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White House Working on "Tighter" Travel Ban; Documenting the Destruction of the City of Aleppo; A World Apart. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired February 22, 2017 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:20] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, President Trump wants to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. What exactly is the plan

and is it even possible?

Former Homeland Security official Marco Lopez joins us from Washington.

Also ahead, on the eve of yet more Syria peace talks, a new report presents compelling evidence that Russia and Syria deliberately targeted hospitals

in Aleppo.

And continuing our special report from the refugee camps in Jordan, my own teenage son, Darius, meet inspiring Syrian his own age.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The price of success is hard work. (INAUDIBLE), whether we win or lose, the most important thing is that we have applied

ourselves to this task.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

11 million, that's the best estimate for the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, and now President Trump wants them out.

It's what he promised in his campaign and he has task his Homeland Security Chief John Kelly to carry it out. A memo issued to start instructs them to

massively step up enforcement of U.S. immigration law.

Here's what they want to do.

Expand detention capabilities and capacities at or near the border with Mexico to the greatest extent practicable.

Empower local police officers to perform a function of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension or detention of

aliens in the United States.

And hire 10,000 more immigration officers and 5,000 more border patrol agents expeditiously.

Incidentally, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said just two week's ago that he didn't think this was feasible.


JOHN KELLY, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We've made this mistake in the military more than once going back to certainly the Vietnam War.

But we will not lower standards and we will not lower training so that people like --and I don't believe we're going to get 10,000 and 5,000 on

board within the next couple of years.


AMANPOUR: And more than two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have been in the U.S. for at least a decade. So is the enormous task of rounding up

millions of people even feasible?

Marco Lopez is a former Homeland Security official and the former mayor Nogales, Arizona, which lies on the Mexican border.


AMANPOUR: So Mr. Lopez, welcome. And you have first hand experience, not just in the homeland security but as mayor in that crucial area.

Is what the Trump administration proposing possible?

MARCO LOPEZ, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIAL: Thank you, Christiane. It's a pleasure to be here.

You know, I think the secretary in the clip that we watch is correct. It is not feasible to do something to that impact that President Trump wants

to undertake in the next 18 to 24 months. It's just not reasonable and it's not feasible. And the most important reason why this is in my opinion

a much more difficult task is because at no point have the administration officials reached out to Mexico, because they don't understand that border

security is more than a security law enforcement scenario. It's also an economic issue. And to date, no outreach has been made to our Mexican


AMANPOUR: OK. Well, this is really interesting because as you know Secretary Tillerson is on his way there, the secretary of state and also

Kelly who we've talked about from Homeland Security.

What are they going to tell the Mexicans? Is this the outreach that you're talking about? I mean, we hear that part of their plan maybe to just dump

some of these immigrants, whether they are from Mexico or not into Mexico while they await legal proceedings.

LOPEZ: Well, that's exactly one of the hot issues that is making its ways in Mexican media and the Mexican foreign ministry as we speak. The mellow,

the most troublesome part of that memo included a provision that law enforcement authorities on the U.S. side could dump into Mexico,

individuals from other counties and make it the Mexican authorities responsibility.

The foreign minister has come out and said absolutely not. We will not abide by unilateral decisions made by the Trump administration without any

dialogue. So I think that both Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Kelly are in for very difficult conversations tonight when they first meet with the

foreign minister in Mexico and definitely tomorrow when they -- when it's planned that they will be meeting with the president.

I think it's very troublesome again to have this announced today, have them travel today and having them here for the first time.

AMANPOUR: You know, the whole world is watching this. Whatever happens in this more localize immigration, deportation action which presumably affects

mostly the Mexican border. But also what is this administration going to do in terms of revising its executive order against Muslim nations.

You know, we've just seen, for instance, a British citizen who is a Muslim escorted off a plane in Iceland where he was a teacher escorting people to

New York for a field trip.

And he was talked we got message from the U.S. you're not welcome to the United States.

I mean, what is all this about. There seems to be a randomness in the procedures.

LOPEZ: Well, I think beyond having this be a randomness and procedures, it's a lot of ambiguity in which you are empowering the local agents to

make decisions that impact world travel without clear guidelines. And I think that that's the problem when we were at homeland security.

