. one of the things they said is the u.s. population grew by 7.4% over the last decade, seconds lowest growth rate for any senses since we started counting people. the only other one that was slower was the decade of the 1930's, lori dealing with?
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the depression. the hangover from this, these economic disasters we go through could last decades or longer. during the recession -- during the depression, we have the massive innovation boom that created the baby boomer generation. we have that population back. this time around, that is not happening. people are getting older, they are having fewer kids. they are contributing what they call a baby bust. even some of the growth rate was slowing before the recession. we are going to this long-term trend of people staying in place, they are not having families that are as big as they were in the past. immigration is slowing down first because of the recession ended in the later part of the decade because of some of the trump administration's policies.
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we are living longer so we are getting older. we have more and more people paying into the system who are taking the retirement benefits they earned. at the same time we have fewer and fewer people contributing to the programs that administer retirement programs. we are going to be dealing with the effects of the recession from 2008, 2 thousand 9, 2010 as long as you and i are doing this. host: you could find his reporting on the census and other topics if you go to, follow them on twitter and follow reid wilson at politics reid. we will turn to all of you and open up the conversation. did you move to a new state in the last 10 years? did we need to widen the conversation to did you want to move and couldn't for whatever reason? if you live in the eastern
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central part of the country, (202) 748-8000. now pacific areas, -- mountain pacific areas, (202) 748-8001. there was a study about people migrating to other states, one in 20 u.s. adults said they personally moved out of where they were living permanently or temporarily due to the covid-19 outbreak. this is a recent study. about one in 10 young adults said they moved because of covid-19. take a look at some other numbers as well. financially was the most important to those surveyed. in november, one third of u.s. adults move due to the pandemic citing financial problems. 17% said job loss, 15% said financial problems other than job loss. that compared to 18% with
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financial reasons or job loss in june. if you want to move but you couldn't, please dial in this morning and tell us your reasons why. the new york times this morning due to story about what is happening in the state of california, we talked a little bit about that with reid wilson, california lost population. one of those reasons was housing. this from the new york times. the cost of housing is one of the state's signature challenges. the executive director of housing california estimates the state is short at least 1.2 million units of affordable housing. the median price -- median price for a single-family home in california hit a record of 758,009 hundred $90 in march. that is up 24% from a year ago. they often contend a system of taxation which leans heavily on higher news have driven out wealthy californians. research has shown lower income families are the ones departing.
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jerry into kabul washington, things are hanging on the line that dashed into -- in tacoma, washington. caller: originally i am a southerner from the dallas area. i moved to the pacific northwest, the seattle area to attend college some 20 years ago. i moved up here because it was the place to be at the time and all that stuff. we are in the process of moving now. we are moving back to texas because our home here when we initially bought it was around 300,000. now it is close to $1 million. we could move down and buy a cheaper, neuhaus, the weather is better there. most of the african-americans are moving back to the south.
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we are an african-american family. there's a big migration in the last 10 or 15 years. even though those numbers in those states may seem like there are more people coming, i'm willing to bet those are more african-americans. host: why do you think that is? caller: my networking. i communicate with african-americans across the country and we are going back to the south, the weather is better, cost of living is better. most of us are connected to the south in a different way so it gives us our roots back home. even like here, the population is still increasing in the seattle area but it is mostly people from the west coast. the california area moving up because it is more expensive. they are moving here to a less expensive area. the weather is not as hot. in the case of most of us we want to go back to the south
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because it is colder up here. host: are you retirement, close to retirement? caller: i'm a long ways from retirement, i wish. i'm in my 40's. host: what are job prospects like in texas? caller: i'm in education so it is never an issue for me. i can go from smu to an hbcu. with the price we brought our -- bought our house at in the price we will be selling it at, we will be able to pick and choose what we want to do. we might get into our own business and do something different. host: steve in south carolina, your turn. caller: yes, good morning. caller:host: you moved in the last 10 years? caller: yes, i did. i moved from pennsylvania to south carolina.
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reasoning was basically 2, 1 was the property taxes on our home in pennsylvania was high enough that we felt like we were making about -- -- another mortgage payment every month. it was a high mortgage. our house was paid off, i was getting ready to retire. the mortgage was paid off and we ended up paying a property tax. when i was working there, no problem. when i was getting ready to retire it did not make economic sense. we picked up, got on the rv and rode around the country for a
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few months, about six to be exact. we wound up in south carolina, better weather too, we didn't have snow. host: what is the taxation like in south carolina versus pennsylvania? caller: on the home we own down here, there's about 1/7 of what i was paying in pennsylvania. one month's taxes in pennsylvania is about what i pay for a year in south carolina. host: why didn't you continue in the rv going from place to place? caller: my wife got tired of it. i did have one question i was thing about when they were talking about the population decreased in the united states.
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i do totally believe they should do something about our immigration laws, right now they are in terrible shape. i was wondering -- i know this is controversial, abortion. how does that affect -- how many future citizens are lost every year to abortion? that is my comments for today. host: david in portland, oregon, we will go to you next. caller: it was adjusting to hear the caller from washington, that's a similar story to what i have in portland, oregon. i have not moved in the last 10 years but recently my company has. they are moving to austin, texas. they are doing it now that some of the other companies in the pandemic, they are letting people work from home.
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they are not planning on asking people ever to come back to the office because it has worked pretty well. was adjusting about our story is the company is paying our employees a $10,000 relocation bonus if they want to move to austin, texas. i have heard 30 plus employees are going to take them up on that. host: how does that compare with your company? caller: like 100, about one third. host: why do you think it is that folks are in portland are more attracted -- they could work from home. they are attracted to the idea of moving to austin, texas. one of you heard from your colleagues? caller: taxes, for the company i believe taxes was a big thing. the ceo recently moved to austin for this reason, so you could
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have the company base out of there. i think some family reasons as well. host: like what? caller: i think the ceo had some family ties there. we have a really young workforce in our company. it is easier for young people to move at this point because they don't necessarily -- a didn't settle in any given area. host: steve, have you moved in the last 10 years? caller: i have. i started in 2010 at nebraska at the university. after that i moved to colorado for a job. i was there for a while. then i moved to california for another job opportunity. then i got married and now i live in kentucky.
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i have lived a lot of places around the country. for different reasons. host: why did you land in lexington? caller: my wife's family is from here. during covid we thought we would move closer to family, we recently got married, we wanted to be a little more stable. we might want to move back west. the reason i had these opportunity, the whole covid change i was able to take it a lot easier because i was used to working from home. i keep finding these
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opportunities to work remotely with other jobs. i think they should keep implementing these work from home. it helps everybody, it helps families, mothers, i think it is a good move for the country. host: what is the cost of living like in lexington versus your experience out west? caller: kentucky is definitely a less expensive place compared to out west. the cost of living is a lot lower here. taxes are definitely a lot lower. living on year, raising a family, there is attractiveness to living in the less-expensive area. host: what is the reasons for possibly moving back to the west? caller: out west there is more people with our like us, sense
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of values, our ideals. host: she writes my husband and i lived in new jersey all of our lives, getting close to retirement and trying to decide if we could afford to retire. high taxes, it almost seems as if they are trying to push people to leave the state. harvey, tell us your story. caller: my mother and many other relatives left the south in the 1940's and 1950's, virginia, north carolina, south carolina, georgia. they are in the twilight of their years. that is the demographic many people have really taken a look at. what happened in south carolina
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with jamie harrison and in georgia with raphael warnock and others, that is the changing demographics of african-americans. maybe determination to leave the south is now returning back. i think that is something that needs to be taking a look at as well. host: you're saying african-americans have more financial security because they moved up north and now they are moving back? caller: and with greater knowledge of the political process and less fear. many of them left because they were afraid, they weren't given the full opportunity to have all of their rights. they moved north and became educated. they became greater financial stability. you will see the impact of that to the south and that will be
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reflected in the political power. host: john says i will make a prediction, the trend towards the south and west is temporary as climate change makes this -- the states hotter. texas and florida will be a migration northward. some of these states are already hot and humid, wait 10 years. caller: hello? host: are you in florida? caller: yes. i just moved in the last 10 years. knoxville, tennessee. long story short, tennessee is a wonderful, you do. , -- beautiful state.
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a lot of people are not aware of it. florida is ok, but florida is turning into another new york. host: in what way? caller: i live in the ormond beach area and a developer is going to build 10,000 new homes right across route 40 from where i am living now. host: when you say it is becoming like new york, is it just the crowds? or cost as well? caller: a little bit of everything. everything changes. that is the one thing we can be aware of. over 15 years of moving with the military and educational opportunities -- i am originally a philadelphian. to me, i am an adventurer. i literally have traveled all
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over the world with the military. i just find change is natural. sometimes, it is frustrating. sometimes, it is enjoyable. tennessee is beautiful. great, wonderful people. i love my time in tennessee. prior to that, connecticut. hawaii, portland, oregon, baltimore, washington, d.c. i have had a full life experience and i am turning 76 in two weeks. host: thank you for calling. we will broaden out the conversation here this morning and get your thoughts overall on the census data that came out. the headlines this morning
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reflect this type of news. u.s. population sees the smallest gain since the depression. the growth rate has slowed to a rate that -- the slowest since the 1930's. as you heard, the impact of that is a shift in representation in the congress. texas gaining two seats. other states gaining seats. the northwest and the rust belt losing seats. california losing a seat. your reaction to these census numbers and a shift in a political power -- in political power in the south. if you are -- if you live in the eastern/central part of the count -- country, (202) 748-8000
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. let's show you what the acting director of the census bureau said yesterday. >> the 2020 census took a snapshot of all people living in the u.s. on april 1, 2020, and the results are in. according to the census, the number of people living in the united states was 331,449,281. this represents an increase of 7.4% from the 2010 census. this growth rate is slower than the previous growth rate of nine point 7% between the 20,000 -- between the 2000 and 2010 census. the country's 7.4% increase this
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decade is only slightly more than the increase between 1930 and 1940. the south grew the fastest over the last decade, 10.2% increase. followed by the west with 9.2%. northeast, 4.1%. host: from yesterday's announcement, the first wave of numbers in the 2020 census count. your reaction to them. richard in minneapolis. what did you make of the news? caller: well, we lost a representative by 89 votes. i have a house in south dakota. minnesota is so tax crazy. if you have any kind of dealings or property, you still have to
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pay income taxes in minnesota. minnesota is like hotel california. you can check out but you can never leave. host: texas gained two seats from this latest 2020 census. here is how it shakes out for congressional apportionment. colorado, florida, montana, north carolina, and oregon gained a seat. michigan -- california, illinois, and michigan. california, illinois, michigan, new york, ohio, pennsylvania, west virginia all lost a seat. your reaction? cory in illinois. what did you think? caller: i think this is going to
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continue to see people moved to the south and west because nobody wants to live under democrat control. you had a caller earlier from south carolina. i am an african-american, too. the worst place to live is under democrat controlled new york, illinois, california. high taxes, high crime, bad food, misery. why on earth would you go to a great state like south carolina and vote for the same moron? people vote with their feet. we see people moved to texas, moved to florida, because those places are free. what i would say to all of these other colors, don't move to
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these new states and vote for the democrat politicians that are ruining the places you're moving from. i am looking to head to indiana in the next couple of years. indiana, the quality of life is better. the economy is better. it is safer. much, much, much lower property taxes. illinois has lost population years upon years upon years because the democrat control of illinois. same thing in florida, same thing in new york. that is why people are moving to kentucky and tennessee and georgia and florida and texas and arizona and utah. republican-controlled states are much better.
