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More Than 1,400 Migrant Families Separated Under the Trump Administration Are Now Reunited After a Court-Imposed Deadline on July 26th; Interview With John Sandweg, Former Head of ICE Discussing Border Control; Shooting of African American, Markeis McGlockton, Echoes Trayvon Martin case After Being Shot at a Convenience Store by Suspect Michael Drejka; Jay-Z's New Documentary Series "Rest in Power". Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 31, 2018 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Welcome to the program. Ahead, two stories put a spotlight on racial tension in Donald Trump's America.

First, while many immigrant families are now reunited, there are still hundreds more unaccompanied children who are trapped in government custody

and bureaucracy. Will they ever see their parents again? John Sandweg, the Former Acting Head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

joins me live from Washington.

Then, in Florida, a black man is dead, his killer a white man is freed. Does Stand Your Ground mean a license to kill? I talk to Benjamin Crump,

attorney in the Trayvon Martin case.


Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. We have some good news to report on the status of migrant families separated

under the Trump administration, more than 1,400 of them are now reunited after a court-imposed deadline on July 26th.

To give you a sense of how that feels to the families themselves, take a look at this story of Juana, a mother who wrote to us after being separated

from her 15-year-old daughter in June.




AMANPOUR: Now thankfully for Juana and her family, there was a happy ending. Take a look.




AMANPOUR: Her daughter is 15, but so many are so much younger. For the more than 500 children still in government custody, there are no happy

stories to tell and no plan in place for tracking down their missing parents. In fact, as my first guest says, somberly, "They may never be

reunited at all," as Acting Head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, under President Barack Obama, John Sandweg had to navigate the messy

bureaucratic challenges facing immigrants families and he's joining me now from Washington. Mr. Sandweg, welcome to the program.

JOHN SANDWEG, FORMER HEAD OF ICE: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: So, just to flesh out what I just said, I mean, it's truly awful for a parent to hear, or any, you know, humane viewer to hear, that these

kids may never be reunited with their families. Is that what you think?

SANDWEG: Well, what worries me the most are the parents who've actually been deported. So during the month, you know, even after this policy was

announced by the president, that he was going to reunify the families; the deportation of the parents continued without their children. So we have at

least, you know, 460 parents who are now in Central America while their children are in the United States.

Look at how hard it was for the administration to reunite the parents who are in the United States, in their custody and where they knew where their

children was, and that just, you know, you could see the difficulties it's going to be when you have these parents in Central America; no one has any

idea where they are, no one's tracking them and there's no real ability to vet their sufficiency as a parent.

AMANPOUR: So I want to play you this little bit of testimony by a senior ICE official, to the Senate Judiciary Committee, just today, and get your

reaction to it.



MATTHEW (ph), SENIOR ICE OFFICIAL: So our ICE officers coercing parents to be deported, to leave their children behind, as Politico has suggested --

no. There was longstanding ICE policy, which dictates how reunification may occur for an individual that is being detained and going through an

immigration process.

A great many of these individuals do not wish to have their child returned home with them. The reason most of these individuals have come here in the

first place is to get their children to the United States.


AMANPOUR: Mr. Sandweg, does that ring true to you, that a great many of these parents just don't care; they don't want their kids to come home with


SANDWEG: No, I think -- now, listen -- that does not ring true to me. Certainly in the past, you know, and when working on these borders just for

a long time -- you see large numbers of unaccompanied minor children where the parents have sent the children. I think a lot of times that's dictated

by the smuggling organizations that are coaching the parents on the best strategy.

But listen, families don't travel together if they want to abandon their children at the border. You know, I think you've got to recognize, too,

that we had these parents in a very difficult position. They're locked up in Immigration Detention; they don't know when they're going to see their

children again. They don't have any information and they're powerless to do anything.

I do think that, and you know, some of these parents felt like the only possible way to get their children back, but to get themselves out of

custody and the only way they could effectively do that or do that at all, was to agree to be deported.

But I really do think it's misleading to suggest that these parents were just escorting their children up to the U.S. border. I'm not sure Matt,

who was speaking there, I'm not sure that's what exactly what he was suggesting.

