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CNN LIVE TODAY
Immigration Debate Heats Up; Bush Calls for Guest Worker Program
Aired March 27, 2006 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have a busy Monday to get toward. We're talking immigration. They may have built your house, maybe served your breakfast this morning. About 12 million people are living and working illegally in the U.S. This hour, President Bush calling for a guest worker program that would allow many of them to stay. His backdrop, interestingly enough, is a ceremony for 30 new U.S. citizens.
Also this hour, the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting to debate legislation. It faces a midnight deadline and tough steps already taken by the House. The House bill makes illegal immigration a felony, requires workers to verify worker status, fines employers who hires illegal immigrants. It erects fences along parts of the U.S.- Mexican boarder and it calls for no guest worker programs.
Washington looking ready to get tough on illegal immigrants, but Maywood, California, now this is a different place. It is welcoming illegal immigrants. And our Kareen Wynter take as look at that.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the face of Maywood, California. Ninety-six percent Hispanic and recently declared a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. The city council defied federal authorities by turning the community into a safe haven for the undocumented. The action was a reaction to a federal proposal that would make 11 million undocumented immigrants guilty of a felony.
FELIPE AGUIRRE, MAYWOOD CITY COUNCILMAN: It would also force the cities, like the city of Maywood, to have to utilize its police force as immigration agents.
WYNTER: The city wasn't always so immigrant friendly. Just last year, police were looking for immigrants without drive's licenses and impounding their cars. Council members dismantled the police department's traffic division after an overwhelming number of alleged discrimination complaints.
Local leaders went one step further, by making it more difficult for police to tow the vehicles of anyone caught without a driver's license since the majority of the offenders were undocumented residents.
AGUIRRE: Many people called it driving while brown. You know, people were being pulled over because they had a soccer team bumper sticker on the back of their car. WYNTER: Art Alvarez was one of the people caught in the dragnet.
ART ALVAREZ, MAYWOOD RESIDENT: It cost me like $1,400.
WYNTER: It's still illegal to drive without a license in Maywood, but those stopped won't have their cars seized. They can get a permit for overnight parking. Like many residents in Maywood, Alvarez is a U.S. citizen but his wife is from Mexico and doesn't have legal documents to reside here.
ALVAREZ: America was built by immigrants since the Mayflower and I think so United States of America was built by immigrants.
WYNTER: Some argue the city's new immigrant policy goes too far.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, my question is this, we are pushing the law in the limit.
WYNTER: This resident who didn't want us to identify him fears what will happen to his neighborhood. Maywood's population is less than 30 thousand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the city of Maywood, we are very small. And for this sanctuary, we are attracting a lot of immigrants to come and live in the area. That's a problem.
WYNTER: The city says attracting new residents isn't the focus but rather creating a fair existence for those who are already there.
Kareen Wynter, CNN, Maywood, California.
KAGAN: And we go from illegal immigrants to new citizens. Thirty new American citizens being sworn in right now in Washington, D.C.. President Bush is standing by as this takes place. Let's listen in a little bit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without any mental reservation.
CROWD: Without any mental reservation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or purpose of evasion.
CROWD: Or purpose of evasion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help me God.
CROWD: So help me God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you and congratulations.
KAGAN: And there you have it, 30 of the newest citizens to the United States. They followed the rules and they did it legally. But what about in the future? Let's talk about what is being proposed on Capitol Hill by some of the bills, the guest worker program. To talk about that, let's welcome in Benjamin Johnson, director of immigration policy of the Immigration Policy Center, and Jack Martin from the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Gentlemen, good morning.
BENJAMIN JOHNSON, DIRECTOR, IMMIGRATION POLICY CENTER: Good morning.
JACK MARTIN, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: Good morning.
KAGAN: Let me just say in advance, if the president begins to speak, we're going to take a little pause and listen in to what he has to say. He is in favor of a guest worker program.
And, Ben, I under you are as well. Why?
