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Immigration Compromise?; Dangers of America's Game

Aired January 28, 2013 - 15:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, so, Dan, you just listened to the senators saying no one is going to get everything they want.

I want to put that question to your organization. What these senators promised is a tougher employment, employer sanctions if they don't verify, tougher border security, a tougher path to citizenship, a more arduous path. They said they would make sure there are criminal background checks. Even just for legal residency, you have to speak English, and paying back taxes. You're getting some things in this proposal your organization has long called for. Why not say, OK, I will compromise?

DAN STEIN, PRESIDENT, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: Look, nobody wants reform more than we do at FAIR. And it would be great to see some ironclad concrete proposals that would actually move the country in the direction that we want it to go to.

Now, none of the senators mentioned by name the E-Verify program, which is the one that has been in place over the last 20 years. It has been 25 years since we were promised a work verification system. So to make this kind of open-ended commitment without any guarantee that it is actually working and in place before you talk about amnesty seems not credible.

Beyond that, look at the American people. We're in major financial trouble in this country. Is this really the issue people want to deal with? How would passing this amnesty bill make it easier for young people to get into college? For Americans to get a job? For Americans to see their wages go up?

We got 50 percent of Americans who are working in positions where they're overqualified. We have labor -- a slack labor market with wages that are stagnant. Now we have senators telling us we have to bring in more foreign labor. You look at the proposals we're talking about, dramatic increase in overall immigration, much of its unskilled. We're looking -- we're talking about Chamber of Commerce concessions for more so-called foreign students coming in and competing with American graduates.

How is this helping the American people right now when we're talking about major cutbacks in spending across the board? So, in the end, the reason the timing seems to be critical is because the bill is allegedly so unpopular, it is a Trojan horse bill, it is so unpopular that they have to try to do it when people aren't really paying attention. And at FAIR, we're going to make sure every single jot and tittle of this bill is audited and make sure every American understands what is in the bill, what the implications are, and why if there are promises they need to be kept.

KING: Dan Stein, I appreciate your time today, Ana Navarro as well.

As you can get a sense just from watching it, a very feisty debate on immigration reform has been set aside for a while at the congressional level. It begins today anew here, Brooke.

It starts in the United States Senate, but the conservative speaker of the House, you just heard Ana note she's talked to John Boehner about this -- he would like to get a bill through. The question is, what does his conservative base say? We have talked about this and to issues in the past. So, a feisty debate starts today. We will follow it.

The president speaks tomorrow in Vegas. We will see where we end up.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let me pick up with that, John King, before we put a punctuation to the end of the conversation with the White House.

I want to go to chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin.

Jessica, we heard from Senator Schumer pretty much at the tip-top, because as John pointed out, tomorrow is the big day for the president, unveiling his own immigration proposals in Las Vegas. Senator Schumer said he and Senator Durbin talked to the president yesterday about this, saying the president couldn't be more pleased, just quoting the senator. Does that jibe with what you have heard from the White House?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White House is saying that they are pleased that the Senate is taking action on this.

One of the reasons the Senate has moved so quickly, both Dana and I are reporting, is the White House is -- has crafted its own legislation, Brooke, according to a long list of sources I have talked to who are in ongoing conversations with the White House. The president's team has written its own immigration bill that is extremely detailed, covering everything from the path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal workers in this country to border security, and would have been ready to present it in theory tomorrow or later this week had the Senate not unveiled its own plan today.

Now, this is very unusual for the president. He doesn't usually craft his own bills and hasn't traditionally done so with very few exceptions. But it is just a sign of how eager they are to have momentum behind this, to prod this forward, and make sure the Senate acted. So it is several advocates tell me it is something the president can have in his back pocket if the Senate somehow hits a roadblock.

And, for all we know, the White House isn't commenting on this information I have, so maybe the president will still unveil it tomorrow, but it is certainly something the White House, it is a different -- it's a change in strategy for the president in a second term.

BALDWIN: Jessica Yellin, we will be talking tomorrow as we see the president, we will see what he chooses to unveil right as he speaks from Las Vegas. Jessica Yellin for me at the White House. Jessica, thank you.

Well, it is just about time for America's unofficial national holiday, that being Super Bowl Sunday, a day when millions of us unite on our sofas in bars, around the country here, watch this football game that really is more spectacle than sport. But how long can this tradition endure at a time when there is certainly growing evidence that football players are doing serious long-term damage to themselves by playing the game we all love?

