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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Oil Threatening U.S. Shoreline; Arizona's Immigration Firestorm
Aired April 28, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight: They -- they can't stop that oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico from that deadly explosion we have been talking so much about. They can't suck it up fast enough or they can't cap off the flow on the ocean floor. So, now the Coast Guard is trying to burn it up. Fire vs. oil -- and the clock, as it turns out.
The stakes could not be higher, with hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude washing their way closer to valuable beaches and priceless nature spots. These, of course, are iReport interviews of when the rig was first caught on fire. We're now awaiting some of the first pictures of an early test burn. We're going to show them to you and get you some late details from Chad Myers just as soon as that video comes in.
But, first, "Keeping Them Honest" on the firestorm of Arizona's new immigration law -- it has really sparked something here -- but also the vast amount of kindling that's been left lying around for the lack of action to fix the underlying problem of illegal immigration in the first place.
Lawmakers in at least five other states are now pushing for similar legislation, giving police the power to stop anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.
And fresh polling in Arizona shows popular support for the new law running at about 2-1. At the same time, in Washington and nationwide, there is pushback and it is clear from the president on down. In fact, he spoke just a short time ago aboard Air Force One.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I think is a mistake is when we start having local law enforcement officials empowered to stop people on the suspicion that they may be undocumented workers, because that carries a great amount of risk that core values we all care about are breached.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And, with that in mind, the Justice Department is weighing a court challenge. The San Francisco mayor is pushing for a boycott. The Mexican government is warning citizens about traveling to Arizona, all of this taking place against less-than-sympathetic backdrop when it comes to illegal immigrants, but also, in someplace, any immigrants.
Take a look at this recent campaign ad from Tim James. He's a Republican candidate for governor of Alabama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, JAMES CAMPAIGN AD)
TIM JAMES (R), ALABAMA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Tim James.
Why do our politicians make us give licenses in 12 languages? This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it. We're only giving that test in English if I'm governor.
Maybe it's the businessman in me, but we will save money and it makes sense. Does it to you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: That's just a small slice of where we're headed in a very heated debate about immigration.
Joining us now, Joe Arpaio. He's the sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, and Darrell Steinberg, president pro tem of the California State Senate.
This is hot. It's heated up. I know you've both been talking about this quite a bit.
Thanks for joining us.
Sheriff, first of all, let me start with you.
I have heard some remarkable comments today. We have had a politician in Iowa saying we should be putting microchips in illegals. We have another in California saying let's strip natural-born Americans of their citizenship, which goes against the Constitution. I think everyone would agree on that.
Is there a point, Sheriff, where you say, look, it's gone too far; maybe the cure that we're talking about is worse than the disease?
JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: Well, let's just follow the law.
We have been following the federal and two new state laws for three years. We have arrested, detained 38,000 people in our jails illegally here. And the Justice Department, 60 days in the Obama administration, have come down...
ARPAIO: ... here to investigate me for racial profiling. A year-and-a-half, and nothing has happened. So, we know how to follow the laws.
GUPTA: Could it go too far? But can it -- can it go too far? I mean, you're talking about something that obviously a lot of people are fired up about emotionally.
GUPTA: Do they have a point? Could this go too far?
ARPAIO: Yes, but it's not going too far. We're following the law. If there's a law on the books, it should be enforced by everybody.
GUPTA: Senator, I know you're specifically calling for a boycott of Arizona because of this law. The flip side of this is, there are people who going to say, look, we're not racist. We're forced into this because the federal government is just not doing its job. What do you say to those folks?
DARRELL STEINBERG (D), CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR: Well, we need federal immigration reform, but that's still no excuse to put discrimination on the law and in the law. It just plain isn't right.
Look it, I look at it this way, Sanjay. If I were a white Southerner in the 1960s, what -- what would I have done?
STEINBERG: And I think that same question is being asked of Americans. Certainly, it's being asked of Californians here. And the problem with this statute is very clear. It's not just about undocumented immigrants, although they're real human beings, too.
It also applies to legal immigrants and citizens, because what the law says is that, if a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion upon lawful contact that somebody may be undocumented, they have the right to stop them, detain them, hassle them, to do whatever.
And the fact of the matter is, there's one thing that is consistent among all three categories I just described, and that is brown skin color.
STEINBERG: And it is a license for people -- for law enforcement to go on out, regardless of immigration status, and -- and discriminate. And that's not what our country is about.
GUPTA: You know, and let me just pick up on that, because, psychologically, Sheriff, help me get my head around this a little bit.
Would I get stopped if I was in Arizona? I have -- I have darker skin. And I'm not trying to be glib here. But how do you know? How does it work? What's going through your head or your officers' heads?
ARPAIO: Well, first of all, the thousands that we have arrested is usually -- they are violating a state law to begin with.
