Return to Transcripts main page
Examining Northern Ireland Peace Agreement; Border Surge; Atlanta Killing Spree. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired June 30, 2021 - 13:00 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.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Facing the biggest surge of border crossings in 20 years, how will the Biden administration fix a chronically broken
immigration system? I ask former Department of Homeland Security official Elizabeth Neumann.
JOHN HUME SR., NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER: For the first time since, we have reached such an agreement that has been overwhelmingly endorsed by the
people. That is major, major progress.
AMANPOUR: It's St. Patrick's Day, so we consider the Northern Ireland peace agreement through the legacy of Irish nationalist John Hume and the
intersection with Martin Luther King's civil rights movement.
Then, as we learn more about the tragic killings of Asian women in Atlanta, our Michel Martin speaks with basketball player Jeremy Lin, outspoken
critic of anti-Asian racism.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The Biden administration faces the largest surge of migrants the U.S. has seen in 20 years, after Border Patrol apprehended nearly 100,000 asylum
seekers in February, including about 10,000 unaccompanied minors.
And so President Joe Biden has sent out this clear message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can say quite clearly, don't come. And while we're in the process of getting set up -- and it's not
going to take a whole long time -- is to be able to apply for asylum in place. So, don't leave your town or city or community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: President Biden says that his administration is committed to comprehensive reform and an immigration system that is safe, orderly and
But even Democrats admit that will be difficult to achieve, with opposition both from Republicans and from their own party.
In the meantime, what to do about people like this Honduran woman, Sandra Caballero (ph), speaking from Tijuana?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I am seeking asylum. And I asked the president with all my heart to help us, to assign people to help us, to
help us with the opening of the border, because we're here because we would like a better future for our children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, Elizabeth Neumann worked for the Homeland Security Department. She was an assistant secretary there during the Trump
administration and found his anti-immigrant rhetoric dangerous.
Now she leads the Council on National Security and Immigration, a group that believes bipartisan reform on this matter is one of America's most
urgent priorities. And she joins me now from Washington, D.C.
Welcome to the program.
So, can I start by asking you what you make of President Biden's appeal? Please, he said to those people who are trying to come to the U.S., stay,
don't leave your towns and villages. Will that make a difference, do you think?
ELIZABETH NEUMANN, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY ASSISTANT SECRETARY: It is an important clarification that he made, so that we were unambiguous,
but, unfortunately, I'm not sure that makes much of a difference, because the cartels are masterful at selling a story of hope to desperate people
who pay thousands of dollars to take a very dangerous journey.
And many of them don't even make it to our borders because they are killed or trafficked or abused in some way. And they have done such a remarkable
job at marketing. And we found that, even in the Trump administration, in our efforts to try to message in the Central American countries not to
come, I mean, you couldn't imagine a stronger messenger than the Trump administration, right?
It still didn't work. The cartels are just that good at selling this false hope. So, it was important for him to do, but, sadly, that's not going to
solve our problem.
AMANPOUR: And, actually, as you say, the cartels, the smugglers are basically telling people lies, saying that, actually, the Biden
administration has flung the doors open. So that's a real issue.
Can I ask you about what you think does need to happen? Because there's clearly a humanitarian crisis. You have got, we hear, children, as we know,
unaccompanied minors. We hear about children having to sleep in shifts because there's not enough space.
We hear about them not being able to take regular showers for days. What needs, practically and pragmatically, to happen to take care of them at the
NEUMANN: It is a desperate situation.
And I think that, unfortunately, it gets overly politicized by fringe elements on either side of the political spectrum. But the first and
foremost responsibility -- I mean, these are kids, right? Like, these are kids that, by definition, are not accompanied by a parent or family member.
They are very vulnerable. And the first priority has to be their security and then their well-being. The process that the U.S. government has set up,
usually, the children are apprehended by the Border Patrol. The standard is that they should not stay in a Border Patrol facility for longer than 72
hours, because those facilities were not designed for children. They were primarily built to handle the detention of adults.
And kids, as you know, need a different type of care. And there's also a problem of scale or volume. We have so many that it's overrunning the
Border Patrol stations. So what you see the Biden administration doing is rapidly standing up influx centers. They're leveraging FEMA, who's very
good at doing logistics in an emergency situation.
I don't think anybody believes that this is the long-term solution. We are dealing with both a seasonal migration pattern. We have always seen an
influx this time of year .You're dealing with pent-up demand from the pandemic. The cartels have basically sent the signal that, hey, the
pandemic is starting to wane, so the borders are reopening.
So that's -- there's a demand signal there, and people think it's safe to come up. And that's increasing the volume. You also had two major
hurricanes in Honduras this last year. So there's other push factors at play that are driving people towards the border.
So we have to not only triage the current moment, and I think the Biden administration is doing a good job with that. But we really have to start
addressing both the medium- and long-term issues at hand in order to eventually get to a place where this is not happening anymore.
And that really requires Congress to act. We have spent over 15 years as an executive branch -- 15 years of executive branch attempts to try to address
this problem. Republican and Democrat administrations have tried to solve this from their set of authorities that they currently have.
