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Interview with Jodie Foster; Interview with Rep. Linda Sanchez (D- CA). Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 25, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is a reasonable path to citizenship.
AMANPOUR: Let's all try again. President Biden is the latest to promise comprehensive immigration reform, as more than 100 migrant children are
reunited with their parents.
We speak to the congresswoman pushing a bold new bill and a front-line immigration lawyer.
JODIE FOSTER, ACTRESS: Since when did we start locking people up without a trial in this country?
AMANPOUR: We continue our look at a Guantanamo Bay detainee held for 14 years without charge. We will talk to his real-life lawyer, Nancy
Hollander, and the Oscar-winning actress who portrays her, Jodie Foster.
REUBEN MILLER, AUTHOR, "HALFWAY HOME": We have inaugurated an alternate form of citizenship for people with criminal records.
AMANPOUR: How does prison follow people once they're free? Sociologist Reuben Miller talks to Michel Martin about the afterlife of mass
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
It is the issue that has bedeviled us presidents for the last 35 years from Reagan to Biden, but he is now vowing to tackle comprehensive immigration
reform. Aside from COVID-19, there's perhaps no more pressing issue on the new president's desk.
Polls also suggests that he has the public's support, but Congress has not passed major reforms since 1986. A new bill hopes to break this decades-
long deadlock. It would reverse many of the Trump administration's anti- immigrant policies that fueled his rise, and it would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
And it would prioritize family reunification. Just this week, lawyers reported tracking down the parents of more than 100 children.
Joining me now is the congresswoman who's pushing this bill, California democrat Linda Sanchez. And welcome to the program.
I just want to ask you, why now? And why do you think this time it'll be any different, given the, what I just said, 35 years of different
presidents promising something have come to nothing?
REP. LINDA SANCHEZ (D-CA): Sure.
Well, we have a really unique opportunity right now because Democrats control the House and the Senate. And we have a president and an
administration that recognizes the need to fix our broken immigration system once and for all.
So, the moon, the stars, and the planets are aligning in order to get this done. In addition, based on the last four years of cruelty and chaos in our
immigration system, the American public overwhelmingly supports fixing our broken immigration system once and for all, making it more humane, helping
us grow our economy, and helping us manage our border in a way that makes sense.
So, I think we absolutely have the right set of circumstances to get this done.
AMANPOUR: So, there's been a broad consensus over many, many years of how to, I guess, formulate this, strengthen border security and provide some
humane path to citizenship.
But the last time there was a major effort to get it to work, I think it was under George W. Bush in 2006, and it failed. Again, you say the stars
are aligned, but you don't necessarily have all the Democrats, right, to -- all the votes you need to pass it anyway in the Senate.
SANCHEZ: Well, it's important to note that we have just begun this process.
The bill was just introduced last week. We are doing outreach to inform our colleagues in the Senate and the House what the bill contains, to take
their input, questions, concerns. As anybody will tell you, when you first introduce a bill, the final product doesn't usually exactly align to what
the bill looks like when you first started.
So, we have an opportunity here to have those conversations and to move the bill along. And I do think that we can do this. Again, it's been decades
since we have had a president who has committed to putting political muscle behind a comprehensive immigration reform bill.
And I might add that, historically, immigration reform has been bipartisan, and we have had bills in the past either clear the Senate or the House,
just not taken up by the Republican majorities in the other chamber.
Again, having control of the House and the Senate makes that likely and, in fact, doable. So, we think we would have a real chance to once and for all
fix this broken system that has left so many people waiting for relief.
AMANPOUR: Soleimani, let me ask you specifically, what makes this different? Because under the Obama administration, they tried as well.
Biden was vice president then. What makes this different from the recent failed attempts?
SANCHEZ: Again, we have a president and an administration that are willing to fight...
AMANPOUR: No, what's in it? Sorry. I meant -- sorry.
Congresswoman, I meant what's in it? What's actually in it? Sorry.
So, this bill would provide a path for 11 million undocumented people who have been living and working here in the United States to get on a path to
citizenship. It has an expedited path for dreamers and farmworkers and temporary protected status holders.
It responsibly manages our border by investing in technology. We spend more money at the Southern border on enforcement than we do for the rest of our
federal law enforcement agencies combined. But we're not doing it in a smart way.
We saw a president in the last administration fixated on a wall and barriers, which, quite frankly, is a medieval solution to a modern-day
problem. This bill would invest in infrastructure at our ports of entry and in technology that will allow us to crack down on the bad actors at the
In addition, this bill is novel, in that it seeks to address the root causes that force people to flee north. It makes investments in Central
America, conditioned on the ability of governments to reduce poverty, violence, and corruption, to restore rule of law, and to build democracies
in the region.
And it does that with international cooperation, as well as investment by the private sector. So, until you get up those root causes that cause these
waves of migration across the border, you're never really going to stem the tide. This bill does that. So, it's very smart, very strategic, again, very
secure at the border, but also injects humanity in allowing people who've been waiting, some of them decades, to reunite with their families and to
get on a path to citizenship.
AMANPOUR: And, actually, it's clear, as I said in the introduction, that the public is behind immigration reform, including a slight majority of
Let me just read you some of the polls you already know, but for our viewers. We know that there are -- there is a big majority who favor it and
who want this to happen.