(CROSSTALK) GUPTA: But there are a lot that haven't. And you could have a perfectly lawful contact with somebody, stop them, and demand to see their papers. Would I get stopped?
ARPAIO: Well, if you get stopped, you better have a driver's license and be -- and that type of thing. Law enforcement has a right to ask for identification.
GUPTA: I mean, if I wasn't driving a car, just walking down the street -- and I don't want to dive into the weeds here, but this is...
GUPTA: This is -- the reason I ask is because I think this is what people are sort of concerned about. If I'm walking down the street in Arizona, I don't have my driver's license because I'm not driving a car, and I get stopped, what happens to me?
ARPAIO: Well, if you haven't done any crime, we don't go around grabbing people off the street corner because they look like they're from another country. We don't do that.
And I'm sure that the law enforcement will not do that, even there's -- you know, there's more teeth in this new law. So, I'm not concerned about it.
You have got a senator there in California that's sticking his nose in our business.
ARPAIO: Most of the people we arrest -- most of the people we arrest on human smuggling that's a class-four felony, are heading to California, so we're doing California a favor. Maybe he ought to be thanking us for stopping these illegal aliens from getting into California, instead of calling for boycotts...
GUPTA: All right.
ARPAIO: ... and everything else which he's doing.
GUPTA: And I know Senator Steinberg is going to want to respond.
We're going to take a break, though.
Sheriff Arpaio, Senator Steinberg, stay with us. There's a lot more to talk about.
We're also going to have Jeffrey Toobin, going to come in and talk about whether Arizona's law can -- could actually stand up to a court challenge.
The live is up and running as well, AC360.com.
Also, you're not going to want to miss my conversation with Sean Penn in Haiti dealing with a crisis that's been creeping up ever since the earthquake, one that everyone really needs to know about, I can tell you firsthand. He's got some unique views. We will share them -- when 360 continues.
GUPTA: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, talking about the very controversial Arizona law requiring police to question anyone they suspect is an illegal immigrant.
Now, critics say it's impossible to determine someone's immigration status without stopping every brown-skinned person you see. Supporters deny it amounts to a license to profile and say none of this wouldn't even be possible or necessary if the federal government were doing its job.
Back now, our guests, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and California State Senator Darrell Steinberg.
Just before the break, Sheriff, you said, why is people from the state of California poking their nose in our business?
And I want to give the state senator there a chance to respond.
STEINBERG: Well, we're not interested in butting into other people's business.
But I think people of conscience throughout the entire country have an obligation to stand up and speak out and not allow business as usual when any state passes a law that allows overt discrimination.
And I might say to the sheriff, it's not a very convincing argument to essentially acknowledge that the bill allows law enforcement officers to stop anybody because of the color of their skin...
ARPAIO: I didn't say that.
STEINBERG: ... but that law enforcement itself will not -- will not do that.
I think the vast majority of law enforcement officers would not, but some would. And we shouldn't let sit on the books a law that, by definition, allows law enforcement to stop people because of the color of their skin. That is against everything that this country stands for.
GUPTA: Sheriff, how...
ARPAIO: That doesn't happen.
GUPTA: Well, Sheriff, how -- how do you know that? I mean, can you -- can you just give me a little bit of peek behind the curtain. What are you looking for?
ARPAIO: Well, I'm going to tell you, when we stop cars, pursuant to our duties, because they violated some state law, and you develop that information, and you find people in the car, 10 of them, I guess you have to have some suspicion that they're illegally when you put all the facts together, and you take action on that.
This -- this law mirrors the federal law.
GUPTA: OK, and fair enough that it does.
But, to be clear, you know, this isn't just about stopping people because they -- they, you know, ran a red light, a stop sign. You could have lawful contact with these people and still stop them.
And about that boycott, just to follow up on what Senator Steinberg was saying, there's a lot of big time events, you know, the baseball All-Star Game, maybe even the 2012 political conventions heading for Phoenix, and now you have people warning organizers, stay away from Arizona.
I mean, could this be a problem? I mean, is that something that you have to pay attention to?
ARPAIO: Well, this -- this is all hype. I'm not going to talk about the problems they have in California, the sanctuary state for illegal immigration. I'm not going to get into that.
But this is all hype. And it's a shame that the open-border people, politicians are using this as an excuse to have people boycott coming here. We have got a lot of California people coming here, because they're tired of the illegal immigration problem in that state.
So, it works both -- both ways.
GUPTA: Is there anything personal about this for you, Sheriff?
ARPAIO: No, it's nothing personal, but I get angry when people don't really understand how we operate here in Arizona, and they're making a big deal about it.
I have been doing this for three years. And I survived. I survived the Justice Department and other people that -- activists that don't like what I'm doing.
GUPTA: But you understand...
ARPAIO: So, I guess we're doing the right thing.
GUPTA: You understand the conflict here? You understand why people are charged up about this? You understand why someone who has got dark skin, who is trying to live their life is a little bit more worried today because of what's happening in Arizona?
ARPAIO: There's nothing to be worried about, nothing to be worried about. I'm an equal-opportunity guy. I lock everybody up that violate the law. I don't care what color their skin is.
GUPTA: Senator, just -- I just want to make sure we button up this point, though. Arizona's economy is struggling, like a lot of other places. There are a lot of struggling people there, people who may not even support this law, including Hispanic residents, who might be devastated by a boycott.
GUPTA: It sounds like the sheriff doesn't care, frankly, if you're going to boycott. And, probably, a lot of other people don't care as well. Are you just penalizing the wrong people by doing this?
STEINBERG: Well, I think people should care.
And, look, the whole idea here of rallying, speaking up and speaking out is for the state of Arizona to repeal this law. And if they repeal this law, there will be no need for any kind of a boycott. But, again, if we have learned anything about history, it's that people of conscience -- and there are millions of people of conscience -- have to stand up when something is -- is outright wrong and represents discrimination, and speak out against it. And this is one way to do so.
GUPTA: All right, guys. Unfortunately, we have got to leave it there.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio...
ARPAIO: Thank you.
GUPTA: ... and Senator Darrell Steinberg, thank you.
STEINBERG: Thank you.
GUPTA: Thanks so much for joining us.
STEINBERG: Thank you very much, Sanjay.
GUPTA: A lot more on the legal angle now -- President Obama alluding to this, this evening on Air Force One, saying he's taking heat from both sides on this particular issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I have been attacked by immigration-rights groups for being too tough on that front, but, obviously, we have still got to do more. We have to do more, though, in the context of a comprehensive plan that maintains our status as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And joining me now, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
You heard the conversation there, Jeffrey. He is an equal- opportunity locker-upper, he said.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the thing that is so difficult about this law, what makes it so controversial is two things.
One is, the federal government, not state governments, are responsible for immigration.
GUPTA: I'm a United States citizen.
And, you know, Arizona cannot declare war on Mexico.
TOOBIN: only the United States can declare war on Mexico. The legal question of whether Arizona even has the right to legislate in this area is a very open question.
And the other issue is the one that they were really talking about. Is this a form of discrimination? By giving the police so much latitude and such an invitation to stop only dark-skinned people, is that a violation of Hispanics, under equal protection of the law?
GUPTA: How will local -- so, you heard from the sheriff, obviously. there obviously, but how will local police officers enforce this sort of thing? What does it mean specifically, do you think...
TOOBIN: You know what? It's a really hard question. And I don't think the law answers it.
And there's -- makes it even more difficult doubly for the police is that there's a new provision in this new law that says, if a community feels like a police force isn't enforcing the law tightly enough, they can sue the police department.
TOOBIN: So, the police department are whipsawed between two positions.
TOOBIN: They can be sued for racially profiling, but they can also be sued for not enforcing the law vigilantly enough. It's a very difficult position for the police.
GUPTA: You have heard about this -- I mean, boycotts. And you heard the back and forth. And the sheriff really seems like he couldn't care less about that.
But, if you were the legal representation for the opposition, what would -- what would you do? What would be your next legal step? Is there one?
TOOBIN: Well, I -- I -- it is quite clear that the mayor of Phoenix, lots of people are going to go to court and challenge this law.
A -- a -- the United States Department of Justice, Eric Holder, the attorney general, says they are studying whether they are going to go to court and join the plaintiffs in claiming this law is unconstitutional.
So, clearly, this court -- this law will go right into court. A court may say, look, I don't want to consider this until it starts to be applied. So, the courts, as usual, will work pretty slowly. But, politically, this thing is on a very fast track. And a boycott is almost certain to begin.
And, in a community which is hurting economically and relies a lot on tourism, that's a big, big deal.
GUPTA: Yes, they talk about health care reform, financial. A lot of people thought they would be talking about climate change next, but immigration really seems to have taken center stage.
TOOBIN: It just shows, you know, you -- you can't predict what we do for a living.
TOOBIN: Who would have thought that an Arizona law would take over American politics so quickly, but it has.
GUPTA: And here you and I are talking about it 10:17 in the evening, so...
TOOBIN: There you go.
GUPTA: ... a lot more to come.
TOOBIN: All right.
GUPTA: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks so much.
A quick programming note as well: Shakira is visiting Phoenix tomorrow to meet the city leaders and voice her opposition to this newly created immigration law. She's also going to be sitting down with us. That's the "Big 360 Interview" -- tomorrow night.
And up next: You think Bernie Madoff was bad, wait until you hear what a top whistle-blower has to say about another thief we should all be worried about. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GUPTA: Our series on the high cost of health care continues tonight with medical fraud.
