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NEW DAY SATURDAY
President Considers "Brand New" Refugee Travel Ban; President Trump Claims Not Aware Of Flynn Report; Putin Wants To Restore U.S. Ties; U.S. Investigators Corroborate Some Aspects Of The Russia Dossier; ICE Launches New Wave of Raids in At Least Six States; Traumatic Effect of Immigration on Refugees Examined; Six England Patriots Now Avoiding White House Visit; Former Basketball Star Charles Oakley on Feud with New York Knicks. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired February 11, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you and happy Saturday. We're so grateful for your company as always. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Your NEW DAY starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: President Trump says he may issue a new executive order and a travel ban for mostly Muslim countries.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There are tremendous threats to our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about national security. It's not anti- Muslim or anti-Islam. It's anti-terrorism 100 percent.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD": Nine current and former government officials told "The Washington Post" that national security adviser, Michael Flynn, discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russia's ambassador before taking office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Credibility is the biggest thing inside of this White House.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keeping Flynn as national security adviser is not only embarrassing for this White House. I also think it is dangerous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immigration and customs enforcement maintain that they're simply focusing on identifying and removing people in the country illegally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife isn't a threat to the United States. She's a great person. You know, she's a good citizen regardless of her status.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: We have a lot that's happening politically to get to you this morning. Let's start with what is brand new after a bruising setback in court over the travel ban. President Trump says he may now sign, quote, "brand new order as early as Monday." But he's also leaving the door open to a Supreme Court challenge. The president also promising new security measures coming this week to keep Americans safe from terrorists.
PAUL: Also ahead this hour, a CNN exclusive, for the first time U.S. investigators have corroborated some of the details of that dossier compiled by a former British spy. And today, the president hosts Japanese Prime Minister Shinzu Abe at his luxury Florida resort this weekend. Security, trade, high on the agenda of their conversations.
But let's get to CNN's White House correspondent, Athena Jones, first of all in Florida. She has some of the details for us. Good morning, Athena.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. President Trump is waking up at his Mar-a-Lago Estate in Palm Beach where he's going to be spending much of the weekend with Japan's prime minister, Shinzu Abe. We expect the pair to play a round of golf at some point today.
This after that bilateral meeting and the lunch, and the press conference at the White House yesterday and then that dinner last night at Mar-a-Lago with the Trumps and the Abes.
But it was on the way here to Florida that the president made some news. He came to the back to visit the press in the press cabin, and I asked him about the immigration ban. Here's some of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The unfortunate part is we will take time statutorily. We win that battle, but we also have other options including filing a brand new order on Monday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that your plan?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Very well could be, but I like to surprise you. We need speed for reasons of security so it could very well be that we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So, you heard him there, not committing to issuing this new order, but saying it could come on Monday or Tuesday. Asked what he might change in any new executive order banning travel from certain countries, he said very little. So, a very interesting response from the president on the flight down here to Florida. Back to you, guys.
BLACKWELL: All right, Athena, thank you very much. Let's bring in Tom LoBianco, CNN political reporter, and Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News. Good morning. Errol, let me start with you. A source tells CNN that the administration will not immediately appeal this decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Is this a new strategy or is this a concession? How do you receive this decision?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, when you lose a case the way the administration did, you don't have a lot of good options. They have an option of going back to the Ninth Circuit and trying with sort of a larger panel of 11 judges.
Ten of them randomly selected plus the presiding judge and see if they can get a different outcome. That's not likely to succeed or they can run straight to the Supreme Court. There again, their chances of success doesn't look all that great.
So the notion that they could go back to scratch in effect and rewrite an executive order might be their best bet. The problem, of course, is that, some of the things that were referred to in the decision that they lost are things that will follow them.
You know, and that has to do with the statements that were made on the campaign trail about banning Muslims, the intent, the reality of what this was all about is going to sort of show itself and they're going to end up in court, no matter what. So even a revised executive order will probably land them back in court.