JOHNSON: Well, I certainly think a guest worker program is an important first step in trying to align our immigration policies with the economic realities that we have today and the labor market realities that we have today. You know, when we started our -- created these immigration laws in the 1960s, 40 percent of our workforce didn't have a high school diploma. Today, around 10 percent of our workforce doesn't have a high school diploma.
So there's no question that there are fewer and fewer native born workers who are pursuing these kinds of jobs. And the reality is, that's a good thing. And we are turning to, as we have always done, an immigration system to fill gaps in our labor market. But the current system doesn't allow that to happen legally. And we've got to figure out a way for these worker to come here legally, for the workers that we need and provide opportunities to those 10 percent of the workers that are here and the native born workforce who need training and opportunities.
KAGAN: All right, Jack, let's bring you in. You do agree that there has to be some reform in the immigration system but you don't think the guest worker program is the way to go.
MARTIN: The program that they're proposing in the Congress at the present time is a sham. They're proposing giving people who are currently in the country illegally legal work papers so they can stay three to six years. These aren't temporary jobs. These are permanent jobs. What they're looking for is simply giving these illegal workers permanent status here, taking American jobs.
We have to protect the opportunities for American workers. We cannot count on having a permanent system of foreign workers who are exploited at low wages by American labor -- American businesses. It's to the advantage of the businesses, but it is not to the advantage of the American taxpayer who is having to pay for emergency medical care, education in the schools, incarceration for these foreign supposedly temporary workers who are here permanently.
KAGAN: OK, Ben, I want to go to the first point on that. Do you think that somebody who comes here for three to six years probably in that amount of time sets up a family, has children here, will pick up at the end of that and go home?
JOHNSON: Some will, some won't. And that's the reason that we need an immigration system that isn't rigid and hard lined the way our current system is. I mean clearly we need to have some people here on a temporary visa. Some people want that. Some people will return. But for those workers, those good, hardworking people that want to set up roots here, we ought to extend them an opportunity for a permanent status. They're the ones most likely to earn English, the ones most likely to buy a home, start a business. So permanent immigration is an important part of this equation, there's no question about it.
KAGAN: And then, back to Jack, these are jobs, to quote the president, he'll probably say it today, these are jobs that Americans don't want to do.
MARTIN: They don't want to do it at the wages that are being offered at the present time. But the point is, is that those wages have decreased over time in areas where we have large numbers of low wage foreign workers because they have driven down those wages. We should not have a permanent system that exploits foreign workers in this country. We should have an adjustment that would be possible on the basis of getting control over our borders so we don't have illegal immigrants coming into the country and only then should we consider letting foreign workers come into our country when it's not undermining wages and working conditions for American workers.
KAGAN: Ben, if you send this guest worker program to people who are already here illegally, what's the message you send to the 30 people, people like the 30 people we just saw who followed the rules, waited, did what they were supposed to and just sworn in as American citizens?
JOHNSON: Well, I think that all of the proposals that are being seriously considered right now involve significant penalties for the workers that are here in an undocumented status. Moving them to the end of the line. Making them pay significant fines. So it's important to send the message that legal immigration is the right way to go.
But it's important to recognize at the same time that we offer very few opportunities for people to come into the United States legally every year. We offer 5,000 green cards every year to people in what we call less skilled categories. That's abysmally out of step with the realities of the labor market today.
KAGAN: And finally to Jack Martin. So these people are coming. There's a market and supply thing happening anyway. If you do have a guest worker program, at least you have some kind of registration program and you know who's here.
MARTIN: Well, we need to have an idea who's here, but not on the basis of giving those who are here illegally now legal status because that sends the message abroad that we're not serious about enforcing our immigration laws and it invites other people outside of the country to follow in the same footsteps coming illegally into our country. KAGAN: Ben Johnson and Jack Martin, gentlemen, thanks for the discussion this morning.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
KAGAN: Appreciate it.
