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THE VAN JONES SHOW
The Van Jones Show. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 1, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:14] VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Good evening, everybody. I'm Van Jones. Welcome to the VAN JONES SHOW.
We have another amazing show for you to night. First of all, we got the top ranking African-American Republican in the United States, Senator Tim Scott is with us tonight on the VAN JONES SHOW. It's going to be amazing. That's the good part.
You know, the tough part is everybody's really still heartsick about these families that have been separated at the border. You know, there are ICE raids going on across the country. They are ripping families apart even away from the border. A major spokesperson for ICE actually quit his job because he just got tired of having to tell lies for the Trump administration about what is going on. Tonight we are going to hear from a very courageous person. James Schwab is in the building right now. I'm so proud to have him here speaking out. Proud of him.
JONES: Plus, I get back in my van. You watch the show, you know, Van in the van. Yes, I do. That once again, this Time it's because the Supreme Court upheld Trump's travel ban 3.0. So I want you to hear my conversation in New Jersey with pro-Trump and anti-Trump Muslims. That's going to be a powerful conversation.
But first, let's just talk. You know, I always say this, but break downs can lead to breakthroughs if you use them right. And the breakdowns are really pretty obvious right now. We got jails for babies in America. Jails for babies right now. And it has not been resolved. It's just horrific. And, you know, this week has been tough. You had the Supreme Court decisions. Some of them hurting labor unions. Now Trump's going to get another appointment to the Supreme Court. That makes me very, very nervous. But could there be a breakthrough on the way?
As bad as things have been, you have to admit that the people's voice has had an impact. It was public outcry that forced Trump to back off even a little bit from the worst of those family separation policies. That's a good thing.
Now I wish the Supreme Court struck down that travel ban. But the fact that he had to go back twice and put forward what you call a watered down version, that speaks to the facts that our courts have power, still have sway. They can reign him in when he goes too far. And finally, if you look at the primary elections, you are finally starting to hear some thunder on the left.
You got a whole new generation of young Democrats that are fed up. They are storming the stage. Last week 28-year-old Latina socialist came out November where and knocked off Nancy Pelosi's heir apparent. And Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is not alone.
In Maryland, you had the former NAACP head ben jealous, he blew away a whole field of establishment Democrats and won the gubernatorial primary there. And then the blood red state of Idaho, you got a native-American, female Democrat named Paula Jordan. She is bringing together cowboys and Indians trying to become the governor of that state. That's inspiring. Plus in November, Stacey Abrams could become first African-American female governor ever if she wins her race in Georgia.
So what's happening? Something's happening. You got some new leaders out there that are able to combine a positive economic message, focusing on those kitchen table issues with a full throated embrace of diversity. You know, Trump's populism often divides people along racial lines. These new folks, their populism is uniting people along racial lines. Now if that starts to work. We will see. We will see. I don't want to get too excited. We will see.
Listen, my next guest is somebody who knows an awful lot about crossing boundaries and about uniting people. And he does it from the Republican side of the aisle. So I think we got a lot to learn from him.
Please welcome to the VAN JONES SHOW, U.S. Senator Tim Scott on the VAN JONES SHOW.
JONES: It's an honor. It's an honor.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you.
JONES: Very, very good. I got the top guy. I got the top guy. Man.
First of all, it's an honor to have you here, you know. You are the top ranking African-American Republican in the country which means every day for you kind of sucks, right?
SCOTT: Not actually, no. It's great. It's a good life.
JONES: Yes. It's a good life.
SCOTT: You think where I come from and where I am today, this is a fantastic part. I'm living a major part of my mother's American dream. She worked 16 hours a day as a nurse and changing bed pans and flipping patients in the hospital. So for me to be on this stage with a great Ivy League educated individual like yourself, we strongly disagree on most policies, this is an amazing country and an amazing journey that I'm able to take because my mother paid a high price for me to live this life.
[19:05:14] JONES: And listen. You always speak with so much dignity and so much class. And I think that's why people on both sides of the aisle respect you so much.