BLACKWELL: So, Tom, do we know why if there's going to be a new executive order on Monday or Tuesday, sometime this upcoming week, why the administration is not moving forward on that one and then withdrawing the order that was signed on the 27th?
[06:05:08]TOM LOBIANCO, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, the problem here, and you know, Errol was saying is that it admits defeat. Implicitly it admits defeat and this is a president, a White House, a brand, where you can't admit defeat.
Going back to building on what Errol was saying a little bit there, you know, if you take this to the Supreme Court, if you take it to a 4-4 Supreme Court where it's split, you don't have your nominee on the bench -- yet. They're kind of running out the clock here.
If you take it there and you lose that is terrible for them. Absolutely terrible. But the problem and the vice that they're in right now is that you can't go back to your base and say, well, we got this on, wrong.
We're going to go back and soften it a little bit because that just sounds terrible for them especially for a guy who says he doesn't get anything wrong.
BLACKWELL: Yes, the president, Errol, has said that this will happen next week. It will happen rapidly, the word he used. He also says that the country needs speed for security reasons. The complaints that we heard from Republicans in Congress was that the first order wasn't properly vetted. Do we know if this one is getting the attention, vetting, that the first one did not? LOUIS: Well, we don't know, but it's hard to imagine that you would do the proper kind of outreach. They should be talking to lawyers in the Department of Homeland Security, in the Justice Department, in the Pentagon, and in the State Department. They should be trying to figure out what universe of people would be excluded.
They should be trying to figure out what the legal response would be, not just from Washington State and Minnesota, but from other states who might want to get into the act. They should be trying to get a political read as well of where Congress stands on all of this.
All of this takes time. You don't do that over the course of a weekend. If they were to try something I think it would almost be reckless to try to put together something like that without doing all of the proper research needed to make sure that it passes legal muster.
BLACKWELL: So considering all that we heard from Congress, Errol, Tom, I'm coming back to you, is it fair to expect that we are going to see maybe a repeat of what we saw immediately after the signing of the first executive order.
I mean, is there any way to avoid the legal confusion and all of the backlash in a potential order that's coming up or is this now people are so entrenched in one or another, and that we're going to see a rush-in of filings and litigious actions after what could come next week?
LOBIANCO: Well, sure. I mean, I think if they try then you're going to end up in the same problem here. But again, you know, look, the way the language the White House has been using about this, you know, they put senior administration officials talking to us about this what they say is, OK, we're looking at our options.
They're not slamming any doors shut. This is a 180 from where they were when they rolled this thing out two weeks ago. It's possible, yes, they're talking about doing a new order now, sometime in the beginning of the week. Maybe that won't happen. Maybe that timeline gets pushed back.
To what Errol pointed out here is that, yes, if you do this and have the same problem again, it's just a disaster. There's lot of things on their plate right now. You got Obamacare that they're trying to do. You've got these town halls that are blowing up across the nation right now.
I mean, there are a lot of things that he needs to be doing if he wants a successful first 100, 200 days, whatever they're calling it now, and this becomes a massive problem.
BLACKWELL: All right, Tom, Errol, stay with us because there's a lot more to discuss this morning.
PAUL: The U.S. national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for one, is really getting some notice after the revelations now that he may have discussed sanctions with Russia, prior to President Trump taking office. We have what the president is saying about that this morning.
BLACKWELL: Plus, a CNN exclusive, for the first time U.S. investigators have corroborated some details of that dossier (inaudible) by a British former spy. Details are coming up on that.
PAUL: And Syrian refugees telling CNN, they feel targeted again, even after they were able to escape the severe violence in their own countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We don't know what will happen in the future. We realize we have hopes that we will establish a new life. Now, we're frightened we'll be stopped at this stage and cannot carry on further.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: It's 12 minutes past the hour right now. CNN has confirmed with a U.S. official that national security adviser, Michael Flynn, did speak with Russia's U.S. ambassador prior to the inauguration and that the U.S. sanctions against Russia did come up in that conversation.