We're watching another story happening not that far away from Washington, D.C.. The question is, will he testify or won't he? It's the question this morning as the sentencing trial of admitted 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui gets back underway. If he takes the stand, it could happen as early as today as the defense presents its case. His lawyers don't want him to testify. They think it's going to help the prosecution. Ultimately, though, it will be Moussaoui's decision. He says he's going to do it whether his lawyers like it or not. The outcome of this case means the difference between life or death for Moussaoui.
To Tennessee now, where a preacher's wife goes to court this afternoon. The charge, first-degree murder. The deceased, her husband. Authorities say Mary Winkler has confessed to killing Matthew Winkler. He was a popular minister in Selmer. That's about 80 miles east of Memphis. Earlier on CNN's AMERICAN MORNING, we spoke with a church member who says she visited Mary Winkler after Sunday services.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAM KILLINGSWORTH, FRIEND OF MARY WINKLER: It was a very emotional meeting seeing Mary for the first time after all of this had happened. She looked very well. She said she had been well taken care of. That everybody had treated her better than really what she had deserved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: Pam Killingsworth says that Mary Winkler gave her no reason for the killing.
The case of those two Milwaukee boys that have been missing, police are now calling it a criminal investigation this morning. Twelve-year-old Quadrevion Henning and 11-year-old Purvis Parker disappeared more than a week ago now. Police won't say why they decided to make the case a criminal investigation. A spokeswoman does say they're sorting through plenty of tips and leads. Earlier today on CNN's AMERICAN MORNING, the grandfather of one of the missing boys made a new plea to the community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARRY HENNING, MISSING BOY'S GRANDFATHER: Keep constantly looking. We need people to take the flyers out and, most of all, to keep praying about this. To talk to the neighbors about it. If this doesn't come to an end soon, don't forget, don't forget these boys. Don't forget the other missing children. Just burn it in their minds and in their hearts where they will not be forgotten because we're not going to let Purvis and Dre, we're not going to let them be forgotten.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: They say the reward is now at least $35,000 for anyone who helps find the boys. And there's a website that you can get more information. It is henningparker.com.
Eleven minutes past the hour. Standing by, President Bush expected to speak at this swearing in ceremony. It's now Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. When the president speaks, we'll go ahead and listen in live for a bit in Washington, D.C.
Also ahead, there's more violence in Iraq. People lining up to get jobs are killed by the dozens. What happened when CNN LIVE TODAY returns.
And is this the dark side of pop culture or a publicity stunt? A popular singer in Europe says that some fellow Muslims don't like her act and they're taking their dislike to extremes. At least one critic questions her moves. We'll have the story of the Muslim Madonna.
Right now we go live to Washington, D.C. President Bush.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is inspiring to see people of many different ages, many different countries, raise their hands and swear an oath to become citizens of the United States of America.
For some of you, this day comes after a long and difficult journey. For all of you, this is a defining moment in your lives. America is now more than your home, America is your country.
I welcome you to this free nation. I congratulate you and your families. And it's an honor to call you fellow Americans.
I appreciate the attorney general, Dr. Gonzales, thank you sir, and Alfonzo (ph), it's good to be up here with you. I want to thank the president general of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ms. Presley Wagoner, for letting us use this fantastic facility for this important ceremony. Thank you for singing the "National Anthem" so beautifully.
It is fitting that we hold this ceremony at the home of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Daughters of the American Revolution were the daughters of immigrants because the leaders of our revolution all had ancestors who came from abroad. As new citizens of the United States, you now walk in the footsteps of millions. And with the oath you've sworn, you're every bit as American as those who came before you.
Our immigrant heritage has enriched America's history. It continues to shape our society. Each generation of immigrants brings a renewal to our national character and adds vitality to our culture. Newcomers have a special way of appreciating the opportunities of America. And when they seize those opportunities, our whole nation benefits. In the 1790s, an immigrant from Ireland designed the White House right where Laura and I live and he helped build the capitol. In the 1990s, an immigrant from Russia helped create the Internet search engine Google.
In between, new citizens have made contributions in virtually every professional field and millions of newcomers have strengthened their communities through quiet lives of hard work and family and faith. America is welcoming society as more than a cultural tradition, it is a fundamental promise of our democracy. Our constitution does not limit citizenship by background or birth. Instead, our nation is bound together by a shared love of liberty and a conviction that all people are created with dignity and value.
