All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, June 27th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Friday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 27, 2014
Guest: Bob Ortega, Jose Antonio Vargas, Alice Groves, Elizabeth McLaughlin
Haddix, Robert Moses
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
President Obama is trying to use the bully pulpit to halt the growing
humanitarian crisis on the border, the influx of unaccompanied minors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our message absolutely
is don`t send your children unaccompanied on trains or through a bunch of
smugglers. We don`t even know how many of these kids don`t make it and may
have been waylaid into sex trafficking or killed because they fell off a
train. We have no way of tracking that.
So, that is our direct message to the families in Central America. Do
not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they`ll get
sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s a crisis that has inflamed the anti-immigration base of
the Republican Party and has created the political conditions in which
Republicans can finally admit to doing what they have wanted to do all
along, and that is kill immigration reform. We will talk about that in
just a moment.
Near the border, though, the first lady of Honduras, Ana Garcia de
Hernandez, is visiting immigration facilities and detention centers where
thousands of Hondurans are being held. She says her country is working to
return Hondurans to their country.
The spike in apprehensions so far this year can be attributed to
several Central American countries particularly Honduras. Of course, the
question is, why would all these children be fleeing their own country?
Well, here`s a chart that helps explain it. This is New York City`s
murder rate in 2012. Five murders per 100,000 people. Even lower now.
But just keep that number in mind for comparison as we move along.
Here`s Chicago for the same year, 18 murders per 100,000.
Here`s New York City during the notoriously high crime 1990s when it
was called the murder capital of the nation, about 30 murders per 100,000.
Now, here`s Venezuela in 2012. It has the second highest murder rate
of any country in the world right now at about 54 murder per 100,000.
And here`s Honduras, with a truly jaw-dropping number, 90 murders per
100,000. Nearly twice the next highest rate. The highest murder rate in
And it`s nearly twice the rate of Venezuela. Three times the murder
rate of New York City at its very worst.
And it`s not just Honduras. Look at its neighbors. Four of the five
countries with the highest murder rates in the world are in Central
America, clustered next to each other. Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, and
Guatemala, according to United Nations data. That little part of Central
America, a tiny part of the world, relatively, a tiny cluster of countries
you see right there is right now arguably the most violent place in the
world outside of war zones.
That fact has a lot to do with why these kids are showing up at the
border. Things are so dangerous and unstable in that part of the world
right now, parents are putting their children in the care of smugglers who
will take their children on trains, or trucks, or however they can across
the very long stretch of Mexico as stateless people throughout, all the way
to the U.S. Border Patrol agents, who they are often flagging willingly to
turn themselves over.
Joining me now to explain the source of this is Bob Ortega. He`s
senior reporter for "The Arizona Republic."
And, Bob, what is driving those murder rates in those countries such
that it`s producing this effect of unaccompanied minors being sent up to
BOB ORTEGA, THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Well, primarily, it`s two gangs.
There`s a gang known as Mara Salvatrucha and a gang known as Calle 18, that
have been very active especially in Honduras and El Salvador. And those
gangs -- although this has been something that`s been going on quite a
while, have really -- there`s been a spike in violence in the last six
months in particular and it`s building up, actually, over the last two or
The other thing is the change in the type of violence. They used to
mostly target each other. Now, they`re targeting children. They`re
They have been recruiting children at a very young age. If children
will not take part, then they will murder them. There was an incident
fairly recently in Honduras in which Mara Salvatrucha gang members killed
five children between 12 and 5 years old. And then cut their bodies into
pieces and dumped them in San Pedro Sula, the second largest city in
Honduras, as a message to families who would not allow their children to
take part in gang activities.
HAYES: I`m sorry. I`m just still processing that.
So this is -- this violence, this horrific violence targeted at
children is a method of recruitment?
ORTEGA: Well, no, it`s a method of telling families you don`t oppose
ORTEGA: So, there`s two things that are going on here. One is there
is a lot of extortion. There`s a lot of murder. The other thing is that
they also at the same time especially in some of the poorer neighborhoods,
they recruit children to work for them as lookouts, as their eyes and ears
to deliver messages. Sometimes to deliver extortion notes.
And if children decline to participate or to make drug deliveries as
well, for example -- if children decline to participate or if their parents
refuse to let them participate, they can be murdered.
