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Green Card Holders of 7 Nations Impacted by Trump Ban; Legal Challenges Filed Against Trump's Muslim Ban; Jarrod Nadler, Nydia Velazquez Speak Out on Muslim Ban; Mike Pence Previously Against Muslim Bans; New Orleans Fights Trump on Sanctuary Cities; What People Along the U.S./Mexican Border Think of Trump's Wall. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 28, 2017 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: An Iraqi man released after being held at New York's JFK Airport earlier today. Listen


HAMEED DERWEESH, IRAQI NATIONAL DETAINED: The greatest nation, the greatest people in the world. A special immigration visa on my passport with my family because I work with the U.S. government. I support the U.S. government on the other side of the world. But when I came here, they said, nope. They kick me out as if I break the rules or do something wrong. I'm surprised really.



HARLOW: That was Hameed Derweesh, who worked as an interpreter for the U.S. government during the Iraq war.

The New York Congressman Jarrod Nadler said 11 others are detained at this hour at JFK.

This travel ban affects seven Muslim majority nations. It stops admission of all refugees to the United States temporarily for four months. Confusion and chaos rippling through law enforcement agencies, airports and international cities as people try to wrap their head around what this all means.

this comes amid a world of diplomacy for President Trump. He just wrapped up phone calls with five world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

We have all of this covered this hour.

I want to begin with Rachel Crane, at New York's JFK Airport.

Rachel, first, let's begin with the Iraqi man who worked for the U.S. military as an interpreter, just being released after being detained for a number of hours. Do we know why he was released, on what grounds?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, to begin with, Darweesh was released, as you just heard. He was praising America, saying Americans were the best people in the world.

Now, it's unclear why Darweesh was held and detained here. He was traveling with three children and his wife and they were not detained. That just highlighted how random the executive order was and the application of it. His family was not detained, but only him.

Now a source close to the case indicated to CNN that there is a provision for the State and Department of Homeland Security to make exemptions for certain people.

But listen to what Darweesh had to say about the ordeal.


DARWEESH: I just went through the terminal and give my passport that I gave from the U.S. embassy all the documents and say, don't open it. They give it to the officer, and then ask me to move in a different room and say -- actually, they don't say anything, but they keep me there until those people come to support me.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You stay in the same room the whole time?

DARWEESH: Yeah, for about two days. They move me to other room but I sit on chair. I didn't sleep.


CRANE: Now, Poppy, when asked what his message to Donald Trump was, Darweesh said he liked the man but is confused about this policy.

Any minute, a press conference will be held where hopefully we'll have an update about the remaining detainees at JFK -- Poppy?

HARLOW: I know a lawsuit has been filed by attorneys representing them, arguing basically this ban is unconstitutional, citing the establishment cause and the Fifth Amendment. What do we know about the lawsuit and where it stands?

CRANE: The lawsuit was filed today. And one of the plaintiffs is still being detained here at JFK. We know that he was granted a visa refugee status and his wife and child had been in the U.S. for about two years, also granted refugee status. That Iraqi man had gone under on the exhaustive process of applying for refugee status.

And earlier today, we got a chance to speak with Congressman Nadler and he indicated that the 11 -- I'm sorry -- 10 of the other detainees did not have legal representation -- Poppy?

HARLOW: Rachel, thank you very much.

Other questions about what this means for people holding green cards. Some sources telling CNN that the president's executive action on immigration and refugees could affect those who already hold green cards. Also, possibly, and specifically those from the seven countries highlighted there, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. Ryan Nobles joining us from the White House for more clarity on this.

So, what we're hearing, Ryan, is that this is a case by case basis. Right? This isn't all green card holders from the seven countries. They're going to take this one by one, is that correct?

[15:05:00] RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's the way the administration is describing it, but there's a bit of confusion.

So, let's try to hash this out the best we can. If you hold a green card, an active green card that makes you a permanent legal resident of the United States but come from one of the seven countries that the administration designated as possible hot beds of terrorism, then you must go through a process, you must submit a waiver before you can return to the United States. Essentially, if you go to the airport and try to buy a plane ticket, you'll be denied at that point, and have to go through a process, and no telling how long or short that process will be. It's not officially been revealed exactly how the Department of Homeland Security will handle these waivers.