So, what I want to know is, what are the politics of the opposition against it? Why is it so hard?
SANCHEZ: Well, the politics are that we have in a -- one party in this country that seeks to use immigrants as scapegoats for all of the ills in
this country, when, in fact, many of the folks that have been waiting for relief are front-line essential workers. They're the ones that kept our
economy going during the worst pandemic that this country has seen in 100 years.
And on the one hand, we want to call these workers essential, essential for our economy. And, on the other hand, Republicans want to say that they
damage our country or somehow imperil our country, which is just not the case. There's just this lack of will on their part to recognize the many
contributions that these immigrant communities make to this country.
And I don't know why they can't see the benefits that they give. If you ask any economist worth their salt, they will tell you that a legalization
grows our economy and reduces our deficit. The last bill that was able to pass the Senate, but which the Republican-controlled House never took up,
was in 2013.
And in that bill, we got -- the Congressional Budget Office number said that it would grow our GDP by $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in
2033. So, it's a net positive for our economy. And yet we have one side that is unwilling to recognize the tremendous contribution and the
tremendous ability to supercharge our economy if we could get a comprehensive bill done.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's going to be really interesting to watch how it unfolds. And, of course, it's really, really necessary, as you lay out.
Congresswoman Sanchez, thank you very much, indeed.
Now, these aren't just facts and figures, bills and counterproposals in Washington. These are also real families. More than 500 children separated
by Trump's zero tolerance policy still cannot find their parents.
Andrea Martinez is an immigration attorney who is working to reunite families. And she recently featured in "Living Undocumented," which is a
Netflix series that profiles families facing deportation.
Here's a clip from the trailer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are people who might be your neighbors. There are people who own businesses you may not realize are here without papers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just live in the shadows until there's a change in the law that would allow you a pathway to become a lawful permanent
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew I wasn't born here. I just didn't know that not being born was something that was dangerous.
And I always have to do everything scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And Andrea Martinez is joining us now from Kansas City in Missouri.
Welcome to the program.
Just as a front-line lawyer trying to actually deal with the human consequences of what's happening right now, what do you make of the new
proposal of Congresswoman Sanchez and her Senate counterpart?
ANDREA MARTINEZ, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Well, I applaud Congresswoman Sanchez, and I am all in favor and really supportive of this bill. I hope
that it passes.
And I particularly support the part that she was talking about regarding how to stabilize the sending countries, especially the Central American,
Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, where there is such instability in the governments, that if we, as the United
States and as the world, don't assist, we're going to continue to see refugees fleeing from these countries because of the instability, the
crime, the violence, and the fact that gangs and cartels run the countries.
AMANPOUR: Obviously, as the congresswoman laid out, there's a lot of opposition from the other side.
And they're now saying -- and perhaps there's the facts on the ground -- that this new idea from President Biden is potentially causing a pull
factor. What are you actually seeing on the ground in the cases you have? And what are you hearing from colleagues who are on the border?
MARTINEZ: So, I'm an immigration lawyer in Kansas City, as you mentioned, and I represent asylum seekers every day. In fact, I have been for the last
decade or more.
And what I see is that people are being pushed out of their country. It is more of a push factor than the pull factor that you mentioned, by far. And
this is -- the Biden bill does not incentivize people who are coming right now, in fact, because they had to have come before January 1.
But it does protect people who are in desperate need of protection in the United States. And the asylum seekers who are fleeing from the countries
that they're fleeing from are doing so for a reason. And in many cases, the clients that I serve tell me: I never had any plans to come to the United
States. I didn't want to leave my home and my family and the people that I love. I had to. I was forced out.
And so one of the big parts of this bill is this funding for establishing and reestablishing the rule of law and the justice systems of the countries
that we're seeing a lot of our refugees coming from. Also, I am in -- I'm very supportive of the bill's path to citizenship for the 11 million-plus
people who are already in the United States, because, really, what are we doing with these people?
They're here. They're here right now. They have been here. Many of them have family, U.S. citizen family members and children. And it's not like we
are safer by them not having documents. The U.S. citizens in this country are not safer because our undocumented neighbors don't have driver's
In fact, we're less safe if they can't get driver's licenses. And, overall, I think that this bill is very needed. Just like we update our cell phones
every day, we need an update to a very outdated immigration system. The last time we have had a major immigration reform was 1986, under a
Republican administration, by the way.
MARTINEZ: One thing Republican members of Congress I think are afraid of are losing potential votes through this bill and through a legalization
program like this.
But I will say, from my experience with my clients, many are very conservative, socially conservative. They're conservative people that would
vote Republican if given a chance to vote. So, I think Republicans actually have a very big potential voting bloc if they treat this group right and if
they join in this important, important bill.
AMANPOUR: Let's talk quickly a little bit about the thing that really shocked the world over the four years of the Trump administration, the zero
tolerance policy that led to children in cages and obviously separated from their parents.
We understand now that about 100 have found their parents, but there's still some 500 kids locked up in the United States by the border, I guess,
who cannot find their parents. What's -- what is the prognosis for these families?
MARTINEZ: It's very difficult, because many of these children were babies when they were separated from their parents, and so they can't tell workers
in the United States who their mother or their father is. They didn't -- they were not able to speak when they were separated.
