Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 07/11/15

Lisa Rice, James Perry, Thomas Sugrue, Basil Smikle, Demetria McCain, Victoria Pratt, Malikda Saada Saar, Vivian Nixon, Bree Newsome, Cornell William Brooks, Cristina Jimenez, Juan Manuel Benitez, Alina Das, Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST:  This morning my question, where were you

when the Confederate Flag finally came down?  Plus, the new immigration

debate and what it means to be a sanctuary city.  And a troubling new

report on girls in juvenile detention.  But first, fulfilling the promise

of the Fair Housing Act.

Good morning.  I`m Melissa Harris-Perry and it has been 30 years since

(INAUDIBLE) got into the DeLorean, tripped out with time travel technology

and went back to the future to find out what if.  What if you could go back

and correct the mistakes of the past?  How might the future be fixed? 

Fresh off the 30th anniversary of the iconic film I found myself wondering

about those precise questions as I thought about what President Obama`s

attempt this week was to correct the mistakes of presidents who came before


Because on Wednesday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro

announced that the federal government would finally be fulfilling a past

commitment that it - to keep for nearly five decades, and to honor its

legal obligation to enforce the dismantling of residential segregation in

the creation of racially integrated communities as required by the Fair

Housing Act of 1968.  The act was passed and signed by President Lyndon

Johnson after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sparked riots

in 125 cities.  And when President Johnson charged the commission with

investigating the underlying cause of the riots, their findings lay bare

the truth about residential segregation in America. 

What white Americans have never fully understood, but what the Negro can

never forget, is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. 

White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white

society condones it.  The Fair Housing Act was intended to begin

dismantling those institutions and reassembling with integrated, mixed

income communities.  The law banned racial discrimination and housing, but

it also required the government to play a proactive role in transforming

America`s segregated communities and affirmatively furthering fair housing

using the power of federal money.  If state and local governments wanted

housing dollars from the federal government, the Fair Housing Act said they

had to show they deserved those dollars by proving their commitment to


However, as Nicole Hannah Jones reported in her 2012 deep dive for

ProPublica, decade after decade the federal government failed to enforce

the law.  President Richard Nixon set the precedent when he shut down House

secretary George Romney`s efforts to give the law some teeth and, according

to Jones, over the next four decades a succession of presidents, Democrat

and Republican alike, followed Nixon`s lead declining to use the leverage

of HUD`s billions to fight segregation.  After all, those billions, HUD

didn`t get much for its money because it doled out all those dollars in

exchange for communities that are still as segregated today as they were 50

years ago.

But the new rules announced by the Obama administration are designed to

ensure the federal government gets what it pays for.  Local governments

will now have to explain in detail how the federal housing money they

receive will be used to reduce segregation and will get some help from

Washington with finding previously hidden barriers to fair housing in their

communities and figuring out how best to move those barriers out of the


Housing advocates and civil rights groups welcome the new rules as a long

overdue step towards achieving the goals set by the Fair Housing Act so

many years ago, but the promise of what that future could be leaves me

wondering about what the present might have been.

As “The New York Times” wrote in a May editorial, a growing body of

evidence suggests that America would be a different country today, had the

government taken its responsibilities serious which brings me back to that

question, what if?  How different would our country be if the government

had taken its responsibilities seriously all those years ago?  If Hurricane

Katrina had struck in New Orleans where poor African American residents

weren`t relegated to the low line neighborhoods that are most vulnerable to

flooding.  If those - on those rooftops had been a multiracial,

economically diverse cross section of the city?  How might asthma rates be

different for black children if they weren`t so much more likely to live in

communities where they are exposed to toxic chemicals and where they

breathe polluted air?  What if Baltimore was a city where government

actively worked to expand opportunity instead of as researcher Richard

Rothstein concluded creating policies that quarantine Baltimore`s black

population in isolated slums?  If Chicago`s gangs had not been dispersed by

the breakup of housing projects meant to confine African Americans to a

segregated corner of the city, what else might we be counting other than

the tally of those who have been killed?  If people of color were not

concentrated in communities where they are easy targets for predatory

lenders peddling subprime mortgages, what if all the educational and

economic and safety and health disadvantages compounded by living in the

wrong zip code were diminished by a government deeply invested in

eliminating those disadvantages 50 years ago?  What would our country look

like now if we made those choices then?

Joining me now is Lisa Rice, executive vice president of the National Fair

Housing Alliance, Basil Smikle who is executive director of the New York

State Democratic Party, James Perry, community activist and advocate who

spent a decade as the executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair

Housing Action Center and then full disclosure, it`s my husband, and Thomas

Sugrue who is professor of social and cultural analysis and history at New

York University.  So, Lisa, I actually want to start with you.  Can you

answer that question?  How would the world look different right now if this

rule had been actively enforced at the beginning of this law?


that question.  The world would look very, very differently.  The United

States would be a much more integrated society.  If you remember, if you

look at the census historically America has always been integrated.  It

wasn`t until governments and municipalities started implementing policies

and rules and ordinances to drive segregation, to drive residential

segregation that America became a segregated society.

HARRIS-PERRY:  So we tend to think of it quite the opposite, as segregation

as the kind of natural state of being and somehow we`ve heard of this week

the notion of social engineering to create this new America, but, James,

let me ask you this.  Because I have watched you over the years doing this

work and I wonder is this enough especially given that there are now 50

more years of this inequality and sort of deepening of segregation?

JAMES PERRY, COMMUNITY ADVOCATE:  It`s progress but is it enough?  Of

course not.  You know, the issue is that the rule, as good as it is,

doesn`t have enough teeth.  And so, when it comes to the money that we`re

talking about, it`s some of the most flexible money that you can get in the

city.  And so, if you are married and you have this money, you know, you

kind of want to use it in a way that supports all of your political goals

and it becomes very difficult for the federal government to make them spend

it in a way that desegregates a community. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  So, help me understand that a little bit more when you talk

about the political goals.  I want to come to you on this, in part because

here we have a late administration, right?  We have a president within his

last year of his second term making an announcement like this and maybe

with a policy with some teeth or maybe not enough teeth.  And I keep

thinking, man, does this just end up being a tool for, for example,

Republican governors and others to push back against it?

PERRY:  Well, they`re certainly going to do that.  I mean we`ve seen this

with also Obamacare, what the Republicans talk a lot about the states`

rights.  And you see that a lot of Republicans now say we don`t want the

federal government telling us what to do, how to construct and plan our

cities.  But going back to an earlier comment, I think this is - it`s such

an empowering thing.  Because when you think about wealth in communities

particularly among African-American households, there`s a Pew research

study that said that the average assets for the median white household is

$142,000, for the median black household it`s $11,000.


PERRY:  So, I think it`s an appropriate time for …

HARRIS-PERRY:  And if we break that down for unmarried African-American

women, we`re down in the handful of dollars.

PERRY:  Right.  Single digits. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Right.  Single digits.

PERRY:  And I think for the president, for this administration, if you want

to tackle – one of the things that you want to tackle is trying to solve

the wealth gap that I think the minimum wage laws can do but not do enough


HARRIS-PERRY:  So, Tom, actually, walk with us a little bit more on that

then, this idea of wealth.  Because I do think it gets - it can get a bit

confused in our public conversations where we talk about jobs and economic

development which matter greatly putting people back to work in the kind of

unemployment rate is our one measure, but this notion of housing is tied in

so many other ways to kind of economic well-being in a longer sense. 


of our assets in the form of real estate in the United States.  The house

is the way that we accumulate wealth and pass it down from generation to

generation.  It`s a way that we help subsidize our kids going to college. 

Give them money in the form of inheritance when we pass away.  And the

gross disparities in value in the housing market across metropolitan areas

means that those wealth gaps, the household division between whites and

African Americans is reinforced rather than undermined.  We`ve seen gain,

we`ve seen progress over the last 50 years since the fair housing

legislation of the 1960s, but not in household wealth.  There we`ve seen

stagnation and decline.

HARRIS-PERRY:  Lisa, have we seen gain - it`s been 50 years almost since

the passage and I report over and over again on this show our communities

are nearly as segregated today as they were 50 years ago and in some parts

of the country more segregated than they were except for some small portion

of African-Americans, Latinos who generated some portion of it.  You know,

so, OK, Oprah can live wherever she wants, right?


HARRIS-PERRY:  But everybody else is in the other circumstances. 

RICE:  And Chris Rock has to live next door. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  And Chris Rock has to live next door.


