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Illegal Immigrant Work in Justice Department; Interview with Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis about situation in Iraq; International Players in Team USA; 11-Yer Old Rapper Singing With His Baby Sister Who Has Down Syndrome

Aired June 29, 2014 - 06:30   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-one minutes past the hour. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi toured a U.S. border patrol station in Brownsville, Texas. Got a firsthand look at the flood of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America, many of them, of course, children traveling alone. In fact, 52,000 of them have been rounded up just since October. Pelosi says we have a moral responsibility to deal with the problem and at the end of the day it's not just a moral responsibility but there is a financial obligation here too.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, President Obama is asking Congress for $2 billion to stop the flow of illegal immigrants. And the border parole is being overwhelmed. And critics say, the U.S. needs a policy to send back the unaccompanied children. But the president admits it is not going to be easy.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our message absolutely is don't send your children unaccompanied on trains or through a bunch of smugglers that is our direct message to the families in Central America. Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it they will get sent back. More importantly they may not make it.


PAUL: And now for the incredible story of a man who did make it. In fact, he is a veteran, he even worked for the Justice Department. Until decades later the government realized that he wasn't a citizen. Here is Miguel Marquez with his story.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, this is a story that highlights the ridiculousness sometimes of immigration policy. Now albeit it is an extreme example, advocates say that there are perhaps thousands of others out there in similar circumstances.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations. MARIO HERNANDEZ: Thank you, madam.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help me god.

MARQUEZ: Mario Hernandez taking the oath after 50 years of living, working and fighting for America. The shocker, he wasn't a citizen and no one not even he knew it.

(on camera): How many background checks has the government done on you?

HERNANDEZ: I think seven, if I'm not mistaken.

MARQUEZ: Seven background checks.

HERNANDEZ: Yes, sir. Every five years I do one.

MARQUEZ (voice over): For 22 years the Army veteran worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, part of the Justice Department, guarding high profile prisoners like Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.

(on camera): You've worked for the Justice Department.

HERNANDEZ: Yes, sir.

MARQUEZ: The agency that manages the bureau that does the immigration policy.


MARQUEZ: You weren't legal.

HERNANDEZ: According to the records I was not. I think that maybe something that has - misplaced.

MARQUEZ (voice over): Arriving from Cuba at age nine, Hernandez had legal status here, but not citizenship and never should have had the jobs he did. He only found out last year when he and his wife wanted to take a cruise to celebrate his retirement so he applied for a passport.

HERNANDEZ: The immigration system is not broken, it is a disaster. It is literally, it's a wreck. It's like one hand does not know the other.

MARQUEZ: Hernandez's lawyer says there are thousands here in similar situations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They probably haven't worked for the government for so many years so that's what made his case particularly unique.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Hernandez. MARQUEZ: After first denying his application for naturalization, the

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services reversed itself and admitted a mistake and put the lifelong American on track to citizenship.

HERNANDEZ: I had to say it's one of the best moments of my life. I felt like I was reborn again. Almost 59 years of age I was reborn.

MARQUEZ: One of America's newest Americans, 50 years in the making.


MARQUEZ: Mario Hernandez got busted when he applied for a passport so he could go on a cruise with his wife. Now that all of this is behind him and he is now a U.S. citizen completely, entirely and legally, he says he and his wife will finally take that cruise. Victor, Christi.

PAUL: Miguel Marquez, thank you so much. And tonight, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas is about to risk everything by coming forward and telling you his story. He's living here in the U.S. illegally undocumented. Be sure to watch "Documented," the CNN film. Tonight, 9 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: The Iraqi air force is taking it to the northern city of Mosul trying to drive out ISIS militants. But this is no conventional army. We'll talk about how to target a new kind of enemy.


PAUL: Blown out buildings in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul are the latest evidence of fierce clashes with ISIS fighters there.

BLACKWELL: Now, there are reports that Islamic militants destroyed Shia places of worship and now the Iraqi air force has launched air strikes in the country's second largest city, Mosul, killing at least seven civilians reportedly.

PAUL: And now for those fleeing the carnage, a new obstacle. Officials in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region are tightening the rules at border posts requiring families to have a local sponsor to enter that region.

BLACKWELL: Joining us to talk about the latest developments retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis. Colonel Maginnis, good to have you back. Now, the Iraqi air force is taking aim at ISIS militants. We talked about these strikes in Mosul. Also they have got now five new Russian warplanes in its arsenal. But this is not a traditional enemy. What would be most effective to take down ISIS?