HAYES: Is there -- it seems from the map and from the coverage I`ve
been reading this is a cross-border problem. It`s clustered to these
regions, but it crosses the borders of these different countries. Is that
ORTEGA: Yes. Yes. And so does the gang activity. These gangs are
active and present in all of these countries, and so, there are some other
issues, of course. I mean, there are always the economic issues that have
existed there. There`s very little economic opportunity.
So, it`s not as though every single migrant is fleeing the gang.
ORTEGA: The gang activity. But the majority of the children, that is
the reason that more of them cite than anything else as to why they`re
HAYES: And how is the coverage of this in those countries? I`m very
curious if it`s getting a lot of attention there.
ORTEGA: Yes, yes. It is.
Now, I just came back from spending time reporting in Guatemala and El
Salvador and, I also, of course, spoke to a lot of people coming through
from Honduras. There`s a couple things in my monitoring of the news there.
It`s really clear over the last couple weeks just as it`s become a big
issue here, it`s become a big news issue there.
And they have been very aggressively covering this and really
delivering the message that the U.S. government would want them to deliver
which is there is no free ride.
ORTEGA: And you`ll be deported.
HAYES: Bob Ortega.
ORTEGA: If you get up there.
HAYES: Bob Ortega from "The Arizona Republic", who`s been doing
fantastic reporting on this -- thank you.
President Obama in the very context of immigration reform talked today
about the lawsuits Speaker John Boehner has said Congress will bring
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: You know, the suit is a stunt. It -- but what I`ve told
Speaker Boehner directly is if you`re really concerned about me taking too
many executive actions, why don`t you try getting something done through
Congress? The majority of American people want to see immigration reform
done. We had a bipartisan bill through the Senate, and you`re going to
squawk if I try to fix some parts of it administratively that are within my
authority while you are not doing anything?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One of the main bones of contention about the so-called
lawlessness the president was the executive order he signed in 2012. The
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, which the president signed
after the DREAM Act failed to make it through Congress due to Republican
Now, DACA allowed children who had been brought into the country with
their undocumented immigrant parents as children to avoid deportation if a
list of certain conditions were met. What we`re faced with now is a
situation where Republicans in Congress are angry at President Obama for
signing that executive order and even using the fact that he took that
executive action as a reason to not pass the next attempted round of
Republicans say they don`t trust him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: One of the biggest
obstacles we face is the one of trust. There`s widespread doubt about
whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws, and it`s
going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats are having none of that. Want to make sure the
public knows who is to blame.
Here`s Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a joint news conference of
Senate and House Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: If something is not done by
the Republican-dominated House of Representatives during the month of July,
the sole blame without any condition or suggestion of minimization would be
that the Republicans are the reason. So instead of wasting time, wasting
time suing the president, the House should do the work of the nation, pass
comprehensive immigration reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of Define
America, writer/director of the new film "Documented." The new
documentary, you can learn more about it by going to documentedthefilm.com.
Jose, what do you make of this --
JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, FOUNDER, DEFINE AMERICA: I mean, you`re
listening to it and you`re just like, OK, let me make sure I`m getting this
right. Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are saying that they can`t
move immigration reform because they can`t trust the president, this
president, to enforce immigration laws. You mean the same president that
has deported nearly 2 million people in 5 years?
VARGAS: So, I`m sorry, I mean, are we clear on this?
VARGAS: The president is enforcing the law.
HAYES: In fact, he has ratcheted up.
HAYES: The enforcement.
VARGAS: The record. I mean, he is now coming down, I`m sure the
president doesn`t like hearing this --
VARGAS: -- as the deporter-in-chief.
VARGAS: Right? And you have the speaker of the House and House
Republicans saying this is really, really important. Because I don`t think
this has been really brought up. Are the House Republican leadership
suggesting that all these DACA, DREAM Act-eligible kids be deported?
VARGAS: Is that what they`re suggesting?
VARGAS: It is.
HAYES: That`s a great point.
VARGAS: No, no, if it is, if it is, please tell us.
VARGAS: Tell the American public, Speaker Boehner, Congressman
Goodlatte, if you are saying that DACA-eligible DREAM Act kids should be
deported, tell us now.
HAYES: Right, that`s a good point.
VARGAS: We`re not talking about that.
HAYES: If they`re saying this is lawless, right, the implication
which they`re not saying is this is actually not legitimate and, therefore,
these kids should be deported.
VARGAS: And, again, these are -- these DACA kids, many of whom are my
friends on Facebook, many of whom are in college, many of whom are working
right now and paying taxes and contributing to their societies -- is the
House Republican leadership saying that these American kids should be
HAYES: That`s a good question.