HARRIS-PERRY:  To a white dentist.  Right, exactly.  Not that there`s

anything wrong with dentists.  Thank God.  Thank God for dentists.  But I

wonder about that.  Like is this whole notion of how we`re going about

generating integrated communities, should we look 30 years and say, worse

trying enforcement or not, this just isn`t the way to do it.

RICE:  No, you know, I want to go back to a point that James raised earlier

and that is that the way that municipalities use their funds, in particular

in this instance their federal funds, can help drive these issues that

you`re talking about.  So, yes, we have made progress, but we would have

made much more progress had everybody been on the same page and had this

particular provision which does not have a private right of action been

effectively enforced.  There are many, many examples of that. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  So, no, you just think the things we are not allowed to

doing.  You said, a word you said - you said a word …


HARRIS-PERRY:  I mean my whole brain went, what?  Who?  So, what exactly

the private right of action?


RICE:  You can sue someone. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Oh, right.  OK.  All right.  So, we`re talking about the

capacity to use the law to sue somebody. 

RICE:  Exactly.  And I`ll give you a perfect example.  The city of

Zanesville for over 50 years refused to give water to African-American

residents in Coal Run.  Coal Run, Zanesville was segregated just like every

other city in the country.  And there`s a section where African-Americans

had been pushed called Coal Run.  The city of Zanesville actually used, in

part, federal funds to run water lines up to Coal Run, around Coal Run, and

then back out refusing to give those residents water.  So think of what

that did to the property value of those African-American residents.  It

helped to keep those property values depressed. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  So, they were using well water because the municipality

wouldn`t …

RICE:  Oh, no, dear.  They were catching water in huge cisterns, catching

rainwater in huge cisterns.  Yes. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Welcome back to the 18th century. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  We`re going to pause on that because, wow.  And then when we

come back we`re going to talk more about housing and who isn`t being held

accountable in these moments.


HARRIS-PERRY:  On Wednesday when HUD Secretary Castro announced the new

rule meant to enforce the Fair Housing Act, the second update to the law

was about more than collecting data.  That it could literally save lives. 



Jeff Benderlou neighborhood in St. Louis can expect to live 18 fewer years

than a child just ten miles away in the Clayton area.  In Baltimore a child

born in the Sitton Hill community has a life expectancy that`s 19 years

less than one from the upscale neighborhood of Roland Park.  A zip code

should never prevent any person from reaching their aspirations. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  I want to circle back on, so then we have Secretary Castro

saying that the code shouldn`t determine aspirations, and we were just

before the break talking about the idea of having to catch rainwater

because of - because your neighborhood is a black neighborhood.

PERRY:  Yeah.  And I want to pause for a second and make clear that this is

a big deal, right?  That this is so brave of the Obama administration to

put forth this rule and brave not just because of how it challenges

Republicans but black democrats in particular.  This idea you might be

elected in a black district, you`re an African-American candidate.  When

you have no incentives to want to integrate that community because those

black people elected you. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Oh, right.  Or to integrate it beyond a certain level

because you have your political base right there in that community.

PERRY:  So you have a vested interest if you want to keep your job, then

you want to keep that district just the way that it is.  You may want to

keep it as an African-American district.  Really, pushing this forward and

saying we`re going to take a stand for integration, this is a very brave

step for the Obama administration. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  It`s an interesting point and question.  I was in a

conversation with someone yesterday, Tom, about this idea of integration,

and I heard that response that I often hear, which is, actually attempts to

desegregate are bad for the black community, because they undermine the

existing community institutions, whether they were schools or hospitals. 

It`s kind of a, for lack of a better term, a golden age of segregation

narrative, right? And I guess part of what I always want to do is undermine

that by saying, no, it actually generates vulnerabilities that only

integration can begin to affect.

SUGRUE:  Absolutely.  We can think about integration in a number of

different of ways, but I think the most important way to think about it,

it`s about the allocation of resources across space.  Segregated

communities concentrate poverty, they concentrate poor or underfunded

education.  They concentrate mediocre housing.  They concentrate lack of

access to capital.  They concentrate assess gaps between blacks and whites. 

These are devastating over the long run for health outcomes, for safety,

for access to jobs and economic opportunity.  So integration isn`t

ultimately about somehow the magic of whites rubbing off. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  Magical integration in Nerdland.

SUGRUE:  It`s really about how we distribute resources and power.  And how

we pay for them in the form of taxes across space.

HARRIS-PERRY:  You talk about that idea of the distribution of resources

across space, and I can`t help but to think about banks, because in the

midst of all of this, as we`re holding local communities, state governments

accountable, the other thing we have to hold accountable is lenders,

because nobody distributes resources across space like lenders.  We think

about Wells Fargo and the big settlement, but, you know, the Democrats just

writ large have been a little bit cozy with the banks.  The banks and the

Democratic Party have in fact been rubbing shoulders a fair bit. 

BASIL SMIKLE, EXEC. DIR., NYS DEMOCRATIC PARTY:  I would also say like here

in New York, with Governor Cuomo, when he was HUD secretary, he talked

about integration as well with public housing.  In our recent legislative

session with respect to rent regulations, this issue came up in a way

because with respect to the 421A program, which is about affordable housing

in the midst of market rehousing, there was this issue of poor doors, which

is incredible, right?  So you had segregated housing within complexes.  And

so the point being that I think Democrats now led by a few are actually

starting to push back quite a bit.  There is a groundswell of support. 


PERRY:  It`s also true that as much as banks can be the bad guys, they are

the ones who pump money into your community.  So you have to find a way to

hold them accountable when they are wrong, but to partner with them and say

invest in our communities, because otherwise it doesn`t happen.  They have


RICE:  And sometimes they invest bad capital. 


RICE:  One of the things that predatory lending crisis did was it

camouflaged the fact we have always had mainstream lending redlining in

America.  Right? It had not gone away.  What happened was subprime lenders

with bad, unsustainable credit came into communities of color, and they

were able to do that because those communities were hyper segregated.  It

came in with bad capital, it gave people mortgages they could never

sustain.  These were mortgages that were designed to refinance, they were

not designed for the long term.  When the economy went down, people could

not get refinanced and they lost their houses wholesale.  Now what we`re

seeing is communities of color are foreclosed on, you know, 50 percent

foreclosure rates. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  I feel like I have seen and heard on my local radio those

subprime commercials are re-emerging.  Stay with us, everybody.  Up next a

Supreme Court decision that is part of all of this, because it was part of

determining and protecting a key tool in the fight against housing



HARRIS-PERRY:  Before the Obama administration`s announcement this week, it

already had been having a pretty good year for the Fair Housing Act. 

Thanks to the Supreme Court ruling that affirmed one of the most effective

remedies to dismantle residential segregation.  The case, Texas Department

of Housing and Community Affairs versus the Inclusive Communities Project. 

Involved the Fair Housing Act`s ban on discrimination on the basis of race,

and at issue was the question whether the law prohibits only intentional

discrimination or if it is also applies to discrimination that seemed race

neutral but still caused disparate harm to people of color.  In a 5-4

decision handed down on June 25, the court settled the question.  Policies

that cause disparate impact, even if unintentionally, are in violation of

the Fair Housing Act.  Joining me now from Dallas, Texas, this is someone

from the organization that won that case.  Demetria McCain, vice president

and deputy director of the Inclusive Communities Project.  So nice to have

you this morning. 


Hello, how are you?

HARRIS-PERRY:  Good to see you.  Help us to understand how the Supreme

Court decision is part of and this decision to uphold this is actually

related to the effort to affirmatively further fair housing. 

MCCAIN:  The decision and the rule coming out ran on two separate tracks,

but at the end of the day they both deal with fairness and really the issue

of the ability to break up segregation, right? And so with the disparate

impact tool, if you have advocates who are using that tool, you`re able to

use some of the data and some of the information that you have to show the

patterns that have existed way back to let`s say 1937 when redlining was

going on, overlaying that with maps of what`s going on today.  When we`re

looking at the Fair Housing rule, the Fair Housing rule, a key part of that

is for these municipalities who are taking HUD funds to use tools and

information like data, maps, and those kinds of things to see what`s going

on.  As they go forward making their planning, their decisions on how to

use that money.  So in both instances, it`s critical to see what`s going on

historically, what`s going on today, and what`s going on, on the ground. 

The real exciting piece about this new rule for advocates is that they`ll

be able to better use with ease some of the HUD data that`s going to be

online and be able to tell folks, hey, this is what`s going on.  And if

you`re going to be using this money from HUD, you need to connect what`s

going on with how you`re going to use it.  So that we can break down some

of this segregation.

