Return to Transcripts main page


Stranded Migrants to Dock Soon in Spain; U.S. Immigration Separate Families at Border; Yemen Crisis; Parkland Students' Road to Change. Aired 12m-12:30a ET

Aired June 17, 2018 - 00:00   ET




IVAN WATSON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): They've been stranded at sea for days, with several countries refusing to take them in. Now hundreds of African migrants may soon find relief in Spain.

Plus, the human impact of President Trump's tough new immigration policy. We'll bring you the story of Jose Luis Garcia, who is facing deportation proceedings after half a century in the U.S.

And a World Cup surprise. The great Lionel Messi and the penalty that robbed Argentina of victory.

Live from CNN Center, I'm Ivan Watson and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


WATSON: Welcome to the program.

The first of three ships carrying hundreds of rescued migrants from Africa is expected to dock this hour in Valencia, Spain. The plight of the 629 people became a potent symbol of the migrant crisis in Europe when Italy and Malta refused to allow the crowded rescue ship Aquarius to dock last weekend.

Some of the migrants were later transferred to Italian vessels to ease the overcrowding. After Italy and Malta's refusal, Spain said it would allow the migrants to enter the port of Valencia. The Red Cross has set up a processing center there.

France has also offered to eventually take some of the migrants. Two of the migrants are missed and believed to have died during the ordeal.

Our Vera Catano is in Valencia, waiting for the first ship to arrive and joins us by phone.

Vera, thanks for joining the program.

Can you tell me anything -- I don't believe the ship is within sight yet, is it? VERA CATANO, CNN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Ivan. Yes, we are now arriving to the press center, where we, the journalists, are allowed to stay. We are not allowed to stay at the complete (ph) point where the ship will be arriving.

But the last official information we have is that the first ship will be arriving at 6:00 am local time, the second one at 9:00 am local time and the third one at 12:00 pm. Whether the order is not clear yet everything's ready here in the port of Valencia to welcome these 630 migrants.

There's more than 2,300 people here in Valencia. There are 400 translators, 600 police officers, people from the Red Cross. Everything is ready to welcome these migrants. Medical attention is the priority but also psychological attention.

And then the Spanish government told that they will determine each case individually, because they already said that they will grant the asylum status for all these migrants -- Ivan.

WATSON: Vera, are we hearing anything about the condition of the people on board these ships since they've been at sea for weeks -- sorry, days, rather -- and in some pretty stormy conditions, from what I understand?

CATANO: Yes, they've been sailing for more than a week. There are 100 minors on these three ships. There are also seven pregnant women. And, yes, there are some of them, which would be in a critical medical condition.

So this is the priority here when they arrive to the port. And this is also the reason why we are not allowed to get closer to the place, because they want to give a respectful welcome to all these people -- Ivan.

WATSON: Vera, it's very clear the Spanish authorities are ready to welcome them. Italy and Malta refused these migrants, to accept them to their shores.

How are people in Spain kind of dealing or are they going to extend the welcome as well?

Or is this also a highly politicized and charged issue in Spain?

CATANO: Well, actually, it is, because this also is the region of the new Socialist government, the government of Pedro Sanchez. But yes, we can see that people are kind of divided in this situation, because, here in Spain, there has been a big, big crisis. There is a lot of problems, economical problems.

Also there are some people who are not very happy of this welcome. But in general, what we see is that Spain is ready to receive all these people. We also have this announcement by the French government to help Spain to receive the people who, in the future, may want to travel to France and settle there as well -- Ivan. WATSON: All right, that's CNN's Vera Catano, who is live from the

Spanish port of Valencia and will certainly be following the expected --


WATSON: -- arrival of those hundreds of migrants and those three ships.

Now the U.S. is facing its own immigration debacle. President Donald Trump says his hands are tied when it comes to children being taken from their parents, when people are detained after illegally crossing the border into the U.S. from Mexico.

He tweeted on Saturday, quote, "Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the border by working with Republicans on new legislation for a change. This is why we need more Republicans elected in November. Democrats are good at only three things, high taxes, high crime and obstruction. Sad."

While the president blames the Democrats, it's his own administration that has implemented the zero tolerance practice, prosecuting anyone caught crossing the border illegally, resulting in the increased family separations.

