Former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros

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Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros was at Arizona State University recently to speak about the importance of immigrants. Horizonte host Jose Cardenas interviewed Cisneros about that and more. We’ll play a portion of that interview, which can be seen in its entirety on Horizonte.

TED SIMONS: FORMER SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT HENRY CISNEROS WAS IN TOWN THIS WEEK TO GIVE A SPEECH ON THE IMPORTANCE OF IMMIGRANTS. DURING HIS VISIT, HE APPEARS SPOKE ABOUT IMMIGRATION AND OTHER ISSUES. HERE'S A PORTION OF THAT INTERVIEW.
HENRY CISNEROS: YOU WERE HERE AT ASU GIVING A LECTURE THAT WAS ENTITLED IMMIGRANTS AND THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT FOR A STRONG AMERICA IN OUR NATION'S FUTURE. I ASSUME YOU CHOSE THAT TITLE BEFORE THE ELECTION.
I DID. BUT I WOULD CHOOSE IT AGAIN AFTER THE ELECTION.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: DID YOU CHANGE WHAT YOU SAID?
HENRY CISNEROS: NO I BELIEVE THE REFORM STRATEGY WHICH IS BORDER SECURITY, LEGALIZATION OF THE UNDOCUMENTED SIMONS WITH APPROPRIATE PENALTIES AND SO FORTH, AND THIRDLY, A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP IS STILL THE RIGHT FORMULATION AND WE NEED TO STAND BY IT. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER THE NEW ADMINISTRATION IS GOING TO CARRY OUT THE THINGS THEY TALKED ABOUT IN THE CAMPAIGN, BUILDING A WALL, REPEALING THE PRESIDENT'S EXECUTIVE ORDERS ON THINGS LIKE DIVERT ACTION. BANNING PEOPLE ON THE BASIS OF RELIGION, DEPORTING 12 MILLION PEOPLE. I DON'T THINK THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT, AND SO AT SOME MOMENT, CREDIBLE MIDDLE GROUND, WORKABLE STRATEGIES NEED TO BE OFFERED. I HAVE A SENSE THAT CONTROLLING THE PRESIDENCY, THE HOUSE, AND THE SENATE, THAT SOME WISE PEOPLE MAY SAY THIS IS OUR CHANCE TO PASS SOMETHING AND GAIN THE EVERLASTING APPRECIATION OF IMMIGRANTS.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: THERE'S BEEN SPECULATION THAT KIND OF LIKE NIXON BEING ABLE TO GO TO CHINA WITH A DEMOCRAT COULDN'T AND MAYBE TRUMP CAN GET SOME IMMIGRATION REFORM. CHRIS-- HAS BEEN HEARD THIS WEEK COMING ON EVERYTHING YOU JUST MENTIONED EXCEPT THE DEPORTATION OF 12 MILLION PEOPLE BUT SUGGESTING THAT DACA WILL BE REPEALED.
HENRY CISNEROS: THAT WILL BE A TRAGEDY. TRUMP HIMSELF IS WALKING SOME OF THIS BACK. ON THE WALL, HE'S SAYING PART OF IT CAN BE VIRTUAL. IT DOESN'T REALLY NEED TO BE A WALL. SMART PEOPLE LIKE MIKE CHERTOYY SAY THE REAL KEY TO BORDER ENFORCEMENT IS NOT ACTUALLY AT THE BORDER. IT'S THE ENTRY/EXIT STRATEGY. WE DON'T HAVE A GOOD WAY OF DOING BIOMETRICS ON PEOPLE TO KNOW WHEN THEY'RE OVERSTAYING THEIR VISAS. THAT'S ONE WAY TO THE UNDOCUMENTED WITH IN THE COUNTRY. DEAL WITH THEM WHEN THEIR VISAS RUN OUT. THEY COME HERE LEGALLY AS STUDENTS AND WORKERS AND OVERSTAY THEIR VISAS. THERE'S THAT, AND AT THE WORKPLACE, EMPLOYER SANCTIONS AT WORKPLACE THAT ARE MORE EFFECTIVE THAN BORDER. THEY MAY SAY THERE IS WHAT WE WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH. WE DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO BE DONE AS A WALL. FOR EXAMPLE, AND THEN THERE ARE OTHER PIECES OF THIS. DACA -- THAT WOULD BE A TRAGEDY. TAKE YOUNG CHILDREN WHO CAME OVER AS BABIES, RIGHT? NO SAY IN THE DECISION, LIVES HERE THEIR ENTIRE LIVES, MANY OF THEM TOP STUDENTS IN HIGH SCHOOL, DOING WELL IN COLLEGE, AND TO SAY, WE'RE GOING TO PUT YOU BACK IN A COUNTRY WHERE YOU HAVE NO NETWORK, NO CONNECTIONS. JUST SEND YOU BACK? IT'S INHUMAN.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: SO THOUGH UNLIKE THE WALL, WHICH PRESENTS SOME LOGISTICAL PROBLEMS EVEN IF YOU REALLY WANTED SIMONS TO DO IT, DACA WOULD BE FAIRLY EASY TO END OR LET EXPIRE. THEN THE QUESTION IS WHAT WILL THOSE STUDENTS BE DEPORTED? WHICH I SUSPECT HE WOULDN'T DO THAT.
