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Families Still Separated at the Border; First Lady's Wardrobe Raises Questions; NY Times: Tense Argument at the White House as Government Officials Clash Over How to Address Migrant Families. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 22, 2018 - 20:00   ET




We have breaking news tonight on clashes of the highest levels of government over President Trump's executive order in separating from their parents to the border. And in the middle of it all, the president today seemed to suggest that the trauma of nearly 2,300 migrant children torn from their parents amounts to and I am quoting here, "phony stories of sadness and grief."

It came in a tweet, quote, "We cannot allow our country to be overrun by illegal immigrants that the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief hoping it will help them in the elections. Phony stories of sadness and grief."

Now keeping them honest, what's odd about that is that the president has claimed a number of times how sad he was by what he has seen and the stories of sadness and grief were allegedly real enough to him just two days ago when he signed that order claiming to undo the family separation policy when he himself enacted.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I consider it to be very important executive order. It's about keeping families together while at the same time being sure that we have a very powerful very strong border, and border security will be equal if not greater than previously.

So we're going to have strong, very strong borders but going to keep the families together. I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.


COOPER: So two days ago, the stories were real enough to take executive action, today they're phony. Now a short time after tweeting that the president hosted an event designed to portray undocumented immigrants in their harshest life possible and event with families who have lost loved ones to violence committed by undocumented immigrants.


TRUMP: These are American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones. The word permanently being the word that you have to think about. Permanently. They are not separated for a day or two days. They are permanently separated. Because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens.


COOPER: Now keeping them honest, the president is trying to portray the people we see being separated from their children in the worse possible light equating them with dangerous criminals, rapist and murderers as he has so often done in the past.

In that same gathering the president also perpetuated the falsehood about undocumented immigrants and crime.


TRUMP: I always hear that no, the population is safer than the people that live in the country. You've heard that, fellows, right? You've heard that. I hear so much and I say is that possible? The answer is it's not true. You hear it's like they are better people than what we have than our citizens.


COOPER: Well, the notion that people who disagree with the president's confusing policy are arguing that the undocumented immigrants are better people than American citizens. That's a false notion. It's a lie designed to anger American citizens and pick groups against one another.

There are numerous studies that show undocumented immigrants do not commit more crimes, in fact just the opposite. But that doesn't mean anyone is saying they are better than American citizens and the president certainly knows that But he makes this fake argument to fit a narrative of what he's trying to do to demonize people even children.

As for the possibility of some sort of action on Capitol Hill to reach more comprehensive and less confusing immigration policy, today the president told Congress to just forget about it for now.

"Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more senators and congressmen women in November. Dems are just playing games and have no intention of doing anything to solve this decades' old problem. We can pass great legislation after the red wave."

Now last night we heard from Cindy Madrid whose 6-year-old daughter was taken from her 11 days ago.


COOPER: In a moment, we'll tell you some new information, and news about her and others. First, the ongoing challenges.

CNN's Nick Valencia outside of detention center in Los Fresnos, Texas, he joins us. Nick, you actually spoke with a pro bono immigration attorney today who was able to go into the facility. What did she tell you?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Eileen Blessinger, it took her three hours to get inside to this detention center even though she had all the proper paperwork to see clients. Once she finally did get inside, she said the conditions were pretty good that the inmates or detainees, I should say, were getting fed well.

But she said that there was a lot of confusion with the most of the 1,700 detainees inside having no idea where their kids are.


EILEEN BLESSINGER, PRO BONO ATTORNEY FOR IMMIGRANTS: A lot of the children, a lot of the parents have not spoken to the children. When I asked the guards last night what do we do to make sure this happens. I was told they just need to put in a request. They just need to put in a request. Someone I explain that we had eight requests put in one person. They said well, we'll try to follow-up with it. You can make a complaint.

So this morning when I went in and I did made a complaint. And I spoke with an ICE officer who said he was going to follow up and I need to e-mail him directly. My concern is, I can do that to the people I'm meeting with but what about all the people who are in there who haven't had a chance to meet with an attorney, they are still in the same boat.

[20:05:00] And these people also don't know where their children are, so they can't even send a letter to their child if they want to. There's no communication between their children.


VALENCIA: Blessinger is part of an all-call here for bilingual immigration attorneys to help these detainees out to what is going to be a painstakingly long process. Anderson?

COOPER: So from what I understand, I mean, it could take up to a month for parents to be reunited with their kids, is that right?

