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CNN Hero Karen Taylor; Life as an Undocumented Immigrant; Living Room UFC: a New Craze; Parkland Hospital Executives Raise Minimum Wage

Aired June 27, 2014 - 08:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, here we go. Five things that you need to know for your new day.

A new twist in the case of a Georgia toddler who died when his father left him in a hot car for hours. Police discovered a computer search for, quote, "how long does it take an animal to die in a hot car?"

Detroit Police are planning to meet with the 12-year-old boy who was found barricaded in his own basement of his father's home. Father Charlie - or little Charlie Bothuell had been missing for almost two weeks. He's now with his biological mother.

Secretary of State John Kerry heading to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah. It's his latest attempt to get Persian Gulf nations to stand up in that fight against ISIS.

A unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court backing Congress instead of president, finding that he violated the Constitution with a trio of 2012 appointments made without Senate approval.

At number five, Team USA survives and advances to the World Cup -- in the World Cup, rather, despite losing 1-0 to Germany. The team advances to the round of 16. The U.S. will face Belgium on Tuesday.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's turn to this week's CNN hero. In the Los Angeles Public Schools nearly one in five kids, if you can believe it, drops out before graduation. But Karen Taylor is helping teenaged girls in L.A. find their voice and their future.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I blossom (ph) with each pen mark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found myself in the words.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every girl has a story to tell.

KAREN TAYLOR, CNN HERO: Some of our girls are facing some of the greatest challenges teenagers could ever face.

They need to be inspired about their own voice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Life in the light can be so bright. Nothing can be so pure.

TAYLOR: Writing and self-expression can give them a tool for moving forward.

Say something that nobody else has said before, because you have your own way of saying things.

We match underserved girls with professional women writers for mentoring and group workshops.

I want to match you, Krista (ph), with Christie (ph).

The moment you ask a young person, tell me about something you're passionate about, the writing and the ideas just flow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their senses are deluded by the sparkly things that cross their eyes. Thank you.

TAYLOR: We need to help girls see that their voice matters.

You've got a lot of good stuff here. And what I would like to hear more is about you.

To give a girl tools to be able to be positive and thrive and rise above whatever challenges she's facing, what's better than that.

CROWD: Never underestimate the power of the girl and her pen! Woo!


BOLDUAN: (INAUDIBLE). Just amazing.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I wonder why (ph).

BOLDUAN: I know. Amazing stories.

If you have someone that you know that should be nominated, please go to We love the stories every week.

CUOMO: That was a really good one, the empowerment of these women. It's really important.

BOLDUAN: Uh-huh.

CUOMO: All right, coming up on NEW DAY, we're going to take on the all-important question, what does it mean to be an American? Why we're taking it on. Well, a man who outed (ph) himself as one of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants, he's trying to answer it in a blockbuster CNN film. We're going to talk with him about the film and his journey. It is a unique one, right ahead.


BOLDUAN: How do you define American? Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas answering that question in a new CNN film called "Documented." Three years ago, three years after, rather, publicly revealing that he is one of the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants, Vargas wants to give a human face to the nation's broken immigration system. Listen.


JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: I was brought here when I was 12. I didn't know I didn't have papers till (ph) I was 16. My grandparents, who were American citizens, didn't tell me. So I've been here.


VARGAS: I've been paying taxes since I was 18. I just want to be able, as you said, to get legal, to get in the back of a line somewhere.


BOLDUAN: The journalist, the filmmaker, the founder of Define America, Jose, is here joining us now.

JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, FILMMAKER, "DOCUMENTED": Thank you so much for having me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for coming in. I mean there are -- your story, when you first told it in that magazine feature in 2011, had a lot of people talking. This film is definitely going to do the same thing. Why do you -- did you and do you want to share such a personal story?

VARGAS: First of all, I didn't want to do that. I really -

BOLDUAN: You didn't?

VARGAS: I - you know, I'm a journalist. We're supposed to like not put ourselves in the story, right?

BOLDUAN: Right. Absolutely.

VARGAS: And so that's like the cardinal sin is to do that. And so I didn't want to do that. But then I think we're looking at an issue that's been incredibly politicized. The fact that, you know, news organizations still refer to people as illegal tells you just how politicized it is, that I think it's really important to put, not only a human face, but to be very specific about what we're talking about.