President Trump is expected to meet with congressional Republicans on Tuesday to discuss immigration. CNN's Ed Lavandera is near the U.S.- Mexico border and has this report for us.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While the Trump administration remains unapologetic in its support in the way it's rolled out the so- called zero tolerance policy for undocumented immigrants crossing into the U.S. southern border, there is a growing chorus of frustration and anger and protest that will start to be visible here on Sunday in South Texas.

There's a congressional delegation that will be touring several immigration facilities throughout the region, throughout the day. Most of the members of that delegation very much opposed to this zero tolerance policy.

There's a vigil protest also scheduled to occur here on Sunday in McAllen. And there's another congressman who is leading a marching protest over the newly opened temporary facility for undocumented immigrant children. That was just opened up in far West Texas.

So a lot of this starting to pick up as the stories that have emerged from these -- from the zero tolerance policy and people are watching this play out, really starting to pick up steam.

But as I mentioned off the top, the Trump administration, unapologetic; they continue to say that this policy is designed to deter undocumented immigrants from continuing to pour into the U.S. southern border. However, when you report here on the ground and you talk to

immigrants, who have just crossed the border, news of this policy isn't necessarily making it into every corner of these countries in Central America and Mexico, where most of these undocumented immigrants are coming from.

And when you do talk to them and they do know about the policy, they say it is a risk that they're very much willing to take, that anything is better than the homes and the hometowns that they're coming from.

So that's the latest here in South Texas, as the frustration and anger and the focus on this issue really continues to build up -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, McAllen, Texas.


WATSON: Thank you, Ed.

We're seeing the human impact of the Trump administration's hardline stance on immigration. And it isn't just affecting people crossing the border illegally. We want to highlight the story of this man, 62- year-old Jose Luis Garcia.

His family says he moved from Mexico to the U.S. nearly 50 years ago when he was a child and is a legal resident. But now Garcia sits in a detention center. He was arrested outside of his California home last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and is being held for possible deportation, because, nearly 18 years ago, he was convicted of a misdemeanor for a domestic violence incident.


WATSON: Jose Luis Garcia's daughter, Natalie Garcia, joins us now from our Los Angeles bureau.

Thank you very much for coming in to speak with me, Natalie.

Can you -- I think you were there on the day that your father was detained.

Can you briefly describe what happened that day?

NATALIE GARCIA, JOSE'S DAUGHTER: He was -- it was just a typical Sunday morning and was drinking his coffee, watering the lawn. And he started screaming out my name. And I ran out and there was eight officers or agents arresting him.

And I asked for a warrant and they didn't show me a warrant. They said that they were going to take him and it was due to a domestic dispute that he had in 2001 and he had a misdemeanor.

And they didn't tell me where he was being taken or anything. They just took him.

WATSON: Have you been able to see your father since then?

GARCIA: I just saw him today.

WATSON: How was he doing?

GARCIA: He's distraught. He's broken. My father is sick. My father has high blood pressure and diabetes. And he needs constant health care and right foods. And everything. And --


GARCIA: -- I just want to make sure he's OK and...

WATSON: This must be just terribly traumatizing for your family right now.


WATSON: Can you help fill in -- what do you think your father's legal status was at the time when he was detained?

GARCIA: He's a green card holder. He's a legal resident, permanent resident. He's been here for 50 years. He's paid his taxes. He's a homeowner. He's been here. He has nine grandchildren, two great- grandchildren. He takes care of my daughter.

WATSON: He's been --


GARCIA: He works three jobs like --

WATSON: He's been in the U.S. for half a century.

GARCIA: We have -- his grandchild is in the active military right now. He's deployed in Germany. He's distraught as well.

WATSON: All right. Natalie, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has put out a statement about your father's case, saying, quote, Databases reveal that Mr. Garcia has past criminal convictions that make him amenable to removal from the United States. Mr. Garcia is currently in ICE custody, pending removal proceedings."

Can you tell me what you know about these past criminal convictions?

GARCIA: What I can tell you is what -- they only specified this one conviction to me. They only specified this one conviction, this misdemeanor to the congressman, Tony Cardenas, to Senator Kamala Harris. They only specified this one misdemeanor.

So and it doesn't matter, because they're trying to portray something else to the media. And what they're really saying is false. And they should not even be separating families. They should not be driving people from their homes and kidnapping them.


WATSON: If your father is deported, presumably he would go to Mexico. Has he lived there?

Does he know anything about living in Mexico today?

