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Trump, Beto O'Rourke Hold Dueling Rallies in El Paso; Interview with Dee Margo, Mayor of El Paso; Impacts of Separation at Border Felt by Children. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 12, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: AMANPOUR up next. For our viewers here in the United States, Brianna Keilar starts right now. Have a great afternoon.
[13:00:15] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Walls save tremendous numbers of lives.
BETO O'ROURKE (D), FORMER TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: We stand against walls.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): The president and a potential 2020 rival take to Texas. Thousands of miles away, Congress appears to compromise on keeping
the government open. We get the border story from the Republican mayor of El Paso and the humanitarian face of immigration from those closest to it.
Plus, fears about Big Brother. The former secretary of homeland security on the dangers of government surveillance, from China to America.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President Trump says that he's not satisfied with a potential congressional breakthrough to keep the government open. House and Senate leaders from
both parties had emerged last night with a tentative agreement, giving the president some funds for the border barriers but not the $5.7 billion that
he's demanding. Speaking in the cabinet room today, the president said he didn't expect another shutdown, but he also said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So, I can tell you that am I happy at first glance? I just got to see it. The answer is, no, I'm not. I'm not happy.
But am I happy with where we're going? I'm thrilled. Because we're supplementing things and moving through around. And we're doing things
that are fantastic and taking from far less, really, from far less important areas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So while negotiators were working on the deal in Washington, the president was in El Paso, Texas, last night, on the border, rallying his
But he also had one eye on the Democrat, Beto O'Rourke, who was holding his own rally less than a mile away. O'Rourke, of course, ran for Senate in
2018, and he might also run for president in 2020. As a congressman, he represented El Paso.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'ROURKE: A president who describes Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boo!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boo!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boo!
O'ROURKE: -- we have the chance to tell him and the country, immigrants commit crimes, including violent crimes, at a lower rate than do Americans
who were born in this country.
El Paso has been the safest city in the United States of America, not in spite of the fact that we're a city of immigrants, but because we are a
city of immigrants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And El Paso has become a touchstone of wall politics. The city has more than 50 miles of fencing along the border. So what is the reality
Dee Margo is the Republican mayor of El Paso, and he joins me now.
Mayor Margo, welcome back to the program.
DEE MARGO (R), MAYOR OF EL PASO, TEXAS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: You know, I don't know who would have thought that El Paso would have become such an important touchstone, as I said, in this whole
Before we get to that, though, can I just ask you about the news, what you think of the compromise deal that's being mooted on board of security to
try to keep the government open and afloat?
MARGO: I haven't really seen anything other than hearing the headlines on the news about it, so I don't know any of the specifics; and I'm probably
not qualified to comment. But from my time in the Texas legislature, I would say that incremental -- moving up incrementally is a way to do it for
negotiations. And frankly, that -- from my perspective, and from the El Paso perspective, there were no winners on our shutdown. I don't care how
the pundits portrayed it as who won and who lost. There were no winners.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you're absolutely right. We spent many of those 35 days of government closure talking to so many people, furloughed federal
workers, I mean, just so many people who had such a hard time getting through each day and surviving during this -- this shutdown.
But I guess, you know, you are sitting there at the sort of nexus of the great political drama of our time. So when you had the president and a
potential 2020 rival there rallying last night, what did you hear, what did you take away from everything that was said?
MARGO: Well, I'm not sure there was any revelations -- any revelations from the comments of either from Beto or from the president. I was trying
to personally meet with the president beforehand to visit with him, because I've said for months that, if you want to understand the border and how we
work with Mexico, you need to come to the largest city on the Mexican border that's been intertwined with Mexico for almost 400 years.
[13:05:20] We understand it better. We're one region that exceeds 2.5 million people. And we're the -- we're the place you ought to be coming to
talk about it.
AMANPOUR: And yet, did you actually manage to say that to him? Did you meet him?
MARGO: I got a handshake, but that was the extent of it. We thought we would get a little bit more time than that, but that was the -- that was
truly the extent of it.
AMANPOUR: Did you feel like he was trying not to meet you, that he knows you disagree, that he knows that you have different facts at your disposal
than he talks about. I mean, did you feel it was deliberate, that he didn't want to make time for you, because of what you say? Actually, let's
just play what -- what he's actually said about you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And there's no place better to talk about border security, whether they like it or not, because I've been hearing a lot of things -- "Oh, the
wall didn't make that much of a difference." You know where it made a big difference? Right here in El Paso.
But I don't care whether a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat, they're full of crap when they say it hasn't made a big difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: How do you feel hearing that, and what would your answer be to that?
MARGO: I'd love to hear that over and over. The bottom line is, I've never been against a physical barrier on the -- on the border. I think
that's part and parcel to an entire process, from a strategy standpoint, for control of the borders, and we are a sovereign nation. I've never
disagreed with -- with the president on any of that.
All I've tried to do is clarify his comments related to the fact that we were not a lawless community with high crime rates before the fence went
up, under the Bush -- Bush presidency, in 2008.
