PBS NewsHour


September 20, 2021 - PBS NewsHour full episode

September 20, 2021 - PBS NewsHour full episode

AIRED: September 20, 2021 | 0:56:46

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff.

On the "NewsHour" tonight: turning away the weary. Thousands of migrants who overwhelmed Del Rio,

Texas, are now being deported, most back to a chaotic Haiti.

Then: giving kids a shot. Pfizer says its vaccine is safe in children as young as 5,

offering hope to families wanting protection, as they wait for government approval.

And facing uncertainty. As world leaders gather at the United Nations,

I talk with the president of Colombia about the multiple crises his nation is facing.

IVAN DUQUE, Colombian President: Terrorist organizations want to kill environmental

leaders that are making the case for the people to leave aside narco-trafficking.

JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."


JUDY WOODRUFF: The crisis on the U.S. Southern border deepens tonight.

Thousands of Haitian migrants who descended on the town of

Del Rio, Texas are now being deported. Thousands remain encamped under a bridge in dire conditions.

And most of those sent home return to a chaotic Haiti, reeling from one disaster after another.

There are also major developments in Congress,

touching on the fate of U.S. immigration policy more broadly.

Yamiche Alcindor begins with the situation in Del Rio.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Today, in Del Rio, Texas, Homeland Security Secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas saw firsthand the tense situation there. He pledged to

continue immigration enforcement, while also dealing with the migrants' humanitarian needs.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security: It is extraordinarily challenging.

As I said at the outset, it is very, very heartbreaking. We are surging resources, not only

to ensure the security of this area, the security of the community,

but also the well-being of the migrants themselves.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: In recent days, the crowd of migrants in the Texas border town

swelled to more than 14,000. They sheltered under and near

this Del Rio bridge. They had been waiting to be processed,

but in squalid and sweltering conditions and with food and supplies constantly running short.

PIERRE GENSLER, Haitian Immigrant (through translator): There is not enough food to give

to everybody who is inside there. We need to get out of the camp to look for food.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Many of them are migrants from Haiti who fear returning there right now,

both in the wake of the earthquake this summer that jolted the country

and in the aftermath of the assassination of Haiti's president.

Over the weekend, U.S. authorities stepped up their efforts to slow the flow of migrants to

that part of the border. Agents on horseback, with rope in hand, aggressively confronted

some migrants who were trying to make their way to the Del Rio encampment.

Photos and videos of the scene, as well as the mass deportations,

have led to an intense backlash. The White House press secretary called the images horrific.

Is it the president's stance or the White House's stance that whoever these border

agents are using what seems to be whips on migrants, that they would be fired,

or at least never be able to do that again?

JEN PSAKI, White House Press Secretary: Of course they should never be able to do it again. I

don't know what the circumstances would be. It's obviously horrific, the footage. I don't have any

more information on it, so let me venture to do that, and we will see if there's more to convey.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The U.S. has started deporting many of the migrants back to Haiti

and other countries en masse. On Sunday, more than 300 deported migrants

landed in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

STEPHANIE, Deported Haitian Migrant (through translator):

I left Haiti to go find a better future, because, here in Haiti,

all of us young people, despite finishing our studies, cannot get any work.

We are on the streets with nothing. That is why there are many youngsters on the street.

There are many criminals. It is because the authorities do not think about us.


Today, back in Del Rio, a DHS official said that the encampment there has started to shrink.

Mayorkas added that the agency is still working to ramp up deportation flights.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And we turn now to Yamiche at the White House. And Lisa Desjardins is here with me

in the studio.

So, Yamiche, to you first.

You have been covering this crisis in Haiti. You also have been talking to human rights

activists on the ground there in Texas. What are they telling you

and -- about all of this, and how is the White House reacting?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, both human rights activists and the White House

describe the situation that's playing out in Texas with these migrants mostly

of Haitian descent as heartbreaking.

Now, human rights activists, and, specifically Haitian American activists,

they say this is really the Biden administration treating thee migrants cruelly and inhumanely.

I have been talking to a lot of people who are very angry and say President Biden

promised Haitian Americans in particular when they were trying -- when he was trying

to win their votes, but Haitians overall around the country, that he was going to

treat people in a more dignified way than his predecessor, former President Trump.

But there are a lot of people tonight saying these images prove that President

Biden is not doing that and not keeping his word.

Now, I should also note that there are human rights activists who say that

sending people back into Haiti, a country that is facing so many crises,

from gang violence to, of course, the aftermath of the assassination of the

president and the aftermath of the earthquake, that it is simply not the right thing to do.

One activist put it this way. She told me:

"Sending people back into Haiti is like sending children into a burning house."

That said, the Haitian government officially is saying, we can take these folks. But the

head of the Haitian National Migration Office, he said that he would like to see a pause in these

deportations, if possible. The White House, though, is saying that there's not going to

be a pause, that this is what needs to happen, that these deportation flights will continue,

and that people do not have the right to remain in the United States, even

though there are a number of people, including activists, who say that there is due process

here and that these migrants should be allowed to be able to file for asylum in this country.