And, in fact, I don't even think that 500 is an accurate number. I am representing a client right now who's 4 years old who was separated from
his mother two years ago. And he was put with his aunt. And so, because of that -- and his mother was deported, by the way, when he was still breast-
feeding as a 2 year-old to -- back to Guatemala.
He's not on that list. And the family is unable to get the mother back to be reunited with her son. And the son is now in -- I'm representing a 4-
year-old in immigration court, right? And so we are doing our best to make him...
MARTINEZ: Can you imagine, right?
AMANPOUR: No, I cutting.
MARTINEZ: So, I many times just have clients sitting on my lap in immigration court. I have -- my own children are 5 and 8. Can you imagine
what it's like to as an immigration lawyer to have these children trying to defend themselves without an adult parent?
And that's what this boy is doing. So there are many more children, and some of whom I'm representing, that are on that list. I'm so thankful that
some of the children are being reunited with their parents. But I fear that many of the children don't know who their parents are and aren't able to
say who their parents are to be reunited in the first place.
AMANPOUR: And now there's this current issue of kids who are coming over unaccompanied. There's some 700 or so, even under this administration, who
are in border police or Border Patrol custody. What happening to them?
MARTINEZ: So, we're hoping that now, under the Biden administration, that we will see parole for these unaccompanied -- they're called unaccompanied
alien children. It's another thing I hope that the bill takes care of. I don't like the word alien.
But these unaccompanied children are able -- I'm hoping they're able to be paroled into the United States. There are some forms of relief for these
children once they get into the United States. But if they're stuck in the squatter camps on the other side of the border, they are subject to all
sorts of violence, as you can imagine, and human trafficking and other things.
So we're really hoping and praying that the Biden administration will quickly parole these children into the United States, so that we can look
into legal status for them through, for example, the Special Immigrant Juvenile program and other programs for unaccompanied children.
And, Andrea, you're trying to represent these children. And in the documentary that I mentioned on Netflix, there is a part which shows you,
as a lawyer, actually being aggressed, let's say, by the law enforcement, while, again, you're trying to represent a child. Tell me about that.
MARTINEZ: It's still unbelievable. And we are in the middle of a lawsuit, thanks to the ACLU. So there's some things I cannot say about it.
But I will say that it was shocking to me and to the world, because we were in the middle of reuniting this boy, Noah, in the documentary with his
mother, who he had been separated from. She had been detained. And he was left with his stepfather, Luis. And ICE told us bring this boy to the
parking lot of the ICE facility, and we will reunite him with his mother, before they're both deported to Honduras.
And we knew that it was in the best interest of the child to be reunited with his mother before they were both deported. We didn't want what is
happening in the other case I just talked to you about. We didn't want the mother to be deported without her son.
So we brought this child into the ICE facility. And then they tricked us. They told us to come in to their office. And then, as soon as we were at
the door, they took the child, brought the child into the lobby, and then physically pushed my colleague Megan and I out.
And my foot was broken in the process. I suffered a concussion. And then they later locked me in a room and called and made a big story, a lie to
the Federal Protective Service, saying that I was trespassing.
So it was a very -- it was a very shocking and traumatic...
AMANPOUR: Well, it's shocking in the story you're telling and the pictures. I mean, I see your -- you in that video that we just showed.
But that comes from the top, right? That is when an administration tells border control that they have to make it as hard as possible for people to
come in. Do you expect that to be changed, and you to get better cooperation from all the law enforcement that is down at the border on this
issue as well?
MARTINEZ: I do expect that.
I do also know that it takes a while for the culture to trickle down. So, we have seen some positive change already with some members of ICE and
Department of Homeland Security, who probably were a little more immigrant- friendly to begin with. But I also think that the Biden administration is going to have to do a lot more work on their priorities and the enforcement
And we want to see the Biden administration really champion enforcement priorities, so that ICE does not have as much discretion as they did under
the Trump administration to do the things that I'm talking about, the stories that I have told you.
MARTINEZ: They need to have less discretion. And they need to be told by the Biden administration what to do and what they can't do.
AMANPOUR: Yes, it's called rule of law.
Andrea Martinez, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
Now, earlier this week, we spoke to Mohamedou Ould Salahi. He is the real- life protagonist of an extraordinary story portrayed in the new film "The Mauritanian." He was detained for more than 14 years without charge at
And the prison system there has been beset by a legal conundrum from the very start, from failed presidential promises to close it down to the 40 or
so detainees still at the facility being held indefinitely, many like Mohamedou tortured.
Here's a clip from "The Mauritanian," where he tells his lawyer played by Jodie Foster that he confessed under duress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Why didn't you tell us?
TAHAR RAHIM, ACTOR: They are nothing, like fantasy. None of that happened.
FOSTER: You signed them.
RAHIM: They made me.
FOSTER: They made you, as in they coerced you?
RAHIM: What do you think?
FOSTER: I don't know. You tell me? They coerced you?
You got to tell me what happened, Mohamedou.
RAHIM: You asked me to set fire to this place, but I'm still sitting...
FOSTER: Well, then write it down, right? That's what the pages are for. Write it down. You need to tell me the truth. You need to tell me what
happened to you.
I can't defend you. Do you understand that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Foster plays the criminal defense attorney Nancy Hollander, and they're both joining me now.
Welcome to the program. An amazing film.