VALENCIA: It is. And I want to be clear about something. We've shown out here outside of this detention center because we were told by ICE that this is where families were going to be reunited. And when we show up we heard from multiple attorneys that came out of this facility that it was going to be a month at best.

We also hear inside detainees are not getting communicated with properly. In fact, some of them are finding out that this zero tolerance policy has been dropped and the executive order has been signed by the president through this immigration attorney. It is not ideal circumstances for those that are being held and certainly a lot of confusion that's brewing because of the lack of communication.

COOPER: So I mean, have they even told from any kind of officials about reunification?

VALENCIA: I lost my I.B.

MACCALLUM: All right. Lost I.B. there. All right. Thanks very much.

More now on the breaking news we mention at the top of the broadcast. Confusion, chaos over President Trump's executive order. Clashes over what to do next. At evidence that neither the order nor the policy superseded was especially well thought out especially with regard to implementation.

It's laid out in the new report in the New York Times White House correspondent Michael Shear is on the byline has the very latest.

Michael, it's remarkable reporting can you just walk us through what happened last night at the White House and again this morning.

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: Right. So, after the president's executive order on Wednesday which was as we know very sudden. This was not something that was a deliberative process. This wasn't something that came about with a lot of forethought. And we've seen the results of that.

There was a lot of confusion at the border. Different parts of the government didn't really know how to implement it. And so by Thursday night a meeting convened in the situation room in the White House. It's about two hours long. All of the different agencies were they. So you had DOD, you had DHS, you had HHS, you had the border patrol agencies, and of course, the White House.

And they all sat around in what I'm told is a very tense meeting, essentially arguing about how do we implement this. It continued the next day Friday morning where the commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection came back to the White House.

And I'm told, essentially the meetings continued all through the day Friday as they struggled with how do we actually put in place, how do we do zero-tolerance the policy that the president wanted -- wants there to be so that there is no catch-and-release as the president said. How do they do that while at the same time keeping these families together. It's a real monumental task that involves all these agencies working together and they are trying to do it on the fly.

COOPER: And I guess it's, according to reporting, it's the Customs and Border Protection which is really kind of raising the biggest alarms about this just since they are the front line agents and officers.

SHEAR: Right. So you know, a family comes across, you know, mom and dad come across, they got a little child with them illegally across the border. They raise their hands and say here we are. It's the Customs and Border Protection agents that are going to be those folks that are going to take them into custody. They are the ones that, you know, are on that on the border, the literal border.

And they've got figure out how to sort of process them. Their initial entry into the system. Do they hand over them to Justice Department for immediate prosecution. Do they hand them over to DHS and ICE which is the immigration system. And they are, we're told, the agency that's most concerned with, look, we just don't have the resources.

They told us that one of the things that they've said is that Justice Department, the lawyers, there aren't prosecutors, there aren't enough judges to actually prosecute all of these people and they are raising the red flag.

COOPER: You also reported that before the president signed the executive order on Wednesday, he was repeatedly changing his mind about what he was going to do. Do we know why?

SHEAR: We don't. I mean, look, the sense that we have, is that the president up until the last minute was convinced by both his own set of beliefs. But also the hard line advisers that are around him Stephen Miller. I'm sure your viewers have heard about, he's, you know, really the architect of all of these ideas.

And those people have convinced the president until the very last moment that he was doing the right thing with the zero tolerance and that despite all of these kinds of heartbreaking terrible images that these families being separated that he should stick with it. And it wasn't until really the last moment that he had vacillated back and forth and finally said, OK, I got to do something.

If your viewers will remember the travel ban sort of chaos from the beginning of the administration it was similar in which a lot of these questions about how they find space, where do they find space, those should have been, you know, in a normal administration should have been hashed out well before this president signed his name on any executive order. But in this administration, they've just sort of done things backwards.

[20:10:12] COOPER: Michael Shear, fascinating. Thanks very much.

SHER: Sure.

COOPER: Now a fact check on how much of any of this confusion, chaos and pain actually have happened and all of that. And to look at the legal angles joining us now for that is John Sandweg who serve during the last administrations, he's the acting director of ICE, the agency responsible for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also Harvard law School's Alan Dershowitz, author of "The Case Against Impeaching Trump."

John, let me start with you. First of all, just in terms of what Michael is saying about this policy clearly wasn't thought out. I mean, it seems like there's more and more evidence of that every single day.

General Kelly when he was head of homeland security he was talking about the possibility of separating families on television. And it doesn't seem like there was planning from that time.

