Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Immigration Reform Bill Resurrected?; Gaza Meltdown; Mosque Attack; Border Insecurity; Border Drowning; Easy Entry
Aired June 14, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: We begin, thought, with breaking news on the issue that looked too hot to handle or too tough for a wounded president with election season starting and trust for anything inside the beltway slipping again.
We're talking, of course, about immigration reform. Last week a compromised bill died in the Senate. Tonight, the same Senators who failed to save it announce an agreement on the deal to revive it, sweetened by some last-minute money from the White House.
In a moment, the fiery reaction from CNN Lou Dobbs.
First, though, details from Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In a short bipartisan statement, the Senate Democratic and Republican leaders announced the immigration bill will return to the Senate floor. Under the deal, opponents will be allowed to offer some 20 amendments to change what they don't like about the bill. A breakthrough after intense behind-closed-doors negotiations led by Senators who vowed not to give up.
SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Doing nothing is not an alternative. It is not an alternative. This issue isn't going away.
SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: If we don't try, this problem that has bedeviled us for years will continue.
BASH: The highly controversial immigration compromise has generated emotional opposition from all sides, especially the provisions allowing millions of illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship, a temporary guest worker program, and a change in immigration law that puts more emphasis on employment needs than family ties.
Senate Republicans say a renewed presidential push helped seal the deal. Just today, Mr. Bush helped clear one of their biggest hurdles, convincing skeptical conservatives the bill would help secure the border.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because I supported an amended that will provide $4.4 billion in immediate additional funding for securing our borders and enforcing our laws at the worksite.
SEN. MEL MARTINEZ (R), FLORIDA: It gives people security -- I mean, it gives people the confidence to know that we're serious about enforcement. People have a hard time believing that Washington means it this time.
KING: Dana Bash joining us now from Capitol Hill.
So the deal is revived. Do they have the votes to pass it?
BASH (on camera): That is still a big open question, John. What this breakthrough means is that they are going to bring this back to the Senate floor. But we just don't know whether or not they can actually pass this through the Senate. Why? Because there are still many, many opponents who are determined to kill this bill and with this agreement they are still going to have lot of opportunities to try.
KING: And the president put that money to sweeten the deal on the table today, but he also seemed to change his tone to get it done. Is that true?
BASH: Big time. The president has changed his tone really over the past couple of weeks. It was just about two weeks ago that the president made his speech -- a big immigration speech -- down in Georgia where he essentially said opponents of this who were calling it amnesty are un-American.
Republicans here tell us that they have sent word to the White House that that was unhelpful, to say the least because they think it really stoked conservative opposition.
So first, you saw the president come here to the Hill a couple of days ago, really had more of a conciliatory tone after -- especially you heard -- you got an earful inside this Republican meeting saying you've got to really do more to focus on border security. And that's really what he tried to do especially with his announcement today that he says he will pledge about $4 billion to make sure that the government is going to make good on its promise to secure the border -- John.
KING: Dana Bash on Capitol Hill with the breaking news tonight. Thank you, Dana.
And as host of CNN's "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," Anchor Lou Dobbs speaks for a lot of Americans who see this compromise on immigration reform as a sellout.
Lou joined me a bit earlier tonight.
KING: So Lou Dobbs, the grand compromise we thought last week was dead is suddenly breathing new life in part because the president put up $4 billion upfront, he says, to help secure the borders. The White House says that should answer the concerns of people like Lou Dobbs who say put border security first and then deal with the other issues. Good enough for you?
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Not even close. And it's not even close enough for those Senators that are seeking to influence, nor the public.
Basically, John, they're saying that they can -- in my opinion, absolutely contemptible of the intellect of the Senators they're trying to influence and the American people.
KING: As you know, the president and his allies, including the Democrats who allied with him on this reject the characterization of people like you who call this bill amnesty.
I sat down with Dan Bartlett, the counsel to the president earlier today at the White House, and he said he accepts your argument that one of the reasons people are so skeptical about this compromise is because of the failures of the 1986 immigration deal. But Dan Bartlett insists this is different.
DOBBS: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN BARTLETT, OUTGOING WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: The 1986 reforms made a lot of promises about how they're going to finally fix the system and quite frankly it failed.
And what the president is saying is we have to address the failures of that system. The proposal the president has put forward, he believes does the best job at fixing those problems from 1986 and it will address this issue of whether you're giving them amnesty or not.
That was amnesty in 1986, this is something far different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I suspect you disagree. Well, I -- you know, I should surprise you and say I agree. This is something far different. I'll agree with that much of it.