VARGAS: I don`t know.
HAYES: Yes, we`re going it have -- we tried to get Bob Goodlatte on
VARGAS: I`ve been very confused about all of this. To me, look, we
all understand the incredible, you know, the tough position that President
Obama is in, but now, it`s really on his court. What is he going to do?
HAYES: Do you think -- this is the next question is. You`ve got --
you have Senator Robert Menendez saying we`re at the end of the line, we`re
not bluffing by setting a legislative deadline for him to act. The first
job is govern. Absence of governing, then you see executive actions.
You are seeing reporting from the White House that you might see
executive action on immigration. Is that -- is that the only hope left at
VARGAS: Yes, that is the only hope left. Again, how inclusive is
that going to be?
Again, please, reporters, political reporters, I beg of you, ask
Speaker Boehner, ask Republican House leadership, are they saying that
DREAM Act eligible kids should be deported? Is that what they`re saying?
HAYES: Right. Well, and then also given the conditions of what we
have now and given the rebellion against the -- the sort of ad hoc
rebellion against DACA now, that strikes me as partly a political strategy
to try to stop him from doing anything in the future.
VARGAS: That and also Speaker Boehner saying about suing the
president. I`m sorry. But the last time I checked the Latino community is
the largest minority group in America and Asians are the fastest growing
racial group in America.
VARGAS: I mean, how deeper does the Republican party really need to
get when it comes in this issue? I try -- we try really hard to get the
politics out of it, but somehow whenever we get to this point -- I`m so
sorry. I`ve been haunted by these young kids. I was one of these kids who
was smuggled in this country when I was 12. I didn`t know that the guy was
a smuggler. I realized that four year later that he was actually some guy
my grandparents paid $4,500 to smuggle me here for.
This is my country. I think I contributed to it. I think I`m earning
to be an American. And I look at these kids and I just wonder, man, can
you imagine what would have happened back in the Ellis Island days when we
have said, I`m sorry --
HAYES: We warehouse people, exactly.
VARGAS: -- no more German kids, no more Italian kids, no more Irish
HAYES: You`re going to be sent back. Jose Antonio Vargas, that story
-- your story, you can learn more about in the film "Documented" which you
can check out Sunday night.
VARGAS: Sunday night on CNN. Yes.
HAYES: Coming up, we`re going to revisit one of our "All in America"
story from earlier in the week about a murder in the city of Chicago that
disappeared. Tonight, I`ll talk to the mother of the murder victim and get
her reaction to the Chicago police department`s handling of her daughter`s
Stay with us.
HAYES: Fifty years ago, idealistic young people went to Mississippi
to bring democracy to an apartheid state. One of the men who masterminded
the strategy there, who brought democracy to Mississippi, will be my guest
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (voice-over): Alice Groves` daughter was found dead inside this
abandoned warehouse on Chicago`s West Side in July of 2013. The police
report indicates the body of tiara groves was found naked and decomposing
with evidence suggesting she`d been bound and gagged. She was just 20
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For the last few days we`ve been looking into crime in Chicago
and how not everyone in that city believes what`s being said about the drop
in crime. We`ve investigated allegations that crimes have been downgraded
and reclassified for reasons that seem it to be unclear to some. One case
in particular was that of a woman named Tiara Groves. It`s been almost a
year since Tiara Groves disappeared and her body was found days later,
naked, decomposing in a vacant warehouse.
The Cook County office declared her death a, quote, "homicide by
unspecified means", which means evidence indicates Tiara Groves was indeed
The medical examiner couldn`t determine an exact cause of death and
it`s been about six months since her death disappeared from the Chicago
police department`s crime portal as a homicide. It was around that time,
as first reported by "Chicago" magazine, Groves` death was reclassified as
a non-criminal death investigation.
Earlier this week when I asked Chicago PD chief Bob Tracy, who`s in
charge of crime control strategies about Grove`s case, he seemed to
suggest, it could once again be change back --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB TRACY, CHICAGO PD: -- but we can have findings that come back
out, new evidence, witnesses and as we tie the case together, we could take
that investigation to make them a murder or we can go the other way. We
can reclassify in a different direction, and as I said, this is still a
death investigation. So, it can, at one time, maybe be classified as a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Making this case a homicide investigation, again, is something
the Groves family very much wants to see happen. Earlier tonight, I spoke
to Tiara Groves` mother and I started by asking her what detectives told
her when they found her daughter`s body.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ms. Groves, what did the detectives tell you when they first
found Tiara`s body?