Certainly, it is a contributing factor towards -- to our safety here, but it is -- it was not the sole panacea prior to. And that's all I've tried
to -- to say. I've not spoken against physical barriers of any type. I think that's part of that whole process.
There is -- you mentioned earlier, there really is about 78 miles of fence in the El Paso sector for the Border Patrol. It's not continuous. The
fencing that went up under the Bush administration in 2008 was primarily a replacement of about ten miles of chain-link that had holes in it and was
So, really, I don't -- to my knowledge, it wasn't expanding the fencing. It was merely improving it.
AMANPOUR: And you know, to your point, and I do want to dig down, because it is worth constantly putting the facts out there on the crime figures, on
what a wall did and didn't do, and how you respond to them.
But it was interesting. Beto O'Rourke talked about, you know, that El Paso being one of the safest cities in the world -- in the U.S. right now, but
so are McAllen, Texas, and San Diego, California, which are cities along the border. Sort of making a point that, actually, many of the cities
along the border are safer than those further inland. Would you agree with that?
MARGO: Well, from our standpoint, yes. What I know firsthand, El Paso is ranked as the safest city in the United States for a population greater
than 500,000. That's according to the uniform crime statistics, as reported by the FBI or to the FBI.
So you know, we've been a safe -- but a lot of that has to do with our police force and our community policing and the things we've been doing for
And -- but the issues related to violence, when it came to our region, had to do with Juarez and the drug cartels when they were fighting it out a few
years ago. But it never came over to El Paso. We have a significant law enforcement presence here. Plus, we have a large military presence here
with Ft. Bliss.
AMANPOUR: So I just want to put up a graph right now just to make people understand what you've been saying in terms of the spikes in crime and the
troughs in crime.
So we see that it was very, very high crime rate in the early '90s. Then, it started to dramatically or did dramatically drop off in 2006, and it
stayed pretty low. And then the wall was built around 2008. And it went up a bit, the crime, but it pretty much stayed pretty low.
So basically, what you're saying, and what the graphs show and the facts and the numbers show is that El Paso was getting safer and safer and less
and less crime ridden even before a wall went up.
MARGO: That is true. And our population has been growing. I will say that the fence -- and I prefer to use the nomenclature "fence," in certain
neighborhoods, from an anecdotal standpoint, the residents feel very safe because of that. And it did -- the most dramatic drop in our crime rate
had to occur with automobile thefts during that time frame, which is not a -- you don't have that as a broken out -- as a number broken out, but I
have seen that. Because we had -- because the porous holes in the chain link fence, people were -- were coming over and stealing vehicles and
driving them back across to Juarez, and that fence had a significant impact on that.
So I've said that from day one. It had an impact on crime. It had an impact on the feelings of safe and security in certain neighborhoods. But
overall, the crime rate was not dramatically dropped.
I mean, I feel like it's my job as a mayor to explain to people, outside, that we were not this lawless, crime-ridden city before the fence came in.
El Paso is a viable community. It's the sixth largest community -- city in the state of Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States. We're a
major player, and the rest of the world needs to understand that.
AMANPOUR: So, you've just said that -- you know, and I don't know whether you term it as petty crime or non-drug-related crime and non-sort of
violent crime, but you've talked about the -- how it stops some auto thefts and perhaps some property crimes, as well.
So there was that positive aspect to the fence. But on the issues that the president talks about, whether it's illegal immigration, whether it's
drugs, whether it's, you know, he's conjured up, you know hordes of rapists and murderers coming over, it hasn't had an effect, right, the wall. Is it
even -- is there that crisis, I guess I'm trying to say, at El Paso, at the border?
MARGO: Well, let me state that the physical barriers, according to the Customs and Border Protection and the police, do channel people and drugs
into certain areas. Most of the drugs that are picked up illegally come through our ports of industry.
So the physical barriers do channel people in certain ways. But they're not the total resolution to border security, which nobody seems to fully
define anyway out of Washington.
But if you look at the geography of Texas from El Paso to Brownsville, it's almost a physical impossibility to put a fence from El Paso to Brownsville.
You can put it in certain spots, but the majority of Texas is owned -- is private land. So that won't work. So you need more manpower; you need
technology. You need kind of a combination of all of the above. And I would rely on the experts at border lands -- at homeland security to tell
us what they really need.
AMANPOUR: And do you -- I mean, you've sort of intimated that perhaps those in Washington are not quite clear about the parameters of what they
seem to be talking about.
Were you surprised when the president, we understand, veered off-script and ad-libbed about loving and wanting more legal immigration into the United
States? When he said that and when you were listening to the speech, what did you think?
MARGO: Well, I do think that is something that needs to be done. I think the lottery system is not functioning at all. My former firm was trying to
bring in an underwriter from Lloyd's of London for several years. In the lottery system, they lost out every year for three years and gave up.
But when we're at below 4 percent unemployment, we've got to do something more on legal immigration. And I've also said, though, if you're a DACA or
a DREAMer and you serve in the military, it ought to be axiomatic that you get U.S. citizenship, if you so desire, and for the others, as well.
