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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 3/17/21

Guests: Judy Chu, Margaret Huang, Brittney Cooper, Amy Klobuchar, Veronica Escobar


Eight people are dead in Georgia killed by a gunman who deliberately targeted women in Asian spots. A group called Stop AAPI Hate said that there are reports of nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents in the last year, more than two-thirds of them against Asian women. The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act where 29 Republicans siding with Democrats. The Biden administration limits what Border Patrol can share with the media about the rise in migrants.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: That`s right. And they say -- they say, yes, we`re voting against John Lewis Voting Rights Act. That`s what I`m worried about too. Charlie Sykes, Michelle Goldberg, you guys are great. Thank you. That`s tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), MAYOR OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA: This is an issue that`s happening across the country. It is unacceptable, it is hateful, and it has to stop.

HAYES: An American tragedy driven by misogyny, racism, and guns. Eight people are dead in Georgia killed by a gunman who deliberately targeted women in Asian spots because police say, he was having a bad day.

JAY BAKER, CAPTAIN, CHEROKEE COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: He was pretty much fed up and then kind of at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.

HAYES: Tonight, why reactions like that aren`t helping as incidences of violence against Asian Americans surge across the country.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: None of us should ever be silent in the face of any form of hate.

HAYES: Then, Senator Amy Klobuchar and the new push for the Violence Against Women Act. And Congresswoman Veronica Escobar on what`s really happening at the southern border when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. There are eight people dead in the Atlanta area after a horrifying spree shooting last night at three different locations, three different spas. The suspect is in police custody and we now know some of the victim`s names. Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33. Xiaojie Tan, age 49. Daoyou Feng, age 44. And Paul Andre Michaels, age 54.

We also know that seven of the eight victims were women. Six of the eight were of Asian descent. The South Korean consulate in Atlanta confirmed that four of the eight victims were ethnic Koreans. We do not yet know any other nationalities.

The rampage began around 5:00 p.m. yesterday at Young`s Asian massage near Acworth Georgia, a suburb northwest of Atlanta. Four people were killed there. And about 45 minutes later, officers responded to Gold Spa in North East Atlanta where they found three women killed. While officers were on that scene, shots were fired across the street at Aromatherapy Spa. They found one woman killed there.

The police arrested 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long following a manhunt yesterday evening charging him with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault. Now, this story, you might recall, it was breaking just as we got off the air last night. And in the hours that followed, many folks who are watching this happen made the obvious connection between this tragedy and the horrifying spike in anti-Asian hate crimes that we have seen around the country recently.

A group called Stop AAPI Hate received reports of nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents in the last year, more than two thirds of them against Asian women. And that context hung over the news reports as they came out last night and this morning and during the day. It was glaring as police held a press conference in Atlanta this morning, putting on frankly, I have to say, a strange performance as they shared what the shooter allegedly confessed to them.


BAKER: He claims that these -- as the chief said, it`s still early but he does claim that it was not racially motivated. He apparently has an issue, what he considers sick fiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places and it`s temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.

When I was I spoke with investigators, they interviewed him this morning, and they got that impression that yes, he understood the gravity of it. And he was pretty much fed up and then kind of at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.


HAYES: It was a bad day for him, a really bad day for him. This is what he did to eliminate the temptation. As many people pointed out, whatever the shooter`s own understanding of his motive or what he told police perhaps somewhat self-servingly having been arrested after allegedly shooting and killing eight people, or what the police`s characterization is, it is just impossible to separate the context of these specific human beings who were killed, murdered where they worked. And where they came from, and what they look like, and where they worked, and who owned those facilities and the world they inhabited and the violence that was committed against them by this individual.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms stepped up to the mic just after officer Baker to make that point.

BOTTOMS: Whatever the motivation was for this guy, we know that many of the victims, the majority of the victims were Asian. We also know that this is an issue that`s happening across the country. It is unacceptable, it is hateful, and it has to stop.


HAYES: President Biden echoed Mayor Bottoms earlier this afternoon expressing his concern about the violent trend in this country.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The question of motivation is still to be determined. But whatever the motivation here, I know that Asian Americans are very, very concerned because as you know, I`ve been speaking about the brutality against Asian Americans for the last couple months, and I think it`s very, very troubling.