It's not working. About the only other thing that we haven't been able to do is have Congress act and change some of the laws, address some of these
root causes that are driving people from the Central American countries and pulling people into the United States. We have to address those root
But that is a really tough order, when the Congress has not seemed to be able to do anything with compromise or bipartisanship. It really is going
to require some rational, smart thinking and a commitment to actually doing something about the problem, instead of using it for your political aims.
AMANPOUR: OK, so I want to get to that and ask you specifically what sort of things need to be done in a perfect world. If you could sweep around a
magic wand, what would you talk -- but I want to first ask you, because you talked about sides politicizing it.
Right now, the governor of Texas, obviously, on that Mexican border has come out and lambasted the Biden administration for causing this influx,
which you say is expected and seasonal. This is what Greg Abbott has said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): These sites are a direct result of President Biden's reckless open border policies that are causing a surge in border
crossings and cartel activity.
The administration has yet to provide the answers that Texans deserve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, there you go. Couldn't be much more political than that, reckless, open door policy, et cetera, et cetera.
What should the Biden administration and Congress be doing? And as you said, and we have watched, it's dysfunctional, over and over again, from
one administration to the other, it's just back and forth, back and forth. And there's nothing done in a proper, permanent manner of reform.
What should actually happen, if all sides -- if everything was perfectly possible?
NEUMANN: So, I am from Texas, so that used to be my governor, and I respect the concerns that he is laying out.
So, one of the things that would encourage the Biden administration to do is better explain to this -- particularly the communities that are
receiving these influx centers. There's one going in, in Dallas. What are the security mechanisms that are in place for the individuals that are
staying there to make sure that they stay within the -- in Dallas, it's at a convention center.
How are these individuals vetted? It's 15-to-17-year-old boys that are coming to Dallas. That is different than receiving a 5-to-7-year-old child,
right? So, let's answer some of the community's concerns about how the children are cared for, how we make sure that they are secure, how we make
sure that the parent or a family member that is receiving them that they get placed with here in the United States, that they're vetted to make sure
they actually are the parent.
I think there are good answers, but they don't--
NEUMANN: Go ahead.
AMANPOUR: In terms of the big legislative issue that we're talking about, that you're calling for with your new organization, some kind of bipartisan
reform that solves America's perennial immigration dysfunction.
Look, those long-term solutions are extremely complex. But here are a couple of ideas. Immediately, we need the Biden administration to be asking
for more resources. They have got to hire more asylum officers and more immigration judges, because one of the key factors here is that people can
come, claim asylum, and because it takes so long to process them, they get to live here for years. So that's a pull factor.
Asylum claims must be heard. That is the right thing to do. But we need to make sure that they're heard very quickly, so that people that have --
basically, they don't actually have a legitimate claim. There's a disincentive for them to even try.
Another thing that we have to address, and this is very long-term,but we have to help the Central American countries with the root causes that are
driving people away from them. It's economic insecurity and it's a very dangerous -- it's one of the most violent places on earth with gang
violence. So we need to help them.
We're not going to dictate solutions, but we need to invest and find ways for them to become the place where people don't need to flee. So, there are
other things that I think the Biden administration has in their plan that we agree with. We need Congress to pass changes to some of the way that the
laws are constructed.
We need more resources to be devoted to the border infrastructure.We think we can do more at ports of entry with smart technology that would help us
be able to catch people smuggling things across.
But the bottom line is, there had been multiple efforts to try to create a new immigration system with legal pathways, so that people don't feel like
they have to sneak across the border or break the law in order to get in. We need to create those legal pathways and people feel like they have a
shot at actually coming in here the right way, instead of feeding into the cartels, who are making tons of money off of this, by the way.
And in order to create this legal pathways, we need Congress to act.
And, in the meantime, it's important to get your perspective, because you worked, as I said, assistant secretary of the DHS under the Trump
You mentioned -- and we played what Governor Greg Abbott just said, but also I have heard today a Texas attorney who's on the border, has been
there many times. She disputed the notion that it was a surge. She said, as you have, that this is expected at this time of year. And she said the
reason or one of the reasons for the calamity of the overcrowding right now is because the Biden administration has not been able to yet put the
systems in place that were completely gutted by the Trump administration.
So, I mean, how does that jibe with your experience, because they did got so much of that infrastructure?
NEUMANN: There -- I think there's two factors at play. There were changes in both policy and approach of the Trump administration that did impact the
overall border infrastructure to be able to handle volumes like this.
But it might not be as obvious. For example, asylum officers were -- there was significant low morale among them during the Trump administration, so
many of them left. So, in order to hire and train somebody, it takes time.
AMANPOUR: Why was there -- Elizabeth, Elizabeth, can you explain that? That's really interesting. Why was there this low morale?
NEUMANN: Well -- yes.
Well, there was pressure on them to find ways to say no legally. But, as everybody knows within the law, I mean, when an asylum officer's job is in
processing cases or individuals, they're interviewing somebody and trying to see if their claim meets certain tests, in order for them to move on to
the next part of the system, the immigration judge.