It's a huge problem, as much as $60 billion stolen from Medicare each year, by some estimates. That's more than 10 percent of all Medicare spending stolen. President Obama says there's going to be a crackdown in the new world of health care reform.
I wanted to know, is that realistic? So, this afternoon, I went to Boston to visit one of the country's best fraud investigators. His name is Harry Markopolos. Now, if that name rings a bell to you, there should be a reason why. He's the financial analysis who flagged the Bernie Madoff scam before anyone else. In fact, he warned government regulators again and again, but nothing was done about it until late.
And he wrote a book about the whole thing called, "No One Would Listen."
Now, he still hunts for financial fraud, but now his new playing field is health care. Why? Well, it's kind of like what Willie Sutton said when someone asked him why he robbed banks -- quote -- "Because that's where the money is."
HARRY MARKOPOLOS, FRAUD INVESTIGATOR: I thought Wall Street had the biggest crooks in the world, until I got into health care fraud. In health care, not only do they steal your money. They can steal your life or they can take your loved one's life. And that's beyond evil.
GUPTA (voice-over): Harry Markopolos is a highly specialized bounty hunter. He uses forensic accounting techniques to look for fraud on a massive scale. Under federal whistle-blower law, anyone who helps the government track down ill-gotten gains can keep about 20 percent.
With an $60 estimated billion of Medicare fraud, Markopolos knows the bounty could total $12 billion. He has just got to find the bad guys.
(on camera): Medicare fraud, what does that mean exactly?
MARKOPOLOS: It means the government is paying money for goods and services that are not being delivered. Someone is submitting a false bill, and the government is paying it. And it's not resulting in any health care for the American population.
GUPTA: I have heard crazy examples of -- of doctors literally -- or not doctors, but criminals literally billing on behalf of doctors who are no longer even alive.
MARKOPOLOS: Dead-doctors billing is a problem. (LAUGHTER)
MARKOPOLOS: That's been found certainly in New York State.
GUPTA: You say that very cavalier. I mean, this is just something that is known? I mean, just, you know what, we know that doctor died a few years ago. We're just going to bill on his behalf and make money?
MARKOPOLOS: There's other frauds that are similarly bad, I think, females coming in with prostate operations, or certainly male pregnancies. It's a no-brainer, yet the government pays those bills repeatedly, or dead patients receiving care.
GUPTA: How can that -- in 2010? I mean, literally, someone is going to say, oh, yes, John Doe, his pregnancy, we will take care of that? I mean, seriously?
MARKOPOLOS: That happens. That happens.
There's other ones. There's psychiatrists that will bill 42 hours a day...
MARKOPOLOS: ... 380 hours a week, until you catch them.
GUPTA: We're not talking about inefficiencies here. We're not talking about mistakes. We're talking about people intentionally trying to make money off the government using Medicare?
MARKOPOLOS: Yes. They're upcoding. So, a simple case of pneumonia comes in, and it pays so much. But you can make several times that much if it's complex case of pneumonia. So, you just falsely code it as complex, when it really was just simple.
Or you're billing for individual therapy, but you're really providing the therapy in a group setting, which is much cheaper to deliver. So, you're overcharging the government. And all those little thousands and millions of dollars add up into tens of billions.
GUPTA: A patient comes in the hospital. They have pneumonia. I get a chest X-ray. It shows a simple pneumonia, but I say, oh, you know what? Simple pneumonia only pays this much. A complicated pneumonia pays this much. I'm just check the box two boxes higher?
GUPTA: Is that what we're talking about?
MARKOPOLOS: It's as simple as that. And it costs you nothing to check that box two boxes higher. You're delivering those claim forms electronically. So, how much did that cost you? A fraction of a penny, perhaps? And you can make several thousand dollars more. GUPTA: You're talking one box that's off that denotes where the treatment took place.
MARKOPOLOS: And, so, they're charging 25 to 35 percent more per treatment than they -- than they should be receiving, and the government's paying it.
GUPTA: An individual watching this now that's hearing you speak, what can they be empowered to do?
MARKOPOLOS: The most important thing they can do is, when they get their bill, it's called an explanation of benefits. When they get it in the mail, they need to read it and say, was this treatment provided? Were these lab tests actually run? And if you see things on there that you never received, pick up the phone. Call the number. Call the Medicare fraud hot line. Call your local district attorney. Call someone in a position of authority, so that they can be taken care of and investigated.
GUPTA: Will it be?
MARKOPOLOS: Probably not. There's probably not enough people on the other end of the phone to take those calls and follow up on those calls. But, if you don't, you have given a green light to the bad guys. If you have at least picked up the phone, you know you did your job as a citizen.
That's all we can ask of you.
GUPTA: Six -- $60 billion, again, a year. The whole Bernie Madoff thing was $60 billion in total. Sixty billion dollars a year, that's why there's so much attention on this. And we will keep on it as well.
