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tv   American Voices With Alicia Menendez  MSNBC  July 17, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern for another live hour of "politics nation." my colleague, alicia menendez, picks up our news coverage now. >> thank you so much. hello, everyone, i'm alicia menendez. welcome to "american voices." the speaker of the texas house, a republican, offered to put a private jet on standby in washington, d.c., today, in an attempt to bring house democrats back to texas. the ride on a private jet might make for a great tiktok video. texas democrats are choosing to stay put saying on twitter, "the speaker should save his money. we won't be needing a plane any time soon as our work to save democracy from the trump
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republicans is just getting started." those efforts now echoing through the halls of capitol hill. here's texas state representative, one of the state democrats in washington. >> i hope that we can show senator manchin, senator sinema and the rest of their democratic colleagues in washington how to fight, how to stand on principle, how to make a sacrifice, how to risk their careers in order to do the right thing by the united states and by the voters in this country. >> fighting words, and the stakes are high. right now, 17 states have enacted legislation clamping down on voting rights. texas is on track to become the 18th. meanwhile, in georgia, republican-controlled commission now has the power to remove local election officials and has already done so. in florida elections officials who failed to continuously supervise drop boxes can be fined $25,000. arkansas has empowered a state board to, quote, take over and conduct elections in any county
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the gop-controlled legislature deems necessary. in case you aren't aware, this -- these attacks are being carried out under the veil of election fraud which is nothing especially in the 2020 election. but don't tell that to cyber ninjas which continues its audit, you know, audit of maricopa county's 2020 ballots. the group's leader says that audit could take several more months and make unfactual claims about fraud which was found, again, a lie. in fact, yesterday an ap investigation found only four people in arizona have been charged with crimes related to voter fraud. none have been convicted. the "a.p.'s" report said no vote was counted twice. for texas democrats and voters in general, time is running short. federal action is needed immediately. and unless the filibuster is nixed which seems unlikely given joe manchin's comments to texas democrats this week, voting's going to be a lot harder in 2022 especially for voters of color.
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democrats need to rely on a difficult education campaign to get out the vote. joining me, two of the democratic lawmakers from texas currently in d.c. to prevent a quorum in the state house, democratic estate ripives jessica gonzalez and tray fisher. good to say you. i want to ask about your colleagues who tested positive for break throughcovid while in d.c. how are they doing? >> they're doing well. they're isolated and trying to get some rest. >> any sense of how they got it? >> i'm not aware of how they tested positive for covid. it is a good reminder for those folks who have not gotten vaccinated to get vaccinated. i mean, we knew it was a risk, you know, gathering here in d.c. as a large group. we followed the recommended guidelines. but this was -- it was a risk that was worth taking for us. in order to, you know, to continue fighting for our right to vote back in texas. >> all right. representative fisher, let's talk about what you both came here to talk about.
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you've been in d.c. since monday talking to leaders trying to shore up federal support to protect voting rights. can you tell us about the conversations that you've been having? >> well, our visit's been nothing short of awesome. you know, we've been well received in washington, d.c., from texas. we have said we were going come here to defend democracy, our job was to rally the nation in hopes of the senate listening to us, and i think they're listening to us. i know the white house is listening to us. i know the u.s. house is listening to us. make no mistake, democracy is on the line, and we have had very good meetings. we will continue to meet this week and next week and as long as it takes until we can do everything we can to secure a vote for the people act, hopefully before the august recess. >> representative gonzalez, tell me how nothing short of awesome translates into action on this. >> you know, in my opinion, i think that the ultimate goal, what we need is to have --
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restate section 5 of the voting rights act. when or if that will happen, that's unclear. but democrats are willing to stay here and willing to fight until we have -- we have to have federal legislation to address this because this is -- we see this happening across the country, it's a coordinated effort. and you know, it's a life or death situation for us in texas. states like georgia, states like arizona. >> yeah. indeed. representative fischer, you are working with nancy pelosi, the congressional black caucus, hoping for a sit-down with kristen synama. what do you hope to gain? >> we've got to know the positions of the parties. we've heard recently of some discussions regarding with clyburn and his attempt to work on a resolution to carve out the filibuster for voting rights. i agree with him 100%. there should not be a rule or tradition that trumps our u.s. constitution, and our right to