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that is just a fact. host: speaking of california and the democratic governor, governor gavin newsom recalled -- the recall effort is officially triggered as the verified signature campaign is met. james in texas. good morning. -- verified signature threshold is met. james in texas. good morning. caller: myself and so many other californians moved to texas because of the pandemic. we can work anywhere. host: we are listening. caller: we all moved to texas. to be honest, my grandparents moved to california back in the
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1950's when it was an amazing place to live. they are bankrolling their housing policies at the expense of the young. texas, no income tax, great place to live. host: how much more do you have in your pocket every month? caller: a lot more. especially in terms of -- host: how much were you spending on housing in california versus now in texas? caller: $2200 in southern california and i am spending around $1000. the place is much nicer. two fitness facilities. in houston -- the zoning issues
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in california, i am sick of looking at homeless and the destitute. host: here is a tweet from one of our viewers. older people are staying put. rich people to go -- go wherever is comfortable to them based on the weather. caller: good morning. you look great today. host: thank you. caller: i live in the chicago area. we get taxed and taxed and taxed and taxed. we were -- they passed this crazy law where you could only do a certain amount of barrels. all of the companies went to austin, north carolina. a lot young people were doing
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that. what makes me nervous is the idea -- the south getting more representation. i do not want to offend those people. women's rights and human being rights in general, it makes me nervous. the reason why places are growing in population is because of the younger people coming down and in the next 10 years, the amount of elderly is supposed to explode with the baby boomers. i see that in the next few years, you will see a population drop there, too. the south growing by 10%. those poor ladies, all they can do is cross their fingers and hope. host: the headline in the washington post about the shift in power says the shift in the
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south is likely to benefit republicans. facebook, moved from california to virginia. california absolutely moved -- deserves the decrease. california losing one seat, going from 53 in the house to 52. good morning. caller: good morning. i have been all over the united states. i was in nevada last week. i have been all over california. some of the states at west -- i
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do not know about the cost of living. once you get down in the south, the cost of living is cheaper, but -- i own three houses. you may not have the higher taxes. you have revenue that you derive from poor people. therefore, -- i own three houses. people coming down south, you have to put up with the heat. it is almost impossible for me to go outside because the pollen is so bad. i did not use to a sinus problem.
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host: travis on facebook posts this -- moved from -- posts this -- as many citizens moved from blue to red states, expect that states like florida and texas will turn blue. my wife and i anticipate moving to the gulf side of florida to enjoy the weather and outdoors. we will work to flip that state blue. brian in michigan. what are your thoughts on the 2020 census? caller: can you hear me? host: we can. caller: the generalities when you get a country of over 300 million, it is tough for me to comprehend. i grew up in the fastest growing
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neighborhood, metro detroit, in the whole united states, and history shows that. we lived in four-bedroom houses. i grew up with four brothers. five boys. believe me, we were not the largest family on the street. there were 5, 6, 7. some families had three but most of them were four or five. there were a lot of people. we have changed a lot. certainly, with birth control, we can understand that. things change and people move around. i moved all around. i was a sailor by trade out of the ocean. people do move through time, no doubt. there is a momentum sometime, too.
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a lot about money. i am sure that is part of that, taxes, this and that. i would suggest to the last caller, when you think you are going to go to another state and try to change it or flip it, why don't you just take care of your own life and mind your own business? when you get to another state, blend in and take your time and enjoy life. host: here is another viewer who sends us a text from clearwater, florida. moved from new jersey to florida in 2013. reason? retirement. kevin from pennsylvania. caller: yes, thank you for taking my call. i moved to florida because of the high taxes. down here in florida, it is so much better.
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i should have done this 10 years ago. it is a better state. democrats, high crime, high taxes. i am voting republican. thank you. host: here is ray in aurora, colorado. my wife and i moved from florida to colorado because the colorado weather and climate are better for help. -- health. john in north carolina, north carolina picks up a seat by virtue of yankees flaying -- fleeing blue states. not worth it. i want to show our viewers the morning headlines from across the country. go ahead, joseph. caller: my wife and i moved from massachusetts to naples, florida. we were skiers and we did enjoy
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the northeast. however, our taxes here in florida are in the $4000 range. where we left, it would be $15,000. that was a major factor. obviously, there is no state income tax, and that is a major factor as well in terms of saving a great deal of money. i also have come to realize that there are fewer services here in florida than there would be available in massachusetts. obviously, a state like florida, it is dependent upon people coming from other states where they are able to increase their taxes through the sales tax of items people purchase. that becomes a major factor in
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why a state like florida can be successful. there is a lot of available land in florida so they are constantly moving new homes. the cost of new homes here can be as low as 300,000. the place in massachusetts where i lived, the median income, medium -- median price of a home was $1 million. host: joseph in naples. caller: here in naples, it is closer to the $300,000 range. host: got it. james on facebook. the fact that the representation of a population made to fit a fixed number of political representatives. he is noting the census divides the u.s. population number by 435. that is how they come up with apportionment. what has never made sense to me,
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dilution of individual access to political decision-making. politicians are not a rare resource and so with each census, we lose freedom as citizens on the whole, regardless of changes at the state level. take a look at what the acting bureau director had to say yesterday about what these results mean for congressional seats. >> since 1940, the regional trend of apportionment has been an increase in the number of congressional seats for the south and west and a loss of congressional seats for the northeast and midwest. since 1940 -- since 1940, there has been a combined net shift of 84 seats to the south and west regions. the effect of the official 2020 census population counts is a shift of seven seats among 13 states, which is the smallest number of seats shifting in any states since the method of
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counting apportionment was adopted in 1941. six states will -- six seats -- six states will gain seats. seven states will lose one seat under the house. california, illinois, michigan, new york, ohio, and sylvania, and west virginia. -- pennsylvania, and west virginia. the number of seats for the remaining 37 states will not change. host: from yesterday's news conference, the acting census bureau director. you can find it on our website, gary mitchell reacts to the apportionment. yes, texas picks up two seats, 4 million new residents. arizona, good morning. caller: good morning.
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it is hard to trust it given who was in charge of it. i moved from michigan to arizona. it does not snow here. it is hotter than hades but you know it is coming and you know when. the snow did not know when to quit when it did come. it seems to me that you have arizona flipped over and we have democratic senators, which is unheard of. texas, arizona, florida, they seem to be slipping more into the purple zone. i think that is a good thing. host: is your cost of living less in arizona?
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caller: it is a little more out here. i cannot tell because i have not been back to michigan in 20 years. depending on how you want to live and what part of town, everything is more expensive. out there, you could live cheap if you wanted to live in an older, seedier part of town. host: i want to tell you what is happening on capitol hill today. the executives from facebook, google, and youtube will be testifying before the senate judiciary subcommittee about the logarithms they used and the impact of those on users. that is at 10:00 eastern following today's washington journal. we will bring you their life.
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-- there live. you can also watch on our website,, or the free c-span radio app. two house members of congress, represented of -- members of congress write about the logarithms used. they write this -- if you like cat videos, great. you will get an endless supply. the same is true for the darkest content on the web. human nature, the content most likely to keep us glued to our screens is that which confirms our prejudices and triggers our basest emotions. social media logarithms do not have a conservative or liberal bias but they know if we do. there bias is to reinforce hours at the cost of making us more angry, anxious, and afraid. you can listen to the questioning of those social media executives right here on c-span at 10:00 eastern.
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stephen in ohio, good morning. we are talking about the 2020 census, the slowest growth rate since the 1930's. go ahead. caller: thank you so much. it is good to see you this morning. listen, i know what it really is, in my opinion. the high crime rate under the blue states. chicago, new york, los angeles. they are moving south because they are escaping the high crime rate. they do not want to say it but i am 73 years old and i was here when everybody was having a good time. the crime rate is following them to the south. thank you. host: gainesville, virginia, your turn, diedrich. caller: thank you.
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there is a point i would like to make quickly. we are hearing about the blue states and red states. the southern states as a whole, on an average of one dollar they put in, they get one dollar 72 back. they will be financed by the northern states and western states. if they had to pay their fair share of taxes, i guarantee you will not see the population being the same. it is almost like they are being financed by other states. kentucky, mississippi, alabama, georgia. they are not paying their fair share of taxes. host: florida, brett. caller: yes, ma'am. i am from the south side of atlanta, georgia. i was tired when i was 51 years
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old. my family had a beach house. my mom signed it over to me in 2007. i retired early and i have been working. i moved down here and got out of georgia. it crept my style. -- cramped my style. i moved down to the beach to be a beach bum and hurricane michael came along. i did not have no insurance. the small business administration gave me an assistance loan on a replacement home. i am the happiest person i know of and the happiest person on the face of this earth. i have the beach across the street from my house.
