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'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Saturday, April 18th, 2015

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Date: April 18, 2015
Guest: Alisa Wellek, Alfonso Aguilar, Frankie Edozien, Craig Shagin, Kevin
Martinez, Elon James White, Thomas Ayuso, Emmanuel Ogebe, Saa, Marcia
Dyson, Tsedeye Gebreselassie, Alfonso Aguilar, Rich Tafel, Peter Noguera

JOY REID, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question, why are American
veterans being deported? Plus, how a social movement`s success has all the
right people talking. And, teachers in Georgia are going to prison. Yes,
prison. But first, in the legal debate over policy, never forget about the

Good morning. I`m Joy Reid in for Melissa Harris-Perry. This was the
scene in front of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of appeals courthouse in New
Orleans yesterday as three judges heard oral arguments in a case to remove
an order that halts President Obama`s executive actions on immigration.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in what has become the latest test for
President Obama`s immigration overhaul. Now as you may recall President
Obama back in November addressed the nation on the issue of immigration
saying that up to 5 million people could be shielded from deportation and
receive temporary work permits under his executive action. The order was
seen as one of the most important and boldest initiatives of his second


offer the following deal. If you`ve been in America for more than five
years, if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents,
if you register, pass criminal background check, and you`re willing to pay
your fair share of taxes, you will be able to apply to stay in this country
temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows
and get right with the law. That`s what this deal is.


REID: But the deal has been delayed. Thanks to a lawsuit by Texas and 25
other states. Many Republicans call the president`s move executive
overreach and in February, a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, ordered
an indefinite halt to the president`s plan. Saying that he had abused his
power. Which brings us back to this scene in New Orleans as the Obama
administration urged a federal appeals court to let the government
immediately move forward with President Obama`s overhaul of the nation`s
immigration and deportation policies. An estimated 200 demonstrators
rallied outside the courthouse to remind us what this order is really all


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is beyond papers. This is about human and human
dignity. This is about justice. This is about civil rights. This is
about labor rights. So much is involved in this. We cannot just say this
is about papers or an executive action.


REID: And that what lies at the core of this issue is family.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of our families are not having the
opportunities to have a job, a lot of our families are being caught up in
the system, the immigration system, being deported, being separated from
their families. The children are suffering the loss of a father or a
mother, or brother or sister. This lawsuit is just tearing our families


REID: The Obama administration faces a difficult task in the fifth
circuit, known as the nation`s most conservative appellate court. The
three-judge panel has two Republican appointees and one Obama appointee.
And no matter what the Fifth Circuit does, the legal fight is far from
over. Until then, millions of lives remain in limbo. And joining me now
are Ari Melber, MSNBC chief legal correspondent and cohost of "The Cycle,"
Frankie Edozien, a journalist and the director of the "Reporting Africa"
program at the NYU Journalism School. Alfonzo Aguilar, executive director
of the American Principle Projects, Latino Partnership and Alisa Wellek,
co-executive director of the Immigrant Defense Project. And thank all of
you for being here. I appreciate it. And I`m going to start with you,
Ari, as our MSNBC chief legal correspondent, I expect you to explain to me
the substance of what is happening here because what went to this judge who
issued the stay was not just the substance or really was not the substance
of the immigration action, correct?

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, "THE CYCLE": Well, what goes before this judge is
a series of questions. One of them is does the president have this power.
Another is even if he does, did he do it the right way. The Administrative
Procedures Act has a whole bunch of rules about how you do that. This goes
to what is typically the heart of executive authority because there is
discretion in how you enforce laws particularly in this kind of arena where
everyone knows and even critics of the president acknowledge that you could
not physically, possibly enforce this set of rules against every
undocumented worker in the nation. So, there`s already prioritization
going on. What happened here was, they tried to step up and make a larger
claim of it.

The other thing I`ll say that the people have to keep in mind is, we can`t
simply adjudicate and resolve these things based on whether you like the
law or not. Obviously, if a different president said I`m going to look at
the Voting Rights Act or civil rights laws and not enforce any of them ever
people would be - right, would be upset and want to adjudicate it.

I do think, though, that when you look at this area or the smart on crime
area where Eric Holder has also said we are going to make priorities based
on values, we`re going to put them out before the public and before
prosecutors because we can`t lock up everybody, this would seem to be in
line with something that the chief executive can do pursuant to enforcement

REID: Well, and I think that is the question I want to get to Alisa,
because what the administration is essentially saying with this executive
action is if you have 11 million people in the country without documents or
in the country unlawfully it`s physically impossible to grab them all and
put them out of the country so that law enforcement exercises discretion
all the time. They decide whether they want to arrest somebody who has ten
pounds of cocaine or whether they want to arrest somebody who has one bag
of marijuana. That discretion is part of the executive authority
inherently. Why is it any different for the executive to exercise
discretion here?

fact, I think, it`s an even stronger argument in the immigration room where
the federal government really has what`s called plenty of power control
over that system. Here I think the law is really on the president`s side.
This is really a politically motivated lawsuit by people that have been
trying tooth and nail to really hold back - you know, I think the majority
of Americans want fair inclusive reforms that really uphold the American
values of due process and strengthen our system.

REID: Well, you know, I want to talk - go to you on this, Alfonzo.
Because so you have 26 states that are litigating this case. Texas versus
the United States. Now in Texas` case the second part of the argument as
already explained the first part is, well the administration didn`t do it
right procedurally. But the second argument Texas is making is, well, it
will cost our state a great deal of money if you then have all of these
people get documents, get drivers` licenses, et cetera, but can we put up a
map or list of the states that are actually involved in this case with
Texas? Because a lot of these states, they`re not exactly states that have
a stake in this in terms of having lots of migrants in their states.
Something like Wyoming doesn`t have it.

MELBER: I think it was overloaded.

REID: Yeah, exactly.

MELBER: Canadian border state.

REID: Yeah, exactly. So, you have states. Look at that map. Not --
other than Texas -if the issue is - why do California in this ...

disagree. I mean, I agree what she actually said. I mean, the states need
these immigrants - and a lot of these states actually do have growing
immigrant communities, undocumented immigrants are going everywhere all
over the country to do jobs that basically Americans don`t want. I mean
even states like Idaho have a strong agriculture industry. They actually
need immigrants because they can`t find American workers to do that work.

REID: And why take this case? Why make this case?

AGUILAR: And I don`t know, I would just debate it a little bit. Certainly
are there, but I don`t think it is a significant cost at the level that
some of these states are arguing.

REID: It`s a question of standing, obviously. And I agree. Look, I don`t
think at this point they`re going to prevail in the circuit court because
this is a very conservative court. We`ll know in a few weeks the decision
of the New Orleans court. The Obama administration may have to go to
Supreme Court. But I agree in terms of the law that the federal case law I
think gives a lot of discretion to the federal government and not to the
president because actually the president didn`t base this on presidential
authority. But on the discretion that law enforcement agencies of the
federal government have to determine who stays and who goes. In the last
case on -- over the Arizona immigration law, U.S. versus Arizona, Justice
Kennedy in his opinion said very clearly, in three paragraphs, he said,
look, the president has ample discretion, or the law enforcement agencies
of the federal government. He can decide that people who have been here
for a long time, who have children that are U.S. citizens who are working
can stay here. And that`s basically what the president is doing.

Now, politically, did he proceed correctly? Should he have waited to work
with Congress? I think he should have.

WELLEK: Right.

REID: Well, there`s a political question on the other side, too, because
by these Republican states litigating this issue they create a political
problem for themselves with Latinos. But I want to bring Frankie into this
because, you know, as a child of immigrants myself, I think it`s easy to
forget that there are lots of other kinds of immigrants in the country for
whom this also applies. There are African immigrants, there are Caribbean
immigrants as well.

FRANKIE EDOZIEN, JOURNALIST: Absolutely. There are many, many families
that don`t look like the pictures that you see on TV that are not the
object immigrant of a certain particular ethnic group. There are many,
many, many people from different countries in Africa who are here and whose
families will be torn apart like this. There are many, many African
families that have mixed status. Some of the parents or some of the
children are documented. Some are not. Some are American citizens. And
this is where the president`s use of discretion comes in. Are you going to
tear apart a family that has no - no other country than this simply because
their mother does not have the exact paper that you want.

REID: Yeah.

EDOZIEN: She hasn`t found that paper. But she`s been here and been
working, perhaps I saw a figure about $2 billion in taxes ...

REID: Right.

EDOZIEN: If all of these people are brought in from the shadows and
allowed to work.

REID: And not - and we have a lot more to say. But I`m going to have
everybody just hold on just a second, because up next, a California program
has been a runaway success, but could it be putting people at greater risk?


REID: In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 60. A
bill that will allow all eligible Californians to apply for a driver`s
license regardless of their immigration status. The law known as the Safe
and Responsible Driver Act went into effect in January. AB 60 does much
more than increase road safety throughout the state, it also provides an
economic and social lifeline for the millions of undocumented immigrants in
California who can now drive to work, drive their children to school, and
run every day errands without the fear that being pulled over for a minor
traffic violation could turn into an immigration nightmare.