Still ahead, though, I will talk to actor and activist Sean Penn about why the Red Cross is taking heat over Haiti. Hundreds of millions of dollars in donations, why isn't more of it being spent right now to help Haitians?
Plus: a family that can no longer care for the Russian child they adopted. They say he's troubled. They say he's dangerous. They say -- but, instead of giving up on him, they're suing the agency they say duped them.
GUPTA: Still ahead on 360: A family sues the adoption agency they say lied to them. They -- they would never send their son back to Russia, but they do want help paying for his care.
First, though, some other important stories we're following.
Tom foreman joins us with a 360 news and business bulletin -- Tom. TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Sanjay.
Toyota is recalling about 50,000 of its 2003 Sequoia SUVs because of an acceleration glitch. The problem can cause these vehicles to hesitate or slow down at low speeds -- so far, no reports of injuries or crashes.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist has decided to run as independent in his bid for the Senate. That's according to a GOP fund-raiser. Crist was once the overwhelming favorite in the battle for the Republican Senate nomination. But now he trails former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio by more than 20 points.
And meet the new gut-buster in town. This is IHOP's latest creation, pancake stackers. They are a collision of pancakes and cheesecake filling, a dessert sandwich of sorts. It's not clear what the calorie or fat count is.
But, Sanjay, I'm guessing you might want to order a diet drink with that.
GUPTA: You know, I wonder how people watch that and say, oh, that makes me really hungry? And I wonder if the -- if the calorie count is actually -- how much of a difference that really makes. If you're ordering that, you pretty much know it has a lot of calories.
FOREMAN: Run around the building a couple times. It'll be fun.
GUPTA: All right, Tom. Stay with us.
And next on 360, we're going live with Sean Penn for an update on -- from Haiti. Despite the pledges and the promises, the desperation is growing down there for survivors. We'll talk to Sean about it.
Plus, former first lady Laura Bush suggests that she, former President Bush, and some of her staffers were poisoned in 2007. We'll have the details straight ahead.
GUPTA: Updating our breaking news now, the Coast Guard trying to deal with that massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. How? By burning it up. That's what they're talking about. We're waiting for some new video of that burn. This is the initial fire, as you'll remember, that followed that explosion.
I've got some new details from Chad Myers following the development from the CNN center in Atlanta.
I know you're waiting for those pictures, as well, Chad, but what are you learning? CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: They called it a successful burn. BP did try that. They corralled the oil with booms, basically, flame retardant booms. They drove around the oil. They made it more concentrated, and they made it deeper and thicker so that it would catch on fire and stay on fire.
Now, you know, everyone thinks, is this good or is this bad? There are no really good answers to that except that the oil itself has more caustic and toxic substances to marine life than the fire does. Because when the fire consumes those toxic chemicals, they go in the sky. They disburse over a much wider area, and those chemicals don't kill things because they're -- they're less concentrated.
Well, that's what they did today. They burned that off. We just got a brand new piece of information, though, from the press release and the press conference, that we knew that there was about 1,000 barrels a day leaking, 42 gallons in a barrel. I know you think 55- gallon drum. But really, there are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel of oil.
So you multiply that. You have 42,000 gallons of oil leaking. They say now that NOAA believes that that number could be 5,000 barrels, and there's another place that's actually leaking.
And so this could be much more significant of a leak than they first thought. And so that's why they are trying to coral this oil, and they are trying to burn it off.
They're also using disbursements, which is, you know, it's a high-tech 409 that they spray on the oil. And the oil mixes with water, and then eventually that oil sinks to the bottom of the ocean and is consumed by marine life. There are little organisms that will eat that oil. So that's good. You just don't want it on the top, where the birds and the wildlife and the water foul and all of that will get -- we know what the pictures of the Exxon Valdez looked like.
The difference here -- the difference here is that the Exxon Valdez was right on shore when it broke up. And so the oil got right on-shore real fast. When we've had oil in the water for 5, 6, 7 days, that first oil, that initial oil has now turned into sludge. It won't even burn.
And it's easier to clean up than very liquid oil. It's like mayonnaise or like JELL-O. So you can actually lift it and pick it up in pieces. That's some good news. The longer it stays offshore, the better. The winds are going to shift, and it's going to get on shore this weekend.
GUPTA: If they're doing a slow burn, first of all, when you say a slow burn, how long will that take? Do you have any idea? And does it prohibit you from, you know, picking up the sludge that you're talking about, because you've got this burning oil all over the place now?
MYERS: Well, they move the oil away from the big slick itself in these corrals, basically, of oil. They move it away, because they don't want the entire slick catching on fire. So they move it away just far enough. And when they light it on fire, it will burn, but the rest of the slick will not burn.