If you're already here in that 10 to 12 million group that's here under false Social Security numbers, but earning a living and raising their
family and not -- not involved in any criminal activity, you vet those people and you give them green cards, so that they can have legal ways of
paying taxes and not just bogus Social Security numbers. And anybody that doesn't pass a criminal background check ought to be deported. That's the
only way we're going to deal with that.
And I know we've got folks who say, "They're here illegally. We can't deal with it." My comment is that the egg is already broken. Deal with it.
AMANPOUR: The egg is already broken. So what President Trump said and ad- libbed during his State of the Union, do you feel that that was part of breaking the egg or part of the egg? In other words, moving along the road
of accepting what you're just talking about. That there needs to be more legal immigration and a proper immigration reform.
[13:10:11] MARGO: President Trump is a unique personality within the Republican Party. He's a president that we've never seen before like him.
I'm not sure we'll see after him.
But he is in a position to be able to do some things that I think others may not have been able to. So I would hope that he would move forward with
that. He's intimated about immigration reform. And our nation needs it.
AMANPOUR: Well, you're a politician, Mayor. And you've accurately described the president. He's a unique apparition in the political
firmament, but one that might be able to get certain things done.
Do you see that happening and the possibility of that happening by his actions, by his politicking on immigration, for instance, as we've just
been discussing? In other words, do you think he think deliver as you think that -- as you've described?
MARGO: I think if he wants to, he can deliver, yes. So it's up to him to determine that. And I would be hopeful that he would.
AMANPOUR: Right. So let's ask you, again, to talk about the real tragedy that we see, which is a human tragedy, of all this conflation of illegal
and legal and asylum, and I don't know what; and these children and families being celebrated at the border. And this horrendous situation
does not seem to be getting any better. In fact, potentially, even worse.
I would like to please play for you what you told me about this situation of detentions when we spoke, actually, back in June.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGO: Christiane, we've been given no information regarding the children, where they are. All we know is they're being distributed throughout the
United States, which was a surprise to some of us. We heard about them being placed in Michigan. We heard about them being placed in New York,
Rhode Island, elsewhere. That's the reason we came together as a group of mayors to say, enough is enough. This is ridiculous. This is not what
we're about as a nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Mayor, that was in June. Have things got better near where you are? Because there are reports that are very, very upsetting to read.
I just want to know, in your location, have things got better?
MARGO: The numbers are increasing. We're getting somewhere between 300 and 400 a day. These are families that are not being separated.
The Tornillo Shelter that was set up for unaccompanied minors that I visited last summer was disbanded in January, and they went off to their
sponsors. As I said, we get -- the word I have per day is about 300 to 400. They're processed through ICE.
They come into El Paso, once discharged from ICE. And our NGO, the Enunciation House, has -- has about 20 shelters it coordinates. And they
are here, families together. Parents are given ankle bracelets and processed. And then they're -- they go off to their sponsors. They have
the bus fare, airfare, whatever it is, that does that. Whatever they need. They're here usually 24 to a maximum of 48 hours. Some as long as 96
But I don't know that your viewers fully understood, when CBP -- CBP is a law enforcement agency. And the way it was structured is that HHS would be
the entity that would be equipped to take care of those that were held in detention. And they've quit doing that. I think it was a Ninth Circuit
Court decision, as I'm told, that said you can't hold any immigrants that are seeking asylum longer than 20 days. So they're processing them and
releasing them to their sponsors.
AMANPOUR: So you just mentioned the border protection unit, and you also mentioned the Health and Human Services.
What does it feel like, as I let you go, as mayor of El Paso, that your city has been really a punching bag and sort of in the middle of all of
this very, very, you know, heated politics and to an extent, fake news, for a long time?
MARGO: Well, I'm doing my best to try to articulate the correct story of where we are, as well as explaining that we are in favor of a safe border
and that, as a sovereign nation, we need to control our borders. But that El Paso is a viable community, a contributing community, and has a close
relationship, biculturally and binationally, families on both side, commerce on both sides, with Mexico.
I mean, we have six bridges that have 23,000 legal pedestrians coming north every day. I've got 21 million private passenger vehicles that come north
on an annual basis. We've got $82 billion of trade, imports and exports, that go through here. I mean, we're a major player, and we're very much
intertwined with Mexico. And this is, if you really want to know the border, you come to El Paso.
[13:20:18] AMANPOUR: All right. Mayor Dee Margo of El Paso, thank you very much, indeed, for being with us.
So with all of this politicking, there are real flesh-and-blood people who are affected on a daily basis. The most controversial Trump immigration
policy has not been the wall, but as I mentioned, the child separation. Deliberately removing migrant children from their parents, who are then
A new inspector general report reveals thousands more children were separated from their parent last year than had previously been
acknowledged. The Department of Health and Human Services had to house the children; and testifying on Capitol Hill recently, Commander Jonathan White
said that he believed the policy had catastrophic implications.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RAUL RUIZ (D), CALIFORNIA: So this problem is not over, even after they unify the child with the family, right?