GARCIA: This is his country. This is my father's country. He's been here almost his whole life. We were all born here, we all live here. He's been a model citizen. He has three jobs, like, he's paid his taxes, his home -- he came here for the American dream. And now it's a nightmare.

WATSON: Natalie, this is a terribly difficult time for you and your family.

What does what you have experienced in the last week, what does it tell you about immigration policy in the U.S. today?

GARCIA: There has to be some change. There has to be laws. There has to be reform. There has -- you cannot separate people. You cannot just come to people's homes with no warrant, with no where -- no identification. My father carried his green card in his wallet, his driver's license. They took that from him.

They took it. They said it was government property. They didn't even ask him for an identification. They just took him into a car and didn't even tell us where he was going.


GARCIA: -- tomorrow, it's Father's Day tomorrow and I'm not going to even have my father.


GARCIA: This it the first that I've -- would -- I'm not going to be with my father. And my daughter, that's her father. And I don't even know what to tell her.

WATSON: Natalie Garcia, thank you for speaking with CNN.


WATSON: Now CNN will be following the story of Natalie Garcia and her detained father.

Amid these accounts of families wrenched apart, President Trump will talk immigration with Republican lawmakers on Tuesday. It's hoped the meeting will clarify what he would be willing to sign into law.

Two bills being hammered out deal with legal status for undocumented migrants who came to the U.S. as children and for funding for the southern border wall.


WATSON: For more on all of this, let's bring in Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He comes to us via Skype from Charlottesville.

Good to see you, Larry. Now the Department of Homeland Security says that some 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in six weeks in April and May along the border. President Trump is blaming the Democrats for this situation.

Is there a sense that these children, that they're kind of pawns in some political game right now between the country's leadership?

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: That's exactly what they are. And it's an outrage. And just about everybody across the political spectrum agrees that it's an outrage. They can't seem to come up with a solution. Though I really have to --


SABATO: -- interject here that President Trump is simply not telling the truth. I know that's a shock. But he's not telling the truth here.

Democrats have nothing to do with this. An administrative order, an executive order from President Trump alone would be enough to stop the separation of children from their parents.

Democrats don't control anything in Washington. The Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress. So this is a typical diversion by Trump. And there's a good reason for it. He knows it's a public relations disaster for him and for Republicans. And if they can't fix it, they're going to try to fuzz the responsibility for it.

WATSON: Let me ask you, these diversionary tactics, as you suggest, are they working?

SABATO: Oh, with his base, absolutely. Everything Trump does, if you really examine it, is designed to keep his base intact. He's in the 40s, pretty much what he was on Election Day, 46 percent.

If he keeps his base together, he's done what he needs to do on any given topic. And they're with him on this and many other subjects. Oddly enough, immigration is more important to his base than other issues that we talk about a great deal, including North Korea.

WATSON: There is a new Republican-sponsored immigration bill in the works and President Trump will meet lawmakers on Tuesday to talk about that. It includes a provision for $25 billion for border security, including a border wall, a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other matters there.

Do you see unity among Republican lawmakers for supporting this bill?

SABATO: Absolutely not. This is just a continuation -- in fact, it's part 400 really, stretching back 15, even 20 years, Republicans trying to agree on their own policy regarding immigration.

There are some very distinct factions within the House of Representatives. And they can't agree on this bill or any other. It's possible that if some Democrats come over, that this might pass by a small number of votes.

But it's by no means likely to get out of the Senate. And then I don't think it's guaranteed that President Trump will sign it if it contains provisions he doesn't like.

WATSON: Larry Sabato from UVA, thanks so much for speaking with me. Much appreciated.

SABATO: Thank you, Ivan.


WATSON: Coming up, a summer tour with a message. When we come back, I'll tell you about a cross-country drive meant to literally save lives. Stay with CNN.




WATSON: Welcome back to the program.

In Yemen, aid workers say it is too dangerous for them to operate in Hodeida, a strategic port on the Red Sea. That's because a Saudi-led offensive is trying to take control of the city from Iran-backed --


WATSON: -- Houthi rebels. And the violence is getting close to civilian areas. On Saturday, Houthi fighters clashed with the Saudi coalition troops near the airport. Aid groups believe nearly a quarter million people there are at risk from the fighting and from lack of clean water, food and medical care.

