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Tax Mistakes; Border Crisis Rages; Israeli Soldier Suspended for Beating American Teen; Tensions Escalating Between Palestine and Israel; All Eyes on King James

Aired July 10, 2014 - 09:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So those are the biggest error rates. But the biggest dollars in Medicare and in Social Security and in tax refunds. It's pretty interesting, too, because, Brianna, when you talk to people within some of these agencies, they say, look, our budgets are down over the past couple of years actually.


ROMANS: So we don't have the money to try to fix it or enough money to try to fix it, which critics of big government and critics of bureaucracy in government, bureaucracy would say, wait, it takes more money to not lose money? How does that make sense?

KEILAR: And also you look on that chart where it showed that even 2010, you know, they were messing up more I guess you could say. There were also bigger government expenditures, which might explain - I wonder almost like if we broke this down in fractions what it would be. It's bad either way you cut it. Not good.

ROMANS: It's -- and for years, like, look - you know, look, the American - it's -- we have a sprawling government that's -- so much money is spent. I mean I - I mean you've seen the budget. You know how much money is coming in and going out. But there are so many places where we need to do a better job of tracking that money and making sure it's going to the right people. The White House and the administration will say, we are getting that slippage down. It is - it is not as bad as it was before. And they do admit that more work needs to be done.

KEILAR: Yes, it sure does. Christine Romans, thanks for breaking that down.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

KEILAR: And still to come, the crisis at the border. Tens of thousands of children heading from Central America to the U.S. and the political stalemate leaves their fate hanging in the balance. We'll talk about that next.


KEILAR: Good morning. I'm Brianna Keilar, in today for Carol Costello. Thank you for joining me. And the White House today on an all-out campaign to get Congress to

approve nearly $4 billion in funding to help children detained along the U.S./Mexico border, but that is causing protests among many who say they should be sent back immediately. The dispute is playing out in two cities in California. You've got Murrieta and El Centro. People are taking sides, especially when it comes to those unaccompanied children crossing the border and what to do with them. Here's CNN's Kyung Lah.



KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The indelible image of the immigration battle in Murrieta, California.

CROWD: Go back to Mexico!

LAH: Blocking the front of the border patrol station from three buses of central American undocumented immigrants. The buses forced to turn around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in Murrieta! Not in Murrieta!

LAH: Almost 200 miles away, planes from Texas land, ferrying mostly undocumented women and children. They moved to buses, which arrived to an open and quiet border patrol station in El Centro. In this town, they're moved to local charities, temporarily sheltering the women and children. And even helped toddlers like Rudy (ph) and his mother board buses to family waiting in Washington state. Two cities in the same state, same issue, two completely different reactions. Demographics may help explain why.

Murrieta sits more than 85 miles from the international border. Seventy percent of the city is white. The bedroom community of San Diego is relatively affluent with only 7 percent of households below the poverty line. El Centro sits a stone's throw from the border only several miles away. Over 80 percent of the city is Latino. Its economy relies on Mexican tourists and immigrants and struggles with 25 percent below the poverty line.

LAH (on camera): When you watch television and you see what's happening in Murrieta, what is your impression of that?

MAYOR PRO-TEM EFRAIN SILVA, EL CENTRO, CALIFORNIA: I think it's pretty - it's pretty sad.

LAH (voice-over): El Centro's mayor pro-tem is himself a Mexican immigrant. His city, he says, is on the front line of the border crisis and sees the desperation up close.

LAH (on camera): Are they thinking about the people on the bus, in your opinion?

SILVA: They're thinking about them but in the wrong way from my perspective. I don't necessarily condone the activities, but, again, it's not up to us to decide what happens to them. It's up to us to provide them with an environment that is safety and healthy.

LAH: Why is it towns like El Centro that they're not having the same sort of reaction as Murrieta's is?


LAH (voice-over): Murrieta's mayor says you can't compare the two cities. They're too different. He also believes the ugliest elements of the protests are not from his residents but outsiders coming in.

LONG: The world never got to see the compassion that Murrieta has and what we're known for.

LAH (on camera): Is it possible that the buses will come and that we will see compassion here?

LONG: Well, you know, right now, we're still a destination point. Border patrol is still not talking to us much.