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my property taxes are $230 a year. no tax on food. low property taxes. it is a beautiful life. host: do you want to switch places? caller: washington, d.c.? host: you can have the chair and i will go to the beach. caller: all of the existing homes have been picked clean. lots are going for half $1 million. host: brett in florida. go back to the beach. sounds lovely. we will take a break. this afternoon, a congressional hearing on unaccompanied migrant children is taking place. we will talk about that later on. when we come back, we will turn our attention to the biden
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administration's evolving policy on refugee admissions into the united states. we will talk to the migration policy institute's randy capps. we will be right back. ♪ ♪
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>> saturday, a live conversation with author ross talbot. >> progress has not ceased but it is progress along a particular dimension that then feeds back into the larger pattern of decadence because it leads people to spend more and more time in virtual reality simulations and to retreat from both certain kinds of economic activity and also to bring us to another force, retreat from family formation, romance, sex, childbearing, which is what the aspect of decadence i call sterility. >> other titles include privilege and bad religion. join us for the conversation sunday at noon eastern on both tv on c-span2.
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be sure to visit to get your copy of his book. >> "washington journal" continues. host: joining us this morning is randy capps. he is the u.s. programs director of research at the migration policy institute. he is here to talk about refugee policy. what is the official policy of letting refugees into the u.s. right now? guest: officially, the policy is if someone has been persecuted against or fears persecution due to race, nationality, religion, membership in certain social group, they can be admitted as a refugee. host: let's take a look at the trump administration's policy. 15,000 cap in this fiscal year 2021.
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the biden administration plans to raise the cap 262.5 in fy 2021. -- cap to 62.5 in fy 2021. caller: we had an announcement early that they would raise it to 62.5. then we had an announcement in the middle of the month that it would remain at 15,000. right now, we are waiting to find out what it actually will be. host: i want to show our viewers and have you react to jen psaki last week on the challenges with raising the cap. >> we have every intention of putting out an increased cap and we hope to do that soon in advance of may 15. i will not get into private conversations between the president and members of his national security team, what i will say one of the teams that has been on his mind that was covered in a number of those stories are the challenges and
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the challenges to our resources. one of those is refugee processing in a big global system. there have muscles that have atrophied over the last few years. his concern was is the system prepared? by setting a larger cap, we are sending a message, get your muscles back in action so we can welcome a refugees and continue to strive toward the goal he has always maintained of 125,000 refugees for next year. our policy has not changed. it is a matter of what we think we can get to the share. host: randy capps what is she referring to when she says muscles are atrophied? guest: they have people they send out to screen refugees. they work with the international organizations to find refugees
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in camps and other places around the world, find out if they meet the legal definition of a refugee and to help conduct security screenings for them. a lot of those officers were recalled during the trump administration. many of them have been deployed to the border to screen asylum cases. in general, that system for screening refugees overseas really did atrophy over the last few years. host: according to your group, u.s. asylum and refugee laws state the following -- resettled refugees and those granted asylum are eligible to apply for a green card after one year. refugee status is provided to people who are vetted abroad and approved for resettlement. they must demonstrate persecution or credible fear of persecution. what is the demand to come to the u.s. for refugees, and where across the globe? guest: the refugee crisis is
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worldwide. we have over 70 million refugees , the most since world war ii. the demand is unlimited. you have countries like venezuela, democratic republic of congo, syria, and iraq, afghanistan, a big refugee can't -- crisis in myanmar. a lot of different hotspots in the world that are generating historically large numbers of refugees. host: what do they have to demonstrate -- due to demonstrate persecution or credible fear of persecution? guest: they would have to document -- through their stories and what could be confirmed with conditions in certain countries that they are fleeing -- for instance, the violence in syria, government
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sponsored violence. the democratic republic of kong a. clearly, it is easy to -- the democratic republic of congo. they would have to demonstrate that persecution exists and they were subject to it or it was likely to affect them if they had to stay in their countries. host: how long does the process take? on average, for someone to claim asylum and get to the u.s.? guest: it can take one year to two years. it is not just proving that they have a fear of persecution. it is also passing multiple security tests that the u.s. has administered since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. we have beefed up the security of all the different agencies. it is a multi agency process.
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it is very cumbersome and takes a lot of time. host: once they are in the united states, how often are they checking in with authorities? guest: once they are inside the u.s., there is very intensive management during the first few weeks. they are resettled by voluntary agency. they are nonprofits that have some government funding that provide the basic systems for the next -- first few weeks or months. then they have case managers at the office of refugee resettlement. they can provide services of up to five years. they have to check in with u.s. immigration services when they are eligible for a green card. host: we showed the numbers comparing the numbers comparing the trump administration with the biden administration.
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what was the impact of the policy? guest: at the end of the obama administration, they admitted about 85,000 refugees. they planned on a cap of 115,000. the trump administration, one of the first things they did was to ban admission from certain muslim countries. many of those were refugee sending countries. somalia, yemen were outright banned. they set the cap lower and lower until it reached 15,000 last year. most years, they did not feel that cap. at the same time, when fewer refugees were being resettled, it left those agencies because
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they are funded based on the number of refugees they resettle . that part of the system atrophied. the u.s. citizenship and immigration services withdrew their refugee screening officers and redeployed many of them on asylum cases at the border. finally, the u.s. department of state, which arranges the travel and provides the initial settlement assistance. the state department lost 15 or 20% of its total staff. host: is that money being restored under the biden administration? guest: the appropriations are still there. they're working on rehiring. they are working on redeploying.
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the biden administration has suggested they want to fund the office of refugee resettlement with $4 million. host: we are talking with randy capps about refugee policy in the country. we want to get your questions and thoughts on it. if you are a republican, (202) 748-8000. democrat, (202) 748-8001. if you are a refugee in the u.s., we want to hear your story. (202) 748-8003. gettysburg, pennsylvania. good morning. caller: hello. my question simply was, why the
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u.s. cannot afford to be more selective with choosing refugees who come here. i was thinking that, i was thinking refugee policy could be altered to become more like canada's. more selective but accepting of the fact that refugees are fleeing persecution. host: randy capps? guest: it is true that canada has a different, more selective overall immigration policy, but they also do take a large number of refugees. not as many as we have historically, what i believe it is more at the moment, but proportionate to their population, they do accept a bit more than we do. there are two different groups. immigrants in general are selected more on education and
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skills in canada and more on family ties in the u.s.. that system is a little more selective in canada. refugees are a different subgroup. for refugees, in both countries, they try to select a mix of people by looking at those who are most in need. host: massachusetts, republican. caller: good morning. venezuela, guatemala, and el salvador, we give them money. it goes into the pockets of american politicians. nothing for the people, nothing for anyone in the country. all of these people fleeing these countries, they are financial refugees. america is a great place to look a -- make a living. maybe they are starving where
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they are. you are overwhelming our school systems. we have to shut down classes of all kinds. so we can hire dozens of teachers to teach these illegal immigrants. they are putting in 15 and 16-year-olds in with five-year-olds. host: randy capps? guest: you are correct when you're are talking about the governments of central america. there are a lot of problems with corruption and poor governance. there is a lot of controversy about how we distribute the aid. we have tried the u.s. -- the u.s. government has tried to provide the assistance through ngos and other sources so that it cannot be siphoned off. really, something about the governance -- clearly, something about the governance of those countries has to change. it is also true, as president
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once said, the u.s. is a beacon -- as president reagan once said, the u.s. is a beacon on a hill. a mix of people fleeing true persecution and those who are coming for economic advancement. that is what our asylum system is struggling to do, to screen who really meets the rough -- definition of refugee. the refugee program primarily accepts people from other regions. that screening program is much more intensive. it really does focus on people who are flaying religious persecution -- fleeing religious persecution and such. host: we will take a deeper dive later on into the northern triangle and why citizens from
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those countries are migrating to the u.s. randy capps, kamala harris met virtually with guatemala's leader and pledged more assistance and strengthening cooperation to better manage the increase in migration. when people come from the northern triangle and they claim asylum, what happens? guest: the first thing that happens is that the border patrol decides what to do with them depending on whether they come as adults, a family group, children. if they come as children, go to the office of refugee resettlement. families are generally released. some of them are still being expelled. but they are generally released. adults are often detained.
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it is a process. they go through immigration courts to hear their asylum claims. immigration and citizenship will screen. if they have a credible -- they go into the details of their asylum claims and that takes a long time. that is the central issue. it is taking years for most of those central american asylum claims to be adjudicated. the reason why so many unauthorized immigrants are appearing in local communities, the children are in school, etc., they do not get the determination of whether they have a valid asylum claim often for years. that allows them to disappear into the general unauthorized immigrant population. host: michigan, independent.
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jim, it is your turn. question or comment? caller: if we do not concentrate on going after the bad guys in central america, if we do not wipe those guys out, people do not have to worry about emigrating. guest: as -- i believe the prior caller mentioned, the difficulty is there is poor governance in those areas. the venezuelan government -- the honduran president's brother has been convicted on drug charges in the u.s. it is really a mess. go back a few decades, civil wars all over the region. determining who the good guys are and bad guys are in the region is very difficult. now, a strategy to address that
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is to build up the authorities -- police, prosecutors, detention system -- two make those systems less corrupt -- to make those systems less corrupt, increase the rule of law. the u.s. has been funding that through usaid programs for several years with limited success. it is tough because some of the bad actors are in the governments of these countries. host: this is a tweet from one of our viewers who wants to know -- immigration is needed. it is always going to hurt usa society and south american slave wage workers. what have been the benefits of
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allowing refugees into our country? guest: when we talk about refugees, of course, we have to differentiate them from the unauthorized immigrant population. unauthorized immigrants, many of them work under the table. some of them work with false documents. they also do generate a lot of benefit for the country, to. they take a lot of jobs that other people in the country do not want to take, working the fields, growing crops, working and plans to process the food, etc. refugees are a different story. they are formerly employed and insisted -- and assisted in finding formal employment. the vast majority of them do find employment.
