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White Nationalists to Rally across from White House Sunday; Judge Halts Mother-Daughter Deportation to El Salvador; Training for the Border Patrol in the Age of Trump; UN Chief wants Investigation after Children Killed in Airstrike. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 10, 2018 - 10:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: This Sunday, a strikingly somber and sobering reality of where America really is today. It marks not only the one year mark of the deadly unite the right protest in Charlottesville that killed those two state troopers and this woman, 32-year-old Heather Heyer. It will also see a large gathering of white supremacist in the nation's capital who will march for the same abhorrent reason that they marched on that day a year ago, the day that Heather was murdered. Police and community members now bracing for potential violence in both Charlottesville and Washington D.C., tensions so high the entire state of Virginia is under a state of emergency.

Let's talk about what is ahead and where we have come in a year. Cornell Brooks, former president and CEO of NAACP is with me. Michaela Angela Davis, cultural critic and writer is back with me.

So, to you both, Heather Heyer's mother spoke so eloquently at her funeral a year ago about why her daughter would not die in vain. And here is what she said just yesterday, quote, "I think if we don't focus on fixing the issues that caused this in the first place, the racial divide in our country, then we're going to be right back at Charlottesville in no time flat."

Where have we come in a year, Cornell?

CORNELL BROOKS, FORMER PRESIDENT AND CEO, NAACP: Sadly, we have not come nearly as far as we should have. The governor of Virginia has declared a state of emergency. In the year since Charlottesville and the Unite the Right rally and the murder of Heather Heyer, in that year the president of the United States has yet to declare a state of concern about racial hate crimes or should I say hate crimes in this country and the rising tide of racism in the country.

He's not spoken to the fact that the hate crime rate has risen the last four years straight. It's up in our largest cities. He's not used the office to speak to the moral urgency of this moment. He has in fact exacerbated this situation. Using the NFL protest, the police misconduct protest to divide the country for his political advantage. And so, we have not come nearly as far as we should have and surely the president has not led us. HARLOW: Let's remember what much of this protest Unite the Right was about. A lot of it stemmed of course from hatred. A lot of it steamed from monuments, right, confederate monuments and what they stand for. I will never forget - I don't think anyone will -- the speech that Mitch Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans on this. Let's remind everyone of that this morning and play it.


MITCH LANDRIEU (D), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: Instead of useful monuments from the perspective of an African-American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter why Robert E. Lee sat atop of our city. Can you do it? Can you do it? Can you look into the eyes of this young girl and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her?


HARLOW: And Michaela reminded me of something beautiful and haunting that you wrote a year ago. And that was an opinion piece for CNN. And you say, I remember when I first learned I was black or more accurately I will never forget the first time someone else learned that I was black.

MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, CULTURAL CRITIC AND WRITER: You know, those images of seeing swastikas next to an American flag in the daylight, in American city, is so stunning to me. For three generations we have learned to hate Nazis more than we hated overseers. I studied Anne Frank, my mother studied Anne Frank, my daughter study Anne Frank. We've been told that the Nazis were awful and wrong, never again. And here they are proudly walking down an American street next to an American flag on an institution of higher learning. It's stunning, a spectacular display and no real sustained movement afterwards.

HARLOW: So, and it's not just there. I mean, it's not just what we're going to see on Sunday. Our Sarah Sidner who's just a remarkable reporter as you guys know has been out in the field reporting on this. I want to play you an exchange that she had reporting in Pennsylvania this week.

[10:35:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL BURNSIDE, ULYSSES RESIDENT: The rural America spoke up when they elected Trump, rural America.

We're staring down the barrel of a gun here in white America, there's still 193 million white Americans. Yes, the vast majority of them are in their '60s and 70s, will be in the ground in the next 20 years and therefore we have the possibility of becoming a minority in our country, a possibility.


BURNSIDE: I'll become a minority in our own country.

SIDNER: Like you're afraid of being me. And being me -- BURNSIDE: This is my country.

SIDNER: -- is great. This is also my country.

BURNSIDE: You guys didn't win the culture war.


HARLOW: Cornell?

BROOKS: This is what this president is driving and exacerbating. It is this unchecked white fear of a majority-minority country. And Charlottesville was simply emblematic of what we see all across the limp and rub off our republic. The fact of the matter is, this country has always been multi-cultural. This country has always been diverse. When the pilgrims arrived here, they met the Native Americans. And so, it was a majority-minority country at its founding. So, we, at this point in our nation's history have to come to the realization that America looks like the breath of humanity in all of its diversity and color, race and ethnicity.