And so there's no threat to the people that are sucking -- or skimming, basically, the water, there are 50 vessels out there, like, 1,150 people working on this, skimming the water, spreading on the disbursements of the 409, high-tech 409. Also, using the well head operations, trying to dive down with deep-sea subs, trying to cap that well off. So far, they haven't been able to do that cap-off, and that's what needs to happen immediately.
GUPTA: All right. If we do get those images, then Chad will obviously come right back to you. Thanks for the update, though, Chad.
GUPTA: Tonight, we want to give you an important update on the situation in Haiti. Nearly four months after the catastrophic earthquake, the suffering continues for the survivors: from those rain-soaked tents to the desperate need for more aid.
And that's where we want to focus tonight. How has the money -- your money, perhaps -- how has it all been spent?
Well, there are hundreds of aid organizations out there, as we know, a lot of them focused, obviously, on Haiti. But the most money went to the American Red Cross. That's the largest humanitarian mission in the world.
They've been taking some heat from people who are saying they're not spending the money fast enough. So we wanted to give you some raw numbers tonight, starting with this. This is how much money has been raised since the quake, $433 million. Now, here's another important number: $111 million has specifically been spent, about a fourth of the overall total pot.
Let's dig a little bit deeper on that number now. If you take a look specifically at the numbers and how that $111 million has been spent, for example, $55.7 million for some basic supplies -- food, water, soap and blankets. You've got things like ropes, tarps, tents, wood. Obviously, these are things you've seen in a lot of the images, $43.6 million.
And then just a small amount, a sliver here, really, for vaccinations and first-aid kits, $1.5 million. And finally, grants, trying to give cash out to build projects, about $5 million.
That still leaves a lot of money. They expect to spend about $200 million by the end of the year. Where's the other $200 million? That's a question we asked, as well. Well, here's the other word you have to kind in mind: long-term plan. They tell us they have a five- year plan, and it would be irresponsible to spend more of the money now. They say they recognize that there is tremendous suffering, but they've got to think about the long term. And they want to help survivors rebuild for the rest of their lives. You know, so over $200 million have been set aside for the next three to five years to be spent on permanent housing, sewer systems, and rebuilding a local economy. It's an understatement to call this a tricky balance. In medical terms, it's sort of like treating an emergency versus a chronic condition.
And no one knows about this really better than actor and director Sean Penn. He's been demanding action and accountability for some time. He overseas one of the largest tent camps in the country. He's also with the J.P. Haitian Relief Organization. He joins me now from Haiti for the "Big 360" interview.
And Sean, I mean, you heard those numbers here. I mean, holding aid groups on the ground and the local government accountable. That's something you and I have talked about quite a bit. What do you think about it? You just heard the Red Cross talk about how it works. The -- emergency aid is critical, but they've got to save money for the longer term plan. You're on the ground. What do you make of that?
SEAN PENN, JP HAITIAN RELIEF ORGANIZATION: Well, there's a balance that has to be struck between the independent motivation of the Haitians themselves, which I think is over concerned about it at a time when people have nothing to get started with, so there's got to be a rebalancing of that.
I do want to start this. It's very important. Because there's a good news story, actually, needing to -- that needs to be encouraged to avoid tragedies that are pending. There was a relocation that involved the following: Generals Tito Sandidas (ph), JFT Hay (ph), JLT 209th MPs, and the New Subprinas (ph) Planning, Civic Security (ph), IOM and Oteg (ph) did a great job, U.N. Ops, CRS, MSF, Pastors Sincere (ph), Coretec (ph), IEDA, World Vision, OxFam and all the other NGOs, along with Bill Evans at the PVC and the government of Haiti, and especially the initiative of the Haitian people, where we had a successful collaboration.
It was a band-aid, because what it was, was the relocation from a dangerous area to a safe area, not necessarily a great area but a temporary thing of 1,200 families. And that was the beginning of a collaboration. You can say it happened too late. But when it happened, all parties worked together. It couldn't have happened without all of them.
And if the economic forces and the banks get involved in the reconstruction, if they do it the same way, we have an affirmation that this kind of thing can work.
And so, when it comes to these numbers, I can't emphasize enough that people can't look at this as a conventional situation. The Haitian people do not have the keys to the car to drive there. Until we give them that, then we can't depend on some grand idea of creating their independence.
GUPTA: But you know, I mean -- and Sean, I don't know how much you could hear before we came to you. But in medicine we deal with this all the time. You have critical situations; you have chronic situations. They're not easy decisions by any means.
But you're there. Are people dying, still dying right now because aid distribution has slowed down? You know, when people give money, they're giving because of those images that they see and hearing you speak. Is the money going to the right place right now?
PENN: Hundreds of thousands of people are living in cramped tent cities, with no bottoms on these. They're tarp shelters on contaminated soil that will create real diseases that are going to kill children in the thousands and thousands if we don't find a better situation for them.