I mean for all the news that this issue takes, like immigration is the most controversial yet least understood issue in America. Like the question I get asked every day is like, why don't you just make yourself legal? I say, if I can just go on the corner of 45th and Broadway and go in an office and fill out a form and, poof, I'm legal, it doesn't work like that. Like most Americans don't even know what the process looks like. That's why we're really excited about this film, you know, being here on Sunday night because we actually go through that. We go through the forms saying, oh, this is why I can't make myself legal. This is why I haven't seen my mother for almost 21 years, you know, in -

PEREIRA: Why do you think, Jose, that there is such lack of understanding? This is a nation of immigrants. I mean going back many, many decades and generations.

VARGAS: Yes. Yes, yes.

PEREIRA: But it's a nation of immigrants.

VARGAS: Well, I think - but we're also a nation that likes to think of people as the other, right? And I would argue that after -

PEREIRA: Isn't that just humanity though?

VARGAS: Well, that's humanity in general. But - no, but I think in America, right, I mean, it was -- think about what happened after 9/11. After 9/11, you know, I mean, we, of course, we were terrorized during 9/11. Then the day after, immigrants, and I would argue that the illegal in America has been one of the largest targets of that terrorism internally, right? I mean the Dream Act was introduced in August 2001. A month later, 9/11 happened and here we are now almost, what, 14 years later and we still have, what, about 2 million undocumented young people in this country.

CUOMO: Well, you have this balance of law and humanity.

VARGAS: Absolutely.

CUOMO: You said, you know, they're called illegal because many are illegal and people get caught up on that instead of seeing a way forward. I want you to address it but I also want you to address something else. There are two things that people have to know about this documentary.


CUOMO: One, you didn't sneak into the country. You were unaware. You were snuck in. You didn't sneak in.

VARGAS: No, I didn't.

CUOMO: There's a material difference. People will pick that up in -- when they watch the documentary. So it's not like you're throwing it in your face that you snuck in. Second thing is, and normally I wouldn't ask you about this -


CUOMO: But your mom is made a relevant aspect of the documentary.

VARGAS: Oh, yes, she is.

CUOMO: And the estrangement.


CUOMO: You don't interview her, but she is interviewed.


CUOMO: Can you explain that situation a little bit because you haven't talked to your mom for a really long time by choice. Why?

VARGAS: Well, I mean, I did -- you know, like a lot of immigrants in this country, I support my family in the Philippines, right? I send -

CUOMO: With money.

VARGAS: Yes, I send money, remittances (ph) -

CUOMO: But you say it's transactional not emotional.

VARGAS: Yes. It was just much -

CUOMO: What happened?

VARGAS: It was just much easier to do -- how do you explain not seeing your mother physically for 20 years? I don't - I don't know how to do that. All I know is, as I got older, it got more and more difficult to talk about it and to explain to my own friends why I can't spend Christmas with her, why I can't leave this country, and so you start lying to your own friends, then you start lying to yourself, and then you start lying to your employers. It becomes this very complicated thing. And that's why this film, in many ways, you know, I sought out to document my life, but I ended up documenting hers, right? And I think --

PEREIRA: Interesting. I think that's an integral part of yours, though, isn't it?

VARGAS: But, again, and that's how you think about -- for example, let's think about all these unaccompanied minors from central America.

PEREIRA: A very good point.

VARGAS: What about their mothers? What about their fathers? Where are they? Right? And what if these kids were Germans or Italians or Irish who crossed here when the border was the Atlantic Ocean and they got here on Ellis Island? My border was the Pacific Ocean. For all the talk about border security, right, I mean, what, 40 percent of undocumented people in this country got here legally and then overstayed their visa.

CUOMO: Right.

VARGAS: And yet all the conversation is always about this border.

CUOMO: What do you think we should do with the kids? VARGAS: Well, I -- you know, I have been - as somebody who was brought

here when I was 12, I've been really haunted by this. I - I don't think there's any easy solution. I think the thing that I find most troubling, though, is that it seems as if we have really lost track of our own history, right? So what is happening in these countries? In El Salvador and Honduras and Guatemala? And what has been the role of the United States in all these past decades when it comes to civil wars and funding, you know, people in those countries and the kind of fight that they're having? And why is there so much violence in these countries? And what role does our country play in that?

BOLDUAN: It isn't an easy answer.

VARGAS: It's not.

BOLDUAN: But let me ask you this. You pose the three questions. And real quickly -


BOLDUAN: You ask this, what do you want to do with me? What do you want to do with us? How do you define American? What if, when Congress, the White House and Washington decides to finally ask those questions and call (ph) for an answer, what if you don't like the answer they give?