JOHN SANDWEG, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: Yes. They've been talking his for a year but there's absolute chaos on the field because there's no clear guidance being given to the field because there's no clear plan back in Washington.

Look, you can't roll out a big policy like this especially one that's involving kids. Without doing the leg work in advance the policy planning and the budgeting and all the other logistical work that goes on at the White House where they bring the agencies together and coordinate all of this so they can get clear a guidance to the field so there's no confusion.

And I'm afraid, you know, this really is a pattern we've seen with the administration going back to the travel ban initially. We have that chaos in the field. This time we're dealing with kids, though.

COOPER: And under Flores, you were saying, you know, they were talking about the military camps. It's more than just the 20-day limit on kids. There is actual regulation of how kids have to be--

SANDWEG: You have excellent career people in the government. At CBP at ICE at HHS you understand all these various complication. So when you see the executive order coming out and saying hey, we are going to build a 20,000-person family detention center at the military, you know, you look at that and you say this doesn't comply with Flores. There's no way they can do that.

And by the way, I think in my estimate going to cost at least 2 to $3 billion. If you look at ICE it's currently, you know, $350 per night per family member per family detention. ICE has 2,000 beds, and spend $350 million on that right now annually. You times that by 10 you're looking at 3.5 billion. There is no money budgeted for that.

COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, I mean, is this like in your opinion the travel ban in terms of just how disorganized a roll out this has been?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, it's much, much worse. This is a president who is an article two president. He claims he has this enormous authority. He can fire Comey, he can fire whoever he wants and suddenly, he doesn't have power under article two. What he can do is he can issue three orders immediately.

No future separation. That's number one. Number two, no detention of any child beyond 20 days in compliance with Flores, number two. Number three, immediate reunification of all separated families within three to five days. He can issue that order. And then say to all the departments work within those constraints.

If you have to put bracelets on people -- look, the president complained that Manafort went to jail where he should have worn a bracelet. Manafort can wear a bracelet. All of these people go wear a bracelet. It will cheaper to do. It will raise the rate from 75 percent who show up to 95 percent, no it won't be 100 percent but perfection is the enemy of the good. The president has the power to do the right thing and there is no

excuse that this article two president not to invoke his powers under article two to do the right thing.

COOPER: John, do you think that that is going to be what it is boil down to? Basically releasing, releasing people with their kids.

SANDWEG: Well, I think he has to listen. I agree with the professor 100 percent. The president can do this immediately. The problem is the president trying to kick (Ph) in it as he needed to. He's saying I'm going to continue to do this zero tolerance we're going to continue to detain everybody but we're going to reunite the kids.

The problem with that is you now have kids scattered all around the country. So, a, finding the kids and bringing them back to the parents alone is difficult. But I want to think the things that set simple. You have parents, you know, kids who are in foster facilities where there are various state laws and federal laws in place regarding theee conditions in which that child must to be confined and what's in the best interest of the child.

How is it in the best interest of the child to bring them back into a detention facility that doesn't even comply with Flores?

COOPER: You can't just yank them out of a foster situation and transport them.

SANDWEG: It's not that simple. Once they are taken away, it gets a lot more complicated. And so, look, there is a simple way of doing it and the professor was exactly right. Release the parents, put them on the bracelet. Give them an expedited court date you still have border security which we need but you also have humanitarian -- you know, humanity and you also have, you know, families that are together.

COOPER: We're talking about and the professor mentioned 95 percent do return in that policy, that happens.


SANDWEG: The first issue with catch-and-release, it's not base on this base that people have absconded from court. If they abscond from court ICE has the ability to go get them. The problem is that we never give them court dates.

The Department of Justice which administers the immigration courts they're not truly independent courts. They are executive branch courts under the Department of Justice. They reprioritize their hearing days for individuals who are not in custody. So when you release those family members, what ended up happening was they were getting two, three, four-year court days. You know, they won't have their hearing on their asylum claim for four years.

[20:14:59] So, if you are a border hawk, that sure feels like amnesty, right. There person came in, they cheated the system then their family they never even got order to be deported. But there is a simple way to fix that. Put them on the bracelet. Hire more judges, expedite the hearing then you'll have complete border security and zero tolerance but you also have families that are together.

COOPER: Professor, do you agree that there need to be more judges on this. I mean, there's something like a backlog of 700,000 cases.

DERSHOWITZ: We need more prosecutors, more defense attorneys and more judges. This is a serious matter. When you tell so whether they can't come in to the country and that they are going to be detained we have to have the resources to back that. And the resources require expedited trials.