The response has been overwhelming. The California Department of Motor
Vehicles says that nearly half a million Californians have applied for a
driver`s license under the new law. That`s double the number of
applications the DMV had projected to receive at this point in the year.

California is the most populous of the ten states that grants such
licenses. Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia also allow the
undocumented to get drivers` licenses. And on Wednesday lawmakers in North
Carolina advanced a similar plan.

So coming back out to the table. At least one of the caveats to this
license is that it is just like a California driver`s license in every way,
but one. There`s a designation on it and it says - it looks different and
on the front it says federal limits apply. And on the back it says, quote,
"not acceptable for official federal purposes." So that means that if
let`s say somebody is stopped and there`s a federal agent somehow involved
they can tell that this person is undocumented. So, in a sense does this
lifeline for people actually pose a greater danger to them?

WELLEK: It does pose some dangers because of the ways that the immigration
system and the criminal justice system are now interlinked, almost any
interaction with police can lead to someone`s deportation. And so, this
could be a vital tool for survival for many immigrants within California
who, you know, could potentially avoid that deportation system, but we
actually know that immigration and customs enforcement is trying to access
these DMV databases for certain individuals. And so, you know, there is a
risk. And people have to consult with lawyers, especially if they have
ever had contact with a criminal justice system because it could lead to
further injustices.

REID: And Ari, I`m wondering, so this is one of those cases where federal
and state law come into conflict, this sort of reminds me of the marijuana
situation, right, where it`s legal to sell it, but you can`t put it in a
bank. Right? No, so now you are in the situation where people are getting
this opportunity and taking it. Are the people who are coming forward and
getting these licenses taking a greater risk than is reasonable for them to
take given that we don`t know how the federal law is going to come out?

MELBER: Right. I think it depends on their situation. Obviously, there`s
a tremendous amount of uncertainty given what we were just discussing in
the previous segment around the entire order, but there was uncertainty to
begin with. People are making day-to-day decisions, I think, to balance
what they can do to try to earn a living or if they need to drive for a
job. You know, so all of those are practical considerations. I also think
that at the end of the day this is what the states are doing is managing
the situation under federalism for their population as best they can. They
cannot obviously supersede someone`s federal status, but again, the reason
why this is so ironic that this feels like an ideological issue so much of
the time is there`s nothing ideological about what do you do with people in
a territory to try to have public safety and well-being for everyone?
That`s just the most basic obligation of government.

REID: Yeah, and it`s interesting right here because I mean we`re in a city
where there`s tremendous amounts of public transportation.


REID: But I grew up in the West. I mean there are states where you need a
car to get to work or to get around. And so it is this sort of strange
blue state - red state thing. Where in blue states the solution seems to
be, let`s find a way to have these people at least driving legally and
taking the driver`s test and making sure that they`re on the road and they
are safe for other people and you have this sort of red state phenomenon
where it`s like no, we`re going to sue to make sure they get deported home.

EDOZIEN: Yes, but the thing is that, a driver`s license is more than just
the ability to drive. A driver`s license allows you to go and open a bank
account. A driver`s license allows you to, if you are sick for instance
like last week I had oral surgery and I needed Vicodin and I went to my
pharmacist, and my pharmacist said where is your driver`s license, we can`t
give this to you without that. An immigrant who is sick and wants to
access services, does not have the ability to do that if they don`t have a
driver`s license. So, municipalities have taken matters into their own
hands. We see here in New York City we have something called IDNYC, San
Francisco has done it, that allows everybody to get a municipal, I.D. card
that gives you a certain permanency in the place that you live, that says
you are a part of this city, you are a part of this community. You can get
a bank account.

MELBER: But I would add - I mean we are all sort of legal policy people
here. But just as a thought experiment if you throw all the lawyers out of
the room and say, well, what happens when you do other things that break
rules? What happens when someone is driving 70 in a 55? Do they cease to
become, you know, someone who can hold a driver`s license or be in the
state? No. I mean the reason why there`s such rhetorical debate about
calling it undocumented versus illegal, is that many people who are former
immigration reform make the argument that this doesn`t mean that your
existence itself is criminal.

REID: Right.

MELBER: Deportation is a serious remedy and there are real laws in this
country, federal laws, and you can`t just have open borders. Having said
that, what we do with the people who are already here, right, is just a
basic -- is that kind of basic question.

REID: And it is complicated just for a little bit on the politics.
Because, Alphonso, this does - before we just make this a strictly red/blue
thing, there has been evolution on the Democratic side. Let`s quickly play
Hillary Clinton`s two positions. She`s evolved really on the issue of
drivers` licenses specifically. Let`s listen to -- OK. Actually I will
read them. "Hillary Clinton back when she was running in 2007 for
president, "as president I will not support drivers` licenses for
undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform
that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration including
border security and fixing our broken system." But Hillary Clinton now
says Hillary supports - our campaign. Hillary supports state policies to
provide drivers` licenses to undocumented immigrants. That is her new
position. If that evolution is even taking place within the Democratic
Party, what is your response as a conservative?

AGUILAR: No, I support that, but it`s kind of funny when it`s Republicans
change their mind, they flip flop, when Democrats change their mind, they


AGUILAR: But look, she flip-flopped. She`s not been a great leader on
immigration. That`s her reality. I mean that she hasn`t been involved in
the debate on immigration. She should be totally absent. But having said
that, look, immigration happens at the state level. Not at the federal
level. That`s where immigrants live. They are part of a community. And
states have to deal with this reality because the federal government hasn`t
passed immigration reform. So if we don`t have immigration reform, federal
law to deal with undocumented population we`re going to have a patchwork of
legislation. States dealing with immigrants in different ways.

REID: I think you just made the case for comprehensive immigration reform.
Your party is probably going to be on your cellphone calling you during the
break. We`re going to take a break - we are going to allow you to take the
angry phone calls.

Still to come this morning, the young woman who escaped and survived Boko


REID: This coming Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day, and to celebrate the
global poverty project is putting on an event today at the Washington
Monument grounds in D.C. It`s called Global Citizens 2015 Earth Day. And
it kicks off in about 40 minutes at 11:00 Eastern time. and
Soledad O`Brien are the hosts and the event will feature performances by No
Doubt, Usher, Mary J. Blige and many more. You can catch the whole program
live on And right there in the thick of
it all is the host of MSNBC live Thomas Roberts in the cool way
(INAUDIBLE). What`s up, Thomas? All right, let`s run it down. What`s
going to be happening? What can we look forward to today?

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC HOST: Joy, this is going to be epic. Oh, we`ve been
playing shah Shazam. This is - hold on. What`s her face? Who is it, Rob?
Edie Brickel, yes, anyway. We are playing life Shazam, Joy. Because we`ve
been listening to "Legal Feet" and my go-to has been, hey, it`s Hoody.
It`s Hoody, anyway. I`ve been wrong the whole time. But it`s great. And
the crowds are just filling in. They allowed them to start flooding in
around 10:00 a.m. So we saw people running in to get up to the front. And
now we have this great smell of copper tone walking around as people are
slathering it on because it`s going to be like 80 degrees here. And our
buddy Hugh Evans over at the Global Poverty Project, CEO, he had said
earlier all we want is sunshine. Well, Mother Nature has given us this
beautiful day. Absolutely gorgeous here in Washington, D.C.

The action is going to kick off on this dates coming up here in the next
hour. But we have got headline act such as My Morning Jacket, Fallout Boy,
Mary Jay Blige, Usher, No Doubt, but the weather is gorgeous. Over 250,000
people are expected to be down here today for this. And they started
putting up the framework for this as soon as the cherry blossom festival
ended. So at 12:01 on Monday they started out footing this. And getting
it ready to go, and they just finished putting up the last signs. You can
see what the #is, Global Citizen Earth Day. So, check out our postings,
and we will continue to play Shazam ...


ROBERTS: and bring you live reports on the music and so the acts actually
take - actually take the stage. We`ve been having fun.

REID: And I expect you to be using your SPF 29,000 so that we can have you
back in good working order. Thomas Roberts.

ROBERTS: I haven`t put anything on yet.

REID: What?

ROBERTS: I will admit. I`ve put nothing on yet.

REID: To the trailer.


REID: Go to the trailer right now and go get that SPF.

ROBERTS: I don`t put anything on yet.

REID: We need you to be healthy. All right, Thomas Roberts, MSNBC -
Thomas Roberts in Washington, D.C. Having a lot of fun. Bye. We`ll check
back with you as the events gets under way in our next hour.

And up next, why are U.S. military veterans being deported?