ALICE GROVES, MOTHER OF VICTIM: They told me that they had found her
and that what I need to do is just remember her as she was and to call the
funeral home to make arrangement.
HAYES: Did they tell you at any point in the initial days in contact
with you, did they refer to it as a homicide?
GROVES: They was treating it as a homicide. That`s what they told
HAYES: How much were they in touch with you, the police, throughout
the process? Your daughter disappeared almost about a year ago in July,
and there were months and months after that period. How much was the
Chicago police department in touch with you during that period?
GROVES: They wasn`t in touch with me or my family at all. We stayed
in contact with them so much that they act like we was aggravating them.
HAYES: So you --
GROVES: Getting on their nerves or something.
HAYES: You would call them and try to talk to them about the case and
they would communicate to you that they wanted you to back off?
GROVES: That they hadn`t found anything, and when they do, they will
call me. And I`m the only family called that much.
HAYES: We had the head of crime control strategies for the Chicago
police department, Bob Tracy said that it`s standard operating procedure
that detectives stay in regular contact with victims` families. Even for a
noncriminal death investigation as this case currently is. Would you say
that`s an accurate characterization? Did they stay in regular contact with
GROVES: No. No.
HAYES: And when is the last time someone from the Chicago police
department reached out to you?
GROVES: The day that they came told me that they found my baby body.
The 23rd of July.
HAYES: That was the last time the Chicago police department
affirmatively contacted you to talk about the status of the case of your
GROVES: That was it.
HAYES: Has this ordeal affected the way you view the Chicago police
GROVES: Well, it`s like they treated us like we was -- like we was,
you know, like we hadn`t lost a loved one. They treated us like we was not
They talked to us like, you know, it wasn`t important. And to me,
they didn`t show no type of love or sorrow. They showed, like, non
concern. And I was told that they was going to -- when they broke the news
to me, that they were going to make sure they found the person that did
this to my daughter.
And it`s like, they never got nothing. Nothing.
HAYES: What is your reaction to the report in "Chicago" magazine
about the reclassification and then the report we`ve run this week in
looking into the case of your daughter`s appearance and death?
GROVES: I feel as though they was covering up for the peoples that
did this. That`s how I feel. That they was covering up.
And I also feel like if you never -- if you don`t have any
information, must mean you`re not doing anything. If you can tell me
anything about my daughter, which they told me nothing at all, must mean
like you weren`t even working on it.
HAYES: What are you looking for from the Chicago Police Department?
GROVES: I`m looking for them to find the person that killed my
daughter and for justice to be done so many, my family, can go on with our
life. That`s all I`m asking for.
For them to find the person that did this. So we can go on. And
until then, we cannot. And I`m looking for them to put her case back as a
homicide. Not a regular death.
HAYES: Alice Groves, the mother of Tiara Groves -- thank you very
much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
GROVES: More than welcome.
HAYES: We are going to continue to track the Groves case in the days
and weeks and months, ahead.
Coming up, "All in America" continues tonight. A story from North
Carolina that will rip your heart out and infuriate you. You don`t want to
HAYES: Fifty years ago tonight, viewers of the National Broadcasting
Company sat down to watch a show called "The Lieutenant" and this is what
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Lieutenant" normally seen at this time will
not be seen this evening in order that we may bring you this special
NBC News presents, "Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner," a special report on
the three workers for civil rights still missing in Mississippi and a
review of motives and forces behind those who planned to carry on the work.
Now, here is NBC News correspondent Frank McGee.
FRANK MCGEE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: First, the known facts. James
Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Schwerner went to Mississippi to help register
Negroes as voters. It had been stressed that the training school they had
just completed that their purpose was not to stage sit-ins, marches or
demonstrations. It has also been stressed that the federal government
could offer them little protection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The bodies of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman were found later
that summer, three young men murdered by the KKK for trying to register
black voters in Mississippi. Bob Moses was a young organizer who was at
the center of that battle known as Freedom Summer, 50 years later, he`s
back in Mississippi organizing with the new generation. He will be my
guest, coming up.
HAYES: There`s a deadline looming just three days from now.
Monday, June 30, is the final deadline for some of the state`s
residents to apply for reparations from the state of North Carolina.