I would like to see a Flores decision to say unless you are brought to trial within 90 days, you get to stay in the country free and then they can set a date in the future when they can have a trial.

But in the meantime bring the families together. You can't use the lack of resources as an excuse to keep families separated and to cause this permanent trauma. The president has the power to do it. If he doesn't think he does, I would be happy to write a constitutional brief telling him that he has that power. The question is does he have the will to do the right thing. That's the challenge.

COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, great to have you as always. John Sandweg, as well. I really appreciate it. Good discussion.

Coming up, breaking news, just ahead, the girl heard on that audio tape has finally got one thing that she and her mom had been hoping for quite a while now. We'll bring you the details on that.

And later, the day after she wore the jacket with the words, "I really don't, do you?" on the back, Melania Trump took to Twitter. We'll tell you what she said today.


COOPER: The administration today said there are approximately 500 children have now been reunited with their parents. That number comes in a letter obtained by CNN from Customs and Border Patrol to Congress.

Now according to the document, that number represents 15 percent of the total number of kids separated from their families suggesting the total numbers 3,000 not 2,000.

There's breaking news as well tonight on the story of one child that has captured great deal of attention over the past couple of days.

Gary Tuchman reports that the 6 -year-old girl heard on that powerful audio clip obtained by ProPublica has been able to speak with her mother now. A Salvadorian migrant Cindy Madrid. The daughter's name is Alison Hemena (Ph) and until yesterday she and her mother were not able to speak directly. I'm going to talk to Gary in a moment. But first I want to just remind you of the original audio recording.


COOPER: Gary joins us now from Phoenix outside the facility where Alison Hemena (Ph) and other kids are being held. So what have you learned, Gary?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this shelter in the heart of Phoenix is where Alison Hemena, the 6-year-old girl is living 1,300 miles away from her mother Cindy who is in Texas. They were split apart from each other 11 days ago, they haven't communicated since then but that has now all changed.

A statement has been released by the company Southwest Key which owns this shelter and many others. The statement reads. "The child was able to speak with her mother for 30 minutes yesterday. We are continuing to provide this child with excellent care and are advocated for safe reunification on her behalf as well as continued communication with her mother and aunt."

She had talked to her aunt earlier. "Due to the need to protect the privacy of the children in our care, we cannot speak to specifics about her arrival at our shelter."

Now before we got the statement, Anderson, we're trying to find out answers. We walked into this facility, walked up into the gate and weren't allowed inside. We were able to talk to an employee on a call box.


TUCHMAN: I understand you won't let us in, but can someone come out here and fill us in on the condition of this little girl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We're not allowed to speak to the media at all.

TUCHMAN: Is there anyone in there though, who is allowed who is the boss who can talk to us?


TUCHMAN: How is the little girl doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry. I really can't give any information about the little girl.

TUCHMAN: You need what?


TUCHMAN: I didn't hear what you said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot give any information of the little girl. It's violating her privacy.

TUCHMAN: Well, yes, it's too much privacy because she's not allowed to her mother. That's the precise point why I am here. Just let us know if she's healthy, you can certainly say that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do want to let you know that all the minors in the facility they are doing fine and they are OK. TUCHMAN: So all the minors in the facility are doing fine and OK. You

just told me that all the minors inside are OK. So I just want to make sure that includes Alison Hemena (Ph). Is she OK, too?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the minors in here are well taken care off. And I'm sorry I just can't continue answering any more questions. OK? Have a nice day.

TUCHMAN: Have a nice day.


TUCHMAN: Well after that statement, after e-mails, after phone calls that we made all day. We got the statement at Southwest Key that mother and daughter have indeed talked.

In addition, a source with knowledge of the situation, does say they tried to set up Southwest Key a conversation between mother and daughter, Anderson, three days ago. The mother was supposed to call but she is being detained. She wasn't able to call for whatever reason. They also said there is another call scheduled for this Tuesday, this Tuesday afternoon. Anderson?

COOPER: And is there any information about when they may be reunited?

TUCHMAN: Yes, so the mother has absolutely no idea when she would be reunited with her daughter. That's obviously the most important thing right now and neither do her lawyers nor her advocates. Right now, Anderson, it's 110 degrees here in Phoenix. We are told that the air- conditioning in the shelter is working fine and there's plenty of food and water for the children. Anderson?

COOPER: Gary Tuchman, thanks very much. I appreciate it.