President Obama himself now making some news, weighing in on this debate. He was interviewed by "The New Republic." And this is what he said -- quote -- "If I had a son, I would have to think long and hard before I let him play football."

And the president went on to predict the game will have to change, again in his words -- quote -- change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence."

Want to bring in here just a couple of people, open this up to multiple voices, with different perspectives on this whole discussion. We have Tim Green, former Atlanta Falcon, also an attorney and author. His newest book is titled "Unstoppable."

Tim, welcome to you.


BALDWIN: Jay Thomas also here back with us, Emmy-Award winning actor and Sirius radio host, and Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, forgive me, forgive me, also here, assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine.

So, welcome, all of you.

Tim Green, I wanted to begin with you here because you played for the Falcons, you played eight year and I was reading and I saw that you at some point stopped counting all of your concussions. You have sons. Your sons have played ball. You disagree with what the president said?

GREEN: Well, I guess I can't disagree he wants to take a good hard look at it. But I think it is unfortunate that he would suggest that football is more dangerous than a lot of other sports.

I think if you're going to do that, if you're going to say, boy, I really want to think before I let my son play football, I think first you need to say I'm going to really think if I'm going to let my son get into an automobile, I'm going to let my son ride a bike, go downhill skiing, play baseball, play hockey, play soccer. I think that football is drawing -- people have drawn a bead on football because of the Super Bowl, because of the popularity of the sport. But I think that there is a lot yet to be known about how much damage is actually done.

BALDWIN: Tim, I want to come back to you.

Jay Thomas, you and I often talk and you cite your own boys, and I know they're grown now. But knowing that -- knowing what we know now, the concussive issues, the brain injuries, would you think twice, to use the president's phraseology, would you think twice before letting them play?

JAY THOMAS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I never got as far as Tim. I played small college and coached my kids in junior high and stuff.

But, Tim, my question is to you, never in my life was I ever coached or did we ever coach kids to do anything but shoulder tackle, placing your head on one side or the other of the runner, and wrapping your arms. When I started seeing defensive backs and especially in the NFL leading with their heads, I used to say, that is the craziest way to tackle.

One, it is not effective. And, two, it is so injurious. When do you think that started, the leading with the head?


BALDWIN: Tim, that's a question to you.

GREEN: Yes, I agree that leading with the head is extremely dangerous.

I have coached football as well, junior league and high school football,and would never coach that way. I was never coached in the -- in college or the pros to lead with my head on a tackle. I think people are doing it now. I think it should be a strict liability, should be a penalty.

I think that football could eradicate that from the game pretty easily. I think that it should be eradicated. The issue I think that is kind of up in the air and that is nebulous right now is the repeated blows to the head on the line of scrimmage. That's something that I experienced as a lineman in the National Football League. You line up every play, and you're taught to use your helmet as, you know, as the impact point to stop the opposing lineman's momentum.

So that, to me, is something that, you know, I want to see what comes out of that. But I don't -- I'm not all that alarmed, as alarmed as everyone else is. I know some people have had brain injuries and certainly done damage to their brain. But, again, I think you have to put it into context. Football is not that much more dangerous than a lot of other sports.

BALDWIN: Let me jump in, Dr. Devi. Here is my question to you. You're hearing Tim say that. I know I guess a lot of these youth leagues are trying to reduce potential injury, reduce some of the blows to the head. Do you agree that, you know, playing -- let's just talk about youth football, that it is not any more dangerous than in other sport, A., and that, B., starting younger and playing football isn't much worse?

DR. DEVI NAMPIAPARAMPIL, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, studies show football may be more dangerous in other competitive sports, at least in terms of mild traumatic brain injury.

You might be more likely to get a traumatic brain injury from football compared to volleyball or soccer, baseball or softball, but you can get them in those sports as well. I think having people play at a younger age, it could go either way. People have more likelihood maybe of getting repeated brain injuries, but maybe they can be taught to play differently or more safely at a younger age and have little bit more wherewithal to protect themselves.

I think from a practical perspective, though, it doesn't make sense to ban football or really prevent people from playing or enjoying the sport. I think we should look at really first how can we prevent some of these injuries and, second, if somebody has a brain injury what can we do to really treat them or get them to have better treatment alternatives early on.

