May 4, 2020

Transcript: Joe Biden Town Hall on Protecting Essential Workers

Joe Biden Town Hall May 4
RevBlogTranscripts2020 Election TranscriptsTranscript: Joe Biden Town Hall on Protecting Essential Workers

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden held a virtual town hall May 4 on protecting essential workers. Read the full transcript here.

 

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Speaker 1: (00:02)
Enrique, we’re ready to begin when you’re ready, okay? We have the Vice President is on mute.

Enrique A.: (00:08)
Perfect. Okay, let’s go. I guess everyone can see what happens behind the scenes now when we do a broadcast. That’s a good thing. I guess transparency and accountability are always good things. Thank you so much for joining us today on this very special broadcast, live stream, whatever you want to call it. It’s really a town hall organized by LULAC co-produced by [foreign language 00:00:57]. Before we get started, a big thank you to essential workers, our healthcare workers, the people on the front line, the people who are making sure that the country keeps some sort of social order in this unprecedented crisis. They are risking their lives to protect ours and this country and all of us. All of them, the financial stability for them, for their families, and of course the access to healthcare, and to protect their health while they’re doing this important work for everyone. I wanted to start out with that.

Enrique A.: (01:34)
Again, thanks to LULAC for showing leadership on this issue. Not just during the emergency but throughout the years. For allowing Univision [foreign language 00:01:46] to be part of this conversation. We have a special message from presidential candidate Joe Biden. We’ll introduce him in a little bit. But we’ll also be hearing from the family members of workers on the front lines. I do want to ask you to pay close attention to what they have to say. We’ve heard from workers in the past, we’ve heard from workers during this emergency, but it’s probably the first time that we’re hearing from their families. This is again, incredibly important. It’s happening because some of these workers are afraid to share their experiences. And their family members are speaking on their behalf.

Enrique A.: (02:29)
We’ll also hear from Congress. We have an incredible panel with representatives from Mississippi, California and Texas. I’ll introduce them in a little while. But one of the unintended consequences of this emergency has been that moderators like myself, journalists, masters of ceremony, MCs, get to speak for a little, little, while, and that’s I think a good thing. I’ll let Domingo Garcia, the LULAC National President introduce the rest of the panel. And of course the special message by presidential candidate Joe Biden. Domingo, it’s always a pleasure to see you, even when we do it through Zoom. Gracias. And please join us.

Domingo Garcia: (03:13)
Thank you, Enrique [inaudible 00:03:17]. I appreciate everybody listening in throughout America. As well as the panelists and our congresspeople and vice president. I’m having some technical difficulties, so I apologize for the quality of the video. But let me just talk to you about the quality of life for meat Packers, and workers across America.

Domingo Garcia: (03:34)
Today across America, from the fields that are producing all our vegetables, to the meat packing plants, and the poultry plants, across America many people are putting their lives on the line. These are essential workers that have been told to go to work every day. And you have to work in conditions that if you read the Jungle by Upton Sinclair, about the 19th century conditions in Chicago, have not changed very much. The fact of the matter is, over four weeks ago, LULAC filed a complaint with OSHA talking about the plant in Greeley, Colorado. And about the need for changes that needed to be done.

Domingo Garcia: (04:11)
As of today, OSHA has yet to respond. And now hundreds, actually the latest numbers, 5,000 workers have tested positive at meat packing plants, over 20 have died. This is a matter of life and death. These workers are just as important to America’s food supply, as are those nurses and doctors at the hospitals across America. We need to make sure that we take care of them. Like we do take care of those first responders in our hospitals. That means we’ve got to provide them safe working conditions. We got to give them the PPE that they need. We need to make sure that if they get sick, they get sick pay. That they get the ability to get tested irregardless of their immigration status.

Domingo Garcia: (04:51)
Many of them are undocumented, and we need to provide temporary protective status to them immediately. One of the things we’ve been working on is to making sure that these goals, the safety of these workers is there so we can protect America’s food supply. So that when you go to the grocery store, your steak, your pork chop, your chicken is there for you. One of the special guests that we have today that I’d like to introduce now, is the former Senator from the state of Delaware, the former Vice President of the United States. And now the current democratic nominee for president has States and we’d like to hear his opinions and his views on this, Vice President Joe Biden. Welcome.

Joe Biden: (05:32)
I appreciate it. Thanks for inviting me. It would be inappropriate to start without thanking Enrique for doing this and Univision. And I’ll just go through; Phil, Benny, all the congresspersons that are on. I guess Zoe’s on as well, Joaqun. And proud to stand with LULAC. I’ve been with you my entire career because there’s no more powerful voice for human rights and human dignity. That was true back in the ’70s when I was a kid running for the United States Senate. We have a lot of chickens in this state, a lot of broiler chickens. There’s a lot of folks, called hanging chickens. Same as meat packing. It was a fight back then to improve the treatment of migrant workers and to prevent States from using English only ballots.

Joe Biden: (06:23)
It was true when we worked together in the ’90s to put domestic violence front and center and pass the violence against women act. It’s no surprise to me that in the midst of the worst global health crisis in the country and in the century. LULAC is in the fray standing up for workers for literally carrying this country on their backs. And shining a light on the conditions that these workers go through. The rest of the country too often doesn’t understand it. It’s not they forget about it. They just don’t even know how tough it is in those meat packing factories. You’ve been to them. I’ve been in them. They’re tough under any circumstance. Men and women putting in long hours in meat packing plants and in chicken plant.

Joe Biden: (07:04)
Look, when was the last time the average American stopped to appreciate the labor that gets into buying a package of pork chops at your local grocery store. And it’s not that they’re so bad. They just don’t know how tough it is to get it done. Or thought about the lives of the people who make that possible. Meatpacking has always been a hard work and it takes incredible physical toll on labor, on the best of conditions. It’s always been dangerous. It’s always been underpaid. Now add that to the extreme threat of COVID-19 made all the worst by fear that workers are living with every single day.

Joe Biden: (07:43)
They’re afraid to go to work because that means what happens if they get ill? What happens if they get COVID-19? They’re afraid to stay home because what it means to their further livelihood. They’ll lose their job. They’re afraid to come home after work because what they might be bringing back and spread to people they love and adore.

Joe Biden: (08:05)
They’re afraid to seek proper medical care because what if it meant that their immigration status is in jeopardy and it would change? These plants are hotspots for the spread of Corona virus. And I want to make one point here. Every morning I start off like I did this morning, with leading medical advisors for an hour, an hour and a half briefing on the state of the Corona virus in the United States. And guess what? Nursing homes and meat packing plants, are the most dangerous places there are right now. That’s not up for debate. Thousands of infections have been traced back to meat packing plants and at least 30 workers have died from it. They designate them as essential workers, then treat them as disposable. It’s quite frankly inhumane and downright immoral because these workers are essential to our society. Not just in times of crisis, but always.