But, of course, under Title 42, which is a Trump era rule, people are being

Fed back under the idea of a public health crisis, and the fact that -- and saying that

the fact that the United States simply cannot absorb these people at this time.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, meanwhile, as all this is going on, Lisa,

you have been reporting on this development on Capitol Hill that affect -- could affect

millions of undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children.

Remind us what happened.

LISA DESJARDINS: Everyone following the dreamers' situation, those who are here on

temporary protected status, millions and millions of immigrants, a major decision in the last day.

This surrounds budget reconciliation, that big word we have been talking about that is

really Democrats best chance to pass their most kind controversial or difficult legislation.

Let me remind people what we're talking about, first of all. Budget reconciliation

is the process by which you just need 51 votes to get something through the Senate, not 60.

Democrats would like to use that to include

immigration, because they don't have 60 votes for immigration reform, but they may get 51.

Now it has to have a budgetary effect, is the thing.

OK, so who decides whether any piece of legislation has enough of a budgetary effect?

I can hear our viewers, some of them, saying it out loud. The Senate parliamentarian.

She issued a ruling to Senate leaders last night. And in it,

she said -- that's Elizabeth MacDonough, the parliamentarian -- she wrote:

"Giving this legal permanent status to these undocumented immigrants would give these persons

freedom to work, freedom to live openly in our society. Changing the law to clear the

way to that status is tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact."

Essentially, she's saying you're trying to get around the purpose of budget reconciliation to

do large policy changes. And I'm not going to allow that. It does not fit with this process.

That is a body blow to what Democrats hope to do.

It is a win for conservatives, who want to block it.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Lisa, what does it mean

overall for immigration reform broadly going forward?

LISA DESJARDINS: It depends on who you speak with.

Those activists I talked to today still hold out hope that there might be some kind of window.

Democrats in the Senate will try some other kind of maneuvers that we may talk about in coming

days. But this was their main form of attacking this issue. Think of it as a political wall.

And now this space that -- this narrow opening is even smaller.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, back to you, Yamiche.

You now not only have this crisis on the border. You have what's gone on

at the Capitol. How is the White House looking at all of this?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, the White House says that President Biden is still very much

dedicated to having a sort of humane and fixed immigration process, and that he -- officials

told me today he inherited this broken immigration system and wants to see it fixed.

That being said, White House officials, a number of them, today said that they

were -- quote -- "deeply disappointed" at the Senate parliamentarian's ruling that

this immigration, this path to citizenship couldn't go into the reconciliation bill.

That being said, the White House says they're hoping that maybe senators can find a way to

put it back into that bill or that immigration reform can pass on its own in some way. It's,

of course, a very, very hard thing to get through,

something that Democrats and Republicans have tried to work on for years.

The other thing to note is that the White House is saying this is on a list of other

things that they want to get done, including voting rights, including policing reform,

including abortion rights and protecting them. So this is really just another

challenge for this White House that is facing a number of challenges.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The challenges just pile up.

Yamiche Alcindor at the White House, Lisa Desjardins here in the studio, thank you both.

And Amna Nawaz now takes a wider look at the status of immigration reform

in this country and what's at stake.

AMNA NAWAZ: That's right, Judy.

Well, joining me now to take that bigger look at immigration reform right now

is Marielena Hincapie. She is the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

Marielena, welcome to the "NewsHour." Thanks for making the time.

You heard Secretary Mayorkas say earlier down at Del Rio, we're in the midst of a pandemic

and in the middle of a critical migration challenge. These arriving Haitians

are not going to be treated any differently than anyone else arriving at any other

part of the border. That is to say, they will be immediately expelled.

Just broadly speaking, what is your reaction to the way the administration has handled

this latest crisis at the border?

MARIELENA HINCAPIE, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center: Yes,

thank you for the invitation.

These images from Del Rio are horrific. It is incredible that the Biden-Harris administration

is using a failed approach of deterrent strategy,

when these are the very people -- when you look at those images, there is no difference between them,

except for their names, their national origin, and their black skin, when you compare them to people

coming from Afghanistan, who we are welcoming, and should be welcoming to the United States.

We urge the administration to stop the deportation flights to Haiti. This is a moment when the

Biden-Harris administration must put an end to Western Hemispheric bias, to people coming

from the south of the border, whether it's from Haiti, whether it's from Colombia,

the Northern Triangle of Central America, or Mexico. They should also have

the legal ability to file for asylum, to seek asylum and safety and freedom in our nation.

AMNA NAWAZ: But, Marielena, whether it's in Del Rio or in the Rio Grande Valley or

another part of the border, it feels like we are seeing and talking about another -- quote,

unquote -- "crisis" every few months now. And this goes back

years, whichever group is arriving and sort of overwhelming the system as it exists.

There hasn't been meaningful reform in over 30 years. And now we're all looking at this news

today, where Senate Democrats tried to advance some small immigration reform and were basically

blocked by the Senate parliamentarian. So what now when it comes to reform?

MARIELENA HINCAPIE: So, I would say a couple of things.