What Flynn may have said about the matter, though, that is what is so a little murky right now. But FBI and intelligence agencies say there's nothing indicating Flynn made any promises or acted improperly during this call. The president declining to respond to the report saying he was unaware. The kremlin meanwhile is denying that it ever happened.
I want to bring back our panel, Tom LoBianco, CNN politics reporter, and Errol Louis, CNN political commentator. Gentlemen, let's listen here real quickly to what President Donald Trump said when he was asked about his thoughts on what has developed here overnight. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don't know about it. I haven't seen it, what report is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Washington Post" is reporting that he talked to the ambassador to Russia before you were inaugurated about sanctions.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I haven't seen that. I'll look at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: All right. Errol, do you believe that he's really unaware?
LOUIS: No. PAUL: He just he doesn't want to talk about it yet?
LOUIS: No, I don't. I think it would be more accurate to say he didn't want to talk about it. This is somebody who watches the news channels and is wired into the best information network on the planet. It's hard to imagine that something that was bursting all over CNN and "The Washington Post" and the headlines would somehow not be conveyed to the president of the United States.
Well, the larger problem, of course, that he has, he's got to have an administration that speaks with one voice. You can't have Nikki Haley, the U.N. ambassador, on the floor of the U.N. saying that sanctions will remain in place unless Russia changes its behavior in the Ukraine.
And then we find out later that perhaps the president and vice president were deliberately kept out of the loop while a high-ranking official was having some kind of back channel conversation with Russia at the same time about sanctions. That's something that he's not to not only look into, but he's going to have to straighten that out.
[06:15:04]PAUL: And, Tom, that's something that we know about Donald Trump is he appreciates and values loyalty and he in turn maybe very loyal, but now talk to me about the conflicts that maybe in front of him. Is he loyal to the vice president or loyal to Michael Flynn, depending on how this all falls together?
LOBIANCO: Well, sure. I mean, remember that, you know, Vice President Mike Pence was the one who went out there after some of these reports surfaced, you know, he was grilled by us, by others, and repeatedly said this was not an issue, and now, we find out that this did happen.
And it really kind of puts the heat on him. And to your question, of, you know, where do Trump's loyalties lie, we've been hearing behind the scenes that there has been a lot of consternation about Flynn.
That he's been -- you know, there's a lot of concern inside this White House about him and Pence is not in that position. Pence has the strong relationship there, you know, it put Pence in a bad spot.
Because, remember, this is either Pence was lying when he was talking about this or he was not told and was forced to go out there and talk about something he had not been told about. Either way, a terrible, terrible position. It's going to be fascinating to see how this shakes out.
PAUL: Let's listen to Representative Jim Hines last night when he talked to Wolf Blitzer about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE JIM HINES (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If he then went on and lied about it and put the vice president in the position knowingly of lying to CBS about it, well, then, that's beyond the pale. Look, let's face it, you know, it's not like -- this is not your Sunday night call to grandma, right?
This is a call from the next national security adviser to the Russian ambassador. My guess is, this is not a case, oh, gosh, I just forgot what came up. So look, the evidence is not all in, but if he had that conversation and if he then lied about it, of course, he needs to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Errol, how much trouble might Michael Flynn really be in here?
LOUIS: Well, it remains to be seen. This is one of the early first crises I think of this administration that is clearly an internal one. You know, there are some leaders who will when pressured the way Representative Hines was putting pressure on the White House will sort of dig in their heels and say, I make the decisions here. I won't throw anybody overboard just because my political opponents want me to.
We'll see if Donald Trump is that kind of leader or he's going to really sort of react in the way that Tom was suggesting, which is when people are cut out of the loop and are kind of left dangling and are denied important information or are lied to, sometimes, that's an unforgivable offense.