But why is it worth it? I mean you do get beat up from liberals saying you're black and shouldn't be a Republican. The Republican Party has people in it that you can go sick and be racially incense sieve. Why is it worth it to you to be in this sort of like leading pinata?
SCOTT: I wish it were calmer. I wish the seas were calmer. But back to just where I have come from is probably what makes it worth it to me. As a kid growing up in a single parent household, mired in poverty, disillusion about the future, unable to have any real appreciation for what this country would offer me as a kid, I drifted for several years. Flunked out of high school. I'm not sure that many senators can say that. I know you can say that.
JONES: I can't say that.
SCOTT: So going to those challenges, for me to be elected in the city where the civil war started speaks so much to progress. It makes it worth it because I believe the best is yet to come. I believe that America will find true norm and that is good news for all of us.
JONES: Let's -- part of this that I want you here is because you are able to maintain that optimism. And I just want to speak to the people who feel differently.
JONES: I think people have gone from being disgusted with the Republicans for even thinking about Donald Trump to them being mad at Republicans for putting Donald Trump in power, to now just being afraid. If you're a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender if you're an immigrant, if you are a woman that maybe our humanity is on the chopping block. What do you say to people who say a lot of people are afraid?
SCOTT: Well, listen, fear has no party label. The fact of the matter is you look at the provocative history of the Democratic Party, you'll find very quickly that KKK members were Democrats. You'll find that there was amazing things done, great atrocities done by Democrats. So if we look at our history from a partisan perspective, we'll find ways and reasons to fear other people.
JONES: But the KKK didn't endorse Hillary. The KKK endorsed Trump.
SCOTT: Listen, my point exactly. The truth is that both parties have challenges within their party ranks. We could easily talk about Maxine Waters' comment (ph).
JONES: And you guys have the power now. And listen, and part of this and why we are scared is you have the House. You have the Senate. You have the White House. You got the Supreme Court. And so if there is (INAUDIBLE) in your party or bias in your party, it can have a much bigger impact than anything Maxine Waters so.
SCOTT: So my goal is we good cheer. The facts are that there is vitriol in all of these, hyperbolic language being used on both sides that is corrosive. That is destructive from who we are as a nation. If you look at the underlying policies that are leading in the positive direction, it's having a positive impact on both black folks, white folks.
JONES: Which policies do you point? Because I got some policies I'm concerned about. But which ones do you point to that you think people should be happier about?
SCOTT: Yes. I think if you look at the last several months as it relates to the economy, it's hard to argue that people aren't better off. Ninety percent of wage earners got an increase in pay. This is a great thing. And you will find people who are optimistic because our unemployment rate is so low, 3.8 percent. We have 6.4 million open jobs in America. Only six million people looking for work which means there are 400,000 jobs than there are people looking for work. African-American unemployment should be celebrated at the level that it is at right now for the first Time in recorded history, since 1972.
JONES: So listen. There's good economic news. I often say I feel like the economy is am coming up, but society is coming apart. But let's run through some of these issues that are really troubling to people.
You know, you got babies being pulled away from their mamas at the border. I believe we can have secure borders without scarring children. What do you think about this?
Absolutely. We can enforce the rule of law which we should and keep families detained together without any question. I mean, just at an emotional level, isn't there something wrong in the human heart would allow something like this to happen in the first place?
SCOTT: This is not a new thing. So this policy of separating families, parents from their kids is three, four years old, this predates President Trump.
JONES: But the acceleration of it.
SCOTT: Absolutely. One of the reasons why I sponsor a legislation is to provide clarity on the American people. And where I stand and where the vast majority of us have stood on the right and the left which is that we should keep families together.
JONES: The Supreme Court vacancy coming up.
SCOTT: I heard about that.
JONES: Yes. You may have heard about that. Are there any deal breakers for you? If somebody were sitting, wanted to be a Supreme Court justice and they said I won't commit to preserving marriage equality, do they get your vote? [19:10:00] SCOTT: Listen, as opposed to go through all the
hypotheticals, I'm going to wait find out who the candidates are and make recommendations of my own.
Listen, as opposed to go through all the hypotheticals, I'm going to wait find out who the candidates are and make recommendations of my own.