Our final report in this week`s "ALL IN America: Behind the Color
Line" serious explains just what the state is hoping to compensate for.
LARRY WOMBLE (D), NORTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: You`re playing
God over a whole group of people`s lives, and I don`t think we`re supposed
to play God like that.
HAYES (voice-over): How does a state begin to make amends for the
wrongs it committed against its own people?
JANICE BLACK, FORCED STERILIZATION VICTIM: The money is fine. The
money fine. But it still ain`t going to bring anything back.
HAYES: This is a story about a government paying the people it`s
harmed in the United States, in the South, in a state controlled by
PAUL STAM (R), NORTH CAROLINA STATE SENATOR: I thought it was a
simple matter of justice. They had been physically harmed, emotionally
harmed and never been compensated.
HAYES: In the context of America`s torturous racial history,
reparations is a third rail, one of the most polarizing concepts in all of
American politics. They have been dismissed over time as impracticable,
TA-NEHISI COATES, "THE ATLANTIC": The excuses for not giving
reparations today were the same excuses when the slaves were alive. The
excuses have not changed. Our strategy is to run out the clock. It was
the same then. It`s the same today.
HAYES: In 1933, North Carolina created the Eugenics Board, tasked
with sterilizing mentally diseased or feeble-minded people. Its business
was every bit as ugly as its name suggests.
BLACK: I signed some peoples that I didn`t know that I didn`t know
what I was finding.
John Railey of "The Winston-Salem Journal" has been investigating the
program over a decade.
JOHN RAILEY, "WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL": The North Carolina Eugenics
Board, for 45 years, ran one of the most aggressive forced sterilization
programs in the country.
HAYES: Pamphlets encouraging the practice of sterilization warned,
"The mentally defective are entrusted with the most important and far-
reaching job of all, parenthood."
RAILEY: It went for epileptics, it went for blind people, it went for
deaf people. And, you know, often, it was just based on gossip. It went
for promiscuous people. It was just out of control.
HAYES: By 1974, an estimated 7,600 men and women, by force or
manipulation were sterilized by the state of North Carolina. Janice Black
was one of those people. She now lives with her friend and legal garden,
Sadie Gilmore Long.
BLACK: All I remember is that -- that I was in the hospital, and when
I woke up, when I woke up, I was all patched up from the waist down.
HAYES: In 1971, the state Eugenics Board agreed that Janice Black was
an exploitable individual due to her low I.Q. She was sterilized at the
age of 18.
BLACK: I felt something, but I just couldn`t put my finger on it
right then. I couldn`t put my finger on it right then. So they tell me
what I was going for.
HAYES: The state`s efforts were not explicitly racially targeted, but
the effects were disproportionate. After World War II, 40 percent of those
sterilized were non-white, while just about 26 percent of the state`s
population at the time was non-white.
RAILEY: In the 1950s and 1960s, even as North Carolina was gaining
this reputation for peaceful integration as a Southern state, it begins to
target African-American girls and women, often who had had children out of
wedlock and were of modest means, often on welfare. So it became a means
of trimming the welfare rolls.
HAYES: The Eugenics Board was formally shut down in 1977, but it
wasn`t until 2002 that the state officially apologized for what it did. A
decade later, Democratic Governor Bev Perdue pushed to compensate
survivors. After bipartisan efforts, the historic proposal died.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senate Republicans could not even agree on a
dollar amount or even if North Carolina should open the door to what many
of them describe as righting a wrong.
HAYES: Last year, a new more modest proposal was championed by
Republican Governor Pat McCrory and championed by current Senate candidate,
then-state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis. Republican state
Representative Paul "Skip" Stam co-sponsored the bill.
STAM: We had apologized to them. We had repealed the program. But
those only go so far.
HAYES: This year, North Carolina will become the first state in the
nation to compensate victims of forced sterilization, with a $10 million
fund set aside. But the same Republicans who helped fund this historic
reparations program don`t want it called a reparations program.
STAM: Reparations down here, in North Carolina, typically means the
descendants of one group paying the descendants of another group.
This is not reaching back into history to right a wrong that`s purely
history. We`re trying to right a wrong that is still alive in people`s
minds and bodies.
REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER, PRESIDENT, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP: God, our
father, we bless you today.
HAYES: Critics, like North Carolina NAACP president Reverend Barber,
see contradictions in the effort.