Through the generations, Americans have upheld that vision by welcoming new citizens from across the globe and that has made us stand apart. One of my predecessors, President Ronald Reagan, used to say this, you can go to live in France but you cannot become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Japan but you cannot become Japanese. But anyone from any corner of the world can come to live in America and be an American.
The new Americans we welcome today include men and women from 20 countries on five continents. Their ages range from 18 to 59. And they work as teachers and small business managers and nurses and software engineers and other professions.
One new citizen is Veronica Percheco (ph). Veronica first came to the United States from Bolivia 15 years ago. In 2000 she moved her permanently and found a job at a catering company in Virginia. Every Friday and Saturday she spent five hours studying English at the local community college. Over the years, she saved enough money to buy her own townhouse. Here's what Veronica says about America. This is a country of opportunity. If you want to be successful, you can do it. You can have your dreams come true here.
Another new citizen is Masoon Shahune (ph). Masoon grew up in Kuwait and moved to the United States with her husband seven years ago. She enrolled in the community college to improve her English. Took a job teaching Marines to speak Arabic. Here's what Masoon said. The United States is a symbol of justice, freedom and liberty. I love that. Here they respect people because they are people. I feel I'm honored and I feel that I'm loved.
America is stronger and more dynamic when we welcome new citizens like Masoon and Veronica to our democracy. With that in mind, I've called on Congress to increase the number of green cards that can lead to citizenship. I support increasing the number of visa's available for foreign born workers in highly skilled fields like science, medicine and technology. I've signed legislation creating a new office of citizenship at the Department of Homeland Security to promote knowledge of citizenship rights and procedures.
And after September 11th, I signed an executive order making foreign born members of our military immediately eligible for citizenship because those willing to risk their lives for our democracy should be full participants in our democracy. And for the past four years, more than 20,000 men and women in uniform have become citizens of the country they serve. They've taken the citizenship oath on the decks of aircraft carriers on deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq and at military bases around the world.
At Bethesda Naval Medical Center, I watched a brave Marine born in Mexico raise his right hand and become a citizen of the country he had defended in uniform for more than 26 years. It's a privilege to be the commander in chief of men and women like these. And I'm proud to call them fellow citizens.
All who swear the oath of citizenship are doing more than completing a legal process, they are making a life-long pledge to support the values and the laws of America. The pledge comes with great privileges and it also comes with great responsibilities. I believe every new citizen has an obligation to learn the customs and values that define our nation, including liberty and civic responsibility, equality under God, tolerance for others, and the English language.
Those of us who have been citizens for many years have responsibilities as well. Helping new citizens assimilate is a mission that unites Americans by choice and by birth. I appreciate the work of patriotic organizations like the Daughters of the American Revolution. Some of the new Americans here today might have used D.A.R.'s manual for citizenship to prepare you for the citizenship test. They obviously did a pretty good job since you passed. Many other organizations from churches to businesses to civic organizations are answering the call to help new citizens succeed in our country and I am grateful for all those who reach out to people who have become citizens.
Government is doing its part to help new citizens succeed, as well. The Office of Citizenship has created a new official guide for immigrants. This free publication includes practical advice on tasks like finding housing and jobs or enrolling your children in school or paying taxes. We're conducting outreach programs with faith-based and community groups to offer civics and English language courses. My administration will continue to pursue policies that open a path to education and jobs, to promote ownership and to give every citizenship a chance to realize the American dream.
Our nation is now in the midst of a debate on immigration policy. And it's good. Immigration is an important topic. Immigration is also an emotional topic. And we need to maintain our perspective as we conduct this debate.