HAYES: And Vice President Kamala Harris, we should note, the highest- ranking Asian American in the history of American politics offered this.


HARRIS: I do want to say to our Asian American community that we stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people. But knowing the increasing level of hate crime against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak out in solidarity with them and acknowledge that none of us should ever be silent in the face of any form of hate.


HAYES: For the latest on the investigation, we go to NBC News Correspondent Kathy Park in Atlanta. Kathy, what is the latest?

KATHY PARK, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, good evening to you. It certainly has been a very difficult day for the people of Atlanta as well as the Asian American community. You might notice the growing makeshift memorial behind me in front of one of the shooting locations, one of three, that happened in a span of about an hour or so.

The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21-years-old of Georgia, said that these attacks were not racially motivated. However, officials are not ruling this out at this point. But he did say that he was -- had some sort of sex addiction and was targeting these establishments which she has visited in the past before as a way of lashing out.

As far as the victims, there are in total eight. One person has been injured and still recovering from his injuries at this hour. But six of those victims were of Asian descent. And that`s why it has been so painful for the Asian American community because as you mentioned, there has been a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes against Asian-Americans all across the country.

In fact, one nonprofit who has been tracking the latest numbers said that the number is around 3,800 since a pandemic kicked off around March. And you have celebrities every day, citizens here in Atlanta and beyond who are now speaking out on social media saying that enough is enough. Chris?

HAYES: Kathy Park down in Georgia, thank you so much. I want to turn now to NBC News Correspondent Jo Ling Kent who has been covering, as Kathy referred to, the increase in hate incidents against Asian Americans. She joins me now with more on that new report.

Jo, we have seen reporting on this, we`ve seen folks speaking up about it, incidents, we`re starting to get some data now as well.

JO LING KENT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: That`s right, Chris. It`s an understatement to say the Asian American community and Asians globally are really feeling so much pain over the past 24 to 36 hours, not to mention the entire past year when so much of this has gone under-reported and unacknowledged.

And so as we look at the data, we see that these reports of hate incidents are coming from all 50 states and Washington D.C. We see it`s approaching 4,000. The pace is picking up according to Stop AAPI Hate, which is tracking these. And I want to point out that this is -- these are people who are reporting these incidents, not the scores of individuals who aren`t reporting for fear of retribution or being shunned beyond what is already happening on the ground.

As for who it`s happening to, it`s happening twice as often to women as it is to men. According to those who are reporting, 68 percent of those incidents reported came from women, 29 percent male. And we always want to know where is this happening? What is the context here? And we know now according to this data, that 68 percent -- or 35 percent of the time it`s happening in businesses and on public streets.

And that`s been reinforced by what we saw in Atlanta. And of course, we do not have a causal link at this time. We do not have a motivation. But Chris, when you look at the context in which so many of these incidents have been reported, you start to see a pattern and you start to see why the Asian community is feeling so much pain right now, especially Asian American women.

HAYES: Jo Ling Kent who has been reporting on this throughout, thank you, Jo, for making a little time with us tonight. I appreciate it.

KENT: Thanks. I want to bring in Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu of California, the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress, chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

A lot of folks I`ve talked to today, there is a real visceral and raw sense of anguish and fear in the wake of yesterday, particularly because it comes on the heels of this past year. How are you thinking about what we`re seeing here?

REP. JUDY CHU (D-CA): Well, we were shocked and heartbroken when we heard about the deaths of these eight people, six of them being Asian women. We think that this is the culmination of a whole year`s worth of hate that was stoked by the xenophobia of Donald Trump.

And let me point out, this man says that this was not a hate crime, but he picked three businesses to deal with his sex addiction, and all three of them just happened to be Asian businesses with the first one being called Young`s Asian Massage. So, what does that lead you to believe when the majority of the victims were Asian American?

Nonetheless, it is something that you could have seen from this year and what has happened with these 3,800 hate crimes and incidents that have occurred.

HAYES: Yes, I want to ask you about your personal experience in terms of your constituents, because this is something that for the last year, there has been a lot of focus on Coronavirus, the president calling it the China virus, and increasing rhetoric from a lot of quarters of American life directed at China as a kind of enemy, as an external enemy.

And in your relationship with your constituents in terms of what you hear, how has that impacted the folks you represent? What has that meant over the past year?

CHU: Well, we first saw it in January when the Coronavirus was making its appearance. But when Donald Trump started calling it the China virus and the Wuhan virus contrary to the advice of CDC and the World Health Organization, who said to call it COVID-19 because calling it otherwise would only cause a stigma for those of different ethnicities and from different countries, Donald Trump actually doubled down.

He actually said it even more and had his Republican followers use those terms even more. Hence, what it caused was even more fear and terror in the Asian American community. So, we kept on hearing about stories after stories of people who were the victims of tons and racial epithets of people like that family of three in the Sands Club in Texas, where a man stabbed all three of them, two being children ages two and six, and afterwards said it`s because he wanted to kill Asian Americans due to the Coronavirus.

So, this is happening all over in my district. There was a Chinese American man who was attacked with his own cane at a bus stop in Rosemead causing him to lose part of his finger. So, yes, it is happening everywhere, including in my district.

HAYES: My understanding is the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow will be having a hearing about this which you will be participating in. I guess the question is what at a federal level of level of policy, right, what can be done?

CHU: So, we have been pursuing many things. One is right after the President made his executive order, we asked for meeting with the Department of Justice. And let me say how significant it was that President Biden did that. We`ve been asking for a year to meet with the Department of Justice due to all these hate crimes and incidents, but we were totally ignored.

President Biden issued this executive order for the Department of Justice to meet with the AAPI community. And so, that was arranged immediately. We met with him last week about things that we need to do in order to resolve the situation and address hate crimes. We`ve called for this anti-Asian hate crime hearing which will take place tomorrow on the House Judiciary Committee.

And we are calling for the passage of a No Hate Act, which would vastly improve the collection of data on hate crimes which right now is very spotty, is toothless because the federal government relies on local law enforcement to report and many of them have great variance in terms of how they treat hate crimes after whether they even report it at all. In fact, three states don`t even have a hate crime statute. And we are calling for March 26th to be a national day to speak out against anti-Asian hate.

HAYES: March 26th. That hearing will be tomorrow. Congresswoman Judy Chu will be participating. Congresswoman, thanks for your time tonight.

CHU: Thank you.

HAYES: OK, so there`s one part of the story we obviously need to talk about a little more. And it`s the explanation that the male shooter was having a really bad day. Obviously, I think that police officer, if you could take those words back and phrase it differently now, probably would, a really bad way to explain why seven women and man are dead this evening. We`re going to talk about why that is right after this.


BAKER: I spoke with investigators. They interviewed him this morning and I -- they got that impression that yes, he understood the gravity of it. And he was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope and yesterday it was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.


HAYES: Even if you take the accused mass murderer at his word as relayed by police that he was motivated to murder eight people at three different spots because of a sexual addiction, on what police amazing they called "bad day," we`re still talking about a suspect with an intense violent fetishize and objectifying view of women, of Asian women specifically, blaming them, hating them for his own perceived failures before targeting them and murdering them.

Police say he told them he planned to go to Florida to murder more people at businesses connected to the adult film industry. This attack was directed against women specifically seems quite clear. And the other inescapable context of this mass murder is at least a year of rising anti- Asian bigotry, rhetoric, and acts.

Think about this. It was a full year ago, at the very start of the pandemic, The New York Times had this headline reporting Chinese Americans were being "Spit on, yelled at, and attacked." But even as various groups and media outlets sounded the alarm at the rise in anti-Asian attacks, data suggests that threat only intensify.

I want to talk about what`s happening to two women who pay a lot of attention to these issues. Margaret Huang, she`s president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups across the country. And Brittney Cooper, associate professor of Women`s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University.

Margaret, let me start with you. Obviously, it`s just a brutally horrifying act that has been committed here. How have you been processing the aftermath of it, and particularly the way that the law enforcement spoke about it today?

