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tv   Fault Lines  Al Jazeera  May 31, 2014 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT

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hour. i am thomas draden in new york. i will be back at 8:00 p.m. eastern, 5 pacific. stay tuned "fault lines" starts right now. >> nogales, arizona. a bus has arrived filled with people being deported from the united states. >> right now we're headed to san juan bosco, a shelter here in nogales where the mexican immigration authorities have picked the people who were just deported, they take them there so they have a place to stay on their first night back in mexico.
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>> many thought 2013 would be the year when congress finally passed comprehensive immigration reform. but it was not to be. over several months, fault lines investigated how the failure to pass that reform played out in the lives of some of the nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants in the us. people like jose - who preferred we use only his first name. >> so when were you deported? >> when was i deported? today. >> so today is your first day in mexico in 31 years since you left last? >> yeah, >> a lawyer?
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>> no license. 21 years ago. >> yeah >> jose is one of a thousand people who are deported each day, and one of nearly 400 thousand deported last year. president obama has presided over almost two million deportations -- more than any other president in history. >> where's your family? pheonix?
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>> your family doesn't even know you're here? >> with reform stalled in congress, deportations have become the defining aspect of obama's immigration policy -- and a flashpoint for immigrant communities. >> fault lines traveled to new orleans to examine the impact of deportations on the city's immigrant community. obama has assured critics that immigration customs and enforcement, ice, is using discretion in its deportation efforts. >> "we're focusing our limited resources and people on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes. and as a result, we've increased the removal of criminals by 70 percent."
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>> we heard that ice has been operating a new program in new orleans called cari. it stands for criminal alien removal initiative. cari, ice says, is focused on immigrants who, quote, "pose a serious threat to the community." >> it's a small terrifying effect. they'll go into a grocery store and take 3 people >> jacinta gonzalez has been piecing together the impact of cari on immigrant families. >> is there a suspicion of what these poeole are doing? this isn't associated with any other crime? >> what we've heard from the testimonies we've been gathering is that literally people, the ice agents will go into
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apartment complexes, bible studies, stop anyone who looks latino. sometimes they ask questions, sometimes they handcuff people, fingerprint them, and if they have any sort of minor criminal record or any previous immigration history, they immediately take them into custody. >> this type of enforcement represents a shift for new orleans. >> after hurricane katrina a lot of day laborers and reconstruction workers came to help rebuild the city, to help do roofing work, to do demolition work, basically to clean up the streets and help people get back into their home. >> at the workers' center for racial justice, immigrants fighting deportation gathered to share stories. >> the center is collaborating with a national anti-deportation
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movement called "not1more" - to help plan a response to the cari program. >> what we're starting today, from new orleans, is a real live resistance to president obama's deportation program. this is how it's playing out in new orleans." >> "what we've been seeing, and what people have been living with in the past six months in new orleans is a different kind of enforcement, it's really a new wave of enforcement that's rooted in communities. >> investigators for the workers center told us they have documented hundreds of stories of these raids. >> what this program called cari appears to do is to create teams or task forces with local law enforcement which are
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approaching people who look latino they're handcuffing them and then they're subjecting them to fingerprints. >> jj rosenbaum uncovered the cari program in some case file documents. >> it's not normally given to people, so we think it was an accidental release... >> what she found, she says, appeared to be a blueprint for collaboration between local law enforcement and ice officials that launched nationwide in 2012. >> when we see ice vehicles driving around predominantly latino areas of town, arresting people, and continuing to drive the vans around until they fill them up, that's not targeted enforcement, that's racial profiling. >> in november, the immigrant community took their anger to streets in cities across the country. >> this protest culminated in a blockade of rush hour traffic in
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one of new orleans' busiest intersections - for three hours. >> i got a job! get one! >> just behind us another truck is trying to make it through the intersection and the protestors have put themselves in front of it. the protesters believe that obama turned on what they call an immigration dragnet -- and he can turn it off. >> police are circling around. they just started their first arrest. the crowd's chanting for obama to listen. >> they say the immigration system is broken and there should be a moratorium on deportations until it's fixed. for an undocumented immigrant,
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being arrested, even for a misdemeanor, is a dangerous act - especially considering obama's focus on deporting criminals. ice refused an on-camera interview with fault lines. >> ok this is him. 'hi, this is josh rushing.' >> but the day after the protest, they agreed to talk to us on the phone. the ice official asked for his name not to be used. >> if someone with no other criminal record gets arrested for civil disobedience and protesting ice policies, does that move them into a priority category now that they've been arrested for something? >> in an email, ice officials stated that they target specific violent criminals. >> but we wanted to ask them about allegations that latino communities are being profiled