Joe Biden: (09:02)
And they deserve our respect. They deserve a safe working place. They deserve fair pay. And they should never again in this country deny anyone a livable wage like many are being denied. During this crisis, our central workers deserve extra premium pay. Let me say that again, extra premium pay to compensate them for the additional risks they face. They deserve the personal protective equipment; including gloves like I have on a mask that I wear whenever I’m around anyone from the secret service and the people doing this broadcast. To enable them to do their jobs as safely as possible.

Joe Biden: (09:38)
But more than that, they deserve easy access and rapid result testing. Which are essential in determining who is and who is not able to work. Go look. Where are these tests? Testing with rapid results is going to be the linchpin to safely re-open our country.

Joe Biden: (09:56)
We need to make sure that our frontline workers, like meat packers are also at the front of the line when these tests are accessible. They have to be the first to be accessible to the test. They deserve a government that’s looking out for their interests. Not pushing a false choice between protecting workers’ health and safety, and protecting our food supply. We can do both. We have to do both. That’s what leadership is about. OSHA should get rigorous enforcement standards and make sure employers are following through.

Joe Biden: (10:29)
Following through on them so that no worker gets sick or injured or dies on the job. OSHAs been absent in the job. It doesn’t just apply to infectious disease, disease precautions like social distancing and staggering breaks. So people get a break to get off a line. But enforcing every day workers safety precautions. Like making sure the speed of the line isn’t causing employee injuries, which it has and does. Paid sick leave isn’t a luxury. Paid sick leave, not a luxury, a right.

Joe Biden: (11:03)
It’s a basic human necessity. It also keeps a robust workforce. Look, no one should have to choose between earning a living and protecting their own health. As well the health of those around them they love so much. This virus has made all too clear the absolute necessity of making sure everyone, everyone, can access affordable, high quality healthcare. That’s what our government should be doing right now. Not fighting in the courts to strip away the healthcare protections from folks who need it more than ever. Testing, rapid results, treatment, and ultimately access to a vaccine for COVID-19 should be available to everyone, and I mean everyone, free of cost.

Joe Biden: (11:51)
Ask yourself this, what good is it going to do if we withhold access to needed treatment from the poorest members of our society, the most vulnerable, the undocumented. How are we made better or stronger as a nation when immigrant and Latino communities, so many of whom are working in the very plants that are now designated as essential to our economy and food supply. Live in a daily terror of an ICE raid on their workplace, or other sensitive locations.

Joe Biden: (12:24)
What do we gain by implementing Trump’s un-American public charge rule. Which makes people scared to seek out healthcare treatment, or need housing or food assistance. That’s what’s happening right now in places like Albertville, Alabama where 100s of infections are connected to two meat packing plants. Including one family where both mother and father have the coronavirus. Look, they’re too afraid to seek care at a local medical facility because they are undocumented. And there is a police presence at their door which they worry about.

Joe Biden: (13:04)
The only support is what communities, volunteers, bring to them. This is heartbreaking. Not only heartbreaking, it’s the very definition of being counterproductive. We won’t be able to defeat this virus until we defeat it everywhere. In just a moment, you’re going to hear directly from the families. And I’ve read their statements of being directly hit by this crisis and the challenges we’re talking about.

Joe Biden: (13:28)
Hope everybody hears their stories and listens to what they have to share. Because here’s what they know all too well, and what every leader and politician needs to know, too. These aren’t just numbers. These are individual lives, they’re individual stories, and families struggling and ripped apart by this pandemic. Who need our empathy and our help. I put out a detailed plan about what I think we should be doing right now to support our frontline workers. And address the disparities we’re seeing with COVID-19 impacts all across the country.

Joe Biden: (14:05)
I truly think that if we do this right, we have an incredible opportunity to not just dig out of this crisis, but to fundamentally transform the country. So that it’s more fair, more just, more equitable for everybody, everyone. Including for workers in meat packing industries. I want Donald Trump to look one of these essential workers in the eye, the meat Packers, delivery drivers, healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, and tell them they don’t deserve a livable wage, paid sick leave.

Joe Biden: (14:41)
This is all about, as my dad would say, “You see, Joey, a job’s about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about being treated with respect.” The recognition that these people put their health and lives at risk. So the rest of us could be safe and fed, has to be made clear. So let me close by saying this. Our workers are the heart and soul of this country. We’d not survive without you. We’re seeing the truth of that right now. For all the workers in the meat packing plants, you have my support, and I’m going to keep speaking out. Along with LULAC and so many of my brother on this cast that we’re doing now. All on your behalf, because we owe you. So thank you for everything you’re doing. You’re doing not only for your community but your entire country.

Joe Biden: (15:37)
Thank you again, LULAC. Thank you Domingo for the important work you’re doing, and starting this conversation. Conclude by saying One last thing. We’re the only nation in the world that has come out of every significant crisis stronger because the blinders get taken off. Average people who didn’t have any idea how tough it was to work in a meat packing plant or a chicken factory. Average Americans who had no idea how dangerous it was to begin with, and how underpaid, not treated well so many are. This ought to give us the cry to say, enough is, enough is enough. We’re going to beat this virus and then we’re going to change the system.

Joe Biden: (16:23)
Thank you again everyone for doing this. Thanks for giving me the opportunity, Enrique. Thank you for broadcasting this.

Enrique A.: (16:37)
Vice President Joe Biden. We heard from him. We’ll be hearing from Domingo Garcia, the President of LULAC in just a little short while. He just needs to unmute his mic so we can hear from Domingo right now. Then again thank you to Vice President Joe Biden. We really look forward at Univision to having the chance to talk about these other issues with him personally in the near future. But Domingo, let’s hear from you.

Domingo Garcia: (17:02)
Thank you, Vice President Biden. We appreciate your concern. As you mentioned, the work that’s being done. The testimony you’re going to hear from some of these witnesses today. Its backbreaking work, and it’s tragic what’s happening out there. We really need the government and the private sector to shine the light on what’s happening there. To make sure that again, the workers work safely. The conditions of higher pay, getting the masks that we talked about earlier, for each one of them. Which were not being provided just three weeks ago. Luckily, now some of them are.

Domingo Garcia: (17:38)
And that you can’t say you have to go to work and risk your life. You got do it in a safe way. So Vice President Biden, thank you for your comments. Enrique, if you can go ahead and if you’ll listen to a few of these testimonies, vice presidents, I think these will bring the problems home to you. Enrique?