REID: They serve this country. Took an Oath of Allegiance while clothed
in a uniform bearing the insignia of the United States. They put their
lives on the line and then the United States kicked them out. Veterans of
the U.S. military who were lawful permanent residents or green card holders
have been permanently expelled from the United States for committing
crimes. This take no prisoners stance stems from the Immigration and
Nationality Act. The law passed by Congress in 1996 made it easier to
deport people who were in the country legally. Legal permanent residents
could be deported if they committed a class of crimes only applicable to
immigrants. Called aggravated felonies. Many are then separated from
their families and forced to return to a country they no longer know.

Now, no one knows exactly how many veterans have been deported because the
Department of Homeland Security says it doesn`t keep those records. And
neither do other government agencies. But according to banished veterans a
group formed to help deportees at least hundreds and perhaps thousands have
been deported in recent years. Deported veterans some of whom are
decorated and wounded remain absent from the very loud and very visible
debate in Washington over immigration reform.

And while we wait for the courts to decide whether the U.S. will take on a
realistic family-friendly path toward immigration reform, we must ask,
should the people who risk their lives to defend this country be forced to
leave it? Joining me now from Washington, D.C. is Craig Shagin,
immigration lawyer. And joining us via Skype from Belize is Kevin
Martinez, a U.S. Army veteran who was himself deported. And thanks to both
of you for joining us. And I want to start with you, Kevin.

Can you tell us what triggered your deportation?

deportation was simple battery case that I had when my ex-wife and I got
into a domestic dispute. Following that dispute I spent a year in Korea
basically, you know, doing the work for the military. Came back from
Korea. Continued to work as a civilian, that is. Continued to work. And
was going about my, you know, my daily work. I came to Belize on vacation
and upon returning to the U.S., I was stopped by a customs officer who told
me then that I was deported in abstention. And they kind of told me - you
know, I had no idea that I was going to be deported, you know.

REID: And Kevin, can I ask you how long ago that was? How long have you
been in Belize and how long have you been separated from your family that`s
here in the U.S.?

MARTINEZ: December will make 11 years, to be exact. December 2nd,

REID: OK. I want to turn to you, Craig, because as Kevin describes
essentially the triggering event, because these are not random
deportations. These are actually deportations that are triggered by an
arrest. So, why should the United States not deport, even if they were a
lawful immigrant, who is arrested for a crime?

CRAIG SHAGIN, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: Well, in my view you deport people not
because for punishment, you deport people because they have failed to live
up to their obligation for their status in the United States and they are
still aliens. However, once they enter the military they take an Oath of
Allegiance to the United States. As you pointed out in the intro, they are
literally clothed in the emblems and insignias of the United States. They
are subject to the military code of conduct, which tells them that they are
fighting in the forces that defend their country and their way of life and
they are prepared to give their life in that defense.

When they`re overseas they are subject to the status of forces agreement
which treats them as American nationals. If they get shot at or they get
arrested -- excuse me, captured by the enemy they are treated as Americans
who are then prisoners of war in a foreign country. They`re not treated as
Mexican-Americans or Italian-Americans or English-Americans. So since we,
for all intents and purposes, treat them when they`re in uniform as
American nationals, I don`t think that status should change when the
uniform comes off.

So if ...

REID: Well, and I should point out that a lot of people may not know and
the producers of this show I learned something today in the meetings
running up to this show that lawful permanent residents are actually
conscripted, drafted into the wars of the Civil War, both of our World Wars
as was Korea and Vietnam. But I want to go back to you, Kevin, and ask you
a version of the same question. You took an oath and you also were subject
to the uniform code of military justice. You knew those rules, you knew
the laws. Why should you not be subject to deportation if, in fact, you
did commit a crime of simple battery?

MARTINEZ: Well, I believe I paid the ultimate price as a citizen even
though I`m not a citizen of the United States. I think I went far and
beyond what some have gone, you know?

REID: Well, and I want to come back out to the table because Alisa, I know
you`re working on a case right now trying to help a veteran of the United
States military to stave off or to fight deportation. Talk a little bit
about that.

WELLEK: Sure. So I mean I think most Americans would just be horrified by
the system of justice that we have for immigrants that really have no due
process, no right to a lawyer. Immigration judges have been robbed of
their ability to weigh any of the humanity of the person or their
contributions to the society, like their military service. So, I`ve been
working with someone named Howard Bailey who came on a green card when he
was 17. Served in the Persian Gulf wars. Was honorably discharged and
applied for citizenship where he disclosed that he had a prior marijuana
offense from ten years earlier. In the meantime he had built two
businesses, owned his home, has family. And he was deported. And the
immigration judge was not allowed to weigh anything in his life, like not
even the fact that he honorably served in our military and he is in
deportation. And he`s actually in Jamaica right now and we`ve been trying
to bring him back. The federal government has not been cooperating.

REID: Yeah, and I want to give you the last word, Kevin. Make your case
to Americans who may be skeptical about this idea of people like yourself,
even though you clearly served this country and as you said did much, you
know, very honorable service to the country, what would you tell lawmakers
in Washington who are looking at a case like yours? What would you like to
see them do?

MARTINEZ: What I would like for lawmakers to do is to weigh -- I
understand veterans do commit crimes. But to weigh the crime -- I think my
punishment doesn`t fit the crime that I committed. You know? I think that
I -- I`m serving a -- it`s like a maximum sentence that I`m serving. You

WELLEK: Yeah. Yeah.

REID: All right. I want to thank you for being here, Kevin Martinez, in
Belize. And also I want to thank Craig Shagin in Washington, D.C. And
also in New York I want to thank Alisa Wellek and the rest of my panel is
sticking around.

And up next, two journalists ventured out and brought back dramatic new
pictures from the border.


REID: Last summer we saw thousands of unaccompanied minors, streaming
across the U.S. - Mexico border, capturing the attention of a nation and
touching of some dramatic - that some communities protested their arrival.
In 2014 alone, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers apprehended more
than 68,000 unaccompanied children and another nearly 70,000 people
traveling together as families. The Obama administration called it an
urgent humanitarian situation and promised to stem the tide of
unaccompanied Central American migrants.

That response indeed made an impact on the border between the United States
and Mexico. With the number of undocumented immigrants crossing the
border, dropping sharply in the fall of 2014. But largely that impact has
not resolved the crisis. Instead, it has shifted the issue to Mexico`s
southern border with Guatemala where one of my next guests to shot a
stunning photo documentary series and I`ll show you those images in a
moment. Also, I want to bring in a frequent Nerdland guest, Elon James
White, Elon has been spending time at the U.S. Mexico border and we`ll show
you the images that he has from there.

So, consider this a tale of two Mexican borders. We`re going to explore
what`s happening at both ends. Joining me now from Berkeley, California,
is Elon James White, the CEO of This Week in Blackness and also with us is
Thomas Ayuso, field investigator for Noria Research. And he`s joining us
via Skype from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. So, Thomas, I`m going to come to you
first and the images that you`ve been showing us from Mexico`s southern
border really are stunning and dramatic. So, tell us what`s going on there
and what happened since last summer`s border crisis?

Do we have Thomas? I think we have a little bit of problem with Thomas`
microphone. Let me go to you first, Elon. So, you have been doing a
border story. First of all, explain to me why were you there, what drew
you to the border and what work have you been doing?

the border as a delegation from a Netroots Nation, which is having their
annual conference down in Phoenix, Arizona, this year. And we went down
there to actually start to do some of the pre-work about - around
immigration and see exactly what was happening in the environment. And so
when we went down there we went to tent city, we went to the border. On
the migrant trail to see exactly what people who were trying to crossover
are going through and find out also some of the issues that when they are
actually here, what the illegal raids, what`s going on and what`s -- what
ends up happening to them. The criminalization of brown folks when they
cross over into our system.

REID: Right. Well, let`s play a little clip from the work that you`ve
done, the stuff that you shot, Elon. Let`s take a clip.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a horrible feeling. I mean, it`s something that
I -- I think some people just have to live it themselves so they can
understand what it is that we go through.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an example of a jug that I left out here on
February 13TH. You know, I just sometimes draw stuff or just say good luck
or little messages on it. And in this spot there was about 20 gallons left
here and when we came in just now everything was either gone or all the
ones that are here empty, which means to me somebody drank them.


REID: And as we show some of the other images that you took, Elon, what
are some of the things that are happening on the border? What is the stuff
about Joe Arpaio`s name being plastered everywhere, you showed pictures of
this sort of footwear that people are using to try to make their way. Talk
a little bit about that. Why is Joe Arpaio? Why is his name everywhere?

WHITE: Joe Arpaio, as a lot of people obviously know as being basically
the hand of terrorism against people of color, migrant work folks down in
Arizona. When you enter into Maricopa County where he`s sheriff,
literally, his fame is plastered all over everything. It`s less of him
being a sheriff and it`s more like a brand of terrorism the way I look at
it. And even in the clips that you just showed, the first one, that young
lady, she is actually a felon now. She was actually -- before that she was
a dreamer and she was actually able to basically get -- be a part of DACA,
what Obama put down for the dreamers allowing them to have a path to

REID: Right

WHITE: And because of a work raid that happened by Arpaio, which was
actually ended up being deemed illegal, these work raids that he was doing,
she was given a felony. And so at this point she`s no longer a dreamer.
She can`t actually follow that because of these questionable practices.
But then her -- even her story, she ended up being part of the lawsuit that
got Arpaio to stop the work raids that were happening. But at this point
she`s still a felon.