In the Obama administration, we were very careful in our deliberations and making sure that everyone was included that might have an impact in that

world commerce, simply because of the fact that you had folks traveling from all over the world with different circumstances, different passports,

different circumstance and if you empower and leave those decisions to the local agent, you begin a hodgepodge of enforcement activity throughout the


You cite one example but there are many, I believe, of people from Europe coming, but of course along the U.S.-Mexico border under the same

circumstances. A lot of uncertainty because you've cast the wide net and now expect folks to interpret it individually.

AMANPOUR: Right, which is just a recipe for chaos and abuse, frankly.

You are a former mayor. We've heard mayors from New York and elsewhere who describe themselves as sanctuary cities, who say they will refuse to

enforce these orders if they come down.

I just want to play Mayor De Blasio. What he said when this was first noted.


BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: We will not deport law-abiding New Yorker's. We will not tear families apart. We will leave children without

their parents. We will not take breadwinners away from families who have no one else. And we're not going to undermine the hard one trust that's

developed between our police and communities.


AMANPOUR: So, Mr. Lopez, what then happens with these sanctuary cities? Of course, as President Trump has again twitted, Americans overwhelmingly

against sanctuary cities. There's another conflict being set up here.

LOPEZ: Entirely new conflict being set up. The reality is that local law enforcement. I lived in my city. The city of Nogales, Arizona and I see

it in law enforcement all over the country.

The reality is that you have a small amount of resources that you need to deploy against the criminal element in your communities. And so to be

distracted, chasing the gardeners, the people working in the service industry instead of focusing your resources against the criminal elements,

the people who are hard criminals that are committing crimes in our communities, that's the priority and that specifically the priority that

the Obama administration had laid out. Let's go after those folks.

We only have 41,000 detention beds in America today to be able to hold these individuals that have broken immigration law. Let's go after the

criminals, instead of chasing the housekeepers and the gardeners as is the intention because it's driven by the fact that you just wanted to raise

your numbers, you want to sound and look tough by being able to say they used to be 38,000 under the Obama administration, now we have 80,000 people

in detention. That's not tough. It's not smart enforcement and that situation that you are creating in these communities and that specifically

what the sanctuary cities, mayor and others are saying we can't divert out resources going after people that have done nothing more than overstayed a

visa, for example.

AMANPOUR: It is really, really complex.

Marco Lopez, thanks for joining us.

And all of this in the absence of a fundamental comprehensive immigration law.

Thanks so much for being with us.


AMANPOUR: As the Trump administration also promises a revised travel ban on a number of Muslim nations, Muslim-Americans have come together in

solidarity with the Jewish community to raise more than $80,000 for a Jewish cemetery that was vandalize this week.

When we come back the new report deciphering the strategic maneuvers that broke the siege of Aleppo. And how Russia's own media could have revealed

Russia's involvement. That's next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Moscow has formally asks the Syrian government to, quote, "Silence their own sky." That is what the U.N. Envoy for Staffan de Mistura told

reporters on the eve of yet another round of peace negotiations between Syria and President Bashar Assad and the opposition adding, however, that

it is not expecting a breakthrough.

This as new report from the Atlantic Council Policy Research Center charges the Assad regime with repeatedly bombing hospitals during the battle for

Aleppo with the help of Russian aircraft that drop cluster bombs indiscriminately in civilian areas.

Joining me now from Washington to discuss this is one of the author's of the report Maks Czuperski.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program.

First and foremost, what lead you to this sort of forensic investigation? You know, picture by picture, frame by frame of some of the distraction in

Aleppo. Why? What was the motivation behind this?


The reason why we wanted to do this is because there is so much disinformation nowadays floating around about the conflicts that we see

around the world.

First, one of the most gruesome one is obviously the conflict in Syria. And the conflict in Aleppo specifically and the Siege of last month has

reached a lot of people around the world, people twitting from the ground and posting the images of the horrors that people have live through, but

also including a lot of disinformation.

And so what we wanted to do is we want to find a way to try to tell the public about what is happening by deciphering fiction and facts using

innovative, new, open source and digital forensic research method.

AMANPOUR: So you're saying open source. I mean, you've got hundreds of YouTube, social media accounts from all sorts -- pro-government, opposition

groups, satellite pictures, CCTV footage, etcetera.

And I want to start because, you know, one of the most troubling things that was loudly condemn throughout the siege of Aleppo was the targeting of

hospitals and schools.