Coming up, the jacket that Melania Trump wore to a child detention center in Texas the one with a sign on the back of it saying "I really don't care, do you?" has really generated a lot of headlines. Now it's one of her tweets that's grabbing people's attention. Details on that ahead.


COOPER: First lady Melania Trump took to Twitter today one day after her unexpected trip to South Texas to visit a shelter where immigrant kids were being housed. Of course, the most visible aftershock of that trip was the jacket she wore both leaving for Texas and returning to Washington, the one that said on the back "I really don't care, do you?

The jacket her spokesperson said had no hidden message. And the one that the president said had a message after all it was explanation about being -- about the media seem to defy a logic.

Today on twitter she didn't mention the jacket saying her visit was, quote, "very touching." And she added, "It's my sincere hope Congress will be able to reach across the aisle and find a solution." This followed by a tweet a couple of days ago by President Trump's daughter Ivanka who wrote in part, "Congress must now act and find a lasting solution that is consistent with our shared values that so many come here seeking as they endeavor to create a better life for their families."

A.B. Stoddard and Amanda Carpenter join us now. Amanda, I mean, the idea that the first lady is supposed to be one of the moderating influences on the president, certainly regarding immigration. I'm wondering how much of that capital do you think was squandered by the sign on the back of her jacket. Whatever the intent was. And I'm not even clear it's really -- I don't know that anybody exactly knows what the intent was other than there was some sort of intent.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I have a theory. I agree with their team that there was no hidden message. I think there was a message broadcast loud and clear not to us in the media, not to the migrant children, but to her husband.

Melania Trump speaks with fashion and has in very controversial ways to her husband. Let's recall after the Access Hollywood tape, she donned that beautiful cozy bow blouse which generated a lot of coverage because everyone understood that message.

After the Stormy Daniels affair was revealed she wore a beautiful white pantsuit to the state of the union address as a sort of clap back to Hillary Clinton's white pantsuit in suffrages women.

[20:29:58] I think this jacket which she put on leaving Washington and once again in Washington was a message to her husband saying I just don't care, do you. She did not care to coordinate that trip with the White House. It was unannounced. She would unilaterally. I think she is speaking to Trump and she doesn't care what anybody else thinks because she is consumed with that drama.

COOPER: A.B., I mean, I am wondering what you make of this jacket which is still kind of a topic of discussion. A designer Zara which apparently she doesn't really wear very much, Ivanka Trump wears a lot. I don't know perhaps if there might have been a message to Ivanka Trump in some way. What do you think?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REALCLEARPOLITICS: You know, I do think because the President brought it up and he had his own theory about the jacket that he expressed in his tweet that it is -- he sort of made it the news, right? We shouldn't be too focused on it. But now he is focused on it. And that makes it more of a story. But I couldn't have said it better than what Amanda said. I think that she came out as his first state visit when the Emmanuel Macron came she appeared in the white suit with that white hat and absolutely sucked all of the oxygen out of everything the entire day was about the hat.

And she knows exactly how to focus the attention on her. And I think she sort of trolls her husband. And I do think that is a message. I think wearing -- be willing to wear a Zara Jacket that cost $39 is great for her.

Now I admit this whole time that I'm about a double standard that we would be alarmed if Michelle Obama or Laura Bush had done this. We would be, we would say, what's going on? You know, did they fall over and hit their head, what is this message? But Melania Trump is in a very bizarre situation. She's making the best of it. She's incredibly dignified. She's a polar opposite of her husband. She doesn't use the media to -- and she doesn't like the spotlight. She doesn't want to bring attention to herself. She didn't wear the jacket in the facility. And so that was really -- that was very obvious and intentional. At the facility it was about the children. But she made the story of the day all about her. No matter how much ranting was going on, on that cabinet room when the President tried to return the attention back to him.

COOPER: You know, Amanda, I do find it funny that some supporters of this President are saying, look, this is ridiculous that people are focusing on what the message was on the back of the first lady's jacket. But to A.B.'s point, I mean if Michelle Obama had worn a jacket with a sign on the back of it, you know, on a trip that was supposed to be about caring and said I don't care, I mean, people's heads would have exploded. It's -- there is such this double standard. And so -- I mean, it's almost like one of these, on 24, you see a hostage video when people are blinking a secret message to something you can't ignore when the first lady of the United States is wearing a sign on her back in the most public way possible?