REID: Well, let me come back to - because Alfonso is dying to get in here.
Because I think the perception of Joe Arpaio and terrorism is elicited a
response that I think we should ...

AGUILAR: I`m supportive of immigration reform. I served as chief of
citizenship in the Bush administration. We fought hard for immigration
reform. I`m not a fan of Joe Arpaio. He`s doing despicable things. But
let`s not over simplify this issue. Because if we think for one minute
that Obama`s immigration plan will fix this situation, that`s a total
fallacy. As the guest was mentioning, the majority of these people are not
coming from humanitarian reasons. Many are. And we saw it with surge of
unaccompanied minors. The majority are coming here to work, they want to
come here to work, return to their home country and re-enter. But Obama
opposes, and this is never talked about, a market oriented guest worker
program that allows -- would allow for that circular migration. And you
know why, because of the unions. The unions don`t want to see more foreign
workers come in. So for all the talk, yeah, Obama is for immigration
reform, well, it wouldn`t resolve the problem in the border because you`re
seeing in the immigration courts people that have legitimate humanitarian
concerns, but the majority in those courts people who are here just because
they want to work.

REID: And I wish we had more time to do this. But I want to get Thomas
Ayuso in, because we didn`t have his mike earlier. But Thomas, I want to
talk to you really quickly because part of the issue as Alfonso is
describing is an issue of migration that is not just from Mexico to the
United States, but it`s also from Central and South America into Mexico.
So talk a little bit about what you found at the southern border of Mexico.

border and actually Mexico as a country itself is the largest migrant
corridor in the world. You have not only Central Americans, Cubans, South
Americans as you mentioned. But the ...

REID: We`ve lost him again. I think we lost him again. But we can see
Thomas` images here and some of what he`s showing is some of the young men,
some of them as young as 14 years old who are coming alone across the
border. And I think that you`re making a solid point, Alfonso, that the
migration that we`re seeing, the sort of almost desperation to get into the
United States is not a Mexican problem. It is a Central and South American
problem coming through Mexico.

AGUILAR: And we`re destroying families in Mexico and Central America. A
lot of these kids, a third of the kids that came here during the surge were
coming here to be with their parents because their parents could not go
back to their countries to be with them.

REID: And they`re escaping gang violence and tremendous violence that I
wish we had time to get in there because there is a larger ...

AGUILAR: And that`s a humanitarian issue, absolutely. That`s a war zone
down there.

REID: Absolutely. I wish we had more time. But we do not. So thanks - I
want to thank Elon James White, and he`s coming to us from Berkeley,
California, also, Thomas Ayuso from Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

And up next, she managed to escape from the clutches of Boko Haram and now
she`s a voice for the hundreds of girls who are still missing.


REID: It`s been one year since nearly 300 Nigerian girls were kidnapped
from their school by the terrorist group Boko Haram. One year since the
calls from Nigeria for their return were amplified worldwide through social
media outrage and millions of tweets to the #bringbackourgirls. In that
year there has been some response to that call. Nigeria was initially
joined by the United States and other international allies in trying to
find the missing girls. A military offensive conducted by Nigeria in
collaboration with neighboring countries sought to reclaim territory from
Boko Haram. And for the first time in Nigeria`s history, an incumbent
president was voted out of office when Nigerians replaced former President
Goodluck Jonathan, who was largely seen as ineffective against the militant
group, with President-elect Muhammadu Buhari.

But in the 369 days since the girls were taken, most of them still have not
returned home. Of the 276 girls who were kidnapped from a school in the
Nigerian town of Chibok, 219 of them are still missing. Not a single one
of the girls has been rescued, but about 60 managed to escape on their own
and save themselves. One of those courageous young women is joining me

Joining me from Washington, D.C. is Saa, a student from the Chibok school,
who escaped after being captured by Boko Haram. With her is Emmanuel
Ogebe, a human rights lawyer. Joining me here in New York is Reverend
Marcia Dyson, founder of the Women`s Global Initiative, along with Frankie
Edozien, journalist and director of the Reporting Africa program at New
York University`s Journalism School. Thank you all. I want to start with
you, Saa, ask you to tell us your story. How did you manage to get away
from Boko Haram?

SAA, ESCAPED FROM BOKO HARAM: Last year when the Boko Haram attacked our
school, and they led us all in the truck, and they burned everything at the
school. And put a lot of us on the truck, three girls remain outside and
two of them were Christian and one of them was Muslim. They asked the
girls, and one of the Christian girls said that she was a Muslim, she was a
Christian, and one of them said she was a Christian. One of the Boko Haram
decided to kill her. But they said no, they should not kill her and let
the three girls run and go home. Well, they start going with us in the
forest, and I decided to jump out of the truck, and I tell one of my friend
that I`m going to jump out of the truck because I don`t know where I`m
going with the Boko Haram, so I`m going to jump out. I`d rather die. My
parents will have my body to bury rather to go with Boko Haram.

So I jump out of the truck. She followed me. And she injured her leg, and
she was able to crawl on her tummy and enter the forest and spent the night
in the forest. And the next day, I went in the forest and look for help,
and I found a shepherd in the forest who helped us and took us and helped
and carry my friend on his bicycle and took us to a village. From there,
we find a man with a motorcycle that took us from there back home to our

REID: And can I ask you, this is such a difficult memory for you. But did
the militants from Boko Haram, did they indicate what they wanted to do
with you guys? Where they were taking you, what they were taking you for?

SAA: When they came they were asking us -- the first question they ask us
is where are the guys. But they didn`t tell us what they were going to do
with us. They didn`t even tell us where we were going with them, but they
said that the journey we`re going is too far away. They didn`t even tell
us what they were going to do with us.

REID: Saa, can I ask you what your life has been like since you did escape
from Boko Haram?

SAA: You know, today I came here. I`m free. And I`m safe. I`m
continuing my study here, and I thank (inaudible) myself, but my problem is
that my colleagues are still in the hands of the terrorists. While it has
been a year now that they are not here, 219 are still with the terrorists,
and we need help. We need the government to do their best and try the way
they can bring the girls back to school here, and so that they will be safe
and free the way we are here in America.

REID: Indeed. I want to go to Emmanuel Ogebe, and can you tell us what is
it that the government now is doing to try to find these young women?
Because it does seem unmanageable that after more than a year, almost
nothing has been done.

EMMANUEL OGEBE, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, I mean, in the last six weeks
before the elections, they made a desperate bid to rescue the girls and
hopefully win election victory. That didn`t happen. So it`s difficult to
tell what else is happening. But the international community, which
rallied around to try and find the girls, walked away from the search long
ago, and that`s the shame here. If we`re still searching for the Air
Malaysia aircraft after one year, we should search for these girls.
They`re not under water and they are not unrecoverable. The international
community need to step back into the fray.

REID: And Marsha, as a member of the international community that has
focused on this issue, why do you suppose that this seems to have lost its
international resonance after a year?

simply that black women`s lives don`t matter. What`s heroic about these
girls is not only do they bring that awareness, you know, along with
congressional black women like Fredericka Wilson and Sheila Jackson Lee and
Karen Bass, but these girls were targeted like Malala because somebody
thought they should not be educated. But they are also trafficked. So what
Women`s Global Initiative and joining the World Ebony Network, for raising
funds for their schoolings, for those escaped girls here in the United
States, is making sure that they`re crafted into a voice piece (ph) to say
that we matter not only in Nigeria but around the world. If you met Saa,
the most amazing thing to her when I introduced her at Howard University,
she was able to tell these students that when she looked back at her
experience and being educated a little bit in America, that she felt like
the man who said give me liberty or give me death, that she would rather
die than to be a bride of a terrorist. And that resonated so with the
audience there.

REID: Of course.

DYSON: And here in America as well.

REID: Indeed. We have very little time. I want to make sure I ask you,
Frankie, this question. Because this is what people want to know. Will
this new government now that Goodluck Jonathan is on his way out, is there
a chance the new government will do a better job?

EDOZIEN: Absolutely. Muhammad Buhari is known as somebody who`s very,
very severe and very, very fierce and does not tolerate indiscipline. One
of the reasons why Nigerians wholeheartedly decided to go with Buhari as
opposed to Goodluck Jonathan is because he had six years to try and find
these girls. Or at least squash Boko Haram. A year to find the girls, but
six years to squash Boko Haram. Muhammad Buhari will not allow Boko Haram
to continue to rule Nigeria. It`s just not going to happen.

REID: I wish we had more time. Frankie Edozien, thank you so much.
Marcia Dyson, my friend, thank you for being here. We especially want to,
of course, thank Emmanuel Ogebe and Saa for joining us from Washington,

And coming up next, the fight for 15 and the race for 16. Why your
paycheck has become the issue of the presidential race. More Nerdland, top
of the hour.