Enrique A.: (17:57)
Thank you so much, Domingo. Yes, we’re going to hear from Alejandro Ortiz, from Nancy Feregoso, Veronica Gavada, and [inaudible 00:18:05] Vermirez. They’re all family members, the sons and daughters of essential workers on the meat packing, the food industry. And again, we are privileged to hear from you. We’re delighted that you’re part of this conversation. I would say the most important part of this conversation. Because throughout your life, all of you, you’ve experienced what it’s like to be, again, the family members, the relatives, the sons and daughters of these essential workers. Who for many years have been considered disposable workers as Vice President Joe Biden said. And now we’re asking them to step up and do essential work for our country.

Enrique A.: (18:50)
So I’ll start with Nancy Feregoso. So Nancy, I want you to help us understand what it’s like to be the daughter of an essential worker of a meat packing worker? Growing up in that environment and seeing how your parents, your mother worked all day to provide you with the education, and with the opportunities that you have taken advantage of throughout your life. But just describe those working conditions and what it was like to see her come back from work at home. And what it’s been like in this past two weeks.

Nancy Feregoso: (19:25)
Thank you for having me. I guess, I just want to start off by saying my parents have been working in the meat plant industry since they came to America, 26 plus years ago. My dad no longer works in a meat plant, but my mom does. It’s hard knowing that she has to wake up at 4:00 AM every single day for her shift, comes home at three. Has to still be a mom, has to still be a wife. She’s been doing that for so long. Sometimes I just remember-

Nancy Feregoso: (20:03)
… and just sometimes I just remember her coming home exhausted. She’s 46, and it’s taking a toll on her. I think it’s just working so hard every single day just to provide for us has been really hard, and just having her tell me how sometimes at meetings they would tell her, “If you don’t like working here, the door is there. You can leave.” It’s just the disrespect and just the way they take advantage, knowing that the majority of workers are immigrants, knowing that the majority of workers cannot defend themselves, knowing that the majority of workers have no one to back them up.

Nancy Feregoso: (20:45)
That’s kind of why we’re all here today, is we want to be the voices for our parents, because they’re so scared to talk. They’re so scared to talk to the media. So that’s why we’re here, to represent our family and to give back thanks for all the hard work they did for us. It’s our turn to represent them, and it’s our turn to take everything we’ve learned in our college careers and speak up for them.

Enrique A.: (21:11)
Nancy, and they did an incredible job of raising you. We’re all very proud of the work they do, especially now. Please let your father and your mother know that all of us, not just here today, but every day, are incredibly proud of the work they do and the sacrifices they’ve made to raise a daughter like yourself and to be the voice for them, for your family, but also for your community.

Enrique A.: (21:36)
Alejandro [inaudible 00:01:37], I also want to bring you in. I know you’re waiting for the results of the test that your mother had, a COVID-19 test, and Vice President Biden was talking about the availability of those tests and how essential workers should be the first ones to get tested, especially in the conditions they’re working on right now. But Alejandro, tell us a little bit about what it’s been like, in your household and in your family, during these past few weeks and, again, the last few days where you’ve been waiting for these test results.

Alejandro: (22:13)
Yeah, I mean, it’s been incredibly scary, just not even the last few days, the last few weeks. This extends beyond just my immediate family. I mean, my extended family is here, again, similar to Nancy’s family, for 20-plus years, establishing their home here. They’re here because of the opportunities, but have experienced just long term … I mean, and that’s one of the points that I want to make sure that we address, because a lot of the conversations we’re having is about the short term. We’re in an emergency mode, but what we can’t let happen and what I want to feel confident about and I know that a lot of the workers have been asking me about is what’s the long-term plan?

Alejandro: (22:55)
We talked about covering all COVID-related injury or situation medical costs and such. However, we have to be thinking long-term as well as we’ve talked about the hard work that this work is, the fast lines, standing on your feet for ten-plus hours, forced weekends. There’s just so much that goes into this that creates just extensive long-term health damage that I’m afraid will be forgotten. We’ll be prioritizing, understandably, this situation. But a lot of this has been going on for decades and is only coming to the surface because it’s affecting everyone.

Alejandro: (23:36)
Even just expanding the healthcare we have now is still going to have a lot of people, specifically these workers, not be covered, where undocumented individuals won’t be covered. We’ll still be limited, even for, potentially, some of the TPS workers or other temporary workers that are here. While there’s definitely, again, this immediate, very desperate need and attention for what’s going on, we also have to make sure that we’re not losing the big picture, that this is going to be a long-term fight.

Alejandro: (24:11)
So who I cast my ballot for needs to be able to promise that it’s going to be a fight that’s going to continue and that we won’t be forgotten, and that’s something that, again, we have to keep coming back to and feel confident that that’s where we’re going.

Enrique A.: (24:29)
Alejando, thank you so much. You make a very important point, and I want to make sure that people don’t forget that the conditions these workers face are just made harder by the emergency, by the health emergency and its economic impact, but they’ve been there for a long time. Nancy was talking about how her mother has been working there for decades. The same with Alejandro. Just now, we’re starting to sort of put the spotlight back on the protections and the conditions these workers need, this false choice, again, that Vice President Biden was referring to between protecting workers and protecting the economy. It’s true not just doing the emergency, but moving forward.

Enrique A.: (25:15)
Veronica [inaudible 00:25:18], I want to bring you in. Tell us a little bit about the idea that there is this false choice between protecting your relatives, your parents, the work they do and protecting the economy. You’re sort of caught in the middle of that argument, because you’re seeing firsthand the conditions in which they have to work under. Then you also have a family. You talked about your son and your husband at home and being able to provide as a family for them and having the chance to do that in this economy. So tell us a little bit about your experience during this emergency.

Veronica G.: (26:00)
Well, I mean, the differences are stark. I mean, me and my husband have the privilege of being able to work from home. My parents don’t. My parents have to go out and work. I mean, that’s just added to the stress during this pandemic. I was worried about them, but I tried not to be so anxious about it. So when my mom did get sick, it wasn’t surprising. The entire time, it was scary. Now my grandparents also have the virus, and, I mean, this is just impacting so many people, even people who aren’t going out and leaving their home every day. I mean, the impact is just devastating. It’s reaching people that are trying to stay safe and healthy. I think the government response has been completely ineffective, and, yeah, we definitely need more.

Enrique A.: (27:08)
How are your grandparents holding up? You just mentioned they were infected.

Veronica G.: (27:14)
My grandmother is doing much better. She was discharged from the hospital a few days ago. My grandfather’s unfortunately in an ICU on a ventilator. So we are just hoping for progress and waiting. I mean, there’s not a whole lot we can do.