You know, this president has had six years, John, to show that he's serious about border security. He's not, despite the fact of September 11th. He has not demonstrated that he's serious about port security. He has demonstrated he's serious about allowing an unlimited flood of illegal aliens into this country to provide corporate America with cheap labor. That's all he's demonstrated. This is just more gamesmanship.
And we're hearing the same tired rhetoric from 1986 as the president puts forth this nonsense along with Senator Ted Kennedy, talking about bringing people out of the shadows. I mean, that was the rhetoric of 1986.
The only people in the shadows here are American citizens. They've been pushed into the shadows by a Senate that will not represent them. They've been pushed into the shadows by a president who has priorities well beyond the wishes of the American people.
By the way, it's one of the reasons that his and the approval rating of the president and the Congress are so pathetically low. And they don't get it.
KING: And Lou, what they say in return is that to get a compromise, to get immigration through, you need some compromises.
KING: And they say to do nothing -- and you know the rhetoric on this, it comes from the White House...
KING: ... Senator McCain, another silent amnesty. They say to do nothing is silent amnesty.
Tell me why you think that is a crock?
DOBBS: Well, it's a crock, as you style it, John, because the point of fact is what we -- I agree that the status quo is unacceptable. I agree that we should be doing something. But that something is very precise and it's not built on compromise.
We don't compromise on national security. We don't compromise on the common good, the well-being of American citizens. We secure the borders. We make security of our borders and our ports a condition precedent to any discussion of reform of immigration law.
Let's -- if anybody is serious, why in the world hasn't this administration been prosecuting illegal employers of illegal aliens? It's a joke.
KING: Lou, we will follow this debate with you. And as always, thanks for your thoughts.
DOBBS: Great to be with you, John. Thank you.
KING: And a reminder, you can see "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" every night on CNN at 6:00 p.m., Eastern Time.
As for us tonight, we'll take you to the border north and south for a progress report. That's a bit later in the program here on 360.
First though, a meltdown in the Middle East.
Those who have been pushing for a two-state solution to the region got one today, but not between Israel and the Palestinian authority.
Take a look at the map. There are now effectively two Palestinian entities -- one run by Hamas, the other by Fatah.
After days of fighting, Hamas tonight is fully in control of Gaza, while Fatah still runs the West Bank.
Joining us now, Anne-Marie Slaughter. She's the dean of Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs and author, "The Idea that is America."
And in Nablus on the West Bank, CNN's Ben Wedeman.
Ben, I want to start with you.
There have been calls in the region for a multinational peacekeeping force that could perhaps include troops from the United States to be sent into Gaza to restore order. Is that at all a real possibility in the near future?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, having spent a lot of time in Gaza, I would say probably not. They would be going to very hostile territory. In fact, at this point in Gaza, there are no warring parties. There's only one party and that is Hamas. And we've heard from Hamas that they simply would not accept the presence of international troops there.
The feeling is that they're in control, that they would simply not tolerate the presence of troops from any country there at the moment.
And I think it's unlikely that any country would really be willing to send their troops into harm's way in Gaza -- John.
KING: Anne-Marie, you have watched this play out since Hamas was elected in 2006. Both the United States and Israel have tried to choke off Hamas by essentially pouring time and money into supporting Fatah. How much of this is a blow to their efforts and is it fact, just plain proof that those efforts have failed?
ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I certainly think that has not worked. I mean, what you are seeing is the strengthening of Hamas to the point it now controls one full chunk of Palestinian territory and there is fighting already in the West Bank between Fatah and Hamas there as well.
What you're seeing is that time and generations are not on the side of the moderates. The younger generation are increasingly radicalized. They are pushing against what they see to be a tired leadership that hasn't delivered. So, and isolation is just making them more radical.
KING: And Ben, as people look for some form of political intervention or political solution, next week, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel comes to the White House to meet with President Bush. Do they really have any diplomatic options to resolve this crisis? Both of those leaders, Mr. Bush and Mr. Olmert, are themselves quite weak at the moment. WEDEMAN: Well, the problem is that both Israel and the United States put a lot of capital into supporting Fatah in its struggle against Hamas. They both supported the international embargo on the Palestinian authority when it was led by Ismail Haniya of the Hamas movement and they provided either indirectly or directly weapons to Hamas -- or rather Fatah in its struggle against Hamas. And they simply failed. They were -- as one person here told me, they were backing the wrong horse.
