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President Obama Addresses Border Crisis; Israel: Gaza Ground Invasion May Happen Soon

Aired July 9, 2014 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next breaking news, the president confronts the border crisis in Texas. We are waiting for the president of the United States to be speaking live in any second.

Plus all eyes on the Middle East tonight. Israel warning of an imminent ground invasion in the Gaza strip.

And the author of a book about surviving the running of the bulls. And here's the president of the United States.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: -- to talk about the steps that we have taken and need to take to address the humanitarian situation on the border. And I want to thank everybody who has been involved for taking the time to talk to me. It's important to recognize two things. First, the surge of unaccompanied children and adults with children are arriving at one sector of the border. And that's the Rio Grande Valley.

Second, the issue is not that people are evading our enforcement officials. The issue is that we're apprehending them in large numbers and we're working to make sure that we have sufficient facilities to detain, house and process them appropriately. While attending to unaccompanied children with the care and compassion that they deserve while they're in our custody.

While we intend to do the right thing by these children, their parents need to know that this is an incredibly dangerous situation. And it is unlikely that their children will be able to stay. And I've asked parents across Central America not to put their children in harm's way in this fashion.

Right now there are more border patrol agents and surveillance on the ground than at any time in our history and we deport almost 400,000 migrants each year. But as soon as it became clear that this year's migration to the border was different than in past years, I directed FEMA to coordinate our response at the border.

Members of my cabinet, my staff have made multiple trips to facilities there and we're also addressing the root of the problem. I sent Vice President Biden and Secretary Kerry and Secretary Johnson to meet with Central American leaders as well as working with our international partners to go after smugglers who are putting their kids' lives at risk.

Earlier this week, Mexico announced a series of steps that they're going to take on their southern border to help stem the tide of these unaccompanied children. Last week, I sent a letter to Congress asking them to increase penalties on smugglers and to give us flexibility to move migrants through the system faster.

Yesterday I asked Congress to fund these efforts. About half of the resources would go to border security, enforcement and expedited removal of people who don't qualify for a humanitarian claim. About half would go to make sure we're treating children humanely. We'd also make investments to further tackle the root problems in Central America.

So right now Congress has the capacity to work with us, work with state officials, local officials and faith-based groups and not for profits who are helping care for these kids. Congress has the capacity to work with all parties concerned to directly address this situation. They've said they want to see a solution.

The supplemental offers them the capacity to vote immediately to get it done. Of course, in the long run the best way to truly address this problem is for the House of Representatives to pass legislation fixing our broken immigration system, which, by the way, would include funding for additional thousands of border patrol agents.

Something that everybody down here that I've talked to indicates is a priority. Now, the Senate passed a common sense bipartisan bill more than a year ago. It would have strengthened the border, added an additional 20,000 border patrol agents. It would have strengthened our backlogged immigration courts. It would have put us in a stronger position to deal with this surge and, in fact, prevent it.

So let me just close by indicating the nature of the conversation that I had with Governor Perry, which I thought was constructive. Governor Perry suggested four specific areas of concern. He was concerned about how many patrol agents were directly at the border. He was concerned that some of the positioning of border patrol agents is too far from border to be effective in deterring folks from coming in as opposed to simply apprehending them.

I indicated to him that what he said sounded like it made sense. And that in fact, if we pass the supplemental, we would then have the resources to carry out some of the very things that he's requesting. On a broader policy level, he indicated concern that right now kids who come to the border from Mexico are immediately deported but because it's non-contiguous folks coming from Central America have to go through a much lengthier process.

I indicated to him that part of what we're looking in the supplemental is some flexibility in terms of being able to preserve the due process rights of individuals who come in, but also to make sure that we're sending a strong signal that they can't simply show up at the border and automatically assume that they're going to be absorbed.

He also expressed concerns about how the immigration judicial system works, how the administrative processing works, how long it takes and the fact that oftentimes people appear are then essentially released with a court date that might be six months out or nine months out and a sizable number not surprisingly don't show up.

