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Battle on Border Turns Deadly

Aired May 18, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening again everyone. Yeah, we begin with breaking news tonight, the battle on the border turning deadly. A shooting just up the road from where we are. We'll bring you that tonight. Plus a frontline visit from President Bush to the border.

ANNOUNCER: On the border, but also on the ropes.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm doing my job, what the American people want me to do.

ANNOUNCER: New polling says otherwise. See what the president says about that.

Billions to guard the border. Your money for eyes in the sky, or will it be wasted on pie in the sky? We're "Keeping Them Honest".

And she's proud of her heritage, proud to be an immigrant, but she's got a message for America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The border needs to be taken back by this country.

ANNOUNCER: Bringing the battle on the border home. Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Live from the U.S.-Mexican border, here's Anderson Cooper.


COOPER: And thanks for joining us. We begin tonight, here on the boarder in San Diego County with breaking news. It happened a few hours ago, just five miles east of where I'm standing right now on Interstate 5, on the American side of the border, approaching the crossing San Ysidro. Border officials say they were trying to stop a black SUV which had been under surveillance for suspected migrant smuggling.


LT. KEVIN ROONEY, SAN DIEGO POLICE DEPT.: The driver began screeching his tires, leading the agent to believe that the vehicle had been dropped into gear. The suspect also began to move the vehicle to the left which began to push the agent against vehicles that were stopped in traffic. Several other agents of the United States Border Patrol and United States Customs and Border Protection arrived to assist the Border Patrol agent. At one point the suspect began to drive off and he veered hard to the left, trying to get back inside traffic. At that point, two agents fired upon the vehicle.


COOPER: Well, the driver died on the scene. No authorities were hurt in the incident. Authorities shut down the border going south, one of the busiest border crossings anywhere in the world. Joining us by phone, Steve Price CNN affiliate, KFMB.

Steve, what's the latest?

STEVE PRICE, KFMB-TV REPORTER: And Anderson, the border crossing still closed, will be for a while. Investigators say they're going to take whatever time they need to sort this out, figure exactly what happened here, right here the border crossing here at San Ysidro. Witnesses tell me it was an absolutely wild scene. A black Dodge Durango flying past them, speeding Interstate 5 towards Mexico, Border Patrol agents in pursuit. But driver hit traffic when he got near the border, was forced to stop. That gave those federal agents a chance to surround the car. They ordered the driver out, as you heard, he refused to follow orders. The agents (INAUDIBLE) broke his window out with a baton trying to force him out. But the driver put the car in gear, started to move, bumping the agent and you heard the Lieutenant Rooney, here from San Diego Police, pick up the story from there.

COOPER: Do we know at what point they became suspicious of this vehicle?

PRICE: Anderson from what we understand it was a citizenness phone call, somebody who saw the black Dodge Durango picking up what the citizen thought were illegal immigrants. They got in the car, that's when the citizen made the phone call. Border patrol picked up that car on one of the local freeways out here that was heading west. The driver then, when he realized Border Patrol were behind him headed south on interstate 5 presumably to take them back into Mexico.

COOPER: The driver was killed. Were there any other injuries? And what happened to the other people in that vehicle? How many people were there?

PRICE: Five other people inside that vehicle. No other injuries, they were all arrested. They are being questioned right now.

COOPER: I appreciate the report. Steve Price, live from the border of San Ysidro, just a few miles from here. That is the legal border crossing, one most busiest legal border crossings in the United States. That's where they get most of the drug apprehensions, at that the border. Violence here on the increase, that is what officials are telling us, Border Patrol agents are telling us.

That said, the border behind me is really not the toughest border crossing in the world. People climb that fence all the time and if you take a look at that fence, you can see why. It's a pretty easy fence to climb. Is it made out of corrugated metal, here it's 15 feet tall or so, not too hard to climb over it, right here. And as you can see, there are people gathered waiting for darkness to fall here, on the Mexican side. No telling if they plan on coming over or if they're just here out for an evening stroll. But I guarantee you, there are Border Patrol agents on this side watching them very closely.

Over the last several months we have seen people tunneling underneath this border, underneath this fence. We have seen people swimming around that fence, just over there behind me. Surfboarding around it, any way they can to get into the United States. President Bush spent his day on a brutally hot patch of land in Yuma, Arizona, near the border, 120-degree heat there, miles of desert, deadly. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux covered the visit and got a chance to interview the president one-on-one.