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vote should come before senate tradition, and this is a now or never moment for our country. this is a now or never moment for our democracy. we need to have one standard when it comes to voting in the united states, and that's the american standard. it is very clear to me there's an attack on democracy. voices are being silenced across this country. the eyes of the nation are on texas. we are here in washington, we are asking everyone to join us in this fight and let's do this together. we are the last folks on this hill, and democracy is too important for us to sit this one out. >> representative gonzalez, if you get that sit-down with senator synema, what is it that you think your delegation can say that no one has yet said to her? >> i think it's important for us to talk about what's going on in texas. you know, and that's some of the progress that i was part of the group that came to d.c. the last time as well as trey, and we saw progress from that meeting. we're seeing progress from this meeting. and so you know, i think folks that weren't invested in what
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was happening in texas, we're now seeing them invested in our cause. and we're hearing them talk about hb3s specifically. and i think that's important. we're moving the ball forward by having these conversations. >> representative fischer, this fight is way bigger than texas, bigger than georgia, bigger than arizona. what would your message be to states like yours controlled by republican legislatures looking to enakt voting restrictions, and what would you say to the country that says, kelly, my legislature isn't run by a republican, this isn't an immediate threat to my democracy? >> i say wake up, stand up, and push back. our democracy is too important. you know, we are holding the line in texas, and we took a very bold act. there's only been five quorum breaks in the history of the state of texas. we have done two on voting rights. it's that important. there are a number of hard working men and women, we have put it on the line, we've risked
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or professional careers. you know, some people it's personal. it's emotional. we have families. but voting is everything in this country, and we are in this fight, and we are going to stand up, and we want you across america, if you're being suppressed in your state, join us in our nation's capital. let's rally to the finish. let's get a vote on the for the people act before the recess. >> representatives, thank you both so much for your time. now for more on what is happening on the hill and where west virginia senator joe manchin currently stands on this, let's bring in political correspondent for "business insider" and senior correspondent at vox. also the new co-host of "vox conversations," a podcast about honest discussions about everything from the relationship between democracy and fascism to psychedelics and mental health to the intersection of sports, politics, and culture. i have already subscribed. you should, as well. we heard texas state representative james telerico say he hopes to inspire manchin to fight.
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listen to what he said after meeting with them at the end of the week. >> it was a very good meeting. it was a very good meeting, an informative meeting. it's basically that we've all come to a total agreement what we want is basically to protect voting rights. that's it. voting rights bill, guard rails, that's all. basically it could happen, bee work with the voting rights act that we had starting in 1965 and what we've devolved into. basically make a piece of legislation, one piece of legislation that protect the rights of voters and the procedure of voting, democracy, the guardrails on democracy. that's all. it shouldn't be a republican or democrat should oppose it. >> well some of the democrats came out feeling optimistic. your sense of where this is headed. >> i mean, i hope that their optimism is valid. certainly it doesn't seem like they agree based upon what we heard from the two texas democrats. looking at the -- joe manchin who says that the bill, the 800
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pages long is too long for republicans to review and they need to slim it down to earn support, i think he's living in a dream world. texas democrats by their actions and their words are showing peel like senator manchin and senator sinama how much work need done. the john lewis voting rights act one year to the day of his death hasn't been written yet. so we -- we stand on this precipice of failure, frankly, because too many people in power like senator manchin, a lot of people in the democratic party, live in this america where they have the privilege to defend our better angels and to fight for the so-called soul of america often at the expense of real results for their constituent. >> so whenever jamil laughs at one of my questions that is the tell and the answer itself. to that point the "texas tribune" reported that man kmin attended a fundraiser hosted by gop representatives. talk about the timing of this.
