IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 04/18/15

Guests: Alisa Wellek, Alfonso Aguilar, Frankie Edozien, Craig Shagin, KevinMartinez, Elon James White, Thomas Ayuso, Emmanuel Ogebe, Saa, MarciaDyson, Tsedeye Gebreselassie, Alfonso Aguilar, Rich Tafel, Peter Noguera

JOY REID, MSNBC ANCHOR: This morning, my question, why are American veterans being deported? Plus, how a social movement`s success has all the right people talking. And, teachers in Georgia are going to prison. Yes, prison. But first, in the legal debate over policy, never forget about the people. Good morning. I`m Joy Reid in for Melissa Harris-Perry. This was the scene in front of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of appeals courthouse in New Orleans yesterday as three judges heard oral arguments in a case to remove an order that halts President Obama`s executive actions on immigration. Hundreds of protesters gathered in what has become the latest test for President Obama`s immigration overhaul. Now as you may recall President Obama back in November addressed the nation on the issue of immigration saying that up to 5 million people could be shielded from deportation and receive temporary work permits under his executive action. The order was seen as one of the most important and boldest initiatives of his second term. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We`re going to offer the following deal. If you`ve been in America for more than five years, if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents, if you register, pass criminal background check, and you`re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you will be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That`s what this deal is. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: But the deal has been delayed. Thanks to a lawsuit by Texas and 25 other states. Many Republicans call the president`s move executive overreach and in February, a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, ordered an indefinite halt to the president`s plan. Saying that he had abused his power. Which brings us back to this scene in New Orleans as the Obama administration urged a federal appeals court to let the government immediately move forward with President Obama`s overhaul of the nation`s immigration and deportation policies. An estimated 200 demonstrators rallied outside the courthouse to remind us what this order is really all about. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is beyond papers. This is about human and human dignity. This is about justice. This is about civil rights. This is about labor rights. So much is involved in this. We cannot just say this is about papers or an executive action. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: And that what lies at the core of this issue is family. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of our families are not having the opportunities to have a job, a lot of our families are being caught up in the system, the immigration system, being deported, being separated from their families. The children are suffering the loss of a father or a mother, or brother or sister. This lawsuit is just tearing our families apart. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: The Obama administration faces a difficult task in the fifth circuit, known as the nation`s most conservative appellate court. The three-judge panel has two Republican appointees and one Obama appointee. And no matter what the Fifth Circuit does, the legal fight is far from over. Until then, millions of lives remain in limbo. And joining me now are Ari Melber, MSNBC chief legal correspondent and cohost of "The Cycle," Frankie Edozien, a journalist and the director of the "Reporting Africa" program at the NYU Journalism School. Alfonzo Aguilar, executive director of the American Principle Projects, Latino Partnership and Alisa Wellek, co-executive director of the Immigrant Defense Project. And thank all of you for being here. I appreciate it. And I`m going to start with you, Ari, as our MSNBC chief legal correspondent, I expect you to explain to me the substance of what is happening here because what went to this judge who issued the stay was not just the substance or really was not the substance of the immigration action, correct? ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, "THE CYCLE": Well, what goes before this judge is a series of questions. One of them is does the president have this power. Another is even if he does, did he do it the right way. The Administrative Procedures Act has a whole bunch of rules about how you do that. This goes to what is typically the heart of executive authority because there is discretion in how you enforce laws particularly in this kind of arena where everyone knows and even critics of the president acknowledge that you could not physically, possibly enforce this set of rules against every undocumented worker in the nation. So, there`s already prioritization going on. What happened here was, they tried to step up and make a larger claim of it. The other thing I`ll say that the people have to keep in mind is, we can`t simply adjudicate and resolve these things based on whether you like the law or not. Obviously, if a different president said I`m going to look at the Voting Rights Act or civil rights laws and not enforce any of them ever people would be - right, would be upset and want to adjudicate it. I do think, though, that when you look at this area or the smart on crime area where Eric Holder has also said we are going to make priorities based on values, we`re going to put them out before the public and before prosecutors because we can`t lock up everybody, this would seem to be in line with something that the chief executive can do pursuant to enforcement authorities. REID: Well, and I think that is the question I want to get to Alisa, because what the administration is essentially saying with this executive action is if you have 11 million people in the country without documents or in the country unlawfully it`s physically impossible to grab them all and put them out of the country so that law enforcement exercises discretion all the time. They decide whether they want to arrest somebody who has ten pounds of cocaine or whether they want to arrest somebody who has one bag of marijuana. That discretion is part of the executive authority inherently. Why is it any different for the executive to exercise discretion here? ALISA WELLEK, CO-EXEC. DIR., IMMIGRANT DEFENSE PROJECT: It`s not. In fact, I think, it`s an even stronger argument in the immigration room where the federal government really has what`s called plenty of power control over that system. Here I think the law is really on the president`s side. This is really a politically motivated lawsuit by people that have been trying tooth and nail to really hold back - you know, I think the majority of Americans want fair inclusive reforms that really uphold the American values of due process and strengthen our system. REID: Well, you know, I want to talk - go to you on this, Alfonzo. Because so you have 26 states that are litigating this case. Texas versus the United States. Now in Texas` case the second part of the argument as already explained the first part is, well the administration didn`t do it right procedurally. But the second argument Texas is making is, well, it will cost our state a great deal of money if you then have all of these people get documents, get drivers` licenses, et cetera, but can we put up a map or list of the states that are actually involved in this case with Texas? Because a lot of these states, they`re not exactly states that have a stake in this in terms of having lots of migrants in their states. Something like Wyoming doesn`t have it. MELBER: I think it was overloaded. REID: Yeah, exactly. MELBER: Canadian border state. REID: Yeah, exactly. So, you have states. Look at that map. Not -- other than Texas -if the issue is - why do California in this ... ALFONSO AGUILAR, EXEC., DIR. REP`S LATINO PARTNERSHIP: On this, I`ll disagree. I mean, I agree what she actually said. I mean, the states need these immigrants - and a lot of these states actually do have growing immigrant communities, undocumented immigrants are going everywhere all over the country to do jobs that basically Americans don`t want. I mean even states like Idaho have a strong agriculture industry. They actually need immigrants because they can`t find American workers to do that work. REID: And why take this case? Why make this case? AGUILAR: And I don`t know, I would just debate it a little bit. Certainly are there, but I don`t think it is a significant cost at the level that some of these states are arguing. REID: It`s a question of standing, obviously. And I agree. Look, I don`t think at this point they`re going to prevail in the circuit court because this is a very conservative court. We`ll know in a few weeks the decision of the New Orleans court. The Obama administration may have to go to Supreme Court. But I agree in terms of the law that the federal case law I think gives a lot of discretion to the federal government and not to the president because actually the president didn`t base this on presidential authority. But on the discretion that law enforcement agencies of the federal government have to determine who stays and who goes. In the last case on -- over the Arizona immigration law, U.S. versus Arizona, Justice Kennedy in his opinion said very clearly, in three paragraphs, he said, look, the president has ample discretion, or the law enforcement agencies of the federal government. He can decide that people who have been here for a long time, who have children that are U.S. citizens who are working can stay here. And that`s basically what the president is doing. Now, politically, did he proceed correctly? Should he have waited to work with Congress? I think he should have. WELLEK: Right. REID: Well, there`s a political question on the other side, too, because by these Republican states litigating this issue they create a political problem for themselves with Latinos. But I want to bring Frankie into this because, you know, as a child of immigrants myself, I think it`s easy to forget that there are lots of other kinds of immigrants in the country for whom this also applies. There are African immigrants, there are Caribbean immigrants as well. FRANKIE EDOZIEN, JOURNALIST: Absolutely. There are many, many families that don`t look like the pictures that you see on TV that are not the object immigrant of a certain particular ethnic group. There are many, many, many people from different countries in Africa who are here and whose families will be torn apart like this. There are many, many African families that have mixed status. Some of the parents or some of the children are documented. Some are not. Some are American citizens. And this is where the president`s use of discretion comes in. Are you going to tear apart a family that has no - no other country than this simply because their mother does not have the exact paper that you want. REID: Yeah. EDOZIEN: She hasn`t found that paper. But she`s been here and been working, perhaps I saw a figure about $2 billion in taxes ... REID: Right. EDOZIEN: If all of these people are brought in from the shadows and allowed to work. REID: And not - and we have a lot more to say. But I`m going to have everybody just hold on just a second, because up next, a California program has been a runaway success, but could it be putting people at greater risk? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 60. A bill that will allow all eligible Californians to apply for a driver`s license regardless of their immigration status. The law known as the Safe and Responsible Driver Act went into effect in January. AB 60 does much more than increase road safety throughout the state, it also provides an economic and social lifeline for the millions of undocumented immigrants in California who can now drive to work, drive their children to school, and run every day errands without the fear that being pulled over for a minor traffic violation could turn into an immigration nightmare. The response has been overwhelming. The California Department of Motor Vehicles says that nearly half a million Californians have applied for a driver`s license under the new law. That`s double the number of applications the DMV had projected to receive at this point in the year. California is the most populous of the ten states that grants such licenses. Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia also allow the undocumented to get drivers` licenses. And on Wednesday lawmakers in North Carolina advanced a similar plan. So coming back out to the table. At least one of the caveats to this license is that it is just like a California driver`s license in every way, but one. There`s a designation on it and it says - it looks different and on the front it says federal limits apply. And on the back it says, quote, "not acceptable for official federal purposes." So that means that if let`s say somebody is stopped and there`s a federal agent somehow involved they can tell that this person is undocumented. So, in a sense does this lifeline for people actually pose a greater danger to them? WELLEK: It does pose some dangers because of the ways that the immigration system and the criminal justice system are now interlinked, almost any interaction with police can lead to someone`s deportation. And so, this could be a vital tool for survival for many immigrants within California who, you know, could potentially avoid that deportation system, but we actually know that immigration and customs enforcement is trying to access these DMV databases for certain individuals. And so, you know, there is a risk. And people have to consult with lawyers, especially if they have ever had contact with a criminal justice system because it could lead to further injustices. REID: And Ari, I`m wondering, so this is one of those cases where federal and state law come into conflict, this sort of reminds me of the marijuana situation, right, where it`s legal to sell it, but you can`t put it in a bank. Right? No, so now you are in the situation where people are getting this opportunity and taking it. Are the people who are coming forward and getting these licenses taking a greater risk than is reasonable for them to take given that we don`t know how the federal law is going to come out? MELBER: Right. I think it depends on their situation. Obviously, there`s a tremendous amount of uncertainty given what we were just discussing in the previous segment around the entire order, but there was uncertainty to begin with. People are making day-to-day decisions, I think, to balance what they can do to try to earn a living or if they need to drive for a job. You know, so all of those are practical considerations. I also think that at the end of the day this is what the states are doing is managing the situation under federalism for their population as best they can. They cannot obviously supersede someone`s federal status, but again, the reason why this is so ironic that this feels like an ideological issue so much of the time is there`s nothing ideological about what do you do with people in a territory to try to have public safety and well-being for everyone? That`s just the most basic obligation of government. REID: Yeah, and it`s interesting right here because I mean we`re in a city where there`s tremendous amounts of public transportation. MELBER: Yes. REID: But I grew up in the West. I mean there are states where you need a car to get to work or to get around. And so it is this sort of strange blue state - red state thing. Where in blue states the solution seems to be, let`s find a way to have these people at least driving legally and taking the driver`s test and making sure that they`re on the road and they are safe for other people and you have this sort of red state phenomenon where it`s like no, we`re going to sue to make sure they get deported home. EDOZIEN: Yes, but the thing is that, a driver`s license is more than just the ability to drive. A driver`s license allows you to go and open a bank account. A driver`s license allows you to, if you are sick for instance like last week I had oral surgery and I needed Vicodin and I went to my pharmacist, and my pharmacist said where is your driver`s license, we can`t give this to you without that. An immigrant who is sick and wants to access services, does not have the ability to do that if they don`t have a driver`s license. So, municipalities have taken matters into their own hands. We see here in New York City we have something called IDNYC, San Francisco has done it, that allows everybody to get a municipal, I.D. card that gives you a certain permanency in the place that you live, that says you are a part of this city, you are a part of this community. You can get a bank account. MELBER: But I would add - I mean we are all sort of legal policy people here. But just as a thought experiment if you throw all the lawyers out of the room and say, well, what happens when you do other things that break rules? What happens when someone is driving 70 in a 55? Do they cease to become, you know, someone who can hold a driver`s license or be in the state? No. I mean the reason why there`s such rhetorical debate about calling it undocumented versus illegal, is that many people who are former immigration reform make the argument that this doesn`t mean that your existence itself is criminal. REID: Right. MELBER: Deportation is a serious remedy and there are real laws in this country, federal laws, and you can`t just have open borders. Having said that, what we do with the people who are already here, right, is just a basic -- is that kind of basic question. REID: And it is complicated just for a little bit on the politics. Because, Alphonso, this does - before we just make this a strictly red/blue thing, there has been evolution on the Democratic side. Let`s quickly play Hillary Clinton`s two positions. She`s evolved really on the issue of drivers` licenses specifically. Let`s listen to -- OK. Actually I will read them. "Hillary Clinton back when she was running in 2007 for president, "as president I will not support drivers` licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration including border security and fixing our broken system." But Hillary Clinton now says Hillary supports - our campaign. Hillary supports state policies to provide drivers` licenses to undocumented immigrants. That is her new position. If that evolution is even taking place within the Democratic Party, what is your response as a conservative? AGUILAR: No, I support that, but it`s kind of funny when it`s Republicans change their mind, they flip flop, when Democrats change their mind, they evolve. (LAUGHTER) AGUILAR: But look, she flip-flopped. She`s not been a great leader on immigration. That`s her reality. I mean that she hasn`t been involved in the debate on immigration. She should be totally absent. But having said that, look, immigration happens at the state level. Not at the federal level. That`s where immigrants live. They are part of a community. And states have to deal with this reality because the federal government hasn`t passed immigration reform. So if we don`t have immigration reform, federal law to deal with undocumented population we`re going to have a patchwork of legislation. States dealing with immigrants in different ways. REID: I think you just made the case for comprehensive immigration reform. Your party is probably going to be on your cellphone calling you during the break. We`re going to take a break - we are going to allow you to take the angry phone calls. Still to come this morning, the young woman who escaped and survived Boko Haram. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: This coming Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day, and to celebrate the global poverty project is putting on an event today at the Washington Monument grounds in D.C. It`s called Global Citizens 2015 Earth Day. And it kicks off in about 40 minutes at 11:00 Eastern time. and Soledad O`Brien are the hosts and the event will feature performances by No Doubt, Usher, Mary J. Blige and many more. You can catch the whole program live on And right there in the thick of it all is the host of MSNBC live Thomas Roberts in the cool way (INAUDIBLE). What`s up, Thomas? All right, let`s run it down. What`s going to be happening? What can we look forward to today? THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC HOST: Joy, this is going to be epic. Oh, we`ve been playing shah Shazam. This is - hold on. What`s her face? Who is it, Rob? Edie Brickel, yes, anyway. We are playing life Shazam, Joy. Because we`ve been listening to "Legal Feet" and my go-to has been, hey, it`s Hoody. It`s Hoody, anyway. I`ve been wrong the whole time. But it`s great. And the crowds are just filling in. They allowed them to start flooding in around 10:00 a.m. So we saw people running in to get up to the front. And now we have this great smell of copper tone walking around as people are slathering it on because it`s going to be like 80 degrees here. And our buddy Hugh Evans over at the Global Poverty Project, CEO, he had said earlier all we want is sunshine. Well, Mother Nature has given us this beautiful day. Absolutely gorgeous here in Washington, D.C. The action is going to kick off on this dates coming up here in the next hour. But we have got headline act such as My Morning Jacket, Fallout Boy, Mary Jay Blige, Usher, No Doubt, but the weather is gorgeous. Over 250,000 people are expected to be down here today for this. And they started putting up the framework for this as soon as the cherry blossom festival ended. So at 12:01 on Monday they started out footing this. And getting it ready to go, and they just finished putting up the last signs. You can see what the #is, Global Citizen Earth Day. So, check out our postings, and we will continue to play Shazam ... (LAUGHTER) ROBERTS: and bring you live reports on the music and so the acts actually take - actually take the stage. We`ve been having fun. REID: And I expect you to be using your SPF 29,000 so that we can have you back in good working order. Thomas Roberts. ROBERTS: I haven`t put anything on yet. REID: What? ROBERTS: I will admit. I`ve put nothing on yet. REID: To the trailer. ROBERTS: No. REID: Go to the trailer right now and go get that SPF. ROBERTS: I don`t put anything on yet. REID: We need you to be healthy. All right, Thomas Roberts, MSNBC - Thomas Roberts in Washington, D.C. Having a lot of fun. Bye. We`ll check back with you as the events gets under way in our next hour. And up next, why are U.S. military veterans being deported? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: They serve this country. Took an Oath of Allegiance while clothed in a uniform bearing the insignia of the United States. They put their lives on the line and then the United States kicked them out. Veterans of the U.S. military who were lawful permanent residents or green card holders have been permanently expelled from the United States for committing crimes. This take no prisoners stance stems from the Immigration and Nationality Act. The law passed by Congress in 1996 made it easier to deport people who were in the country legally. Legal permanent residents could be deported if they committed a class of crimes only applicable to immigrants. Called aggravated felonies. Many are then separated from their families and forced to return to a country they no longer know. Now, no one knows exactly how many veterans have been deported because the Department of Homeland Security says it doesn`t keep those records. And neither do other government agencies. But according to banished veterans a group formed to help deportees at least hundreds and perhaps thousands have been deported in recent years. Deported veterans some of whom are decorated and wounded remain absent from the very loud and very visible debate in Washington over immigration reform. And while we wait for the courts to decide whether the U.S. will take on a realistic family-friendly path toward immigration reform, we must ask, should the people who risk their lives to defend this country be forced to leave it? Joining me now from Washington, D.C. is Craig Shagin, immigration lawyer. And joining us via Skype from Belize is Kevin Martinez, a U.S. Army veteran who was himself deported. And thanks to both of you for joining us. And I want to start with you, Kevin. Can you tell us what triggered your deportation? KEVIN MARTINEZ, DEPORTED U.S. ARMY VETERAN: Yes. What triggered my deportation was simple battery case that I had when my ex-wife and I got into a domestic dispute. Following that dispute I spent a year in Korea basically, you know, doing the work for the military. Came back from Korea. Continued to work as a civilian, that is. Continued to work. And was going about my, you know, my daily work. I came to Belize on vacation and upon returning to the U.S., I was stopped by a customs officer who told me then that I was deported in abstention. And they kind of told me - you know, I had no idea that I was going to be deported, you know. REID: And Kevin, can I ask you how long ago that was? How long have you been in Belize and how long have you been separated from your family that`s here in the U.S.? MARTINEZ: December will make 11 years, to be exact. December 2nd, exactly. REID: OK. I want to turn to you, Craig, because as Kevin describes essentially the triggering event, because these are not random deportations. These are actually deportations that are triggered by an arrest. So, why should the United States not deport, even if they were a lawful immigrant, who is arrested for a crime? CRAIG SHAGIN, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: Well, in my view you deport people not because for punishment, you deport people because they have failed to live up to their obligation for their status in the United States and they are still aliens. However, once they enter the military they take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States. As you pointed out in the intro, they are literally clothed in the emblems and insignias of the United States. They are subject to the military code of conduct, which tells them that they are fighting in the forces that defend their country and their way of life and they are prepared to give their life in that defense. When they`re overseas they are subject to the status of forces agreement which treats them as American nationals. If they get shot at or they get arrested -- excuse me, captured by the enemy they are treated as Americans who are then prisoners of war in a foreign country. They`re not treated as Mexican-Americans or Italian-Americans or English-Americans. So since we, for all intents and purposes, treat them when they`re in uniform as American nationals, I don`t think that status should change when the uniform comes off. So if ... REID: Well, and I should point out that a lot of people may not know and the producers of this show I learned something today in the meetings running up to this show that lawful permanent residents are actually conscripted, drafted into the wars of the Civil War, both of our World Wars as was Korea and Vietnam. But I want to go back to you, Kevin, and ask you a version of the same question. You took an oath and you also were subject to the uniform code of military justice. You knew those rules, you knew the laws. Why should you not be subject to deportation if, in fact, you did commit a crime of simple battery? MARTINEZ: Well, I believe I paid the ultimate price as a citizen even though I`m not a citizen of the United States. I think I went far and beyond what some have gone, you know? REID: Well, and I want to come back out to the table because Alisa, I know you`re working on a case right now trying to help a veteran of the United States military to stave off or to fight deportation. Talk a little bit about that. WELLEK: Sure. So I mean I think most Americans would just be horrified by the system of justice that we have for immigrants that really have no due process, no right to a lawyer. Immigration judges have been robbed of their ability to weigh any of the humanity of the person or their contributions to the society, like their military service. So, I`ve been working with someone named Howard Bailey who came on a green card when he was 17. Served in the Persian Gulf wars. Was honorably discharged and applied for citizenship where he disclosed that he had a prior marijuana offense from ten years earlier. In the meantime he had built two businesses, owned his home, has family. And he was deported. And the immigration judge was not allowed to weigh anything in his life, like not even the fact that he honorably served in our military and he is in deportation. And he`s actually in Jamaica right now and we`ve been trying to bring him back. The federal government has not been cooperating. REID: Yeah, and I want to give you the last word, Kevin. Make your case to Americans who may be skeptical about this idea of people like yourself, even though you clearly served this country and as you said did much, you know, very honorable service to the country, what would you tell lawmakers in Washington who are looking at a case like yours? What would you like to see them do? MARTINEZ: What I would like for lawmakers to do is to weigh -- I understand veterans do commit crimes. But to weigh the crime -- I think my punishment doesn`t fit the crime that I committed. You know? I think that I -- I`m serving a -- it`s like a maximum sentence that I`m serving. You know? WELLEK: Yeah. Yeah. REID: All right. I want to thank you for being here, Kevin Martinez, in Belize. And also I want to thank Craig Shagin in Washington, D.C. And also in New York I want to thank Alisa Wellek and the rest of my panel is sticking around. And up next, two journalists ventured out and brought back dramatic new pictures from the border. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: Last summer we saw thousands of unaccompanied minors, streaming across the U.S. - Mexico border, capturing the attention of a nation and touching of some dramatic - that some communities protested their arrival. In 2014 alone, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers apprehended more than 68,000 unaccompanied children and another nearly 70,000 people traveling together as families. The Obama administration called it an urgent humanitarian situation and promised to stem the tide of unaccompanied Central American migrants. That response indeed made an impact on the border between the United States and Mexico. With the number of undocumented immigrants crossing the border, dropping sharply in the fall of 2014. But largely that impact has not resolved the crisis. Instead, it has shifted the issue to Mexico`s southern border with Guatemala where one of my next guests to shot a stunning photo documentary series and I`ll show you those images in a moment. Also, I want to bring in a frequent Nerdland guest, Elon James White, Elon has been spending time at the U.S. Mexico border and we`ll show you the images that he has from there. So, consider this a tale of two Mexican borders. We`re going to explore what`s happening at both ends. Joining me now from Berkeley, California, is Elon James White, the CEO of This Week in Blackness and also with us is Thomas Ayuso, field investigator for Noria Research. And he`s joining us via Skype from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. So, Thomas, I`m going to come to you first and the images that you`ve been showing us from Mexico`s southern border really are stunning and dramatic. So, tell us what`s going on there and what happened since last summer`s border crisis? Do we have Thomas? I think we have a little bit of problem with Thomas` microphone. Let me go to you first, Elon. So, you have been doing a border story. First of all, explain to me why were you there, what drew you to the border and what work have you been doing? ELON JAMES WHITE, CEO THIS WEEK IN BLACKNESS: Well, we were going down to the border as a delegation from a Netroots Nation, which is having their annual conference down in Phoenix, Arizona, this year. And we went down there to actually start to do some of the pre-work about - around immigration and see exactly what was happening in the environment. And so when we went down there we went to tent city, we went to the border. On the migrant trail to see exactly what people who were trying to crossover are going through and find out also some of the issues that when they are actually here, what the illegal raids, what`s going on and what`s -- what ends up happening to them. The criminalization of brown folks when they cross over into our system. REID: Right. Well, let`s play a little clip from the work that you`ve done, the stuff that you shot, Elon. Let`s take a clip. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a horrible feeling. I mean, it`s something that I -- I think some people just have to live it themselves so they can understand what it is that we go through. (END VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an example of a jug that I left out here on February 13TH. You know, I just sometimes draw stuff or just say good luck or little messages on it. And in this spot there was about 20 gallons left here and when we came in just now everything was either gone or all the ones that are here empty, which means to me somebody drank them. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: And as we show some of the other images that you took, Elon, what are some of the things that are happening on the border? What is the stuff about Joe Arpaio`s name being plastered everywhere, you showed pictures of this sort of footwear that people are using to try to make their way. Talk a little bit about that. Why is Joe Arpaio? Why is his name everywhere? WHITE: Joe Arpaio, as a lot of people obviously know as being basically the hand of terrorism against people of color, migrant work folks down in Arizona. When you enter into Maricopa County where he`s sheriff, literally, his fame is plastered all over everything. It`s less of him being a sheriff and it`s more like a brand of terrorism the way I look at it. And even in the clips that you just showed, the first one, that young lady, she is actually a felon now. She was actually -- before that she was a dreamer and she was actually able to basically get -- be a part of DACA, what Obama put down for the dreamers allowing them to have a path to citizenship. REID: Right WHITE: And because of a work raid that happened by Arpaio, which was actually ended up being deemed illegal, these work raids that he was doing, she was given a felony. And so at this point she`s no longer a dreamer. She can`t actually follow that because of these questionable practices. But then her -- even her story, she ended up being part of the lawsuit that got Arpaio to stop the work raids that were happening. But at this point she`s still a felon. REID: Well, let me come back to - because Alfonso is dying to get in here. Because I think the perception of Joe Arpaio and terrorism is elicited a response that I think we should ... AGUILAR: I`m supportive of immigration reform. I served as chief of citizenship in the Bush administration. We fought hard for immigration reform. I`m not a fan of Joe Arpaio. He`s doing despicable things. But let`s not over simplify this issue. Because if we think for one minute that Obama`s immigration plan will fix this situation, that`s a total fallacy. As the guest was mentioning, the majority of these people are not coming from humanitarian reasons. Many are. And we saw it with surge of unaccompanied minors. The majority are coming here to work, they want to come here to work, return to their home country and re-enter. But Obama opposes, and this is never talked about, a market oriented guest worker program that allows -- would allow for that circular migration. And you know why, because of the unions. The unions don`t want to see more foreign workers come in. So for all the talk, yeah, Obama is for immigration reform, well, it wouldn`t resolve the problem in the border because you`re seeing in the immigration courts people that have legitimate humanitarian concerns, but the majority in those courts people who are here just because they want to work. REID: And I wish we had more time to do this. But I want to get Thomas Ayuso in, because we didn`t have his mike earlier. But Thomas, I want to talk to you really quickly because part of the issue as Alfonso is describing is an issue of migration that is not just from Mexico to the United States, but it`s also from Central and South America into Mexico. So talk a little bit about what you found at the southern border of Mexico. THOMAS AYUSO, FIELD INVESTIGATOR, NORIA RESEARCH: The Southern Mexican border and actually Mexico as a country itself is the largest migrant corridor in the world. You have not only Central Americans, Cubans, South Americans as you mentioned. But the ... REID: We`ve lost him again. I think we lost him again. But we can see Thomas` images here and some of what he`s showing is some of the young men, some of them as young as 14 years old who are coming alone across the border. And I think that you`re making a solid point, Alfonso, that the migration that we`re seeing, the sort of almost desperation to get into the United States is not a Mexican problem. It is a Central and South American problem coming through Mexico. AGUILAR: And we`re destroying families in Mexico and Central America. A lot of these kids, a third of the kids that came here during the surge were coming here to be with their parents because their parents could not go back to their countries to be with them. REID: And they`re escaping gang violence and tremendous violence that I wish we had time to get in there because there is a larger ... AGUILAR: And that`s a humanitarian issue, absolutely. That`s a war zone down there. REID: Absolutely. I wish we had more time. But we do not. So thanks - I want to thank Elon James White, and he`s coming to us from Berkeley, California, also, Thomas Ayuso from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. And up next, she managed to escape from the clutches of Boko Haram and now she`s a voice for the hundreds of girls who are still missing. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: It`s been one year since nearly 300 Nigerian girls were kidnapped from their school by the terrorist group Boko Haram. One year since the calls from Nigeria for their return were amplified worldwide through social media outrage and millions of tweets to the #bringbackourgirls. In that year there has been some response to that call. Nigeria was initially joined by the United States and other international allies in trying to find the missing girls. A military offensive conducted by Nigeria in collaboration with neighboring countries sought to reclaim territory from Boko Haram. And for the first time in Nigeria`s history, an incumbent president was voted out of office when Nigerians replaced former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was largely seen as ineffective against the militant group, with President-elect Muhammadu Buhari. But in the 369 days since the girls were taken, most of them still have not returned home. Of the 276 girls who were kidnapped from a school in the Nigerian town of Chibok, 219 of them are still missing. Not a single one of the girls has been rescued, but about 60 managed to escape on their own and save themselves. One of those courageous young women is joining me today. Joining me from Washington, D.C. is Saa, a student from the Chibok school, who escaped after being captured by Boko Haram. With her is Emmanuel Ogebe, a human rights lawyer. Joining me here in New York is Reverend Marcia Dyson, founder of the Women`s Global Initiative, along with Frankie Edozien, journalist and director of the Reporting Africa program at New York University`s Journalism School. Thank you all. I want to start with you, Saa, ask you to tell us your story. How did you manage to get away from Boko Haram? SAA, ESCAPED FROM BOKO HARAM: Last year when the Boko Haram attacked our school, and they led us all in the truck, and they burned everything at the school. And put a lot of us on the truck, three girls remain outside and two of them were Christian and one of them was Muslim. They asked the girls, and one of the Christian girls said that she was a Muslim, she was a Christian, and one of them said she was a Christian. One of the Boko Haram decided to kill her. But they said no, they should not kill her and let the three girls run and go home. Well, they start going with us in the forest, and I decided to jump out of the truck, and I tell one of my friend that I`m going to jump out of the truck because I don`t know where I`m going with the Boko Haram, so I`m going to jump out. I`d rather die. My parents will have my body to bury rather to go with Boko Haram. So I jump out of the truck. She followed me. And she injured her leg, and she was able to crawl on her tummy and enter the forest and spent the night in the forest. And the next day, I went in the forest and look for help, and I found a shepherd in the forest who helped us and took us and helped and carry my friend on his bicycle and took us to a village. From there, we find a man with a motorcycle that took us from there back home to our family. REID: And can I ask you, this is such a difficult memory for you. But did the militants from Boko Haram, did they indicate what they wanted to do with you guys? Where they were taking you, what they were taking you for? SAA: When they came they were asking us -- the first question they ask us is where are the guys. But they didn`t tell us what they were going to do with us. They didn`t even tell us where we were going with them, but they said that the journey we`re going is too far away. They didn`t even tell us what they were going to do with us. REID: Saa, can I ask you what your life has been like since you did escape from Boko Haram? SAA: You know, today I came here. I`m free. And I`m safe. I`m continuing my study here, and I thank (inaudible) myself, but my problem is that my colleagues are still in the hands of the terrorists. While it has been a year now that they are not here, 219 are still with the terrorists, and we need help. We need the government to do their best and try the way they can bring the girls back to school here, and so that they will be safe and free the way we are here in America. REID: Indeed. I want to go to Emmanuel Ogebe, and can you tell us what is it that the government now is doing to try to find these young women? Because it does seem unmanageable that after more than a year, almost nothing has been done. EMMANUEL OGEBE, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, I mean, in the last six weeks before the elections, they made a desperate bid to rescue the girls and hopefully win election victory. That didn`t happen. So it`s difficult to tell what else is happening. But the international community, which rallied around to try and find the girls, walked away from the search long ago, and that`s the shame here. If we`re still searching for the Air Malaysia aircraft after one year, we should search for these girls. They`re not under water and they are not unrecoverable. The international community need to step back into the fray. REID: And Marsha, as a member of the international community that has focused on this issue, why do you suppose that this seems to have lost its international resonance after a year? REV. MARCIA DYSON, WOMEN`S GLOBAL INITIATIVE: Amazing, I think, Joy, it`s simply that black women`s lives don`t matter. What`s heroic about these girls is not only do they bring that awareness, you know, along with congressional black women like Fredericka Wilson and Sheila Jackson Lee and Karen Bass, but these girls were targeted like Malala because somebody thought they should not be educated. But they are also trafficked. So what Women`s Global Initiative and joining the World Ebony Network, for raising funds for their schoolings, for those escaped girls here in the United States, is making sure that they`re crafted into a voice piece (ph) to say that we matter not only in Nigeria but around the world. If you met Saa, the most amazing thing to her when I introduced her at Howard University, she was able to tell these students that when she looked back at her experience and being educated a little bit in America, that she felt like the man who said give me liberty or give me death, that she would rather die than to be a bride of a terrorist. And that resonated so with the audience there. REID: Of course. DYSON: And here in America as well. REID: Indeed. We have very little time. I want to make sure I ask you, Frankie, this question. Because this is what people want to know. Will this new government now that Goodluck Jonathan is on his way out, is there a chance the new government will do a better job? EDOZIEN: Absolutely. Muhammad Buhari is known as somebody who`s very, very severe and very, very fierce and does not tolerate indiscipline. One of the reasons why Nigerians wholeheartedly decided to go with Buhari as opposed to Goodluck Jonathan is because he had six years to try and find these girls. Or at least squash Boko Haram. A year to find the girls, but six years to squash Boko Haram. Muhammad Buhari will not allow Boko Haram to continue to rule Nigeria. It`s just not going to happen. REID: I wish we had more time. Frankie Edozien, thank you so much. Marcia Dyson, my friend, thank you for being here. We especially want to, of course, thank Emmanuel Ogebe and Saa for joining us from Washington, D.C. And