I guess, Jodie Foster, I want to ask you first why you decided to do this, because I read that you don't like biopics. You don't necessarily like
political movies. What about this one convinced you?
FOSTER: Well, yes, I mean, it's the writing, really.
First of all, I have to say that, like many Americans who lived through 9/11, I knew very little about Guantanamo. I have -- I vaguely knew that it
still existed, that Obama wanted to close it down, and that he hadn't managed to do it. And that was pretty much it.
So, when I read the script, and then subsequently the book and started doing research, it's just such a fascinating story. And to have Mohamedou's
character be the central character of whose eyes we live through as audience members, I think that that's really what made the difference for
AMANPOUR: And, of course, we had him on earlier this week with your director, Kevin Macdonald, and with the real-life, Steven Wood, who was his
guard at Guantanamo.
I just want to ask Nancy Hollander about the actual legal case and the conundrum, Nancy, because he said in that clip that he was -- he confessed
Did the charges ever have a chance of standing up?
NANCY HOLLANDER, ATTORNEY FOR MOHAMEDOU OULD SALAHI: Well, first of all, there were no charges. He was never charged with anything.
So if he had been charged with...
AMANPOUR: The accusations, yes.
HOLLANDER: Yes, the accusations.
No, they wouldn't. They wouldn't stand up, and they didn't stand up. And that's why the judge granted his habeas case, because they didn't stand up.
After so many years, the government couldn't prove anything.
AMANPOUR: What do you first think when you first met him? I mean, the clip that we just showed is really -- I mean, it's you portrayed by Jodie Foster
really passionate about wanting to be able to defend him.
What did you think when you first met him?
HOLLANDER: I knew nothing about Mohamedou when I first met him, nothing, except that he was there. Everyone there, as far as we knew at that time,
had something to do with 9/11, were accused of having something to do with 9/11.
I went in. I met him. I have told this many times, walked in, and he put his arms out as though to hug, and then I -- he didn't move. And I realized
he was shackled to the floor, walked into his arms. And he said -- we there were two of us there. And he said, "My lawyers."
And that's how it started. I believe he trusted me from the beginning. I had to learn to trust him. Trust -- I trusted him as a person. He wasn't
going to harm me, but I had to learn to trust what he was telling me.
AMANPOUR: And, Jodie Foster, I think you also were very moved by Mohamedou, the person, by the person who's emerged, forgiving and hopeful and
And you also met him as well on set. What did you make of him, the actual Mohamedou?
FOSTER: Yes, very lucky to meet the actual Mohamedou.
And we marveled that he could have gone through so much, lived through so much, so much damage and torture psychologically, sexually, just in every
aspect of his life, and yet to emerge as such a full human and such a gentle, sweet, affectionate, funny, teasing guy.
He did come to Cape Town, where we were shooting. He was -- it's the only visa that he's ever been able to get. The U.S. government has kept him from
having visas to leave anywhere. And he got to hang out with Nancy. And they got to see the penguins and visit Robben Island and all sorts of things in
FOSTER: And it was really wonderful.
It's felt very healing. It feels to me like it's very healing for Mohamedou to see that the movie is made and that people have received it.
AMANPOUR: Wow, Robben Island, of course, the prison where Nelson Mandela was for most of his 28-year incarceration. That must have been pretty
Let me talk to you about you, you two, the way you have teamed up.
Jodie, what was it? I know that Nancy wrote an op-ed about why she defends even terrorists. And you -- that meant a lot to you, even before this film
was a reality.
FOSTER: Yes, so Nancy is really quite a hero. She believes in the rule of law, believes in the Constitution. And she believes that everybody deserves
a defense. And it's been her mission to provide that.
And that means challenging governments and challenging authority. And I think that that's -- I think that, as noble a mission as that is and how
important a mission as that is, I think it takes a toll on somebody. And she's given so much, so that we can have a just system.
AMANPOUR: Nancy Hollander, you did write this article In "The New York Times," an op-ed, because you needed to say something about a lot of the
criticism maybe that you were getting for all the different kinds of defendants who you were representing.
Talk to us about what you experienced and why you wrote this.
HOLLANDER: At that time I wrote that, I think it was Cheney who said that we shouldn't be representing these people. And there were some other people
who have always said, you shouldn't represent these terrorists. And it just made me so angry.
And, as Jodie as me says in the movie, which is what I wrote, nobody ever complained when I represented people who did horrible things, murders,
raping babies. Nobody ever accused me of being them. And yet we were being accused, the lawyers who represented people in Guantanamo, of somehow being
And it infuriated me. And I think that piece was some of my best writing, actually, because I was so angry when I sat down and wrote it.
AMANPOUR: I'm going to play a clip that we have from the film, which is actually of your character, Jodie, playing and your assistant, legal
assistant. And you are really actually angry at her as well.
So let's play it and we can discuss it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: What's your point?
SHAILENE WOODLEY, ACTRESS: He's guilty. He's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) guilty.
FOSTER: Maybe he is. He still has a right to counsel.
WOODLEY: I'm not saying that he doesn't. I'm saying that he helped to kill 3,000 civilians, and we're doing everything we can to get him out.
FOSTER: No, we're doing our job.
WOODLEY: I did bake sales for his legal fund. That's not a part of my job.