When these rains come, and when they talk about hurricanes, they're really talking about rains relative to Port-au-Prince. They're hurricane rains. And the season has been flirting with us. And we've seen near deaths, and seen diarrheal diseases go up.
This will happen if the United States and others, if the media does not continue to focus on this situation. And if the aid organizations that have money do not act with the GOH, which by the way, there is, President -- in President Preval, there is a great collaboration to happen. It's a very methodical administration. It's a fractured one because of the earthquake and because of the poverty- stricken environment before that, but there is a great collaboration to be had, to make use of these funds.
But everybody involved has to know what's best for the Haitian people and their survival first. And that will be -- that should be the primary right now, which means more money has got to be spent and put into their hands in assistance packages that are definable, distributable now. We can worry about building independence later. Believe me: there's nobody whose soul is more independent than those of the Haitian people. No one on earth.
GUPTA: You know, I'm glad you brought us some good news. I really mean that. Because there hasn't been a lot, as you know better than anybody. The land that we're talking about, for example, to set up temporary housing, so much is in the hands of the government. And about 80 percent.
And you're a bona fide aid organizational leader now. I mean, are you going the government saying, "Look, we need more land. We know this is in government control. We've got -- we've got these cramped settings, and we have no places for these people to live. Are you going to the government and saying that?
PENN: Yes. This is -- we're absolutely going to the government and saying that. And the government has been very cooperative. This is a very difficult situation. And until there's a reason to point a finger, I'm going to try to avoid doing that. And that's not saying that that's going to be the government versus an aid organization versus, you know, an organization like ourselves.
If we fail, I'll be the first to say it. But right now, it's very clear that people are without the tools that they need to go back into safe places, whether shelter itself or otherwise. All the organizations now have found a collaborative success.
And so I encourage all of them, and we volunteer our continued involvement in that. And so I just say right now, if we're starting today, power to everybody involved. They did a great job. For the international organizations, the United States military has been invaluable. Manusta (ph) has been invaluable. There are a lot of very committed people here. And it can work. If it doesn't work, then anything I can tell you about why it didn't work, I certainly will.
GUPTA: You know, Sean, you've been down there almost -- almost constantly since this happened. I've seen you down there a lot. And I've got to tell you, I'm feeling very guilty here, sitting, wearing a tie in this nice studio with a bottle of water next to me. I know that's not something that's been available to you or to a lot of people down there. I promise you I'll come join you down there soon.
Thanks so much for joining us.
PENN: Well, we need you but we appreciate you doing this. Thank you.
GUPTA: Thanks, Sean.
Next on 360, did an adoption agency lie to a family about the health of a boy from Russia? The parents say yes. They're suing, but as you'll see, they're also standing by their son's side.
GUPTA: Most of us have followed the disturbing story of how a Tennessee woman put a child she adopted from Russia back on a plane by himself and sent him alone to the country from where he came. She said she couldn't take care of the boy and then that she was afraid of him. She insisted she had no other choice.
But tonight, you're going to hear a different outcome from another family that adopted a boy from Russia. As you'll see, sending him back was simply out of the question.
Here's Alina Cho.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Harshaw home in Virginia is a little quieter these days. Roman, now 8, was sent away to an institution a little more than two weeks ago, where he's getting help for his violent behavior.
JULIE HARSHAW, SUING ADOPTION AGENCY: I felt like the worst mom in the world, and how could I let my baby go there and go to sleep every night without us and without us tucking him in. And it was really hard. It still is.
CHO: The Harshaws adopted Roman from Russia six years ago. He arrived looking picture perfect. But soon after, Roman began acting out.
CHIP HARSHAW, SUING ADOPTION AGENCY: He can be hugging you and telling you "I love you" one second, and then the next second, he has completely lost it in a rage.
CHO: The Harshaws say Roman once tried to smash a 2x4 over their daughter, Grace's, head. Another time, he almost drowned her in the pool.
J. HARSHAW: A lot of measures that have to be taken. We have to lock the other two kids in their room every night so that he can't go in there with him.
CHO: The oldest brother, Daniel, is now so distraught he asked his parents for counseling.
J. HARSHAW: To hear your 11-year-old say that he needs a psychiatrist because of the stress that's in the house is really hard to hear.
CHO: Roman is also a danger to himself, most recently pulling out three of his own teeth.
The diagnosis from several doctors: fetal alcohol syndrome.
C. HARSHAW: It's irreversible, uncorrectable, and it's a lifelong thing. And it has taken a huge toll on us.
CHO: In a lawsuit filed against adoption agency Bethany Christian Service, the Harshaws allege they were lied to about Roman's health and need financial help to care for his special needs. They say Bethany misled them, telling them a Russian doctor based in New York traveled to the orphanage for a face-to-face visit.