Now when you hear the words "summer tour," you may think of concerts and music and crowds. But there's a summer tour this year that's very different. It's a tour for change, to change complacency about global violence, to change laws that many say contribute to a rising death toll and to change the course of history.

It was sparked by the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. First up: Chicago. Our Dianne Gallagher reports.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I say how y'all doing, Chicago?


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bringing their brand of activism and all the crowds and cameras that come with it to the South Side of Chicago. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone from Parkland is so grateful to be here with you today. We're so grateful to fight with you, stand with you, rally with you.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Announced earlier this month back in Florida, the students from Parkland officially kicked off their next movement, a 75-stop cross-country political action summer tour and voter registration drive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're calling this the road to change.

What place better to be change to than Chicago?

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Linking up with young Chicago activists, like Trevon Bosley (ph) and Ariana Williams (ph), who will join them on the summer tour. The Parkland team is taking a bit of a back seat at the first summer stop, a Chicago Strong rally in St. Sabina Peace March.

Instead, choosing to shine their spotlight on the Windy City's youth movements, which have struggled to garner the same kind of attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been fighting anti-violence for probably eight or nine years now and we did a media -- we did a press conference and we literally had no press at all.

And to see that Parkland got the press and they allowed us to use their platform to spread our message of everyday shootings, because they've been happening for so long and so often. And the majority of the times, the media here has become content with it, as well as the community here has become content with the violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was born into a violent Chicago. But, in reality, we're starting to change that, because we've begun to see, if we have a hope of people helping us and we have a way to change Chicago.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was one of 17 murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, used art, paint and a hammer, to advocate for nationwide gun reform as the city's young activist deliver fiery speeches.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's time for change.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Taking turns on the stage with the likes of former Arizona congresswoman and shooting survivor, Gabby Giffords, Chicago teens solemnly read the 147 names of young people killed in their city this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm out here to say, man, I'm here to turn it up. Y'all turn to get loud.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Chance, the rapper, and Jennifer Hudson, the singer, lost three family members to gun violence in 2008, pumped up the crowd of thousands, as they took to the South Side streets, marching for peace and unity in Chicago. The young people here today saying, these are the first steps... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ain't seen nothing yet.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): -- on their unified road...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're coming for you.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): -- that they believe will end in change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The kids are done sitting at the kiddy table. It's now the adults' turn to sit there and we stand up.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Chicago.


WATSON: Some committed young people standing up.

We need to warn you about this next story. Some of the video you're about to see is graphic. Russian officials are trying to find out why a taxi plowed through a crowd near Moscow's Red Square on Saturday.

The incident injured seven people and comes as Russia hosts the World Cup. This amateur video, shown on state media, appears to show the incident. A driver veers wildly onto the curb and slams into pedestrians. The driver then runs across the street. Officials say he was detained and the situation is under control.

Now coming up, Lionel Messi starts what could be his last World Cup in Russia. How his Argentina squad fared against Iceland. That's coming up.





WATSON: Welcome back.

World Cup day three saw an explosive David versus Goliath match in Moscow. Iceland made its World Cup debut against Argentina and left little doubt they belong in this tournament. For that game and more, here's CNN's Kate Riley.


KATE RILEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A busy Saturday in Russia, an unprecedented four back-to-back matches to share with you. Perhaps the biggest of the day, Iceland playing in their first-ever World Cup, held the 2014 runners World Cup Argentina to a 1-1 draw. However, Argentina's superstar Lionel Messi had a penalty save. The Iceland keeper preserved an historic draw there.

Earlier in the day, one of the pretournament favorites, France, also saw history made in their match against Australia. Video assistant referee or VAR was used for the very first time in a World Cup. It happened in the second half, after the Australian defender Joshua Risdon challenged on the French side Antoine Griezmann.

After consultation, the Uruguayan ref gives the penalty and Griezmann converts in a 2-1 France win.

Peru's 36-year wait for a World Cup match is over. But it was bittersweet as the South American side fell 1-0 to Denmark in group C. In Kaliningrad it was a nightmare start for Nigeria. They gifted the European Croatians the lead after their first (INAUDIBLE) goal.

Croatia then were able to double their lead when Luka Modric converted a penalty in the second half. That is now the fifth straight game with a penalty this tournament. Extraordinary stuff. That's your FIFA World Cup update. I'm Kate Riley.


WATSON: Thanks, Kate.

And thanks for watching CNN. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment.