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Government Loses Immigrant Children; Cavs Advance to NBA Finals; Honoring Fallen Service Members. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 28, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:12] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Former President Gorge H.W. Bush is hospitalized in Maine. We're told he woke up Sunday morning with fatigue and low blood pressure. He is expected to remain in the hospital nor a few days of observation. His spokesman described him as awake and alert. Mr. Bush was admitted to a Houston hospital last month after contracting an infection that spread to his blood one day after his wife Barbara's funeral.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, check this out, some incredible video of a rescue you just have to see to believe. A migrant from Mali scaling a building to save a child dangling from a balcony in Paris.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my God.

BRIGGS: That's Mamadou Gassama. He's being called the Spiderman of the 18th district. He scaled four stories in about 30 seconds, then pulled the child up to safety.


BRIGGS: Is that incredible? His heroism leading to a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. The president's office says Gassama will be made a French citizen --

CAMEROTA: That's good.

BRIGGS: And has been offered a job by the Paris fire brigade.

You're -- you were holding your breathe. Even knowing the ending, you were holding your breathe as he scaled. There it is.

CAMEROTA: Because that -- that baby is hanging there. I don't understand how that's happening. How -- I'm so grateful that this guys was --

BRIGGS: Look at this guy.

CAMEROTA: He does it with one hand. After he goes up he -- I mean, first of all, the baby could have dropped right then and there. OK, right there. But he grabs it with one hand.

BRIGGS: Oh, man.

CAMEROTA: OK, I need a little bit more of a backstory of why the baby was hanging there. But thank God he was at the right place at the right time.

BRIGGS: Awe will investigate for you. Yes.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. OK.

BRIGGS: Collect your breathe.

CAMEROTA: Less coffee.


CAMEROTA: U.S. officials admitting that they lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children in the U.S. So, why are they refusing to take responsibility? Where are these children? Who were they with? All of that is next.


[06:35:54] CAMEROTA: OK, listen to this story.

The U.S. government has lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children. All of them were placed in sponsor homes after crossing the border unaccompanied or being separated from their parents shortly after crossing. So outrage is growing with the federal government insisting that it is now not legally responsible for them.

Rosa Flores is live from San Antonio with more.

How does this work, Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, good morning.

As you mentioned, this is garnering a lot of attention, especially after an announcement made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month saying that anyone who crosses the border would be prosecuted. So, by default, if these individuals -- and we know that a lot of them are mothers with their children, are going to be prosecuted, they're going to be separated from their children at some point during prosecution and those children were end up in the custody of the United States.

And, of course, the problem and the question is, how can the United States government lose 1,500 children? We should add that this is not a situation that's isolated to the Trump administration. In fact, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has been investigating this for 26 months, that goes back to the Obama administration, and issued a scathing report back in 2016 saying that the policies and procedures were just not adequate to keep these children safe. Some of those children ending up in the hands of traffickers, according to reports by this subcommittee.

And, of course, the members of the subcommittee very concerned about what the United States government is doing to make sure that these children are safe. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: What is the number of children who have been separated from adults who say that they are their parents and they are seeking asylum at the border?

Do you know?

JAMES MCCAMENT, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY: Senator, I don't know that offhand, so I don't want to misspeak. I will bring it back to you.

HARRIS: Do you have a general idea?

MCCAMENT: I do not want to speculate.

HARRIS: Do you know if any of those cases have resulted in trafficking charges?

MCCAMENT: It's my understanding that they have, but I do not know the specific number. So I want to provide you accuracy.


FLORES: Now, once HHS says that they give the child over to a sponsor, here's what they say happens. Quote, "he or she ceases to be in the custody of the U.S. government and all HHS-provided subsistence ends at that point and the child becomes the responsibility of his or her parent, guardian or sponsor.

And, Dave and Alisyn, some of these senators asking, OK, so if there's no legal responsibility, does the U.S. government have a moral responsibility to take care of these children?