HARRIS-PERRY:  Stick with us.  Don`t go away.  I want to ask you on this in

part because my understanding is it was a fairly big risk to bring the case

and some in the housing community were nervous about this Supreme Court

ever weighing in on disparate impact, and yet it`s been a pretty good year

for the Fair Housing Act.

RICE:  It is a very good year.  The reason people were nervous is because

there had been no split at the appellate level on whether or not you could

use this doctrine.  The disparate impact doctrine under the Fair Housing

Act.  All 11 appellate courts who have heard this question agreed, yes, the

technical term is that disparate impact is cognizable under the Fair

Housing Act. So people surmised, why would the Supreme Court take up the

question if there was no split at the appellate level? It`s clear from the

congressional level that Congress intended for disparate impact to be

covered.  People thought they wanted to undo disparate impact.  But what

people have to remember is it only takes four justices to agree to take up

a particular question. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  It may have been those four who ended up on the losing side

of it.  Let me ask this, how important is that role of litigation as part

of all this? We`ve seen a Supreme Court decision and we`ve also seen a new

administrative rule.  What other pieces are necessary to really doing the

work of changing what our country looks like?

PERRY:  It all comes together to change communities.  When Lisa talked

about that city of Zanesville case, the thing that she did not get to is

that someone that we know litigated that case.  In the end, the people in

Zanesville won`t have to get their water from a cistern anymore, instead

they will actually have water from the city.  It`s because of litigation. 

It all comes together.  You have political entities.  You have lawyers

litigating, and you have the Supreme Court.  By the time it`s all done,

hopefully 50 years from now we won`t still be debating this issue. 

RICE:  We have resources to do effective enforcement.  One of the reasons

why that Zanesville case could be brought is because one of (inaudible)

members the fair housing advocates group in Akron, Ohio, went down and

investigated.  They had the resources to investigate that Zanesville case.

HARRIS-PERRY:  So, let me come to you on this.  Now the case your

organization brought out of Texas is going to be the case that sort of

upholds and sustains disparate impact.  What were the kind of strategic

decisions and what might others learn from that?

MCCAIN:  I think the main thing we learned from that is really what I

hinted at earlier.  Local folks on the ground have got to dig in and get

the data.  And so if you`re a municipality, or whatever level of government

it is, has seen or knows that you have seen as an advocate or community

activist the data of what`s going on, then that will help hold them

accountable.  It`s not the end result, but it`s going to help hold them

accountable.  So getting that data, using that data, and putting it in the

context of here is the data and here is the decision you made.  And there`s

a mismatch. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  One quick political question for you.  Big, splashy

headlines on this.  Coming out of local activism but ultimately ending up

in a big administrative rule.  It isn`t the president who steps up to

announce it, it is the secretary of HUD.  Is he Hillary Clinton`s choice

for the VP?

SMIKLE:  Wow.  That is – I do not know, but he is a very attractive

leader.  He`s very popular in San Antonio.  A lot of folks have talked

about him. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  East Texas.  Latinos just got a big win. 

SMIKLE:  I think he should be on the list but who knows what ultimately


HARRIS-PERRY:  I was just hoping for a yes or a no.  Okay.  Thank you to

Demetria McCain in Dallas, Texas.  Also here in New York, thank you to Lisa

Rice and thank you to James Perry.  Tom Sugrue and Basil Smikle will return

later in the program.  But up next, the bold reform that could keep

thousands of low-level offenders out of jail, and, still to come, the judge

who gives defendants homework assignments.  What we can learn from her



HARRIS-PERRY:  Khalif Browder (ph) spent three years in jail on Rikers

Island, with many of those months spent in solitary confinement, without a

trial.  He`d been accused of stealing a backpack, but he maintained his

innocence.  And once his case was dismissed and he finally got out, he

struggled still with flashbacks, and paranoia and depression.  Last month

he committed suicide at age 22.  According to the “New Yorker,” he was

originally held in Rikers because his family could not pay the $3,000 bail. 

Jerome Bourdeau (ph) died in his cell in Rikers in February 2014 at the age

of 56.  Officials said his cell overheated to more than 100 degrees, and

that the mentally ill homeless man quote, “basically baked to death.” 

Bourdeau was awaiting trial after he was arrested for trespassing, for

sleeping in the stairwell of a housing project rather than outside in the

February cold.  Bourdeau was in the cell where he died because he couldn`t

afford his $2,500 bail. 

These stories have focused city and national attention on the notoriously

violent Rikers Island, and the New York City`s system of cash bail that

keeps people there while they wait for their case to be resolved.  About

45,000 people are held in New York City jails every year, mostly in Rikers,

because they can`t pay bail.  Bail is meant to ensure that defendants show

up in court, and if they can pay, then they`re released pending trial. 

They will get that money back if they show up to their court dates, even if

they`re convicted.  If a defendant can`t make bail, they`re held in jail

until they get a day in court, which could be weeks or months or years.  On

average, a defendant in New York City waits more than a year for trial. 

Now the city is trying to do better.  Officials announced this week that

some defendants charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies will be

able to go home while they await trial without paying bail.  City officials

say the program will reduce the population of Rikers by up to 200 people a

day, and it could make a big difference in their lives.  But still it`s a

drop in the bucket in a facility that has a daily population of about

10,000 people.  The new rules could have saved Jerome Bourdeau, the

homeless man who died in his cell.  They would not have saved Khalif

Browder.  Browder was accused of robbing a man of his backpack and roughing

him up in the process.  For that alleged crime, Browder was charged with

second-degree assault, a violent felony, and so he would not have been

eligible for the new bail rules. 

Relaxing bail for some defendants is a good step, but New York City still

has a lot of work to do to make its criminal justice system look anything

like justice. 

So up next, more on criminal justice reform with the judge who gives

defendants homework.        


HARRIS-PERRY:  Judge Victoria Pratt, chief judge of the municipal court in

Newark, New Jersey, treats defendants quite differently than most judges

do.  She demand they write essays describing where they see themselves in

five years.  She explains legal concepts in plain language.  She and her

entire court staff applaud when a defendant makes progress by, for example,

completing their community service or going through detox.  Judge Pratt is

a pioneer of what`s known as procedural justice, and in a recent profile of

her “The Guardian” described the philosophy like this.  The idea behind

procedural justice is that people are far more likely to obey the law if

the justice system does not humiliate them, but treats them fairly and with

respect.”  Joining me now, the Honorable Victoria Pratt, chief judge of the

Newark municipal court. 

Why is treating people with respect a revolutionary idea in our court



question to ask.  I think under the concepts and tenets of procedural

justice, some of the things that probably come very natural to other people

in other professions sometimes get lost in court, and also with becoming a

judge.  The idea that you should treat the person with dignity and respect. 

But respect can be more than just good morning, sir, good morning, ma`am. 

It can also be how you address someone when they come before you.  For

instance, the transgender female who comes to court whose male name is on

the file.  What the judge decides to do when they`re called up and how that

changes the interaction.  In my instance, the person actually when they

came up, I said their male name very low so it would be picked up on the

record, but the female name so that when she walked down, she was addressed

that way, and she said, Judge, you know, I`ve been watching you and you`ve

not two-faced it.  Look at that.  She`s telling me she`s judging me as much

as I`m judging her. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  There are aspects of the American court system which if

you`ve ever been in court for the smallest thing, a traffic ticket or

anything, that are set up to not lead us to this kind of procedural

justice.  Judges sit higher and look down, they talk to the attorneys and

not to the defendants.  Is there something that we could institute beyond

the individual revolutionary judge more broadly?

PRATT:  Actually, the tenets of procedural justice – I also practiced them

in the context of the community court, which for Newark is a community

solution.  But the idea that the defendant or the court participant should

have the opportunity to be heard.  And even if they`re not letting them

speak, explain why.  I don`t want you to make an admission, you`re not

represented by counsel.  Also that the proceedings appear to be neutral, so

that they are welcomed to court, and the judge isn`t just joking around

with the prosecutor or the public defender, those kinds of things are

really important to the process.  What was great for Newark, was that when

the court planners, the Center for Court Innovation, came into Newark, they

immediately started to have these community engagement meetings, where they

actually asked Newarkers what they thought about the court, what they

thought about crime and what they wanted.  And to actually have the

community involved telling the court, this is what we want to see.  And

overwhelmingly, they wanted people to receive assistance.  They didn`t want

the drug addict that got arrested to get out two days later and then just

be a drug addict again. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  When you talk about a drug addict, this is also an important

way of shifting our discourse about what`s happening.  So in the “Guardian”

piece, it says that you estimate that 85 to 90 percent of the defendants

have substance abuse problems and more than 40 percent have mental health

issues, and that many have both.  How does thinking about people as people

struggling with addiction, struggling with mental illness change how you

respond to them in this context?