Enrique A.: (27:38)
I’m so sorry to hear that. Veronica, how do you think being the daughter of meatpacking workers has shaped you, and how are you planning to tell their story to your son and your daughter when they’re older and they realize all the sacrifices your family has made, not just for you, but for this country?

Veronica G.: (28:02)
Yeah, I mean, I think my family’s story, where we come from, our roots are really important to me, to my husband, and it’s definitely something that we want our daughter to grow up with. I think just seeing my parents work so hard day in and day out. My dad worked at a meat packing plant for over 20 years, and the reason he left was exactly because of all of these working conditions, I mean, the wear and tear on his body. He was developing even mental health issues because of the hostile work environment. So it’s not just physical, it’s mental, too, and now he works outdoors.

Veronica G.: (28:43)
But, I mean, realistically, my dad is getting closer and closer to retirement, and he’s still doing all of this physical work. The only reason my mom went back to work … So she normally would watch my daughter while I worked. Then we were all placed in quarantine, and she was like, “Hey, I’m going to take this as an opportunity to get some extra income. We really need it.” I mean, how could I say no? Unfortunately, I can’t provide for them.

Veronica G.: (29:14)
So yeah, I think just seeing them work so hard and still work so hard has really impacted the advocate that I am. I think all of us, Alejandro, Nancy, Edgardo, I think we all can relate to just always advocating for our parents since we were young, and we’re definitely not going to stop right now.

Enrique A.: (29:39)
Thank you, Veronica. I know your daughter is going to be very proud of when she grows up and sees what you’ve done for your community. Finally, Edgardo [inaudible 00:09:42], what do you want to tell Vice President Joe Biden? He’s still with us. He’s listening to everyone’s story. What would you like him to know about your own story? You shared out this morning on the [inaudible 00:09:55], with the country, but, Edgardo, if you have a message for Vice President Biden, we’d like to hear it.

Edgardo: (30:03)
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me, and thank you for joining us, Vice President Biden. So it’s a really privilege being able to be here, on the call with everyone and my good colleagues and friends here, too. So I think one of the biggest things that I’ve been grappling with and I think I’ve seen it firsthand within my family, so my dad right now unfortunately is hospitalized on a ventilator because he got COVID two weeks ago, and he’s fighting for his life right now. My mother got it shortly after he got it, because he brought it home. My little sister got it. So it’s just impacted our family in a really, really, really bad way.

Edgardo: (30:46)
I know that there’s so many more families just like mine, especially in the Latino communities and underrepresented communities who also have families that are going through the same struggles as us. It’s just disheartening to know that there essentially is this systemic racism happening right now that is basically the administration, especially the state governors, like the governor of Iowa, the governor of Nebraska, and the Tyson plants and other food processing plants are really just letting these workers know with their actions that they don’t care about them and that they’re disposable.

Edgardo: (31:35)
My mother cries every night, wondering if she’s going to see my dad again. This has really caused so much trauma to the Latino community especially, but just immigrant communities across the country who work in these meat packing plants. They’re the largest employer base in this industry, and they’re also ones who have more likelihood of having preexisting conditions, too, which also just puts them at higher risk of complications when they contract COVID.

Edgardo: (32:08)
It’s just all these things. There’s all these health inequities that exist, that have existed before this pandemic, and this pandemic has just brought it up to the surface. It’s ugly, and it’s a really sad reality to know what that this administration has not caught up to speed in just giving reparations to communities who have been systemically oppressed, especially in this industry. I just hope that Congress members here and other representatives can help advocate for our families, because we’re struggling. We’re already at a social disadvantage compared to other populations, and it’s just really hard.

Joe Biden: (32:58)
Can I say something? Is it possible-

Enrique A.: (32:58)
Certainly, sir.

Joe Biden: (33:01)
Look, first of all, the stories are heartwrenching, and there’s nothing like worried about a family member, whether they’re going to make it or not, knowing they’re in a tough condition. I know it’s not a whole lot … I know this is going to sound like an exaggeration. It’s not a whole lot worse than getting up in the morning and knowing your son or daughter is in a war zone, Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever it may be. They’re basically in war zones.

Joe Biden: (33:28)
One of the statistics we can’t lose here is that 52% of the frontline meatpacking workers are Latino, one quarter, 25% are African Americans, and 45% of those folks live below the poverty level for a family of four. In addition to that, there’s a lot of things we can do. I’m not going to take a lot of time, because you have the best members of Congress, the most active and the most successful folks you can have on your side who are going to speak.

Joe Biden: (33:58)
But, number one, we can be in a position where we can provide free costs for COVID treatment regardless of their insurance or regardless of immigration status, period. We can provide paid sick leave for all workers so workers don’t have to leave work, to be fired in order, when they get sick, to be able to continue to live. There was a whole range of things. I proposed and the Congress was thinking about it, that there be a $13 per hour minimum additional pay for frontline workers, including meatpackers, those folks working … Whatever salary it is now, an average is about $14 an hour. That goes up to another 13, would go to $27 an hour, and it goes across for doctors, nurses across the board.

Joe Biden: (34:46)
We can afford to do that. Matter of fact, we can’t afford not to do that. We have to do that. In addition to that, there’s a whole range of other things. You can go to joebiden.com. But my point is that this is not only in the interest … and the immigration status, by the way, the folks who are undocumented should be able to join unions in these plants, join unions in these plants. There should be no deportation for reporting an illness or they’re, in fact, in trouble, in terms of their … There’s so much we can change.

Joe Biden: (35:18)
But the point I make is we always make this case to ourselves, to those that we all agree, those who support the immigrant community and immigrant community, but this is the case that I’ve been trying to make and some of my colleagues in the House are trying to make to people who have no idea of what this is about, who will get [inaudible 00:35:37] some of Trump’s malarkey about immigrants are the problem. They need the immigrant population. We need the population. We are strong because of that population, and they should be treated with dignity and fairness.

Joe Biden: (35:53)
But a lot more to say. I’m sorry, but I just … My heart goes out to each of you, and your parents had to be so proud of you. I mean, you’ve all done so well academically. You’ve done so well as children for their … I mean, a parent could not be anything other than incredibly proud, and I have a little idea. I have a little idea what it’s like waiting and worrying about your mother or father dying. I have a little idea, having gone through that in a different circumstance. So my heart goes out to you. You’re in my prayers, but we can change this.

Joe Biden: (36:27)
When this is over, we will beat this virus and, God willing, your parents are okay, we’ve got to change the system. It’s a chance to change the institutional racism that exists and make real progress, and everybody benefits, not just the immigrant community. Everybody will benefit when we do that. We can’t let it up. At any rate, I’m sorry to go on so long, but this is a … I feel very strongly about this. It’s within our power to do this, so we can’t fail to do it now. Thank you.