CAMEROTA: OK, Rosa, thank you very much for setting all of that up for us.

Let us discuss it now and more with CNN political analyst David Drucker and Brian Karem.

Brian Karem, so, listen, we know that number.


CAMEROTA: I mean the number that we have from the latest articles is that 40,000 immigrant children, 40,000 in 2017 were separated from their parents. And the U.S. government tries to put them with another close blood relative, but sometimes can't, and sends them with a vetted sponsor. But then loses track of them. And it -- what it sounds like is that the U.S. government just not equipped. They just don't have the manpower or apparatus to track what happens to these kids.

KAREM: And they never have had, Alisyn. I mean, you know, you go back, when I was working the border back in the '80s and the '90s, and they didn't have the people then. And they don't have the people now. You can't keep track of them. And there's no way of knowing.

And when they say vetted sponsor, what does vetted mean? And when they say 1,500, that's probably going to be a low end. Your number is a scarier number to look at. But what's the moral imperative for our government founded on, give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free? At the end of the day, what does it say for us as a people, we the people, when we allow this to happen?

And the reporter down in San Antonio's right, this isn't gone on, this isn't just the administration, the current administration. This goes back to at least Obama. And I would maintain it goes back at least as far as when I worked down there, and that's, you know, 30 years of that kind of stuff

[06:40:14] CAMEROTA: Yes.

KAREM: Frightening.

BRIGGS: Yes, so it's a bipartisan problem. But here's what the president tweeted about this subject. Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from their parents once they cross the border into the U.S., catch and release, so on and so forth. So he's blaming Democrats, correct.

KAREM: Of course.

BRIGGS: But here is -- here is Jeff Sessions laying out exactly what the administration policy is on separating children.


JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: If you don't want your child to be separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally.

If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be separated from you as required by law.


BRIGGS: It seems pretty crystal clear there, David Drucker.

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, look, I think there are a couple of things to understand here. One, we have the bureaucratic mismanagement which is endemic to the federal government across administrations, Republican and Democrat. But here we have a sort of change in tone and policy from this administration that is clearly trying to use this as a deterrent. And in order to discourage illegal border crossings, warnings that your child will be taken from you and you will be separated. And so I think that's the part that this administration has to grapple with, which is, if it's going to use the policy as a deterrent and talk about it in this way, how is it going to insure that these children are secure, that they know where they are and they can end up back with their parents if this is the policy that the president wants to pursue.

Of course, interestingly enough, the president says he doesn't want to pursue the policy. He doesn't like the policy. And he's blaming Democrats in Congress. So, fine. So go to congress, present them with a plan or negotiate a plan to try and solve this. And there's actually talks right now in the House of Representatives as they still struggle to try and deal with the DACA issue. And I'm curious to see if they're going to try and roll this issue into that.

I think the problem is that it's an election year. And even if you can get something out of the House, to get it out of the Senate, when there is so much politically riding on the line and such a hot and super charged political issue that can cut so many ways and is going to have people so hesitant to do anything --

KAREM: Well, it's --

DRUCKER: Is part of the problem and it's one of the reasons we have not been able to solve the illegal immigration issue or immigration reform in general going back, you know, at least to George W. Bush through Barack Obama.


KAREM: It's not -- it's -- you're never going to solve it that way. It's -- and it won't work as a deterrent to separate families.

If you look at the social economic issues that drive people to the border, they're desperate enough as it is. The threats that we make upon them are no worse than what they're already facing.


KAREM: And I would very much like Jeff Sessions and the president of the United States to have to live for a week under those social economic situations and then see what they would do, because it's very disingenuous for both of them to sit there and preach what they're preaching while people are suffering and we do nothing to help it.


DRUCKER: I just think the other -- the other side of the issue, Alisyn, is that the president ran on and was elected on doing something about the immigration problem. However, whatever you think the problems are, and he has yet to really use a significant portion of his presidency to try and drive a legislative fix to this, which I find very interesting because it -- it is so central to his messaging and to what he says he is concerned about when dealing with the future of the country.