JONES: Is marital equality something --?
SCOTT: I don't have a test on a specific issue. I'm going to look at the candidates, look at their overall, body at work. I'm going to recommend Trey Gowdy, one of the folks that I would have strong recommendation for him serving on the Supreme Court. I hope the President is open to that.
JONES: You can speak well for him. He is co-author with you on a book about bringing the country together.
SCOTT: Absolutely. He is incredibly fair. Republicans were angered -- angry with him because he was so clear even with this administration. Democrats were angry with him because he was so clear with the previous administration. A guy who will call balls and strikes and not choose a side even when he is elected member at this Time in our nation's history, that's hard to find.
JONES: Yes. Listen, people ask you a lot of tough questions. They think that you're fair. But people also ask you a lot of tough questions because you are an African-American in a party that has a trouble history at least recently in, you know, the past generation with African-Americans. And you yourself have been the target of some pretty nasty rhetoric.
I want to play really quickly you on the Senate floor. You voted for Jeff Sessions.
JONES: And then you got hit with criticism not just because people didn't like Jeff Sessions, they didn't like you as a black person voting for Jeff Sessions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: You are a disgrace to the black race. You are an Uncle Tom Scott. You are for Sessions. How does a black man turn on his own? I left out all the ones that use the n word. Just felt like that would not be appropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Just talk a little bit about you as a human being, son of a proud mom, being subjected to that kind of rhetoric in your present position.
SCOTT: One of the things I had to learn to deal with as an African- American who wants to be clear and concise even about my conservative underpinnings is I get tacked on both sides. And it is painful. It hurts. Anyone who loses the sensations, they have this thick skin where nothing penetrates, that's problematic from my perspective. If I can't feel the sting when it is supposed to sting, if I don't try when it is sad, if I'm not elated when it's good, that's not a good thing. The part of the problem we have in this country is we have become sometimes so desensitized to attacks that we cannot relate to those who are being tacked without a microphone.
One of the reasons why I stand up and even one of the articles I said God made me black on purpose. I have the blessing which is a burden of sometimes being black. This country is not always fair or good to black folk. The truth is that I have to endure at Times things others do not have to endure. But that makes me more sensitive to people who are trap outside carved sometimes purposely outside of opportunity. And how I can bring them into the conversation?
JONES: You had this conversation and some conversations like this with President Trump.
JONES: How do you judge whether you're making progress there? Sometimes people think wants you to kind of be the racial Trump whisperer in some way, you know? How did those conversations go?
SCOTT: They are hard. They are painful. They are uncomfortable to sit in the oval office and have conversations with the President you strongly disagree about. He didn't change his perspective. I certainly can't change my perspective. Mine is educated by my experience. So that helps me.
But the way it closed that gave me reasons to be hopeful. It closed with, Tim I don't see what you see. What can I do to make things better? That was a shocking response. I was surprised after the conversation that his response was help me see a better light. And my answer is always not for him to speak about issues in a way he doesn't believe, but for him to actually do something and our opportunity zone was the outcome of help me help other people, Tim. And I said support my opportunities on legislation. He said he would and 24 hours later. He was. That allowed the Senate to put it into the tax bill.
JONES: Well, we are definitely going to get to that.
Listen, when we come back, we are going to have a lot more to talk about with Senator Tim Scott including his own personal encounters with the police. How that impacts his view on criminal justice and a bunch of other stuff.
But before we go to break, there is no question, we have a lot more hostility toward each other in the country because of political differences. Republicans lashing out about Maxine Waters. Democrats blaming Trump and the far right for starting to fight in the first place. Here's what you have to say about the lack of civility going on in our country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Civility is exactly what we need in this country right now. In my opinion, more than ever before in the history of this country.
[19:15:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't really hurl insults and obscenities at people for your entire campaign and presidency and then when somebody says something that you don't like oh, now you want to wave the civility flag.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:18:43] JONES: Welcome back to the VAN JONES SHOW.
I'm here with Republican senator with Tim Scott.