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>> yeah. so joe manchin is pretty much the most important person in congress because the fact that democrats can't get anything done without his support. it certainly does not send a message of support to, you know, his own party's lawmakers when he is attending a fundraiser for gop donors at the same time that he's saying that he is in favor of implementing, you know, more robust guardrails to protect the right to vote. you know, democrats in states like texas and states across the country are looking at lawmakers like manchin and sinyma whose opposition to ending the filibuster is really the only thing standing in the way of democrats' ability to pass more robust voting legislation. as long as joe manchin and kyrstin cinema say they're opposed to the filibuster, any implement to sort of stop this statewide gop effort in states like texas and like you said 17 other state across the country,
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that effort's pretty much going to be doa. >> i'm going to come to you for context as i saw often do. peel back the layers for us. we talk about this as though it's about individuals and sure, to some extent it is about those individuals and their political strategy and their tactics. but there are fundamental forces at play that make this not a done deal, right, that as you say it's a year since the passing of john lewis, and that legislation has not been written. forget about the players themselves. what is making this so difficult to just get it done? >> well, frankly, i think it's because a lot of folks are content with doing the absolute least and getting the most credit for it. i think we're content to rename bridges and enact laws for john lewis and not actually follow through with his work and continue it. i think that we have people in power who are a little too comfortable in power to be frank, and in order to protect that power, they're willing to compromise on civil rights.
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and there is no compromise here. we know what the republicans are doing. they're not being subtle about it. you know, instead, we have joe manchin trying to defend an institution which, you know, first of all is based in racism in and of itself, but also, you know, even if we ignore that, the filibuster in this context signifies capitulation, not cooperation. so this obsession with bipartisanship truly is a road to the further erosion of civil rights, particularly for folks who look like me and other folks of color. >> all right. thank you both as always. next, a new breaking point in the fight against covid and its variants especially in the midwest and the south where doctors say there is a trend among those fighting for their lives that could lead us back toward lockdown. very much could see ourselves on a freight train just heading right to where we were at this time last year. >> and just minutes ago,
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facebook released a strong statement refuting the president's claims on the platform's role in spreading covid misinformation. more on that in a few minutes. and later, live in miami outside the freedom tower as rallies continue in support of those in cuba protesting against the government fighting for freedom. plus congressman chrissy houlihan on the child tax credit. why she is pushing congress to enact paid family and medical leave. we are just getting started here on "american voices." ugh, these balls are moist. or is that the damp weight of self-awareness you now hold in your hand? yeah-h-h. (laugh) keep your downstairs dry with gold bond body powder. ♪ ♪ experience, hyper performance
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almost all of the patients have not been vaccinated. it 's felt worse than it's ever been. >> our physicians, our nurses, our technicians, our food service staff, housekeeping folks are running at 110% of capacity. it's not sustainable. no, it's not. >> doctors across the country at a breaking point in the fight against a new covid surge.
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the cdc director warning this quickly become a pandemic of the unvaccinated. the delta variant taking a toll across all 50 states fueling increases in new infections. tonight, los angeles county will resume an indoor mask mandate with covid deaths up 89% over the past two weeks. according to the "los angeles times." and then there's the south where there are dangerously low vaccination rates and an alarming rise in covid cases. in tennessee, cases are up nearly 400% since early july. residents there told nbc news why they are skeptical about the vaccines, and as are you about to hear, disinformation is playing a huge role. those fears, again, triggered by disinformation, the subject of a health advisory this week. u.s. surgeon general vivek murthy warning covid conspiracies are costing lives. even the president is taking aim at social media sites playing
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host to the lies. >> on covid misinformation, what's your message to platforms like facebook? >> they're killing people. i mean, they're really -- look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. and that -- and they're killing people. >> facebook has just released a second statement refuting biden's allegations saying the company has s already following the surgeon general's recommendations for stopping covid disinformation. joining me, dr. kavita patel, medical contributor and former policy direction forfor the obama administration, and also with me, staff writer for "the atlantic" and co-founder of the covid tracking project. dr. patel, even states with high vaccination rates overall are seeing these surges in some areas. why is this happening? >> yeah, it's because simply put we are exposing ourselves not just for the unvaccinated but keep in mind that about 5% of the united states is also
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immunocompromised or has chronic conditions, and they're vulnerable even if they're vaccinated. so everybody as we know from last year, the virus does not acknowledge any borders. of course we'll see the hot spots begin. missouri, tennessee, texas, florida -- other parts -- make no mistake, this is a much more infectious variant, and it is going to make the rounds across the country. >> dr. patel, the followup, obvious question, what are the best tools for stopping the spread? >> yeah, number one through one million, the vaccine. i mean, this is simply put as a world is starving for an effort to get to access to any vaccine, we are a plethora of supply of vaccine. it's vaccines and where we know we're not going to penetrate because some people just are not willing to do it, then we need to go back to layered protection. i think what l.a. county, southern nevada, and other places are looking at are important in putting back indoor masks. in essence they're punishing
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those of us who are vaccinated because we need blunt policies in order to keep everyone safe. >> yeah. i mean, we've been in a state of crisis for so long that i seek solace in the charts and looking at the charts and trying to understand how the numbers today compare with the numbers, say, a year ago. talk us through it. how does the current spike in covid cases compare, say, to the peak of the pandemic? >> so at this point, in terms of raw numbers we are not seeing the kind of cases that -- the severe number of cases that we saw as at the peak of the pandemic say in december or january of last year. of course, we're talking about percent rises still. that said, in missouri, in arkansas, right now on the florida/georgia border we are seeing places where the number of cases per 100,000 people, the density of cases is approaching that kind of red-hot intensity we saw across much more of the country earlier this year. right now we're hearing very,
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very dire percentage rises which are scary. but of course, they're coming from a relatively low number of cases. that said in a couple parts of the country right now, basically it is as bad as the peak of the pandemic ever was. >> dr. patel, three of the democratic lawmakers who traveled from texas to d.c. have tested positive for covid despite being vaccinated. we have all heard stories of breakthrough infections. how concerned should we be, what should we be watching for? >> yeah, i'm very concerned. here's why -- we are not consistently monitoring breakthrough infections. the cdc is right now only monitoring breakthrough infections that result in severe hospitalizations and deaths. absolutely that is a priority. but we really are kind of -- think about it this way -- like driving a car with only half a taillight and half a headlight functioning. we can't really see the fuller picture. what i will say, though, is the fact that they were vaccinated likely saved their lives. that meant that they stayed protected but without monitoring
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and then we're still seeing data lags, robinson mentioned florida. the state is about at least a week delayed in reporting data, and they're not getting consistent data. so we are -- we are really truly, i feel like we're flying a plane blind in some aspects. >> right. part of what is confounding to me, dr. patel, that's how the covid tracking project started. it started because people didn't feel like they had enough data. here we are and we're still talking about holes in data. robinson, florida's governor desantis is selling anti-fauci merchandise as covid cases soar by almost 700% in his state. how does the continued politicization impact health outcomes? >> it absolutely is impacting health outcomes. we already see the places where vaccinations is breaking through or where the most people are unvaccinated, right, are also the -- the part of the country most likely to listen to governor desantis. conservative is the rural areas of the country. it's unfortunate.
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now, there's -- there's a kind of little good news there which is among the oldest cohort of americans, you know, 65 up, the people who will are most at risk from covid we are seeing high vaccination rates which are good even among conservative populations which is very good. it's -- use mentioned the covid tracking project. of course the covid tracking project has not been tracking on a daily basis since march because we've had to hand it over to the cdc. since then a number of states including florida as dr. patel mentioned have rolled back some of the data they've reporting, the cdc is reporting data. we have the resolution to the pandemic because we're seeing cases kind of surge in a way we might not have expected a few months ago. >> we're going to keep our eyes on all of this. thank you both so much. next, demonstrations in miami outside the freedom tower showing solidarity for cubans demanding an end to dictatorship and access to basic human necessities. and later, senate democrats
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joining me from miami, outside the freedom tower, nbc's stephanie stanton. tell us what you're seeing there in miami. what are the protesters demanding for cubans? >> reporter: well, these protesters are demanding freedom for cuba. this is a huge rally. take a look behind me. this crowd is in the thousands here outside the freedom tower, and many of these folks are cuban americans who emigrated here from the small communist nations. others are supporters and activists all demanding change. now this rally, of course, is one of many that is being held all across miami this week. this, of course, as you mentioned was in response to residents in cuba taking to the streets with something that we really don't see much of because of the fear of that regime. those residents saying that they are desperate for basic necessities like food and medicine, and many are fed up. and many we talked to here today
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say it is time to put an end to the cuban regime. >> my dad's a political prisoner. we came because of him being a political prisoner. we went -- we came in a boat lift. we came right after maril. we've been suffering -- my people have been suffering for 63 years. i think it's about time. i think it's really about time. if you can't see the suffering of the cuban people, then i don't know -- you're blind. you're blind. >> reporter: back out here live, you can feel the passion in the voices of those in attendance here, as i said, thousands demanding change in cuba. this event is organized by cuban american actor/singer/songwriter john carlos canela along with other international artists and activists. again, all of them with a singular message.
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now this event is set to go to 8:30 tonight. we are told that it will end when they light up freedom tower with red, white, and blue lights in honor of the cuban flag. live in downtown miami, back to you. >> all right. live from downtown miami. thank you. as we follow the protests among cubans, keep in mind this is a humanitarian crisis. these people are demanding basic necessities of life like food, water, and medicine. joining us now, associate professor for the graduate school of education at the university of pennsylvania. amalia, you have family on the island. what will have you heard from them? how are they reacting to these protests unseen since the mid '90s? >> i haven't heard much from them. what i did hear from my family is that one of my cousins is -- has been taken by the state. and we are very nervous because we don't know where he is. and so along the lines of a lot of cuban people, we have a lot of missing -- a lot of missing
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family members, missing people, and we don't know where they are. we want where they r. we want to make sure they're safe. we don't have internet access because the cuban government has taken access for so much of the population. so we don't know what's going on with most of our family. we are looking at videos, we're seeing the data that's coming out on social media, with cubans on the ground. we can see that they're being repressed. we can see police cars, we can see that they're suffering, and we know the violence is happening. and so we need to focus on the cuban people's struggle. many of which are afro cuban. >> absolutely. i do want to talk about that state of repression. i also want to talk to you of the context in which this is happening. in an op-ed for "the washington post," it says "the bravest cubans were the ones who lost their fear and took to the streets. those from the poorest, most marginalized neighborhoods, those for whom living in cuba has become even harder than usual." he goes on to write, "the
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protests happen spontaneously, something this inept government can't hide." why is this moment different? >> this is different because in 2019 the movement which came out of one of the poorest neighborhoods of havana, they rose up and started challenging the state versus the practices and censorship on artists. so afro cuban artists, luis man well otera and others in the movement began the movement and connected with the artists and started the movement. so that spread internationally. that's a consolidation of afro cubans and cuban americans, afro cuban americans working together to talk about what's been happening to the cuban people. their repression, censorship, their pain and suffering since 2018. and what happened on july 11th was that the san antonio bario, another marginalized community
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-- other marginalized communities across cuba, 62, rolls up in protest and activism. this is historic moment in our history. in latin american history, in the history of the cuban people. >> yeah. i wonder, the most important question that you and i can circle back to, what is at stake for the cuban people in this moment? >> their freedom, their lives, their bodies. that is what is at stake. >> as always, thank you so much for your time. next, senate democrats and ending the federal ban on marijuana. what about the droves of americans disproportionately those of color held back by the war on drugs? and later, child tax credits started to hit bank accounts this week. what will these payments mean for american families? stay with us. erican families? stay with us that delicious scramble was microwaved? get outta here. everybody's a skeptic. wright brothers? more like, yeah right, brothers!
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and senate democrats say it is time to go all the way. senate majority leader chuck schumer has introduced a draft bill to not only decriminalize marijuana nationwide but expunge the criminal record of americans charged with cannabis possession. schumer puts it the senate has on this catch up with the american people. >> this is monumental because at long last we are taking steps in the senate to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs. >> illinois can be viewed as a testing ground for such legislation. as megan fitzgerald shows, it's already having a huge impact. >> reporter: one bad decision can change the course of your life. >> easy to get in trouble. hard to get out. >> reporter: that's what happened to lasean johnson in 2003 when he was convicted for possessing a pound of marijuana. it was his only run-in with the law, but he's been paying for it ever since. >> when i go fill out that application and they're saying, yeah, we'll call you, but they
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never call. or you try to apply for a loan as i did to go to college, to try to better yourself, and they say, nah. >> reporter: for years he tried to get his record expunged on his own even writing to the governor asking for a pardon. >> for the last three years and seven months, i've been without incident. >> reporter: of more than 2,000 marijuana offenders federally sentenced in 2018, roughly 84% were people of color, and black people are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession. 19 states have legalized cannabis for recreational use. 16 are expunging past records. written into illinois's law restorative justice measures including automatic expungement for low-level marijuana arrest records. >> you can't normalize and legalize the consumption and sale of a product for whom the prohibition of the exact same thing has destroyed whole communities. >> reporter: tori hutchison, senior adviser to the governor of cannabis control, co-sponsored the bill. >> we're talking about a billion
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dollar industry where people are suffering the effects of criminal convictions. >> reporter: since january of 2020, over 500,000 records have been expunged in illinois. oftentimes there's still a court record, and it's more complicated for high-level offenders. beth johnson works with new leaf, a state-funded program helping people navigate the process for free. >> even if you can't vacate and expunge the cannabis case, again there's still options to seal your record that would still help people get housing and employment, educational opportunities. i think the message is just reach out. >> reporter: lasean did and within two months, his nearly 20-year battle came to an end. >> it's the official court document. >> reporter: his record was expunged. >> that was like the sun poking out of the clouds, you know what i'm saying? like it was raining for a long time. it was cold, it was dark. i was walking this path alone. >> reporter: working to right the wrongs of the war on drugs, changing the course of so many lives. megan fitzgerald, nbc news, chicago. next, how the most
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conservative senate democrat has surprised immigration advocates, and if it could be enough to make immigration reform a reality. plus, how the department of justice plans to push back on a federal judge's ruling declaring daca illegal. and later, a major milestone in accountability for the capitol riot. the first sentencing of an insurrectionist. rrectionist. hi, verizon launched the first 5g network, and now we want to be the first to give everyone the joy of 5g by giving every customer a new 5g phone, on us, aha!
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we have all collectively experienced a period of incredible uncertainty. during this pandemic, as we each lamented that we didn't know when we'd be able to see our loved ones or safely return to work, so many undocumented people reminded us that when you live in the united states without legal status, that is your lived experience every day, pandemic or no pandemic. i was reminded of that reality, that uncertainty yesterday when a federal judge ruled daca unlawful, barring new daca applications from being approved. once again throwing the lives of
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those who should be daca eligible into limbo. the president says the doj plans to appeal the ruling and is renewing a call to pass the american dream and promise act with the greatest urgency. many advocates actually hopeful they're going to see a federal fix with the most conservative senate democrat, west virginia's joe manchin, signaling support for adding immigration reform through reconciliation which could create a pathway to citizenship for more than ten million people. while manchin signals possibly supporting that effort, it probably won't make it past the senate parliamentarian. which is why my next guest writes in in "the click," quote, the real bargaining over our lives in the senate is yet to come. as groundbreaking as biden's sweeping reform looks i have seen bills like it get killed in the senate, revived ads amendments to some military spending bill, then killed again more times than i can count. joining me, the author of that op-ed, jesus rodriguez, third year law student at georgetown university law center.
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thank you so much for being with me. this ruling by a federal judge in texas on daca halting new applications, talk to me about the impact that their has on the millions of daca recipient living that protection currently whose lives continue to hang in the balance in this country. >> thank you so much for having me. for a lot of undocumented immigrants in this country, the reality is that it's almost as if the administration hasn't changed. are you seeing lives again being thrust into chaos, and utter uncertainty by this new ruling by a district judge in texas overturning daca again. you know, one of the more -- one more time as republicans have tried to repeal this policy created by president obama. >> following this rule biden pushed for congress to pass the american dream and promise act. how do you see this going -- do you think they are feeling a sense of urgency around this? >> i think the newest ruling by