At its core, immigration is the sign of a confident and successful nation. It says something about our country that people around the world are willing to leave their homes and leave their families and risk everything to come to America. Their talent and hard work and love of freedom have helped make America the leader of the world. And our generation will ensure that America remain as beacon of liberty and the most hopeful society the world has ever known. America is a nation of immigrants. And we're also a nation of laws. All of you are here because you followed the rules and you waited your turn in the citizenship line. Yet some violate our immigration laws and enter our country illegally, and that undermines the system for all of us. America should not have to choose between being a welcoming society and being a lawful society. We can be both at the same time.
And so to keep the promise of America, we must enforce the laws of America. We must also reform those laws. No one is served by an immigration system that allows large number of peoples to sneak across the border illegally. Nobody benefits when the illegal immigrants live in the shadows of society. Everyone suffers when people seeking to provide for their families are left at the mercy of criminals or stuffed in the back of 18 wheelers or abandoned in the desert to die. America needs comprehensive immigration reform.
I've laid out a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform that includes three critical elements, securing the border, strengthening immigration enforcement inside our country, and creating a temporary worker program. These elements depend on and reinforce one another. And together they will give America an immigration system that meets the needs of the 21st century.
The first element is securing our border. Our immigration system cannot function if we cannot control the border. Illegal immigration puts a strain on law enforcement and public resources, especially in our border communities.
Our nation is also fighting a war on terror and terrorists crossing the border could create destruction on a massive scale. The responsibility of government is clear, we must enforce the border. Since I took office, we've increased funding for border security by 66 percent. We've expanded the border patrol to more than 12,000 agents, an increase of more than 2,700 agents. And the budget next year funds another 1,500 new agents.
We're helping these dedicated men and women do their jobs by providing them with cutting edge technology like infrared cameras, advanced motion sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles. We're installing protective infrastructure such as vehicle barriers and fencing in urban areas to prevent people from crossing the border illegally. And we're integrating manpower and technology and infrastructure in more unified ways than ever. Our objective is to keep the border open to trade and tourism and closed to criminals and drug dealers and terrorists.
Our strategy to secure the border is getting results. Since I took office, our agents have apprehend and sent home more than 6 million people entering this country illegally, including more than 400,000 with criminal records. Federal, state, and local and travel enforcement officials are working side by side. Through the Arizona Border Control Initiative, we've apprehended more than 600,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona last year. The men and women of our border patrol have made good progress, but we have much more work ahead. And we cannot be satisfied until we're in full control of the border. We're also changing the way we process those we catch crossing the border illegally. More than 85 percent of the illegal immigrants we apprehend are from Mexico. And most are sent back home within 24 hours. We face a different challenge with non-Mexicans.
For decades, government detention facilities did not have enough beds for the non-Mexico illegal immigrants caught at the border and so most were released back into society. They were each assigned a court date but virtually nobody showed up. The practice of catch and release is unwise and my administration is going to end it.
To end catch and release, we're increasing the number of beds and detention facility by 12 percent this year and by another 32 percent next year. We're also expanding our use of a process called expedited removal which allows us to send non-Mexican illegal immigrants home more quickly. Last year it too an average of 66 days to process one of these illegal immigrants, now we'll do it in 21 days. The goal is to increase the process faster.
It's helped us to end the catch and release for illegal immigrants from Brazil and Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua caught crossing our southwest boarder. And since last summer, we've cut the number of non-Mexican illegal immigrants released into society by more than a third. We've set a goal to end catch and release over the next year.
I look forward to working with Congress to close loopholes that makes it difficult for us to process illegal immigrants from certain countries. And we will continue to press foreign governments like China to take back their citizen who have entered our country illegally. When illegal immigrants know they're going to be caught and sent home, they will be less likely to break the rules in the first place and the system will be more orderly and secure for those who follow the law.
The second part of a comprehensive immigration reform is strengthening enforcement of our laws in the interior of our country. Since I took office, we've increased funding for immigration enforcement by 42 percent, and these resources have helped our agent bring to justice some very dangerous people, smugglers, terrorists, gang members and human traffickers.
For example, through Operation Community Shield, federal agents have arrested nearly 2,300 gang members who were here illegally, including violent criminals like the members of MS-13.