And what they're going to do at this point is difficult to say. What is clear is they're going to continue on the one hand to boycott the Hamas administration, for the lack of a better word, in Gaza and will probably do what they can to bolster the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah movement in the West Bank.
But now we have a fairly stark division. We have a Hamas state in Gaza, a Fatah state or semi-state in the West Bank. But they just simply no longer function as a single unit. And how the United States and Israel deal with this division is going to be difficult to say.
KING: Anne-Marie, let's focus just on the Israeli equation and the calculation of this moment. You have the instability in Iraq, the instability in Lebanon. Now you have Hamas, an Islamic group which doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist and often talks about annihilating Israel controlling Gaza. What does Israel do?
SLAUGHTER: Well, this is a problem for Israel and this is a problem for the entire United States. We're looking at the possibility of real conflagration throughout the region, the arc from Hamas, Palestine through Lebanon, through Iraq.
And Israel doesn't have many good options. Israel is saying that it would welcome U.N. troops.
As Ben just said, I don't see how you put U.N. troops into a place where there's not a peace to keep. The Hamas is in control. If the Israelis go back in, it's just going to be more of precisely the situation they tried to get out of by evacuating Gaza.
So right now, the best hope for the Israelis is that the Saudis and other regional powers decide that the situation is so dangerous that they have to step in and a possible split within Hamas itself between Haniya, the deposed prime minister who's relatively more moderate, and the young hot heads on the streets.
KING: An incredibly volatile situation. And we will keep watching it.
Ben Wedeman in the Palestinian territory, Anne-Marie slaughter -- thank you both for your time tonight.
Now since Hamas came to power in those 2006 elections, violence has killed some 630 Palestinians in Gaza. Here's the raw territory.
It's 25 miles long and six miles wide. About twice the size of Washington, D.C. About 1.5 million Palestinians live there, more than half of them refugees. The unemployment rate is 35 percent and most residents live on just $2 a day.
Now, the other powder keg -- Iraq. Reeling tonight after the bombing yesterday at a Shiite mosque in Samarra. Reeling and on edge.
Already at least nine Sunni mosques have been hit since then. Vehicles have been banned in Samarra, Baghdad and other major cities.
Meantime, in Samarra, new details are emerging from the rubble.
CNN's Karl Penhaul is there.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): American gun trucks roll through Samarra's streets, dodging debris and bullets.
En route to the bombed out ruins of one of Iraq's holiest Shiite shrines.
LT. RYAN LOWRY, U.S. ARMY: You see that pile of rubble and there's a small golden -- almost like a golden icon sitting on top? That was one of the minarets.
PENHAUL: A glint of gold amid shattered concrete and twisted steel, all that's left of the golden mosque's twin minarets.
Authorities blame Wednesday's explosion on al Qaeda extremists trying to drive a deeper sectarian wedge between Iraq's Sunni and Shia communities.
The U.S. divisional commander hopes Iraqis will show restraint.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, ideally, the Sunni and Shia leadership in Iraq will step forward and make sure that the Iraqi people don't fall for this ploy, which is to and create havoc.
WEDEMAN: That shattered concrete shell was the mosque's famed Golden Dome. Al Qaeda insurgents bombed that in February 2006, a symbolic target, a wave of tit for tat religious killings across Iraq.
Iraqi police are investigating Wednesday's explosion. Early indications point to an inside job by the force supposed to be protecting the mosque.
(on camera): Around 50 members of the Iraqi security forces were on guard at the time of the bombing. Because of the high walls around the mosque, U.S. military commanders say it would have been very difficult for insurgents to penetrate the compound without some kind of insider knowledge from those on duty.
(voice-over): More than a dozen security guards are being interrogated. A fresh guard force of Iraqi soldiers came from Baghdad to keep the peace around the mosque. Samarra seems relatively calm for now. Normally bustling market street is deserted.
COL. FARIS SHAKIR, IRAQI SECURITY FORCES: Just after this blast, people close their shops anyway probably just out of concern for safety, but also the ISF, the Iraqi Security Forces, have put in a curfew.
PENHAUL: Authorities reported a sectarian backlash to the Samarra bombing in Baghdad and in the mainly Shiite south with gun battles and revenge attacks on Sunni mosques.
The government's reiterating last year's pledge to rebuild the Golden Mosque, but now its ruins seem to stand as a monument to Iraq's descent into chaos.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, Samarra, Iraq.