REID: Welcome back. I`m Joy Reid, in for Melissa.

Right now in Washington, the Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day event is just
getting under way at the National Mall. Organizers expect more than
250,000 people to attend the rally, which will feature performances by My
Morning Jacket, No Doubt, Usher, and many more.

The event is being organized by Global Poverty Project whose mission is to
end extreme poverty around the globe.

MSNBC host Thomas Roberts is there in D.C. in the thick of it all.

All right, Thomas, (a), what`s the vibe on the Mall, (b), have you gotten
your SPF99,000 on?

ROBERTS: No, but I`ve mid friends who have 85 plus. Can you hold up your
85 plus? I`ve made friends in the crowd that have 85 plus that could help
me out because we are working on our tan lines here and we`ve already got
some. Yes.

But it`s going to be an amazing day here. It`s over 80 -- about 80 degrees
right now. And Hugh Evans, whose the CEO of the Global Poverty Project
said he just wanted the sun to shine. Boy, have we gotten the sun to
shine, doing a little dancing to Jamiroquai right now, who was playing over
the loud speaker, if you can see me backpedal my way into this shot. But
it`s an amazing day here, and it`s bringing together the two concepts of
global citizen and Earth Day into one, to make sure we`re talking about
Earth Day and also about global poverty.

And we`ve got amazing acts scheduled to take the stage coming up here
shortly. As you pointed out, Joy, we`ve got My Morning Jacket, there`s
Fallout Boy, Mary J. Blige, Usher, No Doubt is going to be here,
is going to be here as a presenter. And we got the streaming over on MSNBC
starting at 11:30.

REID: All right. Well, Thomas, you and I both got that wrong because, of
course, it is Ursher (ph). But I expect you to correct that the next time
we come back and talk to you.

ROBERTS: Ursher?

REID: Thank you very much, Thomas Roberts. Have a great time. Bye.

ROBERTS: I am having a great time. This is fun.

REID: Looks like a lot of fun. A lot of people.

All right. Now, I want to bring in MSNBC national correspondent Ronan
Farrow who has I have to say the best spot in the house. Back stage with
all the celebs.


Joy, I wish you were here. You would enjoy the show, for sure. We`ve got
all the artists gearing up. You heard some big names.

You mentioned My Morning Jacket. They`re right here. Some folks from My
Morning Jacket turning up their guitars. You can see their gear there,

And I`ll just take you on the route the artists are taking as they file on
stage. We`ve been seeing them coming and going right here, Mary J. Blige`s

Joy, don`t you wish you were here to see Mary J. We go here guitars here,
we got keys here. Here we`ve got train. I don`t know how you feel about
trains, you know?

REID: Not on freights.

FARROW: Some times we have sentimental with a train song. As you know,
since this is an Earth Day concerts, for the 45 anniversary of Earth Day,
are hitting environmental themes, themes about sustainability. We`ve got
actually the technical masterminds, the co-show managers. Seth here our
friend making the actual mechanics of the show happen.

And then this is the way the artists go when they file out to this crowd
which Joy is going to top 250,000 people today. You can see we have the
monument behind us. It`s a beautiful day.

And here with me now to talk about the underlying serious issues here, Joy,
Kathleen, Rogers, the head of the Earth Day network.

Kathleen, it`s a pleasure to you. I actually once hitchhiked through D.C.
with Kathleen, true story, without even knowing her at all. She`s not an
ax murderer. She has done some incredible work with Earth Day, right?

So, tell me about why is the more than just talk. When artists say, oh, we
care about sustainability, what are the kinds of results and metrics that
come out of a concert like this?

amendment event on the Mall. We have a billion people participating in
Earth Day worldwide and we`ll probably have a quarter of a million here. I
think it`s a great combination. It`s incredible weather. There are so
many issues in 2015, climate change treaty, sustainable development goals.
We`re hoping to really activate the crowd and get them engaged.

FARROW: So, what`s one thing that either people in the crowd or watching
at home should do?

ROGERS: Well, there are a couple of things. You can download our app,
global citizen 2015 Earth Day app. They can also go on our website and
sign up for a billion acts of green. We hit 1.23 billion actions and we`re
hoping to hit 2 billion today.

FARROW: You know, Joy, usually there`s a lot of skepticism about events
like this and whether they have actual outputs that matter. I think in
this case we`ve seen in previous years, we do get big donations from
governments, big donations from organizations like the World Bank, which is
meeting today as well. We`re looking at real results maybe out of today as
well. We`ll be watching that closely. But it`s a fun day anyway.

REID: All right. Well, Ronan Farrow, I love that. Bringing together
activism and Mary J. Blige all in one fabulous package. Have a great time,

OK. MSNBC`s Ronan Farrow, thank you very much, sir.

FARROW: Thanks, Joy.

REID: All right. And don`t forget you can catch the action on the main
stage at

From -- now, from the welfare of global citizens to here in the U.S. On
Wednesday, we saw something incredible. Ten of thousands of low wage
workers and activists gathered in more than 200 American cities. They
demanded $15 an hour of living wage, enough to feed and clothe and educate
their families, to give their children a better chance.

Organizers led by the Service Employees International Union said it was the
largest protest by low wage workers in American history.

Now, there`s a huge demand, more than double the federal minimum wage, and
unlikely to be met directly on a national level with congressional

But these men and women are doing what successful movements do. They are
forcing a conversation. They are forcing the powerful in this country and
the wannabe powerful to take a stand on the minimum wage and on income and

It`s through their efforts that we have seen in 2014 alone ten cities and
15 states increase their minimum wage requirements. It`s through their
efforts that we`ve heard the president of the United States raise the wage
for employees for federal contractors while also calling for a higher wage
for every worker.


who still refuses to raise the minimum wage I say this, if you truly
believe you can work full time and support a family on less than $15,000 a
year, try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest working people
in America raise.


REID: And it`s through their efforts that we see huge corporations like
Walmart and McDonald`s announcing higher pay for some of their employees
beyond what`s required by law. And it`s through their efforts we see the
2016 presidential candidate, Democrat and Republican, forced to tell us
where they stand on income inequality.

It is because of this and similar movements like the occupy Wall Street
protests which gave us the powerful language of the 1 percent versus the 99
percent. Like Moral Mondays, which is framed economic opportunity as a
question of right and wrong, because of these efforts that some of the 2016
candidates are basing their entire campaign on fighting inequality.

Candidates like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who tweeted on
Wednesday, "Every American deserves a fair shot at success. Fast food and
child care workers shouldn`t have to march in the streets for living wages.

Clinton is presenting herself as a populist and a champion in her words of
the middle class, those striving towards and those striving towards it.
She`s heavily relying on the language of inequality.


when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker. There`s something
wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the
truckers that I saw on I-80. There`s something wrong when students and
their families have to go deeply into debt to be able to get the education
and skills they need in order to make the best of their own lives.


REID: But it`s not just HRC. Even Republicans are finding it beneficial
to acknowledge that there is a problem and to promise to fight it.


JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I think social mobility is the
great challenge of our time. The question is, why is it now that fewer and
fewer people have the skills necessary to achieve earned success? And that
is where I think we feed to take our stand. We need to grow our economy
faster so that there`s more jobs available and focus on making sure that
people have the skills to be able to take those jobs and move up.


REID: This is a movement that has already done one of the most important
things any movement can do. It has made everyone take notice, especially
the people who want to be our next president.

Well, up next, out of the class of 2016 who rally is the people`s champion?



CLINTON: I`m running for president because I think that Americans and
their families need a champion. And I want to be that champion. I want to
stand up and fight for people so that they cannot just get by but they can
get ahead and they can stay ahead.


REID: That was Hillary Clinton in Iowa this week, making the case for why
she is the champion of the poor and the middle class. But it`s a title of
a lot of her 20 -- a title that a lot of her 2016 opponents are claiming,

Here to help figure out what is the true people`s champion are: Ari Melber,
MSNBC chief legal correspondent and co-host of "THE CYCLE," Rich Tafel,
founder of the Log Cabin Republicans and president of Public Squared,
Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the American Principles Project
Latino Partnership and -- not Alisa (INAUDIBLE), we actually have Tsedeye
Gebreselassie, who is not the person in my prompter at the moment.

So, Tsedeye, I will give you honorary. Senior attorney at the National
Employment Law Project.

Now that we`ve given everybody their proper titles, let`s just go around
the table and talk about Hillary.

I`m going to start with you, Ari, because we have worked this game before
in the campaign world.


REID: This rollout of Hillary Clinton as a real populist is a change from
the new Democrat positions that we had both she and her husband had before.
Smart politics?

MELBER: I think it is smart politics. I think it`s reflective of not only
where the Democratic Party is, but where a lot of conversation is.

If we want to do the compare and contrast of her last rollout, she said,
look, I`m in it to win it. Well, that applies to just about every sane
candidate and I want to hear from you. Fine, but neither of those things
told us much about what she wanted to go.