But, before we get to that, we want to show you what customs and border protection officers showed us today. An exclusive look at what is coming across the border right here, quite frankly took our breath away. It is a secret warehouse in southern California, we can't say exactly where. It is literally packed to the rafters with contraband, bails of pot, pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine, black tar heroin, you name it is there. That's where federal agents store what they seize every day on the border. Eighty tons in that warehouse, right now, tons, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Nobody's pretending that tons more don't get through and end up on the street. We'll have more on that late on this special edition of "360."

But back to the president's visit to Yuma, ground zero for illegal immigration. As we showed you a moment ago, and as you'll see more of in a minute, is it nothing like here, no walk on the beach. Every day hundreds of people try to cross into the Yuma sector, many caught, more than a few die in the desert. To day, Mr. Bush came to see for himself to push for his brand of immigration reform which is under fire from the right. While there, he sat down with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): President Bush chose this spot along the U.S.-Mexican boarder to make his case about immigration reform. Here at the border crossing in Yuma, Arizona, up to 4050 illegal immigrants are caught each day. With the temperature over 100 degrees the president visited with Border Patrols, took a ride in a dune buggy, and sat down with us too answer questions.

(on camera): Your critics and particularly those of your party, however, call this a publicity stunt. They say that the plan to move forward some 6,000 National Guard troops is really a political ploy to get them to sign on to the guest worker program and they're not buying it.

BUSH: We got people coming here to work and uh, they're doing jobs Americans aren't doing. And instead of sneaking across, it seems like it makes sense to me in order to help Border Patrol do the job there's a rational way for them to come...

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Under Mr. Bush's guest worker program, some illegal immigrants would earn the right to stay. But republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who will usher the immigration debate through the House, slammed the president.

(on camera): He simply says you don't get it, that they believe this is amnesty, that ultimately they're not going to be able to sign off on this.

BUSH: This is an issue I've been living with as a long period of time, as government governor of Texas I understand immigration and I know we got to enforce our border. But I'm also realistic. There are some -- look, amnesty, to me, means you're an automatic citizen. And I'm not advocating -- there're some in -- some in the democrat party might be advocating that, but I'm certainly not. On the other hand, I recognize they've been people for a long period of time and it doesn't make sense try to deport millions of people. And so there ought to be a way for people to pay a fine or learn the English language and then get in the citizen line, but at the back, not the front.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): The president also rejected the notion that racism was playing a role in this emotional debate.

BUSH: I think it'd be too hash a judgment to say to somebody who doesn't support a comprehensive immigration plan that they're racist.

MALVEAUX: We then turned our focus to another red-hot issue for the president, Iraq.

(on camera): A lot of American people see their top priority as Iraq. And the majority of Americans have lost faith in that mission.

BUSH: No question Iraq is unsettled the American people, I understand that. You know, people don't like war. I don't believe Americans want us to cut and run either.

MALVEAUX (voice-over): Faced with opposition over his domestic and international priorities, I questioned him about his future.

(on camera): What do you do to become, at least not risk, becoming irrelevant?

BUSH: We're going to win the war on terror. I'm doing my job, what the American people want me to do.

MALVEAUX (on camera): And that's the audience Mr. Bush is trying to reach with his four hours at the border, hoping to convince the public to convince Congress, particularly members of his own party to follow his lead.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Yuma, Arizona.


COOPER: Well, that's certainly not easy for the president when nearly two out of three Americans, right now, disapprove of how he's doing his job. Tonight, just moments ago, in fact, we got another batch of polling on immigration and more. CNN's Bill Schneider's been crunching the numbers.


BUSH: Good evening.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Did his primetime speech on immigration help President Bush at all? Yes. Is he out of trouble? No. The president's latest job approval rating: 36 percent, up two points since early May, not much change.

Did the immigration speech have any impact? Look at the issues: 47 percent now approve of the way the president is handling terrorism, down five points since January. Iraq: Down five points. Economy: Down five. Gas prices: Down a whopping 12 points since December. Immigration is the only issue where the president's rating has gone up since the beginning of the year. He responded to public concerns.

BUSH: Yet the need to secure our border is urgent.

SCHNEIDER: So why didn't it do much for the president's overall job rating? Even after the speech only 36 percent approved of the president's performance on immigration, 50 percent disapproved. Voters say other issues like terrorism, Iraq, and gas prices are more important to them than immigration. Does the public agree with the president's proposals for immigration reform? Allow illegal immigrants already here for many years to earn U.S. citizenship? Yes. Send National Guard troops to the Mexican border to help the Border Patrol, yes.

BUSH: I strongly believe that to have to secure the border we need to have a temporary worker program.