My dad told me I'm not welcome home for Thanksgiving this year. That's not a part of my job.
FOSTER: Get out.
FOSTER: If you want turkey and pumpkin pie with mom and dad and uncle Joe, go on. Get up. Go home. You can't win a case if you don't believe your own
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Jodie Foster, that's quite dramatic stuff. And it really brings home the stakes and how you had to convince even your own -- or, rather,
how Nancy had to convince even her own legal assistant.
But I want to ask you, before going to Nancy, because was -- is Nancy really that, what's the right word, aggressive, mean? Did you exaggerate
FOSTER: I definitely did. Nancy's a much nicer person than my Nancy.
FOSTER: And, I mean, we tease each other about that.
But I thought -- I had said to her, look, this is not going to be an invitation. We are here to serve Mohamedou's story. And in order to do
that, we may have to exaggerate certain parts, may have to -- I believe -- when Nancy just said she got very angry, Nancy has a way of internalizing
This character allows the audience to see it a little bit more. So, we made those kind of directorial choices, narrative choices just to make the
transition of Nancy's character from the beginning to -- through her relationship with Mohamedou through those many years to condense it and to
allow us to see more change, yes.
AMANPOUR: So, Nancy, what did you think of that performance and what did you -- I guess you must have talked a lot to Jodie, to the directors, to
everybody involved about the process.
HOLLANDER: Oh, I did talk about the process with all of them. But as to that clip, first let me say that Terry Duncan was a lawyer at that time, an
associate of my office. She is now, these years later, an accomplished, terrific lawyer, and she primarily does death penalty cases. So, she would
-- the real -- I'm sorry, the read Terry Duncan would never do that. But Terry's character, I believe, was created as a proxy for the audience
because we know the audience is thinking that.
However, if someone came to me and said that, I would say not quite as dramatically as Jodie put it, but I would say, you really need to
reconsider whether you can be a criminal defense lawyer, because if you're going to worry about who is guilty and who's innocent, you can't do it. And
so, that's how I would say it. The final words of that clip, you've got to believe your own shit, those are my words.
AMANPOUR: And we didn't bleep them because you just told them to us. Jodie Foster, let me ask you a question, because, you know, people miss you when
you're not on screen. You have a huge fan base. But you don't do many movies. I've read you say you do what has meaning to you. And I've heard
you talk about -- also, about, you know, you discuss and you tackle loneliness and, you know, existential issues. Talk to me a little bit about
what goes into your choices of roles.
FOSTER: Yes, it's a little mysterious I suppose. You know, what moves me, may not move somebody else. It's a very personal choice. And sometimes that
may bring me to a very small supporting character. Sometimes it may bring me to a comedy. You know, usually it's something that I feel very committed
to and that feels personally relevant to me. Maybe questions that I have about my life.
And in this case, you know, certainly it was not only the story of Mohamedou, which is central to the film and the most important thing in the
film that I wanted to serve as a supporting actor, really to keep the space for Tahar Rahim to have that beautiful, extraordinary performance. But,
also, you know, I wanted to investigate Nancy's, you know, I say loneliness, but I don't think it is really loneliness. I think that it is a
solitary mission. I think when you are on a mission that other people don't understand, there is a solitary quality to it. You have to give up
Thanksgiving dinner with people who believe that you are a terrorist because you are representing one.
So, I think that Nancy has made these choices. I'm sure she wouldn't have done it differently. But I do believe that the things that we commit to,
that we know are just and good do take a toll on ourselves. I'm sure you probably feel that as well, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I do. And for another discussion. Nancy, what about the legal conundrum that's very real still at Guantanamo, 40 people at least
are still there with who knows what prospect of leaving. President Biden, the latest to promise to close it down. Do you think it'll happen and what
is the legal issue going on in Gitmo right now?
HOLLANDER: Well, I hope it will happen and we hope that this movie will serve to help that at this point. There are 40 people there, about 33 of
them, I believe, somewhere around 30, are what the government calls forever prisoners. I don't even know what that means. We can't have forever
prisoners. These are people who have never been charged with a crime and have been held, many of them, since 2001. One in particular was cleared for
release by a task force that was doing that in 2009 and he is still not out.
So, the first thing that I believe that Biden needs to tackle is to get those people out. The six who have already been cleared for release and the
rest. They have to be -- find homes or somewhere they can go where they're safe. We can't keep them there.
As to the ones who have been charged, and I have a client there who's been charged and is facing the death penalty, we have to get rid of the military
commissions and we have to -- they have to have proper due process and every constitutional right. They have to have the right to confrontation,
which they don't even have in the military commission.
So, we just have to put it together and get it done. And it can be done.
AMANPOUR: OK. It can be. You are absolutely right. It has to be -- the will has to be there.
Jodie, you have talked about -- you were pregnant when 9/11 happened, that this film also is a little bit how that event transformed America all these
years later. And you've even said that it was a pleasure or you were pleased to be able to do a film that humanized a Muslim character pretty
much for the first time.
FOSTER: Yes, I don't know. For the first time, but certainly a mainstream American movie, although this is quite British, this film.
FOSTER: But, yes. We don't see many positive and complex roles for Muslim men, and that was something that was very important to me. You know, this -
- we were -- Americans at 9/11 were taken by fear and terror. And the government had a responsibility to manage that terror and fear by sticking
with the rule of law. And, unfortunately, they opened the window and threw it outside. You know, we have to figure out not to lose our humanity when
we come to crises like this.