You know, before the break, you were started talking about something that I want to talk about which is these opportunity zones. I don't think enough people know about these opportunity zones that got put into the tax package. This may be one of the best anti-poverty measures in a generation. Talk to us about it and how did you get it done?
SCOTT: Many people may remember Jack Kemp. For those of us remember Jack Kemp. Jack Kemp was an amazing energetic optimistic guy that I model a lot of my perspective from a political way around and he created enterprise zones which was trying to finally bring government dollars back into the distressed communities. It was helpful.
My motto is opportunity zones is to bring private sector capital like in compliment government dollars in the distressed communities. Fifty million Americans live in distressed communities. The ones like I have come from. And so I try to do is model legislation that would attack capital to those areas where the potential is high but the access is too low. And the interesting part is we are talking about $2 trillion of capital to potentially being deployed.
JONES: Coming from where?
SCOTT: Coming from your capital gains. So those who have the capital gains burden can either pay their tax or defer the tax and pay later so you will pay it and invest those dollars long term into poor communities to give more of us a chance to see our dreams come true as well.
[19:20:16] JONES: This is rural and urban.
JONES: So Appalachian, whatever.
SCOTT: Exactly. JONES: So how did you do this? Did you go to the Harry Potter School
or something? This is like a magic trick. He got Republicans to vote for something that is going to get private sector and communities. I just always think when you do something hard like that, what did you learn? What was the key to your success on that?
SCOTT: Honestly, one-on-one conversations are relationships as toxic as Washington can be, I have been blessed to have good relationships with folks like Cory Booker, Senator Peters, Mike Bennett from Colorado, all Democrats who are willing to take a second look. And then, of course, I have healthy relationships with Pat Toomey and other members of the senate finance committee. I was able to share with my friends on left why this is such a powerful tool to erratic (ph) poverty. We should attack poverty and not poor people.
JONES: Exactly. Well, listen. That deserves a round of applause like you said.
JONES: Something else I want to get to that I think is also common ground, but also criminal justice reform, police reform, prison reform. You yourself have had some tough experiences as U.S. senator and you gave a speech one time about how you have been stopped, I think, two or three Times.
JONES: And question harshly just walking into the senate building.
SCOTT: Yes. So I have been stopped seven times as an elected official driving while black is my experience. I share that on the Senate floor as well because sometimes we think people are crying wolf for the fact they are just bringing out the truth.
The good news is that through the advent of cameras everywhere, we found that Walter Scott in South Carolina was shot in the back several Times by law enforcement officer who said he didn't do it. Had not with that video, we would not know the difference.
Well, when I was driving and pulled over, the video was there. So I want to share the story that validate the concerns and experiences of too many people that look like me and find a way to change that outcome. So my personal experience was tragic and hard and not good but so many people lost their lives in some of the circumstances. So I'm try to find a way that restore what we have opportunities in that space where God made me this way so I could have a shared experience so they can share it in a way that compels people to take a second look.
JONES: You know, the Republican Party seems to be in a little bit of a tug of war with itself over the question of criminal justice reform. On the one hand, you have Jeff Sessions who says we need to have more prisons. But you also have a lot of reformers in your party.
SCOTT: Yes. JONES: Where do you fall in this sort of, you know, reform versus
more of the same?
SCOTT: Well, I think if you look at and say this out about my answers clearly by state. We have closed six state prisons. We dropped population from the estimation around 30,000 down to about 19,000. That is significant.
JONES: Crime has gone to the roof though.
SCOTT: Exactly the opposite. Crime has gone down in our state because there is a responsible way of treating those who are incarcerated. So is there a way for us to bring that number down significantly and reward people who are incarcerated so as to make sure that they don't -- when they got out.
SCOTT: And the answer is yes. You can use an (INAUDIBLE) based system to bring dumb bells numbers down significantly. That public is safer. The person who has let out has a healthier, better life and job training, GED, there's a lot of ways to do it.
JONES: It is the kind of stuff that I really want people to hear that we are going to fight where he disagree and we should.
JONES: But where we agree, we should work hard together.
You wrote a book about this idea of bringing people together.
