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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Biden on Univision: the president talks about immigration, Mexico, Israel and the risks to democracy

Enrique Acevedo: Thank you, Mr. President, for hosting us at the White House Joe Biden: Delighted you're here. Sponsored Links Las 10 deducciones de impuestos que más se pasan por alto Echa un vistazo a estas deducciones y asegúrate de reclamar todas a las que califiques TurboTax EA: We really appreciate it. In your state of the Union address, you said freedom and democracy are under assault at home, drawing parallels to crucial points in history like the Civil War and FDR's wartime leadership. What, in your view, constitutes the primary threat to freedom and democracy at home? JB: Donald Trump. Seriously. Donald Trump talk uses phrases like we're going to eviscerate the Constitution. He's going to be a dictator on day one. The idea that he would sit in the office, and I'll show you before you leave, off the Oval Office and watched for hours the attack on the Capitol and the destruction and the mayhem and the people who were killed. The police officers who died and called them political heroes, call them patriots. And saying that if he gets elected, he's going to free them all because they're being held illegally. I mean, it's just and think of the things he says. Look at the way he when he talks about minority populations or Hispanics, you know, we're talking about them being, anyway. It just, I can't think of any other time in my lifetime, in history that's occurred that you've had somebody who's had this kind of attitude. He says he's going to I'm going to be a dictator on day one. No one doesn't believe him. EA: This is the first rematch election in almost 70 years, but it is the first time in history that one of the candidates is facing federal charges for his alleged efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election and disrupt the certification of the electoral vote on January 6. How is that shaping the way you are running your campaign? PUBLICIDAD JB: Well, look, we all know who Donald Trump is. I mean, Donald Trump from even before the election was calling it there were going to be, he talked about they’re going to be cheating and all this. He and all the times they took these cases to the Supreme Court of the United States, Republican Court, a very conservative court, and said, no, no, there isn't any. I mean, but he is. He. You know, how can you love your country only when you win. And his attitude about what he should be able to be doing and what the power of presidency is. He wants to suspend parts of the Constitution. Who in God's name would say that? Who said that before? So he has a very, very, I think, jaded view of the Constitution. He made it clear that he doesn't plan on abiding by parts of it if he thinks it's not appropriate. And it's just… at least he's saying it out loud. EA: And let me switch gears, because gun violence remains the number one cause of death for children in America. JB: Absolutely. EA: Latinos have made it a top priority across the country, especially in places like El Paso and Uvalde in Texas. Your administration called on Congress to pass common sense gun laws, but that's unlikely to happen in the next few months. If you're reelected, would you consider taking further executive action on this issue? JB: Absolutely. Look, I, along with Dianne Feinstein, passed the first limitation on assault weapons and the number of bullets that could be in a rifle. The idea anybody needs 100 rounds on a rifle and an AR-15. I was out in Uvalde. I met with every one of those families. I spent four hours with them. I looked at the pain in their faces. I saw what they felt. I could feel it. And the idea that. And you know, his phrase on another context where there was a mass shooting, I think it was in El Paso, he said. They said what to do, he said, just get over it, got to get over it. The idea we don't have background checks for anybody purchasing a weapon, the idea that we're going to be in a position where he says that he famously told the NRA that don't worry, no one's going to touch your guns if I… From the very beginning, I used to teach the Second Amendment in law school, from the very beginning, there were limitations. You couldn't own a cannon. You couldn’t… You could own a rifle or a gun. PUBLICIDAD EA: Weapons of war. JB: They weren’t weapons of war. And so, I look, we passed the first major gun legislation in over 30 years when we passed the law that we recently passed, that outlaws weapons that are made that you can't trace, and so on and so forth. And but it's not enough. I think we have to do more. And I am absolutely committed. And I've asked the Congress, and if I get a Congress and get reelected, we're going to do it again. We're going to make sure we eliminate these weapons. EA: Student debt weighs heavily on millions of graduates. It's been reported that after a series of legal challenges your administration is working on a new student loan forgiveness program that's using a different legal authority, a different legal strategy to be implemented. Can you share some of the details of that plan and what you've achieved? JB: Sure, I can. Look, there are two plans that existed already. I didn't have to, but they were… they were ignored. When the Supreme Court ruled, I couldn't forgive student debt across the board, they said that. So, we looked and saw what was out there. There was a program that exists that if you in fact are engaged in public service, your debt can be forgiven after an X number of years. If you've continued to work or continue to pay your monthly payments. Well, that's allowed me to literally forgive the debt of millions of people, several million