SCHNEIDER: How about this idea: Americans are divided over the idea of temporary or "guest" workers. How do you get the guests to go home? Bush's approval rating among democrats and independents has changed very little since January. They never liked him much. Most of his slippage has been among his fellow republicans, down 10 points.

(on camera): In politics, they say your base are the people who are with you when you're wrong, when they start abandoning you, you're in big trouble.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: A lot to get a handle on. Joining us now from Boston, a former presidential adviser, David Gergen.

David, thanks for being with us again, tonight.

So, the public supports the president on sending National Guard troops to the board somewhere granting a path for citizenship to illegal immigrant already here. Yet, it seems the vast majority disapproves of how he's handling the issue overall, why that disconnect?

DAVID GERGEN, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, that's a very, very interesting question, Anderson. I don't think the poll quite adds up. I think you have good news for the president in the poll, but on exactly the point you cite, sending troops to the border, especially on the path to citizenship which is so contentious in his own party. And almost, with more than three-quarters of the country approves of that, you know, he does seem -- at least -- he's on right side of the public in his own -- and the conservatives in his party are on the wrong side. But why they don't approve overall, it's unclear. I think it's basically because when you look at the same poll, immigration is just not high up in people's concerns. It's sixth on the list in terms of what people really care about today, they're much more interested in the economy, in Iraq, in terrorism and in gas prices, things like that, than they are in immigration. So, while he's on the right side of the issues it didn't move the country and indeed, he really didn't move the needle very much. If you're sitting in the White House and in the day after the president's given a national televised address and his popularity moves only two points within the margin of error of the poll, you have to walk way from that and say, we're having hey hard time moving the needle.

COOPER: Well then, I guess that begs the question if immigration is so low on the list of priorities, in terms of the American public's mind, is the president spending too much time on it or is this, frankly, the only issue, right, where the White House feels they can get some traction, at least show the president to be leading?

GERGEN: Well, I think it was the only issue in which he could score a victory immediately. He has no magic wand for the gas prices, for Iraq, for the economy. The economy, after all, has been doing very well, it's just people don't feel it in their own lives. So, this is one area where he can get some action, but it's interesting, isn't it, that -- that what Washington is doing is not really quite in touch with what people are concerned about. I mean it also suggests there's something about the agenda in Washington that the deeper concerns are not being addressed, yet immigration is a very major issue along the border, where you are tonight. Along those states, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, it is a huge issue. But much of the rest of the country, Iraq is still much more important, terrorism is still much more important and so are gas prices and the state of the economy.

COOPER: Well, you know it's interesting to me, yesterday Karl Rove spoke with House republicans in an effort to really try to rally them behind the president's new proposal. How can Rove and the White House get conservatives on board? I mean, how -- I'm sure you've been in those kind of meetings. How did that work?

GERGEN: Well, in this case, I think it's going to be very hard because they've dug in so hard. And one he's -- the problem he's got, Anderson, is that the political pressures in some of the conservative districts are quite different from the pressures that people who are in the Senate face. If you're a senator you represent a whole state and you have many more conflicting voices. You have many more purple voters as opposed to red or blue voters, whereas if you're in a republican district you also -- you often going to find yourself in an extremely conservative district which they do not want -- they do not want to go with this guest worker. What they want is more border security and until that gets done, they don't even want to talk about the other issue. Of course, the problem for the president, the problem for democrat is, if you only do border security first and you don't do the rest, the likelihood is you'll never get to the rest, you'll never get another bill passed. You'll get the border security bill passed, you'll never deal with the rest of the issue and that is unacceptable to democrats and a lot of moderate republicans.

COOPER: Well, I bet today's trip by the president down to the border is not the last time we see this president visiting the border.

GERGEN: He's going to be there a lot, Anderson, he's going to be on a lot. But he has not -- you know, he's at a time in his presidency when people are hitting the mute button and he's down so low, it's really hard. If he were up 65 percent he might be able to get people to move on this issue. At 35 percent it's a much tougher to go, if you got people in your own party, especially when they're worried about their own seats in November.

COOPER: It sure seem likes it right now. David Gergen, thanks. Appreciate your perspective.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: We're coming to you tonight, really, from just a stone's throw way from Mexico, yeah, even I could throw a stone that far. The country that's been the source of the illegal immigration problem here in the U.S. Here's the raw data: 57 percent of the illegal immigrants in the United States are Mexican, they're the largest group by far. About 80 to 85 percent of the people entering the U.S. from Mexico are entering illegally. Catching them is not easy especially for two sheriffs who work near the border. They say it's a 24-hour a day job, but only one believes that the president's immigration policy makes sense. We'll talk to both sheriffs coming up, very different perspectives.