PAUL: Tom, you mentioned that this is a president that doesn't like to admit to defeat for this administration. So, this may be seen as such, if this happened and he has to let Flynn go, but if that happens, who's on deck? Who replaces Flynn?
LOBIANCO: Well, you know, you got to remember, that anytime we're talking about Russia, this is kind of the equivalent -- OK, this is kind of the equivalent of talking about e-mails with Clinton, OK? You can't -- this is the hot topic with him. It's a hot button. It's terrible. OK.
You just can't have it coming back and back again from things they thought were settled. You know, there has to be more vetting. There was a real sense inside of their team, according to our reporting, you know, here's someone who is loyal to Trump early on and Trump was loyal to him.
You know, you don't know, how do you replace him? These vetting questions are a big problem. You see this with the accountant nominees. You see this with the continued story coming out.
You know, next week, we're going to have another hearing on Labor Secretary Andy Puzder coming up, OK? A lot of questions about him coming out there. It seems like the longer you have these hanging out there, the more you have these vetting questions. So they really have to do a lot of work behind the scenes to try to forego some of these problems.
PAUL: Tom LoBianco and Errol Louis, always appreciate your insight. Gentlemen, thank you.
Despite the potential blow back from Flynn's phone call with Russia, we should point out President Vladimir Putin said he's ready to fully restore ties with the U.S. even hinting as to when his first meeting with President Donald Trump will take place.
Let's go to CNN international correspondent, Claire Sebastian, with us now. Good morning, Claire. What are you hearing?
CLAIRE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, Christi. Well, on the issue of those conversations between General Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S., we asked the kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, about this. He said that as he understands it, there were some conversations.
But as to the suggestion that President Putin decided not to respond to U.S. sanctions on Russia in late December, because of the content of these conversations, he said, the information is not correct.
But as you say, the Russia/U.S. relationship is getting a lot of attention here. And the issue of when the two presidents might meet has come up several times in the last 24 hours.
[06:20:07]First of all, in a press conference that President Putin gave with the president of Slovenia in Moscow. President Putin welcoming the suggestion from that leader that Slovenia could host the first meeting between President Trump and Putin, of course, that would make sense. For the first lady, there's some cautious optimism here in Russia about how that relationship is going to develop -- Christi.
PAUL: All right, Claire Sebastian from Moscow, thank you so much.
And a CNN exclusive, for the first time U.S. investigators have corroborated some details of the dossier compiled by a former British spy, those details are coming straight ahead to you.
BLACKWELL: Plus, is there now a new reality for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. after an Arizona mother of two is deported after this routine check-in with immigration officials. Mexico's warning for its citizens living in the U.S. that's coming up.
BLACKWELL: CNN has learned new information about the ongoing investigation into allegations raised in a collection of memos created by a former British intelligence agent, a political opponent of then Candidate Donald Trump.
CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, and justice correspondent, Evan Perez, have been working this story. Jim starts with the new details.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, for the first time U.S. investigators tell CNN they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent. CNN was first to report last month that then President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the existence of the memos prior to the inauguration. [06:25:10]Until now, U.S. officials have said that none of the content or allegations have been verified. But now, multiple current and former U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN that intelligence intercepts of foreign nationals confirmed that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier.
The corroboration based on intercepted communications have given U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, quote, "greater confidence in accountability of some aspects of the dossier," this as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.
We should be clear that CNN has not confirmed the content of the calls or whether any of the content relates to then Candidate Trump. And none of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier.
When reached for comment White House Spokesman Sean Spicer said, quote, "We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting," end quote. Spokesmen for the FBI, Department of Justice, the CIA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had no comment when reached by CNN.
The dossier details about a dozen conversations between senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals. One thing the U.S. has is a collection of foreign call intercepts and they used that information to seek to verify some of the alleged conversations as describe in the dossier.