KING: Coming up tonight, back to the battle on the border, up close and personal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING (voice-over): Allegations of crooked guards down south and up north. Get this.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is your professional opinion that terrorists have gone through Angle Inlet into the mainland United States?
DALLAS BLOCK, SHERIFF, LAKE OF THE WOODS COUNTY, MN: Yes, it is.
KING: Unprotected borders and who's crossing them, ahead on 360.
Also, it doesn't get wilder than this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trees are so dense, you know, they don't think we're out here.
KING: "They" are illegal immigrants. He's one of the people tracking them the old-fashioned way and it works. Ahead on 360.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I call on the Senators to pass this amendment and show the American people that we're going to do our jobs of securing this border once and for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING (on camera): The amendment President Bush was talking about would provide another $4 billion for border security and other immigration enforcement. It's one of 20 amendments to the immigration reform bill that will now be debated again next week.
As Dana Bash reported moments ago, Senate leaders today reached a bipartisan deal to revive that controversial measure. Border security, of course, is a major sticking point in the Congressional debate.
Just yesterday, a former U.S. border inspector pleaded guilty to smuggling illegal aliens and conspiracy. Authorities say Adam Bender used his Border Patrol position to allow illegal aliens to enter the United States from Canada. He and two other men face five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted.
The reality is there are leaks in America's borders with both Canada and Mexico.
CNN's Gary Tuchman has more.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ... a traffic choke border checkpoint with Mexico or on the wide expanse of Canadian plain, the goal is the same. Customs and border protection agents try to keep people out of the U.S. who are not supposed to be in the U.S.
An average of 3,000 people are apprehended at U.S. borders each day.
The government says arrests on the Mexican border are down about 30 percent from the same time last year, and that's largely attributed to increased Border Patrol and National Guard presence.
We met Arturo in Reynosa, Mexico, just across the border from Texas. He says he's tried to swim across the Rio Grande three times in the last year and has been arrested each time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They sent me back. It's been difficult. It's been hard for me and I haven't been able to cross.
TUCHMAN: We saw this man swimming from Mexico towards Texas. When he saw us, he turned back. He didn't necessarily want to be on video crossing the Rio Grande. He, too, told us he had recently been arrested.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was in prison for a month and a half.
TUCHMAN: Many whose jobs it is to protect U.S. borders say they've seen improvement. But this man disagrees.
MICHAEL W. CUTLER, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: I think it's a mitigated disaster.
TUCHMAN: Michael Cutler, a former INS special agent, says a priority has to be put on increasing the number of agents, and not just at the borders.
CUTLER: Well, without looking at it from the interior, it's kind of like trying play baseball and telling your outfielders to sit out the game. If you can hit the ball over the second baseman's head, you've got an in the park home run. Right now, if you can get past the inspector at the airport or get past the Border Patrol agents, you're home free.
TUCHMAN: But all acknowledge it still is not hard to avoid agents altogether. In Mexico.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an HK UMP 40.
TUCHMAN: And you're ready to use it if need be?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, absolutely, to protect myself or anyone else on the team.
TUCHMAN: Agents patrol the sprawling sewer system that links the neighboring cities of Nogales, Arizona/Nogales, Mexico.
So I leave the sewer the same way many illegal immigrants do.
(on camera): It's not known how many people escape into Nogales, Arizona, without ever being seen. But it's clear a lot of them come through sewers like I just did and it doesn't even shock the people in the city because it happens so frequently.
(voice-over): And in Canada...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN (on camera): Push the call, push the American flag.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN (voice-over): There are still some remote areas where the border station is no workers, just a video phone where you're supposed to announce your arrival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN (on camera): My name is Gary Tuchman. I think you'll find I have a clean record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The agent looks at you through the camera and you look at the agent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN (on camera): I'm going to hold you up my passport first. Can you see it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN (voice-over): About 1.1 million people cross America's border checkpoints each day. That number, of course, doesn't include the ones who do it illegally. Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.
KING: And now to the other border, the one that's an even bigger part of the immigration debate, the border we share, of course, with Mexico.
CNN's Ed Lavandera joins me now from San Ygnacio, Texas, right on the Rio Grande.
Ed, tell us what you're seeing tonight.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this is an incredibly small speck of a town, if you will, on the U.S.-Mexico border, about 30 miles south of Laredo. You know, when many people talk about defending the border, this is -- one of the things they kind of think about is like, how do you defend this? Look, you just walk right out here into the Rio Grande about 70 yards across. Most of this water you could probably just wade through. You might have to swim the final portion to get across. But that is Mexico.