AMANPOUR: And very finally, we have about 30 seconds left. You are a major female in Hollywood and you've talked about the micro aggressions you
suffered over the years when you were younger. How do you think Hollywood and that whole industry is dealing with women now?
FOSTER: Right. Well, it's not just our industry. It's every industry. You know, we are in a moment of change. The culture is wakening. And I think in
the -- perhaps in a romantic way, I believe we're getting better and not worse. And that this is a transitional moment that can be very painful for
lots of people, very painful for our industry and for other industries, but it needs to be done. You know, we need to have a reckoning and a
reconciliation and people need to look back at the darker parts of their pasts and figure out how we can move forward and, you know, be better.
AMANPOUR: OK. Wonderful to have you on, Jodie Foster and Nancy Hollander, thank you so much for being with us. And "The Mauritanian" is in theaters
now and it will be available everywhere on demand on March 2nd.
Now, the criminal justice system is something our next guest understands all too well as well. Reuben Miller is a former chaplain at the Cook County
Jail in Chicago. He is also a sociologist, criminologist and a social worker. His new book, "Halfway Home," exposes the realities of life after
under mass -- after mass incarceration and shows that some people are never truly free even after they leave prison.
Here he is talking to our Michel Martin about the book and his own personal experiences with America's prison system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Professor Rueben Miller, thank you so much for speaking with us.
RUEBEN MILLER, AUTHOR, "HALFWAY HOME": I'm so glad to be here. Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: You know, the whole topic of mass incarceration, the criminal justice system in general is a very big topic right now. But you're
focusing on the long tail of incarceration. What happens when you supposedly get out? How did you start to notice that this was a story in
MILLER: I began this work as a volunteer chaplain at the Cook County Jail in Chicago. And so, it was really getting close to these men. It was really
looking from the ground not necessarily from the 30 or 40,000 feet in the air where we tend to look at these questions where we're counting things.
You know, can you get a job or not? How many people are unable to get a job? What is the unemployment rate?
No, no. What I found was that -- people's fundamental relationship to things like the labor market was different or are you able to reconnect
with your family? That is very important. But what I found was, when sitting across the kitchen table, those relationships and those
conversations look fundamentally different for these folks than they do for other people.
MARTIN: Why is that?
MILLER: Because we've created a pariah class in this country. Because we've inaugurated an alternate form of citizenship for people with criminal
records. Because there are 45,000 laws, policies and administrative sanctions that target people when they get out of jail or prison that
prevent them from getting work or housing. And these things cause real strain in their relationships.
MARTIN: I think what I hear you saying is people are still locked up even if they're not locked up.
MILLER: That is absolutely right. What I decided to study was what I called the afterlife of mass incarceration. And so, this is the way that prison
follows people. It's like a ghost. It shows up at their job. It shows up in their relationship between even their most -- their intimate partners. It
shows up when they're trying to rent an apartment. It follows them. It traps them. People are imprisoned effectively in their home communities.
But what is worse is the informal stuff. So, there is the -- you can't get a job. You can't get a house because of the laws and policies that we've
passed but there's how that shows up in their everyday lives and their everyday relationships with everyone else they encounter.
MARTIN: And forgive me, Professor Miller, but I think this is where I think it would make sense to say this is also your problem. I mean, this is also
part of your life as well. Why don't you tell me a little about your story? In fact, you write about your story eyesight story quite a lot in the book.
Your father was incarcerated, has been, and so is your brother. How did that -- tell me about that.
MILLER: Yes. You know, so my grandmother raised us. And we were in foster care. She took us in. And when my brother initially got in trouble, he was
sent like many children who are in the foster care system to group homes. And from there trouble escalated. So, once marked by the criminal justice
system people begin to pay attention to you in a very different way.
And for me, while I was arrested at 14 and, you know, it's in the book, I was arrested because I was trying to do graffiti in trainyard. I'm not that
good at graffiti. But that arrest didn't follow me in quite the same way in part because of the arbitrary nature of enforcement that we see happen in
the criminal justice system. So, what happens in poor black communities, and I was raised in a poor black neighborhood in Chicago, what happens in
poor black communities is on the one hand there is over policing and on the other hand there is under policing. There is over policing but under
policing and under protection.
And so, you know that you can be arrested. You know that you might get in trouble. You don't know what that trouble looks like. And once you are
convicted, though, once something happens that leads to a conviction, that conviction begins to follow you and those many arrests that you may have
had growing up coming up as a child are then used against you when you become an adult.
And so, my brother's experience escalated from there. So, when he became an adult and got into trouble, he had a record, that record was used against
him. He was sent to prison. And so, that is a part of my story. The reason why I write about that is because it occurred to me that if I was being
honest that I would have been in my own social scientific model. I was born poor and black after 1972 where mass incarceration begins in earnest and I
grew up in a residentially segregated neighborhood.
I, like every other black American man in this country and many black American women, wouldn't have been able to avoid prison if I tried.
MARTIN: Why do you say that?
MILLER: The prison follows you.