KAREM: Well, that's because it's very complex and he wants a very simple solution. Something that he can preach to the base --

BRIGGS: Right.

KAREM: To say that he's done something when they don't want to look at the complexities of the issue. And that is the issue.

BRIGGS: And to you point, forget about it in an election year.

All right, Brian and David, thank you both. Appreciate you being here on Memorial Day. CAMEROTA: All right, LeBron James does it again, Dave. Let me tell you

about sports.

BRIGGS: Oh, unbelievable, my friend.

CAMEROTA: I'm going to tell you all about sports and I'm going to find out in the "Bleacher Report" exactly what all of this means.

BRIGGS: You're going to be amazed.



[06:48:14] BRIGGS: Well, it's been a roller coaster ride for LeBron James and the Cavs, but they are once again headed back to the NBA finals.

Death and taxes, Lindsay Czarniak. It's a given. It is a certainty as you give more in the "Bleacher Report."

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: He's really the gift that keeps on giving if you cover sports.


CZARNIAK: It's so true.

BRIGGS: Just incredible.

CZARNIAK: Coming into this game -- it is -- it looked like an uphill battle for the Cavaliers. A key player, Kevin Love, was out with a concussion. And they had to beat Boston at home, which is something no team had done in the playoffs.

But former Celtic Jeff Green steps up in a big way in Love's place and, LeBron James, he proved why he may be the best player to ever play the game. James willed his team to an unreal victory, an eighth straight NBA finals appearance. LeBron James playing 48 minutes, 35 points, 15 rebounds.

And then there were plays like this. Boston's Terry Rozier going up for the dunk. LeBron James there to say, no, no way it's going to happen. Yes, see it one more time. I mean, he's setting the tone early.

What LeBron did was just basically put this team on his back. But Boston did have some highlights of their own. Yes, Jayson Tatum playing like he's been there before. He led Boston with 24 points. But the Cavaliers, they overwhelmed the Celtics. They found a way to get it done. LeBron sealing the deal. The Cavaliers winning 87-79. LeBron knows how special it is to get back to the NBA finals.


LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: It's been a roller coaster and it's been good, it's been bad, it's been, you know, it's been roses, it's been thorns and the roses. It's been everything that you can ask for. And I want to say this has been one of the most challenges seasons I've had.

TYRONN LUE, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS COACH: The bigger the stage, the bigger the player. And he's been doing it for us since we've been here. And, you know, the great quote from the great Doc Rivers is, you know, you all are going to go into the game seven with the best player. And, you know, we have the best player on our team going to a game seven. I like our chances. And he delivered a gift (ph).


[06:50:05] CZARNIAK: I just look at Coach Tyronn Lue and say, man, how lucky is that guy to have LeBron James on his team. So, up next, they're going to play the winner of tonight's game seven. Either the Warriors or the Rockets. That game tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern on our sister network TNT.

BRIGGS: So no sleep for us. And game one of the Stanley Cup final tonight as well. Caps/Knights.


BRIGGS: A Caps fan there. Good luck to you, Lindsay.

CZARNIAK: It's true. Thank you.

BRIGGS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Lindsay.

All right, so, of course it is Memorial Day and it's the day to honor America's fallen heroes.

General Mark Hertling has a Memorial Day tradition that he shares with us on NEW DAY every year and we want you to see it. That's next.


CAMEROTA: For many people, Memorial Day means picnics and barbecues, of course. This three-day weekend that unofficially kicks off summer. But the holiday's true meaning, of course, is to honor fallen service members who gave their lives for this country.

[06:55:10] Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling has a special way of remembering these heroes who died under his command.

General Hertling joins us now.

General, I always -- I mean look forward is probably the wrong word, but I'm always moved by this tradition that you have, this ritual. What do you do every Memorial Day?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, first of all, Alisyn, it's very kind to have me on again. This has become our tradition on Memorial Day for -- to be sure.