Also tonight, outsourcing using your money to pay military contractors to keep illegal immigrants out of America. Tonight, we are "Keeping Them Honest".

And paying the ultimate price for freedom. A common scam may cost one illegal immigrant everything she has. She may even have to say good-bye to her own children.


COOPER: And welcome back. We are live on the U.S.-Mexican boarder in San Diego County, California. This is the border fence. And I got to tell you, it's always startling when you come down to the border. I've been down here numerous times now in the last several of weeks. It always kind of shocks you when you actually see the fence because here, there's only on fence, there's not multiple layers of fences as there are someplace in San Diego County. And sure it's 15 feet high, but it's easy very easy to climb on it. You can see, you can put a foot very easily there, you can actually kind of shimmy up it, grab on to the railing there and get over the fence pretty easily. At this point, on the U.S. side, there's a no man's land in this area.

There are a lot of Border Patrol agents on ATVs, on SUVs, you'll probably see some later on in the next two hours. But on the Tijuana side, if you just look right over this fence, there's a stadium there where they have bullfighting, it's also just, there are houses there, there are some shops there. It is very easy, it is a very highly populated area and every night you'll see people just hanging out right here on the border just kind of waiting and watching. I don't want to say they're all people who are planning to come across, but I can tell you Border Patrol agents, who are on patrol, here, watch them carefully indeed. We'll show you more of the border throughout the next two hours here on "360."

But, President Bush visited the boarder down in Arizona today, and he met with the sheriff there, Sheriff Ogden from Yuma County who has -- Ralph Ogden, who has one particular view of illegal immigration in his county. We also talked tonight, we're going to talk to Sheriff Ogden, we're also going to talk to Sheriff Joe Arpaio who has a totally different way of looking at the problem. Two sheriffs, two different points of view from different counties. Take a look.


COOPER: Sheriff Ogden you spend the day with President Bush. What did you tell him about the illegal immigrant situation in your county?

SHERIFF RALPH OGDEN, YUMA COUNTY, AZ: I got to speak with him very briefly, but I think he saw what it is and he heard that our county is different than other counties. That we are the last bastion in the open door that still being -- allowing illegals to come in and talked about how we need to keep moving forward and we need to start taking steps to build these resources up as his plan is.

COOPER: Is that something you say that the federal government needs to do? And if so, what do you think -- what is the first step they need to do in your county?

OGDEN: Well, I think the first step they need to do in our county is supplement the Border Patrol and I think that take time and the use of the National Guard to come in and supplement them and support duties will be a first step to get started.

COOPER: Sheriff Arpaio, you've received a lot of attention using a new Arizona state law to not only arrest smugglers, but illegal immigrant as well. Why, for you and your county, do you think that's the solution? Or at least the first step?

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ: It's the new law and the only one enforcing that law in this state, but that they violate the law, they're going directly to jail, they're not going to have a free ride back to Mexico, so they can teach keep coming back. COOPER: Sheriff Ogden I've heard you describe the idea of arresting illegals and holding on to them as a recipe for disaster. If that's true, why do you think that is?

OGDEN: Well, in deference to my colleague in Maricopa County, I'm right on the board where with Mexico and we are averaging about 690 illegal immigrants that we come across in a regular performance of our duty as local law enforcement. We have a much smaller jail, much smaller limited -- or much more limited resources than Sheriff Arpaio does.

COOPER: Well, Sheriff Arpaio, what about that? I mean, why should taxpayers in your county pay to be imprisoning illegal immigrant whose could just be sent back?

ARPAIO: Because it's a state law, it's a felony. I take it very serious. We go after everybody that commits felonies, and that's why they're going to jail. It's very simple.

COOPER: And for the politicians in Washington, Sheriff Ogden, what is it that you would show them if they came down to visit? I mean, if you had the whole day to spend with the president, what would you want him to see, what would you want him to know the most, and want our viewers to know?

OGDEN: Well, I would want your viewers to know that Border Patrol resources in this area have grown tremendously over last few years, but they're still woefully lacking. And the fact that they're working hard and they're doing a heck of a job and they're supporting us and we're supporting them. I think that the president got to see a little bit of the border and see the fact that it's not as some people think. It's a definite line that you can see, in some places it's nothing but three three-strand barbed wire fence that was put up in the '50s.

COOPER: Sheriff Arpaio, do you think the federal government gets it?