LT. COL. BOB MAGINNIS (RET.) U.S. ARMY: Well, clearly, you're doing what you can, Victor, with the SU-24s and the high - 35s and so forth that they've got from the Russians. You have to catch them in the open. But clearly, with the assault that the Iraqi security forces were making in Tikrit suggest that they are willing to take it to a new dimension, something that they haven't done very effectively thus far, and that is to go after them within the build-up areas. So, we'll have to wait and see whether or not they can be effective. They have a lot of help with militias, they have some volunteers that perhaps aren't well-trained. But having the air dimension is very critical to what they are doing. It will, you know, constrain the movement of ISIL across those vast areas where there's not a lot of protection.

PAUL: You know, you just mentioned Tikrit and we're getting conflicting information this morning about who is in control there. And you talk about militias and these tribes that are getting involved now. How difficult is it to decipher and discern who is winning in these areas?

MAGINNIS: Yeah, it is very difficult, Christi. Good question. The reality is that you do have a lot of Sunnis in Tikrit that are being of assistance to the Iraqi central government, because they understand ISIL is not going to be terribly good to them. So, they are aligning themselves with Baghdad out of desperation. But trying to sort out what's going on on the ground, we won't know for days if in fact the battle continues. We do now from reports that Special Forces from the Iraqi security forces are inside the city. They are trying to do the type of fighting that's critical to chase ISIL out. ISIL is not very deep in terms of its rank so it's going to use an economy of force to move around to areas where they can take advantage. And I'm fearful that they will do some of the same things they have done in the past, that is execute people, they may even you know, divert the flow of the dam to the north, Haditha Dam 120 miles northwest of Baghdad, which, of course, could not only slow ISIL, but also could deprive the south of fresh water, which would be a humanitarian disaster.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about this growing humanitarian crisis, and the flood of refugees, Kurdish officials are now tightening down or tightening their border crossings. What does this mean for not only the conflict, but all the people who are trying to escape the conflict?

MAGINNIS: Yeah, as you noted, in the lead-up, Victor, that the bombing of Mosul has pushed a lot of refugees out of there. You know, fear, desperation, and yet the Kurds who are trying to become really more autonomous and, you know, kind of push back, they don't want to be decisively engaged with ISIL either. And so, using their Peshmerga, their militia, which is very well trained and very well equipped, they are going to try to slow this. And yet, you know, where do you go as a refugee? You know, the land is unforgiving, so we really do have a humanitarian disaster in the make, not only along the Kurdish border with Mosul and Tikrit all the way, the entire Arab provinces, but then of course the water issue. I'm very concerned about that because I think that that could create such a cataclysmic issue for the Iraqi people that no telling what could happen after that.

PAUL: All right. Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis, so appreciate your insight. Thank you for taking the time to be with us this morning.

MAGINNIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So, is Team USA really partly Team Germany? We'll take a look at the surprising reason there are so many Germans on the World Cup national team. And what the military has to do with it.




BLACKWELL: Expect to see more scenes like this again on Tuesday as when team USA takes on Belgium. It will be the most important match yet. And this game is pivotal: either the U.S. wins or they are out. And, of course, hoping to take the team out is the Belgium team. Now, you've got to remember that there are a lot of Germans on the U.S. team as well.

PAUL: CNN editorial producer Nadia Bilchik is talking about that with us, because we know about the coach, right?


PAUL: But what about the team?

BILCHIK: Look, there is five team members, which makes up 21 percent of the team. So, that's a substantial number. And we start off with John Brooks.


BILCHIK: And then Jermaine Jones. We have Savion Johnson, Julian Green, Anthony Chandler, all five of them, but what they have in common, not only do they have dual citizenship, but all their fathers were American servicemen or are American servicemen and all their mothers are German. But it's not unusual, because there have been U.S. troops based in Germany, tens of thousands for the last 60 years, so it's really not a unique thing to have kid that has an American name, but in fact has been raised in Germany or born in Germany . Four of the five were born in Germany. Only Julian Green is eligible to run for U.S. president.

PAUL: You know what's interesting - is this is kind of one of the first years that it seems like the U.S. has really gotten pumped up about the game.


PAUL: So, if these players have dual citizenship and they could play with either team, why do they choose the U.S.?

BILCHIK: For many reasons that they have, many of them played for German teams, but only in the Youth League, so what they called the Freundleague (ph). But there are so many incredible German players that they actually have a better chance playing for the U.S.

And remember, Jurgen Klinsmann is a big star in Germany.

BLACKWELL: Yes. BILCHIK: That was a pull. But he says he didn't go only ask the German Americans, he really goes off after the best players in the world. And if they are eligible for American citizenship or an American passport, at least. And you have - I mean you have Islandic Americans, you have Mexican Americans on the team. You have a Norwegian American - Mix Diskerud. So, it's unusual, you know, to have this whole group, the United Nations of the American team.