AMANPOUR: Well, it sounded very much like he was suggesting that and we've heard, certainly other reports of. of these parents who are barely

literate, certainly can't speak English, have no idea how to navigate the justice system or the immigration system -- and they are frantic in whether

it's, you know, Guatemala or Honduras or wherever they've gone back to, don't know how to get their kids -- I just want to say, just another thing

that Matthew said, just to ask you whether this is acceptable from an official, as well, public.


MATTHEW (ph): I think the best way to describe them is to be more like a summer camp. These individuals have access to 24/7 food and water. They

have educational opportunities. They have recreational opportunities, both structured as well as unstructured.


AMANPOUR: I mean, he's talking about the detention facilities, obviously, especially those for the children. I mean, a summer camp?

SANDWEG: Yeah, obviously a very. poor choice of words there. Look, I've been in many of these detention facilities; obviously they're far from a

summer camp. We know that ICE does go out of its way to try to make family detention to comply with certain stringent requirements, but at the end of

the day detention is detention and the bottom line is detention is no place for families -- especially when there are more effective ways of handling

this humanitarian crisis at the border, that's not soft on border security, that's not catch and release, but it utilizes alternatives to detention,

things like ankle bracelets, that you know, in every pilot program I'm familiar with, we had a 96 to 99 percent success rate.

AMANPOUR: So it's somewhat -- how did it get so bad? You were, you know, senior official under the Obama administration of ICE and you remember, he

was famously called "The Deporter and Chief" -- there are a huge number of people who were deported under President Obama. But it seems like that

they went and certainly you went after people who were known to be criminals or felons. And now it's just a much bigger. everyone. big net.

SANDWEG: Yeah, that's exactly right, Christiane. You have to understand that the maximum ability of ICE to deport, even in 2012, the largest year

of deportations in U.S. history, it's about two percent of the undocumented population -- so there are 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in the

United States, but ICE can really only deport about 200,000 of those in a given year. So the philosophy of the Obama administration was -- hey,

listen, we can only deport 200,000; let's get the bad guys first. Let's focus on the jails, on the convicted criminals, the gang members, the

people who are crossing the border, intending to commit crimes. Let's put our emphasis there.

The problem is this administration is to just-. that somehow that was soft on immigration enforcement or soft on border security. And they've adopted

this one-size-fits-all approach. But there's really a massive difference, in fact, between an individual who's a violent felon or a convicted, you

know, a serious gang member -- and an individual who came here 20 years ago with their child to find a better life, has never committed a crime and now

has U.S. citizen children, is deeply integrated in the society -- you just can't treat them equally.

And when you divert resources to focus on that gardener, let's say, who's been here 15 years and now has U.S. citizen, children -- you know, that

means that some criminal or some gang member is getting free -- I worry that the president is selling the American people, frankly, a bill of goods

in this regard, suggesting that you can have your cake and eat it too and focus on everybody and still promote public safety, but that's just not a



AMANPOUR: Mm-hmm. And talking about public safety, because this is the heart of it; the president cites this as a national security issue and yet

we talk to a Republican mayor, Dee Margo of El Paso, when all this started, you know, in June and this is what he told us about the state of security

and safety in his area.


DEE MARGO, MAYOR EL PAS TX.: El Paso is the safest city in the United States, by any FBI or other measurement that you have and we have been in

the top three for many years; we are the safest city in the United States. We do not have the issues that are being talked about that you're

referencing. We have had them; we don't have them. So -- I'm in a quandary as to the, how they articulate or convey or portray from Mexico

what's going on; that's not our issue here.


AMANPOUR: So again, Mr. Sandweg, this is a massive policy with huge security, well, huge resources and huge humanitarian consequences, based on

a premise that at least that mayor says, frankly, doesn't exist.

SANDWEG: Christiane, the border has never been more secure along the U.S./Mexico border. Today we have over 20,000 Border Patrol agents who

made less than 400,000 arrests last year. Just 15 years ago you only had 5,000 Border Patrol agents making 1.2 million arrests. Far fewer people

are trying to get across that border and the people who are trying to get across that border, primarily the majority of which are now Central

American families, these Central American families are not trying to evade capture; they're not crossing the border and trying to run from the Border

Patrol; they're actually surrendering and following their asylum claims.