CARPENTER: Yes, or when he makes her platform be best to combat cyber bullying when her husband is the biggest cyber bully that, you know, the world has arguably ever seen. And so, I think we can say, OK, this is the message he is sending to her husband, she is trying to be this influence but it's also an incredibly unnecessary juvenile dramatic move.

COOPER: It was like high school?

CARPENTER: Caught up in the drama between her and her husband. She did take the focus away from those children. But I was really rooting for her on this trip. I thought it was excellent that she was going. I have been really tough on Ivanka for supposedly talking to her father about the images but not going down there. And so I was thrilled that the first lady went down there. But once she decided to put on the jacket for whatever reason, she took the focus off the children and she made it controversial for what I think is no good reason.

COOPER: A.B. I mean, Ivanka Trump has kind of always pitched herself as someone compassionate to mothers and children and decent tweeting presumably she could go to visit a detention center just a normal jacket. It seemed like she was getting attention for having had an influence on her father. I'm wondering if Melania Trump has some sort of if this may have been directed toward Ivanka for kind of grabbing credit because the President referenced Melania Trump as being an influence on his opinion?

STODDARD: This is a very interesting tension. Remember, I sort of talking about Melania Trump who ended up in the situation where the President won the presidency and she stayed in New York. She obviously was hesitant about this whole role to begin with and living in that bubble, that fish bowl. And now, you know, she didn't sign up to be a senior advisor the way Ivanka Trump did.

Ivanka Trump could come and take serious accountability of this issue. She could see to it that they decide on a policy that they get out of a state of confusion, that they find a system where these 2,000 kids can be located.

[20:35:04] Melania, I think just wanted to make a statement about how important this issue was, but I see it through completely different prism than Ivanka.

COOPER: A.B. Stoddard, I appreciate it. Amanda Carpenter as well, thanks very much.

Coming up next, how this is playing out in the border through the eyes of the people now struggling to implement the President's executive order.


COOPER: Tonight's breaking news on clashes between top officials over implementing the President's border policy, executive order gives a top down view of the problem. Right now though, what appears to be a policy train wreck as well as a man main human tragedy is unfolding through the eyes of the people on the ground on the border. CNN Martin Savidge reports.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the start of a deadly season. Submarine Arizona's high desert, it's 107 degrees down from 110. The land is purged and so rugged, it can shutter bones. There are many dangers here.

Last week a U.S. border patrol agent was shot multiple times. He survived. The gunman they say, likely a drug trafficker or human smuggler that got away. Agent Dan Hernandez, along with other members of U.S. customs and border protection watch over a 262 miles stretch a border.

DAN HERNANDEZ, BORDER PATROL AGENT: On a given, we patrol on area that size of New Jersey.

SAVIDGE (on camera): New Jersey?

HERNANDEZ: Yes, I mean it's a massive --

[20:40:00] SAVIDGE: Tucson is the second busiest sector in the country for drugs and illegal border crossings. Most agents here patrol alone. Constantly spied on by human traffickers just over the way.

HERNANDEZ: So as we are talking right now, there are two scouts up on the ridge top.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The job's never been easy but the President's immigration flip-flop hasn't help. (On camera) Have you implemented the President executive orders?

RODOLFO KARISHCH, TUCSON SECTOR CHIEF, U.S. BORDER PATROL: Yes. U.S. customs and border protection took steps immediately to implement the President's executive order.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): According to Chief Karishch separated family members still in border patrol custody are being reunited. He can speak for those in the hands of other agencies.

KARISHCH: A family would not be prosecuted unless one of them had a criminal record but would go through a deportation process.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Correct.

KARISHCH: And individual coming across will be prosecuted for breaking the law.


(voice-over): But what about the President's argument, the heart breaking policy was a deterrent for prevent others from crossing illegally.

(on camera): With the implementation of zero tolerance, have you seen a decline in those numbers?

KARISHCH: Our numbers have remained but we also haven't been doing this long enough.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Little to know impact the border crossings but the damage to the border patrol's public image maybe a mess. From the pictures of horrifying children to their recorded cries in detention.

(On camera) When you saw those pictures, when you heard that audio, what were you thinking?

KARISHCH: The picture of the children crying?


KARISHCH: I mean, it is something that we have seen in the past. In 32 years, I have seen a lot of those situations up and down the border. So it is something. It is something that goes at your heart.

SAVIDGE: Rank-and-file agents tell me they worry the public will be blamed them for a President failed policy.

(on camera) There were people who believe that your agents were ripping children out of the hands of the parents?


SAVIDGE: Is that true, does that happen?