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they are required to do that within their first few months in the country. they are allowed and provided federal assistance for retraining and education. many refugees are highly skilled. they may have been doctors or scientists in their own countries. certain countries -- russia, former soviet republics, iran come to mind have sent a lot of qualified refugees to the country. that is a formal system. the numbers are small. 100,000 refugees coming in any given year and it is more like 60,000-70,000 historically. that cannot have much of an impact on a labor force of 150 million. host: pennsylvania, a republican. good morning, john. caller: i would like to bring up
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a couple of facts. right now, we are trying universal basic income in this country because they realize that in the future, automation will do away with jobs. what are we going to do with all of these uneducated immigrants? another point, biden wants less pollution. every human being in this country creates 16 tons of carbon footprint. these are a few things that are going to happen. host: let's direct those comments at the refugee policy. do we need refugees in this country given the census data that just came out that shows a population growth rate slowing to the lowest since the 1930's? guest: overall, we have seen birthrates plummet from --
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plummet to 1.75. the population would shrink if we did not have additional people coming in overall. how you select those people, who should they be, again, as i mentioned earlier, refugees run the gamut on the skill spectrum from highly skilled professionals to basic levels of education. there are different kinds of jobs that are subject to automation, some more than others. i believe john is correct, we will see more and more automation in transportation. there are already self-driving cars and trucks. we have seen automation in the office, of course. there are other jobs that are much harder. they tried to automate certain
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kinds of agriculture and found that having low skilled labor work in the fields is better than automation for a lot of different kinds of crops. we have also found that it is harder to automate the kinds of jobs that have face-to-face interactions. all of that changed during the pandemic, right? people could not go out to eat in restaurants and bars and clubs and venues. all of that is likely to come back. that hospitality industry and lodging, amusement parks, all of that will come back. you have seen high demand for lower skilled immigrant labor in those industries and we have something called the h2 b program which is a temporary seasonal legal program for low skilled workers. it really has not -- prior to the pandemic, it had not been
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meeting the demand. it is not just that the population growth is slowing down to a crawl. the population is getting older. supply of younger workers for those kind of industries has been shrinking. host: maryland, david, independent. caller: thank you for taking my call. i want to reiterate what a previous caller said. he mentioned the schools are getting overcrowded and they definitely are and it seems to be so in the poorest areas. the poorest americans are most affected and they are the greatest burden.
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they are focusing on an extra year or two of teaching children alphabet or english. the poorest americans bear the burden of illegal immigration. the people who make the laws, their children do not bear that burden. what do you think about the burden on the education system? host: ok, david. guest: david is correct. public schooling is the number one cost. also costs in terms of health care and infrastructure. you can look at three different types of immigrants that tend to settle in -- refugees are resettled at government expense. there is a cap on how much they
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can spend per refugee and they are often resettled in lower income areas because the cost of housing is so high. used to be that refugees were settled in the d.c. area. most of them are resettled in baltimore now. large numbers are resettled in low income neighborhoods in major cities. the southwest part of houston, for example. the schools there and some of those cities -- in some of those cities are also receiving a lot of the children that are coming across the border, unaccompanied children, children coming with their families from central america. the schools in these communities do face additional stress. there is a role for the federal government to play. once upon a time, there was a
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significant amount of money that goes all the way back to 1986. the immigration reform and control act, a significant amount of money were sent to states where there were large numbers of immigrants being legalized. that money went down somewhat. there is definitely a need for that assistance. there is a limited amount of funding -- there could be more -- there is a limited amount of funding to assist public schools and schooling for refugee children. there have been some great programs. i know in houston, funded out of that. host: pennsylvania, democratic caller. caller: when you look at -- china had a 50-100 year plan. it is an incredibly autocratic
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society. south american and central american countries, their children are hungry. why are we not developing our own hemisphere and having factories built there instead of in china? guest: well, we did that with the north american free-trade agreement in the 1990's with mexico and it took a couple of decades, but there is a lot of manufacturing in mexico right now. automobiles, electronics, airplane parts. a lot of back and forth across the border every day. we have seen a transition in mexico. mexico was the predominant country of an authorized immigration -- unauthorized immigration across the border 15 or 20 years ago. now most of that immigration is coming from farther south. we have seen the birthrate
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plummet in mexico. we have seen the life expectancy increase. el salvador, honduras, the countries that are the main drivers of this current group of migrants, much slower than mexico. it would take a lot less investment to do that. you have the problem of governance. you have the problem of corrupt governments. you have large portions of those countries, they are experiencing high rates of violence. that has also ticked up a bit in mexico, too, unfortunately. they're starting from a lower standard of living than mexico. there is a ways to go. through the combination of the kind of development systems that can address public security, crime, reform of the government so they are less -- and investment to get jobs
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in the country. that is what the biden administration are saying they are going to pursue. it will probably take time. it took 15, 20 years in mexico, and it will take time in those countries as well. we have seen the number of guatemalans and hondurans arrested at the border increase recently. the number of salvadoreans has not increased as much. the president there is not more popular -- is more popular, the birth rate has come down, and the violence is less than it has been. there has been measured successes in el salvador one could hope would translate into improvements in guatemala as well, going forward. host: pennsylvania, republican. caller: i am really aggravated. joe biden, his administration
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has wanted these people here from when he was doing his campaign. he said he wanted them all to come over here. we have better and sleeping on the streets, homeless people, riots in our streets, trouble with the police. we have kids here that cannot eat. and $15 for food stamps, and you are giving these people who are coming over the border illegally , thousands of dollars to give the housing, give them bus fare to go wherever they want in the united states, with a pandemic going on, when they have covid? why isn't anybody picked off? -- pissed off? i am. guest: there is a pandemic going on. there are people having economic difficulty around the country. there is clearly a lot of work that needs to be done.
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there are a lot of demands that americans get benefits first. on the other hand, it is not true that people coming across the border are getting that assistance. they may get a bus ticket. the people who are getting assistance for resettlement and housing and all of that are people who are screened overseas who are truly fleeing persecution. really, my opinion is that we can do both and we should do both. we should be able to help people from other parts of the world that are needy, but we should also be taking care of our own problems. i am optimistic, though. it has been a very difficult year for many americans, for most of us, some more than others. i hope we are coming out of that now with vaccines, with the caseloads dropping, with new benefits coming out to americans all over the country. i'm hoping we can turn the corner on this.
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as that economy improves, i hope there will be space for immigrants and refugees in the economy, but it is absolutely essential that we get americans back to work as well. host: how many refugees have been allowed to stay in america to date? guest: since 1980, when the refugee program was formally legislated, about 3 million have been admitted. there have been hundreds of thousands between world war ii in 1980 that also came in under refugee-like programs, although our current program did not exist yet. probably on the order of 4 million since world war ii. host: syracuse, new york. democratic caller. caller: hello. i am concerned about how we
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distributed these refugees. right now in my area, and i don't know if this is true throughout the country, there are hundreds of help-wanted signs. everywhere i go, i see it help-wanted or hiring sign. i understand that statistically we have an unemployment problem, what i see is we have lots of jobs open. we have to put the right people in those jobs. some of those, i hope many of those, could be refugees. secondly, you don't need somebody who speaks the language. you need somebody who is able to do the work. guest: historically, the refugee program did disburse refugees around the country. big cities and small cities, a fair number were resettled in upstate new york and michigan and other states like that, into areas that had some economic
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difficulties. there was a refugee small business program that helped refugees start their own businesses, that led to some employment in those areas. back in the early 2000, i visited houston and refugees there. some had a very high level of formal education and very low english skills, and were working in manufacturing in houston at that time. a number of refugees have been taking jobs in meatpacking plants across the midwest. those are the kinds of jobs that unauthorized immigrants have taken in the past, that there has been a lot more enforcement. there has been a fair amount of enforcement against unauthorized employment. you see a lot of refugees throughout the midwest take up those meatpacking plants, jobs that don't require much formal education. host: that is in line with the text from one of our viewers, edward in keyport, new jersey.
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these highlight the successful refugee settlements of abandoned towns in the united states. guest: there was actually a study, i think in ohio, that was done of the contributions of business owners to the local economy and how they have managed to turn certain sectors of the economy around. i mentioned upstate new york as well. there has been a ferment of refugee resettlement in northern tier great lakes and rustbelt areas. there have been some great contributions of refugees to try to turn those economies around. as i mentioned earlier, a fair number of refugees do have higher skill levels, do take professional jobs. some of them are practicing in the medical field, and doing it in smaller towns and cities that are more economically depressed.
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the census data that just came out shows this ongoing shift away from the upper midwest in particular, and parts of the interior northeast and states like texas and florida in particular, and the emptying out of those northern tier states have left a population gap. those are areas where there is a need, often, for more labor, and immigrants can supply labor going forward. one of the reforms that people have talked about in terms of going forward with an immigration system that meets the country's economic needs is to allow states or local governments to propose their own numbers of immigrants they would like to see admitted to their local communities to help restart the economy. that is a conversation that has not seriously been taken up yet in congress, but as we are at an
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inflection point where we may see more immigration reform proposals, some consideration for communities that may need a lot more workers going forward, due to population decline, should be part of those conversations. host: florida, independent. caller: a neat solution to the whole salute to the whole condition is micro housing. micro housing in the united states, particularly near factories, you have grocery stores. a lot of these places that are in the city have spread out. there are homeless throughout the whole city. to have it in one spot like california, particularly los angeles is a good example -- you could spread that up and down the coastline and the interior in select spots. it would cause you to have 5000, 6000 people on one campus like a college that would have access to medical support. it would have access to grocery.
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a lot of people don't want a car. and people keep an eye on each other. we would not have the chemical dependence and stuff like that because we would have everybody watching out for each other. instead, they have tried to isolate one person in a house out in the woods and have one elderly individual run that house until they go to a nursing home. it occupies a lot of resources. a lot of buildings with eight bedrooms and three bathrooms, where in a honduras company, you would have seven families living in that one house. host: do you know what he is talking about? guest: i think he hasn't situation is critical. that is a reason people are leaving california. it has become unaffordable. despite what i spoke about earlier, you from a lot of refugees being resettled, a lot of asylum-seekers still moved to
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houston. there are large neighborhoods full of affordable housing. sometimes, those communities are , as the caller mentioned, cohesive. there have been a lot of examples of refugees from certain communities coming together, for instance the somali community in minnesota, the somali community in maine, the communion community -- cuban community in miami. those committees are known for coming together and forming cohesive communities. that is part of the social aspect. there is the economic but also social aspect, how these committees come together. it is not a given. there are asylum-seekers living in parts of houston and los angeles that have really high crime rates, and that can be a
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problem. so social cohesion is another important element. it is jobs. it is affordable housing. it is social cohesion. those are three really important elements to successful refugee and immigrant integration. host: what is the percentage of refugees that end up obtaining a green card? guest: they almost all do. they are basically required to go and apply for it after a year. it can take a little bit longer than that because of processing delays, especially now, with the pandemic and all of that. but generally, they are required to get a green card, and they have very high rates of becoming citizens, because they can get assistance. they stay in contact with the resettlement agencies that provide them assistance getting a green card. they can also get assistance becoming naturalized. refugees have pretty high rates of becoming u.s. citizens as well. host: what are you watching for
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from the biden administration on refugees? what comes next? guest: we are all waiting to find out what that cap is going to be. there is an estimated 35,000 refugees that have already been vetted who have already passed a security check and should be, could be admitted to the u.s. very quickly. so it is a matter of getting the infrastructure to fly them in and get them resettled. i would hope that the administration would at a minimum resettled those 35,000 wearing the rest of the fiscal year. we are talking about less than six months. traditionally, a lot of the resettlement has taken place for the end of the fiscal year, ring the summer. hopefully they will be able to screen more, but it will be difficult for them to get up to 62,500.
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that would be a much higher number in six months and we have seen in any recent year. it has usually been about 70,000 in the entire year. they have usually been resettling about 300 per month. they are really starting from the very, very low rate of resettlement. but i would hope at least they could get the 35,000 in the door quickly. host: for our viewers who want to learn more about migration policy, you can go to, and follow the institute on twitter. thank you for the conversation. guest: thank you once again for having me on your program. host: appreciate it. we are going to take a break. only combat, we will be joined by jim from the american association of state highway and transportation officials. we will talk about what his
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members are looking for in an infrastructure bill, that also ask you the infrastructure needs in your community. and we talk about the biden administration's options when it comes to stemming the flow of migrants to the u.s. from central america. we will be right back. ♪ >> is c-span's online store, with a selection of c-span products. each purchase helps support our nonprofit organization. order a copy of the congressional directory. and leading up to mother's day, see our newest apparel. you will get a special discount on your purchase. go to >> sunday night on "q and a,"
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investigative journalist lawrence roberts talks about his book, "mayday 1971," which examines when protesters and vietnam veterans came to washington, d.c. in an effort to shut down the federal government. >> it is a story about how we as a nation, as a people, as individuals dealt with one of those periodic convergences in american democracy. when people stick by their principles for their self preservation or fear, to stand against the tide, there was a clash between an embattled president, in this case richard nixon, who confronts a social movement in the streets, just as he is fighting. what constitutional lines did he cross in an effort to stay in
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power? >> "washington journal" continues. host: jim tymon is the director of the american association of state highway and transportation officials, here to talk about infrastructure needs in this country. that's begin with your group. what is it, and who funds you? guest: i'm with aashto, the american association of state highway and transportation officials. we are a trade organization that represents the interests of state departments of transportation across the country. our directors are the 52-state d.o.t.'s including the district of columbia and puerto rico. host: what do your members see
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as the need for infrastructure in this country? guest: clearly, we have been under investing in infrastructure for a number of years now. state and local governments have been stepping up. states have increased their revenue sources for transportation and infrastructure, but it has been 30 years since the federal government last increased the gas tax and increased substantially the amount of money they provide for infrastructure. we are really hopeful that during this congress, the biden administration will get a robust infrastructure package, as well as a reauthorization bill. host: when you say robust, what is the price tag? guest: the president has come out with a nearly $2 trillion package she has put forward.
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clearly, i think you can make the argument that the level of funding is needed to invest in our nation's infrastructure. tenant republicans came out with a smaller number last week that was more targeted towards the traditional definition, i would say, of infrastructure. i think we have got bipartisan support to invest in infrastructure. i think that is the important part. you have democrats and republicans in the house and the senate and the white house that are interested in increasing investment in transportation infrastructure. i think that is good for the country. host: let's look at the two different plans. i see the republicans unveiled a more traditional proposal. what they want to do is spend $300 billion on roads and bridges, $65 billion on broadband, public transit would get around $61 billion, airports, $44 billion. and then $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater
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systems, $20 billion for railways. inland waterways would see about $17 billion. $13 billion for safety measures. this is from the senate gop infrastructure plan. compare that with what president biden unveiled recently. six under $21 billion for roads, -- $621 billion for roads. money for manufacturing and job training. more broadband access. $400 billion for improved health care for elderly and disabled americans. jim tymon, where is the middle ground between these two? guest: i think there is a middle ground and what you have heard from democrats and republicans and president biden is that this
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is a great starting point. back then, senate republicans responded with something. it's good news. it means they want to be at the table and try to find a bipartisan agreement. if a structure has always been a bipartisan issue, and i think there will be a way for them to come together and find a middle ground. host: we are asking reviewers to tell us, what are the info structure needs in your community? republicans, (202) 748-2001. you can also send us a text. you can also send a tweet. @cspanwj is our handle. jim tymon, and it comes to infrastructure, traditional infrastructure, where would you
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rate bridges, railways, roads? what should come first? guest: i think it would be hard to pick a mode of transportation that should come first, because we have been under investing across-the-board in our nation's infrastructure. that is one of the reasons i think there is bipartisan support for a broad infrastructure package. we need federal investment in our nation's roads, our nation's bridges. our passenger and freight rail system. you mentioned the senate gop proposal has funding for wastewater and drinking water systems. all of those are areas where you can make a great case that you need to increase investment in our nation's infrastructure. the nation's economy runs on our nation's infrastructure. it provides the lifeline for our economy to thrive. if we are not investing what we
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need to invest in a, our economy is not going to be as successful as it really should be. host: what shelley moore capito said from west virginia when the senate republicans unveiled their plan and how it would be paid for. [video] >> i think it is important that you know that some of the ideas we have for pay fors -- this will be fully paid for. that is critical. we need to avoid increasing the debt. we need to shore up any infrastructure related trust fund shortfall. that does not mean raising the gas tax. that means looking at user fees and other users of our infrastructure that up to this point have not or paid very little in terms of the wear and tear they have particularly moved forward on our roads and
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highways. hybrids and those kinds of things. we have also heard a lot of talk about things we have talked about in committee. lining out our principles -- dollars have already been appropriated. there are specific ways, and i think senator toomey will talk about this as well, and it gives me the idea of this. that is to repurpose some of the unsent dollars from covid. it is no longer considered an emergency. it can relate to infrastructure. i had an amendment to that effect when we did the covid bill and said, let's repurpose these dollars to infrastructure work, knowing we would have a shortfall in the highway trust fund. the other thing would be to say to cities, counties, and states to open up the availability of covid dollars for them to be able to make matches or pay for
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infrastructure. so the other thing is to preserve the tax cuts and jobs act. that will mean retaining the salt deduction and others. other great economy building aspects of that, which we all voted for. that is the perimeters of where we are. host: jim tymon, is this republican plan to pay for it viable? guest: i think there is going to be bipartisan support for portions of those pay fors that senator caputo listed out. but it is important to get a bipartisan framework. let's get the relevant senators and house members from both parties in the room. let's get the white house in a room. let them come up with an option that has bipartisan support. there are pay fours is out there, i think, that both sides can agree with. they need to be able to get in a room and work that out. host: in west virginia coming
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independent. what is info structure like in west virginia? what do you need? caller: it is simple. infrastructure is electrical grids, water, fresh water, wastewater, roads, bridges, broadband. it does not have to deal with transsexual studies or social justice. the other point being, the other guests made a point about hydrogen powered vehicles. how do you manufacture hydrogen? it takes massive quantities of electricity to do that. what form of electricity are you going to use to manufacture hydrogen? got nuclear, coal. host: i don't want to go too far down that road. what about his first comment? guest: i think there is support for a very broad definition of what infrastructure includes. i think you saw that with the senate gop proposal.
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maybe other people have not talked about traditionally -- when the federal government starts to talk about investment in infrastructure, there is bipartisan support for investing in broadband infrastructure. every community has access to broadband so that we would be able to connect with the internet and be able to work, and for kids to be able to go to school. it's what we have been dealing with over the last 14 months. host: a republican caller. welcome to the conversation. caller: thanks for having me. i think your plans need to be tied together. i think you have multiple, multiple issues. one is your employment rate is roughly around 6%. half of them could probably not pass a drug test.
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in infrastructure, in the green bay area, there are multiple job openings for skilled labor, whether they be welders, electricians, plumbers, you name it. we don't have them. so more money at it, and all you are going to do is waste it and overheat this economy and make every other good service more expensive. guest: i think he brings up a great point about workforce development. we need to make sure that we do whatever we can to train our workers into the skill sets we are going to need to invest in our nation's infrastructure. we need to make sure we are working with construction communities to identify areas where there are needs, and try to attract those younger people that are looking for jobs into that industry. we do see a shortage and some of those skilled labor categories. we need -- we are going to do
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our best to attract new people into the workforce, into those jobs. we need to step up and invest in our nations infrastructure. host: a local question from lori in kent island, maryland. will this help the push for a third span of the chesapeake a bridge? -- chesapeake bay bridge? guest: that could be considered if there is a robust federal infrastructure package. it brings up a great point. from a transportation planning standpoint, project start at the state and local level. it has to be a priority for the locality in which it serves, as well as for the states. for that project, you have to make sure it is a high-priority project for the state of maryland. and if so, it would be able to compete
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a robust infrastructure package. he is trying to identify the most 10 impactful reviews in the country and i would think something like a third span for the chesapeake bay bridge could compete. host: allen in yonkers, new york, democratic caller. caller: how are you doing? host: fine. caller: i would like to say how they are going to pay for this. they should pay for this with a bond issue like build america bonds or municipal bonds, and also raise the capital gains a little bit. that should solve all the problems. every state, when they need money for a project, come out with bonds. i live in new york and it is built on muni bonds and i think
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the government should get involved. host: jim tymon? guest: with interest rates being as low as they are, we've heard a lot of proposals for the federal government to do more in the bonding area, certainly build america bonds is a successful program reviewed lies in the past. also, there are proposals -- successful program in the past. there are proposals, should the government borrow money as a way to shore up the highway trust fund? we are spending $15 billion, $16 billion more a year in spending then we are collecting from the revenue gas tax, so if we continue funding at our current baseline levels, we will have to come up with an extra $15 billion, $16 billion, $17 billion a year. some in congress think we should take advantage of low interest
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rates and find a way to bond for those or borrow that money to keep the trust fund solvent. but -- that deviates from the pay-as-you-go approach we relied on from the last -- for the last 50, 60 years using the gas tax. in the late 2000's we got this imbalance where we are spending more in revenue than we are bringing in, in the transportation area. one of the big debates now, whether we need to look at the federal gas tax and whether that needs to be adjusted to make sure we are paying for all the infrastructure investment we are making today. host: mark, milford, new hampshire, independent. caller: i live here in new england. we have a lot of potholes and our roads and some of our bridges, especially massachusetts and new hampshire, are in dire need of this bill going through. we even had recently over the last two years, i don't know how to pronounce it, but it is like
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poison in the water in merrimack, new jersey, a company that poisoned the waterways. i can only imagine how many jobs this would create for americans during this pandemic. before i go a question for your guest, when was the last time our country had a major infrastructure build like this? how long was it? guest: the last time we had a federal stimulus bill in 2008/2009, there was transportation infrastructure funding. when most people think back to the debate around that bill in 2008, one of the leading categories or justification for that bill was investing in roads and bridges and transit systems. in reality, it was less than 10% of the total funding for that bill, went to transportation infrastructure. it is important, as we look at
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what the president has put on the table last month, is that the vast majority of the funding that is part of that proposal will go towards infrastructure, will go -- a significant part of it, over half a trillion dollars will go to transportation infrastructure. this will be a great opportunity for the country to step up and invest. from a generational standpoint, more than we've done in the past. host: rick, idaho, republican. what's the infrastructure like? caller: good morning. i've got an idea for everybody. here in idaho, this is about the fuel tax, our octane is 91 octane premium, 89 and 87. we are $3.53 a gallon. if you add the taxes, the octane is 87, 89, and 85.
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if you add one dollar to idaho's fuel tax, we are one of the lowest paid states and that will put us at $3.50 a gallon. let's add a two dollar fuel tax to marine diesel for every oceangoing ship that comes in from the country of china. i believe the average is 500 to 1000 ships in 24 hours. if we can build up a fuel tax to marine diesel, that should retain some of the fuel tax that we may be paying. as an idea, and i need to emphasize this, nobody's paying attention to the octane. the reason we have different octane's is air mass density. simply said, it is altitude. at the higher altitude, you have to have a higher octane and it costs more. when you add one dollar to each of those, you will basically put idaho in bankruptcy. it is an idea.
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another complaint, i will wait for your response. host: all right, rick. guest: i would say that rick is clearly marvin expert on fuel octane that i am -- more of an expert on fuel octane than i am. his suggestion about taxing marine diesel and specifically on some of those oceangoing vessels coming in from china, there is probably some trade issues associated with that. but again, not nazis -- something i would be necessarily willing to weigh in on. host: tax increases under the biden administration's plan would include corporate tax rates to 28%, taxes on forest source income from u.s. multinational corporations, make it harder for businesses to merge with foreign companies to avoid u.s. taxes, and then pose
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a 15% minimum tax on income that corporate's report to shareholders. democratic caller. caller: good morning, c-span. i suppose this may be an abstract idea, but it seems what is bad in my community and just about every community across the country is the question of legislative infrastructure that is damaged, legal infrastructure that is damaged, the obtainment of permits, the flow of money, it seems that those processes need to have an open and easy flow as much as you would mean -- need on broadband. host: talking about regulations? caller: yes, regulations, laws, the congressional process that is making this very bill but you are discussing such a headache. host: jim tymon. guest: he brings up a great
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point. infrastructure investment has always been a bipartisan issue. this is a great opportunity for congress and the white house to demonstrate that washington isn't as broken as the country thinks that it is, that they can come together on a bipartisan piece of legislation and get it done for the good of the country. there is a lot of public support to invest in our nation's highways, bridges, waterways, transit system, railroads, airports. this is a safe bet for members of congress worried about signing onto a big bill. this should be a no-brainer for a lot of them. we are hopeful they are able to come together. in the past, they have always found a way to get something like this done. i think it is a win-win. host: when it comes to bipartisanship, what role does democratic senator joe manchin play? guest: there is a great example
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where you have senator manchin and also senator capita -- buddha -- who will both play a key role in getting this done. the fact that both of them, want to work together to get things done, is a good sign. i would point to most of the other leaders within the transportation community in congress, senator carper from delaware, whoc is senatoraputa's counterpart, has a very good relationship with senator caputa. they are working together on a surface transportation reauthorization bill that they hope to move forward before memorial day, and i hope that those relationships where the senators were able to work together, house members are able to get to know each other and work together, that's important because it makes it less about
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politics and more about results. i think you see that with some of the personalities, certainly senator cap[uta and senator manchin. listen to what he had to say about president biden's proposal and the republican proposal. [video clip] >> infrastructure, internet is a new infrastructure and it should be, but you are talking about transit, airports, rail systems, the air, lines as far as electricity, the grid system, all of these things need upgraded. we have to make sure with a new energy system we get it to market. all of this has to be incorporated and that's what we call traditional infrastructure. human infrastructure is something i'm worried about, and all that we've done last year and the covid bill and the american rescue bill, a lot has been done.
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>> just to be clear, it sounds like you are supporting a smaller package with what you deem -- >> more targeted. >> would you tackle everything else with 51 votes through the reconciliation process? >> if people would just think about, if we go through the process that we are supposed to, we never used to use filibuster. reconciliation is only used for budget. that's why you have the guard rails with the byrd rule. we have to get back to getting it in the communities, let the community -- committee chairs work it in those jurisdictions. i am chairman of energy and projects would come to me and we would work at, give it back to the majority, and they put it on the floor with an open process, is germane. bob byrd, who was majority leader, used to keep us here friday night, saturday. >> that was a long time ago.
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host: jim tymon, what did you hear? guest: i heard the senator is committed to trying to get things done through regular order, and that is important. he speaks to a time where it was more common for people to reach out across the aisle and try to find a partner of the opposite party to be able to work together on. i think that's the way to get this done. i think you've got a handful of members of congress interested in doing that, from the house and senate side. we haven't talked a lot about the house, but be a defazio's chair of the -- pierre defazio's chair and he has partnered up with -- graves in a bipartisan way to try to get something done with infrastructure. there's opportunities for bipartisanship and we are hopeful we will see congress come together and work that way. host: jim, whitesboro, texas, republican.
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caller: good morning. it would be nice to have a bipartisan. it is going to be difficult for republicans to support anything that is outrageous. i am sure there is a list of one or two outrageous things that could be thrown out. but you mentioned training or retraining, and you talked about for younger people. what about for those older people that are going to be displaced with the new industries and technology, whatnot? could you spend time on that? guest: sure. especially within the construction industry, people are looking for -- people are willing to go out there and work hard. it doesn't matter what age they are or what profession, or if they are new entrants into the labor force. it is important for us to reach out and to try to recruit folks into this industry, and to make sure that they have the training
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to do so. mentioned technology, one of the areas i think we are seeing great strides in thin transportation is how we are utilizing technology -- within transportation is how we are utilizing technology to maintain our infrastructure assets. whether that is utilizing drones to help with bridge inspection or incident management or traffic incidents, or if it is using technology to help us survey facilities and make sure that they are being maintained the way that they should. it is not just your standard construction industry jobs that most folks think of, but also we've got to remember the technology is really starting to play a role in how we build, operate, and maintain our infrastructure. host: richard in palmer, massachusetts, independent. caller: a simple question -- how much is collected in fuel taxes,
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and how much is actually contracted? guest: so right now, the federal fuel tax is 18.6 cents a gallon. it is collecting somewhere between 35 billion dollars and $40 billion a year in revenue. we are actually spending probably closer to $50 billion a year, $52 billion a year from the highway trust fund. there's that in balance of about $15 billion a year or so between what we are collecting in revenue and what we are spending. i think that's why there are those in congress calling for us to take a look at how we fund transportation and infrastructure, and start taking a look at other options. host: richard in palmer, massachusetts, independent. caller: i already spoke. thank you. host: do you have a follow-up?
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caller: no, i would like to thank him for his answer. when i find is in this area, take someone's forever for roadwork -- it takes forever for roadwork to be completed. i see the road repair signs for 10 years. host: jim tymon, your thoughts? guest: that's something we've been troubling with for the last 10 to 15 years, how can we expedite how these projects get planned, permitted, and built? i think we are making progress. if you look back to the federal transportation bills passed in the early 2000 and again with some of the ones that were done in the last 10 years, we've made some progress trying to find ways to expedite the permitting process to make sure we are able to work concurrently with federal agencies, so that if you have permits you need to get
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from the fish and wildlife service, you can do that at the same time as you are working with the army corps of engineers in order to get a bridge project on faster. you don't want to be in a situation where you can't move on to the army corps of engineers until you've already met with and worked out all of the issues that you need to work out with the fish and wildlife service. previous administration instituted a policy for federal one decision where they were trying to consolidate that process so that you can get through the federal permitting process quicker. i think there is some good lessons to be learned from what was put forward in that process, and i think there is an opportunity here as congress works on an infrastructure bill or federal surface transportation bill, to continue to make progress on permitting reform to get the projects done faster. host: joe in ash, north carolina, independent.
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caller: let me go ahead and comment that you made a good thing about the trust fund. the treasury has taken $6 billion out of the trust fund. if you take that money, put it back in to the highway trust fund and make the states just earmark it for what has to be done, instead of their general fund, we can cure this problem without keep on raising it. you're the first person on this show that has mentioned truthfully about the trust fund. guest: well, you know, there's a lot of options in terms of how to fix the trust fund. one thing we need to take a look at is how can we find future revenues to support the trust fund? one of the options being looked at as a vehicle miles traveled fee or a mileage-based user fee. a lot of states have been experimenting with this.
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there are great with organ -- there are great examples out west where they look at how we can implement a fee for mile approach. there are some states here on the east coast along the i-95 corridor that have a regional pilot program that looks at that, on a voluntary basis. we've done great work in the last 10 years or so to look at options to replace the gas tax. as we become more fuel-efficient with our vehicles and look at other energy sources to power vehicles, specifically this movement towards electrification of the fleet, we will need different options. these power programs over the last 10 plus years have been great to demonstrate that this can work. now we need to take the next step and see, what can we do to
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further implement that idea? i think there is bipartisan support in congress for taking that next step and build on the successes we've seen at the state level in these pilot programs for vehicle miles traveled fee. host: if viewers want to learn more about infrastructure need, you can go to , the website for the american association of state highway and transportation officials. jim tymon, thank you very much. guest: thank you for having me. host: when we come back, turn our attention to migration from the northern triangle. we will talk with senator cynthia arnson about the flow of immigrants from south america -- central america. we will be right back. ♪ >> coming up today, the senate judiciary subcommittee looks at the use of algorithms on social media platforms with officials from facebook, twitter, and youtube.
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that's at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. then in the afternoon, a senate foreign relations hearing on u.s. policy in afghanistan. on c-span two, the senate is back at 10:00 a.m. to consider nominations for the white house office of management and budget and the environmental protection agency. and at 2:00 p.m. on c-span3, and house homeland security subcommittee examines the situation with unaccompanied migrant children at the u.s. southern border. and, there is more streaming live on our website, including a senate health hearing on childcare services. that gets underway at 10:00 a.m. eastern. at the same time, a senate commerce subcommittee looks at ways to protect consumers from covid-19 scams and potential fraud. and at two: 30 pm, massachusetts senator elizabeth warren -- 2:30
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p.m., elizabeth warren chairs a committee on u.s. tax polity -- policy and economic growth. that is all live at >> as he approaches his 100th day in office, president biden will give his first address to a joint session of congress wednesday night. live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern with the president's address at 9:00 p.m. eastern. live on or listen on the c-span radio app. "washington journal" continues. host: turning our attention to the border surge in migrants from central america, joining us is cynthia arnson, the latin american program director at the wilson center. cynthia arnson, i want to begin with the vice president, kamala harris, who has been tasked to the president to address this issue of migrants coming from
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central america. here's what she had to say when she met thursday with nation leaders about the migrant surge in the northern triangle. ♪ --[video clip] >> the question has to be, why do people leave home? either they are fleeing some harm, or because they are unable to satisfy their basic needs of taking care of the families because the resources are not there, so they have to go elsewhere. so i would look at it in terms of that, and what is going on. if you look at the acute issues in particular affecting the northern triangle, we are looking at extensive storm damage because of extreme climate, we are looking at drought in an area in a region where agriculture is one of the most traditionally important basis for their economy. we are looking for what is happening in terms of food
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scarcity as a result of that, and in fact incredible food insecurity, which we call hunger, food insecurity. we are looking at therefore a number of issues that also relate to poverty, extreme poverty, and also there is violence obviously coming out of those regions. when you look at the root causes, we are also looking at issues of corruption. we are looking at the issue of climate resiliency and the concern about a lack of economic opportunity. so how i see it is that for us to be effective in that region, among the work that we can do together, we have to get people a sense of hope. a sense of hope that help is on the way. host: cynthia arnson, what did you hear from the vice president? guest: i heard a lot of really good information about the root causes of migration from central america. i think she quite rightly put
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her finger on the devastating hurricanes that hit central america in rapid succession, within the period of about two weeks in november of last year, hurricanes iota and eta. they destroyed the lives and livelihoods of about 7.8 million people in honduras and guatemala. she also referenced food insecurity, which we know from the world program and the intermarket development bank, has gotten much worse over the last 10 years. it has been the worst drought in about 40 years in central america, particularly the central triangle. the stresses on people's livelihoods, the number of people who are still engaged in agriculture who can no longer make a living because of extreme
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weather cycles i think is really an important driver, and one we haven't focused on that much. additionally, we've talked about poverty and violence and corruption as root causes, or as push factors, and now i think the climate issue has really come front and center. i think it is an extremely important factor in something that needs to be really front and center in the policy response. host: when you look at the three countries we are talking about, how do they differ and which country is worse off? where are we seeing the most migrants coming from? guest: the most migrants now seem to be coming from hunter is , again a country that was -- honduras, again a country that was battered by hurricanes, that is one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere that had extreme levels of corruption.
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the president, who came into office after a heavily disputed election in 2017, is an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of his brother who was recently convicted for trafficking. the possibilities of hondurans to make a living, to survive, and to meet basic needs, especially in the wake of these hurricanes i think is really in question. and it is interesting that just yesterday, the vice president announced slightly over $300 million in aid to the northern triangle, focused exactly on immediate impact relief for people who have been affected, so food aid and emergency housing and these kinds of things that will be provided by
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a range of entities in the u.s. government, u.s. agency for international development, state department, department of defense and the department of agriculture helping provide food assistance. the idea is to ride an immediate sense -- provide an immediate sense of help for people whose choice is to stay home and starve, or migrate to the united states. host: an associated headline about the vice president on guatemala, she talked -- virtually had a discussion with that leader, pledging more money and strengthening cooperation. why? what is needed in guatemala? guest: guatemala also was heavily affected by the hurricanes. it is a country that has been deeply impacted by corruption, by an effort to remove the u.n. commission against impunity.
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we've seen just in the last two weeks or so, that one of the magistrates of the constitutional court was prevented by congress from taking her seat. she is somebody who has been a strong supporter of anticorruption investigations, been a strong supporter of involving local communities and indigenous communities in development projects, and she basically has fled guatemala. so it's a country that has a great deal of its own problems in governance, but it also shares a long border with honduras. guatemala is a transit country, not only a source country of migrants, particularly from the highlands where poverty is a significant driver of migration. it also has this border with honduras. there have been discussions with the government of mexico and the government of guatemala to beef
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up enforcement along the border to prevent migrants from coming to the southern border. so mexico, for example, has put another 10,000 troops on its southern border with guatemala and guatemala intern has reinforced -- in turn has reinforced militarily the long border with honduras. the sense is to relieve the pressure on the u.s., on their border, leave what has become a bed of a political crisis for the biden administration, and then simultaneously, begin the high-impact programs to address the root causes, but also deal not only with immediate relief but also start to address some of these longer-term drivers such as corruption, lack of opportunity, and violence. host: what is the situation like
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in el salvador? guest: el salvador recently has been less of a source of migration. it is a government with which the biden administration has had a great deal of friction. -- has high levels of popularity and in the recent congressional elections, has increased the support that he has from his party and his party coalition. he is a leader that has really run roughshod over a lot of democratic norms. a year ago, bringing the armed forces into the congress when legislators were refusing to approve his security budget. he has defied rulings of the supreme court. and had a very heavy hand in enforcing covid lockdowns, arresting people, throwing them
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into jail for violating the lockdowns. so there is a sense that he is governing as an authoritarian. el salvador traditionally has been one of the closest u.s. allies in central america and has had a compact through the millennium challenge corporation , was one of countries singled out during the obama administration for an mcc compact, and there is friction and you see it with this tit-for-tat refusal. -- came directly to washington and did not get a meeting at the white house in february. it was said he was looking to gain political advantage in advance of the elections, and when the state department special envoy for the northern triangle visited el salvador and other countries recently, he was
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refused a meeting with president boo kelly -- the president. there is a great up -- amount of cooperation with the foreign ministry, other ministries of the government. but with the president, there seems to still be a great deal of friction. el salvador is a country that continues to have high levels of violence where there continues to be a lack of opportunity. but again, we have to be careful not to gauge the levels of violence only by homicide statistics, and they have gone down, gone down in a number of countries in the northern triangle. but there are other crimes that really affect the daily lives of people in profound ways, such as the extortion that gangs continue to exert and practice.
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it is very difficult for poor people, shop owners, people in central markets who are forced to pay extortion or threatened that their children will be harmed, their daughters will be raped, and another issue i think throughout the northern triangle is set aside, the killing -- femicide, the killing of women. gender-based violence is extremely high and needs to be part of the set of issues that are addressed as the biden administration looks to reduce or help resolve some of the root causes of migration. host: how many years have you been studying central america and these countries? guest: a very long time. it is almost embarrassing to admit, a better part of four
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decades, starting with the wars in central america in the 1980's. what's really interesting is that there were -- central america was one of the most important national security issues during the cold war in the 1980's. after those wars were settled and the cold war was over, the united states and others in the international community really kind of backed away. and i think that's a lot of when these issues of governance and of standing up police forces and pushing reforms, pushing for tax reforms, pushing for more inclusive societies, that's a time when these pressures could have had a lot more impact, and yet we were really absent. and then during the clinton administration in the 1990's, there was renewed attention
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because of the devastation of hurricane mitch. if you look at a country like honduras, you can see how the phenomenon of gang violence, the movement of people from rural to urban areas, took place a result of hurricane mitch. there was an attempt to deal then, and we kind of didn't pay much attention for a number of years until the first crisis of unaccompanied minors during the obama administration in 2014. that's i think probably the time when the united states, other than in this cold war period, paid the most -- the greatest amount of attention, devoted the greatest amount of resources, and yet a lot of those efforts were dialed back if not canceled during the trump years. so we are once again with a migration surge and a sense that
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what is wrong in central america needs to be addressed, or we are never really going to reduce these tremendous migration pressures that have dogged administrations for many years. it's not just a problem that the biden administration is facing. host: to our viewers, here's your opportunity to bounce your perspectives, questions, and comments at cynthia arnson. republicans dial in at (202) 748-8001. democrats, (202) 748-8000. independents, (202) 748-8002. text us at (202) 748-8003. just put your first name and city and state. tina from huntington, independent. caller: thank you for taking my call. i come from miami in the 1980's
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and watched that surge. my question and concern as we continue to throw money at these countries. we are throwing it to the country itself and now we have ms. harris saying we will give you more, and we are giving it to the individuals crossing illegally, which will deplete our welfare and charity systems for americans. why don't we just acquire them as territories, go into negotiations? it would be cheaper on the taxpayer. that's my concern. host: understood. guest: thanks for that question. in reality, if you look at foreign assistance as an overall percentage of the u.s. budget, it is infinitesimal. i wish i had the figure to pull out of my head, but i don't have it in front of me. it is a tiny, tiny fraction of what the u.s. government spends on domestic social welfare and
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social programs. i don't think it's really viable anymore. there were times back in the early 20th century when the united states did send the marines and did occupy countries , nicaragua, the dominican republic, over and over again. and that didn't really solve the issue either. i think there is really no way for the united states to go in and take over these countries without some kind of protracted military conflicts, which i don't think any of us wants. but you raise an important point, which is that you can't give money to people who are corrupt. and i would agree with you 100% on that and i think the biden administration is actually focusing on that issue, and making the theme of governance, good governance and anticorruption a central
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component of the current approach. and it says, we are not going to give you money that's just going to be stolen. we are going to insist on transparency and accountability, and the other part of this is that the money isn't just going to go to governments. the idea is to be able to strengthen the organizations in civil society that are pushing for accountability, that are pushing for transparency, international relief organizations and domestic relief organizations, that are in a much better position to use u.s. funding in a transparent and effective way so i don't think it's the case that corruption is being ignored. on the country, i think it is front and center in the u.s. approach, but thank you for sharing those concerns. host: here is a tweet -- army
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pushing guatemala and mexico to a border war? -- are we pushing guatemala and mexico to a border war? guest: i don't think it's coming to that. border war suggests there are armed people on both sides. it is really an attempt to improve border security in the region, not just hardening the border along the southern part of the united states. and, you know, those security measures are important. an essential aspect of sovereignty is the ability to control one's territory. i think that goes back to the very beginnings of the formation of the nationstate and the definition of what was a nationstate, coming out of europe, in the 15th century? it is an important aspect but can't be the only aspect. you can't just stop needing people from coming through.