And it's also important to point out, Poppy, if you are a green card holder, you've already gone through a lengthy vetting process by the United States government that allowed you to obtain that important document. It's unclear right now exactly what the next steps will be for these green card holders. At the very least, this could impact tens of thousands of people who, for the most part, are American residents, even though not necessarily citizens from the United States. And there are administration sources telling CNN, who happen to be a co-holder from one of the countries that are impacted, their advice to you in terms of travel is to stay here in the United States -- Poppy?

HARLOW: We know that tech companies, a number of big tech companies, including Google, have told their employees in the last 24 hours, do not travel out of the United States if there is any chance that this could affect you. So, there's a lot of questions, certainly, through corporate America right now as well.

Ryan Nobles, at the White House, thank you for that.

When you look at the specific travel bans, in Iran, the response is, they are slapping their own ban on the United States, saying, no U.S. citizens allowed to enter Iran, they say, for as long as President Trump's order is in effect.

Our Ben Wedeman joining me now from Istanbul, Turkey.

Ben, a lot to get to here. I thought it was interesting that Iran and its response said that this will only embolden extremists and their supporters.

BED WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that came in a foreign ministry statement out of Tehran. They said, among other things, that this is an obvious insult to the Islamic world and in particular, the great nation of Iran. That according to the statement from the foreign ministry. And it's not just Iran that is considering these measures. We've

heard members of the Iraqi parliament suggesting that Iraq take the same sort of measures. And that's particularly problematic when you consider that there are more than 5,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq supporting that country's effort to destroy ISIS.

So, when you speak to a variety of people, I've been in touch, for instance, with a former member of U.S. Special Forces who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He says when this sort of message goes out, it puts the lives of U.S. military personnel in danger -- Poppy?

HARLOW: I think it's very important to note for viewers, of the seven countries -- and let's hold them back on the screen -- and what this ban extends to, this four-month ban on any refugees, this does not include any of the countries where the 9/11 terrorists were from, most from Saudi Arabia non-included. Egypt is non-included. And Lebanon is not included.

WEDEMAN: It's important to keep in mind, particularly when you consider the man who participated in the San Bernardino attack, who left 14 U.S. citizens dead, he originally came from Pakistan. His wife was Pakistani, entered the country not as a refugee but on the fiance visa program.

But yes, look at Saudi Arabia. 16 of the 19 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. Ad most who know the Middle East will tell you that the ideology that inspires al Qaeda and ISIS originates in Saudi Arabia. But reasons that have not become clear, Saudi Arabia, nor Pakistan is on this list of seven predominantly Muslim nations listed in the executive order -- Poppy?

HARLOW: You're in Istanbul, Turkey. And for the better part of two years, Istanbul, Turkey, in general, has become increasingly unstable. President Erdogan is fighting back against the coup attempt. What are people saying today in Istanbul about concerns that perhaps Turkey may be at it?

[15:10:11] WEDEMAN: Nobody is particularly concerned that Turkey will be added. Let's not forget that Turkey is a member of the NATO alliance, that there is a U.S. military basis.

But people, on a gut level, look at this ban and, even though it's seven countries, more than one million pop and most Muslim affected by the ban so we are offended. And the Turkish prime minister and the British prime minister asked pointed questions from reporters about this ban, and both Theresa May and the Turkish prime minister avoided the questions because, obviously, relations with the United States at the minute are sensitive so they try to stay away from it. But at street level, widespread revulsion at this decision by the United States -- Poppy?

HARLOW: And I should know, Ben, but as someone who has covered all of the years, your take on what Donald Trump said when asked by a reporter about whether Christians would be given priority in terms of refugees trying to come into this country? WEDEMAN: Certainly, Christians have been victims of ISIS, victims of

oppression, victims of a rising sentiment of Islamic fundamentalism that they pay a price for. But if you look at the actual numbers, the number of Christians admitted to the United States as refugees is more or less reflective of their proportion of the population. It is not true that it is impossible for Christians to enter the country, the United States, as refugees. It's just as difficult for them as it is for Muslims as well to get in. And when the president differentiates between Muslims and Christians, this causes a certain amount of resentment among the Muslim majorities. It's another problematic issue where a very simplistic solution is being applied to a very complicated problem -- Poppy?

HARLOW: Ben Wedeman live for us in Istanbul. Ben, thank you so much for the report.

We have a lot ahead this hour. Much more on our breaking news. You'll hear from a refugee family who just arrived in the United States. Now they fear they'll have to return to war-torn Syria.

And later, Ed Lavandera brings us an extraordinary in-depth series about the wall.