BARBER: How are you for correcting or doing something in part to
correct the eugenics 50 years ago, but now you`re cutting health care
today? There`s this dichotomy that doesn`t make sense here. But what we
have said to Democrats and Republicans, we need to do more than just give
them some money.
HAYES: The deadline to apply for the program is June 30. An
estimated 1,800 survivors are still alive. But, as of now, only 630 of
them have filed claims and only 465 of those claims are being processed.
(on camera): Do you think it makes sense to have a deadline?
COATES: The idea there should be, like, a deadline for doing the
right thing, like, I will do right by you up until, you know, this point,
and then I will cease to -- you know, we have to call it quits. It`s not
so much reparations as it is hush money.
HAYES: Next year, the state of North Carolina will be cutting checks.
But justice, well, that`s another matter.
HAYES: Coming up, I will talk to one of my MSNBC colleagues who`s
been on the ground doing reporting in North Carolina on this story, along
with someone who is representing sterilization victims.
Stay with us.
HAYES: If you have missed any of our "ALL IN America" stories this
week, you can watch them on allinAmerica.MSNBC.com.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGARET RANKIN, SISTER OF SURVIVOR: I believe that social workers
convinced my parents that this is what they need to do because my sister,
as they call it, mentally retarded.
DEBORAH BLACKMON, FORCED STERILIZATION VICTIM: I went through a lot
LATOYA ADAMS, AUNT OF SURVIVOR: I couldn`t believe that they would
actually, you know, do something like that, to a 14-year-old. I`m sorry.
BLACKMON: I remember when they was shaving me, and they said, you
going down to get your surgery. And I said, OK, I`m going to take the
surgery. And I went down and they gave me the surgery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In 1972, Deborah Blackmon was sterilized at age 14. She had
been characterized as severely retarded by North Carolina. Right now, she
and her family are still waiting to hear whether or not she qualifies for
reparations from the state for that program.
Joining me now is Irin Carmon, national reporter for MSNBC.com who has
also been covering this story on the ground in North Carolina, and
Elizabeth McLaughlin Haddix, staff attorney at the University of North
Carolina Center for Civil Rights. She`s representing women who are
sterilized and are now seeking compensation from the state.
And, Irin, can I start -- let me start with you. The state Eugenics
Board, like, the niece of that woman saying I can`t believe they would do
something like this, I think, is probably the reaction most viewers are
having right now. How common was this?
IRIN CARMON, MSNBC.COM: North Carolina had in some ways the worst
program, because it wasn`t just institutionalized people who were
sterilized. They really reached into people`s homes, by social workers
recommending people to be sterilized.
But, in fact, 30 states had eugenic sterilization laws on the books,
and 63,000 people, in the 20th century, were sterilized on the grounds that
they were mentally defective, that they were promiscuous, that it would be
better for the human race if they didn`t reproduce.
HAYES: Elizabeth, you are representing folks that are trying to
qualify for this program. Is it difficult to do that?
ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN HADDIX, UNC CENTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS: Difficult?
It`s difficult, yes. It`s difficult to hear the stories and know that only
a few of them will be eligible for compensation under this program.
HAYES: Why is the eligibility limited?
MCLAUGHLIN HADDIX: Well, the eligibility is limited to those people
who were sterilized under the authority of the Eugenics Board of North
But, in fact, there was a state statute that was in existence for
quite some time after the Eugenics Board ceased to exist which authorized
this going into people`s homes, working through social workers, to identify
people who didn`t deserve to reproduce. And we know that there were many
folks that were victimized by that state authority as well.
HAYES: Wait a second.
So, after 1977, `77, I think, right, when they shut down the Eugenics
Board as an entity, you are saying the state was still using the authority
to forcibly or coercively sterilize people?
MCLAUGHLIN HADDIX: Apparently so, yes.
What are the politics of this in terms of this compensation fund?
Obviously, you saw the Republican there. You saw the fact that they don`t
want it being called reparations. But I was surprised that this really was
-- it did become a kind of cause celebre a little bit of Thom Tillis, who
we think of as this very conservative Republican.
What are the politics of that?
CARMON: Well, credit where credit is due.
This came to light in 2002 in sort of the modern glare, looking at how
-- what a violation of human rights this was, how this is really the ugly
side of reproductive -- state-sponsored reproductive control.
HAYES: So there`s a sort of connection to folks that are -- consider
themselves pro-life that say this is precisely the ugliness that we stand
CARMON: I suppose you could see it that way.