I indicated to him that if we had more administrative judges, more administrative capacity, we can shrink those wait times. This administrative practice predates my administration and in fact has been going on for quite some time and a lot of it has to do with the fact that there's not enough capacity. Both in terms of detention facilities but also in terms of judges, attorneys, space, in order to process these things more quickly and expeditiously.

So the bottom line is, actually, that there's nothing that the governor indicated he'd like to see that I have a philosophical objection to. I've asked Jay Johnson to contact his head of Health and Human Services when he comes down for the sixth time at the end of this week, to coordinate and make sure that some of the suggestions that the governor has are technically feasible and what kind of resources might be needed.

But what I emphasized to the governor was the problem here is not a major disagreement around the actions that could be helpful in dealing with the problem. The challenge is Congress prepared to act to put the resources in place to get this done. Another way of putting it -- and I said this directly to the governor -- are folks who are interested in politics or are they more interested in solving the problem?

If they're interested in solving the problem, then this can be solved. If the preference is for politics, then it won't be solved. I urged the governor to talk to the Texas delegation, which is obviously at the heart of the Republican caucus both in the House and has great influence in the caucus in the Senate.

If the Texas delegation is in favor of this supplemental, which by the way, does not include some things that I know many of them object to around dealing with undocumented workers who have been in this country for quite some time, this is just a very narrow issue, this supplemental in terms of dealing with the particular problem we have right now.

If the Texas delegation is prepared to move, this thing can get done next week. We can have more border patrol agents on the border as the governor's requested. We can shorten the timetables for processing these children or adults with children as the governor thinks is important.

We can make sure that some of the public health issues that were raised in the meeting that I just had are addressed so that we've got enough folks vaccinating and checking on the health status of these children to make sure that not only are they safe but also our communities are safe.

The things that the governor thinks are important to do would be a lot easier to do if we have this supplemental. So the only question at this point is why wouldn't the Texas delegation or any of the other Republicans, who are concerned about this not want to put this on a fast track and get this on my desk so I can sign it and we can start getting to work?

I suggest to the governor, he has I suspect some influence over the Texas delegation, that might be helpful to call on them to pass this supplement right away. Final point I'll make is I just want to thank some of the faith-based groups that I just met with as well as mayors, commissioners, local officials.

Dallas has been incredibly compassionate in looking at some sites, some facilities in which they can accommodate some of these children. And I indicated in hearing the stories of churches that are prepared to not just make donations, but send volunteers to help to construct some of these facilities or fix them up and their willingness to volunteer and providing care and assistance to these children.

I told them thank you because it confirmed what I think we all know, which is the American people are an incredibly compassionate people and when we see a child in need, we want to care for them. But what I think we all agreed on is that the best thing that we can do is to make sure that the children are able to live in their own countries safely.

And that's why it's going to be important, even as we solve is short- term problem here, for us to be able to direct attention and resources and assistance as we're doing but not at a sustained and high enough level back in Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador and other places so that parents don't think that somehow it's safer for their children to send them thousands of miles just so that they don't get harmed. With that I'll take a couple questions. Yes, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- not just from Republicans but also from some Democrats for you to visit the border during this trip. Can you explain why you didn't do that? And do you see any legitimate reason for you to actually do that at some point or do you think those calls are more about politics than anything else?

OBAMA: You know, Jeh Johnson has now visited at my direction the border five times. He's gone for a sixth this week. He then comes back and reports to me extensively on everything that's taking place. So there's nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of and briefed on. This isn't theater. This is a problem.

I'm not interested in photo ops. I'm interested in solving a problem, and those who say I should visit the border, when you ask them what we should be doing, they're giving suggestions that are embodied in legislation that I've already sent to Congress. So it's not as if they're making suggestions that we're not listening to.

In fact, the suggestions of those who work at the border who visited the border are incorporated in legislation that we're already prepared to sign the minute it hits my desk. It's a very simple question here, and that is Congress just needs to pass the supplemental. There is a larger issue that I recognize that involves a lot of politics, which is why aren't we passing comprehensive immigration reform, which would put an additional 20,000 border patrol agents and give us a lot of additional authorities to deal with some of these problems.