This rollout, whether you like or not is very different. It is more
substantive. It is more policy-oriented. It`s about the middle class. It
is about working families.

And most importantly I thought on her first public campaign event there
when she was sitting with students, it was about the way money is crowding
out and structural level even the ability to have these debates about Wall
Street, about middle class economics. She said, we need to change the way
we fund campaigns even if it`s takes a constitutional amendment.

I would remind students of politics the last time we had mainstream
presidential candidate running on a constitutional amendment was George W.
Bush on an amendment to ban marriage equality, one that he never actually
pursued. But it tells you a lot. You`re not going to roll out five or ten
constitutional amendments. It tells you a lot about the one use pick.
That told us a lot about where he was and the politicking he was doing I
think to the shame of his historic legacy. Others can judge.

For her, we`re seeing an embrace of not only the progressive wing of the
Democratic Party but a fed up view of Congress that is I think completely
transpartisan when you talk about the money. The money is a problem for
Democrats. They`re raising money off Wall Street, which constrains what
they can do. It`s a problem for Republicans because a lot of folks want to
know what does Marco Rubio think, not what Adelson thinks.

REID: Right.

MELBER: And when you take $50 million, $100 million, $200 million worth of
dead presidents here, you`re doing to stack up to a lot of pressure on the
kind of president you would be.

REID: Yes. And it`s interesting, Tsedeye, because I was a skeptic of the
Occupy Wall Street outcome in the sense they didn`t organize anything
politically. They got a lot of attention. But in a sense are we now
witnessing kind of the ultimate victory of Occupy because -- I mean that
because this language of 1 percent, the language of the powerful versus the
ordinary person that cascaded into the 2012 election, 47 percent Mitt
Romney gaffe which was just him sort of talking other members of the
wealthy class.

Have we seen the progressive movement really sort of win the war even if
they lost battles early on?

TSEDEYE GEBRESELASSIE, NELP: Well, I think we can`t underestimate the
affect that Occupy have back then and continues to have now. You know,
Occupy activists were articulating a vision of the world that they thought
was really screwed up. And when they talk about income inequality, they
put it into the national conversation.

I think the Fight for 15, the strikes that we saw on Wednesday, Hillary
Clinton now tweeting that she stands in support of fast food and child care
workers striking even though she does not say what the minimum wage should
be. I think that is the crystallization of the frustration that Occupy
kind of showed to the rest of the world and the Fight for 15, and, you
know, I think it`s been -- it has been able to garner support not just
among progressives but when you see the workers that were out on strike
Wednesday, it wasn`t just fast food workers, it was adjunct professors that
are, you know, poverty wages, making a few thousand dollars per course. A
whole of host of workers in our economy who are making less $15 an hour, 42
percent of them that want change.

And so, I think the candidates are responding to that and not just to, you
know, the progressive or right wing.

REID: I see a smile that tells me that is skepticism on the Alfonso side
of the table.

think so. Look, income inequality is a real issue for most Americans.
It`s not just because of the Occupy movement. I hate to burst the bubble
of liberals, but the Occupy movement may have had an impact on the
progressive movement but not most Americans.

Most Americans during this administration have seen income inequality
expand, household income go down. It`s because of the progressive policies
of this president.

Now, in terms of Hillary, is she going to align with the liberal policies
of Obama or she`s going to be more of a centrist like Bill Clinton? I
don`t know if she`s being very substantive right now. Who knows? Is she
going to continuing evolving -- or we don`t know. We just don`t know.

REID: Such a skeptic.

I do want to ask, and I understand that of course on the Republican side it
was going to be a lot of skepticism. But is it that easy to throw on to
the Obama administration, Ari, the income inequality that`s been expanding
since the 1980s. You know, is it the fault of the administration that CEOs
have decided to pay themselves 300 times more than their average worker?
Can you lay that on a president?

MELBER: I think the criticism you`re putting forward doesn`t match what
we`ve heard from most the financial community and Wall Street, which is not
that he`s feeding inequality, this president, but rather he`s putting on
too many rules as it is to many what are watered down Dodd-Frank, SEC rules
regarding executive pay that are primarily about disclose and share
information, not actually mandating any pay and even that`s been

So, I think there`s a tension here between the Republican attacks trying to
blame the president for whatever is happening in the larger macro economic
trends and the fact that the loudest Republicans on Wall Street who fund a
good portion of the party have said he`s already doing too much, which is

Now, as to what Hillary Clinton has to do and the Republicans who I think
to their credit, some of them are coming around to embrace the issue as
well. The question is what are they going to do about it? I think yes,
you have to spell it out. We`re seeing indications. We`re seeing Hillary
Clinton not going to the same group of Rubinomic advisers.

I believe Gary Gensler is publicly announced as an economic adviser now and
someone who was more on the regulatory side of things. But yes, it`s going
to be a long campaign whether you like it or not, which leaves it a long
time to flesh these things out.

REID: And, Rich, I want to get you in here, because we`re doing to talk
more about the Republicans. But you do see even on Wall Street there`s
this "Politico" piece where the Wall Street hedge fund said, oh, Hillary
Clinton, you know, she has to say it. It`s may be good politics to say it
but it doesn`t portend to salt on the rich.

Do we have a system now that really kind of no matter what, Wall Street
feels they`re going to win even if they hate the president? Even if
they`re not happy with Obama, they still win?

RICH TAFEL, FOUNDER, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: I think you`re on to something
here. That`s the bigger issue. Hillary had a lot of chutzpah saying, you
know, this is eight years of a Democratic president and the people at the
top have it stacked.

And she`s then next week a few days later say to the lobbyist class of
Washington where I live, I welcome your funding. I absolutely welcome your
funding and charges $250,000 a speech.

So, she`s living in an elite world. She can read the polling. And the
polling is a saying that Americans all recognize and Occupy did have an
important voice in this, so did the Tea Party.

They`re both working class groups who are saying I don`t believe in the
American dream anymore. I can`t get ahead. My kids can`t get ahead. They
know that.

REID: We`re going to come back --

MELBER: Real quick though -- $250,000 speeches, you don`t have to be poor
to fight for poor people. You don`t have to be on death row to be against
the death penalty.

REID: Yes, #FDR.

MELBER: Let`s be fair to all the candidates, Democrat and Republican, that
we`re looking at what they want to do, not just whether they have been --


REID: Hold on, hold on. Hot debate. I want to let you guys have it after
the break, however, after the break. Then I have to make a comment. OK,
after the break.

Up next, the one place where all the Republican wannabes want to be right
now. We will take you there live if we can get this panel to watch this
commercial. Be right back.


REID: Today is day two of the first in the nation Republican leadership
summit in New Hampshire. It`s latest opportunity for Republican contenders
for the 2016 presidential nomination to reintroduce themselves and
establish their positions on the issues. Yesterday`s lineup of speakers
included former Texas Governor Rick Perry. New Jersey Governor Chris
Christie, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Florida Senator Marco

The second day of the summit got under way earlier this morning and
expected to speak at the events today are Kentucky Senator Rand Paul,
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and former
Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt is in New Hampshire, where she`s
been covering the summit.

All right, Kasie. So, we`ve been talking this morning about this issue of
wealth and income inequality and how that`s emerging like as a central
issue in the 2016 campaign.

Has that come up with the people who have been speaking there at the

still good morning. Sorry. We`ve been up here for quite some time now,

This is, I would say, a broad theme that underlies a lot of the speeches
that are here. I think that many of these Republicans don`t use the words
income inequality to describe it when I asked Jeb Bush about it, he used
the word "social mobility".

But almost all of these candidates are talking about this as a major issue
and there`s a major stream of populism along these line that`s running
through all of these Republican candidates. I will say one person who
spends a lot of time on this isn`t actually at the summit and that`s Rick
Santorum. He`s the only Republican in the field right now who actually
supports raising the minimum wage.

But I think that what stood out to me the most was Marco Rubio who spoke
last night and he`s probably generated the best response of anyone that`s
spoke here to so far. And he talks lot about the American dream and the
way he describes it is that this kind of thing matters to him because it`s


just like this for decades and into his 70s. He stood behind a bar just
like the one at the back of this room. On nights when he was tired, when
he didn`t want to work, he stood behind that bar because the purpose of my
parents` life became to give us -- was to give us all the chances they
never had, to open all the doors for us that were not open for them, that
all the dreams they once had for themselves would come true for me.


HUNT: So there you have it. And that I think is the way that Rubio tells
stories about his own life is a striking difference from many of the rest
in this field. I think he`s done a good job of striking an emotional
chord. You`ve even seen at some of his events, many of the people who are
working there, the bartenders who are standing in the back of these rooms
will stop and listen to hear what he has to say -- Joy.