Better interior enforcement also requires better work site enforcement. Businesses have an obligation to abide by the law. The government has the responsibility to help them do so. Last year I signed legislation to more than double the resources dedicated to work site enforcement. We'll continue to confront the problem of document fraud because hardworking business owners should not have to act as detectives to verify the status of their workers.
Next month we're going to launch law enforcement task forces in 11 major cities to dismantle document fraud rings. We're working to shut down the forgers who create the phony documents to stop the smugglers who traffic in human beings and to ensure that American businesses that comply with American law.
The third part of comprehensive immigration reform is to make the system more rational, orderly and secure by creating a new temporary worker program. This program would provide a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs the jobs that Americans are unwilling to do. Workers should be able to register for legal status on a temporary basis. If they decide to apply for citizenship, they would have to get in line. This program would help meet the demands of a growing economy and it would allow honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law.
A temporary worker program is vital to securing our border. By creating a separate legal channel for those entering America to do an honest day's labor, we would dramatically reduce the number of people trying to sneak back and forth across the border. That would help take the pressure off the border, and free up law enforcement to focus on the greatest threats to our security, which are criminals and drug dealers and terrorists.
The program would also improve security by creating tamper-proof identification cards. That would allow us to keep track of every temporary worker who is here on a legal basis, and help us identify those who are here illegally.
One thing the temporary worker program should not do is provide amnesty for people who are in our country illegally. I believe granting amnesty would be unfair because it would allow those who break the law to jump ahead of people like you all: people who play by the rules and have waited in the line for citizenship.
Amnesty would also be unwise, because it would encourage future waves of illegal immigration, it would increase pressure on the border, and make it difficult for law enforcement to focus on those who mean us harm.
For the sake of justice and border security, I firmly oppose amnesty.
This week, the Senate plans to consider legislation on immigration reform. Congress needs to pass a comprehensive bill that secures the border, improves interior enforcement and creates a temporary worker program to strengthen our security and our economy.
Completing a comprehensive bill is not going to be easy. It will require all of us in Washington to make tough choices and make compromises. And that is exactly what the American people sent us here to do.
As we move toward the process, we also have a chance to move beyond tired choices and the harsh attitudes of the past.
The immigration debate should be conducted in a civil and dignified way. No one should play on people's fears, or try to pit neighbors against each other. No one should pretend that immigrants are threats to America's identity, because immigrants have shaped America's identity. No one should claim that immigrants are a burden on our economy, because the work and enterprise of immigrants helps sustain our economy.
We should not give in to pessimism. If we work together, I'm confident we can meet our duty to fix our immigration system, and deliver a bill that protects our people, upholds our laws and makes our people proud.
It's a joyful day for all of you and it's one you'll always remember.
When you came here this morning, I was the president of another country. Now I'm the president of your country. And I'm grateful for that honor.
I wish you good luck as citizens of the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.
May God bless you and your families. And may God continue to bless America.
Thank you very much.
KAGAN: President Bush speaking in Washington, D.C., at a swearing in ceremony for 30 new American citizens. The president taking the opportunity to push what he thinks should be the correct version of immigration reform, including things he supports like guest worker programs and saying no to amnesty to illegal immigrants who are already here in the U.S. President Bush heading to Cancun, Mexico, later this week. We will have more on the immigration debate in just a bit.
Meanwhile, just ahead, she is called the "Muslim Madonna," but the storm surrounding this singer is fiercer than any whipped up by the other Madonna.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the creepiest and scariest things that I've been told to my face is how this person would like to cut my stomach so that another whore like me is not born.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: We're going to profile the pop star that faces death threats from her own community, just ahead.
KAGAN: Markets have been open a little over an hour. Not a lot of movement to start the week. The Dow is down 23 points, and the Nasdaq hasn't moved much. Last check, it was down about two. A suicide bombing outside of an Iraqi army recruiting center near Tal Afar claims at least 30 lives. Thirty others were wounded. Many of the victims had been waiting to apply for jobs. Tal Afar is a city singled out by President Bush as a success story on the fight against insurgents.