U.S. intelligence officials emphasized that the conversations now verified were solely between foreign nationals including those or in or tied with the Russian government, but some of the individuals involved in the intercepted communications were known to the U.S. intelligence community as quote, "heavily involved in collecting information damaging to Hillary Clinton and helpful to Donald Trump" -- Christi and Victor.
PAUL: All righty, thank you so much, Jim.
Still to come for you here, fear is running high among immigrants and their families after authorities launch a wave of raids targeting people who are in the U.S. illegally.
BLACKWELL: Also, trauma for Syrian refugees in the U.S. after surviving that year-long civil war. Evidence they're suffering again from anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder as President Trump's travel ban controversy grows.
[06:31:05] PAUL: 31 minutes past the hour on this Saturday. Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to have you with us. There is growing fear and confusion for some immigrants and their families. Federal immigration authorities launched a new wave of raids arresting hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least half a dozen states this weekend.
Now, some see this - this move as an illustration of the first large- scale enforcement of President Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration.
PAUL: But immigration officials contend this is part of the agency's "routine action." Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly had this to say last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, first of all, they're not rounding anyone up. The people that ICE apprehend are people who are illegal and then some.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: About 160 undocumented immigrants were arrested in Los Angeles alone this week and agents also conducted operations in Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina.
BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, Mexico's foreign minister is warning its citizens living in the US to take precautions and stay in contact with their nearest consulate. Now, this is coming after a mother of two, living in Arizona, was deported to Mexico after a routine check in. This was two days ago.
PAUL: The move is another example of President Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration, but the mother, in this case, has no regrets. She says she did it for love. Here's CNN's Polo Sandoval.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Last time, Guadalupe Garcia walked the streets of Mexico, she was her daughter's current age. The undocumented woman was only 14 years old when she crossed the border in search of a new life. And she found it in the Phoenix area. Today, US-born Jacqueline and big brother Angel wait by their mother's side in the Mexican border town of Nogales.
JACQUELINE RAYOS-GARCIA: I always thought that I wouldn't be here because my mum's forced to be here. I always thought that you come in family as a vacation and we'd be happy and we'd be with family, you know, be like together.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): This is the first time the brother and sister have left their home state of Arizona, now having to travel to the only place they can see their mother.
ANGEL RAYOS-GARCIA: I mean, here we are in Mexico, the thing we never wanted, but we're going to keep on fighting for this case.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): That case is Garcia's controversial deportation from her home of the last 22 years. Her legal trouble started in 2008 with her arrest and conviction for using a made-up Social Security number that stamped Garcia's record with a felony.
GUADALUPE GARCIA DE RAYOS (via translator): I don't consider myself a bad person. Wanting to work to support my children does not make me a bad person.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Garcia kept up annual visits with officials until Immigration and Customs Enforcement acted on a 2013 removal order.
DE RAYOS (via translator): They didn't offer me an explanation and only told me I was being deported.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): ICE insists there was nothing special about Garcia's situation, saying, for them, it was just business as usual. Her attorney disagrees, claiming the deportation was a direct result of President Trump's immigration crackdown.
DE RAYOS (via translator): Deep down, I always knew this could happen.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): There are little to no options for Garcia except settle back into the country she left behind over two decades ago.
SANDOVAL: So, tell me what's it like, leaving a home in Phoenix and then coming here, a place that you hardly know.
DE RAYOS (via translator): Well, it's very sad. I'm sad and I feel helpless.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Although the kids will live with their father in Arizona, Angel knows life won't be the same.
RAYOS-GARCIA: Your mother will always be there for you and that's what we need. We need our mother.
[16:35] SANDOVAL (voice-over): Garcia accepts she will miss key moments in her children's lives, including her daughter's 15th birthday celebration.
DE RAYOS (via translator): We will have to wait a little longer for her sweet 15. It was her dream, but now she accepts that we just can't do it.