MARGARET HUANG, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Thanks so much, Chris. I was outraged by what Sheriff Baker said in his press conference today. I think there`s no question that this was a hate crime. It was a hate crime against women. It was a hate crime against Asian women.

And it`s clear to me that the Georgia law enforcement agencies need some training on what hate crimes are and how they need to do these types of investigations.

HAYES: Brittney, your response.

BRITTNEY COOPER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: You know, one of the problems we have with white supremacy is that many white people don`t believe it`s racist unless a racial slur has been used. But this was clearly a targeted attack on Asian American folks and on Asian women.

One of the things we know is that rhetorical violence always precedes physical violence. And so, the Trump administration and President Trump himself created a rhetorically violent environment for Asian American folks, blame them for this pandemic, ginned up the public and created this context for things to be unsafe. And now folks are acting surprised that it led to this kind of violence when it was entirely predictable. And that is extremely outraging.

HAYES: You know, Margaret, Spencer Ackerman is a great reporter and has reported a lot about the war on terror, has a book coming out called Reign of Terror. And he made the point today, drawing the parallel, that like, you know, when -- post 9/11, when the U.S. and U.S. officials mobilized against this other threat out there, al-Qaeda and the Muslim world, it led quite clearly, right, to increase Levels of bigotry and hate crime and persecution among -- against Muslim Americans.

And you really can see in the last year, the rhetoric of not just the Trump ministration, but America`s foreign policy leadership, this increasing rhetoric about China as the kind of big enemy for the next century. Like, how much do you think that matters? How much does that reverberate through the society?

HUANG: I think there`s no question, Chris, that that is a main driver of the anti-Asian violence that we`ve been seeing across the country over the last year. It is the President`s narrative, President Trump`s narrative about the Chinese virus, about Kung Flu, that has driven so many incidences of hate and discrimination and violence against Asian Americans.

And that rhetoric is still being perpetrated by members of Congress today. You will still see members of Congress making those same references using that same narrative on the floor. We need elected officials to own responsibility for contributing to this problem. And we need a shift in the -- in the narrative around these issues.

HAYES: You know, Brittney, it`s a very -- it`s a very sick and disturbing part of life as an American journalist that you accrue a library of mass shootings with different details over the course of your work, which is true for me. I`ve covered a lot of them now. I thought about this piece today from New York Times from August 2019, a common trait among mass killers, hatred toward women.

And this has cropped up time and time again which is a man with access to guns and hatred in his heart, and often hatred towards women, that ends up in this kind of situation. That`s not just limited to mass shootings. That is a reality of violence in America every day.

COOPER: One of the challenges we have is that we don`t speak intersectionally enough. So, we always think that because this is a white supremacist crime, it is also a gender crime, it is a patriarchy crime. And it has to do with the way that White men in particular, think that their own particular challenges should become adjudicated through public violence. We see that over and over again.

And it`s not just about whiteness, it`s also about a particular brand of violent masculinity which also reached heightened levels during the Trump administration. This is a man who made it into the presidency after we learned about specific acts of gender violence that he committed and bragged about.

But we had already seen it in the country over and over again with white men getting angry, and often they would kill their girlfriends, and then they would go out and commit mass acts of violence against other people. This time, we see these things being combined, but we have to be calling out patriarchy, too, because as many Asian American professors, activists, thinkers, and the general public have said, this is also about a particular sexualization of Asian American women that is part of a violent fantasy that we`re seeing the being played out here too. And it`s a problem.

HAYES: Yes, Margaret, I was thinking today about we are just getting details, right, about the victims here and about these establishments, right. But these are not -- these are places where folks are not -- if not at the margins of society, far from the centers of power. There are often establishments that have been targeted by law enforcement depending -- I`m not saying specifically about these ones individually, but as a group that has been the case in the past, and folks that don`t necessarily, the people who are working there, have a lot of power in American society.

HUANG: Absolutely, Chris. I think what`s important to realize is that, as you know, these are low-wage workers. These are people who are struggling already to survive. And what`s critical is that you want those people to feel safe and coming forward when incidences like what happened yesterday, occur. And instead, we`ve seen an incredible focus on the perpetrator of this violence.

