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Lawmakers Grapple with Trump's Immigration Proposal; Deadly Flu Grips U.S.; Grammy Awards Honor "Me Too"/"Time's Up" Movement. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 26, 2018 - 14:30   ET



[14:33:07] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: President Trump has a plan on immigration, a plan being shunned by both left and the right. The plan includes a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants, including the so-called DREAMers. Some hardline conservatives view that as amnesty, and a lot of Democrats are upset over what the administration would actually get in return, including money for border wall, and major cuts to legal immigration. This means an end to family-based immigration and green cards for visa lottery, which shift elsewhere. Let's start the conversation.

Rob Astorino, former Republican candidate for New York governor, is with me.

Good to have you back, sir.


BALDWIN: And Symone Sanders, CNN political commentator, is with us as well.

Rob, to you.

The notion of protecting 1.8 million undocumented immigrants in exchange for $25 billion in funding for this border wall. We know that this is supposed to go to the floor of the Senate. What's the date? February 5th, according to Mitch McConnell. Is that plan dead on arrival?

ASTORINO: I think what the president did here was good. He gave --


BALDWIN: Is it dead on arrival?

ASTORINO: I don't think it's dead on arrival. I think it's negotiation now. I think the president has a real good opportunity on Monday to outline his plan in greater depth -- Tuesday, I should say, in the State of the Union, and then start selling it. There's a lot to give and a lot to hate in this. I think both sides -- the amazing part to me is that America wants something done. They agree with all sides of the debate. So --


BALDWIN: I don't know if they agree with all sides.

ASTORINO: By and large.

BALDWIN: Some would rather pigs fly over a wall and heartline conservatives say we don't want 1.8 million.

ASTORINO: By and large, people agree that they're here, 1.8 million DACA. By the way, these are not kids anymore.


ASTORINO: These are adults now. That they should stay here. Some way, shape or form. When you get into the other stuff like the visa lottery, that is unique for the rest of the world, there's things we could improve here and both sides have to give, and I think they're going to.

[14:35:06] BALDWIN: Maybe starting positions?


BALDWIN: Symone, the White House calls this a dramatic concession and compromise. Is it?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. It's kind of laughable. I'm going to echo what the "L.A. Times" editorial board wrote today, this is not an immigration plan. This is a ransom note. This is something that holds the DREAMers hostage, trying to strong arm Congress to get a $25 billion fund for a wall that no one can even articulate why they think this draconian style wall needs to exist. We have to do something about immigration in this country. We have a broken immigration system. I think this plan fails to deal with the nearly 11 million undocumented folks in this country currently living in the shadows. It's not a strong negotiating point. And the White House has yet to even articulate why they feel as though we need to curb legal immigration into this country. They haven't even articulated that.

BALDWIN: Is it a positive step? All the people during the last round of negotiations were saying we don't know where the president stands, and all the negotiations are happening on Capitol Hill. He's just on the phone with some Republicans. And Mitch McConnell is like, I don't even know how he feels about DREAMers. You have the White House coming out and setting parameters for the initial negotiations and putting forth a plan.

Is that a positive step, in your view? Symone?

SANDERS: I guess it is nice to know where some of the hardliners in the administration actually stand. It is some kind of starting point, but this is not a real negotiable plan. I absolutely believe it's a ransom note. The question for me, Brooke, is when will some folks in this country, particularly folks on the right, stop look at illegal or undocumented immigration in this country as a threat? That is the problem of the debate we're currently having, that folks are talking about folks that are undocumented in this country as though they are some huge amount, great threat when we are, in fact, a country of immigrant.

ASTORINO: Come on, Symone. Who is being the hardliner here? Make sure there's complete amnesty for everyone who is here and everything else we'll deal with another time? This is an opportunity for everybody to get something and get this immigration debate finalized. We've been talking about this for decades now. It's coming to a head. We have a real opportunity in this country. But people like you, Symone, can't be sitting there saying, no, I just want DACA, finalize 1.8 million people --

BALDWIN: By the way -- by the way --


SANDERS: I want to be clear. That's not what I said.

BALDWIN: But go ahead, Symone. Go ahead, Symone.

