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Deportation To Begin This Week; Israeli Leaflets Urge Evacuation In Gaza; Citigroup Agrees to $7 Billion Settlement; Female Yahoo Exec Sued For Sexual Harassment

Aired July 14, 2014 - 10:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: A mysterious odor has led to the evacuation of more than 100 homes in Pennsylvania. Emergency crews found alarmingly high readings of volatile organic compound. Samples of the chemical were taken to a lab for identification. No illnesses have been reported.

The next hour of NEWSROOM starts now.

Happening now in the NEWSROOM. On the brink, breaking overnight, the Middle East explodes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're using missile defense to protect our civilians.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Warnings of towns being wiped out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are using their civilians to protect their missiles.

COSTELLO: Will America have to broker a cease fire?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don't stand for something, you are going to follow for anything.

COSTELLO: Immigration outrage. This morning, deportations begin. Brace yourself, pull out the parkas, the polar vortex is back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 59 for a high temperature on Monday for the middle of July.

COSTELLO: Temperatures 30 degrees below normal, some people waking up to temperatures in the 40s.

We've got to talk about it. Germany takes the Cup, so after biting --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's such a consistent player.

COSTELLO: And Tim Howard, are Americans World Cup whipped? Let's talk live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COSTELLO (on camera): Good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank for so much for joining me. Any hope of the American dream could quickly die for many undocumented migrants seeking who are seeking a new live in the United States. To curb the rising tide of illegal immigration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says deportations will begin this week.

After making a long dangerous trek to the United States, these immigrants will be sent back home. It comes as Congress must consider President Obama's request for nearly $4 billion to stop the migration. There's no easy solution in sight.


COSTELLO (voice-over): The process of repatriation starts for hundreds of people at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in New Mexico. The families here are being sent home as the Obama administration tries to send a message.

JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: At the end of the day, our border is not open to illegal immigration.

COSTELLO: It's been the influx of children that has highlighted this crisis.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The best way to do that is for plane loads of these young people to be returning to the country of origin and their families as soon as they see their money is not effective in getting their kids to this country, then it will stop, and not before.

COSTELLO: Both Democrats and Republicans have acknowledged it as a humanitarian crisis. The condition these kids are fleeing.

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: They are seeking refuge from organized crime, gangs, vile of human traffickers.

COSTELLO: And the dangers of the long trek to the United States. The president's request for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to deal with the influx has stalled in the Republican-led House.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The House Republicans won't even take a vote on the bill.

COSTELLO: Some Republicans call for a change of a 2008 immigration law, something they say will slow the flow of unaccompanied minors, migrating to the United States.

MCCAIN: The president wants $3.7 billion. If this keeps up, he will ask for the same next year. It's got to come to a halt.


COSTELLO: A lot of these migrants fled to the United States to leave gang violence. Al Valdez is a former gang supervisor for the Orange County, California Districts Attorney's Office. Good morning, sir.

AL VALDEZ, FORMER GANG UNIT SUPERVISOR, ORANGE COUNTY DA'S OFFICE: Good morning, Carol. Thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: First question, are these kids that are coming into the United States illegally dangerous?

VALDEZ: Are the kids coming into America dangerous?

COSTELLO: A lot of people are afraid of that. Are they dangerous?

VALDEZ: Probably not. The onus for the kids to come to our country is to escape the violence and disruption in their country.

COSTELLO: Tell us what it's like in their country. What are they escaping from?

VALDEZ: Well, if you talk about the Central American countries, over half the people live in extreme poverty, no running water, no electricity, no ability to get jobs. And an environment where street gangs control movement, tax people, and will kill you if you don't pay them.

COSTELLO: Let's talk about those street gangs because they -- I know I've heard that migrants came to the United States in particular to Los Angeles. They were trained by American gangs. They brought them back to Central America, and that's what these kids are escaping from. Is that true?

VALDEZ: Actually, it's partly true. I think the phenomenon we see here we take illegal immigrant gang members and they commit a felony crime and go to prison, as a friend once said, juvenile hall is like high school and prison is like college for some of these college, we give them a prison education and deport them to their countries where they are a big fish in a little pond, they have instant street credibility.