And if you can outright dismiss them at the beginning of the process and send them home, the Trump team felt like that was a -- that sends a strong
deterrent message, don't try to bring, a fraudulent asylum claim.
Well, when you put pressure on officers to find the reasons to reject their claim, what -- usually, the people that are drawn to that type of work have
a bit of a humanitarian heart.
And I'm not suggesting that they don't want to also enforce the law, but there was a lot of pressure on them to presume the worst of people. And
that -- after four years of that, it really drains people. So you did see those in both the refugee officer community and the asylee community have
very low morale.
And it's going to take a while to hopefully hire back some of those that left and hire new people in order to handle the size of volume we
But I think the other factor that hurt our infrastructure is the pandemic itself. USCIS is fee-funded. We did not process any immigration benefits
over the last year because of some of the Title 42, closed the border, and we didn't accept visa applications. People weren't traveling here, so no
money was coming in.
And, therefore, that agency was underfunded. They had to go to Congress just to be able to pay people's paychecks. So that affected investments in
I.T. modernization, not exciting stuff, but really important to be able to do their work in an expedited manner.
NEUMANN: So, all of that takes time to get fixed. I know that they're working on it very quickly, but it is going to take some time, because the
infrastructure has suffered over the last few years.
AMANPOUR: And just to sort of build on what you have just talked about, morale and infrastructure suffering, as you know, the current secretary of
homeland -- the Homeland Security Department, Alejandro Mayorkas, was questioned in Congress about -- and they kept just wanting him to say this
was a crisis.
The Biden administration won't say it's a crisis. And this is one of the things he said in response.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I will share with you how I define a crisis. A crisis is when a nation is willing to rip a 9-
year-old child out of the hands of his or her parent and separate that family to deter future migration. That, to me, is a humanitarian crisis.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Would you agree with that, having served under the previous administration during that policy?
NEUMANN: Oh, I think that policy was horrible.
There was a complete misunderstanding of what is -- what the law allows vs. what -- pardon me from go for going there, but what God ordained.
I mean, God ordained the family, and the government does not have the right to intervene and separate a child from a parent unless it's a very extreme
circumstance of needing to protect the child. And that was not the case.
They were trying to seek -- in their mind, they were very desperate to seek ways to get the numbers down. And they thought that it would have a strong
deterrent effect. So, cruelty became their approach to deterrence. I think many realized after the fact that that was a mistake.
But, clearly, it's a scar that the United States is bearing even today.
NEUMANN: But I tend to agree with his statement that this isn't a crisis, but it is an urgent situation that must be handled, and it's complex. And
it takes time. And it takes some smart, technical execution.
Thankfully, we do have good men and women in the government that are helping to do that, but it is going to take time.
AMANPOUR: Now, before I let you go, I do actually have to ask you about the killings of Asian American women in Atlanta.
We do not know and the president said he's not going to judge a motive until he hears from the Justice Department. But what we can say is that
it's directed against women. Women were killed in a particular place where he knew women worked, apparently.
Tell -- because you work on these issues about extremism, white supremacy, and gender-based violence is very closely linked to that, how does it
strike you in terms of the rise of these kinds of crimes? And at the same time, the ADL has put out a report today on the huge rise in hate crimes.
NEUMANN: First of all, it's very sad. I have family in Atlanta.My first thought was for them and hoping that everybody was safe. It is just
frightening, if you're a woman or the particular community that was targeted.
We don't know motive yet. But there were a number of Asian women that were targeted. And the Asian community in the United States has seen over a 150
percent increase in crime -- of hate crimes against them in the last year. And there is -- academics and researchers have been able to show kind of a
causal relationship between COVID-19 and people painting it as a China virus or the Wuhan flu or the kung-flu or the Wuhan virus.
There is this connection, sadly, between rhetoric that might even be used for humor, but a lot of people were using it in a disparaging way and
individuals choosing to commit acts of violence.
This is not, sadly, a new trend for us in the United States. Over the last five years, Donald Trump's rhetoric has been cited in over 50 cases of
individuals committing hate crimes. The news organization that studied that went back and looked to see if anybody committed a hate crime and cited
Obama or Bush for their cause, and why they felt they were justified.
The answer is no. Donald Trump uniquely is the only president that we know of that has said things that have ended up in court documentation as the
reason why people commit hate crimes.
There is a definite cause and effect here between him demonizing and dehumanizing marginalized groups of people and the hate crimes that they
AMANPOUR: Right. It's really interesting.
Thank you so much for your expertise, Elizabeth Neumann. Thanks for joining us.
And we will have more on this issue later in the program.
But President Biden is marking St. Patrick's Day today with a bright green White House fountain and with a virtual meeting with the Irish prime
minister, Micheal Martin, to reaffirm their country's deep historic partnership and a shared commitment to the Good Friday peace agreement.
And on the hill, Congressional Friends of Ireland are hosting an event honoring the late John Hume, the Nobel laureate and Derry man who played a
pivotal role in garnering U.S. support for the peace process.