And there is almost nothing out here. You can just look out here up northward through the river here and just see how dark and how quiet and how silent it is out there.
So this is a very difficult area for Border Patrol agents to patrol. They're on occasional patrol, but this is one of those areas that is very far off the beaten path and very difficult to protect.
KING: And Ed, is it one of the places that factors into the build a fence debate or is it a place where they count on the river to be the border, if you will?
LAVANDERA: John, you're dropping out there on me, but one of the things that officials here all along south Texas are really struggling with is this idea of building the border fence up and down the U.S- Mexico border. It is an idea that is incredibly unpopular virtually everywhere along this way in south Texas.
They say it's a complete waste of money. For example -- we just spoke with the mayor of Laredo earlier today, who said that there are plans to build about 19 miles of fence in the city there. He says it is a ridiculous waste of money, and he says jokingly that the only people that that fence would help are the people who build ladders because that's what they would use to get right over it.
KING: And Ed, I hope you can hear me. Smuggling is part of the debate about illegal immigration. You've been reporting the last two nights on allegations that National Guard members have been smuggling illegal immigrants across the border. What's the latest on that?
I think we've lost Ed Lavandera, down on the border. We'll try to get back to Ed if we can.
But thank you, Ed, down at the border with us tonight. Our border coverage continues on 360. Ahead, a group of illegals caught on camera and stopped by the Border Patrol. You won't believe what the patrol is accused of doing, next. The disturbing story just ahead.
And we'll take you to the mountains along the border with Canada, where old has become new again in the name of defending the country. 360 next.
KING: The border separating the United States and Mexico is where tension and desperation often collide. Border Patrol guards on one side, people willing to risk everything on the other. When their paths cross, almost anything can happen.
Here's CNN's Jeanne Meserve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to have -- three just came out of that 14-14. They're already across the drag road.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Every day Border Patrol cameras help catch illegal immigrants crossing the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass, Texas.
But some days they capture much more. Events that tell us about the best within us and the worst.
ISMAEL MARTINEZ (through translator): Here's the point that we got into the water. We crossed through here.
MESERVE: Ismael Martinez, his mother, his sister and three others waded across the Rio Grande to the United States in the early morning darkness of September 23, 2004, to join Ismael's father, who had a job milking cows on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Border Patrol cameras saw them, and agents found them.
STEPHEN WHITE, MARTINEZ FAMILY LAWYER: They came out, all six of them, and prepared to be arrested. But that's not what happened.
MESERVE: In a deposition, one of the agents says he told the Mexicans to go back to their F-ing country. The Mexicans say they were ordered back into the water at a deep stretch of the river.
Could you swim?
MARTINEZ (through translator): No.
MESERVE: Could your mom swim?
MARTINEZ (through translator): No.
MESERVE: Could your sister swim?
MARTINEZ (through translator): No.
MESERVE: In a videotaped statement, a Mexican who was in the group says they asked the Border Patrol for help, but the agents instead threw rocks.
FERARDO OJEDA, FROM VIDEOTAPED STATEMENT (through translator): Because of the rocks they were throwing, the women started panicking, and not being able to feel the bottom of the river, they became desperate and were grabbing on to us, trying to save themselves.
MESERVE: The Border Patrol's own infrared cameras captured the women's struggle. Eventually they disappeared beneath the water.
MARTINEZ (through translator): My mom and sister, I couldn't see them.
MESERVE: They drowned, along with another woman in the group.
In depositions, the Border Patrol agents deny ordering the Mexicans back into the river or throwing rocks. And an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security did not result in any disciplinary action.
ASST. CHIEF ALAN LANGFORD, U.S. BORDER PATROL: There was no findings of misconduct. To the best of my knowledge, it's been presented to the U.S. attorney and he declined prosecution.
MESERVE: Ismael's father sued for $320 million. The government settled for a lesser undisclosed amount. Lawyers are expected to file for court approval this week.
(on camera): The drownings and the alleged misconduct are horrific, but in this very same stretch of river a tale of heroism. And it happened right there.
Border Patrol Agent Daryl Lee was on patrol in February of 2006, when again Border Patrol cameras saw illegal immigrants entering the U.S. When Lee approached them, the immigrants went back in the water and one got in trouble.
DARYL LEE, U.S. BORDER PATROL: They came to a point where he took his last little breath. He had kind of struggled up, his face barely broke the water this time, and he just kind of bubbled a little bit and went down. And that's when I made my decision, you know, that he wasn't going to -- probably not coming back up.