That should have been done a year ago. Should have been done two years ago. It's gotten caught up in politics and I understand that. One of the suggestions I had for Governor Perry was that it would be useful for my Republican friends to rediscover the concept of negotiation and compromise. The governor's one concern that he mentioned to me was that supplemental, I should go ahead and authorize National Guard troops surge at the border right away.

And what I told him is we're happy to consider how we could deploy National Guard down there, but that's a temporary solution. That's not a permanent solution. And so why wouldn't be go ahead and pass the permanent solution or at least a longer-term solution, and if the Texas delegation said for us to pass the supplemental we want to include the commitment that we'll send some national guard early, I'd be happy to consider it.

So this should not be hard to at least get the supplemental done. The question is are we more interested in politics or are we more interested in solving the problem? If we're interested in solving the problem, then there's actually some broad consensus around a number of the issues. There may be some controversies and differences between Democrats and Republicans on some of the policy issues, but on a whole bunch of this stuff there's some pretty broad consensus. Let's just get that done. Let's do the work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any indication that he would ask the Texas delegation to get behind the supplemental, and it sounds like you were concerned that the supplemental will fall victim to partisan politics.

OBAMA: Well, I think it's fair to say that these days in Washington everybody is always concerned about everything falling victim to partisan politics. You know, if I sponsored a bill declaring an apple pie American, it might fall victim to partisan politics. I get that.

On the other hand, this is an issue in which my Republican friends have said it's urgent and we need to fix it. And if that's the case, then let's go ahead and fix it.

As I indicated to Governor Perry, you know, he suggested well maybe you just need to go ahead and act. And that might convince Republicans that they should go ahead and pass the supplemental. And I had to remind him, I'm getting sued right now by Mr. Boehner apparently for going ahead and acting instead of going through congress.

Well, here's a good test case. This is something you say is important, as I do. This is an area that you have prioritized, as I have. Don't wait for me to take executive actions when you have the capacity right now to go ahead and get something done. I will sign that bill tomorrow. We're going to go ahead and do what we can administratively, but this gives us the tools to do many of the very things that Republicans are seeking.

At the same time, I will just repeat that if we got a comprehensive bill done, it doesn't just solve this problem for a year. It solves it potentially for 20 years. And I would urge those who so far at least have failed to act on the comprehensive bill to take another look at it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't sound like you are making promises, though.

OBAMA: I didn't get any prom promises, but it was a constructive conversation. And I just want to emphasis that, you know, I think that it was a good exchange of ideas. And he did have some specific suggestions in terms of how we align border agents that I've asked Jeh Johnson to take a look at. Because I think there may be ways in which we can use the resources that we already have more effectively than we're currently doing. And I think it is important that we make we've got a strong federal/state collaboration on the issue. I'll take two more questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Governor Perry put out a statement shortly before you spoke saying that he -- you secure the boarder. Does that statement indicate in any way that he's interested in compromise?

OBAMA: I'm interested in securing the border. So as I explained, as far as I could tell, the only disagreement I had with Governor Perry was that he wanted me to go ahead and do it without Congress having to do anything. We'll do what we can administratively. I think the useful question not simply for the governor but for John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and the other members of the Texas delegation why wouldn't you go ahead and pass the bill to give us additional resources to solve the very problem that you say is urgent -- Jacqueline (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: There have been a number of Republicans that have said that DACA, the deferred action executive order from 2012 that you signed is to blame, that it was an invitation, that these other children are now taking up on, what do you say to that?

OBAMA: You know, if you look at the pattern of immigration into our country, we're at an actually a significantly lower level in terms of overall immigration flow, illegal immigration flow than we were when I took office. I think that the challenge we have that has really caused a spike is the significant security challenges in these Central American countries themselves and the fact that you've got smugglers who are increasingly recognizing that they can make money by transporting these folks often in very dangerous circumstances to the border.

I am taking advantage of the compassion of the American people. Recognizing that we're not going to simply leave abandoned children who are left at our doorstep, but that we've got to care for them and provide them some basic safety and security while we determine where we can send them. But you know, I think one of the most important things that we're going to have to recognize -- this is not going to be a short-term problem, this is a long-term problem. We have countries that are pretty close to us in which the life chances of children are just far, far worse than they are here. And parents who are frightened or are misinformed about what's possible are willing to take extraordinary risks of behalf of their kids. The more that we can do to help these countries get their acts together, then, the less likely we are to have a problem at the borders.