Hume frequently acknowledged that Martin Luther King Jr. and the U.S. civil rights movement inspired his campaign to end decades of bloodshed in
Joining me now to discuss are Martin Luther King III, the son of the assassinated leader and a U.S. human rights advocate himself, and also John
Hume's son, John Hume Jr.
Welcome, both of you, to the program.
Given what we just discussed, and how we just ended my last conversation about this terrible killing of people, Asian Americans in Atlanta, and we
don't know exactly the motive.
But your father's work was all about bridging the divides, bridging the gaps, trying to bring people together in their different countries.
Let me just ask you first, John Hume Jr., because of the celebrations around your father and St. Patrick's Day, what -- how do you see the legacy
and how it applies to today?
JOHN HUME JR., SON OF JOHN HUME SR.: Well, first of all, thanks for having me on the show tonight.
And a very happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone from an unusually quiet Dublin tonight for the night that's in it.
I think my father grew up in a very different world to the world I live in today. And in the early '50s and early -- late -- early -- late '50s and
early '60s, when he was becoming an adult in Northern Ireland, it was a very, very different place.
Discrimination was widespread, and minority Catholic community was -- it was a very dark place to be. In my hometown of Derry, there was 80 percent
male unemployment. And the apparatus of government was very much controlled by the unionist minority for the unionist minority, and that affected
education, that affected access to jobs, even getting a roof over your head.
What my father and an entire generation of community leaders learned from the American civil rights movement is very much sort of at the core of
nonviolence and standing up for your community. That's where they got their inspiration. That's what led to the Northern Ireland civil rights movement
of the late 1960s.
And, indeed, you can see it throughout the history of Northern Ireland, and what has led us to the much better place we're in today. I mean, Dr. King
may never have stepped foot on the island of Ireland, but you can see his handiwork. You can see his fingerprints, you can see his genius in every
single agreement that marked the evolution of Ireland over the last 50 years.
AMANPOUR: And, in fact, you can see the inspiration that your father took from him when he received his Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, and he quoted
Martin Luther King.
Let's just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUME SR.: Martin Luther King embodies for me the commitment to the ideals of a true humanism based on loving not just your neighbors, but your
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Martin Luther King III, how do you celebrate this moment and realize how pivotal and influenced the civil rights movement, your father
was on struggles all over the world, including, of course, in Northern Ireland?
MARTIN LUTHER KING III, PRESIDENT & CEO, REALIZING THE DREAM: Well, when we talk about celebration, I think we may have to pause briefly.
We certainly celebrate what our world has, to some degree, done. But it clearly has not learned the message of nonviolence that Gandhi talked
about, that Mr. Mandela talked about, that John Hume talked about, and so many others throughout our world.
We, as a society, are still at odds with each other. And it begins with dignity and respect. When you treat people the way that you want to be
treated, that is what the standard perhaps should be. And many religious creeds, doctrines say that.
But yet we as a human species have not learned that yet. So, somehow, we have to continue to create that message. In fact, in the United States, to
some degree, we created a culture of violence and have accepted it.
The tragedy yesterday here in Atlanta, where eight people were killed, and we don't know all the details yet, but eight women -- well, almost all of
them were women -- were killed. And it happened to be Asian women, of course, as was stated earlier.
Something is wrong in our society. We are really a sick society. And we have got to find a way to have some kind of medication to address it and to
transform and to become what we really can become, which is a society that respects all cultures, that respects all ethnic groups, that respects all
We are nowhere near where we need to be. But, certainly, what John Hume exemplified, what my father, what Gandhi, what Mr. Mandela and many others
have exemplified, we someday can get to that point.
AMANPOUR: Well, before I go back to John Hume, I want to just follow up with you on that, because right after George Floyd was so brutally killed
in public, we did have you on the program.
And you said back then that you hoped or you felt -- obviously, it was a very significant moment, as it was, but that it could be a tipping point
moment, a turning point that could lead, as you say, the United States out of being the kind of sick country that you have just said.
Do you still think that nearly a year on?
KING III: Oh, I certainly am always going to be on the side of optimism and believing that certainly these -- the movements are not going anywhere.
Just over the over the weekend was the year anniversary of the death of Breonna Taylor. And there were demonstrations all over the country around
that issue. People, black and white, young and old, rich and poor, every ethnic group are coming together to say injustice anywhere is a threat to
justice everywhere. I can't be what I ought to be until we all are what we ought to be, which is a quote of my father.
So, my point is, yes, I am still very hopeful, although I know our nation is very divided. It is still extraordinarily divided. And, unfortunately,
it takes time to work through this process. And, quite frankly, every time there has been a victory in the modern civil rights movement, there also is
And that's what we see from time to time, this backlash emerging. But there are far more people of good will than there are people of ill will. And I
think good -- people of good will must come together, as we saw in demonstrations, and as we will continue to see. Many of them are young
people, which is so amazing to see.