HARLOW: And we know from the numbers, we know from what the census numbers tell us the government's projection that by 2040 or so, America once again will be a majority-minority country. Quickly, do you, Michaela, what do you want to hear from the president this weekend one year after Charlottesville?

DAVIS: I'll be out.

HARLOW: What would you say?

DAVIS: Nothing. He -- there's no repercussions for anything he says about people of color ever. It's actually a strategy to help him because he's helped shape this idea of America around only racial terms that white equals American. And he's playing into that. This is what we're seeing lived out. I don't expect anything from him.

What I was saying what was stunning is I hope young people, like they did in Parkland, like the movement for black lives, that young white people, young Jewish people have their never again moment like we had our black lives moment. That to me was like a Trayvon Martin moment for the Jewish community. And so, I don't expect anything from him or this administration that has let the alt right tow them into the Republican Party. Young people, this is our moment. This is their moment to act.

HARLOW: Michaela, thank you. Cornell Brooks, thank you both. We'll be right back.


[10:42:22] HARLOW: An administration official says the two asylum seekers, a mother and her daughter are now back in Texas this morning after a federal judge ordered their plane that was taking them back to El Salvador to turn right around to bring them back to the United States. The government had apparently deported them while they were in the middle of their fight, their legal proceeding trying to be granted asylum in this country. The Judge Emmet Sullivan erupted when he heard that they had been deported in the middle of this and he even tried to hold the U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions in contempt.

The mother goes by the name of Carmen and she came to the U.S. from El Salvador with her young daughter after what she says were two - in her words -- decades of horrific sexual abuse by her husband and death threats from violent gangs.

With me now is Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. Thank you for being here.

You're such an important voice right now because it's ACLU attorneys that were fighting and are fighting her asylum case. She's back. What's your reaction to what has transpired in the last 24 hours?

LEE GELERNT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, ACLU IMMIGRANT RIGHTS PROJECT: Right. Well, it was horrendous. I mean, the fear she must have felt being sent back after she knew that this case was ongoing. You know, it's unimaginable. And so, fortunately, we found out about it in time. The judge said, get them back here. And as you said, it was extremely forceful. And now the bigger issue, what will be ongoing, there's so many families like this who are fleeing and the attorney general has basically completely undermine the asylum laws.

HARLOW: Just on that point, can you remind people what has changed because it's at the discretion of the attorney general to change the preference and you know, of who can seek asylum in this country and who's getting preference, et cetera. That changed dramatically which cuts out a lot of people like this woman, Carmen, that have faced, you know, sexual abuse, domestic assault.

GELERNT: Right. What people should understand is the attorney general does not have complete discretion about asylum. That's by statute. It's by precedent by international treaties. There's only a small amount of discretion at the very end if they find that someone has committed a very, very serious crime.

What he did is he didn't exercise his discretion. He changed the eligibility standards and he distorted them completely. It's unlawful. And I think it is part and partial of everything this administration is trying to do. The family separation, if you remember, was done to try and deter asylum seekers from coming here. Well, they didn't get away with that. Now they are trying to change eligibility standards that while you're going to come here. We're going to deny you --

HARLOW: How many children remain because this was wall to wall coverage a few weeks ago?

GELERNT: Right. Right.

HARLOW: It's not wall to wall anymore but the problem still persists. I mean, how many children are still separated from their parents?

[10:45:05] GELERNT: We believe about 500 to 600.

HARLOW: Still?


HARLOW: And so, when you look at the responsibility who it's on, the government, and State Department said, you know by a week ago, we think the ACLU, you guys should be in charge of finding these parents and give us the list and where they are so we could reunite the people. We separated. Where does that stand?

GELERNT: The judge put an end to that. He said absolutely not. It's the government's responsibility. They separated them. It's their responsibility. We've always been willing to help and we will help. But I think the government has gotten the message. And they are starting to fix that. I don't think it's sufficient what they are doing but they have gotten the message. The judge wants none of that shifting the blame or the responsibility to us.

HARLOW: Thank you for being here.

GELERNT: Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: We appreciate it very much.

GELERNT: Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. So, wait until you see this extraordinary reporting. Our Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN reporter was given rare access inside the Border Patrol Academy where the U.S. government trains its newest agents. 52 percent of the patrol is now Hispanic, and despite growing criticism, from within the Hispanic community, one Mexican- American man said he is proud to be training and wants to join to honor his uncle who was killed in the line of duty. Here is Vanessa's story.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN REPORTER: It's 7:00 a.m. and Isidro Urbina is in his first class of the day, firearms.

YURKEVICH: How is the training this morning?