You could also see it as the denial of reproductive autonomy for
people who are considered unfit.
HAYES: Of course.
CARMON: Particularly, African-American women have long been subject
to this kind of control.
But, yes, John Railey, the editorial editor at "The Winston-Salem
Journal," once the Republicans came into power, he saw it kind of drag
under Democrats. He said, you al care about the sanctity of life, you care
about state control, government overreach, so why don`t you guys jump in
and do this and make it happen?
And the thing is, because they were afraid of reparations, you had a
conservative think tank, John Locke Foundation, which is funded by Art
Pope, who you have covered many times on the show, came in and said, if we
just limit it to victims that are alive at the time of the legislation,
then no one can piggyback on this and say, I want reparations, too, because
those people are not...
HAYES: So, they were worried about the slippery slope.
CARMON: They absolutely were.
HAYES: That`s interesting.
CARMON: They were manifestly worried.
And they said, you know, you can`t rewrite history. That was a quote
from a legislator.
HAYES: So, Elizabeth, given the fact that the deadline is very close,
I mean, how are clients finding you? How are you finding folks that are
out there? Because it seems there`s a big gap between the number of
estimated victims alive, which is 1,800, and the 630 who have filed claims.
MCLAUGHLIN HADDIX: Right.
Well, that`s part of the astonishing piece of this, is that there was
no outreach. There was no money for outreach in the legislation. And, you
know, we have done outreach through our clients. The Center for Civil
Rights has lots of amazing clients, and people, communities that we work in
across the state, and they really stepped up and passed out fliers at their
churches, passed out fliers at senior citizens centers.
And, literally, we met people at the free legal clinics that we
sponsored in Charlotte, in Ahoskie, in Greenville, and in Raleigh. We met
people who had just heard about this program. These are shut-ins. These
are elderly folks. These are folks with mental disabilities, intellectual
And they just learned about the program through our clients` outreach
and our outreach. So, and, you know, I just got three calls today from
people who just saw something in the paper covering -- an article covering
one of our clinics in rMD-BO_Ahoskie, so there`s still a lot of people out
there just now learning about it.
HAYES: Irin, I wonder if this program will be a kind of a self-
contained thing that will just happen or whether there are other places
where you can imagine the same logic being applied.
CARMON: Well, unfortunately, forced sterilization is something that
is still with us.
I mean, there was recently a report about non-consensual or very
dubiously consensual, coerced sterilization in California prisons. This is
a contemporary problem. We still are exerting control over people. And
you see the justifications for it change. In North Carolina, it started
out as, let`s purify the gene pool. Then it became, let`s end the culture
CARMON: Let`s save the state money. There are always going to be
rationales for deciding who has the right to reproduce.
HAYES: Irin Carmon, you can read more of her reporting on this story
on our Web site, allinAmerica.MSNBC.com.
And Elizabeth Haddix from the UNC Center for Civil Rights, thank you
CARMON: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up ahead on the show:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: By early July, the volunteers had arrived in full force.
During the summer, 80 civil rights workers were beaten and 1,000 arrests
were reported. One of the most dangerous jobs was traveling from house to
house in isolated rural areas to build support for a new political party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This week is the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. And I
will talk to the man who organized it next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUTH SCHWERNER, WIFE OF CIVIL RIGHTS WORKER: Something happened to
them. They`re being held somewhere or something happened. And I am going
to find the answer.
If all the federal authorities are at the beck and call of the
government are unable to do so, then I, as just one individual, will
attempt to do so. If this means driving every back road, every dirt road,
every alley in the county of Neshoba, I will do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Fifty years ago this week, Ruth Schwerner`s husband and two
other men went missing in Neshoba County, Mississippi.
They were there as part of Freedom Summer, a cross-racial coalition of
organizers who went to Mississippi to break the back of Jim Crow by
registering black voters, bringing democracy to an apartheid state.
And they went there knowing they faced the threat of deadly violence,
because, only a year earlier, a prominent NAACP organizer named Medgar
Evers had been gunned own in his own driveway in Jackson, Mississippi.
And still they traveled into the belly of the beast. And, on June 21,
1964, three young organizers named Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and
Andrew Goodman went missing outside the town of Meridian.
Miles and miles away in Washington, President Lyndon Baines Johnson,
was struggling to absorb the news.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What do you
think? Think they got killed?
LEE WHITE, LEGAL COUNSEL: This morning, they had absolutely no trace.