BALDWIN: I want to talk to all of you all about the evolution of the sport. But I read a quote that really jumped out at me. This is from one of the Ravens players who we will be sitting with our popcorn and wings and watching this Sunday. This is what he said.

Let me quote him: "Thirty years from now, I don't think it will be in existence. The thing I'm waiting for and, lord, I hope it doesn't happen, is a guy dying on the field. We have had everything else happen there except for a death."


BALDWIN: To either of you two guys, can the game survive? Because it seems like the injuries are getting more and more serious.

GREEN: Look, first of all, people used to die on the football field. And then in the early '70s, the colleges and the pros got together and said, hey, we need better helmets.

And people -- it's, no -- it's -- you know, there are mortalities in football, but, again, most of it is less than a lot of other sports. There is mortalities in all kinds of situations. But football, from a mortality standpoint, it is not that dangerous. It is not going to get worse. You may have a fatality here and there in football, just like you might in baseball or basketball or hockey or gymnastics.

I mean, those kinds of things happen. But football is not that much more dangerous. Let me just throw one more thing in here. When people talk about not letting their little kids play football, to me, that's just -- that's laughable. The impact created by those little kids, little 8-year-olds and 9-year-olds with beautiful helmets on their heads, that's not -- that's nothing compared to the impacts in the National Football League or college. And people who say so are just flat wrong.


BALDWIN: Jay Thomas, I want you to have the final word.


BALDWIN: Tim is not alarmed. Are you alarmed at all or not at all?

THOMAS: There is 300-plus-pound guys that can run down the Tims of the world and the running backs of the world. I think that pro football and college football is a bloodthirsty sport because the fans want it.

But I think all the players have to meet and whatever decisions they have to make, maybe prior to striking each other's helmets -- Tim, we used to block like this in the old days. You remember that. You had to almost hold your jersey first before you made the impact.

I don't think the fan will notice it. I think the rabid fan will do all that crazy screaming and yelling, but there is some overweight, you know, angry guy on his couch is yelling for more violence, I think the football players have to get together and the coaches and make this decision that is good for all of them. And I think that will really help begin to solve the problem.

BALDWIN: We just wanted to have the discussion. I read that "New Republic" article and just hearing the president on the record saying I may think twice if I had boys, just wanted to talk about it.

Jay Thomas, Tim Green, Dr. Devi, thank you, all. Thank you, all, so much.


BALDWIN (voice-over): As the Senate gets ready to vote on aid for Sandy victims, we will take you live to one neighborhood where crews are demolishing homes.

Horror at the club and now arrests in the fire that killed more than 200.

Plus, JonBenet Ramsey would have been 23 years old, but now new word that her parents were close to being indicted for her death.

And a manhunt under way for an inmate who escaped not once, but twice, and his method is stunning police. The news is now.



BALDWIN: Shifting our attention now to cyberspace, trouble is a brewing at the intersection of Twitter and Vine. The social networking site Just launched this new service featuring six-second video clips and faster than you can say not safe for work, Vine turned into a naughty search engine.

CNN's Alison Kosik with what happened.


You may have seen this one coming. It only has been a week since Twitter launched its new video sharing app and already Vine has a porn problem. Vine lets iPhone and iPod Touch users create and share six- second video clips.

The problem is pornography isn't prohibited and it's allowing sexually explicit videos to run rampant. Simply searching the hashtag porn or sex and Vine brings up countless results, but it is not like this is a new problem. Twitter is known for being a big proponent of the free flow of information and not clamping down on pornographic images in the past.

Users can flag the photos or the videos as inappropriate, which prompts Twitter to add a warning message. The issue has many in the tech industry questioning how long Vine can stay alive in Apple's app store if this isn't addressed, since Apple is very clear that pornographic material is not OK -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Alison Kosik, thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next: why all these years later we are hearing the parents of JonBenet Ramsey were close to being indicted in their daughter's death. We're "On the Case."

Plus, an inmate escapes jail not once, but twice in this past year and the way he escaped is stunning police.


BALDWIN: The secret has been uncovered in this cold case that transfixed the nation, starting back in 1996 when somebody murdered pageant winner JonBenet Ramsey.