One is, what we're witnessing at the border, as well as in Afghanistan, is a global crisis,

one that is being fueled by foreign policy, by some of our failed domestic policies,

by climate crisis and then, of course, by the recent, for example, in Haiti,

the earthquake and political assassination of their president.

So we need to take a step back, right? President Biden was elected by a historic number of a

multigenerational, multiracial coalition of voters who rejected, outright rejected

the divisive an anti-immigrant agenda of the previous administration, because President

Biden talked about having a vision for a 21st century immigration system that recognizes that

immigrants are a strength to our nation, and that centers the dignity and humanity of immigrants.

That is not what we are seeing at the border right now. So that's the first thing.

Second is, the reconciliation process that Lisa just reported on really shows us that

we have a person, the Senate parliamentarian, who was not elected to office,

saying that the legalization, the path to citizenship that Democrats put forth does not

belong there, despite the fact that it does have a budgetary impact, a profound budgetary impact.

And so we are urging and are very encouraged, actually, by Senate champions

who are saying that they will keep trying to get that path to citizenship. There are alternatives.

There are options that we're looking at and working closely with our Senate champions.

We believe that Democrats were elected both in the Senate and the House and the

White House. They have a governing trifecta, and they must deliver...


AMNA NAWAZ: But what -- Marielena, to be clear, what is it you want them to do? Do

you want them to ignore the parliamentarian? What are some of these alternative proposals?

MARIELENA HINCAPIE: Yes, so we believe that there are a number of options, including, for example,

with the parliamentarian's ruling leaves opening that,

if there is a way to use existing law, for example, updating the registry date.

Amna, the immigration system is so outdated and dysfunctional. It has not -- the registry date,

the last time that was updated was in 1971. I wasn't even in this country yet.

And so there are registry -- there are a number of different changes

that could be made to existing law that would provide that path to citizenship.

I will say this as well, that, if for whatever reason, the Senate Democrats are not successful in

getting the parliamentarian to include a path to citizenship, to include legalization for

immigrants, we are urging them to use their political power and all of the tools at their

disposal, because they have been elected by voters, not the Senate parliamentarian.

So, if it is necessary to negate the parliamentarian, that is what they should do.

AMNA NAWAZ: That is Marielena Hincapie,

the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, joining us tonight.

Thank you so much for your time.



A sell-off hit the financial markets today over

worries about Chinese real estate and U.S. Federal Reserve policy.

The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 614 points to close at 33,

970. The loss of 1.8 percent was the worst since

July. The Nasdaq fell 330 points. That's more than 2 percent. The S&P 500 lost 75 points, or

1.7 percent. For both the Nasdaq and the S&P, those were the biggest percentage drops since May.

We're joined now by Diane Swonk of Grant Thornton to help explain what was driving this.

So, Diane, tell us, what was behind it?

DIANE SWONK, Grant Thornton: Well, it's really a reality check.

What we saw is that the markets had gotten very complacent about the risks

out there. What we call black swans, rare events, are now the norm, everything from

China slowing. And what happens in China, especially in the real estate markets,

can wash up on our own shores. We know that already too many ways.

The second largest economy in the world slowing has an effect on the global economy. The Federal

Reserve talking about reducing their asset purchases, taking their foot off the gas a bit,

no longer providing quite as much support for the economy and for financial markets,

and the shenanigans we're seeing in Washington over the lifting of the debt ceiling.

Remember, we had a failure to lift the debt ceiling in 2011, which triggered a downgrade

in our actual debt status. And the Federal Reserve had to intervene

and say that Treasury bonds were still investment-grade when that happened.

So, all of this together and the fact that this is the time of year when people come back,

and they actually start looking at financial markets and figuring out what's going on,

the world has now got a little more black swans out there flocking, instead of just a rare event.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good to hear the comparison.

But, Diane, I see some analysts are saying today this shouldn't have been a total surprise,

that it was due in some way?

DIANE SWONK: Absolutely.

I mean, we have known about this for over a month now. And the payment

by this one fund in China is due on Thursday. And the question is,

what will the Chinese government do it -- do in terms of restructuring it,

so that it doesn't become a more contagious event, which we have already dealt with from China?

But I think the larger issue is, you have also got the Delta variant out there, which has been

a game-changer. Here we are going into the fall with the same kind of number of cases we had in

January. That is disturbing as well. We know that fatalities lag cases, and they're now picking up.

All of this together, I think, has come to sort of focus the financial markets at the same time the

Federal Reserve is meeting and looking a little more hawkish with an economy that might be hotter

in terms of inflation, but cooler in terms of growth. And that's not a combination anyone wants.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we are all trying to understand it.

And we thank you for giving us this smart look.

Diane Swonk, thank you very much.

And in the day's other news: The number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States topped

675,000. That equals the total killed nationwide in the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918

over a century ago. The U.S. population then was just over 100 million,

less than a third of what it is now.

Also today, the Biden administration lifted restrictions on foreigners flying to the U.S.

as of November. They will need proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test.