SCOTT: "Unified" that written by myself and Trey Gowdy. And what we did (INAUDIBLE) something wrote a book not about politics because I am thankful that I'm elected official but it also to the love of my life. The love of my life is seeing people come together.
I have been blessed because black folks and white folks who saw potential in me that I could not see in myself helped excavate it. Our country seems to be at our best when we recognize our diversity as a strength, as opposed to moving towards a tribal nation where we recognize the diversity as weakness.
SCOTT: And so, where Trey and I do, we talk about our healthy relationship with Democrats. We talk about hopefully that her re- election bid, but Tulsy Gaver (ph) who flew down to Charleston after the murders --
JONES: From Hawaii.
SCOTT: From Hawaii with her husband to spend Time with me because we are such good friends. I wanted her there with me. And she is not a Christian. She is a progressive Democrat. And she said, yes. And she came into the church environment and praised the good Lord like she was a Christian because love dissipates hate in its purest form.
[19:25:07] JONES: Yes.
SCOTT: I saw that happen.
JONES: Look, I just appreciate you so much. You are making the journey more beautiful for everybody. I'm honored to have you here. Thank you very much. I appreciate you being here, buddy.
SCOTT: Thank you very much.
JONES: When we come back, I'm back in my van. This Time I'm going to Patterson, New Jersey. It's a home of the largest Muslim population in the country, one of them. I'm going to speak to a group of Muslim Americans about Trump's travel ban and whether they think that Trump's rhetoric is directly responsible for the increase in hate crimes against Muslims in our country.
Going take you there when we get back.
[19:29:36] JONES: Trump's Supreme Court travel ban win was especially painful for a lot of Muslims in America. Now look, the final version may have been watered down. But I'm old enough to remember back when Donald Trump was calling for a complete and total shutdown of all Muslims entering the U.S.
And hate crimes against Muslims in the United States have spiked a great deal since his election. According to the FBI, those attacks rose by 19 percent in 2016. So I got back in my van and I traveled to Patterson, New Jersey. I wanted to hear directly from the people who live there. How are they dealing with this stuff? And I want you to hear directly from them. Take a look.
[19:30:15] JONES: All right. New Jersey. Here we come. We are driving through Patterson, New Jersey. It is the second largest population of Muslims in the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you? Nice to meet you.
JONES: Hello. How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good.
JONES: What's up, man?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you? JONES: What does it mean to be a Muslim in Trump's America?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was walking down the street and a guy just saw me and is like oh, like, I can't believe you are covered like this. And he is like oh, that's why Trump should ship you all back out. It is like ship me back where? Like, you know, I have been raised here. I'm a U.S. citizen just like you. We just want equal rights. That's all we want. He gave the green light for people to act that way. And it's because he makes it seem like it is OK and it's not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is trying to clash people against each other. I think he is putting us in two groups.
JONES: How do you think he's putting people in groups?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you're trying to label people with one single brush to say that. This is every -- all Mexicans are rapists, not MS- 13. All Muslims are bad, no the a few. I think this is a problem. That is unacceptable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I think it's beyond Trump. Look. I grew up being Muslim in this country, being the only Muslim in the entire school district, OK. I have been beaten up. I have been screamed at. I have gotten every single epithet in the book.
JONES: You're a Muslim Trumper. I think people might be surprised to hear that. Why as a Muslim would you support somebody like Donald Trump who seems to be tough on Muslims?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, take it this way. I mean, for the past multiple administrations, we have had a lot of lip service towards Muslims. And then a whole bunch of firepower levied on top of Muslims. If you look at what we have had to deal with post 9/11, I think this is really a phenomenon of post 9/11 regardless of whether it was a Republican or a Democrat administration, we have been demonized.
JONES: One of the main demonizers is Donald Trump. Isn't that true?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think Donald Trump is a demonizer. I don't think he is helping. But I think, you know, the demonization comes from the media. I mean, think about this. On a daily basis, all you see is terrorism. You never see the good things that Muslims are doing in this country. Think about Hollywood for the past 20, 30 odd years. Outside of the big six, name one movie that portrays Muslims in some sort of favorable light.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't you think that Donald Trump coming in day one in office or even when he launched the campaign, did not know that the values of the country should not permit him to say what he -- like what he was saying?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Donald Trump wasn't the type of leader that you are accustom to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of things that the post Donald Trump era that became normal. We normalize bigotry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We haven't normalized bigotry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She just said it.