His photo is used in stories. We don`t see the photos of the victims. We don`t hear the stories from their families about how this has struck them. I think it`s critically important that we start to shift that narrative and lift up the voices of those who are most directly affected.

HAYES: Yes. This is something I think that all of us in the media are getting better at, have gotten better over the years, again, through the awfulness of the fact that this is a reoccurring phenomenon in American life. Margaret Huang and Brittany Cooper, thank you both for being with me. I appreciate it.

The House today voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act which provides support to victims of domestic violence but over 172 Republicans voted no. Senator Amy Klobuchar has been a fierce proponent of Bill. She joins me next.


HAYES: The mass shooting in Atlanta last night targeting women is a stark reminder of the threat that women all across this country face every single day. Just one day after that horrific event, the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The measure passed this afternoon 244 to 172. 29 Republicans siding with Democrats to get it through, so quite a bipartisan bill, but yes, 172 Republicans voted no.

The Act has been allowed to expire two years ago by Senate Republicans and now it goes back to the Senate where majority -- Democrats hold a very slim majority. Senator Amy Klobuchar is among the lawmakers who`ve been pushing for reauthorization since the Act was allowed to expire and she joins me now.

Senator, what do you make of that roll call vote in the House with 29 Republicans voting yes, which these days that`s a lot, but in a grander sense, a lot of Republican opposition?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Well, first, Chris, I want to thank you for devoting your show to covering the victims in this case, and who just can never be forgotten, as the mayor of Atlanta said, Keisha Lance Bottoms, that this is a crime against all of us.

And we are seeing, as your guest, Congresswoman Chu, and so many others describe this increase in violence against Asian Americans in unprecedented number coming out of the last few years have been targeted. Secondly, for the Violence Against Women Act, which would be a big help, in general, for violence against women.

This was traditionally a really bipartisan bill back when President Biden was in the Senate and working on it, very bipartisan. Over the years, that`s frayed. And it`s really, really, really concerning because it`s about things like protecting LGBTQ victims, protecting immigrant victims.

The bill that I have that`s in there -- and by the way, I am happy we got 29 Republican votes because that will give me some momentum in the Judiciary Committee in the Senate. One of the more controversial things is pretty relevant to what we`re talking about today, and that`s a provision that convicted stalkers and convicted domestic abusers who happen to be dating partners instead of husband. Right now, in some states, these guys can get guns. And this provision simply says they can`t.

HAYES: This has been referred to in the past as the boyfriend loophole in terms of putting it. Is the gun element -- I mean, it seems to me there`s two elements here that have -- that Republicans have been citing. There`s the gun element, there`s also immigrant visas, if I`m not mistaken, right, for women that are subject to domestic abuse. That`s something that there was a lot of controversy over in the Trump ministration which I believe use sort of administrative procedures to get rid of that. Are those -- are those the objections?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, the main one, the gun one has been one that they have pointed to which by the way, even our Republican witnesses at a hearing several years ago, a self-described conservative Sheriff from Wisconsin, said, you know, a gun in the hands of a domestic abuser, whether it`s a boyfriend or a husband, they shoot just as tough and they kill just as much. And so, they`re just -- even they agreed with that piece of the provision.

So, you know, I -- it may be these crimes like these and these mass crimes are going to convince them. I hope so. We are proud of this bill and we`re going to push it forward starting in the Judiciary Committee. And as you know, for the first time in years, we have the gavel, Senator Durbin is the chair, and he`s a big proponent of this bill, and we`re ready to go.

HAYES: So, this bill, the Violence Against Women Act, the reauthorization would, as the Senate is currently constituted, have to clear almost certainly a 60 vote threshold because some Republican will invoke a filibuster. A staff member just has to send an e-mail saying they`ll do that.

Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, said that the next piece of legislation Senate One, the For the People Act, which has campaign finance reform, as well as reforms to national election administration making Election Day a national holiday and so forth. There`s no way you have 10 Republican votes, which sets up the question of is this now going to be the fight over the filibuster.