Hi, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, we're taking a nearly two- dozen-mile journey along the southern border with Mexico, from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California. Join us as we capture the snapshots and the voices of the people who called the borderland home.

HARLOW: It is an incredible series. You'll see all right here over the next three hours.

Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:16:49] HARLOW: Right now, President Trump's travel ban for 7 Muslim majority nations is sending shock waves across airports and international cities. A few hours ago, an Iraqi man who worked for the U.S. government, the military, specifically, for a decade was detained at New York's JFK Airport. He was recently released. New York Congressman Jerrod Nadler said 11 others are still being held there.

And a lawsuit has been filed challenging the president's ban which holds immigration from the seven Muslim-majority nations -- you see them on the screen -- and completely halts the refugee program.

Let's talk it out with our panel, Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court reporter; Josh Rogin, of "The Washington Post," the columnist there; Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter for "The Daily Beast"; and CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, Alice Stewart, formerly Ted Cruz's communications director.

Great to be with you.


Ariane, if you could begin, and go through this lawsuit. This is the first real legal challenge that the president on his executive order. Explain what's the argument is here. Are they saying it's unconstitutional because of the establishment clause, the Fifth Amendment? What's the argument?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REOPRTER: There are several due process claims. But one of the big claims is discrimination based on religion. And what the president could come back and say here is, look, when it comes to immigration, I have broad authority. But other people might come back and say, look, in this case, you've gone too far.

But what is most interesting about this lawsuit is it provides this road map for one man's journey, his legal journey. Hameed Darweesh, several years ago, worked as a contractor the U.S. government. He began to feel retaliation and wanted to apply for one of these visas. He went through a three-year process to do it, and that included meeting with somebody at the mission. He gets the visa. He gets on an airplane and lands last night, and when he gets there, he's told, look, you can't come in. His lawyers were waiting. They went to customs and said, why aren't you letting him in? And the response was talk to Mr. Trump. So, this is the start of many lawsuits we might see coming down the road. He's now been released but there are others in the pipeline.

HARLOW: Alice, to you, and something our Ben Wedeman was just talking about, the fact that, you know, none of the 9/11 hijackers, from the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, and most from Saudi Arabia, are not included on this travel ban. None of the countries are included. And when you look at the most recent attacks in France, for example, "Charlie Hebdo," you had three French nationals of Algeria descent, and Paris attacks over a year ago, mainly French and Belgian nationals of Moroccan descent. None of those countries are part of this travel ban. Why is that?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I certainly trust our national security officials that did picked the seven nations that are affected here, specifically, Syria and Iraq, which are ISIS strongholds, and that is the reason they picked these nations. And the vetting process clearly didn't meet the standards necessary to execute this.

I think it's important to go back to the origin of the executive order. It is to protect all Americans from foreign nationals who intend to come to this country to carry out terrorist acts. And, look, our country, our national security agencies must be right 100 percent of the time. Terrorists only need to be correct one time.


[15:20:31] STEWART: I think this is an important step, but it's necessary to be done. And, look, there's going to be hiccups with any kind of major rollout

like this. I remind you,, Obama administration had months and millions of dollars to execute that and they failed.

I think what we're seeing now is unfortunate, and clearly frustrating for those who are detained at the airport. But I do understand the proper procedures are in place to smooth things out in order to execute this executive order in a more smooth way.

HARLOW: But, Alice, I want to pull up these two pictures. You can look. These are two little boys, two victims of the civil war in Syria, as you know. This boy washed up dead on the beach after his family tried to flee. This boy's family's home bombed in Aleppo. He survived. Some of his family members died. These are also people who will not be allowed refuge in the United States.

And this executive order does not create a safe zone within Syria for them to go, something that President Trump said when he was campaigning and then it's not there. It affects these people as well.

STEWART: And those images are chilling and heartbreaking, and no one can look at those pictures and not be devastated by them. But, look, Donald Trump made it clear while he was campaigning, and since he's been president, that his number-one priority is the safety and security for Americans. And this executive order is to do just that, to protect Americans here in our country from those who intend to come here and do harm.

HARLOW: However, Alice, he could have written in there a clause allowing, say, mothers and their children to come, and their infants to come. Would you have liked to see that?

STEWART: Look, look at what we have in San Bernardino. This is one of the key people involved in that that was a female --




STEWART: -- every single rule. And it's important to put down a firm line. This was certainly a bold move and there's going to be changes to it.


HARLOW: Except, Alice --

STEWART: So it's important to take a bold step.