Enrique A.: (37:00)
Thank you, Vice President Biden, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that we’re incredibly proud of your story, Alejandro, Nancy, Veronica, Edgardo. We’re incredibly proud of your parents. In the midst of everything that’s happening, when people ask me, “Is there anything you’re optimistic about?” when we talk about the future, it’s you guys and the voice you provide for your community, for your families, and everything you represent. So I think it’s a little bit of good news, with everything that’s happening, and your families and your relatives are in our prayers. They’re in our thoughts, Edgardo, Veronica. I know, your grandfather right now is in the intensive care unit, Veronica. Edgardo, with your father. So we’ll keep them in our prayers, and thanks to Vice President Joe Biden for being part of this town hall and for having this conversation with our family members. Now I’m going to introduce our panelists. We already talked about Domingo Garcia, LULAC’s National President. Sindy Benavides, I know, the National CEO of LULAC is also with us today. Representative Bennie Thompson from Mississippi, Representative Zoe Lofgren from California is here, Joaquin Castro from Texas, and Filemon Vela, also from Texas. They’re all here, and I do agree with Vice President Joe Biden. They’re among the best and the finest in our Congress, and we appreciate them joining our town hall today.

Enrique A.: (38:36)
I guess the first question would go to Representative Zoe Lofgren in California. This idea of an extra premium pay for essential workers that Vice President Biden talked about, he said we can’t afford not to do it. So dignity, respect, that, of course, should be part of the conversation, not just now, but moving forward. That has to do with fair pay for the kind of work that these essential workers are doing in those plants. Representative Lofgren, thank you for joining us.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (39:07)
Well, thanks so much. I think it’s a good idea, but it’s not enough. As the Vice President had mentioned, we need to make sure that all of the individuals working in this industry are treated with respect and dignity in every way. For those who are undocumented, it’s ridiculous that the President is ordering undocumented individuals into these hazardous plants while denying them assistance, access to healthcare, and letting them live in fear of immigration enforcement. It’s just insane.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (39:46)
So we need top-to-bottom immigration reform, but we’re hoping and the Democrats are pushing for deferred action and a full respect for essential workers.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (40:02)
Full respect for essential workers during this pandemic, and I chair the Immigration Subcommittee in the Judiciary Committee. To me, getting top to bottom reform if we’re able to change the political landscape. As you know, the Republicans are not too friendly to this. If we get a better president and we have the Senate and the House, to me, this has got to be the first order of business legislatively.

Enrique A.: (40:33)
Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Congresswoman Lofgren. I forgot to mention Joe Henry who really made everything possible today from LULAC’s side. He’s close to those families that we heard from earlier today. He’s been an incredible partner to Univision throughout the years and I really want to thank Joe for being part of our town hall here today. We were supposed to go until 1:00 PM but there’s so many questions and so much to say that we’re probably maybe running a little over 1:00 PM just so everyone knows.

Enrique A.: (41:10)
I want to bring in Filamone Vela, Representative Vela from Texas. Can we talk a little bit more about this idea that OSHA has been absent from the emergency and not really looking out for workers, not being an advocate for workers in this meat packing industry, and the role the government should be taking, making sure that their workers have the conditions they need, the protections they need, and also the financial stability that’s essential for them to perform their work.

Filemon Vela: (41:40)
Yeah. First of all, to Eduardo and Veronica, our hearts go out to you and your families and keep the faith. Just last week I had a constituent that came off of a ventilator and our community was so happy for him and his family and just know that we are praying for you. [inaudible 00:41:59] Chairman Thompson and Representative Lofgren are critical players in our immigration reform battle that lies ahead and so I’m happy to have him here today too, and of course my colleague Joaquin Castro chair to the Hispanic Caucus is always so vigilant in his support for immigration reform.

Filemon Vela: (42:20)
But the thing about this executive order that the president issued under the Defense Production Act last week, OSHA sent out some guidance that essentially put them in a position where they’re suggesting that they’re going to take positions that would protect the employer versus the employee. That’s not the job of OSHA. That’s one of the big problems of… There’s a lot of problems with this administration, but from the standpoint of the question you asked, what we have to make sure is that OSHA does what it’s supposed to do, protect the employee and not the employer. Under this administration, they’re doing the exact opposite.

Filemon Vela: (42:58)
I would step back and say that with respect to the Defense Production Act and the president’s exercise of that authority, it’s a total misapplication of that authority. I mean he’s using it to put workers in a situation that is very dangerous. You should know, I worked in a meat plant. My father made me work in the meat plant when I was in college. It’s impossible to work on the kill floor, the packing or the loading dock without… Given the situation we’re in with COVID, some very, very serious and thoughtful measures have to be put in place to make sure that people are safe. I think that if you’re going to use the Defense Production Act, what you ought to be doing is using it to produce tests because we need tests all around this country for meat packing employees [inaudible 00:43:52] everywhere else and farm workers and until we do that, we’re going to be in a very difficult situation here.

Enrique A.: (44:01)
Right. Testing, contact tracing, making sure that when economies reopen, their conditions to, to do so. Chairman Thompson, I think Representative Vela was making a great point about the executive order and its meaning, its limitations too. I want to ask you about the contradiction in this executive order because even though the Trump administration has been prosecuting immigrants and trying to limit both documented and legal immigration to the United States, this executive order in a way recognizes immigrants as essential to our economy. It recognizes immigrants as essential to our wellbeing. Maybe not explicitly, but it feels that that’s the case by trying to get the industry to remain open during these conditions.

Chairman Thompson: (45:00)
Well, thank you very much for having me. One of the things we could do under that executive order, if the president really cared about the workers and the issue, he could give temporary protective status to the undocumented people who work in those facilities. That, I think, would send a strong signal that not only are you protecting a vital part of our economy, but we value what you’re doing too. But as you say it and has other speakers have talked about, they’re more concerned about the liability of the companies rather than the actual health and safety of the workers. I’m not at all surprised that this is the direction the president is going in. He could care less about workers. This notion that worker safety is a fundamental issue. The notion that workers in this country ought to have the right to form a union if they so choose and should not be penalized for choosing or advocating that.

Chairman Thompson: (46:10)
A lot of us, I chair the House Homeland Security Committee, we are firmly committed to creating that pathway to citizenship. We are firmly committed that these so-called ICE raids, some which have occurred in my district, I have over 300 people still incarcerated from the [inaudible 00:46:35] raids last August. So we are still addressing a lot of that. But the firm issue that we have to remember that Vice President Biden for a lot of us is the only real hope we have for long term change in this country. A lot of us will be working on his behalf. His comments were spot on. I just look forward to right thinking people in this country really solidifying around his candidacy and the ability to make this country what we really want it to be.

Enrique A.: (47:18)
Just quickly sir, is there any initiative in Congress to make that GPS for essential workers happen, for undocumented workers happen?

Chairman Thompson: (47:26)
Well, there’s one thing. The executive order just came out. We go back obstensively next week. I think you will see some movement in that direction before the week’s out. But again, this president… I think I can safely say that the people on this [inaudible 00:47:51] would be the last people that President Trump would listen to, but nonetheless, we speak for a lot of people in this country.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (48:04)
If I can just add-

Enrique A.: (48:04)
Thank you so much. Yes please.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (48:06)
Bennie has been a tremendous leader in this effort as chair of the Homeland Security Committee, and I’m grateful to him for that leadership. We also have a proposal from the judiciary committee Democrats that we send for the possibility of inclusion to give temporary protected status to essential workers that we sent in for discussion. Because the Senate is a majority Republican and of course the president has to sign a bill, we have to get a consensus on it. We don’t know if we will. The president could do this with a stroke of a pen. He doesn’t need the Congress to act. But we’re going to try and see if we can push that case with the help of the chairman’s leadership and the rest of us pushing for that.

Enrique A.: (48:54)
Thank you. Thank you, Congresswoman Lofgren for that. I think it’s important to make the point that the narrative needs to be out there, right? Like Vice President Biden said, there’s a lot of people that don’t realize what’s happening in these plants, in this industry. At least by having the voice of Congress remind them that and let them know that the sacrifices people are making to protect the supply chain, I think it’s extremely relevant.

Enrique A.: (49:22)
Congressman Castro, Joaquin Castro from Texas, we’ve talked a lot about the responsibility of government, of public officials, but I don’t think we’ve touched on the responsibility of the companies and the executives in these companies. Last week we saw a full page ad on the New York Times asking the president to act. He did. But it seems in favor of the companies and their interests, not so much their workers.

Joaquin Castro: (49:52)
Yeah. I mean we need to make sure that we put people over the profits of these large corporations. It’s clear that even several weeks into this pandemic, or at least a few weeks into this pandemic, these companies were not giving their workers any kind of protective gear. Some of the companies and some of the plants, they weren’t giving them masks, they weren’t giving them gloves. They weren’t allowing them to be distant enough from their coworkers to avoid the transmission of the coronavirus. And the result is clear, is that you have at many plants, hundreds of people that were infected. Then they infected family members and friends and neighbors. A lot of these places are in smaller medium size towns where they have more infections than even some big cities. So yes, I think that there’s got to be penalties on the companies for being derelict in that duty.

Joaquin Castro: (50:45)
The president of course, has also with his executive order, not allowed the states to close these plants. But before any workers to go back to work, before they’re forced to go back to work too early, there’s got to be emergency standards put in place that are not just recommendations but mandates for the companies to go through those safety protocols and make sure that workers are as safe as possible. I agree with the comments before.

Joaquin Castro: (51:11)
Look, there are four or five major American industries including agriculture and agribusiness and meat packing that would not exist the way they do but for immigrant labor, much of that undocumented immigrant labor. For years, these companies have known that they’re employed by very vulnerable people who don’t have a lot of political or economic power who can’t easily change the circumstances of their employee. Because of that, they’ve also taken advantage of these people. It’s time for Congress to do something about it, and it’s true that this pandemic has really brought that to light. It existed well before this, but it’s really shone a light on these injustices and these inequities and we shouldn’t just do something temporarily. We need to do something permanently about this industry.

Enrique A.: (52:02)
Thank you so much, Congressman Castro. Susana Sandoval, Human Rights Commissioner for the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous People. Her question, what specific legislation has been introduced that is trackable as well as which committees are working on the issue of public safety, the issues of immigration reform and emergency preparedness? Chairman Thompson, I don’t know if your committee is working on that. Congresswoman Lofgren mentioned something about the judiciary committee. If you want to go ahead first, sir.

Chairman Thompson: (52:35)
Well, from the standpoint of emergency preparedness, we now have a national disaster all over the country. So much of what the president is talking about doing in the meat plants and in the processing plants in general, that cost will be borne by FEMA because of that declaration. In addition to that, we have border security as part of our jurisdiction. What we are now trying to do is to stop the construction of this law and the diversion of resources from the construction of the wall to doing something to address the pandemic. Stopping commerce between Mexico and the US is not addressing the pandemic. On that standpoint, we’re just trying to get this president to be more forthright in what he’s doing, and that’s a real challenge.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (53:41)
I would just add that a number of bills have been introduced to address all of these issues. But here’s the problem. The president has to sign any bill for it to become law. So we have a major disagreement between what we think ought to happen, the members of Congress who are here with you this morning, and what the president thinks. The truth is, the only way to get real change in the area of worker safety, top to bottom immigration reform is to have a better president. Because he is not going to agree to the things that we’ve talked about here. So we’re ready to proceed as soon as we get that opportunity with a president who’s willing to work with us.

Domingo Garcia: (54:31)
If we can, what I’d like to see the Congress people, once you get back to Congress, hopefully next Monday, depending on what the timeline is, are you calling an emergency congressional hearing to hear testimony from other workers about what’s happening? Because LULAC has been getting this information from Alabama and Mississippi, Congressman Thompson, about the conditions in these plants. It’s just not one company. We’ve been talking to the CEOs of the major five companies trying to get some immediate resolution and there’s been some progress but more needs to be made. I think that if Congress had a emergency hearing on the conditions of these food workers, that would highlight what needs to be done in a way that making progress with the Zoom meeting that needs to be done. Then I also want to hear from Sindy Benavides, our CEO, after y’all answer that question, please.

Joaquin Castro: (55:22)
Yeah. Well, this is Joaquin. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has asked the Education Labor Committee that’s chaired by Bobby Scott in Virginia to hold such a hearing when the Congress does come back, and the committee has expressed the interest. Now this issue, as you can imagine, cuts across the jurisdictions of at least a few committees, but we’re actively working on that. Besides the hearing, we’ve asked the committee to investigate the labor standards and practices that gave rise to this situation in the meat packing plants. I’ve also asked not just the Congress but the administration and the executive branch to do the same kind of investigation. I know the other committees are considering their next moves as well.

Enrique A.: (56:05)
Representative Vela, I know you wanted to say something. We can hear from you before going to Sindy Benavides.