MESERVE (voice-over): Video from Border Patrol cameras show Daryl Lee diving into the water, swimming towards a man he could no longer see. And then a bubble. A successful rescue.
LEE: I just felt that if -- I couldn't live with myself if I stood by and didn't do everything within my ability to save another human life.
MESERVE: One river, two stories, that turn a lens on us as well as our neighbors. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Eagle Pass, Texas.
KING: And next, we go from the border with Mexico to an even longer border with Canada, where Border Patrols have a new weapon that looks awfully familiar.
Plus a closer look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'll hold you up my passport first. Can you see it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
TUCHMAN: That's me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You call that security? We'll take to you a place where the door to America seems wide open.
KINGK: Back to the immigration debate and another look north to see what's being done to secure our border with Canada.
Earlier in the program, we told you about an ex-border inspector pleading guilty to charges of smuggling illegal immigrants in from Canada.
Tonight, Randi Kaye reports on an old time weapon put to new use to protect our northern frontier.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They call it the slash, the dividing line between Washington state and Canada. It slices right through some of the most beautiful, but rugged mountains in the country. The kind of terrain that affords safe passage for smugglers, immigrants and terrorists.
GARY ROMAN, U.S. BORDER PATROL: My greatest fear would be having a terrorist slip through our area.
KAYE: Border Agent Gary Roman knows the Canadian border is the largest undefended border in the world. Just 1,000 agents monitor more than 4,000 miles.
Islamic terrorist Ahmed Ressam slipped through in 1999, from Canada to Washington. He was looking to blow up Los Angeles International Airport. The only terrorist caught crossing the U.S. border with explosives. And in 2003, two Pakistani men, smuggled in from Canada, were arrested at Seattle's airport. One was on a no fly list.
CARL ECKLUND, U.S. BORDER PATROL: The border up here kind of scares me. Because it's just so -- there's just so much of it. There's so much territory to cover. That it would be nice to have some more help.
KAYE: Border Patrol in the enormous Spokane sector have no experience with terrorists, but they see a lot of smugglers.
ECKLUND: The trees are so dense, you know. They don't think we're out here. So they think their odds are better trying to get through a place that's as remote as this.
KAYE: But two months ago the Spokane Border Patrol changed those odds. They went back to the future. Not even flying drones or high- tech motion sensors could do it better.
(on camera): The Spokane sector of the Border Patrol and their horses are responsible for more than 300 miles of border that spreads across three states -- Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Now, that's more than 87,500 square miles of territory. And much of it is impassable.
ECKLUND: Most of it's steep mountain terrain. That makes it impossible for a vehicle to climb. Heavy vegetation, such as we're in now, which makes it difficult and unpleasant if you're on foot.
KAYE: We are riding just two of the patrol's newest recruits. They have dozens of horses to navigate the steep wilderness and beat the odds. What are the signs that they'd show you if something was going on before you saw it?
ECKLUND: Well if you're moving like we are now, they would come to a complete halt. Their head would come up and ears would come up and they'd be real alert. And they're not going to move either. They're going to try to figure out what exactly is out there.
KAYE (voice-over): The horses help agents track footprints and tire tracks. The agents say they're stealth, extremely good at sneaking up on someone.
(on camera): So just how easy is it for anyone to cross the border from Canada into the United States? Well, this is Canada. And this is the United States. I'm standing right on the border. There's no fence separating the two countries. All anyone would have to do is walk across.
(voice-over): Once they're in, even on horseback, it's still not easy to catch them.
As we climb the dense terrain, branches snap in our faces. Horses slip. Until we finally get up to 3,500 feet. It's hard work for the horses.
At one point, they are belly-deep in brush. But as hard as it is, it's what it takes, they say, to protect the northern exposure.
Randi Kaye, CNN, on the U.S.-Canadian border.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
KING: Then believe it or not, that's not the easies way for an illegal to get into the United States. Just ahead on 360, another look at what may be the least guarded spot on the border.
KING: Earlier this evening, Senate leaders announced the revival of a bill to reform the country's immigration laws and all night long we've been looking in-depth at many of the things that desperately need reforming.
Before the break, we rode along on a mounted patrol guarding the wide open spaces along the U.S.-Canadian border.
Now, another side of this story that illustrates just how porous that border can be.