HARLOW: Except, Alice, that's just not factual. The male attacker in San Bernardino was born in Illinois to Pakistani parents, and Tashfeen Malik was born in Pakistan, moved to Saudi Arabia, and came to the U.S. So, that's not a comparison. That's not factual to say, look at what happened in San Bernardino. STEWART: My point is that, certainly our hearts go out to everyone

that's a Syrian refugee and needs to come here, but we can't just look at women and children as across-the-board innocent in this. because some have played a role, specifically women, in some of these acts. So, I think it's important to have a firm line in the sand and that's exactly what's happening here.

HARLOW: We're going to take a quick break. We'll be back with my panel in just a moment.


[15:27:10] HARLOW: All right. My panel is back with me as we continue to discuss the breaking news.

We're also waiting for a statement from some lawmakers at JFK Airport.

Josh Rogin, let's go to the point about the fact that not contained in this executive order are safe zones in Syria. Do we know why? The president talked about this campaigning.

ROGIN: It was one of his campaign promises. We're told there were objections from national security officials within the Trump administration because of the requirements and sources it would take from the U.S. military in order to implement the safe zones. I think they're still working on it. Let's see what happens down the road.

But I also want to address the point about which countries were and were not included in the list. Let's remember that the total number of terrorist attacks carried out in America from these countries is zero. Zero. In addition to the ones you mentioned, there was the Christmas Day bomber from Nigeria, the Orlando bomber from Afghani descent, and the San Bernardino bomber who was Pakistan, and the Times Square from Pakistan. The arbitrary nature of choosing these countries is a huge problem.

And I recall Theresa May speaking to the Republican conference in Philadelphia, and what she said was not only combat terrorism militarily but the ideology of terrorism, and the way to do that is by not giving in to the narrative that U.S. isn't at war with a religion, and that was a viewed shared by George W. Bush. That's been eroded today.

HARLOW: Guys, stand by, if you would.

I want to go to JFK Airport in New York. Democratic Congressman Jerrod Nadler, speaking, and Democratic Congressman Nydia Velazquez. Let's listen.

REP. JERROD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: I want to make two major point. First, the executive order signed by President Trump is discriminatory, on religion, and, frankly, quite disgusting. It is also counterproductive. The expressed intent to protect the United States against terrorists.

But the fact of the matter is not a single terrorist incident since before 9/11 has been caused by anyone from the seven countries that the president named. By contrast, a country like Saudi Arabia, which produced most of the attackers on September 11th, is not covered by this order.

Secondly, the refugees who have valid visas, the president said he wants extreme vetting. We've been doing extreme vetting for years. For years, we've been doing vetting. All of these refugees have been and the records looked into for an average of two years, two years, by American authorities.

[15:30:00] The person who was held and released this morning, finally, released this morning, Hameed Darweesh, who was detained overnight was a marked man in Iraq because he served as interpreter and worked with American troops. He helped the U.S. Army for years. He's not a potential terrorist.

So, it's counterproductive, ridiculous, and discriminates on the basis of religion. Christians from these countries are allowed in. Only Muslims are not. And that goes against our tradition, from George Washington onward, and it doesn't help protect the United States.

The second point is that the application of this, in dealing with the people we have here today, is particularly ridiculous. Even if you said that you wanted to keep people from certain countries out of the United States, once you have vetted certain people, once the American staff people, the State Department people, the military people have looked at a given individual and said, this person is no threat, they've looked at him for two years and given him a valid visa and then, while in the air, this executive order comes out. He should be permitted to enter the country. People would not be permitted to get on a plane, but people in the air should not be taken to custody in this country. That makes no sense at all. Because, after all, the timing of the order with the one day earlier, one day later, is entirely based on happenstance. And people have been coming into this country from these countries, and one more day for people who got valid visas would make no difference at all.

So, a wooden application makes no sense and an unconstitutional and disgusting application on the basis of religious discrimination violates every tradition of this country and we're here to say they should stop and should be revoked.



I'm Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and I represent the 7th congressional district, that has a lot of working families, a lot of immigrant families.

Mr. President, look at us. This is America. What you have done is shameful. It's un-American. And it's created so much confusion, not only among working families and families in America, but also, it's creating confusion with the people that are working in homeland security. This executive order is arbitrary. It doesn't provide real guidelines. And it's unjust. Here we have refugees who were granted legal visas to enter this country and yet, they have been detained illegally. That is the argument that Jerrod and I and the refugees project is making. I am begging you to go and reverse it. It is ill advised. It's mean spirited. It's tearing families apart. And that is not who we are. It will undermine the cooperation and collaboration that we need from Muslim countries to fight terrorism. It is wrong. And we will fight it today and every single day.