KLOBUCHAR: I am tired of these archaic rules getting in the way of doing things for the American people. Look what just happened, the American Rescue Plan, highly popular with Republican voters as well as Democratic voters. And we had to resort to that process called reconciliation just to get that done.

And I think people are tired of waiting. They voted for change in Georgia. They voted for change when they voted for Joe Biden. And that`s why I favor of getting rid of the filibuster. But even short of that, Chris, you could have a standing filibuster, which Senator Manchin has been talking about where you require the other side to actually, like they used to do in the movies, stand and object day after day after day.

But however we do it, this bill itself deserves a moment and that is Senate One, which is the For the People Act already passed the House. And this would bring our democracy back again. Over 250 bills have been introduced to suppress the vote since January 1st.

And I just -- I don`t know what -- usually when people lose an election, like the Republican Party did in a big way by eight million votes, they step back. Our party`s done that. Their party has done that and say how do we change our policies, how do we reach out better to voters. Instead, what they`re saying is, we`re going to double down on our positions on everything from immigration, to choice. We`re going to double down, but we`re going to just disenfranchise those voters that voted last time that voted by mail and the like. That is not going to fly. And that`s why this bill is so important.

And one thing I hope you keep remembering when you talk about it with other guests, nine of these provisions are bipartisan. A number of these provisions have been supported by Republican governors and secretaries of state. So, this is why this bill is called simply For the People because it is about preserving our democracy.

HAYES: Senator Amy Klobuchar of the state of Minnesota, who has been working very hard on the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization --

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

HAYES: Thank you very much for your time.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Chris. And by the way, this is an argument for getting Kristen Clarke and Vanita Gupta confirmed. They know what they`re doing on hate crimes, and we need to get them through the Senate.

HAYES: It`s a great point. Thank you very much. Those are two nominees who would be deputies at the Justice Department.

A few weeks ago, I called out Republicans for claiming to be the party of the working class while staying silent on the union fight happening in Amazon. Now, we have an update, an important one from none other than Marco Rubio. You`re going to want to see this. That`s next.



SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): What I wanted to say is Jeff, you are worth $180 billion, B, $180 billion. You are the wealthiest person on earth. Why are you spending millions of dollars trying to defeat a union organizing effort in Alabama where your workers are fighting for decent wages and decent working conditions? What is your problem?


HAYES: Last night on this show, Senator Bernie Sanders called out Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and the richest man in the world, for opposing his workers efforts to earn a decent paycheck. Democrats from President Biden on down have voiced their support for the right for workers to unionize as Amazon workers at this warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, tried to organize the one of the most high-profile union campaigns in recent memory.

And a few weeks ago, I pointed out that given the try-hard posturing of so many prominent Republicans about how they are now the party of the working class, this unionization push is a great opportunity for them.


HAYES: The Republican Party really wants to be the party of the working class and of unions. Well, that`s great, OK. But it has to actually mean something. So, here`s a simple test, gentleman. Go on the record, with your support for the workers fighting for their rights against Amazon right now. Otherwise, we`ll go back to assuming this is all an insulting act.


HAYES: Now, since I put that out there I feel duty-bound to report on a Republican who did kind of answer the call in the most passive-aggressive way possible. And speaking of, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida who penned an op-ed in USA Today last week. The bottom line is Rubio says he supports the workers which great, welcome aboard, Senator. But he`s reasoning really has to be read to be believed.

"Here`s my standard. When the conflict is between the working Americans and a company whose leadership has decided to wage culture war against working- class values, the choice is easy. I support the workers. It`s no fault of Amazon`s workers if they feel the only option available to protect themselves against bad faith is to form a union. Today, it might be workplace conditions, tomorrow it might be a requirement that workers embrace management`s latest woke human resources fad."

Basically, and I`ve read this op-ed a bunch of times now, Rubio`s argument is look, I don`t like unions. I don`t like union organizing campaigns. The Republican Party doesn`t. We tend to stand with capital against labor. But because you corporations are defying our political and cultural sensibilities, now it`s payback time.