KARISHCH: False narrative. I mean, at the end of the day, it is a process that we have.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Meanwhile, agent Hernandez continues to patrol in the heat in the hills of southern Arizona. He can now keep undocumented families he finds together but in this deadly landscape, he is more concerned with keeping them alive.


COOPER: And Martin joins us now. What is your understanding of what happens to families after they have been processed for deportation?

SAVIDGE: This is an ever evolving process. Let me tell you, first of all, the CBP is saying now they expect all of the families that were in their custody to all be reunited by the end of the day today.

So here is what happens, those that are detained. And you can see the custom and border patrol people right behind us here. What they do is they make the initial apprehension. They detained whoever comes cross illegally, take them back to the station, try to determine who they are. In other words, are they who they say they are? And also, are they really the parents of the minors that they maybe with, that can take some time. But once they do that and if they established this is a legitimate family, the next step in the process is to notify ICE, that's immigration and customs enforcement.

And for that process, they come, collect them and take them over to their world. And that's where the real deportation process goes. Could be two directions, one is the family can ask and request asylum and begin that process. More than likely thought it's going to be the deportation process and eventually they're sent back to the country from where they began. That's how it was explained to me. Anderson.

COOPER: And you said that they're likely by the end of the day those who have been separated to be reunited. Where will they go once they are reunited?

SAVIDGE: That is the part we still don't know. There are a lot of holes. When I asked where will they go? And what timeframe, they couldn't say. We only learned they're going to be reunited just a short while ago. When I asked earlier today, they had no idea, every hour, it changes.

COOPER: All right, thanks, so much, I appreciate it.

Up next, the so-called angels in orange, helping the forgotten living on the streets, we are champions for change, when we continue.


[20:48:21] COOPER: Throughout the week we have been bringing you our special series champions for change, stories of people who really make a big difference in the world.

Tonight Bill Weir shows us how his champions fighting in problem close to his heart right here in New York City, take a look.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the richest city in the world, a place with so much to see, it's a sight that makes so many look away.


WEIR: But they lean in.


WEIR: Rain or shine or constant rejection, they refuse to forget the forgotten. Because these angels in orange know that with enough relentless compassion, they can turn a life like this --

ROBERT OFFLEY: Look how great my closet is. I've got shelves for my shoes. I put my sneakers up there.

WEIR: Into one like this.

OFFLEY: Look how big my bathroom is. Big!

WEIR: This is Robert.

OFFLEY: I got a shower and I got a -- and I got a hand shower.

WEIR: And he's kind of excited about his little studio apartment because for a decade he lived here.

OFFLEY: This is like the bench here.

WEIR (on camera): This is your old home right here?

OFFLEY: Yes, where I got -- where I got the aneurism.

WEIR: You had the aneurism here?


WEIR: Wow.

WEIR (voice over): For years he sneered at those angels in orange, until a near death experience urged him to trust for a change.

OFFLEY: My real story is about these people. My family. They saved my life. They saved my life.

WEIR (on camera): I think about that story a lot walking around my city and I wonder, if we repeated it enough times in enough cities, could America rid itself of homelessness?

[20:50:04] And you think about it this way. You see a sick and lost person on the street every day, day after day, you feel sorry and maybe give them a couple bucks or buy them a sandwich. Well, years of data shows us that that good intention actually feeds bad habits and a vicious expensive cycle of emergency rooms and shelters and drunk tanks. What that person really needs is a home. So instead of the money, maybe you give them a card to a place like Urban Pathways, charities that believe in housing first.

FREDERICK SHACK, CEO, URBAN PATHWAYS: It's not as complicated as it appears. If you can provide people with stable housing and with support, they, in conjunction with you will do the work to find their dignity and to basically reach their full potential.

WEIR: Which is different from the old model, right?

SHACK: Totally different.

WEIR (voice over): With the old model, a person had to get clean and sober first. They had to get housing ready. But years in scary shelters and shadows can make this near impossible.

OFFLEY: And my giant sized microwave that I love so much. Oh, yeah!

WEIR: They do so much better with a place of their own.

WEIR (on camera): This is a long way from a park bench.

OFFLEY: Yes. Oh, yes. And it's (INAUDIBLE).

MARTHA VALENTINE, CASE MANAGER, URBAN PATHWAYS: And the best part just to see them come through at the end. So years down the line, you see them, you won't even recognize them.

WEIR (voice over): In over 20 years of outreach, Martha has seen so many transformations, including Charles, her street team partner.