Filemon Vela: (56:12)
Yeah. I was just going to follow up on Joaquin’s point is that this issue with respect to meat packing workers crosses many jurisdictional lines in Congress from the Ed and Labor Committee, who as of yesterday, I was talking to their main staffer on OSHA issues that very involved in this to the judiciary committee of which. His chairwoman of the committee of jurisdiction, Homeland Security and in agriculture. What we’ll do is go back and talk to our leadership to see how we can handle that [inaudible 00:56:47].

Filemon Vela: (56:43)
I want to I want to make two final points. Enrique, you asked me about OSHA. At the end of the day, the people at OSHA follow the president. The problem we have right now is that the direction they’re getting is to favor the employer, not the employee. That’s why it’s so important that Joe Biden become our next president.

Filemon Vela: (57:06)
Secondly, back to the hypocrisy of the president’s use of the Defense Production Act to put people back to work in these dangerous conditions, what we know is that in 2017, president Trump issued an executive order subjecting these very workers to deportation. I mean at the very least, if you’re going to use the power of the Defense Production Act to put these people in that dangerous spot, what you should do is exempt those very workers from your 2017 deportation order.

Enrique A.: (57:45)
You make a great point. Sindy Benavides, if you can join us. The CEO of LULAC. If you have a question or just want to comment on what’s being discussed here today.

Sindy Benavides: (57:58)
Thank you so much, Enrique, and thank you again to [inaudible 00:58:01] for partnering. First and foremost, we know that usher in in the Defense Production Act is an utter disgrace by this administration who is self selecting when to utilize this specific act of power. This is where we need Congress to act, as mentioned by President Garcia, to make sure that the community, the workers, that people are protected. We know that every single day, five out of six Latinos have to leave their houses to go to work and get paid. Five out of six Latinos every single day are sacrificing their lives to make sure that America keeps running. We also know that when we look at individuals who have already been impacted by COVID cases, over 5,020 deaths, we know that this is a massive, a massive undercount. We think that it’s actually doubled, if not tripled that number because we know from the workers directly that when they go to the clinics and when they go to the hospital, they are being turned away and they’re being denied services.

Sindy Benavides: (59:06)
I just want to thank Nancy, Ricardo, Veronica, Alejandro as courageous leaders for standing up for our community and what we need now more than ever as LULACers, as Latinos, as immigrants, as a united community to elevate our voices, make sure that Congress hears us. Make sure that this White House understands that it will always be about the community. It will always be about making sure that this country moves forward through the act of its people. And that in November, we send a very clear message of the leaders that we want representing our entire nation and country. I’ll just end it with this. For all those workers that are maybe tuning in, for the children or workers who may be tuning in, for the relatives or workers who are tuning it, join us. Join LULAC. We get emails and calls every single day from workers in-

Sindy Benavides: (01:00:03)
We get emails and calls every single day from workers in Alabama, Nebraska, Washington, Iowa, Virginia, all over this country. And we want to hear. Because we want to make sure that our community is experiencing fear, that we, as LULAC, a 91-year-old civil rights organization, that we continue to defend and protect our community. That is exactly what we’re going to do. I just want to end it with this, Enrique, with everyone tuning in. Thank you so much to our fearless LULAC-ers, leaders, to all those unsung heroes. We don’t hear their names every day. People like Joe Henry, like Deanna, like Sonny, like [Madahi 01:00:44], like [Florida 00:00:43], like Nick Salazar, individuals like Kim Cordova with UFCW and so many others who are really on the frontline making sure that the voices of our community and our people are elevated.

Enrique A.: (01:00:58)
Thank you so much, Sindy. You talk about fear and fear as a factor playing out throughout this emergency. It’s incredibly important. That’s why I want to bring in quickly Joe Henry who’s on the ground working with these families. Joe, if you can share a little bit about that, about the fear in the community. We’ve all faced this unprecedented crisis, but we face it in a very different way. Veronica [Guerra 01:01:24] was talking about that earlier today. But for families in places like Iowa, what you’ve seen and if you can share that with us, especially this idea about living in fear more now than ever.

Joe Henry: (01:01:36)
Sure. Thank you. What is happening right now as we are talking, workers are working within inches of each other. They’re working at a very high pitch on these lines cutting meat. Literally sweat is pouring from their bodies onto the meat as we’re talking right now. Many of these workers are going into the human resources department saying, ” We cannot keep up. We cannot survive in this type of situation. Why aren’t we getting paid for sick leave? I was off for a week or two. I only have $100 in my paycheck. What is going on? Why am I having to pay out of pocket deductibles? My family member was just in the hospital several weeks on a ventilator. Why do I have a healthcare bill for $10,000, $20,000, $30,000?”

Joe Henry: (01:02:27)
This is all going on right now everywhere. These workers need our help. We need to move quickly. Our community is hurting, the immigrant community is hurting. Every day, every minute workers going into these plants. These are literally death marches into these facilities. These are becoming Chernobyls. We must demand justice now. We have to move quickly. That’s what’s going on. You need to look at that. People are suffering. These young people, they hear these stories every day. Every day. That’s what’s going on. We need to move quickly. Thank you.

Enrique A.: (01:03:10)
Thank you. Thank you, Joe. Finally, we went well past 1:00 PM. That was our finish line. Just final round. Some final thoughts from our panelists. I’m going to start with Filemon Vela in Texas and talk about the undocumented immigrants, that component of our discussion today that’s so important. We heard from Chairman Thompson talk about what happened in Mississippi a few months ago and how that devastated the community. But now we’re seeing it on a national level. Millions of people. Some of these immigrants that work in the meat packing industry and the food industry are facing a crisis on top of a crisis already. Congressman Vela? You can unmute. I think you’re on mute. Yes. Thank you.

Congressman Vela: (01:04:06)
I would just make a few quick points. First, that if you’re going to use the Defense Production Act, it ought to be done to create testing in this country so that everybody can get tested. Two, the issue of immigration status really doesn’t just go to the point of meatpacking workers, but for all essential workers, whether it be in healthcare, groceries, utilities, farm working, you name it. Given the crisis we’re in, it is my view that every single one of those people that are doing essential work in this time of crisis deserve a green card. At the very least, like I said earlier, the hypocrisy of the Defense Production Act order putting meat plant workers in a situation like Trump would do it, at the very least, he needs to go back and amend and exempt those very workers from his deportation order of 2017.

Enrique A.: (01:05:08)
Thank you, Congressman Vela. The Chairman of the Hispanic Caucus, Joaquin Castro, some final thoughts. What can we expect from the Hispanic Caucus in the next few weeks?