Once again, here's Gary Tuchman.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): It's late afternoon, rush hour in many places. But not here. On this desolate roadway in the Canadian province of Manitoba where a monument separates Manitoba on the left from Minnesota on the right, a sign warns that you're about to arrive to the official U.S. border checkpoint. And then there it is -- the Jim's Corner Immigration Customs Reporting Station. Which looks like a shack and operates on the honor system.
Two sheriffs on the American side are not happy about it.
(on camera): What percentage of people in general do you believe check in there?
DALLAS BLOCK, SHERIFF, LAKE OF THE WOODS COUNTY, MN: I believe it's less than 30 percent. Maybe even far less than that.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): When we entered Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota, from Canada, we went through the rather unorthodox process.
(on camera): Push the call, push the American flag.
Inside the shack, a videophone connected to a border agent 50 mile as way.
Hello, U.S. Customs. I'm at the Jim's Corner. My name is Gary Tuchman. I think you'll find I have a clean record.
The agent looks at you through the camera, and you look at the agent.
What is your name?
OFFICER JOHNSON, BORDER AGENT: Officer Johnson.
TUCHMAN: Hello, Officer Johnson.
(voice-over): Officer Johnson would have no way of knowing if people were just driving by the shack without stopping, which indeed often happens because many honorable people can't be bothered with the videophone that often doesn't work.
(on camera): I'm going to hold you up my passport first. Can you see it?
TUCHMAN: That's me.
(voice-over): We were approved to enter the U.S. in a most unusual tourist town called Angle Inlet. It's actually an enclave not physically connected to the rest of the U.S. You have to drive 40 miles within Canada to the northern side of the Lake of the Woods to get there.
There are far more deer than people who live here. The town is the state's only remaining one-room public schoolhouse. But amid the charm of this tranquil town, the sheriff of Lake of the Woods County says drug dealers drive past Jim's Corner, and then take boats in the summer or snowmobiles in the winter into the heart of the U.S. And he says there's even more.
(on camera): It is your professional opinion that terrorists have gone through Angle Inlet into the mainland United States?
BLOCK: Yes, it is.
TUCHMAN: And that's through intelligence you have?
BLOCK: Yes. We have pretty accurate, pretty reliable intelligence that that has happened. I don't think Osama bin Laden's going to check in there, but. So you're really on your honor system.
TUCHMAN: It's 6:00 p.m. on a chilly day. So most of the boaters have gone back to shore for the evening. This lake is very empty. But even in the summer in the middle of the day, it is very uncrowded on this lake, which makes it easy for people who might be up to no good to go relatively unnoticed.
(voice-over): Some of the year-round residents are concerned all this talk could scare away tourists.
Jerry Stallock owns a restaurant.
JERRY STALLOCK, OWNER, JERRY'S RESTAURANT: I personally don't think this is as big a threat as some of the other people.
TUCHMAN: But the sheriff says in this post-9/11 world, one cannot be too careful. Although he does admit to a transgression.
Do you stop at the border station?
BLOCK: I do. Sometimes.
TUCHMAN: U.S. Customs and Border Protection tell CNN its officers who periodically visit this border area will start making more frequent visits. And better technology will be added, including cameras providing surveillance over the area, not just inside the shack.
We did encounter one man from Manitoba who did stop at the videophone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any luck?
JOHN FUNK (ph), CROSSING BORDER: No luck.
TUCHMAN: But it didn't work, so he called on a pay phone.
FUNK (ph): Yes. John Funk (ph), reporting in at Youngs -- Jim's Corner.
TUCHMAN: To report his arrival into the United States of America.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Angle Inlet, Minnesota.
KING: Not surprisingly, this issue has drawn a lot of reaction on our blog. Tonight is no exception. Especially the three National Guardsmen accused of immigrant smuggling along the border with Mexico.
Rollo in San Diego, writes: "Well, if the federal government paid these guys a little more, maybe they would not have to moonlight to make ends meet."
Anthony in Orlando, says get tough. "Since smuggling compromises the security of the nation, which could lead to a potential terrorist attack, I say the charges should reflect just that. Charge and punish the guardsmen at the same level you would a terrorist."
And from Christina in Chicago, this advice: "Send all these guys to Iraq. The National Guardsmen who need an attitude adjustment, and the illegal aliens who want to be Americans. Let them fight for our country against our real enemies."
As always, we welcome your comments. Just go to CNN.com/360blog, follow the links. Please weigh in.
Just ahead, from problems with the border to problems up in space. We'll tell you what's going wrong with the international space station.
Plus one man's mission to save one of nature's treasures, the mountain gorilla. He's our CNN hero. 360 next.