ISIDRO URBINA, TRAINEE, U.S. BORDER PATROL ACADEMY: Not an everyday shooter. Trying to pick up everything they're training us here.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Urbina is one of 400 recruits training to be a border patrol agent as the United States Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico. It's considered to be one of the toughest in law enforcement. And it just got harder. This year the curriculum was expanded from three months to six months. There's nearly double the amount of training for everything, more firearms, more immigration law and new this year, scenario training with real actors to simulate what agents may face on the border. And Spanish language classes are now mandatory.

YURKEVICH (on camera): What was it that drew you to this career? URBINA: My uncle. I used to sit on the couch with my uncle at my grandma's house and he used to tell me all these cool stories. He was driving back to his station. He rolled over in his SUV. He was ejected from his vehicle and he died on the scene.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Urbina grew up 20 miles from the border after his father emigrated here legally from Mexico, 52 percent of the border patrol is now Hispanic.

YURKEVICH (on camera): I hear a lot from people when they talk about Hispanic agents. They often say they are deporting their own people. They are turning their backs on their own people.

URBINA: I don't feel that way. I do have heart. It's sad watching people get deported but there's a process to everything. My dad was able to do it. I'm here today for that reason.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): President Trump has called for 5,000 more agents to be added to the patrol. Yet it's already nearly 2,000 below the nationally mandated 21,000. The most recent graduating class had just 26 trainees. The academy can accommodate up to 50.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Was expanding the academy part of that effort in?

DAN HARRIS JR., CHIEF U.S. BORDER PATROL ACADEMY: The expanding of curriculum was really a couple of things. One, I want them to be prepared for any situation that they may encounter. Second this is I want them to have every tool available to them to handle that encounter safely. The last thing we ever want to do is take someone's life.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): 127 agents have died in the field since 1919. It has stopped the academy hammers home with new recruits.

HARRIS: Every single thing we do for the next six months here is that we will honor the fallen by training you to live.

YURKEVICH: The trainees are given a card with the photo of an agent who died in the line of duty known as their silent partner.

URBINA: When they told us about the silent partner, I thought to myself it would be nice to have my uncle, you know, carry that silent partner card with me every day because I have the opportunity to honor him now and I have it near my heart.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Do you have his card?

URBINA: Yes, I do.

YURKEVICH: That's so powerful.

URBINA: Yes. When he died, he was 34. I'm 34 coming in. So, it feels like I'm finishing what he started. When it gets really, really hard, I think about him. I don't want to quit.


HARLOW: What fascinating reporting, Vanessa Yurkevich. Thank you very much for that.

Ahead, the U.N. Security general, secretary general, is calling for an investigation this morning into that Saudi led coalition air strike that killed dozens of children in Yemen. We'll have a live report ahead.


[10:54:30] HARLOW: All right. We're following new developments out of Yemen this morning. The U.N. secretary general has called for an independent investigation into that Saudi led coalition airstrike that killed dozens of children in Yemen. Let's go back to our senior international correspondent, Nima Elbagir, who is with me on this story yesterday and is back following the developments. Nima, It was stunning to see what we saw yesterday. And now we're getting even more video in.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are, Poppy. We have been sifting through some of the images coming out of Yemen. These two videos I think we bring home the horror of what happened.

[10:55:02] First, this here is one father living through every parent's nightmare, desperately trying to search for his son. You can see him there on the phone just trying to figuring out what his child was wearing to describe him to the people who can help find the child and then another video we want to show you which is incredibly, incredibly horrifying and graphic. This video shows what happens when a father finds his child.

Just listen to the heartbreak in his voice. It is unbearable even to listen to it. I can't imagine what it must be like to go through it. There are still three children missing. Even while parents were burying their dead, the airstrikes didn't stop. By this morning we're told by eyewitnesses in the Yemen capital, Sana'a, there had already been 21 strikes just in one district alone. Poppy?

HARLOW: Nima, these are Saudi coalition strikes and the U.N. secretary general is condemning them now. What is the White House saying and what is the White House willing to do?

ELBAGIR: If history is any indicator, very little. We all remember the images when President Trump came back touting the $110 billion armament deal. The reality is that much of the weaponry used in Yemen by the Saudi led coalition is American weaponry. We are seeing the aftermath of what American weaponry has done. It's very difficult for the White House to push back. That's the reality, Poppy.

HARLOW: Nima, thank you for bringing this important reporting to us. As agonizing as it is to see and heartbreaking, it's important to stay on it. So, thank you for doing that. And thank you all for being with me today and all week. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. I'll see you back here on Monday. "At This Hour" with Kate Bolduan picks up after a quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)