Some of you might be disturbed by these next images out of Baghdad. They are gory and difficult to view. Iraqi police say they found nine bodies this morning, some with nooses around their necks. Elsewhere, mortar and bomb attacks killed and wounded numerous people all across Iraq.
He faced the death penalty for creating to Christianity from Islam. Now an Afghan man's fate hangs in the balance. Earlier there was word that the charges had been cropped, and that Abdul Rahman would go free. But now there are reports that prosecutors want Rahman to have a mental examination before they decide their next step. If he is released, here's another question: where will he go? The case has stirred up hundreds of protesters in Afghanistan, furious over Rahman's conversion to Christianity. They say he deserves to die.
You need more than talent to reach the top of the music world. Just ask Deeyah. That's the pop singer who's setting her sights on the U.S. charts after scoring hits overseas. That is, if she is still alive. CNN's David Mattingly has her story.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She shakes, she sizzles and she shows enough skin to stop a channel surfer cold.
It's not hard to see why the British press labels her the Muslim Madonna. Deeyah, she's called, is a 20-something Norwegian pop star who dances to her own gritty hip-hop beat and now claims to be paying a very disturbing price.
DEEYAH, POP STAR: When people cross the line of intimidating you or your family or people that are close to you, that's what's not acceptable.
MATTINGLY: Born with the name Dipeka (ph) and singing publicly since she was a child, the artist who would one day become Deeyah was born to immigrant parents and grew up in a Sunni Muslim family. Her father is from Pakistan, her mother from Afghanistan. And she says her choice of career did not play well to more conservative members of Norway's Muslim community.
DEEYAH: One of the creepiest and scariest thing that I've been told to my face was how this person would like to cut my stomach so that another whore like me is not born. And that the same should of happened to my mom.
MATTINGLY: Fearful that going to the authorities might create an even bigger backlash against her and her family, Deeyah says she stayed quiet. And as she continued to perform and record, she says the insults became worse. And not just in Norway. Deeyah took her years of anger and broke her silence with a video called "What Will It Be?" Her raciest video yet, it is laden with provocative lyrics and imagery promoting free speech for Muslim women and it shows one woman shedding her traditional burqa to reveal Deeyah in a swimsuit.
London's Asian music channel B4U pulled Deeyah's videos due to undisclosed complaints. Deeyah's official Web site and other fans sites saw these venomous threats. London authorities are investigating, but a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain say Deeyah's claims are no more than a publicity stunt.
INAYAT BUNGLAWALA, MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN: If anyone of minimal talent can try and launch their careers with the back of demonizing an entire community, I think that's a rather worrying development.
MATTINGLY: But her stand has resonated with her Muslim fans.
ADIL RAY, BBC RADIO HOST: I think a lot of us living in the west as British agents or British Muslims can really relate to that and learn to respect that. I think that's what she's done very uniquely. And I think the hope is that there will be more and more people like her.
DEEYAH: This has always been the most comfortable setup ever.
MATTINGLY: Hoping to find some peace, Deeyah, for now, has retreated to the studio and is putting together a new album in the U.S. She's eager to catch the ear of a new audience where she can express herself without feeling threatened.
David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.
KAGAN: Fourteen Cubans cling to a bridge. Turns out it may be their bridge to freedom. We'll explain in just a moment.
KAGAN: You might know how this immigration rule works. If you touch U.S. soil and -- America allows a Cuban immigrant to stay. But what if the Cuban makes it to a U.S. bridge, but they are at sea. That's when things get tricky.
With that story, here's CNN's Morgan Neill.
MORGAN NEILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Having cleared one of their biggest remaining hurdles the 14 would-be migrants are all smiles. After a three-hour meeting at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, they held up this document, granting them permission to immigrate to the United States. Papers in hand, they talked optimistically, some already planning their future there. "A dream of mine is that when I get to the United States I could teach kung fu classes to kids," says Alexis Gonzales Blanco (ph). "It's always been a dream of mine."