That happened inspect '95 to about 2010. Now our immigrant gang members do not hold the same esteem as they did back then. They have developed into what they are now. They have matured. Now they control their countries. They become the policemen of their neighborhoods. They tax the people who live there. They buy off people. They are developing contacts to secure weapons, and it is a situation where it's ripe for these type of groups to develop.

COSTELLO: So obvious the parents of these children are sending them to get into the United States illegally, they seem to have no choice. Do we owe these kids protection?

VALDEZ: That's a very hard question to answer. It's a humanitarian crisis most certainly, but we have to protect our borders and here's the deal when I was down there and speaking to some of these folks a number of years ago, America is the land of opportunity. It is the land where the little guy makes it, and we hear stories all over the world how you can be a success in America. People leave because not only of poverty, extreme poverty, but extreme violence and where are they going to go? We send out an open invitation with our success and we're inadvertently inviting these folks here because it is safe here.

COSTELLO: Al Valdez, thanks so much. We appreciate your insight.

Also this morning, thousands of Palestinian civilians are evacuating Gaza here's why. As you are about to see, an Israeli air strike will level the site. Many of the rocket launchers are hidden in neighborhoods. Israel dropped these leaflets warning of impending air strikes. Two overnight deaths in Gaza have pushed the Palestinian death toll to 172.

Compare that to Israel where there's not a single person killed. That's despite Hamas unleashing its own barrage. In this video, you can see the damage Israelis have been dealing with. Let's get the latest. CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Gaza City. Hi, Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. We're actually in a refugee camp to the north of Gaza City. It's really just on the area where through leaflets, the Israelis have told people to leave. We understand from the United Nations that at least 17,000 people have heeded that message.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): It's ticking. It's time to go. Israel ordered inhabits of Northern Gaza to leave by 2:00 p.m. Sunday. Hamas told them to stay put. I don't answer to them said Ahmed. I do what's best for us. He's sending his family to safer ground in Gaza City. Relatively safer that is although he will stay behind.

Luckily he caught a taxi to take them away and not a moment too soon. These children have heard the crash of shelling and air strikes for days now, but it still terrifies them. This is the third time in the last five years his family has had to flee their home.

(on camera): Like almost everybody in this area we're leaving too. It's dangerous. There's shelling there. There's some people staying behind to guard their houses, but as the men back there told me 80 percent of the people in this area have already left and at this time the deadline to leave ends in 35 minutes.

(voice-over): On the drive into Gaza City, empty streets and rubble from the Israeli air strikes. By taxi or mostly by foot, the people fleeing the north are heading to United Nations schools more than a thousand in this school alone. Food has yet to be provided. The only source of sustenance a water tanker. This family fled at 2:00 in the morning. We told the kids get up, get up.

She tells me. We walk all the way here. This baby needs milk but we don't have any. We have nothing. Not even safety. There's little to do here, but wait until the fighting stops and they can go back to their homes, if they are still there.


COSTELLO: Ben, we lost you there at the top. What's all the chatter behind you?

WEDEMAN: This is a very crowded refugee camp and as soon as you set up the camera, in fact, why don't you turn the camera around, you see how many people come and Gaza is mostly young people. And so as soon as you show up in a place like this, many people come, many people are here also because it's understood that this is an area that in theory the Israeli aren't supposed to strike. So anyway, at the moment, it's calm and like I said, kids everywhere, but relatively well-behaved, so we can function, but they make a little bit of noise -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Ben Wedeman, thanks so much.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, danger lurking at some of America's most popular theme parks. CNN's Kyra Phillips is investigating this story. Hi, Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. We're talking about sexual predators working in our most famous theme parks. Our investigation up next.


COSTELLO: A six-month CNN investigation finds sexual predators are beating the system and getting hired at some of America's best known theme parks. It's a story that's airing tonight on "AC360." CNN investigative correspondent, Kyra Philips joins us now with more. Kyra, what did you find out?

PHILLIPS: I'll tell you what, what I found out is that we are talking about employees at these famous theme parks that are around our children and you have no idea how per verse they are. We're talking about men who work the rides, Carol. They operate at security guards and performers. They are being arrested for sex crimes against children.