(on camera) You were assured that Doctor D. went to Russia, went to Roman's orphanage, and examined Roman.
J. HARSHAW: Correct.
CHO: What were you told about that?
J. HARSHAW: He was healthy and on target.
CHO (voice-over): But in a deposition, Doctor D., Michael Debrosky (ph), admitted he never went to the orphanage and doesn't even practice medicine in the U.S.
In court documents, an employee of the adoption agency acknowledged she had told the family Dr. Debrosky (ph) would visit the children in Russia and review their medical records.
(on camera) Had you known what you now know, you would not have gone through with this adoption? And yet...
J. HARSHAW: We love him. C. HARSHAW: So what do you do? We are -- we are in the worst possible situation, but the bottom line is that we love Roman. He's not a broken toy that you can return to the store.
CHO (voice-over): Or return to Russia. Instead of putting him on a plane, sending him away, they're caring for Roman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alligator.
C. HARSHAW: Yes.
CHO: At this inpatient facility, about 90 minutes from their home, a family doctor believes Roman will never live independently.
Bethany Christian Services disputes most of the Harshaws' claims and says it provided counseling, extensive documentation, opportunities to consult with physicians, and medical records to the family.
Adoption specialist Jane Aronson says fetal alcohol syndrome is common in Russian orphans, and the Harshaws should have known the risks before they brought Roman home.
DR. JANE ARONSON, INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION SPECIALIST: Every country is well-known for what the challenges are and the style of care for children.
CHO (on camera): You're saying you should know a lot. If you don't, do your homework.
ARONSON: Exactly. I think everyone needs to do their homework.
CHO (voice-over): The Harshaws say they're not giving up on the case or on their son.
(on camera) What's your great hope for Roman?
J. HARSHAW: That we can find a place that he will be as happy as he can be and as safe as he can be. We don't know what the future holds, but we want him to be a part of our family, no matter what.
CHO (voice-over): Alina Cho, CNN, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
GUPTA: All right. Let's dig a little deeper now. You heard Doctor, specialist Dr. Jane Aronson in Alina's report. She joins us now to talk a little bit more about this case.
Your message, do your homework?
ARONSON: I think it's all around, though. I think everybody in the process, the agencies, social work, home study, international adoption specialists, all of those folks have to do their homework.
What does that mean? It means that there are step-wise procedures for figuring out as much as you can about a kid from the information provided.
GUPTA: It sounded like they got some sort of report.
GUPTA: They were duped to some extent, because that person hadn't even visited the child.
ARONSON: I think that's an unusual piece of the story here. I think what -- what we need to do is stick with the bigger picture. People are going to get very upset with all these stories, as you well know. One after the other, people are going to feel discouraged.
And what I want to do here, speaking to you, is sort of lay out for people that there is a process where people can learn a lot about adoption; people can get some sense of what's going on with a kid in an orphanage; and they can make a decision that's somewhat informed.
Of course, if that breaks down, if there's no international adoption doctor on this side in the United States consulted or if there's inadequate information provided that's improperly translated or not understood, all those things can conspire to make it difficult for families.
But families really have an opportunity to get very, very prepared.
GUPTA: Does the adoption agency have any responsibility here? Are they going get sued?
ARONSON: No. Absolutely. Everyone has responsibility.
GUPTA: Will they have to pay? Will they lose that lawsuit?
ARONSON: Look, I think they're -- hopefully, there will be some sort of settlement, because these people are obviously responsible people.
I think it's wonderful, by the way, that, you know, we're featuring a family here that's so incredibly committed and kind and responsible. I think the important point here, though, is suing is a very difficult and dicey moment. You know, I think they should in some ways be compensated so they can take care of this kid.
My last point is going to be this. The kids abroad are in trouble. And I think we're not talking enough about the fact that there has to be something done about helping orphans in other countries to not end up brain damaged and with fetal alcohol syndrome.
GUPTA: And you just returned from Haiti yourself. We were just talking about that. Welcome back. We're glad you're safe. A lot of people are paying attention to this. Thanks so much for joining us.
ARONSON: You're very welcome.
GUPTA: We appreciate it. Up next, we're going to be quickly updating you tonight on the breaking news on that massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Some remarkable images to come. Stay with us.
GUPTA: Before we end the hour, I'll give you a quick update of our breaking news.
Late word that even more oil than previously thought is now leaking from the remains of this offshore oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. That's off the coast of Louisiana.
Federal officials tonight saying crews have located another underwater leak. That's the third one they found. They say it could now be dumping 5,000 barrels of oil into the sea. That's 100,000 gallons. Officials also say the first attempt to burn some of it up succeeded. We'll try again tomorrow.
At the top of the hour, we're going to dive into Arizona's controversial new immigration law. Stay with us.