And Pfizer announced that its vaccine works in children

5 to 11 years old. We will have more on this after the news summary.

The world's largest vaccine producer, India, says that it will resume

exports and donations of COVID vaccines to nations in need next month. New Delhi had

halted shipments after a devastating wave of infections swept the country last April.

Today, in a government video message,

the health minister said it's now possible to restart vaccine exports.

MANSUKH MANDAVIYA, Indian Health Minister (through translator): Vaccine production

is increasing. The vaccination program is moving ahead in a fast pace. Next month, in October, we

are expected to get more than 300 million doses. Going forward, the production will increase.

JUDY WOODRUFF: India did not specify how many doses might be shipped abroad.

In Rwanda, the man who inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda" has been convicted on terrorism-related

charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Paul Rusesabagina saved ethnic Tutsis during the

1994 genocide. He is also a critic of the Rwandan government. He had branded the trial a sham, and

said that he did not expect justice. Supporters called it part of a crackdown on dissidents.

A student with a hunting rifle opened fire at a Russian university today,

killing at least six people; 28 others were hurt. It happened in the city of Perm,

700 miles east of Moscow. There was no word on a motive. Police rushed to the

university to confront the gunman. He was shot and wounded and taken into custody.

Russia's ruling party has won parliamentary elections after barring most opposition

candidates. There were also widespread reports of voting fraud. In a video conference today,

President Vladimir Putin welcomed the outcome that reinforced his long-running grip on power.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russian President (through translator): I'd like to address the Russian

citizens, and thank you for your trust and for your proactive approach to life, dear friends.

It means that people take a responsible approach in electing the state Parliament.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Putin's United Russia Party won nearly 50 percent of the vote.

That is down from 54 percent in the last election.

Canadians voted today in a tight race on who will run the country. Prime Minister

Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party faced a strong challenge from the rival conservatives.

They rallied against Trudeau's handling of the pandemic and his support for vaccine mandates.

And back in this country, two wildfires have burned into Sequoia National Park in California,

home to some of the world's largest trees. Four giant sequoias, known as the Four Guardsmen,

were unharmed. Other trees did burn in a separate fire, but the extent of the damage was not clear.

Some of the sequoias are 2,000 years old.

Still to come on the "NewsHour": what you need to know about a potential COVID vaccine

for young children; one-on-one with the president of Colombia in this moment of

crisis; President Biden's point person on combating climate change; and much more.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Let's dig into the promising news about a COVID vaccine for children.

Kids now account for more than one in five new COVID cases. And the highly contagious Delta

variant has put more children in the hospital than at any other point in the pandemic.

While there is no vaccine available yet for children below the age of 12,

that might be changing soon.

Stephanie Sy looks at the prospects ahead and the larger problems right now.

STEPHANIE SY: Judy, Pfizer and BioNTech said their coronavirus

vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in children aged 5 to 11.

It's the result of a study of over 2,000 children who were administered

two small doses 21 days apart. The doses are about a third of the amount given to adults.

The data have yet to be peer-reviewed or published. But the companies say they

plan to seek emergency use authorization from the FDA before the end of the month.

Some experts say, if all goes smoothly, the vaccine could be authorized in a matter of weeks.

Dr. Rhea Boyd is a pediatrician and public health advocate, and she joins me now.

Dr. Boyd, thank you for joining the "NewsHour."

So, what's your reaction to this news out of Pfizer/BioNTech that

the vaccine is safe and effective for children 5 to 11? Are you relieved?

DR. RHEA BOYD, Pediatrician: Yes.

I think pediatricians across the country are we reassured to see this data.

We have been eagerly anticipating the emergency use authorization of a

vaccination for kids 5 to 11. And so to hear that their data is ready is so reassuring.

But we are also going to wait until that data is publicly available,

and is reviewed by the FDA, before making clear recommendations that kids 5 to 11 receive it.


And with all those caveats, there has been talk that the FDA could approve the vaccine

for children ages 5 to 11 possibly by next month. Talk about the urgency

of getting the shots into children's arms based on the rate of infections

and hospitalizations we have been seeing across the country.

DR. RHEA BOYD: With the Delta variant being more than twice as contagious as the earlier strains

of COVID, it is so important that, as kids return to school, that we have a way to keep them safe.

And one of the best ways for us to keep kids safe are to make sure that they are vaccinated,

and that all of the caregivers, staff and teachers who work at their school are also vaccinated.

So, having this vaccine

receive emergency youth authorization right now cannot come a day too soon.

STEPHANIE SY: I know you have been very involved

in educating your community about the safety of vaccines.

What are the risks of COVID infection weighed against the risks from the vaccine?

DR. RHEA BOYD: So, again, because Pfizer hasn't publicly released the data,

we only have what they said in their statement today.

So, based on their statement, they have acknowledged that the safety profile for

5-to-11-year-olds is very similar to what they saw in teens and young adults,

which means we can expect that kids, particularly after their second dose of the vaccination,

will have some mild side effects, but that those side effects are thought to be mild and easily

treatable with common over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Advil.

