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STUDENT NEWS

The U.S.-Mexico Border; The Race for the White House

Aired April 25, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Mining usually means going underground, but there`s one company that`s looking to go in the opposite direction. We`re going to explain why in today`s show. I`m Carl Azuz. This is CNN Student News.

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AZUZ: First up, the race for the White House rolls on with yesterday`s primaries in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. We mentioned yesterday that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is now the Republican Party`s presumptive nominee. It takes 1,144 delegates to officially win that nomination.

And even if Governor Romney won every delegate in every primary Tuesday, he wouldn`t reach that number. The earliest he could hit the delegate milestone is in late May. Couple other big campaign moment on the horizon: one, the selection of a vice presidential nominee. There`s a lot of talk now about whom Governor Romney might pick as his running mate.

Two, the national party conventions: that`s when Governor Romney and President Obama will officially be named as their party`s presidential nominees. For more in-depth coverage on the 2012 election and to check out results from yesterday`s primaries, go to the "Spotlight" section on our home page and click on the CNN Election Center link.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Mellino`s government classes at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. What government agency is responsible for safeguarding U.S. borders? You know what to do. Is it the Justice Department, Homeland Security Department, Interior Department or Defense Department? You`ve got three seconds, go.

The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for securing America`s borders. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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AZUZ: Our next report today is from Suzanne Kelly, and it`s about one specific border, the one between the United States and Mexico. It`s patrolled by different agencies that are part of Homeland Security, like Customs and Border Protection, or CBP. The agents use different tools to do their jobs. And sometimes that means using advanced technology. Other times it requires some equine assistance.

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SUZANNE KELLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The terrain here is really pretty unforgiving. I mean, we just came down about a 200-foot drop a few minutes ago. And this tells you what they`re up against. Now post-9/11, CBP has taken sort of an all-threats environment stance.

That means it doesn`t matter whether these groups are people trying to come here illegally, drug runners or potential terrorists. The threats and the environment in which they have to chase them down is just the same.

These guys patrol this area day and night. And they are looking for signs -- it`s this ancient art of sign cutting, they call it.

AGENT CHRIS DUBLOS, BORDER PATROL: What we are looking for is footprints, any impressions, anything in the dirt that would indicate somebody walking through here. So what we do in this case is we always want to look into the sun. We want the -- to use that sunlight to reflect off the ridges on the ground or the impressions in the ground. And that`s going to help define what we are seeing.

KELLY: So I`m seeing -- and I`m not trained to do this -- but I`m seeing footprints here.

DUBLOS: Yes, ma`am.

KELLY: The bottom of a tennis shoe?

DUBLOS: Exactly. Tennis shoe.

KELLY: This is the Joint Operations Information Center, really, the nerve center for CBP and everything they`ve got eyes on. They have got eyes on the ground here. They are watching the ports of entry. They have got eyes in the air.

And then over here, the guys who watch it 24 hours a day gather all of this information together and figure out what to do next.

RON BELLAVIA, DIR. OF INTELLIGENCE, JOINT FIELD COMMAND: That one single human intelligence source was reporting that they were using vehicles in order to beat us on the border.

The terrorism threat is the most important thing the CBP focuses on. It`s the greatest threat to our nation. And all agencies and all departments need to be focused on their portion of how to stop that threat.

KELLY: All right. So now, we are at the Davis Mountain Air Force Base. And we`re going to get a very up close look at the aerial assets that the Border Protection uses. What do you need the Black Hawk for along the border.

AGENT MEREDITH MORRIS, CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: There are some places that we take them that would take probably 24 hours to get to. Sometimes we have to actually hover on one wheel, when we kind of jump out and --

KELLY: Hover on one wheel?

MORRIS: Because we can`t land.

KELLY: If patrolling on horseback is the more traditional approach to keeping a border secure, this is the future. This is a Predator. It`s got a 66-foot wingspan, weighs just a touch over 8,000 pounds. But here is the real payoff: it has a $2.5 million camera. It can take pictures day or night. And it`s also equipped with an infrared sensor. That`s a big deal because it can direct people on the ground exactly to the location of a target.

CHIEF MIKE FISHER, U.S. BORDER PATROL: It is very difficult to seal any part of the border 100 percent guarantees. We don`t offer any guarantees in the Border Patrol.

KELLY: It`s on your shoulders, sits the responsibility of making sure there`s not another 9/11 in this country.

FISHER: That`s true.

KELLY: Is that how you look at your job?

FISHER: Every day. Every day I want to put on this uniform.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The main asteroid belt in our solar system is in between Mars and Jupiter.

Totally true. Thousands of these rocky space objects are located in the belt.