COMMANDER JONATHAN WHITE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The consequences of separation for many children will be lifelong.
RUIZ: Let's be clear. Is there a nullification of re-traumatize, or is this an additional trauma that adds additional stress and additional harm
to a child after they experience the difficulties that they experienced in their home country, going through the long trek. Did we add additional re-
traumatization for that child?
WHITE: For many children, that is a consequence, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So we're going to dig now into the humanity of that fact, and of course, into the law around immigration. Ed Lavandera has reported
extensively along the border and on child separations, and he's joining us from El Paso. And Mary Bauer is the deputy legal director for the Southern
Poverty Law Center, which represents immigrants in detention; and she travels often to the border. And she's joining us from Charlottesville,
Virginia. Welcome to you both.
I just want to ask you, Ed, start off with some stories -- actually, from both of you. But Ed, you're there in El Paso, you just heard the mayor.
Tell me what you have seen and what you've reported on the human story that's behind all these politics.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the important thing to understand is just how fluid and how quickly things change here on the
border. So that the reason why some people might try to migrate into the United States in 2019 or 2018 is very different from what we saw maybe
three or four years ago. And that has really been the challenge that we've seen here along the U.S. Southern border over the course of the last month,
where really, we have seen the arrival of family units, parents arriving with children. And that is a relatively new phenomenon that you're seeing
here on the U.S. Southern border.
And because of that, you're obviously seeing that there have been some lawmakers who have criticized the Trump administration for not adapting
quick enough to dealing with the specific type of people who are arriving here at the U.S. Southern border. So that's why it's led to this dramatic
increase in children separated from their parents. It was a plan that the administration has essentially admitted to over the course of the last few
months, that they hoped this zero-tolerance policy and separating children from their parents, that it would serve as a deterrent to migrants who are
mostly coming from Central American companies, to deter them from coming to the United States. That simply hasn't been the case.
And even though the administration has said that that policy has been stopped, we heard the story just over the course of the last month and a
half that a young girl who was separated from her father at the end of December. And it took almost a month for that young girl to be reunited
with her family.
So these, you know, stories kind of really raise questions as to just to what extent these child separation cases are still unfolding.
AMANPOUR: So let me turn to you, Mary Bauer. Because you deal also with this from your legal perspective. But there's also obviously a
Describe the extent of what you're seeing, in particularly the case of child separations. And as I said, a new inspector general report says that
thousands more have been separated than has ever been acknowledged. In other words, the problem is worse than we thought it was.
MARY BAUER, DEPUTY LEGAL DIRECTOR, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: It absolutely is worse than we thought it was. And what we see is that family
separation never ended. Family separation has evolved. Family separation has taken slightly different forms, but kids and parents are being
separated every day.
There are more than 10,000 kids who are detained now across the United States, because of a deliberate Trump administration policy. And it's not
as a previous -- the previous speaker indicated an, a failure to adapt. It is a deliberate and nefarious policy, where the administration decided that
they were going to take actions that would result in kids being detained longer and in parents then and sponsors being turned over for deportation.
And that's what we're seeing.
[13:25:16] We're seeing more than 10,000 kids locked up, most of whom don't need to be locked up.
AMANPOUR: And just to -- just to follow up on that. Now that we know more, and this has been a case of great contention and anger in the United
States and actually around the world, are you able to deal with these? Are you able to highlight these cases? Is the law responding fast enough? I
mean, can you get them reunited with their -- with their families? What is the situation on that level, Mary?
BAUER: Well, we -- we have brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of all kids who are detained across the United States. But we know that any child
who is locked up and separated from family is experiencing a trauma. We know that. We know that these kids are going to experience long-term
trauma, because they are separated from their parents. And so we're working to reunite them just as quickly as possible.
But this does not have to be. This is the result of calculated, deliberate, intentional acts to separate children from their parents and to
use the children, essentially, as bait to lure their parents into the deportation system. And that's what we're seeing play out.
AMANPOUR: Well, I'm going to get back to the legal remedies to this, but I just want to follow up with Ed on, you know, that you're seeing every day,
Ed, you've been seeing them, too, on a regular basis. You've been reporting on them. Just give me a sense of what you see: the kids, the
families, how they're being affected, the traumas.
LAVANDERA: Yes, I think a lot of people who arrive -- and I've spent a lot of time in shelters on the Mexican side of the border -- these families who
have made the long journey from their Central American country homes and to get there. And many times, when I speak to them, they're kind of -- they
seem oblivious, not aware as to the extent of how much this is being debated here in the United States.
The amount of misinformation that they're given in their home countries and, essentially, lured by, you know, criminal -- criminal and organized
gangs that bring them through Central America and into Mexico and try to get into the United States. This is huge business for a lot of these
smugglers that get them here to the doorstep of the United States and then essentially kind of wash their hands of them. And then it becomes, you
know, a dangerous situation for them. So, you see a lot of confusion.
And by and large, I mean, I can't -- I've spoken to hundreds, dozens of these people over the course of my reporting here on the U.S. Southern
border for years. And all of them, to a "T," repeatedly tell you, you know, they come here simply looking for some sort of better opportunity.