This year it took a little bit of a different turn. As we talked about before, a few of us, four of us, have a box that we made after our first deployment in 2003 and '04. General Dempsey (ph), General Samparati (ph), myself and our sergeant major. And we put the cards that have pictures of the soldiers we lost during that conflict into that box. It was a little over 100.

Well, as we went back into combat several more times, we've added, unfortunately, more photos to that. So right now my box has 253 cards with soldiers' pictures that we lost in combat.

It's my tradition to pick one a day during the year and look at them. Well, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America came up with an idea to have a go silent campaign this year. It's a hash tag gosilent. And they've looked at 3:00 this afternoon Eastern Time to just reflect for a minute.

Well, when I saw that campaign, I said, I can't hold it to a minute. I've got too many. So what I started doing was over this Memorial Day weekend taking an hour a day and doing a minute per in the box. And today I'll do about an hour and 15 minutes.

But it's been fascinate to see from a bigger perspective, reflecting back on the individuals that gave the ultimate sacrifice really.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So let's talk about some of these.

So Chief Warrant Officer Donald Clark, Chief Warrant Officer Christian Humphreys. Tell us about them.

HERTLING: Yes, they were two young pilots. They flew in an aircraft called an OH-58. You know, you have the big sexy airplane, like Prince Andrew flies, the Apache. And then you have the big powerful ones, like the Black Hawks or the Chinook. The OH-58's like the little sports car of airplanes and they provide scouting missions to the troops on the ground. And these two young men, one of them with children, the other one single, were co-pilots on one of those aircraft up in the northern part of the area in 2008. And they crashed after providing support to the ground forces. Two really young guys that were loved by their fellow aviators and the guys on the ground loved them too because they provided such great reconnaissance and observation to -- to find the enemy.

CAMEROTA: Army Sergeant First Class Miguel Wilson.

HERTLING: Yes, this guy was very interesting. You know, when we were in northern Iraq, as you know, the Tigris River cuts right through the middle of northern Iraq, so we were working both sides of the river. And we were asking Army guys to do things that they'd never done before, doing patrol boats along the banks because that's where the insurgents were hiding.

Well, Sergeant Wilson, one day one of his soldiers fell off the boat. He immediately reacted and jumped in after him. And, unfortunately, he was wearing all of his kit and it took him under and he drown trying to save one of his young troopers.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, so heroic and so tragic.

Army National Guard Specialist Michelle Whitmer (ph).

HERTLING: Yes. Specialist Whitmer, this was from our earlier deployment. She was a military policewoman. From all takes -- I didn't know her -- but from all of her friends they said she was just fierce. Just a small, young woman, but just really enjoyed being a military policewoman and loved what she did. And she was, unfortunately, felled by a small arms attack on a base.

CAMEROTA: Army Staff Sergeant Tyler Picket (ph).

HERTLING: Yes, this -- this is the more interesting one, Alisyn, because I had a list of soldiers that I wanted to talk about this morning and last night I got a note from one of Sergeant Picket's troops and he said, hey, sir, you're going on again. Please mention Sergeant Picket this time because we all loved him.

You take a look at his picture and it's kind of goofy, but if you knew him, as his soldiers did, he was just an amazing young man and a great leader. Very charismatic. All of his soldiers really admired this guy. And he was, unfortunately, killed in an IED attack.

So you look at all of these folks, Alisyn, today. You know, everybody is celebrating the start of the summer and they should. Everyone's having barbecues and drinking the margaritas and the beers and good for them on all that.

But the whole intent of Memorial Day is to just take a little bit of time to reflect about all these young men and women who gave so much, gave their all. And what's fascinating is, you know, bringing these pictures out is a whole lot different than going to a memorial and seeing names carved in stone. These were real life people. They stay forever young in these cards that I have.

[07:00:01] You know, they were 20 or 30 years old when they paid the ultimate price and sacrificed their life. Today they would have been in their mid-30s, maybe sometimes early 40s. They have kids that are grown up.