So things like fever or aches and pains or even pain at your injection site

are things they also saw in kids. One thing pediatricians are specifically looking for

is to make sure we don't see signs that there are more serious side effects for younger kids.

And Pfizer in their statement today said that they did not see a single case of myocarditis,

which is that heart inflammation that was seen in teenagers who received the Pfizer

doses before. And so we want to make sure we don't see that in kids 5 to 11. And, so far, we haven't.

STEPHANIE SY: And we should say that the CDC says no children, even those that have gotten

myocarditis, have died from it. Most of them have been addressed, their symptoms, by ibuprofen.

Besides being a pediatrician, you also, Dr. Boyd, study the relationship between

public health and structural racism. As we think about this new development,

children getting the COVID vaccine, what are your hopes and what are your concerns?


So what we have seen with the vaccine rollout across the country is that access to the COVID

vaccines have not been evenly distributed. And so, if you look by racial and ethnic group, what we

now see is that Black and Latinx communities are the least likely to have received a COVID vaccine.

And so we, as a part of the public health community,

and myself, as a pediatrician, are working really diligently to make sure we get the

vaccine to the communities who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID.

And so what that means, as we expect emergency use authorization to become available for kids

5 to 11, is that we have to continue to use opportunities to vaccinate children

as opportunities to vaccinate families and communities. So every site that offers vaccination

to kids, like pediatrician's offices, should also offer it to their parents, to their siblings and

other caregivers who go to their visits with them to make sure that we're surrounding kids with

caregivers who are also equally protected.

STEPHANIE SY: How much of that lag in vaccination,

especially among Black adults, and your concern that it might be among Black children, is due

to access to vaccines vs. vaccine skepticism or even misinformation within communities?

And, Dr. Boyd, how do you combat that as you look to persuade parents to vaccinate their children?

DR. RHEA BOYD: This is such a critical question.

We know that what the main barriers are to communities of color,

particularly Black communities, receiving a COVID vaccine is absolutely access. For example,

Kaiser Family Foundation did a poll of parents across the country. And what they found

is that parents who go to high-income schools -- so, parents who go to schools that have a wealthy

student population -- were more likely to have the vaccine recommended by their teacher.

They were more likely to receive information about the COVID vaccines through their school,

which made those students and families more likely to get vaccinated. So, all of our kids

who are in low-income schools, which we know our nation's history of residential segregation,

means communities of color and Black kids in particular are more likely to go to

low-income schools, don't have equal access to information about the COVID vaccines.

And so what we have been doing is making sure we go directly to our communities of color,

particularly Black and Spanish-speaking communities, to share the credible information,

to share the science, to say, these vaccines are safe, they are incredibly effective, and they're

the best way our communities can protect ourselves from the devastation that COVID has raped.

STEPHANIE SY: Dr. Rhea Boyd, a lot of parents hopeful tonight

that those vaccines are coming to their children.

Thank you so much for joining the "NewsHour."

DR. RHEA BOYD: Oh, of course. Thank you for having me.

The United Nations General Assembly gathers this week

in New York, chief among the topics, the pandemic,

climate change, and migration, as more than 80 million people are displaced across the planet.

One leader attending the discussions has to contend with

many of these problems all at once. President Ivan Duque of Colombia

has been in office three years at a crossroads of South and Central America.

We spoke a short time ago.

President Duque, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Your office says the main focus of this trip has to do with climate change and migration.

So, let me start with climate and ask you, what steps is your government

taking right now to address the climate goals and, in connection with that,

to stop the killing of environmental activists? We know that 65 of them were killed in Colombia

last year. That is the most of any country in the world.

IVAN DUQUE, Colombian President: Well, Judy, thank you so much for having me here in your program.

And I should mention this, that we're going to the

summit this year in Glasgow on climate change, and Colombia is committed to reduce by

51 percent the CO2 emissions by 2030 and becoming a carbon-neutral country by 2050.

And you well point out the challenge that we have, because terrorist organizations

want to kill the environmental leaders that are making the case for the people to leave aside

narco-trafficking, because narco-traffic is an eco-site in Colombia. In order

to plant one hectare of coca crops, two hectares of tropical jungle are destroyed.

So, we are protecting this movement.

And that is why we are so committed to dismantling the terrorist organizations.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So much to ask you about that, but also with regard to migration.

As you know, you are visiting the United States at a moment of great stress

on our Southern border, with thousands of migrants from Haiti who have gathered there.

This is in addition to the existing migrants coming from Central America, South America.

You have said there should be more U.S. investment in the region. Right now, the

Biden administration is investing in the so-called Northern Triangle countries of Central America. Is

that the right focus? What more, what different should the Biden administration be doing?

IVAN DUQUE: Well, first of all, I should mention, Judy, that a country like Colombia

is embracing right now a very strong fraternal migration policy.

As you know, we are granting temporary protective status to 1.8 million Venezuelan brothers and

sisters who are in our country. And now you were mentioning the situation in the U.S. Southern

border. I think the approach that has been taken by the United States in order to promote

near-shoring, which means let's bring U.S. factories that were deployed in Asia also to

be installed in Latin America, be close to market, I think that can generate a lot of opportunities

and job opportunities, especially in Central America and in countries like Colombia.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, one of the paths north as these migrants are taking, as you know well,

through Colombia is the so called Darien Gap, a very treacherous journey these migrants have made.