HARLOW: You heard from two Democratic representatives at JFK Airport.

Let me go back to my panel.

Betsy, I'd like your reaction to this. Back in 2015, now Vice President Pence, then the governor of Indiana, tweeted this, "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States are offensive and unconstitutional." He also tweeted, "Our Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion, the U.S. cannot discriminate on the basis of religion."

Does this put the administration on a complicated and not united front on this?

BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICS REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Without a doubt. Pence and his allies, including congressional Republicans, argue this executive order isn't technically a Muslim ban. They point out that many other majority countries, like Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia --

ROGIN: Turkey.

HARLOW: Right.

WOODRUFF: -- are not included. They argue that that means everything works together. Of course, we can expect critics to bring up this tweet and this sentiment that Pence shares to make the case that, look, if you're banning people from the majority Muslim countries but carve out refugees who aren't Muslim, that in practice is what a Muslim ban looks like. And Pence made such a strong statement that sounded very principled so recently, without a doubt, it undermines the administration's rhetoric on this. A lot of tweets will come back to haunt Vice President Pence.

[15:35:27] HARLOW: Alice, final word to you. For those who call this basically a ban on Muslims or a religious test that's cloaked as something else, you say?

STEWART: That's absolutely not factually correct. This is not about religion. There's no religious test to get into this country as a result of this executive order. And that's completely missing the point. It gives the lawyers an argument to -- a legal leg to stand on, but that does not, any aspect of this executive order.

And I go back once again to the primary focus of this executive action is to protect all American from terrorists that try to come in this country and do us harm. That's the goal, the focus, and that is the underlying message of what this is about. And the countries picked - yes, Joshua is correct -- none of the terrorist acts -- people who came in to carried out terrorist acts have come from these countries, but I trust our national security experts as to why they picked these seven countries, based on where ISIS currently is. And we also have to remember ISIS has grown significantly due to the fact that the Obama administration failed to stand firm on the red line in Syria, and that's caused the growth of ISIS. So, I think the Democrats have to take some of the blame for the growth of this problem in the first place.

HARLOW: Thank you all. We appreciate it, Ariane, Alice, Betsy and Josh.

Still to come, the major of New Orleans will join me live. He says the police in New Orleans will not be part of the president's, quote, "deportation force." We're talking about sanctuary cities. Mayor Mitch Landrieu joins me next.

You're Live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:40:15] HARLOW: Welcome back. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Poppy Harlow.

As we continue to follow the breaking news, let's get to another executive order signed on Wednesday. President Trump signed an order to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

New Orleans is such a city, but it's mayor, Mitch Landrieu, said that the city complies with all federal lay and is not in danger of losing any money.

And just to give you a sense of what this means, this is a city where the local law enforcement doesn't necessarily report or turn over undocumented people in this city to ICE or immigration officials.

In a strongly worded statement, the mayor said, "The NOPD will not meet the deportation force and live from New Orleans."

Mayor Landrieu joins us now.

Good to have you on.

MITCH LANDREIU, (D), NEW ORLEANS LAW: Poppy, thanks for having me.

HARLOW: As you know, this could cost the city of New Orleans heavily when it comes to federal funding. Being told, you said we're not going to comply with this. You believe you're in line with the law. Why do you think this isn't going to cost the city any federal funds?

LANDRIEU: Let me make a couple of general comments about the executive orders the president signed in the last couple of days.

First of all, mayors across America understand the first priority is to keep America safe. From looking at the occurrences recently in Boston, New York, San Bernardino, it's actually local law enforcement that are the tip of the spear in the fight against terrorism to protect national security and public safety. We understand our jobs. And the mayors and police chiefs of America along with the U.S. Conference of Bishops looked at both of these executive orders and concluded that they are un-American and, in some instances, arguably, unchristian. And are not going to keep us safe.

We need communion with the people who we're responsible to take care of, and if you turn local police departments to the de facto ICE agents for the United States of America, we'll push people back in the shadows and not have the cooperation we need and not able to keep the streets of America safe. The mayors presented a plan to the president of the United States about how to keep the streets of America safe and we look forward to talking with them how to do it.