That's where I derive inspiration, young people. I'm fortunate to have a daughter who's 12 years old who wants to be engaged in social justice. And
there are many, many more across our nation and our world.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's really important that you raise that, because, of course, that's kind of the mission statement of the John & Pat Hume
John Hume, it stayed for both your parents. And part of the mission is to encourage and inspire the future generations of the quiet peacemakers. Tell
me a little bit more about what you hope, what path you hope they will follow and what this will do, this foundation.
HUME JR.: Yes.
I mean, it is deliberately the John & Pat Hume Foundation because I think my mother played as much of a role in my dad's life's work as God himself
did. So ,I think that's important.
I think the foundation, its formation comes at an important time, a pivotal time here in Ireland. We have two major problems facing Ireland today, one
being Brexit, the other being calls by many leaders for an immediate border poll.
And these two issues, you know, if my father was alive -- alive today, he would be very, very worried. We now have a situation where, you know, we
solved a lot of these problems by stopping imposing the will of one part of community upon another, and that's really what we have to get back to here.
It is that respect for difference, you know, the fact that, you know, you are what you are by accident of birth. And I think if I look at the
foundation, education is key to -- was very much key to my dad and what he stood for.
Economic justice is justice is just as important as social justice. And, you know, by ensuring that people have a roof over their head, the right to
a decent job and food on their table, you know, you solve a lot of these problems and a lot of the social issues go away with them, and I think that
will be very much central to what the foundation will do.
AMANPOUR: That's really interesting because, of course, For Martin Luther King Jr., economic justice was the key to his "I Have a Dream" speech. And,
you know, you talk about differences and we may have all been born different places, but Martin Luther King III, your father also, Nobel prize
winner, of course, said, we may all have come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.
How do you see that playing out? I mean, we talked about, you know, your optimism. But do you think America gets it, that we're all in the same boat
together? Has the pandemic taught them something?
KING III: You know, I can only hope that it has. And we saw a lot of people doing wonderful things, coming together initially during the
pandemic. But we really must understand as world community that for our survival, we need each other. The whole world economy was put on pause
because of this tragic pandemic we are still trying to resolve. And although we seem to be making progress, we've got a long way to go and it's
going to take time to rebuild many of the businesses. Some of them are gone forever.
So, I hope America and the world learned something from this, and that is that human beings must learn how to co-exist and support each other and
lift each other up, and not just in the United States but it -- you know, our destinies really are tied together, as my father talked about in so
many ways, whether it's economics, whether it is -- you know, in this nation we talk about often if a person is able to feed themselves and their
families and take care of themselves, they have reached a certain thing that basically should be normal.
But unfortunately, that is not normal for many. And fortunately, the Democratic Party passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package and people are
getting checks as we speak. While they're not enough to address all issues, it is a start. And I think the government, unfortunately, is going to have
to do more to help bring our economy back, and hopefully, some of that helps stimulate the world economy. Because, again, we're all tied together
and we need to work together to move our planet, really, in a forward direction.
AMANPOUR: And finally, to you, John Hume, your late father was pivotal in getting the U.S. to sign off on, you know, the whole, you know,
rapprochement (ph) between the parties that led to the agreement in Northern Ireland.
And he was very clear about what he demanded from the U.S., particularly the fundraising for the IRA, the violent nature of the Republican movement.
Just give us -- remind us a little, and it's being honored in Congress today as we said along with Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton who were there
in pivotal in the Good Friday Agreement.
HUME JR.: So, you know, my dad often told the story about, you know, in 1972 in Derry when, you know, it was a crazy, crazy place and a phone call
came through from Ted Kennedy who happened to be in Germany at the time and he wanted a briefing from dad as to what was happening in Northern Ireland.
Dad, once he realized that this wasn't someone pulling his leg, he had to go, he had to borrow the money for the flight. He went to the Credit Union,
the people's bank. He borrowed the money, He went to (INAUDIBLE). He sat in the ambassador's office for two hours, I think it was, with Senator
And after that flowed a whole new narrative on Northern Ireland in the U.S., led by people like Ted Kennedy, Tip O'Neill, Bill and Hillary
Clinton, and today, led by people like Richie Neal and Nancy Pelosi. Without their help, without a doubt, we would never have made the progress
that we have over the last -- you know, since 1972. Without their direct intervention and their vigilance, I think, you know, we would be in a very,
very different place.
And, you know, today, St. Patrick's Day, I think, you know, the people here in Ireland owe a great deal of gratitude to those American leaders over the
years who made such an effort on our behalf.
AMANPOUR: It's a great story. John Hume Jr. And Martin Luther King III, thank you both very much for joining us on this St. Patrick's Day.
And a documentary called "In the Name of Peace: John Hume America" will be airing on PBS tonight.
Now, in the wake of the mass shootings in Atlanta that we were talking about in which eight people, including six Asian women were killed, our
next guest, professional basketball player, Jeremy Lin, has reacted. He has Tweeted, this is so heartbreaking. Praying for our world. To my Asian
American family, please take time to grieve, but know that you are loved, seen and important.
Now, while the suspect's motive, as we said, is still unclear. Lin is no stranger to the anti-Asian racism that's been on the rise since the
pandemic began. And the player is best known for generating the craze Linsanity after he unexpectedly led a winning turnaround with the New York
Knicks back in 2012. Just before the deadly attack, he spoke with our Michel Martin about racism in sports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Jeremy Lin, thank you so much for joining us.
JEREMY LIN, NBA VETERAN: Thanks for having me. I'm excited.
MARTIN: You know, unfortunately, you and I are speaking now at a time when there has been a surge of hate crimes and abusive incident aimed at people
of Asian descent. You have spoken out over the years, but this seems like this has kind of pushed you into the forefront, into a world that you
previously had not -- you hadn't run away from it, but it seems like you've been really more outspoken of late and I wonder why that is. Is that
something you've chosen or you think that's just something that's chosen you?
LIN: It's just an illusion of who I am. And to be honest, I did run from it. When we last spoke, I just -- I didn't want to be known as the token
Asian or the Asian on the basketball court, I wanted to be respected as a great basketball player, period, end of sentence.
And so, after I went through Linsanity, there's a lot of things that had happened, and I didn't understand what was happening at the time. I
couldn't process everything with how fast it was coming.
I didn't -- I couldn't understand and articulate the underlying issues that we have seen, whether it's the model minority or the bamboo ceiling or all
these different things about how Asian Americans and Asians in general have kind of just become whatever the people in power have kind of wanted us to
become and to stay silent over certain issues and so -- and to be, you know, good immigrants and other situations.
And so, what I've kind of seen is through the education process of my experiences and just life, that, man, there is a lot of things that I
didn't understand when I last spoke to you and I definitely didn't understand during Linsanity, during that stretch of time.
And so, I think it's just my evolution to be able to say like, hey, me being 32 years old towards the tail end of my career, it's not about me as
a basketball player as much or anything, it's -- you know, you think about, OK, what do you want to do? Every person kind of gets to that point where,
at some point, it becomes about the next generation, right, or it should become about the next generation, because we've had so many people come
before us that allowed us to live the life that we're living today.
And so, for me it's understanding, OK, my niece, my nephew, my future kids, what kind of environment, what kind of society will they be growing up in
and how can I contribute to that? And that's kind of the evolution of it.
MARTIN: Yes. You've been in the news recently because you shared that during a game, you're currently playing with the (INAUDIBLE) and that
somebody called you -- what is clearly intended as a slur, somebody yelled, you know, coronavirus at you or maybe they said this under their breath in
a way. Tell us how you chose to deal with this.
First of all, you did disclose to the leak but you haven't disclosed the name of the person who said this to you. Tell us a little bit more about
how you chose to deal with this and why.
LIN: You know, at first, I wrestled about with whether to say anything about it or not and kind of sat on it for a week or so and kind of chatted
with my family and my friends and we decided to talk about it in relation to everything else that has been going on.
And, again, to me it's not about what I experienced because that is, you know, nothing compared to what we're seeing right now. We see people
getting spit on, people getting robbed, people getting assaulted, we see people getting killed, burned, stabbed. I mean, we're seeing all of that
all the time.
You know, we're seeing other people who come to the defense of other Asian Americans or other Asians, and then they get assaulted or they get injured.
And so, we're seeing a lot of stuff right now, and that is the real issue that I wanted to bring awareness around and, you know, me, and discussing
my own experience was not to compare what other are going through but you say that nobody is immune to this and that we're all -- as Asian Americans,
we're all hurting and we're all being, you know, targeted.
The reason why I didn't want to talk about who it was or going to the specifics of that is because kind of the overarching principle or the
bedrock, the foundation of what I'm trying to say is that we need to have love and empathy and compassion for each other.
And if -- you know, if I come out and try to take somebody down or burn somebody or get "justice" or what I feel like is right by hurting somebody
else, I don't think that that builds on what I'm trying to do. I think that's a hypocritical message. And so, you know, for me it's really about,
hey, how can we educate more people about what's going on and then how we can change to be better and how we can stop this violence, and that's
really the heart of what I'm trying to say.
MARTIN: I do have to say though that it's my recollection that this is not the first time you've experienced this. I mean, unfortunately, has been
part of your experience in basketball. The coronavirus thing is new but the experience of being targeted because of your ethnicity is not new. So, what
I'm asking you is, as a kid, obviously, a lot of the steps is thrown at you, how did you understand it then and do you think something's changed to
where you think just people are just people in general and you, in particular aren't just willing to tolerate it anymore?
LIN: I think so. Right. Like I think growing up -- and that's the thing. One of the things about the model minority, you know, they often say like,
oh, OK, don't be the tallest weed because the tallest weed is going to get cut. Like, what does that mean? It just means don't stand out, right.
And so, you know, when people say stuff to you, it's like, all right. Well, put your head down, work harder, be better and hope that it produces some
type of result. So, for me personally I -- you know, to answer your question very specifically is when I was young, it was kind of like, you
know what, I'm going to work harder and I'm going to let my games speak and I'm going to play better than you but I won't talk back. And I'm going to
win the game and I'm going to walk out the court and be very polite.
Now, is more like, oh, you said something to me at school, like I'm still going to try to do the same thing. I'm going to try to turn it into
something more, I'm more focus, I play better and all of that and I try to win the game. At the same time, like, I'm not as afraid to talk about it
anymore. I'm not as afraid to speak out about it because that's what we need.
And I think what we're seeing is people are getting fed up. I'm getting fed up, everyone's getting fed up. And so, I agree in what you're saying is,
hey, the experience has changed, society has changed, the social climate has changed and we need to be more vocal, we need to stand up and we need
to start listening more and learning more from each other.
MARTIN: But I think at one point you said you were playing and it got to be too much. I think you were in college at the time and I think one of
your coaches who had played at Duke who's African-American, that you were able to talk about this. Do you remember anything he told you?
LIN: Yes, I do. I remember him telling me, hey, look I was playing, I -- you know, when I was playing, I was sitting on the sidewalk, eating my food
in an away game and cars drove by and they're throwing stuff at me. I remember being called that and N word and I remember, you know, seeing
people look at me with like bloodshot eyes, like malicious like -- because of my skin color. And that's when I was just like, you know, Coach Blake
(INAUDIBLE) it's his name. He's actually now the head coach at Howard, which is awesome, you know, doing historic things there.
But, you know, and that's when he taught me, you know, hey, never let somebody get you outside of yourself, because when I was called that game,
I was called -- repeatedly and the refs had heard it and didn't do anything and the opposing players were saying that to me and I just ended up self-
combusting and I played terrible and I was out of control and all that.
And that's when I had to learn like that, I can't let what they meant to hurt me become even more of a crutch for myself by hurting myself. And so
that's what I -- you know, that was one of the experiences that was really a turning point in my life.
MARTIN: Now, here's what where I'm going to ask you to be straight with me. I mean, your sport is overwhelmingly African-American. So, would it be
fair say that some other people or maybe most of the people throwing these slurs at you are also black, are also people of color and are African-
American? Is that accurate?
LIN: I would say, you know, in college my primary experience was more with Caucasians. I would say in the NBA, it's been pretty split. But I
definitely will say like -- look my path, especially as an Asian or Asian American, it doesn't matter how you -- you know, how you want to spice it
up, is uphill, it is different, it is harder. I don't look like the (INAUDIBLE).
I don't, you know -- and that's why I think, for me, I was, in many ways, the first to ever do certain things, right. Like you -- typically, you've
seen a lot of players, you've seen (INAUDIBLE) from China and they're, you know, typically all 7 feet or above, they're centers, you know, and they're
born overseas, they come over here, I don't look like that.
I'm 6 foot 3. I'm a point guard. Born in L.A., raised in California, speak English and is just different. And so, people haven't known what to do with
that. And I think for me, it's been an uphill climb and it continues to be and the doors that I have opened.
Do I think that I had to work harder to open those doors than somebody else? For sure, but that's the life that we're in and that's part of it.
And so, that's what I think it's -- you know, it fuels me to, A, try to be great and be great at the highest level and be the best you can be because,
like you said, it means more than just the points and the wins and stats and things like that, it goes beyond that.
MARTIN: One of the things I followed you over the years is that you have made a point of sharing, you know, sometimes on YouTube and sometimes kind
of informally and different, you know, social media, you know, how you've gotten immersed in other people's experience.
It's like the life experiences of a lot of your African-American teammates, for example. I mean, you've talked a lot about that over the years. But I'm
wondering if you feel it's now time for some of that to come back, for some of your teammates to understand a little bit about your experience has
LIN: Yes. And I think that's what we're trying to do, right. And I think that's -- what I'm trying to figure out is, how I'd be more vocal or tell
the stories that need to be told, to show people my side of the story.
And, you know, again, I don't think -- and that's a thing is like, the one thing that like I have seen through this whole thing is just everyone so
quick to compare, right. Like, your experience to person X, to person Y, to person Z or this minority group to that minority group to that minority
group or -- and it's like, why are we comparing, right. Like --
MARTIN: Do you feel that that's going on? Do you feel like there's been like a competitive suffering contest going on? Do you feel like that some
of that is happening?
LIN: Yes. I think there's a lot of comparing. I think there's a lot of gaslighting. I think there's a lot of, oh, let me just discount that or I
know some -- and at the end of the day, like what we're looking at is we're hearing all different types of wrong stories of injustice and we should all
be focused on the root of the injustices versus which injustice was worse versus -- or the like those types of things.
And even on social media, I see a lot of people arguing, well, you know, OK. The Asian community hasn't supported the black community or a black
person did this to somebody else of minority -- you know, a different ethnicity or what.
And at the end of day, I think like, hey, we're kind of all missing the point if we're trying to go down that route. Let's -- like, we need to band
together, we need to figure it out, we need to listen to each other and hear each other's stories, and that can cause real change.
Like, actually get to know some of these people, have these tough conversations. Get to know people or read books or read authors or
different things that are outside of your sphere or your comfort zone and I can promise you that, at the very least, your perspective will be widened
even if you don't agree with everything.