people, because these are firefighters, school teachers, etc. people who are engaged in public service. Already written in the law and it's working. There's also another plan called the SAVE plan. People with limited incomes, if they in fact and it exists in the books and I'm using it now and have been using it, and it'll have a profound impact on the Latino community, because what happens is, if you're not, you only have to pay relative to what you're earning. So, for example, if you're earning only $20,000 a year, you don't have to pay anything back until you earn more money. If you're earning $150,000 a year, you pay back proportionally what your debt is. So, it's having a profound impact on giving people a chance.And look, the idea… I get criticized for trying to emphasize investment in education. How in God's name can we lead the world without having the best education in the world? And as I said to you, maybe before we started, I don't remember how I said it when we started is that you got roughly 25 students from K through 12 on every single class. 25 out of 100 students come from Spanish speaking homes. How in God's name can we ignore that? It's our future. It's our future. PUBLICIDAD EA: Especially in school districts like California and Texas. JB: Across the board, even my state of Delaware. And you also have a situation where if you think about it, you have an enormous amount of involvement and investment in. All the studies have shown that if you come from a home where there's no books in the home, or parents are having difficulty, where there may be a dislocation in the family, unless those students are going to start off kindergarten having heard a million fewer words spoken. Not, not different, a million. They're not engaged. But if in fact they start preschool aged three and four, they increase by 50% their prospects, nothing else, no matter what home they come from. EA: So access, early access to… JB: Early access. And that's why I also put in $14 billion dollars in Spanish speaking institutions of higher education. And the reason for that is… I did that same with the African American community, so HBCUs. In two separate funds. But here's the deal. Think about this. Every student who graduates from high school, going to community college or college, whether they're Latino or Asian American, whatever, they have the same capacity as white students. But guess what? The universities don't have these large funds. And guess what? All the jobs in the future. What are they? They're high-tech jobs. They’ll have laboratories to be trained in. So it's overwhelmingly in the interest not only of the community, but the country to grow the capacity for these students to be able to learn. So that's why I've invested in early education, and we have to do more than we're doing now. And it grows the economy. It generates it, doesn't it? Not only it costs money, but it generates significant growth.EA: Another issue that impacts not just Latino families, but families across the country is housing affordability. PUBLICIDAD JB: That's right. Más sobre Joe Biden How to watch the exclusive interview with President Joe Biden on Univision POLITICS How to watch the exclusive interview with President Joe Biden on Univision 1 MIN DE LECTURA Climate change: Is Biden radical enough to win over Sanders supporters in November? POLITICS Climate change: Is Biden radical enough to win over Sanders supporters in November? 7 MIN DE LECTURA Sanders is strong favorite of Hispanics in Nevada caucus: Univision poll POLITICS Sanders is strong favorite of Hispanics in Nevada caucus: Univision poll 5 MIN DE LECTURA Did Trump's rhetoric influence the shooting that killed 22 people in El Paso? Hispanic voters believe so POLITICS Did Trump's rhetoric influence the shooting that killed 22 people in El Paso? Hispanic voters believe so 2 MIN DE LECTURA Univision News poll: Democrats surge in Texas, no longer a safe state for Trump in 2020 POLITICS Univision News poll: Democrats surge in Texas, no longer a safe state for Trump in 2020 3 MIN DE LECTURA EA: In Nevada, during your recent trip to Nevada and Phoenix, we spoke with Victor and Maria Cureño. They bought their first home at 51, thanks to a loan from the federal government that allowed them to put the down payment for their first house. So how would the new Biden-Harris administration make homeownership more attainable for families across the country, across the board? JB: Well, first of all, if you're buying your first home and or you're moving up from a small home to a larger home, we provide for the ability for you to essentially get a $10,000 dollar payment to buy the first home and or to move to another home because of interest rates and the like. What that does is, again, that grows the economy, it allows people. And we've provided for millions of new homes, rental assistance, or provided… we’ve sent people checks for a lot of money to subsidize their rent, because it's, again, overwhelming the interest of the country that we do that. So, we have a major housing program through the Department of Health, of Housing and Urban Development. We have a major program that through the legislation that no Republican voted for, I might add, that provides for rent subsidies. Think of all the people who were able to stay in their homes during the pandemic and after the pandemic because we subsidized their rent. Why isn't… why does that not make sense? And encourages builders to build these homes, build these apartments? And, so, it's I have the number here, but any way… it's a significant impact. PUBLICIDAD EA: Talking about immigration now, you've been criticized by Republicans for not doing enough to secure the border after months that your administration spent negotiating a border security bill that dramatically increased