MARTIN: Talk more about that because I think a lot of people have this idea that you have to do -- A, you have to do something serious to get locked
MARTIN: And, B, you do your time and if you keep your nose clean as it were and then that's done. And what you're saying is that is just not true. Just
walk me through that.
MILLER: I'll give you an example from the book. There is a man named Martin who has experienced serial traumatic episodes, all kinds of traumatic
violations. He was the victim of sexual abuse. He was the victim of physical abuse and domestic abuse from his parents. You know, these things
happened. The police were not there. There was no one there when he called for help, when he asked for help. No one there. No program there to meet
Martin and help Martin figure out what was going on with him.
Martin becomes homeless. Martin is arrested 14 times not for some giant violent offense. He is arrested 14 times for trespassing. All of which were
misdemeanor offenses. Martin turns to drugs and alcohol. A friend of his dies. Too much trauma. Too few people to turn to to help him process it.
Well, he is arrested for having three crack rocks in his pocket. He is charged with a felony conviction. Why? The judge says, he thinks that's
excessive. The prosecutor says, well, his 14 arrests prove a pattern of criminality. And so, what happens? On average, my guys were arrested 15
times on average, the guys that I follow. I follow 250 guys out of American jails and prisons in Chicago, Detroit, New York, and other smaller towns
across the country. They were arrested 15 times on average, most of which beginning at the age of about 14 years old, most of that for doing things
that kids do every day.
And so, by the time they actually got in trouble, and when I say doing things kids do every day, I mean things like hanging out together, standing
on a corner, congregating in groups, you know, these kinds of things. And when they finally get in actual trouble, those early police interventions
are used to prove that they are indeed criminal. This is because black people in this country are stripped of their innocence. They're viewed as
already guilty even as children.
MARTIN: You are being very delicate about Martin's story. I found it deeply disturbing. And Martin was raped multiple times as a child.
MARTIN: And as a young man. And never seems to have gotten any care for what he experienced. And then when he started self-medicating in part to
deal with the trauma, he was punished for that. So, I guess what I'm asking you is, do you think that even as a child you thought, you looked around
and think -- thought, why?
MILLER: No. No. Because it was so normal for so many of our friends to be arrested and incarcerated. No because the model interaction, the everyday,
the most frequent interaction that someone from my neighborhood had with the police was being arrested. It wasn't officer friendly or something like
that. So much so that kids made games of it. OK. Here are the cops. Let's run. Right?
So, it's like -- and this, too, is the -- what I call the afterlife of mass incarceration. The presumption of innocence that is stripped from black
children. The presumption of guilt that's dropped on black kids all over the country. The fact that police only show up to arrest you. That they
don't show up when you call. They don't show up when Martin needed someone to show up for him, for many black children. And the literature says that.
We believe black children are four years older on average and more guilty when we see them. This is how Tamir Rice can be murdered within two second
of a cop getting out of the car. And the only question that we ask is whether or not the cop felt safe. This is how we get to that point. It is
the presumption of guilt that is foisted on to black children, even black children in this country.
MARTIN: You also talk a lot about the long tail of financial burden that attaches to being incarcerated. And that is something that has a ripple
effect on any family member outside that may want to stay connected to you. Talk about that.
MILLER: That is absolutely right. When I was doing my research in Detroit, this is during the time that my brother got arrested in the Michigan
Department of Corrections, the average cost of a phone call for me to talk to him, because they only allow you to talk for 15-minute blocks, was
$6.55. That was the average cost per phone call. That was after a series of reforms to reduce the cost. And so, $6.55 per call in an era of cell phones
where phone calls are effectively free if you pay your average bill.
Families have been shown to go bankrupt covering things like the cost of phone calls. But there --
MARTIN: Well, let's talk about this for a second. You're saying the average cost of a phone call was $6.53, if the federal minimum wage is $7 an hour.
MILLER: Come on.
MARTIN: If someone is paying -- is working a minimum wage job making that federal minimum wage essentially an hour's worth of their labor --
MILLER: Goes into that phone call.
MARTIN: -- goes into talking to their loved one.
MILLER: That is absolutely right. That's absolutely right.
MARTIN: And why does it cost so much? It doesn't cost $7 to make a phone call. So, what is that about?
MILLER: Well, it's about contracting with private services. When people talk about prison privatization, they often think about only private
prisons, that this is where typically the imagination of what privatization looks like in prisons. But everything is privatized in prisons.
So, look at this obligation for a second. The family pays for the phone call, something that's effectively free if you pay a monthly service for
any other person in the United States under any other circumstance. The family pays for food because the prison doesn't cover the actual needs of
the people inside. The family covers the cost of confinement in some states. They get a bill. This is what you need to pay because your loved
one was incarcerated and we're going to charge you for that. The family covers the cost of legal fees, $1,600 for general legal fees.
My brother was charged $600 for representation by a public defender that he met for 20 minutes on the day of his conviction. The only meeting with the
public defender. All of these costs are borne by the family. For someone who the state has effectively made unable to care for themselves. That is
on the inside.
Now, on the outside. They're locked out of the labor market. They can't get a job. There's rules that say they can't rent an apartment. It's legal to
discriminate against people with criminal records and to deny them leases and to even evict them from homes if a -- for example, let's say a
grandchild stay on the couch. So, they can't find a place to stay. They can't support themselves. They can't get a job. Who is going to cover their
bills when they get out? The family.