So there is a security risk along the border, absolutely, but the Border Patrol has never been better equipped to deal with it. But you cannot

conflate this humanitarian crisis and these families seeking, you know, asylum in the United States, with the security crisis. They are different

problems and when you try to put a security solution to a humanitarian crisis, frankly you weaken our overall border security.

AMANPOUR: Well, that's really interesting, because I think you're saying that actually the country is being made less safe than more safe with this

kind of policy. To that end, yes, am I right?

SANDWEG: Well, you're absolutely right. Border Patrol agents are not, you know, are not trained and are not supposed to be standing guard over little

children who have been separated from their parents. Border Patrol agents should be between the ports of entry, getting bad guys who are trying to

smuggle drugs into the United States or serious criminals who are trying to sneak back into the United States to commit crimes.

We're draining, we're diverting the resources; we're also giving the agency a black eye, which hinders their

ability to cooperate with these communities and cooperate with law enforcement in order to really be effective on their public safety mission.

AMANPOUR: Are those real, real, real life consequences that you're articulating, to the detriment of the United States. But I want to ask

you, because clearly as a, you know, senior ICE official, as the Former Acting Director, you're very, very well aware of the controversy now over

ICE itself and there are many, many loud and powerful voices calling for it to be disbanded. This is what Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told us, told CNN

just last month.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-NY: I believe that it has become a deportation force and I think you should separate it, the criminal justice from the

immigration issues and I think you should reimagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission. We believe that we should protect families

that need our help and that is not what ICE is doing today and that's why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build

something that actually works.


AMANPOUR: I mean, that's pretty harsh criticism of your former organization. Do you see where she's coming from, though?

SANDWEG: Well, she says two different things. One, first of all, one thing was the idea of separating the criminal investigation of ICE from the

immigration enforcement mission. I do think there's some merit to that, simply because the politics around the immigration enforcement, especially

the way this administration is using ICE, make it very hard for the criminal investigators to do their job.

Look, the ultimate frustration with the current immigration. situation with immigration enforcement in the U.S. lies with the administration itself.

Let's not forget the Zero Tolerance Policy as designed by senator, or Attorney General Sessions -- to the extent that, you know, ICE was moved to

a different agency or rebranded Ice -- as long as this administration is crafting the policies, I think the frustration will remain.

That said, look, we do need to reform immigration enforcement in this country. We rely far too expensively on detention. Detention is viewed as

the answer to all of our immigration problems when it simply is not an effective tool, an efficient tool and it's a tool that's not even friendly

to the taxpayers.

AMANPOUR: And it's certainly not a humane tool when you're talking about minors. I mean again, I just want to -- play you this little excerpt of a

woman talking about her child. Listen to this.




MALE: They interview (INAUDIBLE).


MALE: Okay.


MALE: This is -


AMANPOUR: I mean, again, you see so much pain, you hear so much pain and we're now even hearing from families who have got their kids back, like one

mother of a five-year-old said that her kid doesn't play anymore, her kid blames her and, and the families are sort of abandoning them and their

favorite game, at least this one kid has said to be, you know, packing down and shackling, as they've seen the officials do to the other migrant kids.

SANDWEG: It heartbreaking to watch, Christiane. I mean, that video is, you know, really hits home in terms of, in the sense that you can humanizes

it, you can see what these individual families would go through. I think what's even more frustrating about it that this was not planned. They

separated these families without any plan about reuniting them and all these delays we're seeing are the absolute lack of planning. And either

it's. regardless of, you know, the policy itself, which I don't think is an effective deterrent -- I think far too often we in the U.S. look at things

and say, how can we deter people from fleeing the murder capital of the Uni-. you know, of the world, paying everything they have to smugglers to

go through a horrific journey, when you know, what they're fleeing is so much worse than what we can do to them in the United States -- the idea

that we can deter them is, you know, is nonexistent.