RAYOS-GARCIA: There's millions of deportations and we happen to be the face and I'm pretty proud of that because we're speaking up for the whole community, everyone, all the immigrants.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Being separated, it's the reality for many families amid a growing debate about President Trump's immigration policies.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, Nogales, Mexico.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: CNN has reached out to immigration and customs officials, by the way. I want to read you the response they issued to us. They say, Ms. Garcia's immigration case underwent review at multiple levels of the immigration court system including the Board of the Immigration Appeals and the judges held she did not have a legal basis to remain in the US. ICE will continue to focus on identifying and removing individuals with felony convictions who have final orders of removal issued by the nation's immigration courts.
BLACKWELL: President Trump claims to announce new national security measures next week and that could include a new executive order on immigration. The White House says it will not immediately appeal a federal court's decision blocking the president's travel ban to the Supreme Court.
Now, instead, sources tell CNN that the president is considering possible tweaks, may be explicitly stating that the ban does not apply to legal permanent residents, but as the president argues and has argued several times that the country needs swift action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel totally confident that we will have tremendous security for the people of the United States. We will be extreme-vetting. I've learned tremendous things that you could only learn, frankly, if you were in a certain position, namely President. And there are tremendous threats to our country. We will not allow that to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, stress and anxiety and depression that plague some Syrian refugees here in the US. They tell me they feel afraid because of the uncertainty over the president's travel ban.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): In Dearborn, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, many of these families call themselves the fortunate ones, blessed by God, because they escaped this.
The years-long civil war in Syria.
Now, having survived the conflict that has killed more than an estimated 400,000 civilians and completing the exhaustive process to resettle in the US, some refugees now fear they face a new threat.
TRUMP: This is the protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): President Donald Trump's executive order banning entry of most nationals from seven countries, including Syria. An appellate court has upheld a temporary hold on the travel ban, but the president promises to fight the decision.
The January 27 order applies to new entrants only, but that does nothing to quell the fears of Shaimaa Anmadni who worries that she and her family will have to return to Syria.
SHAIMAA ANMADNI, SYRIAN REFUGEE (via translator): We don't know what will happen in the future. After we arrive, we had hopes that we will establish a new life. Now we are frightened that we'll be stopped at this stage and cannot carry on further.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): She and her husband, Omar Kojan, and their four children have come to Dearborn from homes. Beyond their family's future, they say other families could face a future that's worse than deportation.
OMAR KOJAN, SYRIAN REFUGEE (via translator): Some families have been split into two parts, one that arrived and the other one that was ready to get in, but was halted, like some dads with their children and vice versa. So, this separated the families. And if this thing continues, we will end up completely separated.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Wayne State University Professor Dr. Arash Javanbakht has interviewed hundreds of Syrian refugees and is examining the invisible - psychological wounds caused by the war and the resettlement process. His research team has found that nearly half of the adult Syrian refugees they've evaluated screened positive for post-traumatic stress disorder. Javanbakht says stressors, like the uncertainty over the ban, exacerbate those challenges.
DR. ARASH JAVANBAKHT, DIRECTOR OF STRESS, TRAUMA, AND ANXIETY RESEARCH CLINIC, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY: They come in with the stress of immigration. They have the stress of poverty. They don't know how to cope with the environment. They have to learn about the culture. They don't know how much they're wanted by the environment. With the uncertainty which is going on now, they don't even know if tomorrow they will be this in country or not.
MOHAMMED AL SAUD, RESEARCH ASSISTANT AT WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY: The stress level has increased since the travel ban.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Mohammed al Saud is part of the research team.
[06:40] AL SAUD: They feel like they're not going to be treated as well or things won't live to their expectations.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Al Saud has experienced similar pain. He came to the US in 2008 as a refugee from Iraq. In fact, all of the volunteer researchers are former refugees from Iraq.