And so, it is not just the millions of people who are incarcerated or even the 19.6 million people who are estimated to have a felony record, it's
everybody who is connected to them. They're all brought into their punishment. This is what mass incarceration has done.
MARTIN: Can you just read a little bit from the book that I think sort of captures it? I think you could pick something for us.
MILLER: This is from chapter 4, a chapter called "Millions of Details" and it's after I'm having a phone call with my brother and the passage goes,
any boxer will tell you that it's the punch you don't see coming that puts you down, the collect call you didn't expect, the court date you didn't
have the gas money to attend, the conversations you've dreaded having with your children about why their uncle was in prison and when exactly you
expected him to come home. The honest answer? You're not sure. The $2.95 processing fee that brings your bills above your budget. The $292 that
you've over drawn your account. The six $34 over draft fees because you didn't budget the last collect call. The overpriced boots. The unexpected
embarrassment as you sit at your desk entering your loved ones order 30 packages of ramen noodles.
What it feels like when Michigan packages runs out of the flavor of ramen noodles you wanted. The fact that you know or at least you think you know
that no one else is in your shoes if these little things, the daily disruptions that manage to pull you down. Shame does that, too.
MARTIN: Why shame?
MILLER: There's an interesting association between the arrest and the presumption that it is because of something that you did. Because of this
connection that we've made in the American imagination between crime and punishment.
So, Americans look at the 2.3 million people who are in a U.S. jail or prison and they look at the fact that 40 percent of them are black. And
then we say to those, and then say, it must be because of something that black people do. Despite the fact there have been 2,800 exonerations since
1989. Despite the fact 95 percent of those cases are resolved in a plea deal, but these are things that we don't know because we don't pay
attention to these folks. These are folks that we've labeled guilty from birth.
And so, because of that, because of the deep connection between what we presume to be behavior and punishment you must have got coming what you
called for. One of the guys in my study said, I got what my hand called for. That's what he said.
In fact, people who would be in jail or prison, when I would visit with them, who were convicted of crimes they didn't commit, said, well, I wasn't
convicted for the crime that I did but I certainly did something that made me deserve to be here. This is the kind of language that we circulate in.
And so, a sense of guilt and a sense of shame, embarrassment because of this terrible person that you must be follows you.
And the second part of the shame comes from the fact that incarceration separates families. It pulls apart, it isolates, it makes it so that you
feel alone. And when you're alone there is very little you can do. You feel powerless. You feel as if you can't control the forces that are shaping
your life. And for that, you feel a sense of shame.
MARTIN: Does that follow you when you get out?
MILLER: Everything in the world tells men that men are to be the providers and protectors of their home, but there are 19,000 laws, policies and
administrative sanctions that tell them that there are hundreds of categories for employment for which they may not apply and the jobs are
unsustainable when they have them. So, it is nearly impossible to get a job. The jobs you do get are often the worst kinds of jobs.
And then when the boss disrespects you at work because there are so few things that you can do, there's so few ways you can move, you can't leave
the job and go try to get a new one. And so, what we've done is we effectively pushed this group of folks out of the labor market and told
them that their identity is defined by their ability to make money. This is part and parcel of how shame follows people with criminal records, but it
does this in housing, it does this when it comes to civic participation. Not just voting, but which offices you can hold. It does this when it tells
you, you can't sit on a jury.
So, every time you go before a "jury of your peers," there is nobody in that jury box that has had your experience, nobody in the jury box that
quite understands who you are and what you have experienced or even how you changed your life after you've gotten out of prison. Nobody understands
that. And you know that. You know effectively that you're alone.
MARTIN: What would make a difference? What would make a difference in your view?
MILLER: I'd talk about mass incarceration as a problem citizenship, and I say that for a couple reasons. Reason one is there are unique laws,
policies and sanctions that target just them and the unique responsibilities just for people with criminal records and their rights are
suspended in many forms and ways. That is the kind of legal sense in which it's a kind of citizenship.
But there is also a social sense in that citizenship, at the end of the day, is really about belonging. It is about belonging to a political
community. It's about being a fully human participant within a community of other humans that has a place in the social world just because you're a
human being and you are part of our collective.
I think this is the kind of thinking we have to take to this problem. And if we started there from this framework, this framework of belonging, from
a framework of human thriving, what does the person who caused the crime need to thrive? What does the person who's had the crime committed against
them, the person who's been harmed, what do they need to thrive? If we start from this place of human thriving, we'll start doing very different
For example, there are 45,000 laws. We don't need 45,000 laws. In the State of Illinois there are 50 housing regulations. In the State of Illinois. One
state, 50. We don't need 50. The second is to ask when should punishment stop? When has one paid their debt to society as to have an actual
reckoning with our system of punishment. To ask questions we haven't really asked. We've been operating on muscle memory for the last, I don't know, 50
or so years. And I think we can do something for it.
MARTIN: Professor Miller, thank you so much for talking with us today.
MILLER: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And we really must get off that troubling auto pilot. And tomorrow, we're going to take a closer look at these issues of racial and
social justice from the perspective of female police officers and the new PBS documentary "Women in Blue" which profiles the rise and fall of the
first female police chief in Minneapolis, looking at gender and race in the department in the months and years leading up to the death of George Floyd.
That's it for now. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.