The Daily Camera -- it's this Colorado news outlet -- is now reporting that a grand jury back in the late '90s voted to indict her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, on charges of child abuse resulting in death. The Camera writes, DA Alex Hunter chose not to sign it, believing he could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here is what Hunter said back then.


ALEX HUNTER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We have eight career prosecutors with many, many years of service, who, together, have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges at this time.


BALDWIN: CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin is "On the Case" with me.

And, Sunny, how unusual is it to have a DA, a prosecutor here in this case not follow through with a grand jury indictment?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is really remarkably unusual. It is something that you just don't see. And in large part it is because of the way the grand jury proceedings work, Brooke.

Prosecutors are the ones that usually present these cases to the grand jury, so they believe in their case. Once the grand jury indicts, it is almost off the shoulders of the DA, right? Because the grand jury has spoken. And so to have a grand jury speak and then have a district attorney say, I don't think I can prove my case, it is just something that you don't often see.

Now, of course, hindsight is 20/20. Many people are now saying he's a hero because he didn't proceed with the prosecution that he couldn't prove, and in large part that has somewhat been proven to be the case, because we know now with DNA that there is sort of this undisclosed third-party DNA that has been found, not attached to either of the Ramseys.

And so I think this remains in many respects, Brooke, just one of those murder mysteries that may never be solved. Think about it. This happened when this little girl was 6 years old. She would have been 23 and we are still no further along in this case.

BALDWIN: Incredible, 1996. When we talk about this district attorney, he didn't choose to comment to this -- the Daily Camera, but we do have a comment from John Ramsey's attorney to CNN.

Let me read that -- quote -- "Assuming the recent reporting is accurate, perhaps the confusion of the grand jury over alleged child abuse could have been avoided if prosecutors had permitted John and Patsy to testify before the grand jury, which they repeatedly offered to do at the time. The DNA tests performed after the time of the Boulder grand jury not only proved the Ramsey family to be innocent and the grand jury wrong. They also make former district attorney Alex Hunter a hero," as you pointed out a moment ago, Sunny Hostin, "who wisely avoided a gross miscarriage of justice."

We now know Patsy Ramsey, she passed away a couple of years ago. So, today, what does this mean for John Ramsey?

HOSTIN: Yes, I mean, that's the wrinkle, isn't it, now that we have this new information. Patsy is no longer here with us.

I still think that given the fact that you have got this DNA out there that doesn't necessarily exonerate him, but certainly leads one to believe that there is something else out there, I think, again, it goes nowhere against Mr. Ramsey. I think this is going to be one of those murder mysteries that may never be solved, unfortunately.


Can we move on and talk about Rocky Delgado Marquez and these...



BALDWIN: This is the story. If people don't know it, our affiliate KPHO is reporting that this guy, not just once, but twice has been able to allude authorities. He's escaped jail in the Phoenix area because all he had to do was switch an I.D. bracelet, pop it off another inmate, put it on his wrist.

So if this guy goes out now, he commits a crime, who is open to a lawsuit? Is it the jail? Is it the bracelet-maker? That's what I'm wondering.


HOSTIN: It is the jail, certainly.

And there are cases where prisoners have escaped and victims that have been injured have, you know, filed lawsuits against the prison, against the folks involved in the escape. So it really -- there is this liability, but what is shocking to me here, Brooke, is this is not first time that he's escaped in this particular way by doing the old switcheroo with the bracelets.

I sort of feel like if he's done it once and he's back in prison, then isn't there a big red flag over his head...


BALDWIN: Check his bracelet every day.

HOSTIN: Exactly, watching him a little more closely.

And then the other question that I have is what is the incentive for the other inmate to switch bracelets? I mean, what is he promising these folks? Is he that charming? Is he that smart? Does he has that much to offer that he is able to sort of switch his freedom with someone who is about to get out? So this is one smart criminal.

I would love the opportunity to interview him, because he's done it not once, but twice.


BALDWIN: But twice. Gotten away with it. Sunny Hostin, thank you, "On the Case" with me today.

HOSTIN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, let's take some live pictures here, as this is a neighborhood. Look at the pieces, the aftermath of what once was there, a neighborhood that was slammed by superstorm Sandy. Homeowners in Staten Island, they're beginning to demolish what is left of their homes so they can rebuild again. We will take you there live, tell their stories next.