Joaquin Castro: (01:05:21)
Yes. Very aggressive advocacy as we’ve been trying to do. We were the first to call for the investigations of Congress and the administration. We’ve gotten behind legislation on most of these issues that we’ve discussed today. I would also ask LULAC, I know the lingo has been also very active and Sindy, but everybody who is part of this call, if you can make sure that you reach out to your members of Congress, reach out to the White House also and let them know how you feel about these issues because this is a time to speak up very strongly and make sure that people are protected.

Enrique A.: (01:05:58)
Thank you so much. Representative Lofgren, Sindy Benavides mentioned that five out of every six Latinos need to leave their house. So it also feels that some of the recommendations to control infections, to mitigate the virus in our communities are not specifically aimed at that reality. How do we make sure that we’re making them not just protect the rest of us, but that the rest of us is protecting them and valuing their sacrifice?

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (01:06:30)
Well, let me just say how valuable it has been for me to listen to these panelists, to these wonderful young people talk about their family and what’s going on in these meat packing facilities. I think we came into this morning motivated to act. That’s only been reinforced because of these stories that we’ve heard. So I’m grateful to you for doing that.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (01:06:58)
We know that we have fallen short as a country in protecting working people in the best of times. Now with this pandemic, those fault lines have become ever more clear. We need to do a better job of making sure that working people have the protections both in terms of wages but also the conditions on which they’re working.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (01:07:25)
I want to focus a little bit on the undocumented essential workers. We have tried for some time to create immigration reform and in fact, the House of Representatives since we took the majority a year and a half ago, has passed a legislation to allow the DACA recipients to gain their legal residence. We passed just recently a major bill to allow undocumented farm workers to gain legal permanent residence and a path to citizenship. We were working on other provisions as well. None of those have been taken up by the United States Senate. Mitch McConnell has not moved them and I don’t know if the president would sign them.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: (01:08:13)
We have a big job ahead of us. We’re willing to take that job up, but we need the help of American voters. We need to change the majority in the Senate, and we need a better president. So I hope that our Vice President Biden will be able to sit in the oval office and sign bills that create a better immigration system, a reform system, not only for immigrants but for all workers. And Filemon is right. If you’re going to say you’re an essential worker, but we’re going to preclude you from getting the healthcare you need once we’ve insisted that you put yourself in the hazardous working spot, that’s indefensible and we need to make sure that that gets changed. Thank you to all my colleagues in the House and the panelist, and we value the input that you’ve given us today. Thank you.

Enrique A.: (01:09:13)
Thank you so much, Congresswoman Lofgren. The final question for Chairman Thompson comes from one of our participants. It says, will Congress work to create legislation to make OSHA safety guidelines for COVID 19 workplaces into federal regulations? With that question and your final thoughts, we’ll say goodbye.

Chairman Thompson: (01:09:32)
Well, first of all, let me thank you for allowing me to participate. Congress absolutely will. But the impact so much on what we do is predicated on who’s in the executive office. OSHA without the Trump intimidation could do a better job. The inspector generals, without fear of being fired for doing their job, could do a better job. There are so many oversight responsibilities and checks and balances put into place that this executive through president Trump has just totally ignored. This notion that we have three branches of government, legislative, judicial and executive, only goes so far.

Chairman Thompson: (01:10:23)
I would say the notion is unless you have good people in all three, bad things will happen. We have a good example of what’s occurring right now. I’m convinced that with Vice President Biden as our nominee, we have an opportunity to speak to the immigrant community. We have an opportunity to speak to those undocumented workers who are doing a damn good job, a hard job, very little pay and no hazardous pay. But we thank them for it. But the best thing we can do is for those of us who are voters to vote Donald Trump out this November.

Enrique A.: (01:11:10)
Chairman Bennie Thompson, all the members of Congress, Filemon Vela, Zoe Lofgren, Joaquin Castro, we really appreciate your time today and your generosity to answer questions and listen to everyone’s comments. LULAC, starting with Domingo Garcia, the national president, Sindy Benavides. Joe Henry, thank you so much for again, taking the leadership on this issue, not just now, but since you started. [inaudible 01:11:41] to go with this important work and thanks to Alejandro, to Nancy, to Veronica and Edgar for sharing their stories and for inspiring everyone on our call today on this town hall. Again, our thoughts and prayers are with your families, with your relatives, and also our most profound gratitude for the work that they’re doing and for keeping this country moving forward. It’s not an exaggeration when I say that. I’m Enrique [inaudible 01:12:13] with [inaudible 01:12:15]. I don’t know if Domingo Garcia wants to say a few words before we say goodbye. Domingo, if you’re still around. For me, that’s all. Again, I appreciate everyone’s time.

Domingo Garcia: (01:12:24)
Okay. Let me go ahead and finish it up. Thank you, Enrique. And thank you, Congressman Vela for helping organize this, Congressman Thompson, Lofgren, and Congressman Castro. And of course, Vice President Joe Biden for being our special surprise guest for this town hall. But more important, those of you who testified on the front lines who have family members there in Iowa and Nebraska. I think it’s important that we put a face. Saul Sanchez, who died in a plant in Greeley, Colorado. Hugo Dominguez, who died in Dallas, Texas last week. These are real people and these are real stories. They’re not statistics that cross across your television every night. We recognize their safety. America’s food supply depends on the safety of those food workers. We can make sure that they have the adequate protections, that they have the adequate rules and regulations and laws that protect them. That American steaks and your fried chicken and your chicken fried steak will be on your table because the American workers, those essential workers, will be protected.

Domingo Garcia: (01:13:32)
I encourage all of you to join LULAC. Go to LULAC.org. If you want to, we’re raising money right now to help some of these workers, some of these families that have been impacted by this. This is something that we do. We’ve been doing it since 1929. We’re 91 years young, LULAC the organization, the largest and oldest Latino organization in the United States. We’re going to continue fighting to make sure that every worker in America, especially if their name is Jose and Maria, gets the same treatment as those that are in the hospitals and in the military today because we have been there too. Whether it was our veterans who were fighting in World War II, like Marcario Garcia, who was a Medal of Honor winner or those who today, like the families of the Alejandro and Nancy and Veronica and Eduardo. Those are heroes also. They’re just as important as those other veterans are today. [foreign language 00:14:31] Victoria, Enrique. Gracias.

Enrique A.: (01:14:37)
Thank you, Domingo. And thanks everyone. Have a wonderful week. Thanks for joining us today. That’s all.

Domingo Garcia: (01:14:43)
Thank you.

Veronica: (01:14:44)
Thank you.

Nancy: (01:14:44)
Thank you.

Domingo Garcia: (01:14:44)
Okay. I don’t know how to get off.

Female: (01:14:54)
Did you have the link?

Domingo Garcia: (01:14:55)
I just put the… How do I get off? Oh, it’s a full screen but that doesn’t give me the [inaudible 01:15:04].