Now to be clear, none of the cases involve teenagers or children that were visiting the parks, however, child advocates tell us this is still a threat. Polk County Sheriff J.D. Judd is known nationally for these aggressive sex stings and that's how we actually discovered a pattern of theme park arrest and here's just a taste of his passion, to takedown these child sex predators.


PHILLIPS: I talk to a number of these men they said it's entrapment. I was totally set up.

SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, FOLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: What else are they going to say? Am I pervert, I seek sex with little boys? They are not going to say that. When they tell you that, look them in the eye and say you are a liar, what you are is a pervert, a sexual pervert and a child predator.


COSTELLO: All right, that's a scary thing. So I don't understand how these predators, do they have a past record, is that how they managed to be hired at theme parks? PHILLIPS: How they are hired in the first place? Here's the deal, there are ongoing and intense background checks, Carol, and these parks say that they are doing that with all their power, however, you know, there could be more done and our stories already prompting action on Capitol Hill. We're going to have that all on "AC360" tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern.

COSTELLO: All right, Kyra Phillips, thanks so much. I appreciate it. I'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Seven billion dollars, that's the fine Citigroup will pay to settle charges of sold bad mortgages at the Home consumer news just into CNN, $7 billion, that's the fine Citigroup will pay to settle charges it sold bad mortgages as the housing market started to tank. The Department of Justice made the announcement moments ago. Alison Kosik joins us now to explain it to us. Good morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. So this press conference about this settlement still ongoing and here's what we're collecting. Attorney General Eric Holder is heading up this news conference coming out and saying this that Citigroup's misconduct shattered lives and livelihoods and helped cause the financial crisis so this is some strong words from the Attorney General's Office.

Let me show you how it breaks down. It includes $4 billion in penalties that will go to the Department of Justice, $2.5 billion in mortgage modifications and other relief to homeowners and another $500 million with go to a number of states. What this does is it means that Citigroup is going to be able to avoid a civil suit by the Justice Department and it made this settlement because the DOJ accused the bank of packaging bad mortgages, bundling them into investments right during the run-up to the financial crisis.

These loans were made up of mortgages that just shouldn't have been written in the first place and those actions the DOJ says made it so people lost their homes, investors were duped, it hurt endowment and pension funds, it hurt municipalities and charities as well. In this settlement, what they are doing is agreeing to put a big chunk to help consumers, some homeowners with city mortgages.

They could wind up seeing the amount of their loans reduced or they could have their interest rates reduced. There's also going to be financing provided for affordable apartments which could help to keep rents low, details of that assistance is still coming in. Citi only agreed to provide this help until the end of 2018.

COSTELLO: I was going to ask you what about people who lost their homes.

KOSIK: That's what we want to find out. If they are going to backtrack to all those people who lost their homes because they didn't write five bad mortgages. This was a lot of mortgages that were bundled up into investments as well. COSTELLO: Alison Kosik, thanks so much. Still to come in the NEWSROOM, Yahoo is defending one of its own after a female executive gets sued for sexual harassment by another female employee. CNN Money correspondent, Laurie Segall, has more.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Carol, yet another sexual harassment case in Silicon Valley, the details are explicit. I've got more on that after the break.


COSTELLO: Good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me. It is a case of she said/she said. A female executive at Yahoo under fire for claims of sexual harassment by a former colleague. This woman, Maria Zhang coerced into sexual acts on multiple occasions against her will. Tell us more.

SEGALL: It's unbelievable, if you actually look at this complaint, very explicit. I reached out to yahoo for a comment. They are adamantly denying this. They said there is absolutely no basis or truth to the allegations against Maria. She's an exemplary Yahoo executive and we intend to fight vigorously to clear her name. They would have to do so because the details are pretty explicit. They outlined how Maria coerced this young woman to have sex with her. They complained about sexual harassment and asked for a transfer and her position was eliminated. This woman and the other woman were a -- work for another company acquired by Yahoo.

COSTELLO: This isn't the first time we've heard of sexual harassment in the valley. Why is this becoming more of a problem in Silicon Valley?