funding for border protections, but you've also been criticized by some Democratic advocates that said they feel disappointed because they perceive this as a departure from Democratic values on immigration. My question is, how do you propose to fix what is arguably the most polarizing issue in American politics today? JB: Well, first of all, the first piece of legislation I introduced as president was related to the border. The first one. I wanted to make sure everything from Dreamers had a path to citizenship, all the way to providing for enough border security people to orderly handle the border, to allow legal immigration and prevent illegal immigration. We're in a situation where, for example, we don't have enough officers to even interview people to discern whether they have a legitimate fear or concern to qualify to come in. We don't have enough people at the border with our Border Patrol people. We don't have enough machinery that we can detect fentanyl and illegal drugs coming in. It's all there. And so what happened? We worked this with a very conservative Republican from Oklahoma, a Senator, came along and he ran on one side and Democrats on the other side, and they worked for four months, and they came up with a proposal. It didn't have everything I wanted. I told them I was going to go back and get Dreamers etc., but the thing it did do, it provided for a significant more personnel to make an orderly transfer and allow legal immigration to increase, not decrease and diminish illegal immigration. And when… this is literally the truth, what happened was when Trump found out that I liked it and I supported it, and I'd get, quote, credit for it, he got on the phone, not a joke, checked with the Republicans and called them and said, don't be for it, will benefit Biden. When the hell would you vote on a major piece of legislation based on whether you benefit somebody that's in politics? It's either good or it's bad. It was a good piece of legislation, and I'm not giving up on it. PUBLICIDAD EA: Have you made a final decision on taking executive order in terms of what you want to do at the border, that includes the power to shut down the border, as it was suggested? JB: Well I suggested that. We're examining whether or not I have that power. I would have that power under the legislation. When the border has over five, 5000 people a day trying to cross the border because you can't manage it, slow it up. There's no, there's no guarantee that I have that power all by myself without legislation. And some have suggested I should just go ahead and try it. And if I get shut down by the court, I get shut down by the court. But we're trying to work that, work through that right now. EA: President López Obrador has come up with a plan to fight the root causes of migration in the Western Hemisphere. It calls for the U.S. to invest $20 billion, as well as ease sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba, among other things. Your opponent said he wouldn't give Mexico ten cents. How would you work with President López Obrador to reduce migration and also with his successors? JB: Before Obrador even came up with that plan I initiated that plan years ago. Look, it's not like people are sitting around a table, a hand-hewn table somewhere in Guatemala and saying, I've got a great idea. Let's sell everything we have, give it to a criminal gang. They're going to take us across the border. They're going to drop us on the other side with language you don't speak, where they don't want me. Won't that be fun? People don't… they leave because they have no alternatives. And so what we're doing is… we did and it was working for a while until they cut it off, is provide for the ability to have jobs created in the countries where people are leaving. People don't want to leave where they're from. People want to be able to make sure that they have an opportunity to just make a living, and they'd rather make a living where they are. PUBLICIDAD EA: Absolutely. JB: And so I think, I think his idea is consistent with what I've been pushing. And I think we should be doing something like that. EA: You have a good relationship with President López Obrador? JB: I do, I do. I find him straightforward. He's never kidded me. He knows what he wants. He keeps his word. That's about as much as I can ask. EA: Now that we're talking about world leaders. In the past few days, we've seen increasing protests in Israel calling for the removal of Prime Minister Netanyahu and international condemnation after the death of World Central Kitchen aid workers during an Israeli airstrike. Do you think at this point, Prime Minister Netanyahu is more concerned about his political survival than he is in the national interest of his people? JB: Well, I will tell you, I think what he's doing is a mistake. I don't agree with his approach. I think it's outrageous that those four, three vehicles were hit by drones and taken out on a highway where it wasn't like it was along the shore, it wasn't like there was a convoy moving there, etc... So I what I'm calling for is for the Israelis to just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks total access to all food and medicine going into the country. I've spoken with everyone from the Saudis to the Jordanians to the Egyptians. They're prepared to move in. They're prepared to move this food in. And I think there's no excuse to not provide for the medical and the food needs of those people. It should be done now. PUBLICIDAD EA: Are you any closer to a deal with Republicans about a new a fresh round of military aid to Kiev and to Ukraine? JB: With the vast majority of public is agreed with me. As you know, if we had a vote tomorrow, if the new speaker of the House of Representatives had the guts to call for a vote and on