SANDERS: I want to be clear. That's not what I said. No one said we need full amnesty. I and other Democrats fully believe we have to protect our borders. No one is saying we just want people unfettered coming into our country, but I am saying we need a free, and fair family-based humane system near this country.

ASTORINO: We're pretty unique in the world right now. Our neighbors to the north, Canada, 65 percent of their immigrants come in, it's skills-based, it's education based. We're just the opposite. We're letting people in. Third cousin twice removed, come on in. We've got to have some sort of structure in this country. Look at the countries all around the world. Australia, whether it's right or wrong, detains everybody, including children, if they don't have a visa and they've overstayed their welcome. They go to detention centers. I'm not advocating that at all. To make America be the bad guy on this, we've been opening up our borders forever, but everyone agrees there's an immigration problem and we don't have a handle on it.

SANDERS: That's what makes us special.

ASTORINO: Now we have to fix it.


SANDERS: I think what makes special and great is the fact -- is the fact that we are, in fact, a nation of immigrants. In fact, I am agreeing that we need reform to our immigration policy. These draconian policies that paint people who enter this country as some type of threat to the way we live as Americans is not how we should be engaging in this debate and this conversation. We have to remember, these are real people. DREAMers are real people. Congress refuses to act on DREAMers, every day 122 people lose their status. That's something we have to address.

BALDWIN: Let me jump in because there's a whole other piece of this, which is, you know, if you read about this conversation that Steven Miller had with these more hardline immigration groups, they were furious with the president and what he said the other night about, all right, DREAMers, don't worry, we'll have the pathway to citizenship. "Breitbart" headline calling him Amnesty Don. But consider the Republicans that the White House has been building this framework.

Here is what the president said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Cotton, Perdue, Goodlatte, and the people I've been dealing with, Cornyn, these are great people. These are people that really have shifted a lot. They've really shifted a lot. I think they're willing to shift more, and so am I.


[14:40:08] BALDWIN: Rob, just quickly to you. Do you think the more hardliners would be willing to shift the way that the president is suggesting?

ASTORINO: If everyone gets something. I mean, if the president put $25 billion, do you think they'll settle for $15 billion? Yes. Then Schumer can say we got a concession. That's what it's going to take to get done. Yes, I agree with Symone. We're a special country and so special, everyone is taking advantage of it because they realize the system is broken. It's not that we don't want immigrants. We are a country built on immigrants. My family came from somewhere else, just like everybody else. But there are laws that need to be abided, borders that need to be secured. And we, as a nation, have to respect that. If we don't, we're not a nation.

BALDWIN: You got the last word, Rob Astorino. Thank you so much.

ASTORINO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Symone Sanders, appreciate you and your voice as well.

Coming up here on CNN, new details on this deadly flu season. Seven more kids this week have died. The CDC warns it is not over.


[14:45:07] BALDWIN: New evidence released confirms what we feared, we are in the midst of a fierce, deadly flu season. Today, the Centers for Disease Control reported the deaths of seven more children just this week, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths from flu since October to 37. And the CDC warns, hold on, there's a lot more flu season to come.

Let's get to our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, we all know someone, right, who has gotten the flu this year. It is nasty. But to hear about these deaths, how -- the numbers are staggering. How many sick does the CDC say we have now? DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't really

know the numbers. There are a lot of people sick. There are millions who have been ill. A lot of times people don't go to the hospital, the emergency room or get tested. We don't exactly know what the number of flu-related illnesses there are.

We do know that there's been several thousand people who have been hospitalized for this. And, obviously, as you just said, Brooke, we know the number of people who have died.

This is a particularly bad flu season. You know, we have not seen a flu season quite like this in several years, and 2014-15 was also bad. In terms of how widespread this is, this is the entire United States. Every state has widespread flu activity, except Hawaii basically. This has spread quickly and extensively -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: That's the worst map I've ever seen.

GUPTA: I know.


BALDWIN: Every single state is red.

When should people -- when you say people aren't seeing doctors, going to the hospital. When should they do so? Is getting the flu shot too little too late?

GUPTA: As far as when to go to the hospital, one thing to keep in mind, goes without saying, hospitals are where there are places with sick people. Why I say that is because if you don't have the flu, if you're not that sick, you could return sick.