coming up next, the fight for 15 and the race for 16. Why your paycheck has become the issue of the presidential race. More Nerdland, top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: Welcome back. I`m Joy Reid, in for Melissa. Right now in Washington, the Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day event is just getting under way at the National Mall. Organizers expect more than 250,000 people to attend the rally, which will feature performances by My Morning Jacket, No Doubt, Usher, and many more. The event is being organized by Global Poverty Project whose mission is to end extreme poverty around the globe. MSNBC host Thomas Roberts is there in D.C. in the thick of it all. All right, Thomas, (a), what`s the vibe on the Mall, (b), have you gotten your SPF99,000 on? ROBERTS: No, but I`ve mid friends who have 85 plus. Can you hold up your 85 plus? I`ve made friends in the crowd that have 85 plus that could help me out because we are working on our tan lines here and we`ve already got some. Yes. But it`s going to be an amazing day here. It`s over 80 -- about 80 degrees right now. And Hugh Evans, whose the CEO of the Global Poverty Project said he just wanted the sun to shine. Boy, have we gotten the sun to shine, doing a little dancing to Jamiroquai right now, who was playing over the loud speaker, if you can see me backpedal my way into this shot. But it`s an amazing day here, and it`s bringing together the two concepts of global citizen and Earth Day into one, to make sure we`re talking about Earth Day and also about global poverty. And we`ve got amazing acts scheduled to take the stage coming up here shortly. As you pointed out, Joy, we`ve got My Morning Jacket, there`s Fallout Boy, Mary J. Blige, Usher, No Doubt is going to be here, is going to be here as a presenter. And we got the streaming over on MSNBC starting at 11:30. REID: All right. Well, Thomas, you and I both got that wrong because, of course, it is Ursher (ph). But I expect you to correct that the next time we come back and talk to you. ROBERTS: Ursher? REID: Thank you very much, Thomas Roberts. Have a great time. Bye. ROBERTS: I am having a great time. This is fun. REID: Looks like a lot of fun. A lot of people. All right. Now, I want to bring in MSNBC national correspondent Ronan Farrow who has I have to say the best spot in the house. Back stage with all the celebs. RONAN FARROW, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pretty good here, Joy. Joy, I wish you were here. You would enjoy the show, for sure. We`ve got all the artists gearing up. You heard some big names. You mentioned My Morning Jacket. They`re right here. Some folks from My Morning Jacket turning up their guitars. You can see their gear there, Joy. And I`ll just take you on the route the artists are taking as they file on stage. We`ve been seeing them coming and going right here, Mary J. Blige`s equipment. Joy, don`t you wish you were here to see Mary J. We go here guitars here, we got keys here. Here we`ve got train. I don`t know how you feel about trains, you know? REID: Not on freights. FARROW: Some times we have sentimental with a train song. As you know, since this is an Earth Day concerts, for the 45 anniversary of Earth Day, are hitting environmental themes, themes about sustainability. We`ve got actually the technical masterminds, the co-show managers. Seth here our friend making the actual mechanics of the show happen. And then this is the way the artists go when they file out to this crowd which Joy is going to top 250,000 people today. You can see we have the monument behind us. It`s a beautiful day. And here with me now to talk about the underlying serious issues here, Joy, Kathleen, Rogers, the head of the Earth Day network. Kathleen, it`s a pleasure to you. I actually once hitchhiked through D.C. with Kathleen, true story, without even knowing her at all. She`s not an ax murderer. She has done some incredible work with Earth Day, right? So, tell me about why is the more than just talk. When artists say, oh, we care about sustainability, what are the kinds of results and metrics that come out of a concert like this? KATHLEEN ROGERS, PRESIDENT, EARTH DAY NETWORK: Well, it`s a first amendment event on the Mall. We have a billion people participating in Earth Day worldwide and we`ll probably have a quarter of a million here. I think it`s a great combination. It`s incredible weather. There are so many issues in 2015, climate change treaty, sustainable development goals. We`re hoping to really activate the crowd and get them engaged. FARROW: So, what`s one thing that either people in the crowd or watching at home should do? ROGERS: Well, there are a couple of things. You can download our app, global citizen 2015 Earth Day app. They can also go on our website and sign up for a billion acts of green. We hit 1.23 billion actions and we`re hoping to hit 2 billion today. FARROW: You know, Joy, usually there`s a lot of skepticism about events like this and whether they have actual outputs that matter. I think in this case we`ve seen in previous years, we do get big donations from governments, big donations from organizations like the World Bank, which is meeting today as well. We`re looking at real results maybe out of today as well. We`ll be watching that closely. But it`s a fun day anyway. REID: All right. Well, Ronan Farrow, I love that. Bringing together activism and Mary J. Blige all in one fabulous package. Have a great time, Ronan. OK. MSNBC`s Ronan Farrow, thank you very much, sir. FARROW: Thanks, Joy. REID: All right. And don`t forget you can catch the action on the main stage at From -- now, from the welfare of global citizens to here in the U.S. On Wednesday, we saw something incredible. Ten of thousands of low wage workers and activists gathered in more than 200 American cities. They demanded $15 an hour of living wage, enough to feed and clothe and educate their families, to give their children a better chance. Organizers led by the Service Employees International Union said it was the largest protest by low wage workers in American history. Now, there`s a huge demand, more than double the federal minimum wage, and unlikely to be met directly on a national level with congressional legislation. But these men and women are doing what successful movements do. They are forcing a conversation. They are forcing the powerful in this country and the wannabe powerful to take a stand on the minimum wage and on income and inequality. It`s through their efforts that we have seen in 2014 alone ten cities and 15 states increase their minimum wage requirements. It`s through their efforts that we`ve heard the president of the United States raise the wage for employees for federal contractors while also calling for a higher wage for every worker. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage I say this, if you truly believe you can work full time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest working people in America raise. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: And it`s through their efforts that we see huge corporations like Walmart and McDonald`s announcing higher pay for some of their employees beyond what`s required by law. And it`s through their efforts we see the 2016 presidential candidate, Democrat and Republican, forced to tell us where they stand on income inequality. It is because of this and similar movements like the occupy Wall Street protests which gave us the powerful language of the 1 percent versus the 99 percent. Like Moral Mondays, which is framed economic opportunity as a question of right and wrong, because of these efforts that some of the 2016 candidates are basing their entire campaign on fighting inequality. Candidates like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who tweeted on Wednesday, "Every American deserves a fair shot at success. Fast food and child care workers shouldn`t have to march in the streets for living wages. H." Clinton is presenting herself as a populist and a champion in her words of the middle class, those striving towards and those striving towards it. She`s heavily relying on the language of inequality. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker. There`s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers that I saw on I-80. There`s something wrong when students and their families have to go deeply into debt to be able to get the education and skills they need in order to make the best of their own lives. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: But it`s not just HRC. Even Republicans are finding it beneficial to acknowledge that there is a problem and to promise to fight it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I think social mobility is the great challenge of our time. The question is, why is it now that fewer and fewer people have the skills necessary to achieve earned success? And that is where I think we feed to take our stand. We need to grow our economy faster so that there`s more jobs available and focus on making sure that people have the skills to be able to take those jobs and move up. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: This is a movement that has already done one of the most important things any movement can do. It has made everyone take notice, especially the people who want to be our next president. Well, up next, out of the class of 2016 who rally is the people`s champion? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: I`m running for president because I think that Americans and their families need a champion. And I want to be that champion. I want to stand up and fight for people so that they cannot just get by but they can get ahead and they can stay ahead. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: That was Hillary Clinton in Iowa this week, making the case for why she is the champion of the poor and the middle class. But it`s a title of a lot of her 20 -- a title that a lot of her 2016 opponents are claiming, too. Here to help figure out what is the true people`s champion are: Ari Melber, MSNBC chief legal correspondent and co-host of "THE CYCLE," Rich Tafel, founder of the Log Cabin Republicans and president of Public Squared, Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the American Principles Project Latino Partnership and -- not Alisa (INAUDIBLE), we actually have Tsedeye Gebreselassie, who is not the person in my prompter at the moment. So, Tsedeye, I will give you honorary. Senior attorney at the National Employment Law Project. Now that we`ve given everybody their proper titles, let`s just go around the table and talk about Hillary. I`m going to start with you, Ari, because we have worked this game before in the campaign world. ARI MELBER, MSNBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: True. REID: This rollout of Hillary Clinton as a real populist is a change from the new Democrat positions that we had both she and her husband had before. Smart politics? MELBER: I think it is smart politics. I think it`s reflective of not only where the Democratic Party is, but where a lot of conversation is. If we want to do the compare and contrast of her last rollout, she said, look, I`m in it to win it. Well, that applies to just about every sane candidate and I want to hear from you. Fine, but neither of those things told us much about what she wanted to go. This rollout, whether you like or not is very different. It is more substantive. It is more policy-oriented. It`s