PRATT:  It changes how everyone in the courtroom responds to the case

that`s before them.  Typically in a traditional court, you`re just looking

to get a disposition, and you`re saying, why did you commit this offense?

In these courts, we`re looking at why is this person offending? We need to

address the underlying issue.  The ultimate goal is to actually not have

them on this conveyor belt of justice, it`s really to get them to have

their lives together and to really support their families and communities. 

When you have a prosecutor, when you have a public defender, when you have

a police officer in the courtroom, you have court attendants who are

looking and who have specialized training and they use their own life

experience to begin to look at the condition of the person who presents in

court, it`s a totally different experience.

HARRIS-PERRY:  I know why I as a college professor assign essays, why do

you as a judge assign essays?

PRATT:  The essays are awesome, because the essays are about answering the

question, and the answers are always inside.  They are cathartic.  They

also require people to think.  Some of my young guys or young women who

come to court, no one has ever asked them what are you going to do in the

next five years? So they wake up – when you wake up and you don`t have a

plan for yourself, then you become a part of somebody else`s plan or their

foolishness, and most it is being a part of their foolishness.  So I want

them thinking about what are they going to do in the next five years? How

are they going to support themselves? How are they going to support their

families? How are they going to make a contribution? And to think bigger

than the four corners of the block they live on, really important that they

begin to have that. 

I also give out essays, one, some of the powerful essays, some of the older

gentlemen who have lost their sons to the street, to the violence, to the

gun violence that we tend to see in our urban centers.  I give them essays

that will say, letters to my sons.  Some of them have lost them.  Some of

their sons are still alive.  And those are so powerful, because the fathers

are taking time to apologize to their families for what they haven`t done,

because they`ve been dealing with their own addiction.  And they are

powerful when a father is writing an essay and he is addressing his son who

is in prison. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Accountability. 

PRATT:  Accountability. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Reflection and that opportunity.

PRATT:  Absolutely.

HARRIS-PERRY:  Judge, I am a fan.  Really at the base level I am a fan of

what you are doing in terms of procedural justice in Newark.  Thank you to

the Honorable Victoria Pratt. And coming up, a new report on the history of

abuse for many girls in the juvenile system.  We don`t ask them either how

they ended up there.    


HARRIS-PERRY:  Girls who are funneled into the juvenile justice system

often have histories of trauma, including sexual abuse.  According to a new

report, nearly a third of girls in the system have been sexually abused,

and in some states the rate is far greater. Among the girls in South

Carolina`s juvenile justice system, 81 percent are survivors of sexual

violence.  In Oregon, 76 percent of the girls were sexually abused before

the age of 13.  And I want to make this clear, these are not the rates at

which girls experience abuse while in the custody of the criminal justice

system.  What the reports finds is that quote, “Sexual abuse is one of the

primary predictors of the girls` entry into the juvenile justice system.” 

The report by the Human Rights Project for Girls found that girls are often

detained for exhibiting common reactions to trauma and abuse.  Drug and

alcohol use, truancy, running away.  In some cases, it is the abuse itself

that lands the girls in court.  In many states, underaged girls who are

forced into sex trafficking can be arrested on prostitution charges. 

Joining me now, Malikda Saada Saar, who is executive director of Human

Rights Project for Girls, one of the organizations behind this report, and

the Reverend Vivian Nixon, executive director of College and Community

Fellowship and co-founder of the Education Inside-Out Coalition.  And back

with us is also Tom Sugrue, professor of social and cultural analysis and

history at New York University. 

This report is both appalling and the least surprising thing that I have

read all week.  How are girls different for the reasons they end up in our

system versus boys?


there`s been such remarkable work on the school-to-prison pipeline, which

is really the boys story.  But when we look at the girls` story, it is the

sexual abuse to prison pipeline, and that`s because what plays out is that

girls who are sexually victimized, who have trauma, instead of seeing them

as victims and survivors that they are, they are criminalized.  So this is

the way that our girls are being criminalized, not because they`re more

violent.  Not because they`re the new gang members, but because their

experiences of being raped, of being abused, are seen through this lens of

criminalization.  And I think the point you make that is the most egregious

is that a girl who is being forced to be trafficked, who is being bought

and sold for sex, is arrested for prostitution.  And that – there`s a

racial dynamic here as well.

HARRIS-PERRY:  OK.  Thank you.  I just want to say there are some girls who

we are able to see as victims and others who we have a much harder time

seeing as victims, and I`m just wondering what might be the difference

between those girls.  I wrote a note here to myself, hint hint, race. 

REV. VIVIAN NIXON, AME MINISTER:  Race is a huge issue in this.  We see

time and time again especially with girls who grow up in poor – in

communities of color, that the way they find acceptance and love is try to

get past the trauma they have experienced is to get involved with gangs and

other activities.  In other communities that are better resourced, they get

therapy.  They get all kinds of attention because they`re seen as victims. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  And I want to be clear.  Obviously the revictimization of

young women and girls who experience sexual abuse is not racial in the

sense that it exists everywhere, but the particular criminalization of it

does feel to me like it is attached to this understanding of what we think

black women`s bodies are.  So despite the fact I`m turning away from the

two women of color at the table, but it is in part to ask you this

question, Tom, because it seems to be part of the problem, as if I`m 13 and

I`m a prostitute, that`s a non sequitur.  It does not make sense.  You

can`t even consent to sex at 13.  How could you possibly be engaged in

criminal sexual activity? But our ability to see a young girl in that way

does seem so deeply related to our racial expectations.

SUGRUE:  Absolutely.  What we see is a recapitulation of old themes in

America`s racist history, which is the demonization of African-American

girls and women as jezebels, as responsible for their own deviant sexuality

rather than looking at them as victims of oppression, of the system, of

(inaudible) relationships of abuse. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Let me ask what I think is a tough question on this.  I

think the detention centers, the criminal justice system, they`re a tough

target but in certain ways for communities of color they are also an easy

target to call the bad guys.  If sexual assault is the gateway experience

for so many girls, and we know that sexual assault for all communities

except for indigenous women is most likely to happen within the community,

what do we do about stopping the initial sexual assault that is occurring

often right within our own families and communities?

SAAR:  I think we do need to pay attention to that, and I think it`s not

just within our own communities. We need to have that conversation

throughout the country.  We have a very hard time acknowledging in all

communities the pervasiveness of sexual violence against our girls.  And I

want to reiterate this is a conversation about children.  We`re not talking

about women here.  This is about very young girls –

HARRIS-PERRY:  10, 11, 12, 13, 14. 

SAAR:  And numbers like in Oregon, that girls who are reporting sexual

violence when they come into the system, report being sexually abused at

least three times before the age of 12.  This is about the pervasiveness of

sexual violence in all of our communities.  The responsibility we all have

to acknowledge this, and the question that has to be asked, why when it

comes to poor girls who are black and brown girls do we recriminalize that

experience of violence.  I think it does go to the issue of racial

methodologies that oversexualize our girls of color, that deny them the

status of being a victim, a survivor of violence. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  I was just speaking with Judge Pratt who does this

revolutionary thing of just asking people about themselves.  Reading the

report, quote from a young girl who had been held in juvenile on

prostitution and solicitation charges when she was 15, and again at 16 and

17, saying no one assessed me or ever even asked me what got me there. 

Judges not even asking a 15-year-old girl, how in the world did you end up


NIXON:  And it`s not just judges.  I was reminded when you asked that very

poignant question about how do we deal with the abusers within our

community, of incidents that I`m way too close to, where young girls were

abused within a safe space, like their church, and when young girls come

forward, they`re not believed, because the person who committed the act is

too respectable.  They`re the pastor or the deacon and they couldn`t

possibly have done that, you`re making this up.  And the types – girls

need to be believed.  It doesn`t even matter if we ask if we`re not going

to believe what they say. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Then we have to, again I`ll say, the least surprising thing,

in certain ways, my mother did research on this in the `70s that the girls

who were truant were running away from abusive situations, in the `70s, and

now here we are with the exact same patterns.  Thank you to Malikda Saada

Saar.  And to Reverend Vivian Nixon and to Tom Sugrue.  Coming up,

yesterday the confederate flag came down.  Again, from South Carolina.  We

will talk to the activist who took it down the first time.  Also, you know,

so sorry about this, but Donald Trump has taken that border politics to a

border state.  I can`t believe we have to talk more about this.   More

Nerdland at the top of the hour.  Donald Trump.


HARRIS-PERRY:  Welcome back.  I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.

And yesterday, the Confederate flag was removed from the state house

grounds again.  Just a few weeks ago, the flag had come down in the hands

of an activist, Bree Newsome, in a courageous act of direct resistance. 

But it was returned to full staff just a few hours later. 

This time was different.  This time, the flag came down with the force and

finality of law.


HARRIS-PERRY:  As the flag was lowered for the last time, some in the crowd

chanted “USA”, while others shed tears and waved American flags. 

The honor guard carefully and dutifully folded the flag aware of the

history being made in that moment. 


LT. DERRICK GAMBLE, SC DPS HONOR GUARD:  Hearing the roars of the crowd,

again, me personally just gave us a sense of how people come together under

tragedy and just to show that unity, if you will, was very humbling to me. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  Lieutenant Gamble. 

The flag was later taken to the Confederate relic room in military museum

as specified in the bill that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed

Thursday afternoon.  That bill arrived on Haley`s desk after 13 hours of

debate on the statehouse floor Wednesday.

Ultimately, the House decided 4-20 to remove the flag which has been

displayed on the state house grounds since 1961 when it was put up to

symbolize in opposition the civil rights movement. 

For more than 50 years, the flag has flown in the South Carolina state

capital city prompting debate, protests, and even boycotts over the


But there was readily visible to residents and visitors alike, a constant

tangible reminder of the state`s rebellion in both the 1860s and the 1960s

– until Friday.  The flag`s removal is certainly a symbolic accomplishment

that has generated a lot of state pride as Governor Haley noted while

signing the bill on Thursday. 


GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA:  Today, I`m very proud to say that it

is a great day in South Carolina. 


One person started this almost two decades ago and that was Governor David

Beasley.  And the last time I saw him, I said, “You started it”, and he

said, “Well, I need you to finish it.” 


HARRIS-PERRY:  Now, I`m going to have to pause for a moment because I was

traveling yesterday at the moment the flag was removed and I watched the

ceremony in an airport in North Carolina.  Even as the gate agents started

boarding the flight, none of us could take our eyes off the screen. 

I did not expect to be moved.  I didn`t expect to even care all that much. 

After all, this isn`t a legislative victory for a substantive policy or a

Supreme Court of great consequence.  It`s just a flag.  It`s just a symbol. 

But there I was holding my breath stunned to see this moment live, and I

could not stop the tears.  It turns out it mattered to me much more than I


So, what is it that just happened?  What have we accomplished in this

moment, and what is the work left to be done?

Joining me now from Philadelphia NAACP president and CEO, Cornell William


And joining me by phone from Charlotte, North Carolina, is Bree Newsome,

the activist arrested for removing the state flag last – the flag from the

state house grounds last month. 

Bree, let me start with you. 

You were one of the last, you and the other activists who work with you,

some of the last in a long line of activist, working to get this flag down

down.  Tell me why it matters. 

BREE NEWSOME, ACTIVIST (via telephone):  Yes.  Well, I think – thank you

for having me on.  I really think that this is a battle over ideology and

really a historical narrative that is manifesting in this battle over the

single flag.  But the reason that there are so many emotions tied up into

it is that this is it is about the reconciling with the past and deciding

where we want to go with our future. 

And so, just the very fact that, you know, us removing the flag even as we

did, we didn`t burn it or cause any damage to it, it still struck a very

strong nerve with the nation because we – a lot of these issues are still

unresolved.  I mean, we are steel really dealing with issues of racial

injustice and segregation in America. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Cornell, let me come with you because despite the

overwhelming vote of the state of South Carolina lawmakers, the U.S.

Congress decided to have a contentious debate about the flag this week.  We

also know that seven states have kind of rebel flag-inspired designs.  Is

it over or is this just the beginning? 

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, PRES. & CEO, NAACP:  It`s far from over.  Melissa,

it`s a delight to be here.  I certainly want to say to my sister, Bree, as

a son of South Carolina and president of the NAACP, I commend your

patriotic gutsiness in terms of going up and retrieving that flag. 

The battle was far from over.  The NAACP maintained an economic boycott for

15 years running to bring down that flag.  And the prospect in the wake of

this tragedy, in the wake of Bree`s civil disobedience getting bigger,

businesses pressured, the governor pressured the legislature to bring the

flag down.  We expect to see the same elsewhere in the country.  I can

certainly imagine a similar scenario, for example, in the state of


But we have to be clear here.  The issue is not merely dealing with the

symbol of bias and bigotry but the substance.  And so, the point being in

the state of South Carolina, we have some serious voting rights challenges,

serious school inequities, serious employment challenges and so the NAACP

meeting in Philadelphia this week, we`re not merely talking about the flag. 

We`re talking about bringing down the Confederate flag and symbols of that

bygone era in terms of the Confederacy.

But we`re also talking about, for example, Americans` journey for justice,

marching from Selma to Washington, D.C., in August to deal with voting

rights, to deal with employment, racial profiling. 

So, we have to be clear here.  We`re not content to feast on a symbolic

victory only as important as it is and that was a tremendously moving

moment for me. 

I want to be clear here.  I grew up in South Carolina.  I grew up in and

around Charleston.  What Bree did moved me profoundly.  The flag coming

down moved me profoundly but also the sacrifices of folks in South Carolina

and NAACP for years, years on end, that moves me because they understand. 

We have to have symbolism and substance, which means we want more and that

means this fight continues. 


Bree, I want to come to you in exactly this idea of symbolism and

substance.  The sense that all of us had watching you just a couple weeks

ago initially as active civil disobedience retrieve that flag, I am

reminded that you are an activist before this moment, you will continue

your work after it, but you will always be connected and you personally,

even more than all the activist community that was around you, that was

supporting you in that moment.

And so I wonder about that if you can reflect on how the work of symbols

and the work of the work can sometimes become difficult because we`re not

just trying to purge symbols, we`re trying to make real change. 

NEWSOME:  Yes, absolutely.  I think what President Brooks spoke to is

entirely correct.  Part of what I`m really striving to do is make sure that

people don`t forget the recent history.  I mean, that`s the only thing, a

lot of times these symbols and these symbolic gestures like we did with the

civil act of civil disobedience, those can be very important moments of

revelation for us but it`s also really important that we don`t just get

caught in the symbol. 

Like you said, it`s not just about the flag coming down.  I mean, I`m

trying to make sure that everyone remembers that this flag was raised in

1962 as a statement against the civil rights movement.  And like President

Brooks said, people have been fighting ever since to have the flag taken

down not just because it`s about the flag but because of what it


And so, the whole choice that we made at that time about me as a black

woman being the one taking it down and handing it to – handing it off to a

white man and both of us being, you know, descendents of the south and

descendents of this heritage and this legacy is to make sure that we

elevated the conversation because if he had just allowed the process to go

through and the legislature to just remove the flag, all of that might have

been lost. 

We wanted to make sure that we don`t forget – it`s not just about a flag. 

It`s about our culture.  It`s about our values as a nation and everything

that we have come through and taking a stance.  We don`t want to be in this

position in another 50 years.  We don`t want to keep fighting this battle. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Cornell, let me ask you a last brief question here.  We talk

– Bree was just talking there about the recent history. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  Nine South Carolinians slaughtered, murdered in their



HARRIS-PERRY:  Yes, there was a flag flying at that moment.  Yes, it

maintained at full staff after their murders.  But I also don`t want to

lose them. 

We feel so good about the victory but, man, I just want to keep remembering

that those nine lives were lost. 

BROOKS:  Absolutely, Melissa.  I mean, we have to – we have to think about

this.  The blood of African-Americans is not free, and the fact that nine

students of scripture, our brothers and sisters, could be slaughtered in a

church.  So, we can`t simply pat ourselves on the back.  We can`t blink the

fact that a bureaucratic mistake in our criminal background check system

led to Dylann Roof having that gun. 


BROOKS:  We can`t blink the fact our president called for strengthening the

nation`s gun laws and was criticized and subject to criticism that somehow

Dylann Roof got the gun lawfully and therefore, we can`t talk about the

unlawful purchase of guns. 

The point being here is we have to have symbolism and substance with the

recognition that the blood of the slaughtered, the blood of the slaughtered

must not be forgotten here. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Yes.  I just –

BROOKS:  Those nine families – 

HARRIS-PERRY:  That`s right.  I want – 

BROOKS:  – they remember and we have to as well. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  That`s right.  I want that flag down but I want those nine

people back even more.  I just – there`s nothing we can do but I don`t

want to forget them.

Thank you to Cornell William Brooks in Philadelphia, have a great NAACP


BROOKS:  Thank you.

HARRIS-PERRY:  All eyes will be on you all.

And thank you to Bree Newsome on the phone from Charlotte, North Carolina. 

We want you, as soon as you can be here with us, Bree, we`re excited about

the work you do. 

And still to come, we`re going to talk about White House hopeful Donald

Trump – no, really we`ll talk about his comments on immigration and why

they matter. 

And after the break, we`re going to go to Vienna for the latest on the

marathon negotiations.


HARRIS-PERRY:  Iran and six world leaders have given themselves until

Monday to reach a nuclear agreement.  Yesterday, Iran`s foreign minister

said talks had made some progress and Thursday, Secretary of State John

Kerry stressed these negotiations are very technical and should not be


Joining me now from Vienna is Andrea Mitchell, NBC News chief foreign

affairs correspondent and host of MSNBC`s “ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS.”

Andrea, we understand the sides are divided over a set of U.N. sanctions. 

What more can you tell us about this? 


good morning to you. 

There is a big sticking point and there has been all week.  The question is

whether they are narrowing their differences on this.  Iran really started

emphasizing this week that they wanted the Security Council to lift the

arms embargo, three different resolutions that have been banning arms

deliveries to Iran and sales from Iran, including on ballistic missiles

since 2006.  There were three resolutions in 2006, 2007, 2009, and those

are very important arms embargo resolutions according to the White House. 

But Russia is backing Iran on this. 

This was the first instance since we`ve been here, really since 20 months

ago when this all started, that Russia was siding with Iran, Russia and

China, from the Security Council, on how this U.N. resolution would be

worded and whether or not that arms embargo would be lifted. 

Russia`s self-interest is clearly there in arms sales country.  They wanted

to make money by selling arms to Iran.  And the fear by the White House, as

testified to by the wanted to make money by selling arms to Iran and the

fear by the White House as testified to by the chairman of the joint chiefs

only this week was that would mean more arms going to prop up Syria`s

President Assad and other arms dealings that Iran has in the region. 

So, it was a nonstarter from the White House perspective.  A lot of

pressure from even Democrats in the Senate this week on the president not

to yield on this point and the Iranian complaint was that they thought

there was some give on Kerry`s side until he spoke with the president at a

secure videoconference on Wednesday night, and they argued that then the

U.S. was reneging on what compromises may or may not have been offered. 

My take is that there`s a lot of posturing on both sides.  Neither side

wants to be blamed from walking away from the table after all this time. 

The U.S. does want to get it done.  They believe that every time the

Iranians go back between rounds that they get toughened up because of all

the pressure from hard-liners in Tehran.  And, of course, John Kerry is

going to have to sell this to a lot of skeptics on Capitol Hill now in both


So, we don`t know if it`s going to get done this weekend.  A lot of signs

pointing to a possibility at least of tomorrow – Melissa. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Thank you to NBC`s Andrea Mitchell in Vienna.  Obviously,

all eyes will remain.  This is of crucial importance to the whole globe. 

Up next, the presidential candidate who has had much to say about

immigration.  He`s heading to a key border state today.


PERRY:  OK.  I admit it, when Donald Trump first announced he was running

for president, seemed like a joke.  I mean, how could this guy with the

bouffant hair and obsession with President Obama`s birth certificate

possibly be a serious candidate? 

And then there was the spectacle of his campaign announcement, gliding down

the escalator in the lobby of Trump Tower as Neil Young`s “Rocking in the

Free World” played.  It`s no wonder it became an instant inspiration for

late-night comic. 

But then Trump spoke and it was no laughing matter when he got to the topic

of immigration and offered his now infamous description of undocumented

immigrants from Mexico. 


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  When Mexico sends its people,

they`re not sending their best.  They`re not sending you.  They`re not

sending you.  They`re sending people that have lots of problems and they`re

bringing those problems with us. 

They`re bringing drugs.  They`re bringing crime.  They`re rapists and some,

I assume, are good people. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  Despite being inaccurate and being offered many chances to

walk back his comments, he`s continued to double down as he did in an

interview with NBC`s Katy Tur this week. 


TRUMP:  I have great respect for the country of Mexico.  I love the Mexican

people and their spirit.  But the country of Mexico is killing us.  The

country of Mexico is taking our jobs.  They`re killing us at the border. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  He repeated that sentiment again in California last night

after meeting with families who say they`ve lost loved ones killed by

undocumented immigrants. 

In the wake of his inflammatory and, again, mostly false comments,

companies have rushed to cut ties with Trump.  While many political analyst

doubt Trump has a serious chance for the presidency, it is clear that he is

being taken seriously by some important voters. 

Recent polls of Republican voters show him leading the GOP field in the

Super Tuesday state of North Carolina, and in a close second in New

Hampshire.  That means the Republican establishment has been forced to take

Trump seriously, too.  Several of Trump`s fellow Republican presidential

candidates have denounced his comments. 

And “The Washington Post” reports that RNC chairman Reince Priebus spent

nearly an hour on the phone Wednesday, urging him to tone down the

comments.  Trump tried to paint it as a congratulatory call, but admitted

the Priebus did ask him to dial it back a bit. 

Today, we might find out if Trump will indeed heed that advice when he

brings his campaign to the critical board of state of Arizona, and appears

with the controversial sheriff of Maricopa County Joe Arpaio, who was known

for his, let`s call it, tough approach on undocumented immigrants.

MSNBC reporter Amanda Sakuma joins me now from Phoenix.

Amanda, what in the world is Donald Trump up to today? 

AMANDA SAKUMA, MSNBC REPORTER:  Good morning, Melissa.

You know, it`s very significant that Donald Trump will be appearing on

stage next to Sheriff Arpaio who`s a self-described America`s toughest

sheriff and also one of the most divisive characters that we`ve seen in the

immigration debate so far. 

This opens a little bit of a preview of what to expect from Donald Trump

later this afternoon.  I mean, Arpaio has already been federally convicted

for racially profiling Latinos.  He`s currently in the midst of a contempt

of court hearing after he admitted to actively defying a court order to

stop racially profiling folks, and it doesn`t even end there. 

He even admitted an attorney of his had hired a private investigator to spy

on the wife of the judge presiding over the case. 

So, all around this, Sheriff Arpaio is not the typical surrogate that you

would see for a presidential campaign.  Yes, he`s bringing in massive

amounts of crowds here.  We`re expecting some 5,000 people to come to

Phoenix here later this afternoon. 

In many ways, Arpaio does have a loyal following, who believe that he`s a

vigilante of sorts, going above and beyond immigration laws even if federal

courts are deeming them to be unconstitutional, but it is significant that

Donald Trump will be coming here.  This is a place where there`s a very

active pro-immigrant rights community where they had to battle many of

these harsh divisive laws in the past here in Arizona.  We`re expecting

them to protest in pretty strong numbers outside of the crowd here, and so,

we should see an interesting dynamic here on this border state later this


HARRIS-PERRY:  Thank you to MSNBC`s Amanda Sakuma in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Now, I want to bring in my panel: Juan Manuel Benitez, who is political

reporter and host of “Pura Politica” on New York 1 Noticias, Basil Smikle,

who`s executive director of the New York state Democratic Party, Alina Das,

associate professor of clinical law and co-director of the immigrant rights

clinic at New York University of Law.

And joining me now from Washington, D.C., is Cristina Jimenez, co-founder

and managing director of United We Dream. 

Christina, let me start with you. 

You know, there is a kind of joking about this whole Trump sort of

discourse going on I think in the media and for many of us.  Oh, it`s so

funny he is saying these sort of patently ridiculous and, again falsifiable

data kind of things.  But, man, it doesn`t feel funny at all to me. 


Melissa.  And the Latino and immigrant community are taking Donald Trump`s

comments very seriously.  They are deeply offensive.  And, to be quite

frank, what you have seen in the last couple of weeks, he has completely

galvanized the Latino and the immigrant community. 

And you`re going to see protests today in Arizona, you`re going to see them

when he will be in California the next few weeks, and you will see them

wherever he`s going to show up.  That is the reality. 