AL SAUD: Living the experience myself made me decide to do whatever is possible to help them.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Farhan Nasif is nearly brought to tears by thoughts of family members still besieged by war. FARHAN NASIF, SYRIAN REFUGEE (via translator): I've received a voicemail from my brother saying, if God willing, I will see you in the hereafter life in heaven as we won't see each other again here. These words really touched me a lot as there's no hope we see each other again here, only in heaven.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): His wife Huda Hamada says their daughters, Zena (ph), who is five, and Shahed (ph), who is ten, have suffered too.
HUDA HAMADA, SYRIAN REFUGEE (via translator): The girls had fear from the word we are returning to Syria because they lived through wartime and heard the sounds of explosions, so that left a fear in them and do not want to return to Syria.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): The researchers say the vast majority of the child refugees from Syria they've spoken with suffer from separation anxiety and more than half have developed an anxiety disorder.
AL SAUD: They don't have that sense of independence or, like, things will be fine if you're, like, just a little bit away from your parents.
JAVANBAKHT: A six-year-old Syrian kid who came here in 20 years is going to be an American adult, right? So, now, this is our questions as Americans. They have to ask themselves, do we want this kid, when they are an adult being integrated, functioning, and happy and productive American, or do we want them to be segregated, low socio- economic class, a person who sees others as the Americans and themselves as the group of refugees who came here? Integration is very important. And that's on us.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): For now, this family is focusing on settling into their new life in their new country. But as the fight over immigration and national security wages on, many still wonder if they'll be forced to pack up and look for a new place to call home.
PAUL: A constant fear for many of them and we're going to talk about that and the fact that there are advocacy groups now who are working to help these refugees. We're talking to a member of one of those groups next. Do stay close.
[06:45] PAUL: 46 minutes past the hour. And as President Trump moves forward with new security measures and a potential rewrite of his travel ban, there are refugees who are struck with serious anxiety over whether they're going to be split away from their families. I want to bring in Mona Megahed. She is Vice President of Georgians for Syrian Refugees. Thank you so much.
Born in Texas and you are part of this group that is trying to help some of the refugees that are coming into Georgia specifically. I want to read to you what researchers at Wayne State University found. They found when they talk to many of these refugees, a third of the adult refugees screened positive for PTSD, nearly half of adult refugees suffer from an anxiety disorder, half of adult refugees suffer from depression. 60% of refugee children have an anxiety disorder and 80% of refugee children suffer from separation anxiety, as we heard from Victor's piece there as well.
When you sit down and you speak with these people, Mona, what strikes you most about them?
MONA MEGAHED, VICE PRESIDENT, GEORGIANS FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES: Absolutely. I have met probably over 150 refugee families and I have had the opportunity to sit with the parents, to sit with the children, to take children to school, kind of really to spend some quality time with them. And I've definitely noticed their level of anxiety.
One child specifically, I was taking him to school and he heard an airplane and he started to cry. And I looked at him and I said what's wrong and he said it's a missile, it's a missile. And I said, it's just an airplane, it's OK.
So, there's definitely fear and angst. As part of a community, we try to help them transition through that and get through that.
PAUL: What do they need most through that transition? Because they don't know the language many times, do they have a hard time getting a job? Do they have a hard time being accepted?
MEGAHED: Absolutely. So, many people don't know this, but when families come in, they come in through a refugee resettlement agency that will help acclimate them for the initial three to four months. Acclimate them in terms of getting them an apartment with basic furniture, getting a medical insurance, dental insurance, putting them into the public school system, helping them find a job.
But after that, they're sort of on their own. So, three months really isn't enough time to learn the language, to beef up your resume, to really, you know, even get a driver's license sometimes.
PAUL: So, how do you - how does your group help them beyond that time period?
MEGAHED: Sure. So, we supplement what the refugee resettlement agency does. We help, you know, increase whatever they're getting in terms of furniture, in terms of kitchen utensils and things like that that they don't really get initially.
And then we provide civic awareness. We provide resume workshops, job training, we help mentor them, we help be advocates for their children at the schools. A lot of times these kids are bullied in school. They're the odd man out. So, we kind of step in and help them. We help teach them how to drive and take them through their driving lessons and really kind of help them beyond.