LAH (voice-over): A tale of two cities, two reactions to a border crisis that's not going away.


LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Murrieta, California.


KEILAR: Both sides of the political aisle agree the situation at the U.S./Mexico border is a humanitarian crisis. Fifty-seven thousand kids alone without their parents. They have crossed into this country since October. But so far there is little agreement, nil basically, on how to fix a problem that is growing worse by the day. On one side, President Obama, he's asking for nearly $4 billion to help the children who have been detained. Then on the other side, lawmakers, who say that money won't even begin to solve the problem.

Joining me to discuss, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and CNN political commentator and columnist for "The Blaze," Will Cain.

Will, first to you. Governor Rick Perry, he told the president that he wants him to act right now. He wants him to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, but the president says he's in trouble for doing just that, acting. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I indicated to Governor Perry, you know, he suggested, well, maybe you just need to go ahead and act and that might convince Republicans that they should go ahead and pass the supplemental. And I had to remind him, I'm getting sued right now by Mr. Boehner apparently for going ahead and acting instead of going through Congress. Well, here's a good test case.


KEILAR: Will, can Republicans really slam President Obama for being an imperial president and then turn around and go, why aren't you doing something about this?

WILL CAIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, but this is the problem with inconsistency, Brianna. This is the problem with selective enforcement, that it creates an environment where everybody says, well, if the law doesn't matter anymore, then let's just -- I'll plead to you to act when it's in my policy interest or when it's something I believe in. This is why we have the rule of law so we don't have those kinds of debates.

I want to say this, Brianna, if I can, because I heard you mention it. This idea that money can somehow solve our current crisis, the 50,000 undocumented children or unaccompanied minors that have come across, up from, by the way, 4,000 on average over the last decade, money cannot solve this problem. It's really honestly also not about the border, because these kids are coming across and turning themselves in to border patrol immediately. It's a policy problem. It's a problem where we have a policy in place passed in 2008 that Central American children will not be deported immediately. They will be placed in foster homes and they never return to their court date. Thus they just disappear into the American society and the word spreads, you'll never be deported. Combine that with the president's executive authority DACA (ph) and now there's this impression, and it's not a false impression -

KEILAR: No, and I -

CAIN: Make your way to America. You'll stay.

KEILAR: I do get that, Will. We had heard testimony on The Hill yesterday that I think it was somewhere around 50 percent or 60 percent, you've got rough - let's say roughly half of people are not going to their hearing. So certainly we're seeing some of that. But, Maria, I wonder, the president, he's saying, you know, he's ready to move. The hesitation here is lying with Congress. He's pointing a finger at Congress. Here's what he said yesterday in Dallas about this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those who say I should visit the border, when you ask them what should we be doing, they're giving us suggestions that are embodied in legislation that I've already sent to Congress. So it's not as if they're making suggestions that we're not listening to. In fact, the suggestions of those who work at the border, who visited the border, are incorporated in legislation that we're already prepared to sign the minute it hits my desk.


KEILAR: OK, Maria, that legislation will never hit his desk, ever. So I wonder -- so, but what is he doing other than sort of appearing to be weak in this position?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR; Oh, I don't think it's appearing to be weak, Brianna. It's appearing to do exactly what the American people expect a president to do, to lead, to focus on solutions, and then to ask this Congress, which has repeatedly refused to help him lead, to finally focus on solutions and put politics aside. Look, I think we need a clear injection of reality here. Governor Perry and many other Republicans scream that this president has done nothing to secure the border. Let's look at the facts.

Under President Bush, the undocumented population grew between 3 million and 4 million people. The growth under President Obama has been net negative, number one. Number two, there is already a solution on the table. There has been for over a year. The Senate immigration plan could have mitigated this tragedy by focusing on a clear message to the world of who can be here and who can't. And, number three, this is not a national security issue. Like Will said, these children are turning themselves over to border patrol agents. So money -- just money is not the solution, but we need a comprehensive solution that is on the table with the Senate immigration plan and the money, the appropriations bill that the president just asked for and finally try to solve this.

CAIN: If I may quickly.

KEILAR: Yes, go ahead, Will.