JONES: George W. Bush went out of his way to make sure, he said, I'm not against all Muslims. This is not about Islam. Trump says, Islam hates us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
JONES: That has to bother you, doesn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's irritating. But, you know, it's the same problem that we have had for a period of Time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to realize like what it is doing to our youth. Because so many kids are getting attacked in school and bullied in school. It's not OK. And it is becoming normal. And it shouldn't be normal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, is there an impact of the rhetoric that Trump started when he started his campaign? The answer is yes. And we cannot deny that. We are trying to tell Donald Trump that you need to be the President for all Americans including Muslims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has nothing to do with speaking about people. I mean, Obama spoke about Muslims, fine and bombed the living hell out of them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember whether he did the travel ban on Muslims. And you automatically want to ban Muslims from all the different countries from coming in. You are already assuming that all these countries have terrorists and all these Muslims coming from there are terrorists. And that's not true. Like we are all immigrants. And majority of this country is immigrants. And Donald Trump's family came from a different country as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My father was sponsored by a steel company in the '60s. And that's how, you know, a lot of Muslims came to America. They were engineers. They are doctors. That sort of thing.
JONES: Hold on a second. You are pointing out I think rightly that a lot of Muslims came here to the United States. They were engineers. They did a good job. A lot of those people with the Muslim ban were not even allowed to come to the country. They were literally in air, in the mid-air and weren't allowed to come in.
[19:35:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was for eight percent of the population. And it was roughly about eight countries where they didn't have paperwork.
JONES: Whenever a white guy shoots up anything, they talk about mental health issues. Black guy shoots somebody, then, you know, he must be a thug. Muslims shoot somebody, it is a terrorist. I mean, how does that land with you guys? I mean, how do you think about that when you see --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Horrible. But it's reality.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the saddest story I heard is that a teacher actually had a kid who was 11 years old to get up in the middle of a class and tell her she asked him to speak to everyone about ISIS. And the mother came to us in the center and she was crying. She was crying that her son had to be the spokesperson for ISIS. And it just tells you the kind of reality that Muslim community is living in right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thought process here which is a flawed thought process is that if you know about your religion, you will be able to say something against this type of a thing when in all reality, I mean, there is very few people well equipped to sit there and take apart ISIS.
JONES: But you wouldn't ask a Christian kid to stand up and talk about the Ku Klux Klan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I think one of the things that we have to think about is that we are living in an age post 9/11 where the onus is upon us as American Muslims to basically tell people who we are so that they are not afraid of us.
JONES: So you are a young woman and you are covered. Why not just take it off? I mean, it seems like it causes all kinds of problems. And, you know, maybe your life would be a little easier if you just wore a baseball cap.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's actually easier said than done. But this year I make 11 years wearing the hajab. And I'm very proud of it. It's part of me. I feel like it makes me who I am. So for me to just take it off, I feel naked, literally. People say oh, you are so oppressed and covered and all that stuff. No, it's not. I chose to wear it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to be reminded with the values that at this country was built on. I think the value has the best protection for us. It has the tolerance that we are looking for, the acceptance that we're looking for. The celebration of diversity that we are looking for. And only if we are reminded with these values are we going to be able to live with one another in harmony.
JONES: Coming up, we're going to be talking to a former ICE agent who says that he quit the immigration enforcement agency because of the lies coming out of the Trump administration about this issue. Listen. We are going to hear his story. We got some in-fight about the immigration crisis from the front lines. That's next.
(APPLAUSE) [19:41:30] JONES: So the immigration debate has got people passionate on both sides. And you have those photos of ICE agents raiding homes, work places, arresting undocumented workers. That is provoking a big backlash. People are calling for an abolishment of the agency. Predicatively though, President Trump doubling down saying we need law and order.
But what is ICE actually? And why is it so polarizing? So I made a little explainer video to answer those questions. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Congress, I'll work to close ICE down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think ICE should be abolished.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We must abolish ICE.