VARGAS: Oh, I would -- as far as I'm concerned, we have been waiting for answers. Any kind of answer would be great. You know, Congressman Goodlatte just said that immigration reform is dead. Louis Macharas (ph), the congressman, just said immigration reform is dead. Politically, it seems to be dead for them. But for the 11 million people like us who are struggling every day, this is far from dead. And this question again of, what do you want to do with us, like what do you want to do with us? That is something that our congressional leaders and the president hasn't really fully -- haven't really fully answered.

BOLDUAN: No, not at all.

VARGAS: Not at all. So hopefully the film can spark conversations, right? And, you know, I'm an incredibly, you know, what, I mean I've been saying this, I'm the most privileged undocumented immigrant in America. Every day somebody gets detained and deported. What am I doing? I'm talking to you and I made a film. And my hope is to just use the film and use the story to incite other conversations.

CUOMO: You're going to be trying to reach the group, right? Because you don't want to preach to the converted.

VARGAS: No, you can't do that.

CUOMO: You want to reach the group that has a hard time seeing past the law having been broken.

VARGAS: And, again, you know, that's the thing. People, you know, on Twitter people are like, you lied. Yes, I lied, to get jobs and to survive here and to pay taxes and Social Security, because people like me do pay tax and Social Security. Now, what do you want to do with us?

CUOMO: Well, that's the question.

VARGAS: We can't all baby-sit your kids, mow your lawns and serve you drinks. So what do you want to do with us?

BOLDUAN: Tough questions. Important questions.

CUOMO: Provocative.

BOLDUAN: Provocative questions. Jose, all of this is part of this film.


BOLDUAN: Thank you for being with us.

VARGAS: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: We're going to have much more of Jose's really incredible journey and it's not even - it's not over yet. Be sure to catch "Documented." It's a CNN film. That's Sunday at 9:00 Eastern only on CNN.

CUOMO: Right, and I can answer what I want to do with you in this way. When this creates the heat that I know it's going to create, come back, and let's start taking on the issues because a lot of them will be directed at you so, we'll see you then.

VARGAS: Great.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Jose.

CUOMO: All right, coming up on NEW DAY, ultimate fighting for everyone. We're going to show you the latest workout craze, UFC in your living room. No cage required. Really, all you need is kids to make this happen. But we'll show you what to do if you don't have kids.


PEREIRA: All right, what is new?

We're back with another edition of our summer series. We have drum major going over here. I don't know what's happening. But anyway, what is new? What is next?

We're joined by Carlos Watson, co-founder and editor of

Again you bring us this interesting stuff. We're talking social media and law enforcement. I've heard about this a little bit, but I thought it was just sort of a way that they were getting more positive PR for their departments. You're saying they're using it to fight crime. CARLOS WATSON, OZY.COM: Yeah, they are, really interesting. One,

most wanted, so in some cases we're putting most wanted felons on there.

BOLDUAN: And this was beyond like Amber alerts and things like that, right?

WATSON: Definitely beyond Amber alerts, serious crimes, murder, rape, kidnapping, of missing children, they're putting on as well, including at the beginning of YouTube videos. And then --

PEREIRA: No more milk cartons, I supposed.

WATSON: Exactly. Gotta move into the new age. And you know what's very interesting as well? The recruiting. The U.S. Army was using things like Pinterest to recruit women, and they began, the police departments themselves, began (ph) in Kansas City said that's not a bad idea and had a lot more success.

PEREIRA: And I mentioned -- go ahead, Chris.

CUOMO: Is this about reach? Or is about the -- also harnessing the upside of anonymity with tips and stuff like that?

WATSON: You know, really thoughtful. Both, Chris. And in fact, the thing that I was most interested that they were doing was that a number of women who were in abusive relationships are finding the kind of help, including hotline numbers there, and frankly, in some cases seeing other women speak out about positively using this source in order to escape difficult situations.

PEREIRA: That is fantastic. I've heard about crime stoppers and things like that, maybe getting something happening in neighborhoods.

BOLDUAN: Very good use of social media.

PEREIRA: All right, this is one I'm a little concerned that you might start trying this out.


We all have our workouts that we try, and workout crazes seem to be a- plenty. UFC in your living room workout? Talk to me about this. It sounds dangerous.

WATSON: It looks it.

BOLDUAN: How is this legal?


WATSON: Not only is it legal, but, look, if you can do aerobics and pole dancing can inspire some things, P90X, insanity. They're now saying that UFC and mixed martial arts, the -- arguable the most popular new sport, or the fastest growing rather --

PEREIRA: Sure, yeah.