REID: All right. Thank you very much, MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt in Nashua, New

And up next, while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says it`s time to cut


REID: Some potential 2016 don tenders see a different kind of wealth gap
that must be closed. Here`s New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in New
Hampshire this week unveiling his plan to cut Social Security, Medicare,
and Medicaid.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Frankly, Washington is afraid to have
an honest conversation about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid with
the people of our country. I am not. Unless we deal with the crisis, the
young people of this country will get poorer, the disparity between young
and old, the working middle class and the retired will grow even larger.


REID: OK, Rich, there goes the senior vote for Chris Christie. Can you
win even a Republican primary by explicitly running on cutting Medicare and
Social Security, to say nothing of Medicaid?

TAFEL: Well, it`s going to be a crowded Republican primary and he`s really
out of it right now for a variety of reasons, the bridge scandal and so
forth. So, he`s trying to find a way back in by saying I might have a
belligerent personality but that belligerence can take on the establishment
in Washington. I will cut where no one will cut. I will say where no one
will say.

Republicans at their core know that the entitlement programs are not
sustainable, so they`re looking for someone who will use that boldness to
take it on. So, for him, it`s a way to jump-start a dead race right now
for him.

REID: I may be pugnacious but I`ll also cut your Medicare and Social
Security. I`m not sure I understand it.

But I want to go back a little bit to this populist message that we did
hear from Marco Rubio using the sort of my parents, you know, worked as a
bartender, et cetera. Kasie Hunt said that he was uniquely resonating with
that. Marco Rubio really isn`t the only person that`s using that kind of
rhetoric. You also have Scott Walker attempting to sort of relate to the
common man with his rhetoric.

Let`s listen to Scott Walker a little bit.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I know after many years of practice that
if I`m going to go buy a shirt, I go to that rack that says it was $29.99
and now it`s $19.99, and then I get the Sunday insert out with the little
scratch-off and I take it off to the cash register along with my closed
credit card.


REID: So, Alfonso, is it enough to sort of say, I`m relatable to you in
the sense that I shopped like you or my parents worked working class jobs
if the next thing you say is I`m also going to cut Social Security, private
advertise it as Marco Rubio wants to do, if your policies are not populist?

AGUILAR: No, that`s why a Republicans need to focus on developing a
conservative economic populist message. You know, it`s easy for Democrats
to say, well, you know, the way we deal with this is by raising the minimum
wage and having more government entitlement programs and that`s going to
help. Well, that`s not going to help.

But Republicans need to show how their small government policies, their
pro-growth policies actually help grow the economy and create good paying

For example, when you talk about cutting corporate taxes you have to say,
if you only say I`m going to cut corporate taxes, it sounds like you want
the benefit corporations, right, but you have to say how that helps
increase wages.

REID: How does it?

AGUILAR: -- for Americans.

GEBRESELASSIE: Yes, how does it?

AGUILAR: Well, it does because if you have more government,
overregulation, you have companies, wealthy people investing in the
economy, you have -- you`re doing to have job creation and you`re doing to
have people making more money.


REID: Tsedeye, I`m going to let you respond.

AGUILAR: It hasn`t happened. It`s happening right now.

GEBRESELASSIE: We have seen the failure of trickle down economics for
decades. The fact that people still try to pretend that cutting taxes for
the incredibly wealthy. I mean, just this week, the House Republicans
passed a repeal of the estate tax, a move that would benefit, what, 5,000
of the wealthiest families in America calling it in the same way that
you`re doing now. That`s not creating jobs for the vast majority of the

AGUILAR: And we don`t have trickle-down economics right now, it`s the
opposite. And is it creating jobs? It`s not.

REID: We had it during the 1980s. And we did not have the kind of job
creation we have now. Under this president you have had significant job
creation. It`s very difficult to argue the macro economics, is it not?

TAFEL: I think so. The bigger picture is that the two old models of the
Democrats and Republicans for solving the problem are old, tired, and don`t
work in a global economy.

Democrats look at a pie. And we`ve got to take from the rich, give to the
poor. And you`re measured by your compassion, how much you give benefits
to the poor. It`s a failed strategy.

Republicans have said the trickle down style. If the rich get richer, it`s
guaranteed to trickle down to the poor. That`s not true in a global
economy, where jobs are outsourced and where the business customers are
outsourced and where the wealthy people put their money outsourced.

So, it`s a global economy. And that`s whole different strategy we`ve never
had to face.

MELBER: Two points. Your description of the so-called Democratic approach
doesn`t involve power in the equation. You`re saying take from the rich,
give to the poor.


MELBER: Most companies will run according to the power in the company.
Organized labor and regulation are both ways to deal with the power of
basically management that may, without any other pressures, want to pay
itself more than the majority of people that work for the company and
without competition and without those protection, those folks are going to
be left behind.

That`s why, I mean, you say what should the companies do? Walmart is a
good barometer of big American company, they`re raising wages.

Wait, I just said point number two. That`s a debate trick, now I get to
speak again.

The second point I want to make briefly is, Elizabeth Warren isn`t just
pushing Hillary Clinton to the left. She is clearly having I think an echo
effect on the Republican Party. I think that`s good. I think it is great
that Marco Rubio and Scott Walker in their own ways, rhetorically are
trying to speak to these issues. The question of course is voters will
then get to assess what the solutions are.

But look, this is a Republican Party that when Mitt Romney was dabbling
with running again, he said it would be all about income inequality. That
suggests that Republicans are now trying to keep up with the progressive
critiques of this economy.

AGUILAR: They`re not going to doubt liberal policies. Let -- I`m happy
with Walmart wants to increase wages.

REID: You said that wouldn`t help.

AGUILAR: No, let the companies do that. They`re in a better position to
determine if they want to increase wages. What I`m against is the federal
government saying every single company needs to provide a wage of $15.

REID: I think there`s an empirical case to be made that companies are
doing it to the pressure outside of their walls coming from this larger

But let`s go to Jeb Bush. We have left him out. It happen unfortunately
in this presidential cycle. But he, too, is talking about these issues in
a different way. I think in a way that`s more like what Alfonso was

Let`s listen to Jeb Bush talking about the minimum wage.


JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: There are a lot of businesses that
will have to lay people off if you raise the federal minimum wage. If
states want to do it, fine. But there ought -- there are better ways,
expanding the earned taxable income. Making sure that people have skills
to be able to get a job that`s way above the minimum wage is another,
growing the economy faster so that people can rise up and aren`t stuck in
low-paying jobs.


REID: So, Tsedeye, so that is Jeb Bush playing the role of Alfonso at our
table here saying what Alfonso said. Will that message resonate outside
the Republican based electorate?

GEBRESELASSIE: No, it will not, because he talks about, you know, if you
don`t want to make the minimum wage, then, you know, develop skills and
move out of that minimum wage jobs. That`s not the reality for the vast
majority of Americans who are working low paying jobs, because -- I know
you`re shaking your head, but it is a fact that wages in this country have
stagnated or fallen for the bottom 70 percent of the workforce. That is
not just minimum wage earners. Those are people -- those are formerly
middle class jobs that have now become poverty wage jobs.

And so, that message is not going to resonate, but for the very small
minority of people who ideologically are opposed to a federal minimum wage.
The $7.25 federal minimum wage has been that since 2009. I don`t think
anybody a part from, again, that very small minority thinks that sufficient
to raise a family on.

MELBER: Three things in that clip, two could be seen as broadly center
left. The earned income tax credit pushed by the Clinton administration to
help working families. And he said, get the economy going. Well, he`s
running for president. He`s not running for CEO.

So, if the president wants to get the economy going I assume that involves
the government doing something.

REID: Right, 5.5 percent unemployment.

MELBER: Of his views there would be government related and center left.
By the way, that`s a good thing. Sometimes Democrats don`t know how to
declare victory when the Republican Party is fighting on Democratic turf.

REID: Well, unfortunately, I want to thank everybody. Alfonso Aguilar,
Tsedeye Gebreselassie, Ari Melber, Rich are sticking around. I`m not
saying good-bye. I`m just saying bye for now.

MELBER: Thanks for being here.

REID: Thanks for being here right now before we go to break.

On a completely different note, Friday afternoon, President Obama held a
joint press conference with the prime minister of Italy and fielded a
question on the holdup over the vote to confirm his attorney general
nominee, Loretta Lynch. Listen.


Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the
Senate, on an issue that`s completely unrelated to her. This is the top
law enforcement job in the country. What are we doing here? And I have to
say that there are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too

This is an example of it. It`s gone too far. Enough. Enough.


REID: On the Barack Obama scale, that counts as blind wage. And more on
that on tomorrow`s show.

And up next, the teachers who are headed to prison for cheating on tests.
Does the punishment fit the crime?


REID: What are the country`s biggest school cheating scandals came to a
controversial and dramatic end in an Atlanta courtroom this week. Ten
educators were sentenced after being convicted of racketeering and other
charges. Prosecutors say they participated in a conspiracy to falsely
inflate scores on standardized tests. A state investigation found cheating
in 44 Atlanta schools, with teachers in some cases giving students answers
or erasing and changing answers.

The educators could have faced up to 20 years in prison for the
racketeering charges alone.