Ukraine, it would pass overwhelmingly and the majority of Republicans in both House and Senate would vote for it. So this is a very dangerous thing that's going on now. We're in a circumstance where we have a… we've done something that I was very proud of. I've engaged with NATO for my whole career. We were able to expand NATO, and we have two thousand of miles of border because you have two Nordic nations having joined NATO. You have a whole range of NATO countries along the Russian border. And the Russians have lost and or have wounded over 300,000 personnel trying to take somebody else's property and land. And it's just cruel and unusual punishment. And so if we don't step up and provide the help we need, I was able to find another $310 million dollars available that hadn't been used yet. But I've run out of runway to provide for more aid without the aid of the Congress. And so I'm hoping that the speaker of the House begins to use, has the courage to do what he, I'm confident, he knows what has to be done. But I think he's worried about losing the speakership because of a strange Republican House… Look, this is not your father's Republican Party, as that old saying goes, this is a different breed of cat. This is… Trump runs that party. He maintains a sort of a death grip on it. Everybody's afraid to take him on whether they agree with him or not, and it's incredibly dangerous. The last thing we need is to see NATO start to break apart. It would be a disaster for the United States, a disaster for Europe, a disaster for the world. PUBLICIDAD EA: Mr. president, I think we're about to go over time. But I have one more question about something we talked about in Phoenix, which is health care costs for Latinos. You mentioned how it's become a burden for millions of Americans, given the disproportionate impact health care expenses have on Latinos and their higher propensity for diseases like diabetes. What specifically is your administration doing to try to help ease that burden? JB: That's a place where we've made great progress. For years, I've been trying to take on big pharma that makes billions of dollars a year overcharging for prescriptions, for example. We're in a situation where if you go an Air Force One with me and told them to pick any country in Europe that you want me to fly to, I'd take you and you take your prescription from the United States from a drugstore. You can walk down the street here. I can get you that same exact prescription filled for 40 to 60% less. And so what we finally were able to do, and I've been fighting for this for a long time, is say, here's the deal. Medicare pays for all those drugs that seniors need for whatever the reason. But, for example, there's a higher propensity among Hispanics for diabetes and other things. Well, guess what? Instead of paying $400 a month for insulin, we're paying, you only have to pay $35 a month now. Done, done. And what's done also will take effect in January of next year is that no matter what your total bills are for prescription drugs, you'll never have to pay more than a senior, more than $2,000 a year because some of these cancer drugs are ten, 15,000 bucks a year. PUBLICIDAD EA: And they bankrupt the family. JB: They Bankrupt the… But here's the deal. What no one. What my very right-wing friends don't understand is by doing with these things, we save the government billions of dollars. Just the passage of the first piece of this legislation over the next ten years. By changing the amount of money you have, they can charge for insulin. It's going to save the government $160 billion dollars. Hear me? Cut the deficit by $160 billion dollars, because that means instead of paying 400 bucks, the government is paying the drug company 35 bucks, but it's going to go beyond that. And I think not only will we now affect seniors, I'm determined to see to it in the second term that it affects every American. No American, no American should be paying the prices they're paying. Everyone should be paying what the price is that other countries do set the price of the drug by negotiating. If they don't want to, if they don't want to be able to provide their drug, they don't have to do it, they don’t have to do it. But if they want to provide the government to pay for them, then guess what? They got to have a reasonable price. EA: Thank you so much for your time, sir. You've been very generous with us, I appreciate it. JB: Well thank you. I didn't even talk about the American, the ACA, which was the old legislation. EA: I think you had an event. This week about it. JB: That's right. EA: It's. What is its’ 10th anniversary? JB: That's right. Well, yeah, it is. But guess what? The Republicans have tried to eliminate it 50 times. PUBLICIDAD EA: The Affordable Care Act, 50 times. JB: The Affordable Care Act. No, they really and Trump is totally opposed to it. Totally opposed to it. Guess what? You'd have millions of people not able to have insurance because they have a pre-existing condition. No insurance company. This covers them. And by the way, it generates economic growth, not just I mean, I anyway, I just can't fathom the things that Donald Trump says and believes about. But he'll stand in Mar-A-Lago and say to his friends, I know you're all wealthy. I know 20 of you guys are worth a hell of a lot of money. We're going to make sure we get you a tax cut, a tax cut and they're all cheering. Well guess what, man? It's about time they start paying their fair share. EA: Thank you again Mr. President. JB: Thank you. EA: Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you so much. We covered a lot of ground. I appreciate that. For more information, visit us at https://www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com/.

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