The city of New Orleans right now is in compliance with all federal laws and regulations. If we take somebody off the street with respect to committing a violent crime and going to jail and get deported, that's really not the issue on the table. The issue on the table is whether or not our police departments are asked to be part of the ICE deportation force to separate families. And I think most of us understand and the police chiefs in America know that's not going to make America safer but hurt us.

HARLOW: Have you gotten any response from the president or anyone at the White House to basically your defiance of this executive order?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, the executive order is unconstitutional for a number of different reasons. Number one, there is no definition in federal law what a sanctuary city is. That's going to surprise Americans, but there's no definition in the law of what it is.

And secondly, the federal law is fairly clear, based on the interpretations of the Supreme Court, that you cannot compel cities do things under threats of losing funds.

Thirdly, this doesn't seem to make sure. We want to help you make the city safer, Mayors, but the one way to punish you is to take funds away from Homeland Security and the police department that are charged with making the city safe.


HARLOW: As you know, Mayor, it's a way to compel you.

LANDRIEU: I understand that -- I understand that, but you don't throw the baby out with the bath water. I suggest to the president and the vice president, look at our secure America plan, which calls for the hiring of 50,000 police officers trained in community policing, supporting funding for the DEA, ATF, FBI and U.S. Marshals and U.S. attorneys, to give the attorney general direct action to take cases against individuals with gun crimes, and then invest in domestic violence and substance abuse programs as well as early childhood education. We did this some time ago in this country and we reduced crime rate by half. We can do that again with smart policies that are also tough. But we ought to maintain our values, our Judeo-Christian values and also our American values as American continues to shine the light of freedom across America and the world. HARLOW: Mayor, I understand that you believe -- and I'm sure your

attorneys in the city there have checked this out -- and they maintain that the cities in compliance with federal law, as you see it. However, if the administration does follow through and does pull federal funding from the city of New Orleans, which, as you noted, helps support your police department, helps support you in the case of a natural disaster, will you stand your ground? Will you maintain the city's status as a sanctuary city?

LANDRIEU: First of all, again, as I said, there is no definition of a sanctuary city. And second of all --


HARLOW: Will you maintain your practice?

[15:45:12] LANDRIEU: Let me -- let me finish, if I might.

We are practicing the law that has been directed to us by a federal judge. We cannot be out of compliance with federal legal law because we're following a federal court order. The president's executive order doesn't trump a federal judge's order, not in anybody's imagination. We're feel like we're in compliance and we're going to continue to be.

And I want to stress this to the people of America. The mayors of America are interested in making sure that violent criminals, irrespective of the immigration status, are taken off the streets of the city. And we do cooperate with them on those matters and will continue to do so.

It's when you get into trying to separate families and destroy neighborhoods and hurt the economy and, basically, make the cities more insecure than they already are, that we'll say, listen, we've got to find a better way to do this. Work with us. We want to work with you.

# Mayor Mitch Landrieu, I appreciate it. I'll be in your beautiful city in just about two weeks. Thank you very much.

LANDRIEU: Oh, that's great. Hope you have a great time.

HARLOW: See you there. Thank you.

HARLOW: Straight ahead for us, it's an issue at the center of President Trump's agenda, what people living along the border between the United States and Mexico are saying about his plans for a wall. A special three-part series begins next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[14:50:05] HARLOW: Our CNN national correspondent, Ed Lavandera, has spent the last two months traveling the length of the United States border with Mexico. And as President Donald Trump rounds out his first week in office, border issues, not surprisingly, are at the center of his agenda.

Over the next three hours, you'll see an extraordinary in-depth series, one that captures snapshots of life and the voices of the people who call the borderlands home.

Part one takes us to Texas. That state spans 1,250 miles of border with Mexico, more than any state. And for Texans the issue of immigration is far from simple.

Here's our Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This journey across the U.S./Mexico border begins in south Texas where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico. And on a rugged ride in an all-terrain vehicle with Robert Cameron, who runs an ATV border tour business, in the small town of Progresso.

(voice-over): Do you think people have that impression of the border? A scary, dangerous place.

ROGERT CAMERON, MANAGER, ATV BORDER TOUR BUSINESS: Oh. Scary, dangerous place, absolutely. Not as bad as people make it seem to be.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Cameron was born in Mexico. Is now a U.S. citizen. Was a long-time Democrat until Donald Trump came along, and made him a Republican.