We have done -- had reporting here on the "NewsHour" by reporter Nadja Drost on this.

What obligation does your government have to ease

the terrible conditions that these migrants are facing?

IVAN DUQUE: Well, Judy, I think it is not that they are coming through Colombia,

because they already are coming to Colombia from other countries.

This is a situation that we have seen for many years. And Colombia has made interventions

in the Darien Gap. We have regular controls with Panama. But, obviously, what has happened in

Haiti, not only with the pandemic, but also the economic destruction, the earthquake,

and the political crisis, is putting more pressure on people to migrate.

So they are going through Ecuador. They go through Chile. Then they pass through

Colombia and they continue to move north. I think that's why we need to have a more coordinated

migration policy, because what we need to develop in Haiti are

sustainable working opportunities, so that people can have a way of living there.

JUDY WOODRUFF: I also want to ask you, Mr. President, there are, again, a number of issues.

Particularly challenging right now, according to Human Rights Watch,

and you know about this, the death of 25 demonstrators at the hands of Colombian

police officers. No one has been sentenced or imprisoned, jailed, as a result of this.

Why not?

IVAN DUQUE: Well, Judy, we are -- we have said since day one of the my administration

that there is zero tolerance to any wrongdoing of members of the police force or the army.

And we have been acting with investigations. There is the prosecutor

general's office doing their work, the attorney general's office doing their work.

And I think we have tried to move forward very fast. But, obviously, we have to move through

the judiciary system and also with the guarantees that have to be part of a fair trial in Colombia.

JUDY WOODRUFF: President Duque, you have been critical of the historic

deal that a previous president of Colombia cut with the so-called FARC rebels.

These, of course, were the guerrilla group that staged this decades-long

insurrection against the government. However, five years after that deal, progress,

according to the critics, is slowing on implementing the reforms that had been agreed to.

One oversight group, American-based oversight group,

says -- quote -- "There's been a persistent standstill on commitments that would allow

for progress toward reforms directed at the expansion and strengthening of democracy."

How do you answer?

IVAN DUQUE: Well, in the United States,

there was a very important phrase that was used by many politicians that said

that, in politics, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

And it through facts that we respond to this question. And I think the most important thing

to say is that, a few days ago, the ombudsperson of Colombia published a report about the

implementation of the peace accords. And it was clear in a statement where he said, in the last

three years of the Duque administration, there has been more advancements on the implementation

than on the previous 20 months implementation during the government that signed the agreement.

We are committed not only to have all the investments in the rural areas. We're

committed to having reintegration. But we're also committed that the principles of truth, justice,

reparation, and non-repetition are the ones that lead this process in order to be successful.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And the one other area I do want to ask you about,

President Duque, has to do with refugees from Afghanistan.

Right now, your country, Colombia, has agreed to accept around 4,000. Are you

confident that there will be a home for these refugees somewhere else,

in the United States? And if they want to stay in Colombia, are you prepared for them to do that?

IVAN DUQUE: Judy, what is important is that, since day one, when we saw what was happening

in Afghanistan, we expressed to the United States that we were ready to participate

in the process of having them temporarily in our country before they get the migration

status in the United States.

And I think, so far, the United States has mentioned that, maybe due too logistical

procedures and logistical costs, it might be easier for them to be recusing the United States.

We have already made our commitment that we are ready to support.

So I think, if the United States decides that they will come to Colombia, we are prepared to help in

this fraternity migration policy. Otherwise, I think they will be here in the United States.

But what matters here is that we share the value that purposed humanitarian migration ask something

that is much needed in cases of turmoil and distress like the ones we saw in Afghanistan.

JUDY WOODRUFF: President Ivan Duque of Colombia, thank you very much.

We appreciate your joining us.

IVAN DUQUE: Thank you so much, Judy. All the best to you. And thank you for having me on your show.


This is an important week for the president's efforts to tackle

climate change, a central pledge of his campaign.

Tomorrow, the president will further his call for other nations to act. And Democrats are trying to

walk a careful line in order to pass major legislation as part of a much larger bill.

But, today, the Biden administration focused on the problem of extreme heat.

As William Brangham tells us,

it aims to help Americans and workplaces better adapt to new realities.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Judy, this was one of the hottest summers ever on record.

July was the hottest single month since records have been kept.

And brutal streaks of triple-digit temperatures claimed hundreds of lives this year. Extreme heat

is only expected to get worse with climate change. The Biden administration today

announced a plan to develop new workplace standards for people who work outside.

The Labor Department would prioritize heat-related inspections,

and more funding would be made available for cooling centers and for home air conditioning.

Gina McCarthy is the White House national climate adviser, and she joins me from the White House.

Ms. McCarthy, so good to you have back on the "NewsHour."