Rubio concludes, "Amazon`s workers are right to suspect its management doesn`t have their best interests in mind. Wealthy woke CEOs instead view them as a cog in a machine that consistently prioritizes global profit margins and stoking cheap culture wars."

Conservatives like Rubio and Tom Cotton and Tucker Carlson have officially stretch the word woke past any coherence. They are now arguing the richest man in the world who is fighting against paying his employees more, the historically conservative Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Military, yes, the U.S. Military are all bastions of wokeness.

Maybe that word just is not a useful descriptor. I mean, to be honest, part of the problem here is that Republican values in the post-Trump era, their keening sense of grievance grow increasingly bitter and anti-social, honestly, by the day. And the more they act on these weird like, sort of whiny victimizing impulses, the more it alienates them from just larger and larger swaths of mainstream American culture.

And then when that happens, they then turn around and accuse, you know, the Pentagon or the Chamber of Commerce of persecuting them because they`re woke. But sure, look, if concluding the richest man in the world has to woke for you is the reason Marco Rubio is going to support organized labor, I guess I`ll take it.



JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Now is not the time to come. The border is not open. This is a treacherous journey. The vast majority of people will be certainly sent back on their journey and that`s the message we`re sending.


HAYES: As the Biden administration comes under increased scrutiny on their border policies, NBC News is reporting the Department of Homeland Security is restricting the information Border Patrol agents and sector chiefs can share with the media. The reporter who broke that news, NBC News Correspondent Julia Ainsley joins me now.

Julia, tell me about what you found.

JULIA AINSLEY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s interesting, Chris. Basically, what we`re finding is that along the border, there are different sectors. And usually, especially under the Trump administration, those sector chiefs were very vocal about what they were finding. Enter the new administration and they find that every media request, whether it`s an interview, even with a local station has to be cleared through Washington, and they say a lot of these requests are being denied.

And then more importantly, from an access and transparency perspective, they`re also having to deny journalists` request for access to the very facilities where these children are being held. We`ve talked about those overcrowded border processing facilities that are being filled with unaccompanied migrant children who are crossing the border.

And also they`re not able to do ride-alongs where you`re able to go with a border agent firsthand and see the border yourself with a border agent. Now, DHS says that this is because of COVID precautions. They`re not able to bring journalists to places where they used to be, but we`re also not even getting pictures of the inside.

And so, we`re left really just with very bare-bones accounts of what`s going on, how children are being treated, whether or not they even have a place to sleep at night is really unknown.

HAYES: So, there`s a context here that feels like I need to stay right, which is that Border Patrol agents tend -- the union endorsed Donald Trump very famously. CBP, I think, as a body, its political valence, you know, tends to be fairly, let`s say, hawkish on immigration enforcement. And there is, I think, some very obvious tension between the institutional culture of CBP and the administration. Do you think that`s fair to say as part of the site of this tension?

AINSLEY: Absolutely. That`s definitely an element of it. We can understand -- I mean, we can see it firsthand, really, because there have been border agents who have been leaking videos of what they`re seeing at the border.


AINSLEY: I mean, you can see that. That wasn`t authorized by this administration. And it`s unlike the last administration that wanted to endorse, incentivize these border agents to get out there and talk about how tough they were being, to post the numbers of immigrants that they arrested on a single day, using terms like rounding up.

This is a completely different tone that this administration wants to strike, so that is certainly part of it. But then it goes a little further when you just talk about access in general. And part of it really does become troubling for journalists who just, regardless of the administration, regardless of the culture, want more access, want more transparency, especially when it comes to the care of children.

So, it`s something I think that Biden administration is going to have to handle as it moves forward, particularly with all of the information and scrutiny around this particular event we`re seeing at the border now.

HAYES: Julia Ainsley, a great reporter on this beat, thank you for sharing that excellent reporting. I want to turn now to someone who deals with this issue at the border every day as part of her job representing El Paso and the surrounding area, Democratic Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of Texas.

Congresswoman, you live in a city on the border, the largest bi-national community in the Western Hemisphere, if I`m not mistaken, between El Paso and Juarez. Let`s start with this. My understanding is that through a combination of a variety of policies, the Trump administration had effectively shut the southern border to any asylum seekers through both COVID protocols, and then this Remain in Mexico program which they kept expanding, which essentially sort of took the border and pushed it back into Mexico. And it said, you have to stop here before even get to the border before you can make an asylum claim.