On January 2, he and the others set out in this boat, pieced together from any materials they could gather and powered by an old car engine.
It's a treacherous, sometimes deadly journey made by thousands of Cubans, often in barely seaworthy vessels. But after two days at sea, the group thought they'd reached their goal. The U.S. Coast Guard found them clinging to this abandoned bridge in the Florida Keys.
(on camera): According to the wet foot-dry foot policy, any Cuban who reaches land in the United States -- just 90 miles in that direction -- is allowed to stay. But those intercepted at sea are sent back to Cuba.
(voice-over): Because the bring was damaged and no longer connected to the mainland, the Coast Guard decided to send the group home. But a federal judge ruled they were deported illegally and ordered the U.S. to make its best efforts to help the group return.
Elizabeth Hernandez (ph), with her husband and 2-year-old son at her side, is already thinking of how to show her gratitude.
ELIZABETH HERNANDEZ (ph), CUBAN IMMIGRANT (through translator): The first thing I want to do is go to a church and light some candles. It's what I have always done. If our dreams have been granted, we go to the church and light all the candles we can and give thanks to god for everything he has done for us.
NEILL: A few bureaucratic obstacles remain, but it seems unlikely the Cuban government will stand in the group's way. They've already been issued with passports and may be on the way to the United States within weeks.
Morgan Neill, CNN, Havana.
KAGAN: Not quite the picture of elation you might expect. Where are the smiles here? Two Americans and a Brit are free today. The oil workers were held hostage in Nigeria for the last five weeks -- all seem to be in good health. Nigerian militants captured the men, part of a string of kidnappings targetting the oil industry. Already a fourth of Nigeria's output has been put off. The rebels are vowing to cripple the entire industry.
On guard in Israel on the eve of elections: Israeli soldiers cast their votes before Tuesday's general elections. Those same soldiers are now helping tighten security against any militant attacks. Polls show the centrist party of the acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as still in the lead, but losing some support.
Ukraine's Orange Revolution gets crushed. Elections may move Ukraine away from Western influence and back toward Moscow. Initial results have President Bush Viktor Yushchenko's party coming in third. He came to power two years ago when Ukrainians flooded the streets to protest a rigged election. His former nemesis is in the lead, who vows to drop plans to join NATO and restore ties with Moscow.
Well, it was his dream that he was going after on the racetrack, and that dream cost him his life. Paul Dana's story is just ahead -- what went wrong on this IRL Indy track.
KAGAN: We certainly have heard a lot of reporting about General Motors' financial problems and layoffs here in the U.S., but what about other places? The "Chicago Tribune" reports that GM is actually now the number one automaker in China, overtaking Volkswagen. And they're not looking for the gas-guzzling SUVs that are luring the Chinese to GM. It's the more traditional Buick. The "Tribune" says that GM is tailoring cars to Chinese tastes. Amenities include teacup holders and car horns that ring true for the Chinese ear. China has jumped ahead of Japan as the world's second largest auto market.
Shocker in the mailbox. A letter that tells family members they will hear once again from their dead loved ones. A September 11th story is just ahead.
KAGAN: As you sit there and make some breakfast, how about bacon that's good for you? Researchers are working on this. They say they have cloned pigs that make their own Omega-3 fatty acids. Heart- protecting Omega-3s usually come from fish, not mammals, but scientists took a gene -- well, they took a gene from a worm. It's a worm gene to turn the pigs into little Omega-3 factories. Bacon and pork chops are the first step. Scientists also want to clone cows with Omega-3s in their milk and chickens with eggs rich in Omega-3s as well. Any FDA approval is still years away, and while researchers have put the good fat in the pig, they haven't taken the saturated fat and cholesterol out. So, the bacon, you know, you might enjoy it.
KAGAN: Well, he has said a lot of things in the court room. He's done a lot, too. But what will Zacarias Moussaoui say as he takes the stand in his trial today? We have your courtroom update on that.
And police say she gunned down her own husband. What does the preacher's wife say for herself? We'll hear from a church member who visited Mary Winkler in jail.
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