There`s no sign of the automobile. They have found nobody who`s seen the
car or the three people. So, as far as they`re concerned, they`ve just
disappeared from the face of the earth.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: At a loss over how to react, Johnson called up his friend
segregationist Mississippi Senator James Eastland for advice.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Jim, we`ve got three kids missing down there. What can I do
JAMES EASTLAND (D), MISSISSIPPI: Well, I don`t know. I don`t believe
there`s -- I don`t believe there`s three missing.
JOHNSON: We`ve got their parents down here.
EASTLAND: I believe it`s a publicity stunt.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Publicity stunt.
Later that same day, the president took a call from J. Edgar Hoover,
the FBI director, who had harrowing news.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
J. EDGAR HOOVER, FBI DIRECTOR: I want to let you know, we have found
HOOVER: Now, this is not known. Nobody knows this at all, but the
car was burned. And we do not know yet whether any bodies are inside of
the car because of the intense heat.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: The bodies of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman were not
discovered until August 4, over 40 days later. They had been shot by
members of the KKK and buried under an earthen dam.
This story may be what people remember most about Freedom Summer. But
those three young men went missing just as Freedom Summer was getting
started and for the rest of the summer, with this grim specter of violence
and murder hanging over them, hundreds of young people, black and white,
still traveled to Mississippi to continue their important work.
Think about the courage and sheer organizational muscle it must have
taken to make that happen.
The main organizer behind it all was an activist named Bob Moses. He
just 29 years old at the time. Today, Bob Moses is back in Mississippi to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer at a summit bringing
together organizers across generations.
And I`m very honored to have Bob Moses join me now.
Bob, what do you remember most about that summer 50 years ago?
ROBERT MOSES, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, what I remember most is
that we took on the state of Mississippi, and we figured out, by hook or by
crook, how it bring it into -- well, become part of the nation, right?
Mississippi had decided that it was going to be a law unto itself.
And what happened that summer was that Mississippi became, for better or
worse, indistinguishable from the rest of the country.
HAYES: Were you terrified doing that work with the missing colleagues
of yours just looming over you day in, day out, while you were doing it?
MOSES: No, it`s not being terrified. That`s not the question.
The immediate question really was to make sure that the volunteers,
that they understood that the three, Mickey, James, and Andy, were dead.
That is, they were missing. And the volunteers now had to go into the
state, but they couldn`t go into the state not understanding that they were
And they now had to face what we had been facing for the last several
years, right, whether they were willing to do this work under the idea that
their lives were at risk. But it had to be done in a way that they
understood that it was their choice, that they had to decide themselves,
individually, whether they were up to this.
And, of course, what was -- what was really powerful was that 99
percent of them decided that they were going to do it.
HAYES: The word of them being missing came while most of the people
who were going to participate in Freedom Summer were still in a training in
The phone call came in, and you and fellow organizers had to tell
these young trainees that the people who were sent down there ahead of you,
the first day, essentially, had going missing. What was the...
MOSES: Not to tell them that they had gone missing.
HAYES: That they were -- yes.
MOSES: What -- yes. What we had to tell them, that they were gone.
HAYES: And what was the reaction?
MOSES: So, the reaction, of course, is stunned silence.
But what we were trying to get them to do was get inside their own
minds and their own heads. So they had to be told in a way that they could
understand that now, this was something they had to rethink, right, that
they hadn`t bought into the idea that they were going into a situation
where their lives were at risk, right?
And so they had to be told in a way that they could get into
themselves, into their minds, into their spirit, and really think whether
they had signed up for this.
HAYES: What do you think, what do you feel when you see a new young
generation of organizers down there for the Freedom Summit working on, in
some cases, access to the ballot and voting rights, obviously, under very
What do you see as the frontier of the struggle today?
MOSES: So, I think there are two things that are on the frontier, and
we were struggling with both of them 50 years ago.
But I also think we`re in a different constitutional era. And one
thing about us as a country is that, over constitutional eras, besides
lurching forward and back, we have actually managed to extend the reach of
the preamble, the part of the Constitution, not only -- not what it says,
but what it does. Right? It creates the class of constitutional people...
MOSES: ... right, the people who ordain and establish the
So we have -- we have managed to extend the reach of that. And so we
need to reach it to both...
HAYES: Civil rights activist Bob Moses.
I think we lost the shot there. Gosh, it was such an honor to have
That`s ALL IN for this evening.
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