And the fact of the matter is that DACA and comprehensive reform generally would allow us to reallocate resources because all the budget of DHS, instead of chasing after families that may have been living here for five or ten years and have kids who are U.S. citizens and are law abiding save for the fact that they didn't come here legally, if they have to earn citizenship, paying taxes, learning English, you know, paying a fine, going to the back of the line, but they are no longer a enforcement priority, that certainly frees up a huge amount of resources to do exactly the kinds of things that they Republicans are calling for us to do and that we've tried to do within the resource limitations that we have. Alright?

Thank you, everybody. Appreciate it.


BURNETT: All right, that was the president of the United States speaking about his meeting that he just had with Texas Governor Rick Perry about the immigration crisis at the border. And I want to just for those of you who are watching that, we didn't think he'd take question. We thought that was going to be a few minutes. That was an off the cuff set of comments about the president. He decided to go more than 20 minutes and take some questions.

So a bit unexpected there in terms of the amount of time that he just dedicated to that. And also, words that were very conciliatory at least to the, Texas Governor Rick Perry saying that he didn't philosophically disagree with anything the governor was saying.

I want to bring in Congressman Luis Gutierrez now, a member of the immigration task force of the congressional Hispanic caucus along with our political commentator Ana Navarro and our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski.

Let me start with you, Congressman Gutierrez. One thing the president kept saying again and again and again, first of all, very conciliatory towards the Texas governor who at first refused to meet with him when he went to Texas saying look, I agree with him. But all the things that he is asking for, not only do I agree with, but he could get tomorrow if they sign, if Congress could pass this supplemental where the president's requesting another $3.7 billion to ameliorate the border crisis.

Congressman, will Congress pass that?

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Look, the president I think clearly expressed this is a big problem and he wants us looking for a solution. This is a Republican caucus that controls the House of Representatives simply going to look to blame the president or are they going to look to work with him to solution?

The past is an indication that there will be more partisanship. My hope is that this meeting and the fact that the president spoke, so as you say, at length after the meeting, will demonstrate to the American public that a Republican governor of Texas and a democratic president of the United States, Barack Obama, can have a conversation and a dialogue that brings solutions instead of -- notice, they weren't blaming one another. They were looking for solutions. My hope is that Congress could adopt such a posture.

BURNETT: And Michelle, let me ask you from the perspective of where you're sitting watching the president. You knew he wasn't expected to go on at length like this. It was off the cuff. He did take questions. And he emphasized again and again and again that it was a constructive conversation that he had with the Texas governor. They're obviously trying to accomplish something with this, right?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They've been taking heat for days and days now and the fact that the president isn't going on a trip down to the border to see the situation himself.

And you heard his response to that. I think he really wanted to show that he's on top of this problem. That the administration has been working on it for a long time. That they care about this problem and understand fully the concerns on both sides. And he did address the issue of not going to the border. I mean, that was the first question out of the gate. And he's asked that every day. Why not go to the border? He said, this is not a photo op. This is not theater. I care about solving the problem, not making appearances on the border.

BURNETT: And you know what's interesting to Michelle's point, for all the viewers, she's pointing out he's been saying again and again he's been asked this question, it was the first question he was just asked there after his comments.

And David Gergen, you had said that the president needed to go to the border, that that was important. It was more on op pics. And I, you know, as I have emphasized, the president conciliatory tell them with his comment, I want to emphasize that even though the Texas governor just tweeted out that this was a bipartisan problem, the headline of his press release was Governor Perry presses President Obama to immediately secure southern border, renews call for President to visit border to witness crisis firsthand. This visiting the border issue does seem to be becoming political.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it is political. You know, it's a hard call in the White House about whether to go to these things. But was it a photo op when John Kennedy went to the Berlin Wall way back in the early 1960s? Was it a photo op when President Reagan went to the wall? Not at all.