And in the case, recently, of these Central American migrants, many of them trying to escape violence. They've been directly threatened by gangs in
their hometowns, and they feel like the only course of action that they have is to drop everything and run north.
AMANPOUR: Mary, from a legal point of view and the perspective on the big picture, the president is often going to the border, going to El Paso, as
we've been highlighting this evening, and talking about the rapists and the criminals and the murderers and the gangs, you know, MS-13, et cetera.
Sort of invoking young men, middle-aged men, adolescents.
First and foremost, who are the majority of people coming over? Are they that demographic? And where are most of the illegals sort of based? Are
they coming through the border, or -- the southern border, or from the north? Where is the center of gravity on this issue?
BAUER: Yes, they're not the people that Donald Trump describes. They're not rapists and murderers. The people who are fleeing to the United States
now that we are seeing at the border are desperate people who are terrified and who are fleeing violence. They're coming to the United States. In
many cases, they would like to apply for asylum. They would like to present at a port of entry, and they cannot, because of administration
We see that in terms of the numbers of undocumented people, the majority of undocumented people in the United States now are actually coming in through
airports. They're people who are overstaying visas.
So all of the rhetoric from Trump about who immigrants are and why they're coming and what they're seeking, it's just wrong. It's just demonstrably
wrong. And we know that. We know that immigrants are far less likely to commit crimes than U.S. citizens. We know all of that.
AMANPOUR: Well, yes, and we heard Beto O'Rourke said that. We heard the mayor of El Paso, Texas, talk about his own, you know, practically crime-
free location there in El Paso.
But can you just separate for us this -- what appears to be a consistent conflation of the issues? There's legal. Then there's illegal. There's
asylum seekers. Mary, just tell us who each group is and how each needs to be dealt with.
BAUER: Well, I think we have to acknowledge first that Trump's rhetoric about how he wants people to do things legally is also demonstrably wrong,
right, because he's not allowing people to apply at the ports of entry. He is putting up huge obstacles to allow people who have the legal right to
apply for asylum to be able to do that.
He has taken, basically a million people who are here and documented and tried to make them illegal by trying to terminate DACA and TPS. He has
undergone policy and active policy after policy that is designed to attack people who are here both lawfully and unlawfully and to attack the system
of immigration and asylum at its roots, to make that unavailable to people.
So we know that that rhetoric about how people need to stand in line or how they need to do it legally, that is belied by the actions of the
administration -- this administration. They don't want people to do that. They don't want immigrants at all. They have made that clear through their
Yes, we need to have an immigration reform that deals with the 11 million or so people who are here in the United States out of status. We need to
have that kind of reform. We have needed that for well over a decade or two.
But that doesn't mean that we put up a wall and deny the ability to apply to asylum to people who are desperate and on our doorstep. We enacted the
Asylum Law in the wake of World War II exactly so that this would not happen again. Because the West was ashamed that it had turned away Jews
during the Holocaust.
And we said never again, we don't want to turn our back on desperate terrified people at our doorstep. We don't want to do that again. That's
why we have asylum laws in the first place. And we are shamefully, shamefully avoiding our moral and legal responsibility here.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, Ed, to expand on that because again, you see it. You're standing right there. You see it. You report on the
And there's this policy that the president implemented called "Metering" which limits the number of asylum seekers who are allowed to enter the
United States each day and they are held in detention centers or centers on the other side of the border. Meaning that they have to wait for months
and months before their claims are processed.
What is that doing at the border? You know the president claims a crisis at the border. Is this part of the crisis? I mean is it manufacturing a
crisis if you like?
ED LAVANDERA, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I think Mary brings up an important point here and that you guys are hitting on and that's really the newest
angle of what we're seeing in our reporting along the U.S. southern border. So right now, you mention this metering system. And so the people
understand what it's like.
So imagine a group of 500. We've seen very large groups showing up in various sections of the U.S. southern border. So it's not uncommon to see
a group of 200, 300 migrants show up in a border town in a remote area let's say. And then they come to Juarez for example and they're at the
port of entry.
Then, the U.S. might have a system in place and I think it varies between which port of entry you're coming into but they say, "Today, we're going to
take 15 asylum seekers." The next day, they might take 12. The day before, they might take nine.
So obviously, that's not everybody being let in. That's forcing people to wait on the Mexican side of the border. And the Trump administration is
also flirting with the idea -- and I think there's a program that's been initially put in place in Tijuana, Mexico, on the border of California
where essentially forcing family units to start waiting out their asylum claims on the Mexican side of the border.
And I think there's some talk of expanding that program throughout various points of the southern border. And this, to critics of the administration,
has been what they see is a very detrimental issue that will continue to put these families and these children in harm's way.
You're essentially asking people who are coming here and asking for something that is a legal process, requesting asylum, and then forcing them
to wait in these communities along the U.S. southern border where there are much -- they're in much more dangerous situations, being taken advantage
of, threatened, and that sort of thing.