WEIR (on camera): You were on the street? How old?


WEIR: Really? And what happened? How did you get there? How did you get out?

YARBROUGH: My family didn't approve of me being gay, so I left.

WEIR: Oh, geez.

YARBROUGH: So I stayed in a shelter. I -- like I just got my first apartment and I'm like 33.

WEIR: Congratulations.

WEIR (voice over): While they are out here building trust, their colleagues are building homes with a creative mix of public and private financing.

WEIR (on camera): On behalf of your friends at Urban Pathways, welcome home.


WEIR: Can't waiting to go check it out.

WEIR (voice over): After losing his mother to cancer and his home to a scamming landlord --

BURROUGHS: This is beautiful.

WEIR: This Robert's bipolar disorder could have led to a life on the street. But thanks to donors like Extell Development and a small government subsidy, his new apartment costs about the same as keeping him alive with shelters and emergency rooms.

SHACK: Ask any New Yorker, would you rather spend $22,000 a year and have a person sleeping on the sidewalk, or spend $23,000 a year and have that person living in an apartment like this?

WEIR (on camera): So what kind of future do you imagine now that you're in a place like this for yourself?

BURROUGHS: Well, I mean, you know, I -- the goal is to, you know, start working again. I want to eventually get my social work degree.


BURROUGHS: You know.

WEIR: Give a little back. All right.

BURROUGHS: Exactly. Absolutely, give a little back.

WEIR (voice over): And that is why the angels of Urban Pathways are my role models.

WEIR (on camera): I want you to hang onto this card, OK?

WEIR (voice over): My "Champions for Change," out there proving what can happen with a little old fashion compassion and a new idea.

WEIR (on camera): You trust me?


WEIR: You trust me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know --


COOPER: And Bill Weir joins me now. This group is doing such good work?

WEIR: It really. It is amazing. Already since we started sharing this story they've been flooded with such compassion for people who want to either help out or need homes. I never thought we'd attract homeless folks who see this and say I need a roof over my head. But when you give them dignity, you give them a sense of security. Because these people have been living in perpetual survival mode sometimes for decades out there, which makes it almost impossible to get sober and get your head straight but now once inside they can apply for a job, get medication, see their families again for the first time.

COOPER: Yes, so glad you did. Bill, thanks very much, I appreciate it.

WEIR: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: You can see more inspirational stories during the Champions for Change, one hour special tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN. We'll be right back.


[20:58:15] COOPER: It's unclear tonight if congressional lawmakers will vote on a compromise bill on immigration next week. President Trump now suggests they wait until after the midterm elections when he believes more Republicans will be elected, making it easier to pass the legislation.

Senator Marco Rubio, one time campaign rival obviously of President Trump and a child of Cuban immigrants does not support the family separations but he does back some of what the President says about immigrants. Rubio talked with David Axelrod for tomorrow night's episodes of "The Axe Files." Take a look.


DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: -- 98%, 99% of these people are being charged with a misdemeanor, they don't have criminal histories. Is it fair to depict them in that way?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Yes, I don't think it is ever wise to cast a broad net, a generalization over any group of human beings. So, yes there are people that cross the border that are dangerous and criminals and alike. I would say through my experience the vast majority of people are coming over because just want a better life.

And my sense of it is if you are a father, for example my situation, if my family is desperate they are living in a dangerous situation, I'd do almost anything to protect my children and find a better life for them. So we have to understand that element of it. That doesn't mean we don't have to have laws on our end.


COOPER: Don't miss more of the interview, that's tomorrow night at 7:00 on "The Axe Files." They also discussed the Republican Party in the error of President, the Mueller investigation and more again, 7:00 tomorrow night.

And on Sunday night, please join me as well as David Axelrod, Karl Rove, Glenn Close, Robin William's son Jack and many others for a really important town hall conversation. All of us in some ways have been touched by suicide, crisis in the headlines in recent weeks following the lost for a friend and colleague Anthony Bourdain and stylist Kate Spade on Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. We bring you the special report, "Finding Hope, Battling America's Suicide Crisis." You'll see how suicide impacts so many families. You can learn about warning signs and you'll going to hear some really inspirational stories of survival. There is hope and that's such an important message.

[21:00:03] Again, that's Sunday at 7:00 p.m. just before this Season's final two episodes of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.

Thanks for watching 360. I hope you have great weekend, I'll see you on Monday. Time to hand it over to Chris -- Cuomo Prime Time starts now. Chris?