But one of the things I want to mention here is what he is really showing

here is the divide that exists within the Republican Party, right, when you

have seen a party that the only thing that has promoted is deportation,

deporting people like my own parents, like myself, and a party that has

been promoting just hate and fear when it comes to immigration. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  So hold on for me.  This is exactly what when I very first

heard Trump`s discourse and now as he keeps doubling down on it, is it a

public art project almost, as though taking things that have been turned

into dog whistle and just laying them bare, saying them plain. 


just trying to take this as far as he can and so far he`s been really

successful.  He`s a media savvy person. 

And the problem now for Republicans he has effectively hijacked the

Republican primary process and also the Republican Party, because now every

single presidential candidate is forced to react to every single new issue,

or new topic that Donald Trump brings out on the table. 

So, it`s really worrisome for the Republican Party and some members of the

GOP have tried the last few years to really court the Hispanic vote in many

different areas with many different messages.  Now all the work they`ve

done is destroyed. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  And yet – so on the one hand, that`s my feeling of, like,

in a certain way, welcome – welcome, Mr. Trump, to this conversation,

because the things you say lead to this distancing.  On the other hand, I

am worried the repetition of some of this discourse when there is so much

anti-immigration, sort of latent bias that exist underneath, is that it can

inflame it in ways that we may not fully expect at the moment. 

So, we`re just kind of looking at the crime stats, right, that, in fact,

undocumented immigrants are less than 4 percent of the total population,

that four out of five drug arrests involve U.S. citizens not people who are

undocumented or otherwise.  Non-U.S. citizens make up only like 5 percent

of the prison population.  These are the realities but, man, it`s hard not

to just flick that anti-immigrant bias on. 

ALINA DAS, ASSOC. PROF, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW:  Absolutely.  Trump`s remarks

really tap into a long and ugly history of using fear of crime as a way to

target racial and ethnic minorities in this country, and it`s a real

problem because it`s not only inaccurate, as you said – study after study

including a recent report by the American Immigration Council out this

month have shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than U.S.-

born citizens and that immigration, including undocumented immigration has

increased as crime rates have fallen. 

So there`s really not this association.  More than that, it`s a very

dangerous political game to be playing because when immigrants do commit

crime, they don`t commit crime because they`re immigrants.  They commit

crime for all of the reasons people generally commit crime, and by saying

that deportation or harsh immigration issues is the solution, you`re taking

attention away from the real problems.  I mean, why aren`t we talking about

getting guns off the streets or increasing treatment for drug addiction? 

I mean, these are the kinds of issues – poverty, education – that are

involved with driving crime.  But, instead, we`re targeting hard-working

people and calling whole groups of people criminals when it`s simply not


HARRIS-PERRY:  When we come back, basil, I want to ask you about how then

to go back to the point on how then this operates for the Democratic Party

as well and then start asking the questions that we`re not asking in the

midst of all of this madness. 

Up next, a homicide arrest has reignited the debate on sanctuary cities.


HARRIS-PERRY:  The shooting death of a San Francisco woman has become a

flash point in the debate over immigration.  On July 1st, 32-year-old

Katherine Steinle was hit by a bullet while strolling with her father along

a city pier. 

The alleged shooter now in custody is Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an

undocumented immigrant and a Mexican national, with a lengthy felony rap

sheet and five deportations.  He`s pleaded not guilty to first-degree


Also on trial is the policy that some critics say contributed to Steinle`s

death.  San Francisco is a so-called sanctuary city, like nearly 200 other

state and local jurisdictions nationwide.  Sanctuary cities typically

provide a heaven for undocumented immigrants without criminal records and

limit cooperation between the local police and federal immigration agents. 

Critics say that Lopez Sanchez whose criminal history includes seven prior

felony convictions should never have been on that pier.  Instead, he should

have been deported. 

Back in March, Lopez-Sanchez finished serving a multiyear prison sentence

for felony re-entry after deportation.  Upon completion of that sentence,

he was transferred to the custody of a San Francisco County sheriff`s

department based on an outstanding arrest warrant. 

Weeks later, he was released from the city jail after local prosecutors

dropped a drug charge against him.  U.S. Immigration and Customs

Enforcement, also known as ICE says it had issued a detainer for Sanchez

requesting notification of this release so they could deport him.  Instead

San Francisco authorities released Lopez Sanchez without alerting the

federal authorities. 

The detainer was not honored said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice in a

statement that we received via e-mail.  San Francisco`s sheriff says the

city does not comply with immigration detainers and only turns over people

to the federal government if there are active warrants against suspects. 

For more on the role of sanctuary cities, Cecillia Wang, director of the

ACLU Immigrants Rights Project, joins us from San Francisco. 

So, Cecillia, so help us to understand what a sanctuary city actually is. 


First, the murder of Katherine Steinle s a tragedy all of us who live in

San Francisco are grieving about but all of the media frenzy that`s been

driven by false information has really led to an unfortunate and dangerous

situation for public safety.  First, it`s important to note this phrase

“sanctuary cities” can encompass a very wide range of local policies that

either cities or counties or, in some cases, states, have decided to

implement.  Number one in the name of public safety and, number two,

because federal courts have held that it is unconstitutional for localities

to detain this people based on the say-so of a single ICE agent who issues

this piece of paper called an ICE detainer. 

So, we need to be clear about one thing in this current media discussion

and in the policymaking discussion that`s going on right now.  San

Francisco`s city ordinances did not have anything to do with the fact that

Sanchez was out on the streets and shot Kate Steinle sadly and tragically. 

ICE could have picked up Sanchez.  It knew that he was in San Francisco`s

custody.  ICE failed to pick him up and put him in deportation proceedings. 

That`s the plain and simple fact. 

San Francisco after many years of study and a history of law making going

back to 1985, came to a considered decision that it wanted to avoid

liability for holding people illegally on the say-so of a single ICE agent. 

And, secondly, was focused on public safety and the proven fact that when

local police departments get into the business of enforcing civil

immigration laws, they alienate a whole portion of the local community and

people are afraid to come forward and report crimes and serve as witnesses.

Cities and counties and states around the country have similar policies,

and the rush to judgment right now is an unthinking knee-jerk reaction

based on a very unfortunate and unusual case.  That would be a shame. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Cecillia, that point – Basil, I want to come to you on,

because nothing is more important in an election year than unthinking knee-

jerk reaction to public crisis.  That is an awful lot of what drives our

electoral politics.  I just wanted to think about how this is impacting the

Democratic side as well. 

Hillary Clinton saying on the GOP this question about sort of this is –

when she is talking about Trump, I want to listen to that and read what she

said in relationship to this case. 


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  They`re on a spectrum of, you

know, hostility, I think is regrettable in a nation like ours, all the way

to kind of grudging acceptance but refusal to go with a pathway to

citizenship.  I think that`s a mistake. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  So, if you`re responding to Trump, you can do the continuum

of hostility.  But in response to the San Francisco case, Mrs. Clinton

saying the city made a mistake not to deport someone, that the federal

government strongly felt should be deported and, by the way, had been

deported five times, right?  So the deportation might not be that useful. 

How a moment like this becomes basically an immigration Willie Horton this

part of how it`s been talked about. 

SMIKLE:  I think that`s a fair point in that this is about knee-jerk

reaction and raw emotion as you mentioned earlier.  And I think she`s

correct in that.  No Republican has really come out and said this is wrong. 

We should not be having this kind of conversation.  And what it does is it

forces the Republicans to be not a national party but a regional party or

even just a congressional party. 

And every major argument supporting immigration reform undermines every

Republican argument against it. 


SMIKLE:  I mean, in terms of economics, just the fact if you promote

immigration reform, you grow the GDP 4.8 percent.  And so, my point is that

I think what Hillary is saying and Cecillia said earlier, you can`t blame

cities for, in some respects, saying we don`t want to be in the business of

going after folks that are undocumented.  We don`t want to be in the

business of that.  We need them to help us do our jobs.

But in terms of the federal government, maybe we need to strengthen certain

aspects with cities.  We certainly should not alienate these communities. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  Cecillia Wang in San Francisco, thank you for making the

point for us that this is a tragedy.  It`s tough but it`s also not the best

context for making reasonable, informed policy.  Thank you so much for

joining us from San Francisco. 

We are going to stay on this topic when we come back and I`m bringing back

in Cristina Jimenez and the rest of my table, when we come back.


HARRIS-PERRY:  Donald Trump reportedly re-tweeted and then deleted a

message suggesting that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had a more

sympathetic view of immigration because of his Mexico-born wife. 