KING: Everyday all over the world, there are people working to make our world better. All too often their stories don't get too much attention. But CNN is trying to do something about that.
Each week we're shining the spotlight on people we call CNN Heroes. Tonight, a man who is fighting to protect the rare mountain gorilla -- its very existence, threatened by poachers.
Eugene Rutagarama is tonight's CNN hero.
EUGENE RUTAGARAMA, CNN HERO: When you approach a group of gorillas, it's the first feeling that you are approaching a relative, a human being.
There are fewer than 750 mountain gorillas left in the world.
Their survival depends primarily on one park shared by three African countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda.
RUTAGARAMA: In this region, we have been able to bring conservationists from the three governments together to sign an agreement to protect these mountain gorillas.
Having rangers to cover the park with their patrol means that we keep the poaching at the lowest level, but the poaching is still there.
Historically, gorillas have been poached for sale and political gain.
Since 1996, nearly 100 rangers and conservationists have been killed in the park while protecting the gorillas.
RUTAGARAMA: My name is Eugene Rutagarama. My work is to protect mountain gorillas in their habitat.
When I come back from Burundi, Rwanda was devastated by the genocide. You would see the bodies of dead people, thousands of people.
The whole country had to resume from the scratch.
My attention went to the national park. If these parks were not protected, it means that we'd have lost the mountain gorillas which is the hobby for many tourists to bring in foreign currency for this country which helps to conserve this park.
In the 10 years since Eugene's return, the park has survived wars, poaching and looting.
His work has allowed the mountain gorilla population to grow by 17 percent.
Source: World Wildlife Fund
RUTAGARAMA: Gorillas can't really do much if a human being has decided to decimate or to kill the gorillas. They needed to be defended. They need to be protected by human beings.
KING: If you'd like to help protect the mountain gorillas, you'll find all the information you need at CNN.com/heroes.
Just ahead, another animal in danger -- or maybe just lost, as 360 continues.
KING: CNN's Gary Tuchman joins us again now with a 360 bulletin.
TUCHMAN: John, hello to you.
An update on a story we're closely following. A young man in prison for having consensual oral sex when he was a teen will now see his case go to a state's highest court. The Georgia Supreme Court today announced it will hear the state's arguments against Genarlow Wilson in October. Wilson's 10-year prison sentence was thrown out by a judge Monday, but the state is appealing.
Massachusetts voters won't get a chance to make gay marriage illegal. Lawmakers fell five votes shy of approving a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have defined marriage being between a man and a woman. If approved, the proposal would have been included on next year's ballot.
In North Carolina, the wife of the Reverend Billy Graham has died. Ruth Bell Graham had been frail for several months and confined to her bed. Mrs. Graham died there surrounded by her husband and five children. She was 87 years old.
Up in space, a computer problem. Russian and American engineers are trying to figure out what shut down three computers in the Russian part of the International Space Station. The computers control orientation and oxygen production. Right now, NASA does not believe that the problems will force crew members to abandon the station.
And take a look at this. It's not exactly where a bear should be. Daytona Beach, Florida, a 100 pound bear cub, possibly looking for its den, was spotted up in a tree. After an hour, it found its way down and darted away toward the local community college. As far as we've heard, it's still on the loose.
So John, for our viewers who might be going to Daytona Beach Community College tomorrow, if you see something very hairy, don't presume it's a kid.
KING: And remember, that bear's only going to get bigger. Worth watching.
Gary Tuchman, thank you very much.
And don't miss the day's headlines with the 360 daily podcast. You don't need an iPod either. You can watch it on your computer at CNN.com/AC360podcast or you can go to the iTunes store where it is a top download and a darn good value -- free.
Now here's Kiran Chetry with a look at what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have the inside scoop for travelers, John. Why is flying such a nightmare these days? Yes, it's summer and yes, there's always weather to make trouble. But you might be surprised at the other reasons that so many flights are taking off and arriving late.
We have Consumer Reporter Greg Hunter on the case and he also has some advice to help you make it to your final destination on time.
That's tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," beginning at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.
John, back to you.
KING: Thank you, Kiran, and if you're a basketball fan, but more of a 360 fan, we should let you know the San Antonio Spurs are once again the champions of NBA, sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers. The final tonight in Cleveland, 83 to 82. It is the fourth championship for the Spurs in nine seasons.
That's it for us tonight. We hope you'll come back and see us tomorrow and close out the workweek.
For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is next.
Here in the states, "LARRY KING," coming right up.
Have a great night.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com