It sent a message that the whole world heard in very, very important ways. It dramatized. And I think what's the president -- my preference in this case would have been -- my advice would have been, go to the border, own this issue. Send a clear message to the parents in Central America. Please don't send your children here. We'll work with you not only to see that the children already here are treated compassionately, but we'll work with you on the violence back in your home country. So you don't have to make this horrible choice by having your child killed by a gang in Honduras or sending your child, you know, 45 days through the wilderness and being raped and assaulted and walking past dead children. What a horrible choice for these children.

BURNETT: And Ana, while the president tried in his comments there, he didn't emphasize it significantly but he said it and I think with great purpose that he's deported 400,000 in a year. That was a record. A democratic president setting a record for deportations, something that frustrated a lot of people on the left, so I want to ask the congressman about that.

But Ana, something for the president is a point of pride that he is tough on immigration. Is that message going to go out here or is this crisis going to undermine all that?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think this crisis has really made passing immigration reform very difficult and advancing it very difficult because even though the border is more secure and all of us who know the statistics know that the border is more secure, that in fact these kids are turning themselves over to the border patrol agents, but the optics are that you see these children going across the border unaccompanied. So it becomes a very hard argument to sustain to the American public when they're seeing kids go through a border that seems like it's Swiss cheese. So it really does put a damper on this argument that he has deported so many people that he is the enforcement president.

BURNETT: All right. I want to get the congressman's response to that. We are going to do that in a moment.

Also, you know, the president was in a meeting with the governor of Texas, but another man who is in that meeting is just getting out and he is going to come and be our exclusive guest to talk about exactly what went on, was it conciliatory was there tension between the governor and the president, a crucial question tonight.

We'll be right back.


BURNETT: Breaking news: President Obama in Texas tonight, ground zero for a growing crisis on the southern border of the United States, with unaccompanied children pouring over the border by the tens of thousands. The president arrived earlier today amid what he has called an urgent humanitarian situation. As we said, tens of thousands of children have been crossing the border illegally and now are detained awaiting their fate.

Administration, meanwhile, is being hammered from both sides for not doing the right thing.

I want to get straight to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. He was one of the local officials at that crucial meeting between the president of the United States and Governor Rick Perry of Texas today.

Also with us, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a member of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, along with our political commentators Ana Navarro and Paul Begala and David Gergen.

OK. Great to have all of you.

But let me start with you, Judge, first, if I can. Judge Jenkins, what went on in that meeting? We just heard the president. He kept saying, "I don't philosophically disagree with the governor. I listened to what he had to say." He seemed very conciliatory.

The governor's press release, though, seem to emphasize, I'm renewing (ph) that the president needs to come to the border.

Was there any tension in the meeting at all from what you could see?

JUDGE CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS: Not by Texas political standards. For the most part, we put aside those partisan arguments and we discussed a way to get this problem resolved. Everyone in the room agreed that we need to deal with this from two fronts. We need to make it less likely that people leave their country because they have options at home, and then we need to deal with the humanitarian crisis that's on our border right now.

I agree with what the president said, that if the Texas delegation would stand unified, we would pass the supplemental and that would put $1.8 billion towards programs like we're talking about here in Dallas County and more importantly long-term towards building the capacity to take care of the children that right now are trapped on our border in very overcrowded and unpleasant conditions.

BURNETT: Judge Jenkins, just for our viewers, "The Dallas Morning News" has called you a democrat who once worked for Obama's campaign. You have been a supporter in the past.

But what about this question that just it won't go away, which is that a president who has prided himself on being tough on immigration, setting a record in terms of deportations of immigrants, 400,000 in one year -- is this a president who was completely caught off guard in this particular crisis with tens of thousands of children streaming over the border?

JENKINS: I think this president and this White House is fully engaged in this. My office, my staff and his staff talk daily, probably every hour someone's talking. And that's happening because we're having a real dialogue about how we can help solve this problem.

And you know, we need that to happen on the federal level between congress and the president. He's laid out a plan, and Congress needs to act. We're all doing our part.

You know, Governor Perry is sending a surge down there to the border. I'm leading an effort to bring 2,000 children here to the Dallas County area.