This move is obviously part of this growing recognition that

heat waves are becoming more intense, they're lasting longer, and they're more frequent.

Could you tell a little bit more about what the administration's plans are?

GINA MCCARTHY, White House National Climate Adviser: This extreme heat challenge is the

silent killer. It is one of the biggest challenges that we face in climate.

And yet people don't recognize it until it's too late.

So, we need to start preparing. And what this plan is, is a multiagency effort to

make sure that we're preventing impacts from heat stress. We're recognizing that they're happening,

and it's getting hotter and hotter. So the time is now for us to invest.

First of all, you mentioned that the Department of Labor is going after an ability to actually

establish a heat standard. We need our workers to be protected, whether they're the ones indoors or

they're the outdoor laborers, like our ag community and our construction community.

And they're also -- in advance of having that completed,

they're going to look at their whole response to compliance and enforcement,

so that they can begin to be more aware of this challenge and start developing the kind

of education for industry and the kind of response that they can take under the existing law.

We're also looking at programs like LIHEAP, which many know are actually focused on

low-income energy assistance. And those programs now have been

basically providing more flexibility from the federal government about how states use

those dollars. And we're doing it because it's now the time to recognize that maybe

seniors would benefit most from being able to have access to an air conditioner.

So we want to provide really new ideas and ways that we can work with states

and local governments, including, as you mentioned, cooling centers in our schools.

But we have a breadth of agencies working on this,

including even the Department of Homeland Security, who's putting out a challenge looking

to actually ask people to tell them what they and other agencies across the federal government

can do to protect our communities moving forward from this really silent, but deadly killer.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As you well know, addressing these types of heat deaths require

a whole slew of additional strategies,

how we build cities, how we build homes, how we strengthen the electrical grid.

We know that Hurricane Ida killed more people because of

lack of power to run their air conditioners than the flooding did.

Do you think this plan does enough to address this silent killer that you're describing?

GINA MCCARTHY: Not in and of itself. It is an effort to make sure that we're working with

states and communities diligently on the areas in which we have direct funding to offer right away

and strategies that we know the federal government can initiate.

But, as you know, President Biden has been working with Congress to actually provide significant

resources to make our future more resilient. We're talking about resilient infrastructure.

Part of this is about that effort. It's about looking at our cities,

where we know we have heat stress, and capturing of that heat in these impervious surfaces,

that impacts our urban communities the most. We're talking about those most impacted by heat stress

being the Black and brown community, the indigenous communities, our outdoor workers.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I want to pivot to climate change more broadly.

We know President Biden is going to the U.N. He's urging other world leaders to step up their

greenhouse gas emission cuts. But the president's own agenda on climate is still here -- in flux

here in Washington. And a good deal of that climate agenda is being written by a senator

with very strong ties politically and financially to the fossil fuel industry.

How does that formula create the bold agenda that you're talking about?

GINA MCCARTHY: Well, I think the president's agenda is actually quite clear.

He has already articulated on day one that he's rejoining Paris, and we established a commitment

internationally that's a strong commitment to get

half to 52 percent of our emissions down by 2030. We're talking about achieving net zero by 2050.

But this has to be a multifaceted strategy. We know we need resources.

We know we need investment. They're not the only tools we have in our toolbox,

but they will be the most -- the best way for us to accelerate in this most important decade.

Now, Senator Manchin has raised concerns. Many others in Congress have as well. But we have

been working all along with the senator as a strong partner, trying new ideas,

looking at being flexible, looking to get where we both know we need to be, which is towards a

clean energy future, and one that recognizes the impacts of climate, and the fact that,

if we don't invest now, we are risking our lives, our health, and the future of our kids.

And if we invest now, for every dollar we invest, we're going to save $6 in future expenses.

So, this is going to be an important step forward. But it by no means is confining

the president's aggressive agenda, nor is it going to dictate our ability to succeed.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, that's White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy.

Thank you very much for being here.



Back to the top political issue of the day, immigration, with President Biden

confronting a growing crisis at the border and a legislative loss on the issue here in Washington.

Our Politics Monday team is here to unpack this and more.

That's Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report With Amy Walter and Tamara Keith of NPR.

And hello to both of you on this Monday. It's very good to see you.

And, Tam, as Yamiche was reporting at the top of the program, this border crisis that President

Biden is facing is just one of another -- it seems like, every day, there's another challenge

in front of him. At this point, given these pictures that we are seeing of Haitian refugees,

on top of what we already know is going on, what does it mean for him?

TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: This White House has been trying to thread a needle,

and it is not an easy one to thread. And they keep discovering this again and again,

as every new border crisis breaks out, or new variety of border crisis.

In this case, they're leaning very heavily on a Trump era policy,

this Title 42, that allows them to immediately expel people,

even people who are seeking asylum and who are legally seeking asylum. They are leaning

heavily on that law, or that rule, which is a pandemic COVID public health rule.

They're leaning heavily on that, at the same time that they're trying to say, no, we are more humane

than the Trump administration. But when you have images like the ones that have been coming

out of the Del Rio area, and the -- actually images of enforcement happening, it's not pretty.