CAIN: If I may quickly. I may quickly. Here's what Maria is completely wrong. We cannot push forward with a comprehensive immigration plan. The problem with the current crisis, the 50,000, which many are projecting will be 80,000 to 90,000 this year of unaccompanied minors, is that so many political parties and political interests are lumping their goals and their hopes for immigration reform on top of it. Let's get a pathway to citizenship. Let's really beef up the border. When the truth is, to fix this problem, it's a narrow policy fix. And I don't know if Maria's on one side of the aisle and I'm on the other, can we not agree right now to repeal the 2008 law that has proven to be a magnet for Central American children? Let's start narrow. In fact, narrow would fix the exact crisis on our hands right now.

CARDONA: But, you know - but, you know -- but you know what -

CAIN: And then we move on to the next problem.

CARDONA: But you know what, Will? The president has said, I am for narrow. If you guys don't want to do it comprehensively, give us bill by bill. Boehner has said, let's do this piecemeal. We have not seen one piece of that meal. In fact, Boehner said not only a week ago that he is not going to bring any immigration bill to the floor. That is not leadership. That is putting politics before solutions. That's not what we need right now.

KEILAR: Do you see, Will - do you see something narrow passing the House of Representatives? All I'm hearing from Congress is folks in - on both side of the aisle even saying, $3.7 billion, I don't like this part of it, I don't like that. CAIN: Right.

KEILAR: Where are the alternatives? Where is Congress?

CAIN: Well -- well, we know this, right, Brianna, that Representative Henry Cuellar (ph) and I believe is it - is it John Boehner, it's a bipartisan effort is going to put a proposal together like I've just described to repeal the 2008 law. So at the beginning the Democrats have had --

KEILAR: Which says that then - which says that the deportation hearings, that under that law that folks who come in undocumented, that they are allowed to have -- that you would waive those. But, Maria -

CAIN: Right.

KEILAR: Your point real quick on this, because Democrats have a point on why they think that's not a good idea.

CARDONA: Well, I think what Democrats want to make sure happens, whether or not we change this law, is that these children get due process. There are a lot of these kids that are coming from places where, if they were sent back, their lives would be in danger. And so I think no matter what happens, the president will be focused on making sure that that due process doesn't go away. No matter what, Brianna, and I hope Republicans agree with this, we have to treat these children under our valued American values, and that cannot change, no matter what law is in place.

CAIN: We don't -- we don't disagree on that. We also have to understand the magnets and attraction we create with some of these policies and we have to figure out a way to take away that draw and treat the existing population humanely.

KEILAR: And there may be a way -

CARDONA: And if the Republicans helped us pass the immigration law that is already on the books or that is already on the table in the Senate, we would be able to help mitigate that, Will.

KEILAR: But the good - I will end it on this, saying that there is good news that some Republicans or Democrats are trying to figure out a way to keep some of those protections in place while trying to stem this problem.

CARDONA: Exactly.

KEILAR: This is a great conversation, Will Cain, Maria Cardona. I could talk all day with you guys. Thanks for being with me.

CARDONA: Absolutely. Thanks, Brianna.

CAIN: Thanks, Brianna.


KEILAR: In Israel, the officer suspended for beating a 15-year-old Palestinian-American boy may face criminal charges.


KEILAR (voice-over): That beating caught on tape, just one of several incidents stoking Mideast tensions. More rocket fire from Hamas overnight was met with more air strikes on militant targets in Gaza. Scores of Palestinians are dead, dozens more wounded and it will likely get worse. Israel has vowed to step up the aerial bombardment and the military has called up reserves, heralding a possible ground invasion.

Israeli President Shimon Peres spoke with CNN's Becky Anderson about the fighting.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The world should expect to see a ground offensive at any time from the Israelis? You've called up reservists.

SHIMON PERES, PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL: Whatever we can do, with our armed forces we shall do, so we waited. We didn't start the war today. They started it. Already several days ago. And they continue and they spread the fire on more areas in Israel.

ANDERSON: How long will Israel wait?

PERES: Until we should reach or the moment we should reach a conclusion that this should be the next step. We shall not take dates. Nobody will do it. It may happen quite soon.