HENRY CISNEROS: YOU KNOW, IT'S A TRAGEDY IF THAT WERE TO PLAY OUT, BECAUSE I AMONG MANY IN COMMUNITIES ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DACA AND GIVE THE GOVERNMENT TRUST, THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION. SOCIETY AGENCIES KNOW EXACTLY WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY ARE AND THEY BELIEVE BECAUSE THEY WERE ABLE TO GET THIS PROGRAM. IT SERVED VERY WELL. I PERSONALLY KNOW OF CASES INCLUDING ONE YOUNG MAN WHO IS A STELLAR ENGINEERING STUDENT, WHO HAD A WEIGHT OF THE WORLD LIFTED SIMONS OFF HIS SHOULDERING THE DAY HE BECAME LEGAL UNDER DACA. SO I'M HOPEFUL THAT SOME KIND OF COMPASSIONATE INSTINCT WILL PREVAIL IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS ON SOMETHING AS OBVIOUS AS DACA AND THE DREAMERS.
JOSÉ CÁRDENAS: I'D LIKE YOUR THOUGHTS ON A COMMENT MADE BY ALENA--THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION. YOU KNOW HIM. AND HE SAID IT WAS REALLY A VOTE IN MANY RESPECTS ON CULTURE AND A FEAR AND ANXIETY AMONG PEOPLE THAT THEIR COUNTRY WAS BEING TAKEN AWAY AND A HOPE THAT TRUMP WOULD TAKE IT BACK. IS THAT YOUR SENSE OF WHAT HAPPENED?
HENRY CISNEROS: I THINK IT GOES ONE LEVEL BEYOND THAT. IT'S NOT SO MUCH ABOUT CULTURE AS IT IS ABOUT JOBS AND ECONOMICS. PEOPLE ARE IN REGIONS OF THE COUNTRY WHERE THEY'RE HURTING BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMY HAS CHANGED. MANUFACTURING HAS LEFT, AND THEY'RE BLAMING, YES, TRADE AGREEMENTS, AND POLICIES. PLACES WHERE MINES HAVE CLOSED BECAUSE COAL DOESN'T MAKE SENSE IN SOME PARTS OF THE ECONOMY, ET CETERA. THEY'RE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO BLAME, AND IT TAKES THE FORM OF IDENTIFYING THE OTHER, SOMEONE ELSE THAT'S COMING TO TAKE JOBS AND SO FORTH. BUT THERE REALLY IS NO CONNECTION THERE. I REALLY THINK IT'S MOSTLY DRIVEN BY THE FEAR OF CHANGE, BUT IT'S NOT IF, OR DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE SO MUCH AS IT IS CHANGE ECONOMICALLY. BECAUSE IF YOU LOOK AT THE OBAMA VOTE, SOME OF THE SAME PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA VOTED FOR TRUMP. WHAT HAS CHANGE SIDE THEIR PERSONAL ECONOMICS, NOT THE FACT THEY COULD VOTE FOR A MINORITY IN 2008 AND 2012. SO IT'S NOT THAT THEY'RE AFRAID OF THAT KIND OF CHANGE. ALTHOUGH THERE IS SOME OF THAT. THERE'S SOME RACISM AND OUTRIGHT, YOU KNOW, CULTURAL REJECTION, BUT I REALLY THINK IT'S ABOUT THE ECONOMICS.
TED SIMONS: YOU CAN WATCH THAT ENTIRE INTERVIEW AT 11:30 TONIGHT ON "HORIZONTE" HERE ON ARIZONA PBS. FRIDAY IT'S THE JOURNALIST ROUND TABLE. SPECULATION CONTINUES REGARDING ARIZONA OFFICIALS AND ANOTHER CONTROVERSY INVOLVING STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DIRECTOR TIM JEFFRIES. THAT AND MORE ON THE NEXT JOURNALIST ROUND TABLE. THAT'S IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

ANNOUNCER: "ARIZONA HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS. MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

Henry Cisneros, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

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