So tell us how, you know, you have been able to build a 3D model of one of these hospitals in Aleppo.

CZUPERSKI: Sure. So what we did is that because when a war happens, now so many so called digital breadcrumbs are being produce by people on the

ground, by people who are visiting through whether they are journalist, whether it's the government itself or whether it's the innocent citizens

living through this crisis. And what we can do is we can compare all this digital crumbs to one another to establish a distinguishable digital

fingerprint just like police officers will do and detectives when they investigate it.

AMANPOUR: And Maks, just as you are talking, we are watching this thing build on our big screen here and we saw, you know, it matched the original.

CZUPERSKI: Exactly. And so what we did is that we recreate the scene through our own methods, but also we invited an independent, digital

forensic architecture team from the University of Goldsmith in the U.K. just down the street from you to come to the same conclusions and they did

that. And they created this incredible three-dimensional story of what had happen --


AMANPOUR: And what did it tell you? What did it tell you that --

CZUPERSKI: Well, yes. It told us that repeatedly, the Russian government or the Assad forces have been striking this target and clearly not by

accidents, but time and again, this specific hospital has been struck, showing that there was an intended strike to try to force the remaining

civilians into submission using civilian targets.

AMANPOUR: So, apparently, according to one of the Syrian society, 172 verified attacks on medical facilities and personnel. And now it was just

between June and December of last year. 73 of those in Aleppo.

I want to move on to cluster bombs, because that, too, has been very, very controversial. The Russians were accused of employing that. And,

apparently, video from Russian's main station, RT, helped you identify this fact.

Talk to me about what we're seeing on our big screen now, which is the aircraft and some of these bombs.

CZUPERSKI: Well, one of the fascinating things is that of course Russia needs to keep up a certain smokescreen, claiming that it's there to destroy

ISIS. And so they'll invite all these journalists and reporters to take footage of the heroic fight against ISIS. But in this footage

specifically, we see how not only are they flying off, but they are flying off of weapons they claim not to be using.

Whether it's incendiary weapons or whether it's class ammunition. Weapons that the Russian explicitly said it is not using in Syria.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And we can see them. I've just been pointing them out again on this big screen.

So, you know, they say they haven't been using them. You say that you found it. And also, of course, repeated use of chemical weapons.

In your report, you say the second half of the year 2016, last year, so at least 10 reported chemical attack, of which six could be verified in Aleppo

it felt.

How do you verify this because there's so much competing claims and accusations about that.

CZUPERSKI: Well, we are actually not the only ones who have been looking to the crisis in Syria. Just recently you might recall, Amnesty

International has been able to uncover the crimes committed in the Sednaya Prison. Human Rights Watch last week came out with report on the chemical

weapons in Aleppo specifically.

And MSF also came out with a report this week on the crimes committed there. But certainly on top of that, the OPCW is also creating its own

investigation into the use of chemical weapons. If we look at the symptoms of the victims from these attacks two years ago, in 2014, we also see a lot

of the symptoms now appearing again on the ground in Aleppo.

AMANPOUR: Now obviously you try to, what was the reaction when you try to get verification from the Assad regime or the Russian government.

CZUPERSKI: Well, the most fascinating part is of course, quickly, after the reports from at least the Russian Foreign ministry and Russian defense

ministry both came out claiming that this was fake news. That these reports had no ground, whatsoever. And they were also dismissive of the

MSD, the Human Rights Watch and the CNN coverage of the crisis in Aleppo.

AMANPOUR: And briefly in 10 seconds, why is this technology significant?

CZUPERSKI: Because anyone can do it. We teach enough digital (INAUDIBLE) as we call them. then perhaps we have the chance to hold regime's more

accountable in the future through digital means. And this is really powerful.

AMANPOUR: Maks Czuperski, thanks so much for joining us.

And after a break, my final report from Jordan, Syrian refugee camps. Imagine bring my 16-year-old son along to meet the young adults just like

him but living a life that could not be more different. That's next.

First, though, a reminder of just how brutal life remains inside Syria even for the very youngest. This week, Syria's White Helmets release this video

showing them pulling a 5-year-old girl from the rubble of a bombed house in a domestic suburb. And thanks to them, Aya survived after they have rushed

her to the hospital.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a life of world away from your own. In my final report from Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. My son, Darius, gets

to meet and speak to a young man his own age but living a very different reality.