KEILAR: CNN's Diana Magnay is live near the Israeli/Gaza border. Are you seeing any evidence of escalation from your location?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, there is certainly the fact that rockets are going over us on regular occasions and there is no let-up in the Israeli air strikes. We've seen numerous bombings along the Gaza strip behind me and its northernmost edge. We've seen rockets go up and we've seen interceptions by Iron Dome. Hamas so clearly has missiles that go far further than the IDF has ever seen before, as far as 160 kilometer, the M-302 which Israeli defense forces say is manufactured in Syria and shipped from Iran. And that is a big problem for this Iron Dome missile defense shield, Brianna, which has been working extremely effectively, but these are mobile batteries which have to be deployed around Israel depending on where the IDF thinks the threat is coming from. And as the radius of militant rockets goes further across Israel, then it is far more difficult to protect the entire country.

That said, there have been no casualties at all in Israel so far. Of course in the main population areas there have been numerous air raid sirens, but no casualties because of the effectiveness of Iron Dome, whereas in Gaza, the casualty toll is rising. It is now 78, 22 of those are children, so however much the IDF says they are precision targeting, there are inevitably going to be civilians and innocence caught up in this process, Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, Gaza is just so heavily populated. That's certainly always a side effect and we're seeing that here.

Diana Magnay, thank you so much, near the Israel/Gaza border. Tune in today. Wolf Blitzer will be anchoring the situation room from Israel starting at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. I'll be right back. .


KEILAR: NBA waiting game. Fans keep refreshing LeBron James' website for a decision on whether the King will take his talents back to Cleveland or keep them in South Beach.


KEILAR (voice-over):LeBron is holding his annual summer basketball camp in Las Vegas and he met there with Miami Heat President Pat Riley for an hour yesterday and for now, what happened in Vegas, well, it stays in Vegas.


KEILAR: CNN's Andy Scholes is on the LeBron watch. I love that. It really is. We don't know what's going on here.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Everyone is just, you know, waiting, holding their breath you know and LeBron's decision, Brianna, part two. It could come down at any minute now really and who would have thought that just four years after the infamous decision that LeBron may be taking his talents back home? Now, the only meeting that LeBron has physically been at is the one he had yesterday with the Heat.


SCHOLES (voice-over): He has not met with the Cavs and owner Dan Gilbert but that hasn't stopped the Cavs from doing what they can to be ready. They made a big trade yesterday to clear salary cap space so that they can give LeBron a max contract. Everyone in Cleveland, they're on pins and needles waiting for LeBron to announce his decision. Last night at the Indians game, many fans were sporting James' old number 23 Cavs jersey in hopes that the King will be returning home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that it's taken this long I think he's coming back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a good feeling that he's home, man. LeBron. The King, He's home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm optimistic. And I wouldn't even say cautiously optimistic. It's more like a feeling that it's going to happen. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Now fans in Ohio want LeBron back so badly that Cedar Point, an amusement park there, is ready to name a roller coaster after him. Cedar Point tweeted out last night, "Hey King James, come back to the Cavs and we'll rename one of our coasters King James. Ball in your court, sir. "

Now Brianna, I think LeBron's going to make his decision pretty soon, as early as today, because right now he's holding up everything. The other two big free agents, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, they're waiting for LeBron to go first. So, we should know something soon. As we know, LeBron is scheduled to go to the world cup final in Brazil, so at worst we're going to have the decision before he leaves for that big trip.

KEILAR: And when he made the announcement that he was leaving Cleveland did he do that at like a YMCA or a kids camp or something?

SCHOLES: He had an hour long special on ESPN that he was just ridiculed for. It's going to be lower key this time, a lot of people expect him to just put it on his website. That's why a lot of people are refreshing LeBron James' website right now.

KEILAR: I say he should do it again and he should do the same thing but make the right -- you know, at least as far as people in Ohio are concerned.

SCHOLES: He would make a whole new group of people pretty mad probably if he had another hour-long special.

KEILAR: That's true. Maybe he will tweet it. I don't know. Andy Scholes, thank you.

SCHOLES: Have a good one.

KEILAR: Now, new in the next hour of NEWSROOM, thousands of undocumented children now being held at border facilities across the U.S. Well, some towns don't want these kids around. Others are opening up their homes. I'll be talking to one couple looking to become parents to those who have none. The next hour of NEWSROOM begins after a quick break.