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another point that is really important is that as the official crossing points are monitored much more effectively, it will push desperate migration -- desperate migrants to illegal crossing points, and it will therefore make it much more likely that people who want to migrate are going to pay one of the so-called coyotes, human smugglers that will be seen as the only way to get through these dangerous crossing points that involve jungle territory and very hostile environment. so there does need to be an attempt to reinforce the border, but it certainly can't be the only aspect of what we do and no, i don't see a border war as imminent. host: tony in waterbury,
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connecticut, your next. caller: good morning, cynthia, watching with great interest on your report today. i'm trying to square it with what i see on the actual border. these poor children -- i'm a christian -- and we see these poor children stuck in cages. the capacities of 250 and there is thousands and there. there is children being found dead in the rio grande. those coyotes are making $14 million a day. i don't understand -- i understand that the vice president will come down there to take care of the long term problem, but this is a daily occurrence. we just saw pictures of children being thrown over the wall and dropped off. it is just heartbreaking. not to mention that covid, there
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is so many of these migrants that have covid and being released into our country. i don't understand, why doesn't the vice president go down there , go to those cages? aoc went there a couple years ago and said, what is going on? to me, the silence is deafening. host: i'm going to have cynthia arnson respond. guest: i focus mostly on central america, and i cannot give you necessarily a satisfactory answer. i agree that it is heartbreaking to see these children who are unaccompanied arriving at the border and being accepted into the united states, but in facilities that are not adequate to house them. i think there is a very great effort now, unlike under the previous administration or even
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during the obama administration, this image of cages, i think, is when we have to take with a bit of a grain of salt. there are very overcrowded shelters, people being held, children being held in detention facilities that are not adequate places to hold young people, but i think there is an effort to improve the conditions in which the children are being held, and their needs are being addressed. i think there is also an effort by this administration to have a more humane treatment of people who arrive at the border. children are not turned away. people who are asylum-seekers are not required to remain in mexico. that's one of the first things that president biden did through executive order, which was to do away with this remain in mexico program, which led to these
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ongoing border communities which are slums and have no conditions for sanitation or any kind of proper living conditions. there is an attempt to identify children who have a parent who is legally in the united states who could be reunited with a child that has migrated. that's another phenomenon that we need to think of when we think about root causes of migration. the number of people, adults from central america who have come to the united states to work, to send back billions of dollars in remittances to help their families survive in the northern triangle countries. but the family separation that that represents is an ongoing
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heartbreak for the parents as well as the children. there are multiple aspects that need to be addressed, need to be done effectively, and in a way that is not just an open call to people from central america, come one, come all, we will treat you with respect and with humanity and we will let you in. that clearly cannot be the message. and i certainly hope as you do that much more will be done to help these children coming to the united states on their own. host: will is in baltimore, independent. caller: thanks for having me. i just wanted to kind of echo tony's statement and amplify that i completely disagree, and i think one of the most heartless things this administration has been doing has been signaling that we care
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about migrants, that we are the administration -- where continuously referring the to them as hordes. biden could, with the sign of his pen, signed -- solve immediately. host: cynthia arnson, is that true? with his pen he could resolve the situation? guest: i don't think that's the case really. i think you have a combination of push factors that are truly unique. as i've said before, president biden is not the only one to have confronted these surges. president trump did in 2019, but you have this perfect storm, and i use that metaphor quite consciously. devastating hurricanes in november 2020, combined with covid, that has devastated
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economies around the world and certainly devastated the u.s. economy. in latin and central america, statistically, is the region that has been hardest hit in terms of covid deaths per capita and also in terms of the decline in gdp. central america is a part of latin america -- as a part of latin america has done worse. according to the u.n. commission for latin america and the caribbean, economies have declined over 9% last year. the average for south america was a little over 7%. so you have just an unprecedented health, economic, and climate related crisis that regardless of the administration, would have produced unprecedented bush of desperate people to come to the united -- push of desperate
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people to come to the united states. we can all agree that the messaging that was done rapidly that the united states would undo the inhumane policies of the trump administration, separating children from their parents, ripping kids from the arms of their parents. hundreds of those children have not been reunited with their families. it was important to stop that policy. and i think candidate biden had pledged to do so. but there were a rapid number of executive actions that did send a message, perhaps too strong a message, that the united states was open for business, and abide administration moved quickly to counter that. the coyotes were taking advantage and exploiting that message, spreading false rumors about how now, people could migrate, making people pay thousands of dollars that they didn't have, going into debt,
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borrowing from family members to make the dangerous journey. and i think there has been a strong effort through radio, media, tv, to tell people, do not come. what was interesting about the announcement yesterday by vice president harris was that not only was there an emergency, humanitarian, and food assistance, but also assistance to guatemala to set up migrant shelters, safe places for migrants to be to receive care. whether or not this can be done and done safely, whether the government has the capacity to put the shelters in place is really an open question. i would certainly hope that international relief or agencies
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-- relief agencies and religious agencies are providing safe havens for others feel pushed to migrate. host: john, jamestown, rhode island, democratic caller. caller: hi. host: go ahead. caller: i'm just thinking that, why not somewhere, make the united states of central america? then they would have a federal government to take care of these parts and stuff down there, racing around, killing people. if they did have one central government in that whole place, i don't know why it's never occurred to anyone. thank you. guest: thanks for that. there has been long-standing attempts at central american integration and it is not in the interest of forming one big government, but really integrating the region.
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it started in the 1960's, probably even before, but i remember in the 1960's, the attempt to create the central american common market, and economic integration scheme. you also see it in the kind of free-trade agreement the united states has with central american countries and that includes the dominican republic, to treat the area as a zone as opposed to individual countries. i think that, just as simone boulevard, the liberator -- bolivar wanted to unite south america, certainly as one entity, those dreams have been there a long time. and they've come up against the ideas of sovereignty of individual nationstates that
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were carved out of the spanish empire back at the time of independence more or less in the 1820's. so i don't think that one overarching government is a very realistic goal at this point. there's too much nationalism, too much sense of sovereignty, of national identity. as small as the countries can be, there are very strong differences between say costa rica and guatemala and nicaragua. el salvador in terms of how people see themselves, the language, the slang, the customs, the role of indigenous populations as an important part of the national identity as it is in guatemala. i just don't think it is very realistic, although those dreams
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of unification have been there for a long time. host: scott in myrtle beach, south carolina, democratic caller. caller: i'm just curious as to why we aren't holding funding from mexico or stopping these people before they get here. guest: thanks for that question. there has been a lot of effort devoted to having the cooperation of the mexican government, of president lopez open door -- lopez over door in helping the united states with his crisis. there is assistance going to new mexico to address the migration crisis, and some of it is reflected in the increased enforcement along mexico's southern border with guatemala, which is the key transit point for people coming from central america to the united states.
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they cross central america, come through guatemala, and come across the border in southern mexico and make it to the united states. there has been a great deal of cooperation with the mexican government, not only in this administration, but with the trump administration, to try to deal with slowing or stopping the migrant flows coming to the united states. host: cynthia arnson, what are you watching for next from the biden administration? guest: i guess i'm watching to see what the actual focus of a dutch aid will be -- need will be. -- aid will be. candidate biden -- addressing issues in the northern triangle, and the amount being requested
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this year is slightly below that, somewhere in the $860 million range. but to see what specific programs there are, how that money will be allocated, and also what congress is going to insist on, because we have a system of government where the administration, the executive branch proposes the aid levels but it is congress that has to review an appropriate that money. it will be interesting over the next couple of months between now and the end of the fiscal year, september 30, to see how that aid is thought of and who will be the recipients and what will be the main focus and how much is going to go to government and how much is going to go to independent organizations, international civil society or domestic civil
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society organizations in central america, and what the real emphasis is going to be. i think there's a lot in this process to watch over the next months. host: cynthia arnson, what is the difference between these northern triangle countries we are talking about and the other countries like nicaragua and panama and costa rica? guest: well, i appreciate the question, and i certainly think that it is important to include those other central american countries as part of this discussion. central america is larger than the northern triangle, and there are issues to be addressed in all of those countries. i would start with nicaragua, which has an extremely authoritarian government led by daniel ortega and his wife.
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their elections, national elections are scheduled in november of this year. the nicaraguan opposition is struggling to unite, there are multiple hand -- candidates. i think there is an awareness that if they don't unite to face-off with ortega there is really no chance of defeating him. this is a government that in response to protests in april of 2018, they opened fire on demonstrators killing over 300 people, they have tortured people, held political prisoners, and where people are really afraid to speak out, the independent media has been muzzled. that is an extremely difficult challenge and nicaragua is not a focus of these aid packages because it does not really send migrants in great numbers to the united states. where it does send them is to costa rica.
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i think that costa rica is struggling to deal with the number of nicaraguan migrants that have come into their country. it's something that the united nations high commissioner for refugees and others are emphasizing as a key part of the migration crisis if you think of it holistically, not just migrants reaching the u.s., but migrants within the central american region. costa rica has a longer history of democratic governance, affective institutions. its economy is struggling. the covid-19 pandemic has not been kind to anyone. these are governments that by and large did not have access to vaccines. i'm glad to see the biden administration will be much more
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proactive in providing vaccines to developing countries. where you have levels of vaccination to to five to 7% of the population. the effect on the economy is going to be much more long-standing than it is even in the united states. we do need to think about the entire region. host cynthia arson latin american program director with the wilson center thank you for the conversation. >> thank you to the colors for the questions. host: on capitol hill the senate judiciary subcommittee is preparing for testimony from social media executives from they spoke, google, and youtube. they will get questions about the algorithms they use on their platforms and how it impacts you , the user. live coverage here on c-span.
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