Congress needs to act. They need to do their job, too.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Judge Jenkins. Ana, let me ask you, was this a moment -- you know, you heard David

Gergen earlier talking about the president should have gone to the border. Something Democrats and Republicans have said, but the president lass chosen not to do even though he knows it's become sort of a political lightning rod. If he had gone to the border, sort of, like David Gergen said, you know, his Berlin Wall moment like for John F. Kennedy and said, don't send your kids here, don't send your kids here.

Would that have worked for him or would he have come off as callous and alienated many in his party?

NAVARRO: This wouldn't be the magic bullet that was going to solve this issue, because this is a very complex issue. It's a combination of push factors in Central America and pull factors here in the United States. But certainly, as president, he's got a bully pulpit. He's got a platform.

And this crisis needs to be addressed. And he should have used every opportunity he has to address it and to show that he's in control. He can show he's in control and at the same time show compassion and what this country is about.

This is a heart-wrenching situation. I think part of the reason he doesn't want to go is he doesn't want to deal with going into these shelters and seeing all these kids laid out there in these shelters. It's a tough thing for I think probably a parent to watch.

But he's also president of the United States and symbolism is important when you're president of the United States. It comes with the territory. It comes with the job description. You don't just run it by remote control from the Situation Room in Washington.

BURNETT: Paul Begala, do you agree?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do. And heaven forbid that I agree with both Ana Navarro and David Gergen in the same night. I'm going to hate myself in the morning, Erin.

GERGEN: We need to call (INAUDIBLE). We need to have an emergency (INAUDIBLE) --

BEGALA: We're having a vigorous agreement. But here's --

NAVARRO: Lightning's going to strike tonight.

BEGALA: Here's where the president is wrong. He said it's just political theater to go. That is not right.

I had the responsibility to go with the president -- I served President Clinton to many places that were -- for example, a tornado struck Alabama. I remember it, it was a tragic day, but you go. It's not that president wasn't going to rebuild the homes there in Alabama, but you go because, first off, you show that you care.

Second, you learn about facts on the ground in a way that the bureaucracy often doesn't tell you when you talk to the people directly who are affected.

Third, the president here has an educational role. He did a good job in the statement. But if he went to the border, he could persuade Americans that this is not a border security problem. We have more boots and guns on the ground on that border than any time since Woodrow Wilson was chasing Pancho Villa.

It is a humanitarian crisis. It is not a border security problem. He could show that to us. He could take us there and our cameras and we could see that there were already drones there, which Rick Perry is asking for. That there are already border patrol troops, tens of thousands there, 21,000 border patrol troops already on that border.

So, I think there would be a lot of good of him going. He could disabuse a lot of the myths if he did.

BURNETT: Well, an interesting point that you're making. You're saying the assets are already there. And the president in fact was saying that the people who are coming across the border aren't evading -- they're not getting in and swarming across the country. They're getting caught because the resources are there to catch them.

And I just want to play in that context, Congressman Gutierrez, what the president said about his chances of getting the extra money that he says he needs to tackle this problem past the Congress, that so- called supplement nearly $4 billion. Here's what he said about that.


OBAMA: These days in Washington, everybody is always concerned about everything falling victim to partisan politics. You know, if I sponsored a bill declaring an apple pie American, it might fall victim to partisan politics.


BURNETT: Congressman Gutierrez, I mean, look, everyone watching this program would agree about the problem in Washington. But you just heard what Paul laid out. And you heard what the president said. The problem isn't catching them.

So, in that sense, the border is working, right? They're seeing them come across, they're apprehending them. And it's not as if people are streaming in and going undetected.

So, what is the justification for another nearly $4 billion?

GUTIERREZ: We need to follow the haw of the land. And the jurisprudence is very clear. In the United States of America, when an unaccompanied minor arrives at our border, we must within 72 hours release them from the border patrol and hand them over to the refugee department of Health and Human Services.

That's not what the president wants to do or doesn't want to do. It's the law of the land. And then, they must be put in a safe place until they're given their court date. In other words, you cannot repatriate them as you do Mexican nationals or Canadian nationals. It's a very, very special, and it's the law.