BALDWIN: You don't want to go.

GUPTA: Yes. You could actually go there and be exposed to something you don't want to be exposed to.

If you're having progressive difficulty breathing, leading to some sort of pain in your chest, especially when you breathe in and out, that's more concerning. If you have really bad G.I. symptoms, you can't keep food down, you need to get an I.V., that's a reason to go to the hospital.

Here is another one nonintuitive, especially in children, Brooke. If you feel like I've kind of got it beat, I'm on the upswing here and a couple of days later you get sick again, that could indicate you have a secondary infection, a bacterial infection. That could be a red flag as well.

Regarding the flu shot, Brooke, I know there are a lot of skeptics out there with regard to the flu shot. This year has not helped their skepticism. Flu shot is about 30 percent effective this year. Is it still worth it? I think it is. You know, 30 percent is better than zero. Even if you do get the flu, it might lessen how severe the flu is on you, lessen the symptoms. It's something to sort of keep in mind.

Flu season is expected to go, as you saw on that graphic, until at least April probably. It's not too late. It's not too late.

BALDWIN: OK. I'm washing my hands like a crazy woman, Sanjay Gupta.

GUPTA: Yes. And stay home if you're sick.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Thank you so much. Stay well.

GUPTA: I'll write you a note.


BALDWIN: Thank you.

Coming up next on CNN, a huge weekend for the music industry as the Grammys hand out their awards. And it is a show that could get political. Chloe Melas sits down with the Elton John. Her interview next.


[14:53:09] BALDWIN: This Sunday, when the Grammys take center stage honoring the best in music, the music world will also honor the spirit of "Me Too"/"Time's Up" movement that's swept the entertainment industry in this country. Grammy nominees and presenters will wear white roses to show support for the battle to end workplace sexual harassment.

Chloe Melas is with me, CNN entertainment reporter, who is very excited about the Grammys, being back in New York this year.


BALDWIN: You're going to be there.

MELAS: I'm so excited.

BALDWIN: Tell me more.

MELAS: Jay-Z is leading the way with eight nominations. He has already won 21 Grammys, but he is leading the way and Kendrick Lamar is right behind. We have to watch for those two guys who will dominate. Back at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the first time in 15 years, James Cordon is returning as host again. There probably will be some political jazz right there in the top of the monologue.

As you said, Brooke, the "Me Too" movement, it's the first time the music industry has had a chance to weigh in on everything that's been happening. And we learned at CNN that celebrities and musicians attending will be wearing white roses. You won't be seeing a sea of black like at the Golden Globes, but you will see the white roses.

BALDWIN: The white roses.

Elton John, oh, my gosh.


BALDWIN: Were you pinching yourself interviewing him?

MELAS: It was so incredible. I sat down with him to talk about his farewell tour, which is going to take three years, by the way.


BALDWIN: But a farewell.

MELAS: He weighed in on the "Me Too" movement and how he thinks it will play out at the Grammys.

BALDWIN: Let's listen.


ELTON JOHN, SINGER: It's going to be interesting at the Grammys to see what people say, what they do. We live in a funny time, disturbing time at the moment, when people are accusing people of doing this and that and it's all happened because of Harvey Weinstein, and quite rightly so. I think the great thing about women's empowerment is the wage gap as well, I think. That is a big thing that's happening. And it's happening in England. A lot of people are saying I'm getting paid this and he's getting paid that, you know. I think women have had it bad for a long time and they're trying to sort it out and make it better for themselves.


[14:55:10] MELAS: Elton also made a strong point, Brooke, that although he supports the movement that's going on, he doesn't agree with people being fired just because accusations are coming out against them. And he believes that everyone should have due process. That was a point he made to me.

I just want to say one more thing.


MELAS: This is a very diverse year for the Grammy awards. There could be history made this weekend. If "Despecito" wins record of the year, it will be the first Spanish language song to ever win that.

BALDWIN: How many times have you heard that on the radio since it came out?

MELAS: I know.

BALDWIN: I really loved it in the beginning.

MELAS: I'll be there and be back with more news. BALDWIN: We can't wait for the scoop.

Chloe Melas, thank you very much.

MELAS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Quickly, a break. We're back in a moment.