And that is the concern for a lot of organizations that are trying to help these migrants who are arriving here in these border regions.
AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you, Mary or Ed, if either of you knows, there have been reports recently of at least two kids who died in one of these
centers in Mexico. Is this factually correct? Do you know how that happened? Do you worry about this happening more?
BAUER: It is factually correct. We know that three children were kidnapped in Tijuana that had been staying at a youth [113:35:00] shelter
because they were not able to apply for asylum and come to the United States as they wanted to do. Two of them were murdered. One of them was
allowed to escape and to bring back a message basically that children are in danger and children are in danger, parents are in danger, families are
This is a dangerous way to conduct a policy. This means that people are trapped in border cities where abusers and gangs. And the folks that
people are fleeing know people are trapped. And so people are in grave danger.
People have died because of this policy. More people will die unless this policy is changed. We know that. That is on our hands.
AMANPOUR: On this side of the border -- let me just play another little clip from commander -- the commander who we heard, Jonathan White from HHS.
We heard him in the lead in talking about the trauma for the kids.
He's also told the House that this policy of housing separated children, he had to enforce it but he never would have supported this policy himself.
Just listen to this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN WHITE, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, HHS: The concerns which I expressed were two. First, that this would be inconsistent with our legal requirement to
act in the best interest of the child and would expose children to the unnecessary risk of harm. Second that it would exceed the capacity of the
program. Issues of bed capacity are very important or -- because it constitutes our ability to provide a safe and appropriate environment to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: We've only got 30 seconds left. Ed Lavandera, in your reporting, have you heard similar misgivings from officials who have to
enforce some of this policy?
LAVANDERA: That to me, that was the first time I've heard people in an official capacity say that. That was -- that's what made that statement
there in that congressional study, I think, so striking.
AMANPOUR: And Mary, do you also find it extraordinary or have you heard it before?
BAUER: No. That was the first time I have heard that. That is the congressional statement of intent for -- in the creation of ORR. They are
supposed to be acting in the best interests of children. And what we see is that that has not been happening. And, in fact, just the opposite has
AMANPOUR: Mary Bauer, Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for joining me this evening.
And now, we dig into America's complicated relationship with data and surveillance. Michael Chertoff was President George W. Bush's Homeland
Security Secretary. But before that, he made a name for himself coauthoring the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The act famously and massively expanded government surveillance. It allowed the indefinite detention of immigrants, something which the Supreme
Court later struck down. Now, Chertoff is discussing the growing threats to privacy and he sat down with our Hari Sreenivasan. And, yes they did
also touch on that border wall.
HARI SREENIVASAN CONTRIBUTOR: Mike Chertoff, let's start with some things that are in the news now and then kind of abstract up. First, immigration.
You were the second head of Homeland Security and served under President Bush. How important is a physical barrier that's at the center of all
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: It's a very small piece of what you want. When we were in office, I think we've built
about 650 miles of barriers along certain areas where the distance between the border and let's say a major town or higher was fairly short. And
therefore, you wouldn't be able to intercept people if they crossed the border.
You could probably build another 50 or so miles and find some useful places forward but it's only a very small part of what you want. What you really
need is technology, border patrol personnel, detention facilities for people who are going to be deported, and it has to be integrated into a
system. So the idea that you want a wall is a mischaracterization of what the real requirement is.
SREENIVASAN: Is it worth shutting the government over? Is it worth shutting the government down over?
CHERTOFF: It's certainly not worth shutting the government over. And in a sense, the disappointing thing is that if you actually got the
professionals together, they could map out pretty clearly for you given what they know exactly where you want physical barriers, where you want
technology, where you want drones. And that would be an intelligent way to spend the money.
Ironically, when there's complaining about drugs coming into the country, the vast majority of that comes through the ports of entry. So if you had
equipment at the ports of entry that would allow you better visibility into what is concealed in an automobile or truck, that would do much more to
reduce the implication of drugs than barriers in the middle of the desert.
Barriers really discourage a [13:40:00] certain kind of casual crosser. It doesn't discourage someone who is investing large amounts of money to move
very valuable drugs. And they have -- they want volume and they're going to basically try to use existing transportation systems to come through
ports of entry.
SREENIVASAN: Is it a national emergency?
CHERTOFF: I wouldn't say it's a national emergency. I mean obviously, border control is an important federal objective. But actually, the rate
of crossing, although it's fluctuated, over time has generally gone down.
What's really driving it now is largely conditions in parts of Central America where you have not only economic issues but you have gang violence,
you have lack of rule of law, and people are fleeing because they're afraid for their lives. The best way to stop that is to work with the Central
American governments to reinstitute the rule of law to build the economy and then people will be happy to stay in their homes.
SREENIVASAN: Another topic that's been in the news recently -- and the Department of Justice just laid out indictments against the Chinese telecom
company Huawei. And the United States has also been trying to pressure or leverage countries around the world to not use equipment from this telecom
company as basically the world upgrades to 5G. What is it about why is that important?
