Ep. 33: Best of Bernie: DACA Fight | On the Trail with AOC | Elegy for Oligarchs

Nov. 18, 2019

Ep. 33: Best of Bernie: DACA Fight | On the Trail with AOC | Elegy for Oligarchs

Briahna Joy Gray: Last Tuesday, I attended a protest outside the Supreme Court, which was in the midst of hearing arguments on whether the Trump administration can suspend the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. The young people who registered under DACA, known as Dreamers, came to the U.S. as children, many of them remembering little of life before their arrival. DACA provides a kind of temporary shelter from deportation, but of course the Trump administration is doing everything in its power to destroy even this limited program.

I ran into Belén Sisa, Latino Press Secretary for the Bernie 2020 campaign, a Dreamer herself.

How are you guys?

Belén Sisa: Good. In awe, I've never been in front of the Supreme Court.

Briahna Joy Gray: Oh really?

Belén Sisa: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: Belén told me what was at stake, why so many had gathered at the steps of the Supreme Court.

Belén Sisa: Right now we have a huge crowd of allies, DACA recipients, undocumented, youth and their families, who just watched the plaintiffs, leave the court and, after today, hopefully we'll be able to find out if the DACA program is seen as constitutional in the eyes of the highest court in the land. And, this could mean the difference between undocumented youth being at risk of deportation, or being allowed to stay in this country without fear.

Briahna Joy Gray: As I wandered through the crowd, I was struck, not just by the passion and energy of those around me but also by their clarity. The way they cut through both the administration's nonsense and the media's detached both sides coverage of the issue.

Carlos, a college student, told me that he felt compelled to skip class that day to attend the protest given what was at stake.

Carlos: I am skipping out, because this is a historic moment in our country. The fact that almost a million, young people, are at risk of losing everything, their homes, their families, everything they've worked for, when they did literally nothing more than pursuing the American dream that their parents had brought them to achieve. I-

Briahna Joy Gray: The protest also drew people from all over the country. One woman named Donny traveled from South Florida with her group Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Donny: Now that I'm here, I'm always gonna come back every single year. This is amazing, I love the energy. Everyone here is here for one thing and that's to unify us and to tell others that you're not alone, we stand behind you. We will be your voice. Tell us what you need us to say, we will speak for you.

Briahna Joy Gray: Two other activists, Sofia and Corina, traveled from Arizona and camped out for 48 hours, enduring cold and rain to be able to get inside the court and hear arguments first-hand.

Speaker 5: We slept out here two nights in a row. Yesterday, it rained.

Briahna Joy Gray: Outside the Supreme Court?

Speaker 5: Yes.

Briahna Joy Gray: In this weather for two nights in a row?

Speaker 5: Yes, yes.

Briahna Joy Gray: Despite the ordeal they wanted to be present as others argued over their future, wanted to put faces to abstract questions of law and deportation.

Speaker 5: We came all this way really hopeful to be able to get inside and hear the arguments because this is like a really big day for us, right? It's our livelihood that's being discussed so showing up and putting a face, out there is important,, and just for me because, you know, for so many years I was hiding, I was ashamed and I felt like I needed to do this and, and really be in the room when my life was being discussed.

Briahna Joy Gray: And unsurprisingly, our crew were not the only Bernie fans who came out to support DACA recipients. This is a movement after all and one that encompasses so much more than any one person or issue.

I spotted one man, Mike, sporting a particularly nifty Bernie 2020 sign.

Mike: They're Americans, I look at them as Americans, I mean, no different than anybody else here, you know, and they deserve to stay and what's going on is a travesty. That's number one, number two, I also want to wake people up, making sure they, vote for my main-man Bernie. I believe in what he stands for and, I believe his policies will help everybody. Everyone in this country, and even everyone around the world. I believe that.

Briahna Joy Gray: This is Hear the Bern, a podcast about the people, ideas and politics that are driving the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign and the movement to secure a dignified life for everyone living in this country. My name is Briahna Joy Gray, and I'm coming to you from campaign headquarters in Washington D.C.

DACA was only ever a partial solution. President Obama implemented it by presidential memorandum in 2012, paving the way for some 800,000 Dreamers to receive protection from deportation and work permits by 2018. However, the eligibility requirements were strict and DACA status needed to be renewed every two years. Plus, since Obama used his executive authority to implement it, as opposed to signing a proposed Dream Act into law, DACA was particularly vulnerable when a very different administration entered the White House.

Now, Bernie has made it clear that one of his first acts as president will be to re-instate DACA and suspend deportations for the rest of the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in this country.

Bernie Sanders: We got 1.8 million young people eligible for the DACA program. We are going to, with an executive order, restore that program and expand it to parents as well.

Briahna Joy Gray: But earlier this month Bernie went even further with his full immigration plan, which does much more than simply reverse Trump's policies. As always, it's worth reading the full plan on berniesanders.com. But some of the top-line steps include breaking up ICE and CBP, which have become a renegade detention and deportation force, and redistributing their functions to different agencies. For instance, naturalization would become the responsibility of the State Department; getting rid of Trump's cruel system of detention and deportation and reuniting families that have been separated; protecting the rights of undocumented workers who are often particularly vulnerable to exploitation by employers; and increasing the number of refugees allowed to enter the country each year.

Bernie's plan reaffirms that, yes, immigrants are good for this country and it calls on us to adopt an immigration policy that lives up to our best values as Americans. It's not enough to go back to the status quo before Trump. We need to create an immigration system grounded in civil and human rights. Bernie promises to use all the power of the presidency to do exactly that.

Bernie has been hitting the campaign trail relentlessly in recent weeks, including a tour of Iowa with AOC but emphasized the critical importance of a Green New Deal.

Bernie Sanders: And when I look at young people all over the world, this may be the moment when young people look their parents in the eye and say, "Now is the time to save the planet."

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Always, always, always with this question of how are you going to pay for it? As though we're not paying for it now, as though the Midwest wasn't underwater this year. As though 3,000 Americans didn't die in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria. As though Hurricane Katrina didn't happen. As though sea levels aren't rising. As though California isn't on fire. How do we pay for that?

Briahna Joy Gray: Author and activist Naomi Klein joined, too, to make the point that Bernie is the climate candidate, not just because his plan is the best, though to be sure it is, but because he acknowledges that it will be a titanic struggle, the fight of our political lives to get it implemented. That's why Klein, who has never endorsed a candidate before, has now endorsed Bernie Sanders.

Naomi Klein: Here's the thing, we are not gonna win the world that we need, not just the world that we want but the world that we need, if we are kinda, sorta in favor of it. We are gonna have to be on fire for it. Okay?

And that is why I support Bernie Sanders to be the next President of the United States. Because Bernie understands this is the fight of our lives and, yeah, we are up against powerful forces and that means we need to organize an incredibly powerful movement to stand up to those forces. I could sit here and tell you why Bernie's Green New Deal plan is better than all the other candidate's, and it is, by far, but that is not even the real reason I support Bernie for president. I support Bernie because there's no point in having a good Green New Deal plan if you're not building the movement to win it.

Briahna Joy Gray: Both Bernie and AOC emphasized that this movement is about putting power back in the hands of everyday people so that we can advance our own interests, not electing a team of policy wonks who will fix things on our behalf.

Bernie Sanders: What the system does, essentially, to all of you, to me, it says you are powerless people. Doesn't matter what you think, what you want, what you believe to be true. It doesn't matter, you have no power at all. The real power rests with very, very wealthy people who control the economy and the political life of our country. Why do you want to vote? Why are you here? You're powerless, it doesn't matter.

What this campaign is about is turning that equation on its head. And it ain't easy, I'm not here to tell you it is easy. What the system tells you is that the only change that we can have in America is tiny, incremental change. Big change can't happen. And what this campaign is about is saying that if we stand together and we do not allow Trump and his friends to divide us up based on the color of our skin or where we were born, or our sexual orientation, or our religion. If we stand together and have the courage to have a new vision for America, we can succeed.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Big money is very lonely because we've got people on our side. The thing about billionaires is that there's not too many of them. And the only reason they're able to, to, to try to purchase influence in their elections is when people aren't actively coming together and stitching our movements together in order to combat the growth and in order to combat the influence of big money. And like I said last night, last night, let me tell you something, this movement is real. This movement is growing. Don't let anyone convince you that no one cares about climate change.

Briahna Joy Gray: Of course, climate change isn't the only thing that comes up at Bernie events. In what is rapidly becoming a tradition of public catharsis, people continue sharing extraordinarily painful stories about their struggles with immigration authorities, with landlords, with bosses, or with our broken health care system.

Bernie Sanders: Your husband is now dealing with Alzheimer's.

Speaker 10: Yes.

Bernie Sanders: Talk a little bit about the process of finding him a place where you thought he would be comfortable.

Speaker 10: It was very hard. The way we found out was he had been tested. I received the doctor's report in the mail at home. It said Alzheimer's, early onset Alzheimer's. Gee, what's that? Started looking into that, and I literally had to find the information on my own, by myself. It's hard enough to deal with the disease, but all the red tape that I've had to deal with has been terrible. And I'm also afraid that, that at some point when we do find a cure for it, I won't be able to afford the medicine anyway.

Bernie Sanders: You're paying was it I hear $7,000 a month?

Speaker 10: Yeah, I work full-time, 10-12 hours and I drive 100 miles every day round-trip to work and back. And I'm taking care of three people.

Speaker 11: You're a brave lady.

Bernie Sanders: You are, that's right.

As a wife, I don't, I can only imagine what you're dealing with right now, right? Just the reality of dealing with your husband. That is more than a person should have to go through. To throw on the financial burden on top of that and worrying about the rest of your family and having to work as hard as you do is not what we should be doing in a civilized democratic society. All right? So, I'm not here to make you magical promises but I am here to say that Medicare for all would create a situation where you don't have to take out your wallet. All right? You're not going to have to pay them $94,000 a year. And obviously we will start investing in those areas whether it's mental health, whether it is nursing home, whether it's home health care, where we're now not paying the attention that we deserve. I'm sure it is not going to transform the world tomorrow, but it will go a long, long way to make your life and your husband's life a lot easier. That's what we have to do as a nation.

Briahna Joy Gray: Here's one way to tell that our campaign is doing well, this country's oligarchs are starting to complain that they are being treated unfairly.

Bill Gates: You know, when you say I should pay a hundred billion, okay then I'm starting to do a little math.

Briahna Joy Gray: Some have now decided to enter the race themselves.

News: Michael Bloomberg has officially filed for the 2020 Democratic primary in Arkansas. The billionaire and former New York City mayor had now filed in two states. He did the paperwork in Alabama Friday.

Briahna Joy Gray: During a recent rally in DC, Bernie played the world's smallest violin for our increasingly shook ruling class.

Bernie Sanders: The one percent and the corporate elites, who by the way in case you haven't noticed it, are getting very nervous lately. The billionaires are actually getting very emotional. They're breaking down. "They want to take our money, oh my God, how terrible can these people be, we only have $150 billion. They want us to pay taxes, what is this country coming to?"

Briahna Joy Gray: Now this last clip happened a few weeks ago but it's just too good to leave out. Bernie stopped by Desus & Mero on Showtime to among other things, badly guess the prices of sneakers.

Desus Nice: What is your weed policy like?

Bernie Sanders: So, this is what we do, right now unbelievable, under the Controlled Substance Act, marijuana is at the same level as heroin.

Desus Nice: Right.

Bernie Sanders: Which is insane, so we take it out of that, which essentially, legalizes marijuana all over this country. And the second thing we do, move to expunge the records of those people who have been arrested for marijuana. And the third thing we do, which is really important I think, as we move toward the legalization of marijuana, I don't want large corporations profiting, I want the people who have been hurt the most to be able to benefit. The folks who should be involved in the legal marijuana business will be people of color.

Desus Nice: We brought some sneakers for you to look at to figure out if these are like a fit for you. If these are something you'd rock, if these have the-

The Kid Mero: If they have the proper arch support.

Bernie Sanders: All right. All right.

Desus Nice: Okay. They have the Bernie-approved drip.

The Kid Mero: Increase your vertical, you know what I mean?

Bernie Sanders: I need a lot of improvement on my vertical, I barely get off the ground now.

Desus Nice: First sneaker here, this is a Travis Scott, rapper. He's, married to-

The Kid Mero: Kylie Jenner.

Desus Nice: Kylie Jenner. Yes. Straight up. He might be a billionaire you have to guillotine. But, yeah. How much do you think this retails for?

Bernie Sanders: Hundred bucks.

Desus Nice: Hundred bucks? What's the resale on these bad boys? Is it four- Fifteen hundred.

The Kid Mero: Fifteen hundred!

Desus Nice: Are you interested?

Bernie Sanders: Paying $1500 for this pair of sneakers?

Desus Nice: Yes.

Bernie Sanders: Hmm, I think I'll pass.

The Kid Mero: [laughing].

Desus Nice: Okay, all right. Straight up said, "No," to this one. So, something more suited for someone not taking big corporate money.

Bernie Sanders: Looks like a nice sneaker.

Desus Nice: What do you think the resale value on this bad boy is?

Bernie Sanders: Well, now you, the last one was $1500, right?

Desus Nice: Right.

The Kid Mero: Mm-hmm [affirmative]

Bernie Sanders: What's this? $250?

Desus Nice: $250? What's the resale on this?

Speaker 17: Forty-five.

Desus Nice: $4500.

The Kid Mero: $4500. Aka 2 Honda Civics in the Bronx.

Bernie Sanders: Th-this is a status thing?

Desus Nice: Yes.

The Kid Mero: It's a, it's a flex.

Desus Nice: It's a flex. Are you not, you not a big flexer?

Bernie Sanders: No.

Desus Nice: Okay. All right.

Bernie Sanders: No, I, I really don't like that idea, people paying $4500.

Desus Nice: Nobody likes that idea. Are you familiar with Kanye West? This is Kanye's sneaker, the last sneaker he released when he was on, still under contract with Nike.

Bernie Sanders: Well you have blown my mind on the last two sneakers, so I hesitate. I'm going to go big on this one.

Desus Nice: Go big or go home, Bernie.

Bernie Sanders: All right. I mean it's weird to say it, $1000. All right, again?

The Kid Mero: [laughing]

Desus Nice: What is the resale value of the Red October? $11,000.

The Kid Mero: $11,000.

Bernie Sanders: Does anybody in the world pay $11,000?

Desus Nice: Sadly, yes.

Bernie Sanders: I think I'll pass on that one too.

Desus Nice: What's a more reasonable Bernie sneaker? What would you-

Bernie Sanders: I'd maybe pay 45, 50 bucks.

Desus Nice: Like that? Like a pair of New Balance or running-

Bernie Sanders: That’s what it is, New Balance.

The Kid Mero: New Balance. Nice little running shoe.

Desus Nice: All right, we gotta get a pair of custom-made Bernie Sanders New Balances. We're going to work on that. What features you need on it? You need like hyper tech pumps?

Bernie Sanders: If they had shoelaces that would be good.

Desus Nice: Okay.

The Kid Mero: Okay.

Bernie Sanders: If they had rubber soles. That would be pretty good.

Desus Nice: Rubber soles. Okay.

The Kid Mero: Shoelaces, rubber soles.

Bernie Sanders: Yeah, I'm a pretty modest guy.

Desus Nice: Pretty modest.

Bernie Sanders: Keep me from falling on my face.

The Kid Mero: We're going to design the Air Bernie.

Briahna Joy Gray: Before we go, I want to read part of a recent email we received from a listener named, Nathan.

Nathan wrote, "I've been a fan of Bernie since I learned about him in the early 2000s. He was one of, if not the only senator, who was willing to take a stand against the Iraq war. I've always been passionate about the right of all people to healthcare and that passion eventually led me to become a primary care nurse practitioner. I currently work in a community clinic in the Bay area. Our patient population is made up in large part of immigrants, people of color, and people on MediCal, California's Medicaid program. I've only been at this work a few months and already I've had several patients who tell me that they ration their medication because it's too expensive. I've also spent a lot of time on the phone with pharmacists trying to find medications that are covered by my patient's insurance plans. Time that could otherwise be spent with patients. I support Bernie Sanders for president because I see every day how our current system keeps the most vulnerable people in our country from getting the care that they need to be healthy."

Thanks for listening, Nathan, but most of all thank you for the work you do on behalf of others as a nurse practitioner. I'm glad we’re in this fight together.

That's it for this week, let us know what you think at [email protected] or sent us a tweet with the hashtag #HearTheBern. If you haven't already, please take a moment to rate, review, or like us on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud or wherever you're listening. I really appreciate it when you do. As always, transcripts will be up soon. Till next time.

Bernie Sanders: Morales did a very good job in alleviating poverty and giving the indigenous people of Bolivia a voice that they never had before. Now, we can argue about his going for a fourth term, whether that was a wise thing to do.

Jorge Ramos: The OAS thought it was a fraud, the election on October the 20.

Bernie Sanders: Some people think that as well, but at the end of the day, it was the military who intervened in that process and asked him to leave. When the military intervenes, Jorge, in my view that's called a coup.

Jorge Ramos: Bernie Sanders, thank you so much for being here.

Bernie Sanders: Okay, thank you all.