And between those two things, like, before the Biden ministration came in, they had essentially locked down the border, even though they never announced it as such. Is that an accurate characterization?

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): Hi, Chris. It`s so great to be on your show. Yes, it is an accurate characterization. Not only was the border effectively shut down in many respects to unlawful entry, but it was also shut down to lawful entry and refugee programs.

I mean, we saw the Trump administration essentially tried to shut every door to America, even asylum, which is legal, and it dismantled the asylum system. And so, what happened was immigration and the migration, the flow of humanity from Central America never stopped. It just -- it`s right outside our front door and the misery became even worse.

HAYES: Right.

ESCOBAR: And so, that`s in part why the consequences are so much worse for the Biden administration, why they`re dealing with such, you know, terrible -- it`s such a terrible situation. You also had the Trump administration shut down a program that offered a pathway for children to get to their family here without making the journey. And so, without that alternative, that flow then became even more dangerous and treacherous for kids.

HAYES: Wait. Explain that last part, the alternative for children to come to reunite with families in a -- in a manner other than presenting at the border for asylum.

ESCOBAR: Right. So, the Obama administration created the Central American Minors Program so that kids in Central America could apply from their home country to be reunited with their parents. The Trump administration eliminated that. And that`s why I`ve been saying, you know, the Biden administration is dealing with the consequences of policies and practices created by the prior administration that made things worse.

And so, those kids in the absence of that orderly, legal -- or rather orderly and safe pathway to apply for legal process, they`re now making that journey. And so, all my Republican colleagues who keep, you know, expressing deep concern all of a sudden for the children who are arriving at our front door, they did not have to make that journey had that program been left in place.

HAYES: There was a hearing with Secretary Mayorkas, the newly confirmed head of DHS today. I want to play a little bit of your exchange with him and get your feedback. Take a listen.


ESCOBAR: My Republican colleagues, especially on this committee, are focusing on trying to return to the Trump-era status quo. Mr. Secretary, did migrants stop their journey northward while Donald Trump was president?


ESCOBAR: Mr. Secretary, do walls stop people from coming to the United States?

MAYORKAS: They do not, Congresswoman. The security of the border requires a multi-faceted approach, physical barriers, individual personnel, and technology.


HAYES: Are you satisfied that the Biden administration, Mayorkas, have their arms around what is obviously going to be an extremely difficult problem, right? Because you have this essentially stateless archipelago of people across the Mexican border who have been pushed out of sight and out of mind, like problem solved. You can come in. The Mexican government has got to deal with it.

The moment you begin to live that status quo, you are going to get people coming to the border. That`s just obvious.

ESCOBAR: And Chris, it`s going to happen even if you don`t lift the status quo. And let me tell you why. The only reason why right now or during the Trump administration, these vulnerable souls were out of sight and out of mind was because Mexico was collaborating with Donald Trump and cooperating with Donald Trump.

There will come a point in time when Mexico also says we`re out of capacity. We can`t keep taking these refugees in anymore. So, United States, we`re going to have to start letting them through. And so, we cannot ignore the challenge at hand the way that it`s been ignored for four years. That`s what`s really gotten us to this moment.

So, I`m focused on solutions, Chris. We`ve got to get to the root causes of this. And we finally have an administration willing to do that. And as challenging as things are today and right now -- and I will tell you, I want to manage everyone`s expectations, they`re going to get more challenging over the next few months, because they do every year.

In the warm weather, we see more migrants arriving at our front door. But in the meantime, unlike the last four years, we will not have an administration making it worse. Instead, we have an administration wanting to peel those awful policies away, create the infrastructure and fix it once and for all by addressing it with the countries in the northern triangle. That`s why I have hope. It`s unacceptable today but everyone is working on it and I have hope.

HAYES: Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, it is a very difficult set of nested problems, we should note. You are there up close and viewing it. Thank you for your time tonight.

That is ALL IN on this Wednesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.