JONES: A new cry for progressives is calling for a complete shutdown of ICE. ICE stands for Immigration, Customs Enforcement. Its purpose is to enforce already existing federal laws on border control, customs, trade, and immigration. That means ICE deals with everything from processing certain DACA applicants to detaining and deporting people at the border who cross illegally, to investigating international cybercrimes, smuggling rings, even art theft.
ICE was created in 2003 in response to 9/11. It falls under the department of homeland security. The agency employs 20,000 workers in all 50 states and 48 countries around the world. Immigration used to be considered mainly a legal matter. Now to some it's become an issue of national security. The government used to treat an undocumented immigrant like a simple lawbreaker. But under the current system, these immigrants are now lumped in with suspected terrorist and treated as potential threats.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They can be killers. They can be thieves.
JONES: ICE launched in 2003 a program called operation end game. Its mission, get rid of all undocumented, deportable immigrants and suspected terrorists within ten years. Well, that obviously didn't happen. But deportations have increased since the agency was created. Arrests of undocumented workers during raids have more than tripled in the past year.
CROWD: Shut down ICE!
JONES: ICE critics say the agency has too much power, not enough oversight and it weakens our civil liberties. President Trump and many Republican lawmaker want the agency to get even bigger.
JONES: So our next guest worked as an ICE agent for about three years. But he recently quit because he was fed up with the false statements that were coming from the Trump administration about this issue. James Schwab was a spokesperson in the San Francisco division. And he joins us right now.
Give him a big round of applause. I'm really proud to have you here.
JAMES SCHWAB, FORMER ICE SPOKESPERSON: Thank you.
JONES: You know, it takes a lot of courage to walk away from a good job and it takes even more courage to speak out. Before we get into your story and what you observed, do you think that ICE should be abolished or shut down? How do you respond to some of these calls for your former agency to go away?
SCHWAB: Yes. It just doesn't make sense to me. Immigration enforcement is important, both sides agree on that. And if you get rid of it, then what? You need something there.
JONES: Yes. You have people saying they are all kind of thugs. They hate everybody. They are pulling families away. Is that your experience in in terms of the people who front line work for ICE?
SCHWAB: No. And I have seen some extreme examples of that happening. But typically that's not the case. These are parents themselves. I know people aren't sympathetic to deportation officers. But they have a rough Time with this too. And I think more so under this administration.
[19:45:00] JONES: Donald Trump says that primarily people coming across that border, you know, they're criminals. They're very violent people. What's your view? It is your view that the majority of the people coming across the border fit that description?
SCHWAB: Well, refugees typically come from Central America, Honduras, El Salvador, that area. Those are very dangerous countries. People are taking their children and trekking all across Mexico. That is also a dangerous area, through deserts and into the United States.
That -- those people are not dangerous criminals. They are looking for safety. And they see America as a beacon of hope and safety for them.
JONES: Why did you decide to quit? I know the Trump administration said that somebody was leaking to the mayor and that the mayor was alerting people. And then after that, you quit. Tell us that story. Help us understand why you decided to resign.
SCHWAB: Right. So there was an operation upcoming called operation keep safe. That operation was to send a political message that we are going to enforce immigration law in the bay area in northern California regardless of the politicians' efforts to stop ICE from doing that. Days -- a day before the operation started, the Oakland mayor made an announcement which surprised us that the operation was taking place the next day.
JONES: So you wake up, this has been announced but you didn't quit over that. Tell the rest of the story. SCHWAB: Yes. So the director (INAUDIBLE) made some statements on
""FOX & Friends"" about the 800 people that were not -- that were still at large because of the Oakland mayor. Then the attorney general comes to Sacramento and he says -- he repeats the same thing. 800 people were at large. Saying 800 people were at large, 800 criminals were at-large because the Oakland mayor notified them.
JONES: And you are saying they may be undocumented but they were not dangerous criminals.