CHERTOFF: Well, this is actually not new. The issue of Chinese technology as potentially creating an opportunity for the Chinese to commit acts of
espionage or even acts of sabotage has been discussed among security people for the last 10 years or so.
What we saw just earlier this year was an indictment of Huawei for stealing technological secrets from T-Mobile. If that's happened in the past, it
will continue to happen. But beyond that, I think there's a concern that you are potentially putting the next generation of critical technology in
the hands of a country which may be an adversary in certain respects.
And I'm chairman of the Board of Freedom House. We published a report a couple of months ago called "Freedom on the Net". And in the report, we
detail how the Chinese are using the exports of I.T. technology to embed themselves around the world in Asia and Africa.
And they're actually teaching some of the local governments there how to use technology to better control the populace and to suppress free speech.
So we're in a situation now where if you have Chinese companies that are in critical nodes around the world, you're essentially perhaps enabling the
export of authoritarianism to parts of the world that are free.
SREENIVASAN: So how does the West counter that? I mean is there a way that you can get the world to agree on the rules of the road?
CHERTOFF: Well, I do think there are things we can do, even using a multi- stakeholder approach that are underway right now. For example, I think many of the Western countries do you have a more or less common set of
values and could reasonably easily reach agreements on some of the things we're talking about.
And because of the fact that these countries are still collectively by far the most powerful economic actors on the globe, in the end, if we do have
an agreed set of values, an agreed approach, I think that can drive the Chinese to accommodate to that as well.
I'm on a global commission for stability in cyberspace now which has drawn people from all over the world who are focused on cyber issues to try to
come up with some norms that could be globally accepted to have an open Internet, free Internet, and an Internet that is not fragmented but rather
is truly global in its activity.
SREENIVASAN: You put out a book recently talking about the data explosion. And you have kind of a simple idea and there are data 1.0, 2.0, 3.0. Break
that down for the audience.
CHERTOFF: I wrote the book because I thought people didn't really understand the manner in which data is being collected and how it is being
used now and how it can be used. And it will transform the way we live.
So I look back historically. I mean if you look at most of human history, data was basically what you said, what you heard, what was written down,
maybe it was published. And we were mainly concerned about protecting our privacy in the sense of our property. There was the expression, you know,
every man's home is his castle. And now it's anachronistic but this goes back a few hundred years.
And the idea was your privacy is about your property. No one can enter to your house without a warrant. When you got photography and telephony, all
of a sudden property was not the issue anymore. It was confidentiality.
Could I keep my conversations private? Could I keep my image private? And therefore, the law started to change, to recognize we have to move away
from the focus on property and now we have to focus on confidentiality.
My point now is given the [13:45:00] amount of data that is being generated, not only what we voluntarily generate but what is generated
about us. And the fact that it is now stored indefinitely, it could be published all over the world.
Simply trying to keep things hidden or secret, that ship has sailed. Now, we need to talk about who controls the data. What is your right even when
your data is collected to be able to say yes or no to how it's being used?
SREENIVASAN: So really positioning it as autonomy?
CHERTOFF: Exactly. It's about freedom and going back to China. And China, they're now working on what they call a "social credit score" where
everything that you do would be compiled and you essentially get a rating as to whether you're a "good citizen" or a "bad citizen". And if you're
good, you get preference in all kinds of things like jobs and education. And if not, you could be shut out of things.
Now, imagine that in a western society and it might even be the private sector where your ability to get a job or get insurance or find a place to
live would be affected by whether an algorithm looks at everything you do, that's recorded in some form or fashion is data and makes a judgment about
whether you're a desirable or an undesirable person.
SREENIVASAN: I mean isn't that starting to happen already? If a health insurer had access to my grocery shopping list, they could change my rates.
It's being really healthy and maybe, you know, input equals output and looks like he's got a gym membership. He's been logging in five times a
week, OK. Let's -- you know, he's not going to die right away versus bags of M&M's, lots of Netflix binging, I don't know.
CHERTOFF: Well, and that's happening now. I mean even in the time since I published the book about six months ago and now, there are more stories
about insurance companies saying we want to see your Fit Bit, how much exercise you're getting.
And they're also looking at things like exactly what food you eat, did you go to a restaurant, what did you get a restaurant, how is your sleep
pattern. Imagine all of this being collected. And pretty soon, your freedom to decide what you want to do would always be subject to a nagging
fear that you're going to be punished.
There was a BBC show called "Black Mirror" that was on that actually took this, I'd like to say to an extreme but not that extreme, about a world in
which literally everybody is being raided up and down minute by minute and it makes Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell's dystopian novel, look like a
SREENIVASAN: Look, some of those who can watch this conversation say this is the guy who helped write the Patriot Act. At the time, you were not in
that data climate that we're in today, right? There wasn't Amazon nearly as powerful and all-knowing as it is.
What is the balance between giving the government the opportunity to chase down bad guys, get as much information, prevent attacks, et cetera, and
that sense of autonomy that you're talking about where I still feel like I have some level of control over what I choose to share with especially the
body governing me?