WATSON: Now there's a guy named Mike Dolce, who was kind of the fitness guru to many of the leading UFC fighters, and now he's coming forth with his video. He's saying move aside Billy Blanks. Move aside Shaun T. I got something for you.

BOLDUAN: He got on p90x.

WATSON: He did. He did. He actually -- he actually -- he wasn't very nice about it.

BOLDUAN: He was not! I read that!

WATSON: He was very MMA about it. In fact, he said, you know, look, he said, do you want something -- do you want something that was started by a dancer or by comedian? Or do you want a true fitness guy who has been doing this for 20 years for some of the top fighters in the world.

PEREIRA: One of your guys tried it too, huh?

WATSON: One of our guys tried it.

BOLDUAN: And by one of your guys, do you mean did it -- was it you?

WATSON: Do I look like I did it?


PEREIRA: Yes, you do.



WATSON: I appreciate Chris Cuomo this morning. I do. 6 percent body fat.

CUOMO: Wow! I have that in my tongue alone.

PEREIRA: One last topic since we have time -- and we are in summer officially now. But wait, you're trying to tell me you folks at --

WATSON: We smart folks at


PEREIRA: Summer is dead to us? What do you mean? It's hot enough out there to constitute summer.

WATSON: So our deputy director, Eugene Robinson, went on the road to figure out what was going on and realized that Americans are taking less and less vacation, not just schoolchildren, but adults themselves, more staycation. Start out in part because of the recession. And people said we have to save a little bit of money. And now increasingly, people are saying their kids are spending more time in school and that even when they go on vacation, guess what? Chris, Kate, Michaela is trying to reach me all the time, I might as well be at work, might as well get the paycheck. So why go on vacation?

BOLDUAN: You know what? Europeans have always criticized Americans about that we can't take a break and we're all crazy.

WATSON: Guess who -- guess who takes all of their vacation and then some, which country do you think?

BOLDUAN: I don't know.

WATSON: Of course France. France doesn't leave any vacation on the table, six good weeks a year.


CUOMO: The kids go to school more in a lot of developed countries than we do here also.

WATSON: So we go to school about 180 days a year on average, and a lot of folks say that's not enough.

CUOMO: It isn't.

WATSON: And that we should go to school more. In Japan, they're going to school 240, 250 days

PEREIRA: Split the difference.

WATSON: Split the difference, there you go. A little compromise never hurt anybody.


CUOMO: I say beat the difference.

Good to see you, Carlos.

WATSON: Good to be back here.

PEREIRA: Thanks, Carlos. Enjoy summer and have a good weekend.

WATSON: Enjoy summer.

PEREIRA: Keeping summer.

WATSON: You can keep summer here in New York.

BOLDUAN: See, when work is like a vacation, you don't ever feel like you need to take vacations.

WATSON: Of course you love the CNN NEW DAY folks.

CUOMO: Comma, she lied, period. (LAUGHTER)

Coming up on NEW DAY, those who have the most go deep into their pockets to help out those who have the least. That's not the good stuff, I don't know what is. Hear the story and love it.


CUOMO: All right, time for the good stuff.

In today's edition, the big wigs are helping out the little guy. Yes, its' true. Executives at Parkland Hospital in Dallas aren't waiting for the federal minimum wage to go up. They are voluntarily giving up their bonuses to give raises to all of their minimum wage employees.

PEREIRA: I love it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With this move that Parkland has made, there will be no county employee in Dallas County making less than $10.25 an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The employees are loving it. I think I've heard a couple cheers already today.


CUOMO: It's not deferred compensation. There is no catch. They are doing what I just told you they are doing. The move will cost about $350,000 per year, will raise the base salary to $10.25 an hour, and all of that money is coming out of hospital executives' pockets. The employees hate it. I'm just kidding. They're overjoyed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was a joke. I'm not going to lie. I thought they were playing with me. It helps a lot because I have three kids, so I won't have to work so much overtime for one. So I can spend more time with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) Can't complain about nothing right now. I'm just happy right now.


CUOMO: Happy you should be. It's one of those times where it's not too good to be true. And that's why it is the good stuff.


PEREIRA: Way to go, Parkland.

CUOMO: Let's get you over to the Newsroom.

BOLDUAN: Rare examples of executives, you know, people are painted often in not the best light, so it's good for them to do.

CUOMO: Not today. Carol Costello, I wish you a TGIF and much news.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Right back at ya. Thanks so much. NEWSROOM starts now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.