MARTIN: So, what was the reaction when you first started speaking out, particularly in response to this incident where somebody called you a slur
on the court? Like what was the response? I understand that the League investigated it, but what else? What happened?
LIN: So, actually, within the G League Bubble, I was in a bubble, right. So, like, people coming in and out. But within that bubble, there was so
much support, right. There is a lot of support. I'm talking about people I've never met opposing coaches, opposing staff, opposing players. There
was a ton of support.
On social media, I think there's a whole bunch of, you know, back and forth and, you know, that's -- and that's why, for me, social media can be really
toxic at times. But within the G League Bubble, it was very, very supportive. And I even got text within other people in the NBA community
that were really, really supportive.
Like I said, I got to talk to G League, I got to talk with the player directly and we talked a lot about other things, and one of things that
stuck out the most to me was the other player was like, hey, I didn't -- like I went online and I didn't realize how much was happening to the Asian
American community because I've been in this bubble and we've been playing basketball nonstop every day, like -- and to me it was like, man, like,
that's what I'm talking about. Like we're learning more about each other. We're learning more about what's going on and that to me is really, really
MARTIN: Did you apologize?
MARTIN: You did apologize?
LIN: Yes. I mean, we talked it out and I resolved it, you know, person to person. I won't go into the details, you know --
MARTIN: No, I'm just asking. Do you --
MARTIN: Did you accept his apology?
LIN: Yes, of course.
MARTIN: No, not of course. I mean, you know --
LIN: But for me --
MARTIN: -- as you pointed out some people would like to see something else, and I was just am interested in how you decided to receive this.
LIN: I mean, for me, it's -- you know, it goes back to my faith, to be honest. And understanding that, you know, I've been forgiving, we've all
been forgiving. And so, who am I to be about somebody else and not accept an apology or anything like that. I don't think that -- and that's always
been my intention with a lot of different things or, you know, who I try to be. I'm not perfect. I don't do -- always do it right, but I try to be
MARTIN: I just wanted to talk more about why you think forgiveness is important and what do you think and what would you hope people would learn
from this whole episode?
LIN: You know, for me, forgiveness -- you know, I'm a Christian. And so, I feel like Jesus dying across for my sins and forgiving me has given me a
different level of -- an appreciation for the grace and the love of something that I didn't maybe desired. I definitely didn't deserve it.
And I feel like one of things that I read through the Bible is that, as Christians, we should be filled and appreciative of this love where we have
so much of his love that we're able to experience in other people. And I think that is the basis of everything that I try to do and how I view
Now, does that mean that, you know, forgiveness and the justice system and what the, you know, judge is or police or whatever, you know, like to me
like you can forgive and then, you know, the government or the justice system still has a job to do, right.
And so, those things are like mutually exclusive. And so, but for me, from my standpoint of who I try to be as a human is, hey, I'm going to be
wronged many times in my life but I'm also going to wrong a lot of people in my life as well and hope that when the dust settles on everything and
when people talk things out, that we get to a place of forgiveness, because I think that is one of the most rewarding ways to live life.
It is very purposeful when you can accept your imperfections and somebody else's and continue to do life together.
MARTIN: When you posted about this on social media, the closing line was, are you listening? Do you feel that people are listening?
LIN: Yes. I feel like more people are listening. Is everybody listening? No. But that's not the goal for me right now, right. The goal is that some
people are listening, that more people are listening, that goes that more people are talking. And I think that's being accomplished.
MARTIN: And before we let you go, what's next for you? What do you see in your future?
LIN: I mean, I feel like, you know, I've played really well in the G League Bubble and I feel like I'm more than deserve a call up. And so,
hopefully that comes and I'm able to kind of continue to be at the NBA platform and be at the NBA stage. And from there, I feel like I've done a
lot of things within my body and within my game that has allowed me to, in my opinion, be where I feel like I'm at the best that I've ever been right
And so, you know, I think the best is yet to come and I'm excited about it and time will tell.
MARTIN: Well, thank you again for talking with us. It's been a delight to speak with you again.
LIN: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Reflections From an important influencer. And finally, a worldwide exclusive interview with the man President Obama once called the
most popular politician on earth, Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva, tomorrow night on this program.
Famed for raising tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty and back in the ring after the Supreme Court acknowledged his conviction for kickbacks
and corruption, Lula is lashing out at his successor, Jair Bolsonaro, for following the Trumpian pandemic playbook. And he's making a direct appeal
to President Biden to convene an emergency international G20 Summit to provide vaccines to the poorest parts of the world. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LULA DA SILVA, FORMER BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): You should see and I know that the U.S. has vaccines in a surplus and that they're not
going to use all that vaccine and maybe that vaccine, who knows, could be donated to Brazil or to other countries even poorer than Brazil that cannot
afford to buy the vaccine.
So, one suggestion that I would like to make to President Biden through your program is it's very important to call the G20 meeting urgently. It's
important to call the main leaders of the world and put around the table just one thing one thing, one issue, vaccine, vaccine and vaccine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Lula on global leadership tomorrow. And that's it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media.
Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.