CHERTOFF: Well, we were right to be concerned about the government as well as the private sector. What's interesting is that the government operates
under much more constraint than the private sector. The government doesn't even dream of collecting the volume of information that is collected in the
And before the government uses it, there are all kinds of gates they have to go through, at least in the United States. I mean other countries may
be obviously different. So, for example, to collect content of information that's being e-mailed or being discussed over the telephone, you need a
And now there's a move afoot I think correctly to require a warrant even for older e-mails, not just for current e-mails. To use the information,
you have to go through various kinds of hoops to get permission. So I do think that the government, although you can always argue about what the
borders ought to be, does operate under a regime where they are controlled.
SREENIVASAN: There have been so many examples where even if those permission systems have existed, there's been such a lack of transparency
that it shakes our foundational trust in the government, saying, hey, if the NSA has this program, whether they were authorized to do it or not, it
seems pretty shady and it's just one more thing I have to worry about
CHERTOFF: Well, I agree with you. I mean I think transparency would be important. And one of the mistakes I think the government made was for a
period of time, for example, the court opinions, the courts and supervisors surveillance were kept classified.
After Snowden did his release of classified information, the government started to declassify the opinions. I think what was put out, A, was not
particularly damaging to national security. But for the first time, people could see, wow, the judges are really digging into this and they could see
the reasoning of the court.
And frankly, [13:50:00] I think the government would have been better served had they put that out before any of the Snowden business happened.
And so I agree, I think a lesson for the government is there is a cost involved in secrecy and you always have to ask yourself is this secrecy
really necessary or would we actually get more value by at least, in a generalized way, making public what we're doing and what the rules are.
SREENIVASAN: A core question here is the Fourth Amendment, right? What is unreasonable search and seizure in this new era that we're going into? If
my heart rate information and my sleep habits sitting in the servers of a third party, do I have control of that information? And who should be able
to transact that?
CHERTOFF: I think that's exactly the issue we're facing now. We're creating so many different kinds of data. We need to understand who
governs it and what are the rules that apply to the issue of access. And that's already beginning to change.
I'll give you an example. Years ago -- many years ago, a doctrine of border searchers was promulgated by the Supreme Court. When you cross the
U.S. border and come into the U.S., the border officials are able to search anything you're carried with you because you have a limit to what you can
import into the U.S. And that was applied to laptops and other repositories of data because you were bringing it into the country.
Now, very recently, the issue was originally what do you do, for example, with a smartphone which is connected to the cloud? So if you are able to
open up the phone and search the phone, you're not only getting what's on the phone that's being brought into the country. You're getting what may
already be sitting in Amazon servers somewhere in the United States. It would be as if I searched you when you came into the country, took your
house key, and then went to your house and searched your house.
I think the rule has to be different there. And the Supreme Court has already begun to signal that they are revisiting the rules, for example,
about searches to take account of the sheer volume of material that is now available on a phone or a laptop.
SREENIVASAN: Finally, I want to ask also about upcoming elections. There's kind of two levels. Are state systems in the United States secure
CHERTOFF: Two levels to this in the sense that there's the infrastructure. That is the voting machines, the voter registration rolls, the tabulation.
I think it's very uneven.
Congress is trying to get more money to the States. The Department of Homeland Security is working with some of the states to upgrade their
security of the infrastructure. And there are some things that I've been involved with the Commission on Election Integrity where we're trying to
The larger issue though is what they call "Information operations". It's used by foreign governments like the Russians or even frankly by people in
our own country of tools that are designed to manipulate public opinion and create disunity and even suppress voting by propagating false stories or
magnifying or exaggerating disturbing stories, all in order to play with emotions.
There are some things you can do to mitigate that particularly when you have a foreign government involved. But again, some of this is going to
require the hard work of educating people about how to be critical thinkers.
And this is about to get more challenging because we're now on the verge of what they call "Deep fakes" which is the ability to create audio and video
that is completely fabricated but that makes it seem like a real person is saying something. And if that starts to get used against candidates, for
example, you're going to really have stress on the notion of determining what the truth is.
SREENIVASAN: What happens to our profession?
CHERTOFF: Well, a big piece of this is actually going to put an onus on journalism. How do you measure and detect whether something is false? How
do you make sure you don't get caught up in the --
SREENIVASAN: Someone else's agenda?
CHERTOFF: Right, the competition for clicks which actually drives the behavior that you're trying to fight against. And you know reinjecting an
element of professionalism and judgment in the way editorial decisions are made I think is a really important part of preserving our democracy.
SREENIVASAN: Michael Chertoff, thanks so much.
CHERTOFF: Good to be on.
AMANPOUR: An important challenge ahead. Now, before we go, remember to tune in tomorrow when we'll have a special program on what consensus calls
humanity's biggest trial that is climate change.
I'll speak with the Washington Governor Jay Inslee who's making climate the center of a possible presidential campaign and to the photographer James
Balog who's devoted his life to capturing earth or some power. And he's got a new film, "The Human Element." And that's all tomorrow on the
In the meantime, remember you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com. And you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.