BLACKWELL: There's a 21 percent of Team USA, German and the German members of this team, American German members of this team, they have showed out - I mean this time. I look back at Jermaine Jones, scoring that big ball against Portugal.

BILCHIK: Absolutely. The two goals that have been scored in this World Cup have been American Germans or German Americans. You have - yes, you say, Jermaine Jones.


BILCHIK: Jermaine Jones and then you have John Brooks. So, they've certainly done extremely well and it remains to be seen on Tuesday, watch on FIOS who wins - I'll be watching, but I have to tell you, I watched the game, and I watched - an Argentinian American, a South African American.


BILCHIK: A Brazilian American, an Italian American, of course, everybody has once again come and they want Team USA to win.


BILCHIK: The sentiments.

BLACKWELL: South African American, however, you - Brazil colleagues today. I don't know what's going on. I don't know what's going on.

BILCHIK: All about the World Cup, but believe me, on Tuesday.


BILCHIK: I will be wearing red, white and blue.

PAUL: I believe you.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely.

PAUL: We believe you now.

BLACKWELL: Nadia Bilchik, thank you so much. Programming note, watch Chris Cuomo live from Brazil tomorrow morning on NEW DAY starting at 6 a.m. Eastern.

PAUL: All right, well listen, he is a singer. He is a songwriter. He is 11 years old.


PAUL: And online he's got 5 million - more than 5 million Facebook followers. This is not your average rapper, maybe even as Justin Bieber, but there's something else that's really, really different about this (INAUDIBLE). I've got to talk to him. We are going to introduce you - him and his little sister, and that's right here.


PAUL: All righty. I want to introduce you to a kid who is not only huge on the Internet, singer songwriter, but man, he is doing some pretty darn good stuff in his life. Take a look.


PAUL: This is 11-year-old MattyB, singer songwriter, online sensation, and a young heart throb the girls around the globe.

(on camera): Have you had a moment where you've had a crazy fan?

MATTYB: Yes. A fan tackled me once.

PAUL: Where were you?

MATTYB: At a basketball game. I performed and then I went to watch the game, and she tackled me.

PAUL: What did she say?

MATTYB: She's like you have to marry me.


PAUL (voice over): He's got more than 5 million fans on Facebook with an audience primarily of girls 7 to 14 years old. So, when you hear he is a rapper you might think wait a minute, what are these girls listening to? But this kid gives rapper a whole different image.

Besides writing some of his own songs Matty takes popular songs that might be a bit too mature for a younger audience and modifies them.

MATTYB: I rewrite them with my cousin and we always make it all clean. And just about stuff that I do in life, and so any one can listen to it.


MATTYB: My version is drop dirty.


PAUL (on camera): What does daily life look like to Mattie? Well, what it looks like for a lot of 11-year-olds? He plays baseball, goes fishing, hangs out with his friends. But there is another part of his life that people are very interested in. MattyB's relationship with his sister.

MATTYB: I dedicate this song to my little sister Sarah Grace.

She is eight years old now, and she has Down syndrome. But she is really smart and stuff. And she's hilarious. She's really funny.

PAUL (voice over): MattyB and Sarah Grace had performed together at the Buddy Walk, a fundraiser for Down syndrome. She has been in some of his videos and one that he dedicated to her has more than 12 million views on YouTube.

MATTYB: She's so beautiful. And I tell her every day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of all of the things this kid rapper has going for him, perhaps one of the strongest is his love for his family and his determination to make sure people know that Down syndrome doesn't hold you down.

MATTYB: My sister, she is in a normal classroom at school. And she does all of her homework, she does everything. And she also knows some of the lyrics to my songs.

SARAH GRACE (singing): Let it all out.

MATTYB: Make a hit with MattyB.


PAUL: And she is just as sweet as he is. Thank you very much, guys, for letting me tag along, you know. I went over to where he was having a concert over at the Georgia Dome, a little - a couple of weeks ago.

BLACKWELL: Look at you and MattyB.

PAUL: And I'm squatting down. I'm not that short.


PAUL: But he is tall. He will overtake me in the height category within months, probably, at my rate, so.

BLACKWELL: He's also got the pop star hair swoop.

PAUL: He's got - I know. Doesn't he?

BLACKWELL: Right across the ...

PAUL: But he's a good kid.

BLACKWELL: You got it.

PAUL: He's a good kid. Thank you so much for starting your morning with us. I hope you left us in good.

BLACKWELL: Much more ahead on NEW DAY Team News, right now.