And they know it's not pretty, and it is a real challenge.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And what is it -- I mean, president -- we're only

eight months into this presidency. But this, Amy, follows the situation in Afghanistan.

What are the options that are left for the president right now?

AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Right.

So this is a president who ran as a candidate saying,

if you elect me, we're going to get back to normal. We're going to bring competency back.

We're going to bring consistency. I'm going to bring people in with me who

are experienced. We can handle crisis. There's not going to be any of the drama.

And that was working until, well, it wasn't, starting with the Delta

variant and the reaction to that crisis, of course, Afghanistan, and now the border.

And so the bigger challenge right now is, as I said, one of competence, right, that this

is much less about immigration than it is about management, which is, how will an administration,

when things go wrong, which they do -- every administration deals with that -- handle this?

And Tam is right about threading the needle. This has always been a challenging topic for Democrats,

because, on the one hand, they want to keep their advocates on the left

happy. On the other, they know that this is an issue where Democrats

are seen by even independent voters as being not strong on the border.

And, certainly this president,

from very early on, has gotten low marks on his handling of the border.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Seen as more lenient.

And, Tam, you have with this Senate parliamentarian decision on

the fact that immigration, the immigration language, which would help the dreamers,

cannot, should not -- cannot stay in that piece of legislation, it's a reminder of

just how tough it is to get any kind of immigration reform done in this city.


When Amy said that Biden ran on returning to some semblance of normal, I was thinking,

normal? The norm in the American immigration system that hasn't

had any major reforms and has been sort of cobbled together over the last many years

with executive actions, and -- I mean, the U.S. immigration system is broken.

Everyone on all sides of the political spectrum

agrees it's broken. They can't seem to find a way to fix it.

In terms of the parliamentarian's ruling,

advocates, at least, and the White House and their allies in Congress are hoping

that this isn't the final word. Certainly, it is a blow and one that they are hoping they can get

around to try to find some other way to include immigration in this big reconciliation bill.

It's not clear what that path is. But they aren't giving up.

The president hasn't thrown it overboard yet.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Amy, as you point out, I mean, it's just tough.

AMY WALTER: It's just tough.

And to go back to this needle-threading, which is, when things are going badly

at the border, even success on something like DACA

isn't going to make up for what people are seeing on the left and the right. I mean,

on this program tonight, you heard criticism from both about how mishandled this has been.


AMY WALTER: And so while the issue of DACA is in a poll

very popular, it would get tremendous support among the American population...

JUDY WOODRUFF: There's sympathy, there's empathy for these people.

AMY WALTER: There is.

But that's not what people are focusing on right now.

And this is where you get a credibility problem, right?

Voters give you a little bit of time as president. They don't get the honeymoons they used to,

but they get a little bit of a, all right, we will give you a little benefit of the doubt.

That starts to go away if you're not living up to the expectations that they had for you or that you

set. And, again, we talked about this earlier, but setting of, we're going to be competent,

we're going to be 180 degree different from this last person who sat in this office.

And while there's no tweeting, and there's no -- there's no berating...

JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. Right. Right.

AMY WALTER: ... the other pieces are not coming together.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And the clock is ticking. What have you done us lately?


JUDY WOODRUFF: But, I mean, Tam, we are reminded, I mean, speaking of what the parliamentarian was

dealing with this so-called reconciliation measure, reconciliation is supposed to be

about people coming together. There's not a lot of coming together over this.

But what is at stake here? If this doesn't

come -- somehow get over the finish line for President Biden, what's at stake?


And I don't think that we would be on solid ground declaring it doomed at this point.

There are lots of people, lots of Democrats in Congress who have very different ideas

about what must be in it or what must not be in it. It's going to be up to the president

and the speaker and the majority leader to figure out how to balance those equities.

And it seems like a mighty challenge. But this is the key

to the Biden agenda. This is the Biden presidency. This -- so much is resting

on this piece of legislation and the smaller infrastructure-only, roads and bridges, broadband.

JUDY WOODRUFF: You get 20 seconds of wisdom.

AMY WALTER: Twenty seconds?


AMY WALTER: I completely agree with that.

It's going to be very hard to come back from a loss, which is why I think you

will see Democrats at the end of the day come together. The one big challenge,

Republicans are defining it right now, while Democrats are fighting amongst themselves.

So, Democrats, the quicker they get it done,

the easier they get to -- the more time they have to message it on their own.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And we haven't even talked about the calendar

and when they can get it done and so forth.

AMY WALTER: Correct. Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will save that next Monday.

AMY WALTER: So many times.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So many things.

Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thank you both.

AMY WALTER: You're welcome. TAMARA KEITH: You're welcome.


On the "NewsHour" online right now: A number of Muslim and Arab Americans are

on the November mayoral ballot in the Detroit -- metro Detroit area.

This is a significant change for that area, even though it is home to the oldest,

largest and most diverse Muslim and Arab communities in the U.S.

You can find this and more our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Judy Woodruff.

Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.

For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon


  • ios
  • apple_tv
  • android
  • roku
  • firetv