In New Hampshire on Wednesday, Bush had this response while outlining how

he would reform immigration policy as president. 


JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You can love the Mexican culture. 

You can love your Mexican-American wife and also believe we need to control

the border.  This is a bizarre kind of idea that somehow you can have an

affection for people in a different country and not think the rule of law

should apply.  This is ludicrous. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  Man, there`s a lot of Mexico love going on in the GOP these


BENITEZ:  This is really problematic. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  You think? 

BENITEZ:  Republicans think that Donald Trump controversy sooner or later

is going to disappear.  He`s going to self-destruct. 

However, this is the summer of anti-immigration sentiment thanks to Donald

Trump.  So, next year when Jeb Bush tries to portray his wife front and

center to put her out there to appeal to Mexican voters as a Mexican wife

of the presidential candidate, Mexicans and Latinos are not going to buy

it, because they`re going to ask him where were you when we were being

beaten up by the Republican Party last summer? 

SMIKLE:  Remember, we also have Republican debates starting in a few weeks. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  That is right. 

SMIKLE:  And so, he is going to be there front and center and there are

other candidates that might not even get a seat at these debates and I

wonder then what kind of tacit support other Republican candidates are

going to have for a lot of the statements?  Is there going to be broad

repudiation or will they stand there and let him pontificate? 

HARRIS-PERRY:  In fact, Cristina, I wonder what air this is sucking out of

the room for a more substantive conversation?  What questions are we not

asking about the actual experience of being undocumented in the U.S.? 

JIMENEZ:  Well, exactly.  I mean, this is beyond the conversation about,

you know, border security and sanctuary cities.  I mean, the question for

Republicans and, honestly, all presidential hopefuls, is – what are you

doing about the fact that immigrant families are facing deportation every


In Florida, in Texas, in Arizona, we`re seeing raids, people continue to

get deported, the fact that we have an injunction has halted the program,

that our communities fought for, that would have protected up to 5 million

people, including people like my own parents from deportations.  It`s just

such a shame and it`s a little game. 

So the question is, you know, for Jeb Bush, trump and others, do you

support a temporary programs that can protect people from deportation right

now, and if you don`t, you don`t start with our communities.  Saying that

you support immigration reform is not enough.  We need the details.  We

need the commitment from all presidential hopefuls that they are with

immigrant families, that they will protect immigrant families.

And, honestly, we don`t have short-term memory.  Latinos and immigrant

voters are going to remember what Trump, what Bush, and others have said. 

And up to this point, all Republican presidential hopefuls have said that

they are against temporary programs and they`re not really offering


HARRIS-PERRY:  And so, Alina, what can Republicans substantively,

meaningfully do at this point to turn this? 

DAS:  Well, they really need to come out strongly against this rhetoric,

and we see it from both parties.  Both parties are now taking some subset

immigrants and demonizing them.  The Republicans are demonizing a larger

group, to be sure.  But the Democrats are doing it, too.  They use labels

like criminal aliens and other kinds of fear-mongering words in order to

justify mass deportation and mass detention. 

What the Republican Party or any leader that`s coming out should say is

that we want to create a system that`s fair for everyone.  It`s not about

who deserves it and who doesn`t.  It`s really about due process, that you

should be able to go through our immigration system and have a fair shot. 

Most Americans don`t know that people face deportation without the rights

to counsel, being detained far from their home.  We need to change that. 

HARRIS-PERRY:  All the things that we think of as central and critical to

who we are as an American people.  Don`t just bring the flag down, make the

other flag mean something. 

Thank you to Cristina Jimenez in Washington, D.C., and here in New York,

thank you to Juan Manuel Benitez and to Basil Smikle.  I`ll try to have you

back for our “Magic Mike” conversation tomorrow, and to Alina Das.

Up next, our foot soldier this week helped immigrant women make a dough in

more ways than one.


HARRIS-PERRY:  Bread in its many forms is the world`s most widely consumed

food.  It`s also one of the most lucrative.  In 2010, the baking industry

accounted for roughly $300 billion in revenue, more than 2 percent of the

U.S. GDP, and employed nearly 2 million Americans. 

And for this reason, Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, founder of New York City`s

Hot Bread Kitchen, made bread the entry point for low income and immigrant

women to get a foothold in the city`s high-end baking industry.

Drawing on the cultural traditions and culinary talents of women the world

over, the nonprofit bakery finances an ambitious baker training program by

selling a wide selection of delicious, diverse breads out of its East

Harlem Cafe. 

Our friend Dorian Warren, host of “Nerding Out” on Shift by MSNBC, went to

Hot Bread Kitchen to see what it`s cooking up. 


DORIAN WARREN, NERDING OUT:  I`m at Hot Bread Kitchen with the CEO and

founder, Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez.

And, Jessamyn, I want to ask you first about bread. 


bread amazing is that it is global and it is universal.  Nearly every

culture in the world has a staple starch or a bread that they`re passionate


So, Hot Bread Kitchen is more than a bakery.  We bake bread to create

educational opportunities for women.  Most parts of the world, women bake

bread.  But in North America and there Europe men get good jobs in the

baking industry.  So I had this idea of creating a social enterprise that

married the passion and skill that women have in this art form and

hopefully creating a new job pipeline for women who would succeed in their


WARREN:  So, walk me through how the training program works. 

WALDMAN RODRIGUEZ:  So, what we offer is a paid on-the-job training program

which is quite intensive.  In addition to that, we offer classroom

education that includes English classes, kitchen math, computer literacy,

resume and interview skills. 

WARREN:  What do you enjoy most about it? 


everything is new.  I never touched anything in the kitchen, nothing.  So,

for me to be doing this is a big step for me.  Hopefully, I`ll be going to

a nice bakery.  That`s what I would love to do.  I want to keep on baking,

so I can learn more and expand my horizons. 

WARREN:  Many of the women you`ve recruited to work here and be trained

here bring recipes from their home countries. 

WALDMAN RODRIGUEZ:  I like to say we`re the United Nations of bread.  Since

we`ve started, we`ve trained women from 21 different countries. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Just use your hand. 

WALDMAN RODRIGUEZ:  We have breads from Morocco and Iran, Mexico, Poland. 

Many of the breads that we produce here everyday come from the recipes that

women know.  So, something they might have made at home, something their

mother might have taught them or something they just loved eating at their

home country that we work to develop here in the home kitchen. 

WARREN:  What does hot bread kitchen mean for this community? 

JACKSON:  A lot of opportunity.  If you want to come work here, that`s a

big opportunity or if you want to just come here and buy bread, that`s

another big opportunity because you know you can never run out of bread.  I

live in East Harlem, everyday I walk to work proud. 

WARREN:  What is the most satisfying aspect of all of this for you? 

WALDMAN RODRIGUEZ:  We have placed women at some of the best bakeries in

New York City. 

When women come back who`ve gotten a promotion after being placed in a

bakery or some of our managers are graduates from our program, to see their

success and to see their kids one year at the company picnic and see them

the next year and their mother is telling me about the promotion she`s got

at work, I get a lot of motivation, pride, glory out of the successes. 

WARREN:  I love it.  I`m going to give up on this one.  That was perfect. 

I don`t want to ruin any more dough for the day.  So, I have in my hands

some Nan-e barbari, it`s a Persian flat bread, one of over 70 breads made

here.  I`m going to take a bite. 

Delicious, sesame seeds, it would be even more amazing with hummus. 

Fantastic.  Right here, Hot Bread Kitchen. 


HARRIS-PERRY:  Dorian Warren kneading bread.  Thank you for that report. 

Before we leave you today, we want to welcome the newest and tiniest member

of Nerdland, Zoe Jasmine Salzman (ph), daughter of our executive producer,

Eric Salzman.  Zoe arrived in the world on Monday, congratulations to Eric

and to his wife Sara and to Zoe`s big sister Lucy.  We can`t wait to meet

the newest addition to our Nerdland family. 

That`s our show for today.  Thanks to you at home for watching.  We`re

doing “Magic Mike” tomorrow. 

Also, I want to mention that while we were in Nerdland, Serena Williams won

her sixth Wimbledon title, which is her fourth grand slam championship in a

row.  Congratulations. 

When we come back, tomorrow 10:00 a.m. Eastern, we`re going to talk about

women and sports and the real, real magic of “Magic Mike.”  I don`t know if

I can beat Dorian Warren kneading bread at Hot Bake Kitchen.  Whoo!  Also,

neo soul star Bilal comes to Nerdland.

Right now, it`s time for a preview of “WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT”. 

Hi, Alex.




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