Before sentencing their supporters, including former Atlanta mayor and
civil rights activist, Andrew Young, argued the real problem was the
intense pressure put on teachers to raise test scores.


ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER MAYOR OF ATLANTA: I think these teachers got caught
in a trap. Dr. King used to say when crime -- when people are placed in
darkness, crimes will be committed. But the guilty are not just those who
commit the crimes but those who create the darkness.


REID: But Judge Jerry Baxter was unswayed, calling the case, quote, "the
sickest thing that`s ever happened in Atlanta."


children that were harmed in this thing. This is not a victimless crime
that occurred in this city. From 2001 there was whole-scale cheating going
on in the Atlanta public schools and these kids were passed on and passed
on and had no chance to begin with.


REID: The judge urged the educators to accept plea deals in exchange for
lenient sentences. They will be required to accept responsibility and
waive the right to appeal. The two educators who accepted the plea deals
were rewarded. One was given a one year 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. curfew at
home. Another was sentenced to six months of weekends in jail. Both will
serve five years probation.

But the eight educators who refused the plea deal were given a minimum of
one year in prison. With three regional directors getting the harshest
sentences, seven years in prison, more than double the recommendation of
prosecutors. Those eight educators are expected to appeal and while the
case may be over for now, the debate over the consequences of high stakes
texting rages on.

As my next guest wrote for "The Huffington Post", it will make other than
pressure for our schools to improve and sending the educators in Atlanta to
prison for cheating will not address the larger problem this country faces
in educating its children.

Still -- still with me in New York are Ari Melber and Rich Tafel. And
joining us now from Miami is the author of that article, Pedro Noguera,
professor of sociology at NYU and executive director of the Metropolitan
Center for Urban Education.

And, Pedro, first, I want you to comment on the judge`s statement that this
cheating scandal is the sickest thing to happen in Atlanta, Georgia.

PEDRO NOGUERA, NYU PROFESSOR: Well, I think we should all be outraged by
what`s happened here and it`s not just the cheating which of course is
wrong. But this sentence rendered by the judge is just outrageous. We
have seen bankers go off, we`ve seen hedge fund managers and police
officers, as well as teacher, teachers who have had sex with children have
been treated less harshly than the educators in this case.

There`s no question that they should be held accountable. They should be
denied the right to ever work in education again. But this kind of
punishment I think really misses the larger point of what`s going wrong on
not only Atlanta but in the country the way we`ve been using testing and
the way we`ve been applying pressure to get higher scores.

Whenever you create this kind of environment, you begin to create
incentives to cheat and that`s what`s happening not just in Atlanta but
many districts throughout the country.

REID: And, Pedro, you knew the late superintendent in this particular
case. You`re familiar with the Atlanta school system. What kind of
pressure was there on these teachers and these schools and in your mind,
was this some sort of really nefarious criminal conspiracy or were the
teachers sort of acting out in desperation?

NOGUERA: Well, I -- you know, the sad thing, this clear evidence that
schools in Atlanta did improve under the leadership of Beverly Hall.
Atlanta was the laughingstock of the nation where they were fights among
school board members and many schools in total disarray.

Beverly hall not only brought order to the system but we saw many schools,
including Park Middle School which was cited as the epicenter of the
cheating significantly improve and you can see that from the climate and
culture in the building. However, that was not reflected in the test
cores. They were under pressure not only from Beverly Hall but the
governor and state legislature to show dramatic improvement. And under
that kind of pressure some educators chose to cheat and apparently went on
quite extensively throughout the system.

And so, I think the sad thing is that they were not content with slow but
steady progress in the school system and instead wanted to see the dramatic
rises which just were not possible without the cheating that occurred.

REID: I want to come out at panel real quick, Ari, because the specific
charge of racketeering that was used here, I guess viscerally feels
inappropriate and excessive. Was it in your view?

MELBER: Well, racketeering is based on a 1970 federal law in Georgia has a
version of it -- and RICO, Racketeering Influence Corrupt Organizations
Act, deals with the kind of crimes that involve a group of people. So, if
one person says to another, in a mafia case I guess so want you to kill
someone and you do the act, RICO is the way to get both of us on that
serious crime, not having the person who ordered able to step back and say,
I didn`t do it. I wasn`t at the emergency and I was abroad, you know?

No, you were actually part of this corrupt organization. It can be applied
in that sense to any organization including one that is publicly funded or
government in the case of schools.

So, it is not legally out of balance to apply it this way. Having said
that in terms of the discretion used here, it is one of the most serious
charges you can use under federal or state law. It is carries very serious
penalties. Five to 20 years in Georgia. And so, you have the combination
of that use of that law in some of the other examples just mentioned.
Obviously wasn`t used in the case of say, inappropriate conduct between a
teacher or student or other violent crimes that get less time.

And then you have a second aspect here, which is the fact in this scenario,
you had many individual, these defendants, choose not to take the plea,
which is their right. But they are then getting a stiffer sentence because
of that. And that`s why this story I will say is a story about poverty, a
story about education, but it`s also a story about law and a system we have
where for people who don`t cooperate, sometimes they will get punished far
more separate from the crime itself -- just their choice to exercise their
right not to take a plea or not to take a sentencing deal.

REID: Well, I want to quickly play because it`s a story object teachers
and parents and kids. Let`s play one of the parents involved and how
they`re reacting to the sentences.


here, still trying to adjust. They are the ones that have to make up for
the lack of education that they received.

So, you know, we have a lot of work to do in our city. We have a lot of
trust to restore in our school system. We have a lot of children to
apologize to and to love on and let them know that we will never allow this
to happen in the Atlanta public schools ever again.


REID: Rich, you know, this does feel like a piece with this overhaul push
against teachers that I have to say is happening from conservative
Republican governments who blame teachers for everything in the world, take
away their pensions, take away their benefits, take away their union-
organizing and now they are criminalized in this way.

TAFEL: Well, there`s a big problem in the country, which is that we have -
- we talked about income inequality that plays it itself out. So, I`ve
been a fan of measurement and I`ve taken part in the legislation to
measure, I think it`s a good thing.

But what happened is when the measurements came out, political leaders
said, oh, no, I`m not taking the blame for this and they are looking for
someone. So, that`s why they`re opposed to Common Core and No Child Left
Behind. But they`re also blaming the teachers who are facing -- and the
secret is, you have to test, measure and bring resources to help those when
you see the deficiency. That`s how it`s supposed to work. Not just raise
your score magically which happened all over the country, not just Atlanta.

REID: And we are out of time, but Pedro, very quickly, do you expect to
see any appeals successful or do you anticipate they could be?

NOGUERA: But I think there will be an appeal. Hopefully, there will be a
call throughout the country for this to be revisited and for justice to
prevail in this case.

REID: Indeed.

NOGUERA: I think this is excessive.

The opt out movement, which is growing around the country. And we saw it
this week with thousands of parents chose to not take the test is
ultimately going to challenge this kind of abuse in testing that we`ve seen
going on throughout America.

REID: Absolutely.

NOGUERA: And No Child Left Behind.

REID: Absolutely.

All right. Pedro Noguera from Miami, Florida, thank you very much. And
here in New York, thank you to Ari Melber and Rich Tafel. Thank you both.

And up next, our foot soldiers of the week putting their best foot forward
for a worthy cause.


REID: In the United States, more than 293,000 people are sexually
assaulted every year. That amounts to one sexual assault every 107
seconds. Sixty-eight percent of assaults are not reported to police and
just 2 percent of perpetrators will serve jail time. In 2012 alone, there
were 2,406 instances of rape in South Carolina alone. Statistics like
those are a vital part of efforts to spread awareness, support survivors
and prevent assault.

But our foot soldiers this week went the extra mile. On Wednesday night,
South Carolina`s Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands hosted its sixth
annual awareness march called Walk a Mile in Their Shoes. More than 2,500
men and women gathered at Richland Mall in Columbia, South Carolina,
wearing high heels to embark on a one-mile walk meant to start a dialogue
about sexual assault. That`s 2,000 more attendees than the first walk in

Among those in attendance was the state`s attorney general. And even
Cleveland Browns quarterback Conner Shaw who played college football at the
University of South Carolina.

Collectively, Shaw and the other marchers who signed up for the walk either
individually or in teams raised more than $80,000 through sponsors and
direct donations. The money will go towards supporting sexual assault
survivors in the state.

Now, if you were a fan of this show, you will know that we are a big fan of
heels, worn by both women and men. Heels are not just her shoes and sexual
assault is not just her issue. And event organizers tell us that is an
essential part of the message that the walk is meant to convey, that
violence against women is a problem the entire community must face.
Likewise, violence against members of the LGBTQ community is an issue
everyone must ban together to solve.

So, for raising money and awareness for survivors of sexual assault and for
unifying an entire community behind a single cause, the Sexual Trauma
Services of Midlands and all the participants who put on those pumps are
literally our foot soldiers of the week.

And that is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I
will see you tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Now, it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT".

Alex, my girl, what`s going on?


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