about the middle class. It is about working families. And most importantly I thought on her first public campaign event there when she was sitting with students, it was about the way money is crowding out and structural level even the ability to have these debates about Wall Street, about middle class economics. She said, we need to change the way we fund campaigns even if it`s takes a constitutional amendment. I would remind students of politics the last time we had mainstream presidential candidate running on a constitutional amendment was George W. Bush on an amendment to ban marriage equality, one that he never actually pursued. But it tells you a lot. You`re not going to roll out five or ten constitutional amendments. It tells you a lot about the one use pick. That told us a lot about where he was and the politicking he was doing I think to the shame of his historic legacy. Others can judge. For her, we`re seeing an embrace of not only the progressive wing of the Democratic Party but a fed up view of Congress that is I think completely transpartisan when you talk about the money. The money is a problem for Democrats. They`re raising money off Wall Street, which constrains what they can do. It`s a problem for Republicans because a lot of folks want to know what does Marco Rubio think, not what Adelson thinks. REID: Right. MELBER: And when you take $50 million, $100 million, $200 million worth of dead presidents here, you`re doing to stack up to a lot of pressure on the kind of president you would be. REID: Yes. And it`s interesting, Tsedeye, because I was a skeptic of the Occupy Wall Street outcome in the sense they didn`t organize anything politically. They got a lot of attention. But in a sense are we now witnessing kind of the ultimate victory of Occupy because -- I mean that because this language of 1 percent, the language of the powerful versus the ordinary person that cascaded into the 2012 election, 47 percent Mitt Romney gaffe which was just him sort of talking other members of the wealthy class. Have we seen the progressive movement really sort of win the war even if they lost battles early on? TSEDEYE GEBRESELASSIE, NELP: Well, I think we can`t underestimate the affect that Occupy have back then and continues to have now. You know, Occupy activists were articulating a vision of the world that they thought was really screwed up. And when they talk about income inequality, they put it into the national conversation. I think the Fight for 15, the strikes that we saw on Wednesday, Hillary Clinton now tweeting that she stands in support of fast food and child care workers striking even though she does not say what the minimum wage should be. I think that is the crystallization of the frustration that Occupy kind of showed to the rest of the world and the Fight for 15, and, you know, I think it`s been -- it has been able to garner support not just among progressives but when you see the workers that were out on strike Wednesday, it wasn`t just fast food workers, it was adjunct professors that are, you know, poverty wages, making a few thousand dollars per course. A whole of host of workers in our economy who are making less $15 an hour, 42 percent of them that want change. And so, I think the candidates are responding to that and not just to, you know, the progressive or right wing. REID: I see a smile that tells me that is skepticism on the Alfonso side of the table. ALFONSO AGUILAR, AMERICAN PRINCIPLES PROJECT`S LATINO PARTNERSHIP: Yes, I think so. Look, income inequality is a real issue for most Americans. It`s not just because of the Occupy movement. I hate to burst the bubble of liberals, but the Occupy movement may have had an impact on the progressive movement but not most Americans. Most Americans during this administration have seen income inequality expand, household income go down. It`s because of the progressive policies of this president. Now, in terms of Hillary, is she going to align with the liberal policies of Obama or she`s going to be more of a centrist like Bill Clinton? I don`t know if she`s being very substantive right now. Who knows? Is she going to continuing evolving -- or we don`t know. We just don`t know. REID: Such a skeptic. I do want to ask, and I understand that of course on the Republican side it was going to be a lot of skepticism. But is it that easy to throw on to the Obama administration, Ari, the income inequality that`s been expanding since the 1980s. You know, is it the fault of the administration that CEOs have decided to pay themselves 300 times more than their average worker? Can you lay that on a president? MELBER: I think the criticism you`re putting forward doesn`t match what we`ve heard from most the financial community and Wall Street, which is not that he`s feeding inequality, this president, but rather he`s putting on too many rules as it is to many what are watered down Dodd-Frank, SEC rules regarding executive pay that are primarily about disclose and share information, not actually mandating any pay and even that`s been criticized. So, I think there`s a tension here between the Republican attacks trying to blame the president for whatever is happening in the larger macro economic trends and the fact that the loudest Republicans on Wall Street who fund a good portion of the party have said he`s already doing too much, which is it? Now, as to what Hillary Clinton has to do and the Republicans who I think to their credit, some of them are coming around to embrace the issue as well. The question is what are they going to do about it? I think yes, you have to spell it out. We`re seeing indications. We`re seeing Hillary Clinton not going to the same group of Rubinomic advisers. I believe Gary Gensler is publicly announced as an economic adviser now and someone who was more on the regulatory side of things. But yes, it`s going to be a long campaign whether you like it or not, which leaves it a long time to flesh these things out. REID: And, Rich, I want to get you in here, because we`re doing to talk more about the Republicans. But you do see even on Wall Street there`s this "Politico" piece where the Wall Street hedge fund said, oh, Hillary Clinton, you know, she has to say it. It`s may be good politics to say it but it doesn`t portend to salt on the rich. Do we have a system now that really kind of no matter what, Wall Street feels they`re going to win even if they hate the president? Even if they`re not happy with Obama, they still win? RICH TAFEL, FOUNDER, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: I think you`re on to something here. That`s the bigger issue. Hillary had a lot of chutzpah saying, you know, this is eight years of a Democratic president and the people at the top have it stacked. And she`s then next week a few days later say to the lobbyist class of Washington where I live, I welcome your funding. I absolutely welcome your funding and charges $250,000 a speech. So, she`s living in an elite world. She can read the polling. And the polling is a saying that Americans all recognize and Occupy did have an important voice in this, so did the Tea Party. They`re both working class groups who are saying I don`t believe in the American dream anymore. I can`t get ahead. My kids can`t get ahead. They know that. REID: We`re going to come back -- MELBER: Real quick though -- $250,000 speeches, you don`t have to be poor to fight for poor people. You don`t have to be on death row to be against the death penalty. REID: Yes, #FDR. MELBER: Let`s be fair to all the candidates, Democrat and Republican, that we`re looking at what they want to do, not just whether they have been -- (CROSSTALK) REID: Hold on, hold on. Hot debate. I want to let you guys have it after the break, however, after the break. Then I have to make a comment. OK, after the break. Up next, the one place where all the Republican wannabes want to be right now. We will take you there live if we can get this panel to watch this commercial. Be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: Today is day two of the first in the nation Republican leadership summit in New Hampshire. It`s latest opportunity for Republican contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination to reintroduce themselves and establish their positions on the issues. Yesterday`s lineup of speakers included former Texas Governor Rick Perry. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. The second day of the summit got under way earlier this morning and expected to speak at the events today are Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt is in New Hampshire, where she`s been covering the summit. All right, Kasie. So, we`ve been talking this morning about this issue of wealth and income inequality and how that`s emerging like as a central issue in the 2016 campaign. Has that come up with the people who have been speaking there at the summit? KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon. Yes, it`s still good morning. Sorry. We`ve been up here for quite some time now, Melissa. This is, I would say, a broad theme that underlies a lot of the speeches that are here. I think that many of these Republicans don`t use the words income inequality to describe it when I asked Jeb Bush about it, he used the word "social mobility". But almost all of these candidates are talking about this as a major issue and there`s a major stream of populism along these line that`s running through all of these Republican candidates. I will say one person who spends a lot of time on this isn`t actually at the summit and that`s Rick Santorum. He`s the only Republican in the field right now who actually supports raising the minimum wage. But I think that what stood out to me the most was Marco Rubio who spoke last night and he`s probably generated the best response of anyone that`s spoke here to so far. And he talks lot about the American dream and the way he describes it is that this kind of thing matters to him because it`s personal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My father worked events just like this for decades and into his 70s. He stood behind a bar just like the one at the back of this room. On nights when he was tired, when he didn`t want to work, he stood behind that bar because the purpose of my parents` life became to give us -- was to give us all the chances they never had, to open all the doors for us that were not open for them, that all the dreams they once had for themselves would come true for me. (END VIDEO CLIP) HUNT: So there you have it. And that I think is the way that Rubio tells stories about his own life is a striking difference from many of the rest in this field. I think he`s done a good job of striking an emotional chord. You`ve even seen at some of his events, many of the people who are working there, the bartenders who are standing in the back of these rooms will stop and listen to hear what he has to say -- Joy. REID: All right. Thank you very much, MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt in Nashua, New Hampshire. And up next, while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says it`s time to cut entitlements? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: Some potential 2016 don tenders see a different kind of wealth gap that must be closed. Here`s New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in New Hampshire this week unveiling his plan to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Frankly, Washington is afraid to have an honest conversation about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid with the people of our country. I am not. Unless we deal with the crisis, the young people of this country will get poorer, the disparity between young and old, the working middle class and the retired will grow even larger. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: OK, Rich, there goes the senior vote for Chris Christie. Can you win even a Republican primary by explicitly running on cutting Medicare and Social Security, to say nothing of Medicaid? TAFEL: Well, it`s going to be a crowded Republican primary and he`s really out of it right now for a variety of reasons, the bridge scandal and so forth. So, he`s trying to find a way back in by saying I might have a belligerent personality but that belligerence can take on the establishment in Washington. I will cut where no one will cut. I will say where no one will say. Republicans at their core know that the entitlement programs are not sustainable, so they`re looking for someone who will use that boldness to take it on. So, for him, it`s a way to jump-start a dead race right now for him. REID: I may be pugnacious but I`ll also cut your Medicare and Social Security. I`m not sure I understand it. But I want to go back a little bit to this populist message that we did hear from Marco Rubio using the sort of my parents, you know, worked as a bartender, et cetera. Kasie Hunt said that he was uniquely resonating with that. Marco Rubio really isn`t the only person that`s using that kind of rhetoric. You also have Scott Walker attempting to sort of relate to the common man with his rhetoric. Let`s listen to Scott Walker a little bit. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I know after many years of practice that if I`m going to go buy a shirt, I go to that rack that says it was $29.99 and now it`s $19.99, and then I get the Sunday insert out with the little scratch-off and I take it off to the cash register along with my closed credit card. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: So, Alfonso, is it enough to sort of say, I`m relatable to you in the sense that I shopped like you or my parents worked working class jobs if the next thing you say is I`m also going to cut Social Security, private advertise it as Marco Rubio wants to do, if your policies are not populist? AGUILAR: No, that`s why a Republicans need to focus on developing a conservative economic populist message. You know, it`s easy for Democrats to say, well, you know, the way we deal with this is by raising the minimum wage and having more government entitlement programs and that`s going to help. Well, that`s not going to help. But Republicans need to show how their small government policies, their pro-growth policies actually help grow the economy and create good paying jobs. For example, when you talk about cutting corporate taxes you have to say, if you only say I`m going to cut corporate taxes, it sounds like you want the benefit corporations, right, but you have to say how that helps increase wages. REID: How does it? AGUILAR: -- for Americans. GEBRESELASSIE: Yes, how does it? AGUILAR: Well, it does because if you have more government, overregulation, you have companies, wealthy people investing in the economy, you have -- you`re doing to have job creation and you`re doing to have people making more money. (CROSSTALK) REID: Tsedeye, I`m going to let you respond. AGUILAR: It hasn`t happened. It`s happening right now. GEBRESELASSIE: We have seen the failure of trickle down economics for decades. The fact that people still try to pretend that cutting taxes for the incredibly wealthy. I mean, just this week, the House Republicans passed a repeal of the estate tax, a move that would benefit, what, 5,000 of the wealthiest families in America calling it in the same way that you`re doing now. That`s not creating jobs for the vast majority of the workforce. AGUILAR: And we don`t have trickle-down economics right now, it`s the opposite. And is it creating jobs? It`s not. REID: We had it during the 1980s. And we did not have the kind of job creation we have now. Under this president you have had significant job creation. It`s very difficult to argue the macro economics, is it not? TAFEL: I think so. The bigger picture is that the two old models of the Democrats and Republicans for solving the problem are old, tired, and don`t work in a global economy. Democrats look at a pie. And we`ve got to take from the rich, give to the poor. And you`re measured by your compassion, how much you give benefits to the poor. It`s a failed strategy. Republicans have said the trickle down style. If the rich get richer, it`s guaranteed to trickle down to the poor. That`s not true in a global economy, where jobs are outsourced and where the business customers are outsourced and where the wealthy people put their money outsourced. So, it`s a global economy. And that`s whole different strategy we`ve never had to face. MELBER: Two points. Your description of the so-called Democratic approach doesn`t involve power in the equation. You`re saying take from the rich, give to the poor. TAFEL: Yes. MELBER: Most companies will run according to the power in the company. Organized labor and regulation are both ways to deal with the power of basically management that may, without any other pressures, want to pay itself more than the majority of people that work for the company and without competition and without those protection, those folks are going to be left behind. That`s why, I mean, you say what should the companies do? Walmart is a good barometer of big American company, they`re raising wages. Wait, I just said point number two. That`s a debate trick, now I get to speak again. The second point I want to make briefly is, Elizabeth Warren isn`t just pushing Hillary Clinton to the left. She is clearly having I think an echo effect on the Republican Party. I think that`s good. I think it is great that Marco Rubio and Scott Walker in their own ways, rhetorically are trying to speak to these issues. The question of course is voters will then get to assess what the solutions are. But look, this is a Republican Party that when Mitt Romney was dabbling with running again, he said it would be all about income inequality. That suggests that Republicans are now trying to keep up with the progressive critiques of this economy. AGUILAR: They`re not going to doubt liberal policies. Let -- I`m happy with Walmart wants to increase wages. REID: You said that wouldn`t help. AGUILAR: No, let the companies do that. They`re in a better position to determine if they want to increase wages. What I`m against is the federal government saying every single company needs to provide a wage of $15. REID: I think there`s an empirical case to be made that companies are doing it to the pressure outside of their walls coming from this larger movement. But let`s go to Jeb Bush. We have left him out. It happen unfortunately in this presidential cycle. But he, too, is talking about these issues in a different way. I think in a way that`s more like what Alfonso was describing. Let`s listen to Jeb Bush talking about the minimum wage. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: There are a lot of businesses that will have to lay people off if you raise the federal minimum wage. If states want to do it, fine. But there ought -- there are better ways, expanding the earned taxable income. Making sure that people have skills to be able to get a job that`s way above the minimum wage is another, growing the economy faster so that people can rise up and aren`t stuck in low-paying jobs. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: So, Tsedeye, so that is Jeb Bush playing the role of Alfonso at our table here saying what Alfonso said. Will that message resonate outside the Republican based electorate? GEBRESELASSIE: No, it will not, because he talks about, you know, if you don`t want to make the minimum wage, then, you know, develop skills and move out of that minimum wage jobs. That`s not the reality for the vast majority of Americans who are working low paying jobs, because -- I know you`re shaking your head, but it is a fact that wages in this country have stagnated or fallen for the bottom 70 percent of the workforce. That is not just minimum wage earners. Those are people -- those are formerly middle class jobs that have now become poverty wage jobs. And so, that message is not going to resonate, but for the very small minority of people who ideologically are opposed to a federal minimum wage. The $7.25 federal minimum wage has been that since 2009. I don`t think anybody a part from, again, that very small minority thinks that sufficient to raise a family on. MELBER: Three things in that clip, two could be seen as broadly center left. The earned income tax credit pushed by the Clinton administration to help working families. And he said, get the economy going. Well, he`s running for president. He`s not running for CEO. So, if the president wants to get the economy going I assume that involves the government doing something. REID: Right, 5.5 percent unemployment. MELBER: Of his views there would be government related and center left. By the way, that`s a good thing. Sometimes Democrats don`t know how to declare victory when the Republican Party is fighting on Democratic turf. REID: Well, unfortunately, I want to thank everybody. Alfonso Aguilar, Tsedeye Gebreselassie, Ari Melber, Rich are sticking around. I`m not saying good-bye. I`m just saying bye for now. MELBER: Thanks for being here. REID: Thanks for being here right now before we go to break. On a completely different note, Friday afternoon, President Obama held a joint press conference with the prime minister of Italy and fielded a question on the holdup over the vote to confirm his attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s no reason for it. Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the Senate, on an issue that`s completely unrelated to her. This is the top law enforcement job in the country. What are we doing here? And I have to say that there are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It`s gone too far. Enough. Enough. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: On the Barack Obama scale, that counts as blind wage. And more on that on tomorrow`s show. And up next, the teachers who are headed to prison for cheating on tests. Does the punishment fit the crime? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: What are the country`s biggest school cheating scandals came to a controversial and dramatic end in an Atlanta courtroom this week. Ten educators were sentenced after being convicted of racketeering and other charges. Prosecutors say they participated in a conspiracy to falsely inflate scores on standardized tests. A state investigation found cheating in 44 Atlanta schools, with teachers in some cases giving students answers or erasing and changing answers. The educators could have faced up to 20 years in prison for the racketeering charges alone. Before sentencing their supporters, including former Atlanta mayor and civil rights activist, Andrew Young, argued the real problem was the intense pressure put on teachers to raise test scores. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER MAYOR OF ATLANTA: I think these teachers got caught in a trap. Dr. King used to say when crime -- when people are placed in darkness, crimes will be committed. But the guilty are not just those who commit the crimes but those who create the darkness. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: But Judge Jerry Baxter was unswayed, calling the case, quote, "the sickest thing that`s ever happened in Atlanta." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUDGE JERRY BAXTER, FULTON COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: There were thousands of children that were harmed in this thing. This is not a victimless crime that occurred in this city. From 2001 there was whole-scale cheating going on in the Atlanta public schools and these kids were passed on and passed on and had no chance to begin with. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: The judge urged the educators to accept plea deals in exchange for lenient sentences. They will be required to accept responsibility and waive the right to appeal. The two educators who accepted the plea deals were rewarded. One was given a one year 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. curfew at home. Another was sentenced to six months of weekends in jail. Both will serve five years probation. But the eight educators who refused the plea deal were given a minimum of one year in prison. With three regional directors getting the harshest sentences, seven years in prison, more than double the recommendation of prosecutors. Those eight educators are expected to appeal and while the case may be over for now, the debate over the consequences of high stakes texting rages on. As my next guest wrote for "The Huffington Post", it will make other than pressure for our schools to improve and sending the educators in Atlanta to prison for cheating will not address the larger problem this country faces in educating its children. Still -- still with me in New York are Ari Melber and Rich Tafel. And joining us now from Miami is the author of that article, Pedro Noguera, professor of sociology at NYU and executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education. And, Pedro, first, I want you to comment on the judge`s statement that this cheating scandal is the sickest thing to happen in Atlanta, Georgia. PEDRO NOGUERA, NYU PROFESSOR: Well, I think we should all be outraged by what`s happened here and it`s not just the cheating which of course is wrong. But this sentence rendered by the judge is just outrageous. We have seen bankers go off, we`ve seen hedge fund managers and police officers, as well as teacher, teachers who have had sex with children have been treated less harshly than the educators in this case. There`s no question that they should be held accountable. They should be denied the right to ever work in education again. But this kind of punishment I think really misses the larger point of what`s going wrong on not only Atlanta but in the country the way we`ve been using testing and the way we`ve been applying pressure to get higher scores. Whenever you create this kind of environment, you begin to create incentives to cheat and that`s what`s happening not just in Atlanta but many districts throughout the country. REID: And, Pedro, you knew the late superintendent in this particular case. You`re familiar with the Atlanta school system. What kind of pressure was there on these teachers and these schools and in your mind, was this some sort of really nefarious criminal conspiracy or were the teachers sort of acting out in desperation? NOGUERA: Well, I -- you know, the sad thing, this clear evidence that schools in Atlanta did improve under the leadership of Beverly Hall. Atlanta was the laughingstock of the nation where they were fights among school board members and many schools in total disarray. Beverly hall not only brought order to the system but we saw many schools, including Park Middle School which was cited as the epicenter of the cheating significantly improve and you can see that from the climate and culture in the building. However, that was not reflected in the test cores. They were under pressure not only from Beverly Hall but the governor and state legislature to show dramatic improvement. And under that kind of pressure some educators chose to cheat and apparently went on quite extensively throughout the system. And so, I think the sad thing is that they were not content with slow but steady progress in the school system and instead wanted to see the dramatic rises which just were not possible without the cheating that occurred. REID: I want to come out at panel real quick, Ari, because the specific charge of racketeering that was used here, I guess viscerally feels inappropriate and excessive. Was it in your view? MELBER: Well, racketeering is based on a 1970 federal law in Georgia has a version of it -- and RICO, Racketeering Influence Corrupt Organizations Act, deals with the kind of crimes that involve a group of people. So, if one person says to another, in a mafia case I guess so want you to kill someone and you do the act, RICO is the way to get both of us on that serious crime, not having the person who ordered able to step back and say, I didn`t do it. I wasn`t at the emergency and I was abroad, you know? No, you were actually part of this corrupt organization. It can be applied in that sense to any organization including one that is publicly funded or government in the case of schools. So, it is not legally out of balance to apply it this way. Having said that in terms of the discretion used here, it is one of the most serious charges you can use under federal or state law. It is carries very serious penalties. Five to 20 years in Georgia. And so, you have the combination of that use of that law in some of the other examples just mentioned. Obviously wasn`t used in the case of say, inappropriate conduct between a teacher or student or other violent crimes that get less time. And then you have a second aspect here, which is the fact in this scenario, you had many individual, these defendants, choose not to take the plea, which is their right. But they are then getting a stiffer sentence because of that. And that`s why this story I will say is a story about poverty, a story about education, but it`s also a story about law and a system we have where for people who don`t cooperate, sometimes they will get punished far more separate from the crime itself -- just their choice to exercise their right not to take a plea or not to take a sentencing deal. REID: Well, I want to quickly play because it`s a story object teachers and parents and kids. Let`s play one of the parents involved and how they`re reacting to the sentences. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHAWNNA HAYES-TAVARES, MOTHER OF ATLANTA STUDENT: These children are still here, still trying to adjust. They are the ones that have to make up for the lack of education that they received. So, you know, we have a lot of work to do in our city. We have a lot of trust to restore in our school system. We have a lot of children to apologize to and to love on and let them know that we will never allow this to happen in the Atlanta public schools ever again. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Rich, you know, this does feel like a piece with this overhaul push against teachers that I have to say is happening from conservative Republican governments who blame teachers for everything in the world, take away their pensions, take away their benefits, take away their union- organizing and now they are criminalized in this way. TAFEL: Well, there`s a big problem in the country, which is that we have - - we talked about income inequality that plays it itself out. So, I`ve been a fan of measurement and I`ve taken part in the legislation to measure, I think it`s a good thing. But what happened is when the measurements came out, political leaders said, oh, no, I`m not taking the blame for this and they are looking for someone. So, that`s why they`re opposed to Common Core and No Child Left Behind. But they`re also blaming the teachers who are facing -- and the secret is, you have to test, measure and bring resources to help those when you see the deficiency. That`s how it`s supposed to work. Not just raise your score magically which happened all over the country, not just Atlanta. REID: And we are out of time, but Pedro, very quickly, do you expect to see any appeals successful or do you anticipate they could be? NOGUERA: But I think there will be an appeal. Hopefully, there will be a call throughout the country for this to be revisited and for justice to prevail in this case. REID: Indeed. NOGUERA: I think this is excessive. The opt out movement, which is growing around the country. And we saw it this week with thousands of parents chose to not take the test is ultimately going to challenge this kind of abuse in testing that we`ve seen going on throughout America. REID: Absolutely. NOGUERA: And No Child Left Behind. REID: Absolutely. All right. Pedro Noguera from Miami, Florida, thank you very much. And here in New York, thank you to Ari Melber and Rich Tafel. Thank you both. And up next, our foot soldiers of the week putting their best foot forward for a worthy cause. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: In the United States, more than 293,000 people are sexually assaulted every year. That amounts to one sexual assault every 107 seconds. Sixty-eight percent of assaults are not reported to police and just 2 percent of perpetrators will serve jail time. In 2012 alone, there were 2,406 instances of rape in South Carolina alone. Statistics like those are a vital part of efforts to spread awareness, support survivors and prevent assault. But our foot soldiers this week went the extra mile. On Wednesday night, South Carolina`s Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands hosted its sixth annual awareness march called Walk a Mile in Their Shoes. More than 2,500 men and women gathered at Richland Mall in Columbia, South Carolina, wearing high heels to embark on a one-mile walk meant to start a dialogue about sexual assault. That`s 2,000 more attendees than the first walk in 2009. Among those in attendance was the state`s attorney general. And even Cleveland Browns quarterback Conner Shaw who played college football at the University of South Carolina. Collectively, Shaw and the other marchers who signed up for the walk either individually or in teams raised more than $80,000 through sponsors and direct donations. The money will go towards supporting sexual assault survivors in the state. Now, if you were a fan of this show, you will know that we are a big fan of heels, worn by both women and men. Heels are not just her shoes and sexual assault is not just her issue. And event organizers tell us that is an essential part of the message that the walk is meant to convey, that violence against women is a problem the entire community must face. Likewise, violence against members of the LGBTQ community is an issue everyone must ban together to solve. So, for raising money and awareness for survivors of sexual assault and for unifying an entire community behind a single cause, the Sexual Trauma Services of Midlands and all the participants who put on those pumps are literally our foot soldiers of the week. And that is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I will see you tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Now, it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT". Alex, my girl, what`s going on? THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END