PAUL: There's one community here in Georgia, Clarkston, where the mayor there has likened it to the Ellis Island of the south because there are so many refugees there that they're a big part of the economy there and had been there for a long time. And the city council residents say they want President Trump to come to Clarkston. What do they want him to see?
MEGAHED: I think they really want him to see the diversity of Clarkston. Clarkston is what I call a resettlement hub. I haven't seen anything like it and I've lived pretty much across the United States.
You have refugees from Somalia, from Iraq, from Syria, just everywhere, and they're all there and they all are friends and they understand that living here is going to take effort and is not going to come easy, but they're willing to try because they want to lead a very successful, comfortable life here in the United States.
PAUL: Do they understand the fear that exists among many Americans when it comes to refugees and terrorism?
[06:50] MEGAHED: I think not really. You know, a lot of them say we are fleeing war. We're not here on vacation. You know, my children are suffering long-term consequences because of the war that we haven't chosen. So, it wasn't our choice to come to the United States.
And if you ask them, unanimously, they will say, as soon as the war in Syria stops, we will return back to Syria. That was their home. One family likened it to heaven on earth. They lived very comfortable lives there. So, to be forced to flee, it's not easy.
PAUL: Real quickly, if you could sit down with President Trump, what would you want him to say? What would they want him to hear?
MEGAHED: I think they would want him to really understand what they've been through, what they're going through, the fact that they are not terrorists, that they just want to be successful and have good lives for their children and just make something of their lives.
PAUL: All right. Mona Megahed, we appreciate it so much for being here.
MEGAHED: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you. Victor?
BLACKWELL: All right. Changing gears now, the list of New England Patriots avoiding a White House visit, that list is growing now. Andy Scholes has details for us. Andy?
ANDY SCHOLES, HOST, CNN BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, Victor. A formal invitation hasn't even been extended to the Patriots yet, however, six players already say they won't go. We'll tell you who, coming up in this morning's Bleacher Report.
[06:55] PAUL: Well, former basketball star Charles Oakley says he plans to talk about his feud with the New York Knicks.
BLACKWELL: Andy Scholes is here. There is a lot going on.
SCHOLES: Man, this is such an odd situation. Charles Oakley, he's been a favorite of Knicks fans since the team's glory days in the 90s, but now he's no longer welcome at Madison Square Garden. The 53-year- old has been banned from the arena after an altercation in the stands during Wednesday night's game. Oakley was ejected and later charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of trespassing. Oakley said he was just at the game, minding his own business and did nothing to deserve getting kicked out.
The Knicks later released a statement saying, everything Oakley told the media was pure fiction. Owner James Dolan addressed the incident in a radio interview yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES DOLAN, OWNER, NEW YORK KNICKS: It's very clear to us, right, that Charles Oakley came to the Garden with an agenda, right, with a mission in mind. And from the moment he stepped into the Garden - and I mean the moment he walked through the first set of doors - he began with this behavior, abusive behavior, disrespectful behavior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: Oakley tweeted thanking all the people who have given him support on social media and he also says he's gotten so many media inquiries, he's going to hold a press conference next week to talk about all this.
PAUL: All right. How about the list of Patriots players that say I'm not going to the White House?
SCHOLES: Yes. List is growing. It's now up to six Patriots players who say they will not celebrate the team's Super Bowl win at the White House. Defensive tackle Alan Branch becoming the latest player to say he will not go. He joins Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Long and Dont'a Hightower.
Now, it is worth noting Tom Brady did skip the White House visit back in 2015. White Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president looking forward to hosting the Patriots although a date has not yet been set for that visit, guys.
But it is also worth noting that players do skip White House visits all the time. However, Martellus Bennett is on record of saying he's not going because of President Trump.
PAUL: All right. Andy, thank you.
SCHOLES: All right.
BLACKWELL: We'll be right back. Next hour starts in a moment.