Living and working on the border reveals a blurry reality. Cameron fully supports the idea of Trump's border wall. But every day, he sees the holes in that plan.

(on camera): This is part of the border wall that already exists, right?

CAMERON: Exactly. Exactly. This is put back in 2006 by George Bush. It's been around for a while.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): A few months ago, while riding along the Rio Grande, he recorded this video of what appeared to be smugglers with packs. It's the kind of story countless people along the border can share.

But this is an area where a border fence is already in place. Yet drugs and human smuggling keep coming.

CAMERON: It hasn't stopped them. No, absolutely not.

You got this wall all the way around that the eye can see all the way over there.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): It keeps going.

CAMERON: It keeps going. And then it's like -- they start here. I don't know. I'm sure there's a reason. Wouldn't you think? They ran out of money?

LAVANDERA: This is the landscape in the Big Bend area of Texas. That's the challenge, how in the world do you build a wall in this kind of terrain?

(voice-over): Marco Sparedes (ph) lives in Terlingua (ph), a far- flung outpost in the Big Bend region of west Texas. He's a former Big Bend Park ranger who now takes visitors on aerial tours of some of the most beautiful landscapes you'll ever see.

MARCO SPAREDES (ph), FORMER BIG BEND PARK RANGER & AERIAL TOUR GUIDE: I want to know in all of this, where do you put a wall?

LAVANDERA (on camera): Do you think if Donald Trump flew with you, he would still want to build a wall?

SPAREDES (ph): I want to you tell Donald Trump we already have a wall. Thank you very much. And I don't think he could build a bigger one.

LAVANDERA: This is some of the most rugged terrain you'll find along the southern border. Hard to imagine that anyone would try to cross illegally through here. Simply too treacherous.

(voice-over): The Big Bend region stretches 250 miles along the Rio Grande, a place far past the middle of nowhere.

On a canoe trip down the Rio Grande, it's so quiet, you can hear the wind flutter past coasting birds.

Every night, 88-year-old Pamela Taylor, out of compassion, leaves bottled water outside her home for migrants moving north and the Border Patrol agents chasing them.

She's lived in this house in Brownsville, Texas, a stone's throw from the border, since 1946. When the border fence was built nearly 10 years ago, north of the river, she found herself on the south side, between the wall and Mexico.

(on camera): You're a little bit of no-man's land here.

PAMELA TAYLOR, LIVES AT U.S./MEXICO BORDER: My son-in-law says we live in a gated community.


You have to laugh about it.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Taylor voted for Trump and wants to see illegal immigration controlled. She once found an undocumented migrant hiding from Border Patrol agents in her living room.

But she warns the rest of the country that a wall won't work.

TAYLOR: That wall is not going to stop them. If it's 20 feet high, they're going to get a 21-foot ladder. LAVANDERA: Donald Trump wants to build a bigger, more powerful wall.

TAYLOR: I would like for Mr. Trump -- I will feed him if he will come down here and talk to the people.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Until then, life on the border will keep passing by Pamela Taylor's front porch. And it might even stop for a quick drink.

(on camera): What you hear repeatedly from people along the Texas/Mexico border is that the idea of a wall plays better in Ohio and Michigan than it does in the borderland communities. They say they've seen it up close and personal for the last 10 years and they're not that impressed. It hasn't stopped the flow of illegal immigration and illegal drugs. So, all of that continues.

Border Patrol agents will tell you they've seen the wall be rather effective in the last 10 year. But human rights activists say it's pushed migrants out into more dangerous and deadly areas out in the deserts in the most remote areas of the southern border -- Poppy?


[15:55:26] HARLOW: Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.

Next hour, Ed's journey takes us to Arizona where renegade groups are taking matters into their own hands.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


HARLOW: Top of the hour, 4:00 eastern. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Poppy Harlow, in New York.

At any moment, President Trump will sign three new executive actions.

Also, right now, we're seeing the impact, firsthand, of an executive order that he has already signed. It bars entry into the United States for people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Those are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. At this hour, some are being detained. Lawsuits have been filed.

And a short time ago, we heard from an Iraqi man who had been just released after being held at New York's JFK Airport. He worked for the U.S. government for 10 years and served as an interpreter for American soldiers in Iraq. Listen.


HAMEED DARWEESH, IRAQI NATIONAL DETAINED: America is the greatest nation, the greatest people in the world. I have a special immigration visa on my passport, me and my family, because I work with the U.S. government. I support the U.S. government on the other side of the world.