SCHWAB: They are not dangerous criminals. And second of all, we would have never arrested 800 people ever. We don't -- we haven't arrested that many during an operation in northern California that I know of ever. And to say that every single one of those people banded together and left a day before the operation started just didn't even make sense. Once I started getting e-mails and calls from reporters saying how can this be true? I contacted my headquarters and shockingly to me they told me to deflect all of those questions.
That's a big hit not only that hit me because I'm asked to perpetuate a lie for the first Time in my 17 years in government. But also my credibility as a public affairs officer, that is all a spokesperson has is their personal credibility. And so that was a big factor in this as well. How can I stand there in front of the media and tell them this lie?
JONES: Yes. You're just now speaking out and something very interesting happened to you in your first television interview. I want to show what the department of home land security did in the middle of your interview at your house. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came to speak with you about that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this about the incident?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to call me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're in his home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm talking to him. This is confidential.
SCHWAB: What is that about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just said they wanted to talk to me about the leak with the Oakland mayor.
JONES: How did that feel?
SCHWAB: Shocking. It just seemed like two thugs coming to the door and threatening me. They didn't have any paperwork. They didn't have anything. And they didn't even tell me what they wanted to talk to me about until the reporter came to the door.
JONES: So, you know, were you responsible for the leak to the mayor?
SCHWAB: Absolutely not. I never spoke to Libby Shaft. I haven't spoken to her staff. I have nothing to gain from leaking something to a mayor about an operation that I'm supporting.
JONES: Do you feel intimidated?
SCHWAB: Absolutely. My parents were there. They were very shaken. My partner is there. It was really -- yes.
JONES: Why are you still talking? I mean, you might consider not talking anymore. You are going to --
JONES: You are going to shut up now?
SCHWAB: No. Absolutely not.
JONES: Why not?
SCHWAB: No special agent is going to keep me from talking. I did nothing wrong. Someone needs to stand up and say this is wrong. You crossed the line. Why don't you take responsibility for it just like any other person would? Just say I messed up. But they double down on it afterwards. President Trump sat in the White House and even inflated the numbers to over 1,000. And then made this story that all these people that the Oakland mayor went out and made this rally cry and all these people gathered together and caravanned out of the bay area. That's insane. That's insane.
JONES: Well, listen, you're bringing sanity back to our country. I appreciate you. I applaud your courage and your candor. This idea of integrity is something that I think every profession has to hold on to in a moment like this and you're doing that. I appreciate you very much for being here.
[19:50:08] SCHWAB: Thank you.
JONES: Really means a lot to have you here.
JONES: You know when we get back, he had a real tragedy in eat Pittsburg. And it really puts this ongoing conversation about policing and race and America back, front and center. What we can learn about this and other issues when we get back.
[19:54:25] JONES: Most Americans have been completely outraged by the separation of families on our border and rightly so. And we need to keep up the public pressure to make sure all these babies are reunited with their families. And this crisis should force us to consider our treatment of other populations in the country.
You know, last Tuesday we had another terrible example, 17-year-old Antwon Rose, African-American, shot and killed by a police officer in east Pittsburgh. And it happened during a traffic stop. Rose ran away unarmed. The officer shot him three Times, including ones in the back.
Now immediately afterwards, you know, the family began to rally. But you have another family permanently separated from their kid by this tragic death. The community has been standing up. They have been rallying. They finally got a little bit of justice. The prosecutors are now charging the police officer saying what he did was wrong, saying what happened was unlawful.
That's a good first step. But the truth is that it's very rare that officers in these situations ever get charged, even more rare that they get convicted. So we don't know how this thing is going to ultimately turn out.
But this incident has reignited that national conversation we need to have about race, about policing. The reality is we have to take a hard look at all of our systems, immigration system and our criminal justice system and our policing system.
Black people in this country use illegal drugs essentially at the same right as white folks but African-Americans for the same crime, over- policed, over-sentenced, over-incarcerated for doing the same thing. And that's also ripping families apart and it needs to change.
So in the next hour here on CNN we will be taking a much closer look in some of these issues in a special film called "American Jail." You are not going to want to miss this film.
Please stay tuned. I'm Van Jones. This is the VAN JONES SHOW.
Thank you for watching and peace and love for one another.