And I guess, Erin, what I would like to say is, on the one hand, my Republican colleagues keep saying the president, we don't trust him on immigration and we won't pass an immigration bill because we believe he won't enforce the law. And yet when he does enforce the law and carry it out, as carefully and as well as he can and ask for money in order to carry it out more fully, they say two things: number one, we're not sure we're going to do anything more than blame you. But the other thing that's very important is they say, oh, Mr. President, why don't you just deport all those kids back? And they say, we know it's going to be hard. We know it would be callous, but let's do it.

No, it would be illegal. So, what I believe is the president should have gone down to the border. He should have embraced those children and he should have said, this is the United States of America. I'm going to follow the law and I'm going to protect these kids and they're good to have their day in court.

NAVARRO: Luis, I want you to be fair here because there's also a lot of Democrats that are saying the same thing, even the White House. I've even heard Hillary Clinton say -- in fact, she said it to Christiane Amanpour in a town hall on CNN when asked that question that those kids need to be sent back.

So, it's not just Republicans making that case. It's hard thing to say.

GUTIERREZ: If I could -- if I could say this, Ana, my Republican friends in the Republican caucus have been saying it continuously. I think we should just disabuse the idea that the president can do that. That's what I'm trying to do.

Ana and I have been friends for a long time. I do want to make one point. You know, Nicaragua, the birth place of Ana Navarro, is the poorest country in Central America, but there aren't throngs of Nicaraguan children reaching our border. That's because Ana and I worked together over 15 years ago to make sure that Nicaraguans that were here undocumented this country could adjust their status and become citizens and they brought their children and families here legally.

So, part of the issue here is clearly that we need to fix our broken immigration system. We need to put the resources and we need to put the resources in those countries.

So, when the president asks for money, I want to send some money to those countries so we can re-establish democracy and freedom and security in those countries.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to all of you. Of course, the great irony, the president being picked on for not doing enough, not taking care of the problem. A president again who has been the toughest president in terms of deportations in history.

Coming up, breaking news: all eyes on the Middle East tonight. Israel warns of an imminent ground invasion in the Gaza Strip.


BURNETT: Breaking news: new warnings of an imminent ground invasion from the Israeli prime minister, as an intensified air assault rocks the Gaza Strip. Cameras are capturing the strikes tonight. Buildings and homes have been completely obliterated. And there's no sign that the violence is doing anything but escalating. Hamas today firing dozens of rockets at the Jewish state.

Ben Wedeman is OUTFRONT live along the Gaza border tonight.

And, Ben, what have you been seeing where you are tonight?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've been seeing sort of the time of sundown was a series of strikes in and around Gaza City just behind me following a missile launch, also from just behind me, in the direction of Israel. What we're hearing now is a lot of drones overhead. And if the same pattern is repeated tonight as it was the last two nights, probably about the time of morning prayers here in Gaza, we can expect more Israeli strikes in Gaza City.

Now, to the south of here in Hannunes, apparently one house has been hit in which seven people were killed. Also in Hannunes, at an outdoor cafe, there were some young men watching the World Cup. Another missile hit there. At least five were killed.

Behind me also in Gaza City earlier this evening, a car being driven by someone working for a local TV network got struck. He was killed. Five bystanders also wounded.

Now, it does appear that Israel is picking up its operations over Gaza. We heard from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that that's what they're going to do.

So, people here are racing for a lot worse -- Erin.

BURNETT: Bracing for a lot worse. Ben Wedeman, thank you, in Gaza City tonight.

Still OUTFRONT, a Google executive dead of an apparent heroin overdose. Now, police are finding a link to a high-end prostitute. We have that story and the man known for tracking down America's most wanted, John Walsh, gives us a preview of his new -- and this is going to be an incredible series. It's here on CNN.


BURNETT: Joining me OUTFRONT, a new member of the CNN family, John Walsh. Since his son Adam was brutally murdered in 1981, Walsh dedicated his life to fighting for victim's rights and he says catching bad guys through his long time program, "America's Most Wanted." Walsh is picking right back up now with a new show called "The Hunt". It debuts this Sunday right here on CNN.