But you know, when you look at that, that scenario, you haven't -- if you're going to adopt a policy like this, you have a responsibility and an

obligation to have a plan in place to reunite the families. It's clear that this administration did not take that responsibility seriously and

it's, it's really heartbreaking to watch that video.

AMANPOUR: Yeah, it really is and we thank you for your expert, you know, advice on all of this and we'll keep watching it. John Sandweg, thank you,

thank you very much for joining us.

SANDWEG: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And turning now to another story of fraud, with troubling racial overtones -- Florida's notorious Stand Your Ground law is back in the news.

After a fateful shooting in a parking lot, the latest incident took place in, on July 19th in Clearwater, Florida, when a black man, Markeis

McGlockton pulled up outside a convenience store. As he and his son headed into the store, leaving his girlfriend and their two younger children

behind, a white man named Michael Drejka approached their car to complain that they were parked in a space reserved for the disabled. Here is

surveillance camera video of what happened next.


(voice over) So first, McGlockton confronts Drejka, pushing him to the ground, away from the car. Then Drejka reaches for a gun and shoots

McGlockton once in the chest. Markeis McGlockton was pronounced dead at the hospital. Drejka, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon,

invoked Florida's Stand Your Ground law, claiming he believed the use of force was necessary to prevent grievous bodily harm and the Pinellas County

Sheriff's Office agreed.

The killing of Markeis McGlockton -- the shooting echoes another notorious shooting, the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, a case which polarized America

and is now the subject of a new documentary series called "Rest in Power" - - it's produced by Jay-Z and attorney Benjamin Crump represented Trayvon Martin's family; he appears in the documentary and he's now representing

Britany Jacobs, who is Markeis McGlockton's long-time partner and mother of his three children. Benjamin Crump joining me from New Orleans -- welcome

to the program.

So Mr. Crump, what does this say for this Stand Your Ground law? I mean, how is it possible that this is still, you know, being invoked in this

particular case?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY: Christiane, it's a very tragic -- as we face six years after Trayvon Martin's most unfortunate and untimely killing and on

the eve of the premiere of this docuseries where his parents, Sabrina and Tracy tell the story of Trayvon Martin and his enduring legacy -- that

we're now dealing, in the State of Florida again, with another very controversial Stand Your Ground killing, because Stand Your Ground is a

discriminatory, racist law in its application.

[14:20:00] It allows the person to start a confrontation with an unarmed person of color, then claim self-defense, after they shoot them and kill

them and say, "I was standing my ground," and get to go home and sleep in their bed at night. That's simply unacceptable. There's no justice in

this law of Stand Your Ground to people of color.

AMANPOUR: So what is your. what is your case against the shooter, who says that he felt grievous bodily harm and let me just say what the sheriff has

said about this and then I'll ask you.


AMANPOUR: Sorry, apparently it's a quote. He, the shooter felt that after being slammed to the ground, that he was going to be further attacked by

McGlockton, "I don't make the law but I will enforce the law and under these circumstances, this fits within the framework that the Florida

Legislature has crafted," so you sort of, you sort of talked about the framework, but what do you, what are you claiming about Drejka's state of

mind? And his habit.

CRUMP: Yes, ma'am. First you have to look at the video for yourself. Don't take the sheriff's narrative -- or look at the video for yourself.

Not only has Markeis McGlockton's family, as his attorneys, as well as the community reject the narrative that the sheriff has said, that this is

Stand Your Ground. Even the NRA and the Republican legislators who've drafted and passed the Stand Your Ground said this is a Stand Your Ground.

Because when you look at the video, you have to understand that this wannabe cop, Drejka, he came up to the car of Britany Jacobs who had her

two infants, aged three years old and four months old in the backseat -- she didn't know who this strange white man was. He knocked (INAUDIBLE)

where there start yelling and cursing at her, pointing his finger at her and assaulting her.

Well, Markeis is in the store with his five-year-old son; somebody tells him, your girlfriend is being assaulted. He comes out and he goes to

defend his family and defend his property. If anybody should have had Stand Your Ground, it should have been Markeis McGlockton and he didn't

slam him on the ground, he just pushed him, he fell back and then this wanna be cop takes a gun out and he points it at Markeis.

Four seconds pass. Markeis McGlockton takes four steps away. There's a white gentleman who comes up in the video; he also retreats. Everybody's

retreated. There is no need for him to use this deadly force. It is unjustified and certainly he did not have an objective fear at the time he

pulled the trigger, killing Markeis McGlockton in front of his five-year- old son and three-year-old daughter and his four-month-old baby boy.

AMANPOUR: So, Mr. Crump, you have written very, very powerfully, you've written, you know, op eds, you've said it's a very dangerous time to be

black in America. You've called the Stand Your Ground law a license to kill young black people or black men and we operate now in a state of

highly divisive tension in the United States of America.

Where, why is this Stand Your Ground law so powerful and particularly in Florida and is it the same case across the country?

CRUMP: It is, Christiane. Remember, as we head into the mid-term elections, this is going to be a critical issue, especially to communities

of color, because these are our children who people are picking fights with, starting confrontations and then they kill our children and they get

to go home and sleep in their bed at night. Just like with Trayvon Benjamin Martin, back in February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman shot Trayvon

Martin who was walking home, minding his business; all he had was a can of Skittles; I'm sorry, I think it was a can of ice tea and a bag of Skittles

and he was on the telephone. This Neighborhood Watch Volunteer profiled, pursued and shot this unarmed teenager in his heart.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Crump --

CRUMP: He got to go home and sleep in his bed at night.

AMANPOUR: Let me play the clip of what you are referring to. Because as I mentioned, "Rest in Power" the series again, produced by Jay-Z, has this

clip and I'm going to play it. It is the Trayvon Martin incident.



9-1-1 OPERATOR: (MUFFLED) Police (INAUDIBLE) -- (ph) Christian speaking.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: It appears that (INAUDIBLE) suspicious characters at the gate of my neighborhood.

9-1-1 OPERATOR: (MUFFLED) Describe these individuals.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Ah, two African American males.

9-1-1 OPERATOR: (MUFFLED) What's going on there, George?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: This gentleman was walking the neighborhood; I don't know what his deal is.

9-1-1 OPERATOR: (MUFFLED) White, black or Hispanic?


SANFORD POLICE OFFICER: (MUFFLED) Sanford Police Department.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Hey, we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there's a real suspicious guy.

SANFORD POLICE OFFICER: (MUFFLED) Okay. Is this guy white, black or Hispanic?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.


AMANPOUR: So Mr. Crump, you know, that was, that was as clear as daylight. Right? And even back then President Obama had said to the parents of

Trayvon Martin, "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon," but I want to ask you about today and about that case. Do you believe that that case has

energized communities? Has energized the black community and the issue of social justice -- has it made an impact or in the case of Markeis, just

shown that it, you know, it's same old/same old.

CRUMP: Well, this is both. energized community of color across America, across the world. Trayvon Martin and they, many time you said anywhere,

people knows that it stands for social justice and that Black Lives Matter. That is the catalyst for Black Lives Matter before Michael Brown and

Ferguson and so many other tragic killers of young men of color.

Also I think with the killing of Markeis McGlockton last week, it shows you that even though we have awakened to acknowledge to the world that Black

Lives Matter, we still have a very racist, criminal justice system that targets black men for crimes, but when we are the victims of crimes, they

don't hold anybody accountable for killing us.


And Stand Your Ground is one of those laws that is very, very problematic because it encourages people to take the law into their own hands. Shoot

first and ask questions later. Well, black people don't get the ability to Stand Your Ground in America. When we say, we were standing our ground,

we're taken to jail no matter what. But when white people kill us, they're, they are not taking to jail; they've given the benefit of the

doubt. This is not the right message to send to society, that violence is the solution. Violence is never the solution.

AMANPOUR: Well, you have now some very high profile people who are in your corner. LeBron James talked to CNN last night and said that it was that

case that mobilized him to get behind, you know, the Social Justice Movement in this case.

Benjamin Crump, thank you so much indeed for joining us tonight. And that is it for our program. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and

see us online at and you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.