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in the process. >> check on a machine. what tells them that an individual is who we're going to check out? >> so we roll up on the scene.... >> just to be clear - by "scan" he means handcuff and fingerprint. >> so people have been out in the parking lot of this grocery store and as they're walking out of the grocery store, handcuffed and fingerprinted. there's a laundromat across the corner... >> the problem with that is that ice law enforcement officers are not permitted constitutionally
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to create a latino person dragnet and arrest everyone, fingerprint them and then decide who they want to remove. that's exactly what the constitution prohibits. >> al jazeera america presents the system with joe burlinger >> the dna testing shows that these are not his hairs >> unreliable forensics >> the problem the bureaus got is they fail, it's a big, big deal... >> convicted of unspeakable crimes did flawed lab work take away their freedom? >> i was 18 when i went in... when i came out i was 50... you don't get it back... >> shocking truths revealed >> the system with joe burlinger only on al jazeera america
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>> president obama won a second term with 70 percent of the latino vote. while he was campaigning, he promised to reform the nation's immigration laws. that goal has proved elusive, and a powerful new voting block is losing patience with the process. >> we're trying to get our congress people, our representatives, and our senators, to pass the comprehensive immigration reform. >> in june, 2013, the senate passed an enforcement-heavy bill with bipartisan support that would have provided a path to citizenship. >> but house republicans didn't follow suit. >> "speaker boehner, immigration reform is alive in the hearts of all of us gathered here today. >> "and frankly, i'll make clear, we have no intention of ever going to conference on the senate bill." >> activists besieged the halls of congress demanding action.
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>> who are you fighting for? who are you fighting for? >> maria, my mother. >> and you, who are you fighting for? >> my friends. >> your friends. who are you fighting for? >> my mom and my father. >> these protestors told us that under obama, immigration reform has so far meant more miles of border fence, more border patrol agents, and more deportations: nearly 400,000 a year. >> and that number, 400,000 isn't completely arbitrary. in 2009, congress mandated that ice fill 34,000 beds in detention centers every day. and that's the quota driving record deportations. >> arizona democratic congressman raul grijalva says the pace of deportations is a political strategy. >> i think there was a belief once that if we were really hard on the issue of enforcement that that would bring the more conservative members, republicans, of congress around because they would see that
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you're being strong on security therefore we can do family unification, path to legalization. unfortunately, that strategy of being tough, hasn't really swayed a significant amount of votes. >> congressman david valadao is one of just three house republicans who support comprehensive immigration reform -- including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. >> you're one of a handful of who support hr-15, right? why do you think your party doesn't support that? >> some people are concerned with the comprehensive approach because it's one bill that covers all bases and when they think comprehensive it always brings thoughts of comprehensive health care reform, obamacare. and so i think that bring a lot into it and they want to take a step by step approach. and i don't have a problem with either. i just want to make sure that if we do take a step by step approach that we do take all the steps and we don't jump over any. >> would you say that obama is tough on immigration? >> i would say, yes, he has been
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tough on immigration. i think we're up to 1100 per day being deported. it's a pretty strong number, and it's adding pressure to the situation. >> how does that create pressure? >> it's affecting a lot of different industries. and it's bringing a lot of business owners and employers to washington, dc, and starting to call members of congress, telling them, 'hey, let's start to move this. we're starting to feel a lot of pressure from ice at our businesses. we need to do something so that we're not here where we are today.' >> so if that's the case, why is this such a difficult issue to move through congress? >> anything that allows the 11 million that are here undocumented to stay is going to be considered amnesty, and that's where it starts to get to a tough lift and it starts to put pressure on members because that term does make a lot of people nervous. and i think if we're not at the table and not part of the solution, what are we here for? >> in december, thirty house democrats signed a letter demanding that obama halt
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deportations until legislation gets passed. >> well mr. president, stop deporting the very people who could gain relief from the senate bill that you would sign into law and which you have praised. >> and at an event in san francisco, obama was interrupted by pleas from his supporters to do just that. >> and most importantly we will live uh, most importantly we will live up... >> some believe he could provide relief for many the same way he did for dreamers - by executive action. >> what i'm proposing is the harder path, which is, to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve, but it won't be as easy as shouting.
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>> atlanta, georgia. impatient with the slow pace of reform, activists are taking matters into their own hands. the "not one more" movement is spreading across the us. >> since 2007, we started feeling the heat of these police enforcement that are chasing us all over the place. you see roadblocks all over the place, it doesn't matter the time. >> the deportations are happening now. that's where the bleeding is, and that's where we need to be. >> we want to stop their ability to move for as long as we can. >> their primary target is ice, who they say is collaborating with local police to expand the deportation dragnet. >> there are communities that i have asked, 'who has been
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detained by the police?' everybody raises their hands. >> i was very hopeful. i think a lot of people were. part of what this campaign we're tired of being a football in your political game. >> so within the deportation machine of ice it's like the control room. >> the not1more campaign has been focused on getting president obama to act because it wasn't just the promise of immigration reform that he made. it was a promise to our community to bring relief.
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>> without immigration reform in washington dc, individual states have gone their own routes. here in georgia, undocumented immigrants have been targeted by an arizona-style law, hb87, giving police the power to check
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immigration status at traffic stops. >> i do believe hb87 is good policy, and so far we haven't received any complaints and it's a law that's been in effect now for over two and a half years. >> actually, hb87, which lindsey co-sponsored, has been the subject of legal challenges and some parts of it were stuck down. >> voters... the folks who sent us here, should not be required to bear the burden of a failed federal government enforcement policy. >> we understand there's a lot of road-blocks where they'll check for documents? does that seem appropriate to you for a federal immigration authority? >> when you stop someone and they are a criminal suspect, the ability to check and confirm who they are, to me that's police work 101. if someone is here illegally and is picked up for being here illegally, we already have laws on the books and they ought to be followed.
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>> georgia republicans have gotten help from an unlikely ally: the obama administration. >> fault lines has obtained from the aclu office, emails from the ice leadership in washington to the atlanta office pointing out that they are 12 hundred deportations behind where they were the previous year. completely worried about making their quota. >> the email reads: 'please implement your initiatives and reallocate all available resources.' >> and then this is the kicker: "the only performance measure that will count this fiscal year is the criminal alien removal target." >> a year later obama lauded the results. >> we focused enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally, who endanger our communities. and today, we deport more criminals than ever before. >> dan martinez has been studying how the government has expanded the list of deportable offenses. >> we need to be really careful when we hear these, in the media, when we hear reports of the number of criminal aliens being removed... what does that mean?
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what does it mean to be a criminal alien? >> we picture people who rape, murder, rob, burglarize, assault. however there's an important piece of legislation in 1996, irira, which expanded the list of deportable offenses to include, for instance, failure to appear in court, minor drug possession, and unauthorized re-entry. so that's in a way in which the state is literally redefining what it means to be a criminal alien. >> and definitions have real world consequences. >> hi dad, i miss you! >> ice says it is using discretion to target criminals. but deportation initiatives like the cari program that we found in new orleans, show that families are still being separated. >> at first it's like a big grey building, and then there's a lot of barbed wire everywhere. >> in a privately run detention center in eloy, arizona, we
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caught a glimpse of what can happen when families are pulled apart. >> it looks scary from the outside but when you walk in it doesn't look too scary anymore. >> juan de leon was nine when his mother died. he left guatemala to live with his sister, a legal resident in the us. he was ineligible for obama's dreamer deferral program because he was caught shoplifting as a teen. fast forward 9 years. juan says that after a disagreement with his boss, his boss called the sheriff. he was arrested for using a fake id to be able to work. that act, a felony, brought him to the attention of ice. >> why did you have someone else's id? >> so i could provide for my girls. >> you have to have an id to work. >> yeah, you have to have an id, social security number. i know it was bad, i was breaking the law, but it was the only thing i could do to provide for my daughters. i feel sad that i haven't been
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there the whole year. for both of them. missed their birthdays, christmas...that's what hurts the most, because i've never missed any of it. but they're everything to me. >> this is a picture of... >> so here we see state-sponsored initiatives aimed at separating families. what are going to be some of the long-term consequences? so you have kids growing up without their mothers or fathers, not only that but you have distrust of local law enforcement. it's a recipe for disaster and it's something that we do not yet fully understand the consequences of
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this approach to immigration control. >> after our interview, juan was released from detention, but he could still face deportation. he would not be offered a pathway to citizenship under the framework for reform that house republicans released in january. downtown atlanta. ice headquarters. the not one more coalition has successfully blockaded the facility. and for this short time at least, they've managed to do what president obama won't: stop the deportations. >> this issue's not going to go away. the reality is you have people in the shadows, exploited, with families being divided and no pathway to get out of this situation. >> what should be clearly understood is that anyone who knowingly and willingly enters the united states illegally should not expect amnesty.
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that to me is a clear bright line. >> how does it make sense to continue deporting people today who tomorrow could actually be eligible for a legalization program? >> get a hacksaw - we need a hacksaw! >> get a lawyer! >> to think that the state could actively separate families, actively take away the parents of us citizen children, i think we're going to look back on this time and probably be disgusted. >> misbehaving children locked up doing time while they should be in school. >> they have to prepare for jail >> throwing away our future >> we're using the same failed policies in districts throughout the country >> are we failing our kids? fault lines
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