And, John, I believe I'm the first to welcome you to CNN on the air. Obviously, I've talked to you in person. We're lucky to have you. And this because -- it's a cause, it's a passion for you.

I want to talk about the new show, "The Hunt." I mean, this is going to be amazing. It's weekly and you'll go at unsolved crimes with the help of our viewers and try to find some of these people who have done horrific things. Tell us a little bit, well, I'll show you a preview of Sunday's episode and get your reaction to that.


BURNETT: OK. I'm sorry. I guess we don't have that sound byte.

So, anyway, John, tell us a little bit about this. This is a California man suspected of killing his wife, right?

WALSH: Well, first of all, Erin, thank you for the welcome. I'm thrilled and honored to be with CNN. I took a year off and went to work for a company called Great Call in the private sector and I felt I needed to saddle back up to catch fugitives.

As you mentioned, "America's Most Wanted", we were lucky enough to catch over 1,200 fugitives and bring 61 missing children home alive.

So, I'm thrilled to be on CNN, the power of CNN.

And this Sunday night, "The Hunt" will profile a guy that cops say killed his own wife and shot his own 5-year-old and 8-year-old daughters in the face. His name is Shane Miller. They had a huge manhunt looking for him in Shasta County, Northern California. They believe he's still at large, may be hiding in the woods, may be in Mexico and as the father of a murdered child, I don't know how anyone could hurt a child and this guy is extremely dangerous, at large.

The town that he did it in is paralyzed thinking he'll come back, and I think we're going to catch this guy on Sunday night.

BURNETT: And you think you're going to catch him. When you look at this and people say, you know, when a child has been missing for a certain period of time, you almost never find them or when someone does something horrific, as what you just described, and escaped, they are almost never found. But yet, what you're saying is, but that's not true, but using this medium, the medium we have, television, that you actually can find them?

WALSH: Erin, the biggest supporter and the best tool to find people is the American public, the Canadian public, the Mexican public. You know, we caught guys on the FBI's ten most wanted for 20 years. I actually caught 17 guys off the FBI's most wanted.

I believe that the medium of television, the great reach of CNN and the public that are fans of mine, I think we're going to catch this guy and bring him to justice.

BURNETT: And let me ask you, John, about, you know, one of the cases our viewers are been hearing about, we've all been hearing a lot about and it's captured people's emotions and their heart strings because I believe the numbers are something like 40 children die a year because they are left in their car seats in hot cars, and these are all accidents. And now, there is this case in Georgia where the father is now facing murder charges for leaving his son in a hot car.

What do you make of that?

WALSH: I've been following that case and this is only my opinion, not CNN's opinion. I can't not look at this guy and say, how could you possibly not know that your son was in the back of that car? The many times he came to the car -- I just don't buy it.

I have a brand-new 1 1/2-year-old granddaughter and I can't sleep at night unless I see her, talk to her, find out where she is, a really good father doesn't leave a son in the back of the car to roast to death for an entire day. There is something horribly wrong with this story and horribly wrong with this guy.

BURNETT: And also perhaps horribly wrong with the justice system and that we keep hearing it may be impossible to prove.

WALSH: You know, I for years called it the criminal injustice system. Yes, we probably have the best criminal justice system in the world but there are so many loopholes and so many problems with the criminal justice system and D.A.'s these days are so snake bit not having a smoking gun, not having DNA or a weapon or something, that I'm finding lots of district attorneys don't have the courage to bring a case to a jury. I think this guy is going to go to trial, and I am hoping and praying that that little boy gets justice.

BURNETT: All right. Well, John Walsh, thank you for taking the time and again, I'm personally so thrilled you're with this network and fulfilling the mandate of CNN, trying to make a difference and help people. We really are glad you're here.

And "The Hunt" with John Walsh premiers this Sunday, at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific. You can catch it right here, of course, on CNN.

And we'll be right back.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT tomorrow, a Google executive dead of an heroin overdose. Police are finding a link between the Google executive and high-end prostitute. That story is out front tomorrow night.

And "ANDERSON COOPER 360" now continues the breaking news coverage of the president's comments on the crisis in the southern border.