Although together we learn that hopes and dreams have no borders no matter how starkly different our everyday experience is.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Imagine bringing my 16-year-old son Darius to work, only this isn't your normal day at the office, it's the Azraq Camp for

Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Imagine this adolescent living his comfortable and ordinary city life in the West.



AMANPOUR (voice-over): Coming to discover how these adolescent, young people his own age survive in the most extraordinary situations.

We meet Mohammed (ph), his four sisters and his mother, Shama (ph), who've escape war in Syria and found refuge here in Jordan. They welcome us into

their new home with open arms. It's a far cry from what they've left behind, one room with everything in it, from sewing machine to bedding.

Two shelves on the wall that served as the children's library and wardrobe. Heat from a stove fed by a pipe that snakes it's way in from a gas


For Darius the obvious question --

DARIUS RUBIN, CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR'S SON: What was your house like before this one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My house is very beautiful and my --

AMANPOUR: And Mohammed (ph) continues his story in Arabic, how the family fled when the war finally reach their Syrian village more than three years

ago. How the constant bombing disrupted school and made it too dangerous to stay.

RUBIN: Were you afraid anytime during the journey?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, I was afraid, but I had to go, which was to reach somewhere safe and I manage to put my fears aside.

AMANPOUR: And I ask about their dad.

(on-camera): You're the man of the family. You are here with your mom. You've got your four sisters. What happened to your dad?


AMANPOUR: What happened? How?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are at home at the time. And there were some bombing and shooting in the area. He went outside to have

a look and he was shot.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Fortunately, Darius doesn't have to step up quite like Mohammed (ph) does, fetching water for his family everyday. Filling

these heavy canisters several times each day. It is hard work.

His mother, Shama (ph), has come to rely on him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Mohammed (ph) does really a good job, especially fetching water which is difficult for me to do. Sometimes

he carries 20 liters in each hand. There are six of us and we need a lot of water. So sometimes he carries 10 or 12 containers a day. He also does

the shopping because the market is so far away.

AMANPOUR: Into the big, blue barrel and out through a pipe in the kitchen, which is a tiny room that they have only just manage to add to their main

room. Shama (ph) says she's trying to recreate a proper family life for the kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's so hard. I cannot tell you. I try to make it comfortable by moving things around and I try to

find spaces for their belongings to make it look like home.

We eat, watch TV and sleep here. Now at last, we have a kitchen I can cook in unlike before.

AMANPOUR: Back in Syria she says, she was the queen of her castle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It is hard to lose your husband. I used to be the lady of the house and I was spoiled. I had everything I

needed. All I had to do is ask my husband and he would get anything for me.

AMANPOUR: She keeps her memories on her phone.

(on-camera): (INAUDIBLE)

(voice-over): Yes, she says. And like so many of the mothers we've met, Shama (ph) insist that education is the most important thing for her

children's future.

AMANPOUR: And as we walk with Mohammed from his small metal home to the community center in this refugee camp, he says he has learned English here

since fleeing Syria.

His dream is to go on to university. Once upon a time, he thought he would be an architect. Now after all that he's born witness to, he thinks he

wants to be a journalist.

(on-camera): Should we go in?


AMANPOUR (voice-over): And here, with a group of teenage boys and girls, Mohammed founded "The Camp" magazine, which they publish every month,

thanks to funding by the U.N. and its NGO partners.

And as we sit in on their editorial meeting, Darius who also works on his school newspaper wants to know what this project means to them.

RUBIN: What kind of impact does this magazine have on your life here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It raises awareness and helps get children back to school.

RUBIN: And do you look forward to these new things?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, very much.

AMANPOUR: Internet is only available at these centers so these adolescents don't spend their time online. And there's not much of a social life for

them. The camp only got electricity back in December so television has become their main source of entertainment.

But everywhere we hear the almost mystical reverence these children of war pay to the power of education and determination.

(on-camera): What would you say to Darius about life and about what it's like to be a 16-year-old boy today in this situation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The price of success is hard work. (INAUDIBLE), whether we win or lose, the most important thing is that we have applied

ourselves to this task. Any task.


AMANPOUR: And, yes, the price of success is hard work, he said. Wise words from a young man so much older than his years.

And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast at anytime, see us online at and follow me on

Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from London.