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the judge in texas does create some sense of urgency. you know, as i wrote in "the atlantic," i have seen bills like that get added to some military spending bill, killed again in this case. the democrats seem serious about getting it passed through reconciliation. joe manchin seems to be on board. it remains to be seen what else mentions -- agreement is conditional on because, for example, he has been opposed to including climate in reconciliation. we'll see if the lives of millions of documented immigrants in this country are also going to be dependent on what deponent what democrats may choose or may choose not to include in the package or how joe manchin might be feeling that day about protecting millions of undocumented immigrants living in this country in uncertainty. >> one of the things that struck me in your piece and one of the reasons i wanted to talk to you even before this daca news broke is there's so little understanding on the part of many about why people in this
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country are undocumented. as i was watching yesterday, many of the daca recipients, many of the dreamers i follow contend with that news. they kept coming back to explaining to people why they can't just apply for citizenship, why that is not an option, why the system does not work that way. and you wrote in your piece for the "atlantic," quote, the end of the trump presidency may create the impression that america's immigration cruelty is a thing of the past. in truth, those of us who were undocumented before trump know the inhumanity of that. tell us more. >> you can see that very well with this latest proposal that for immigration reform to get through reconciliation, if you look at the history of immigration in this country, you get to see that, you know, america has never really welcomed the huddled masses yearning to be free. it's about who are the select few who get to stay in this country. today we're talking about
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dreamers and high-achieving young people, but what about their parents? what about farm workers who also have been contributing? what about people who don't necessarily get sympathy from politicians in washington? it's less so much about protecting people and more about line-drawing and which categories can we fit different people into. that is the inhumanity of the u.s. immigration system. as we know , this comprehensive immigration reform is not going to overhaul the system itself, but rather, expand access for young immigrants to be able to fit into some of the existing categories that we already have. >> you yourself have experienced how arbitrary that can be, how cutoff dates, how age limits can affect all of this. you write about the hoops you and your family jumped through in your quest for papers. what is your message to this administration on what needs to be done to make the immigration process one that is less
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arbitrary and actually puts humanity first? >> i think the intelligent way to approach immigration and one that grounds the lives and the stakes for undocumented young people, undocumented parents who may be coming in the future is that we really need to be talking about decriminalizing movement. what that means is everybody should have this right to be able to move, you know, to make their lives wherever they would like to make their lives. i'm not talking about open borders or talking about specifically one piece of paper that may be handed to you, you know, 20 years from now saying you get to stay for now or we have chosen to not deport you. rather, we need to talk about how to make the lives of immigrants easier and not on pieces of paper they may or may not have. >> you captured so beautifully so much of the nuance of this entire debate.
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thank you so much for both your writing and for being with us tonight. next, a surprise of a lifetime of the dad of an mlb rookie. >> it was a dream of my my son's for a long time. i guess it would be a dream for any dad out there. later, a new book takes us inside the final year of the trump administration, revealing just how far the former president was willing to push the envelope to stay in power. plus, fires out west and flooding of biblical proportions here and abroad. is there anything we can do about it? that's next. ♪ ♪ when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance. ♪ that's why we'll stop at nothing to deliver our technology as-a-service.
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when you add xfinity mobile. get started today. an astronaut, the president, a baseball player. parents spend countless hours nurturing their kids' dreams. when those dreams come true, that's something you have to see. here's lester holt. >> for robert anthony cruz, baseball has been everything since he was 9 years old. so when he never heard his name during a major league draft, he thought he struck out. >> i was disappointed. >> reporter: until he got an unexpected call from the washington nationals. they wanted to sign him as a free agent. >> at that moment i started crying. >> reporter: cruz knew he had to find a big way to tell his father the good news. >> there were a lot of hours of batting practice and work.
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it was just a special thing i get to tell him. that we had been hoping for for a long time. >> reporter: so with the help of his mom, he bought two nationals hats and both set off to the auto body shop where his dad is a mechanic to surprise him. robert anthony posted the video on tiktok. the family moment now going viral. >> what happened? oh, my god. congratulations, son. oh, my gosh. are you kidding me? >> it was a dream of my son's for a long time. i guess it would be a dream for any dad out there. >> it was a lot of prayers, a lot of hard work, all kind of come together in one moment. >> reporter: a father and son with a dream now come true. >> that was lester holt reporting. as we begin a new hour a dire threat to democracy made possible by the leap in
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dangerous lies. breakthrough covid cases surface within their ranks. january 6th, extremism, and white supremacy. new court documents that thread together all three. family matters. while the child tax credit is a huge deal and congresswoman hewell began goes further. flooding of biblical portions in europe fueled by climate change. what can be done to save the only home we've got? this is "american voices." dangerous lies about the 2020 election are paving the path to attacks on our democracy. for evidence, look no further than texas. some texas state democrats are in washington, d.c., working to prevent republicans from passing a restrictive voting bill.

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