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AZUZ: There`s a company that thinks those asteroids could be a gold mine for precious metals. We`re talking about substances like platinum that, of course, are used in jewelry, but also in cell phones and other electronics. Now you might be thinking what good can these things do if they`re all the way out in the asteroid belt?

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AZUZ (voice-over): Well, that`s where a lot of asteroids are, but not all of them. This company`s plan is to run mining operations on asteroids that are nearer to Earth. One of the company`s founders said a single 100- foot-long asteroid could contain $25 billion to $50 billion worth of platinum.

Right now all this is just an idea. The first step would be to put a telescope in orbit to look for asteroids with precious metals. It could be a couple of years before that happens.

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AZUZ: In order to turn that space mining idea into a reality, the company will probably need to hire some people with backgrounds in STEM fields. It stands for science, technology, engineering and math. And those industries are in pretty high demand, but they`re not the most diverse. Poppy Harlow looks at efforts to encourage more minority students to get involved.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take those stakes out, load them with explosives and shoot it.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In four years, this massive cave will be New York City`s Second Avenue Subway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tracks will be where those two tunnels are.

HARLOW (voice-over): But the team of engineers investigating this site isn`t quite ready for their own $41/2 billion job yet. They`re undergrads at Bucknell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s really just interesting to see what actually goes on as an engineer.

HARLOW (voice-over): James Colvin is part of a program to get minority college students to stick with the sciences. African-American and Hispanic students drop out of engineering majors at a higher rate than whites, both at Bucknell and nationally.

MARCO VALDEZ, STUDENT, BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY: You know, faculty and staff, we don`t see the color faces that give us the inspiration that people out there who are just like us can actually go and do the job.

HARLOW (voice-over): The STEM workforce -- that`s science, technology, engineering and math -- is only 6 percent Hispanic and 6 percent African-American, far below their presence in the overall workforce. Blacks and Hispanics also have much higher unemployment rates than the national average.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need more scientists, need more engineers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch yourself.

HARLOW (voice-over): STEM workers make 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts.

VALDEZ: To come here and see a face of color who`s in charge, who`s a construction manager of this whole project just makes me want to work so much harder.

HARLOW (voice-over): Engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff is managing the Second Avenue Subway Project, and partnered with Bucknell to mentor minority students.

HARLOW: Why does this matter for their future?

GEORGE PIERSON, CEO, PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF: These are great jobs. They`re high-paying jobs. They`re professional jobs. This is the bedrock of the middle class.

I see it as a fundamental fairness issue.

MARIA KLAWE, PRESIDENT, HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE: What are you going to do after you graduate?

HARLOW (voice-over): Maria Klawe is president of Science and Engineering college Harvey Mudd. This school has had tremendous progress fixing the gender gap in its student body, but not the minority gap.

KLAWE: If we leave out big sections of our population, so whether it`s females or African-Americans or Hispanics, if we don`t have diverse teams working on problems, we don`t get nearly as good solutions.

HARLOW: We`re going to fall behind.

KLAWE: We`re going to fall behind.

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AZUZ: We have a new post up on our blog today, based on the story that spans the Pacific Ocean. A man found a soccer ball when he was walking along the beach in Alaska. Turns out the ball belongs to a teenager in Japan. It was swept away during last year`s tsunami. The American who found it is planning to return the soccer ball in person next month.

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AZUZ (voice-over): It got us thinking about sentimental value. The soccer ball isn`t worth a ton of money. But it has a special meaning to this teenager in Japan. So what we`re asking on our blog is, what possessions have sentimental value to you? Let us know at cnnstudentnews.com.

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AZUZ: Before we go, we`re paying tribute to teachers.

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AZUZ (voice-over): At the White House yesterday, President Obama honored more than 50 teachers who were named Teacher of the Year by their states and territories. The woman receiving the award is Rebecca Miellwocki, a middle school English teacher and the National Teacher of the Year. She talked about the qualities that make an exceptional educator.

REBECCA MIELLWOCKI, NATIONAL TEACHER OF THE YEAR: I am not the best teacher in America. There isn`t one. All across this nation, there are millions of teachers who do the work that I do and many do it better.

But what I do have are the qualities that some of the best teachers have. I have an absolute passion for my work. I have a bottomless well of belief in my students and their potential. I have a thirst for getting better at what I do every single day, and I have a warm and welcoming heart for all students and the unique gifts that they bring to my classroom.

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AZUZ: Congratulations to Ms. Miellwocki and all the teachers of the year. Not many puns today. You can chalk it up to us running out of time. The class is back in session with more headlines tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.

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