ARPAIO: Well, I've met the president on several occasions. I don't think this really shocked him. He was a governor of Texas and he understands the border problems in that big state. But it's good that he went down there, he's sending a message. When the president speaks, everybody falls in line, so this is a great trip that he made down there.

COOPER: Sheriff Arpaio what about the fence? Yesterday, the Senate voted to build 370 miles of triple-layered fencing along the Mexican border. Do you think a fence can make a difference?

ARPAIO: Well, I don't know. Probably so, a lot of ladders. But, that's a first step, anyway. But that's not going to solve the problem.

COOPER: Sheriff Ogden, what do you think about the fence? Is it enough that -- what Congress is proposing right now? OGDEN: No, it's not. But what a fence does, if it's put in a build up area, it causes people to go around it and when they go around it gets them out in the open where they can be apprehended with be contacted. The fence is good in certain areas for short periods of time, but we don't need a fence that runs from California to Texas that really won't accomplish what we want to do.

COOPER: Appreciate both of your perspective and spending time with us, tonight. Sheriff Ogden, Sheriff Arpaio, thank you so much.

ARPAIO: Thank you.

OGDEN: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, two sheriffs who see the problem in very different ways. Again, we're just to tell you, you can see the ocean behind me, it Might be a little bit, kind of, disorienting to get a sense where we are. But this is actually the border fence right behind me and it just goes right into the ocean. It's sort of a surreal sight. It just kind of peters off and then stops. And as we have been talking about, they have seen people swimming right around there, just going in the beach one side, swimming on to the beach on the other side. And as we've said, people have used boogie boards and surfboards and all manner of flotation devices just to get across that little bit. We'll show you more of the fence coming up in the next two hours.

But we also learned today that the White House plans to turn to military contractors to do the job. Big companies and that of course is going to cost big bucks. To night, we're "Keeping Them Honest". We'll have that coming up, but first Erica Hill has other stories we're following tonight -- Erica.


COOPER: Uh-oh. Obviously had a little bit of a problem there with Erica Hill. We'll try to get back to her a little bit later on.

Turning to the private sector to protect the border, we have seen it in Iraq and we may soon see it here. And guess what? You're going to be paying the bill and some very well -- well-known companies are going to be doing the work. Tonight we're "Keeping Them Honest.".

Also tonight, an American success story. She's originally from Mexico. Now she's the mayor of an Arizona town and taking a tough stand on illegal immigration. This special edition of "360: Battle on the Border" continues in a moment.


COOPER: And you're looking at a live picture from the U.S.- Mexican border. Some people on the Tijuana side of the border, just watching the sun setting, here on San Diego County -- watching -- staring across the border. And there it is, the fence, that think layer of metal corrugated steel which separates them from us. In securing the borders, President Bush is turning to a strategy that the White House is using in Iraq and Afghanistan. Talking about military contractors, big companies and quickly the plan to put billions of dollars into the pockets of these private companies, well as you might expect its drawing plenty of fire. We're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, here's CNN's Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the government, so it starts with an acronym, SBINet, that's short for Secure Border Initiative. It's a high-tech response to sealing the border built with a virtual fence with electronic eyes in the sky, cameras and sensors on the ground, and they're turning to the private sector. Offering billions of taxpayer dollars to contractors with the brightest ideas. Earlier this year the feds held an industry day for all those contractors. And laid out the terms, video of the event is posted on the customs and border protection website.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not about bleeding edge technology. This is not a chance to run out and try to find a thousand new brain teasers about how we might better deploy assets along the border. Time is short, demand is big, problem's large, we're impatient we're going to get on with this. But we want ideas that work.

JOHNS: Sounds like a plan, right? Or is it a shot in the dark? It's not like a high-tech border fix hasn't been tried and failed before. In 1997, the Immigration and Naturalization Service launched something called, yes, another acronym, ISIS, short for the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System. It called for 11,200 censors, radar, motion, metal and seismic detectors, plus databases and cameras to protect the borders north and south. Problem was the government accountability office found ISIS was at best, limited, not to mention expensive to maintain. And it didn't have the capability to work 24 hours a day in any kind of weather. Plus, when the censors were tripped the cameras couldn't focus automatically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, cameras don't catch people. They don't leap off the poles and apprehend people coming across the border. Its border patrol agents and other law enforcement officers who catch people. And if you don't have enough boots on the border, you can have the best technology in the world and it will be worthless.

JOHNS: Take another high-tech example. Unmanned aerial vehicles, drones and remotely piloted aircraft used for surveillance. But there's a problem. They crash a lot, according to the congressional research service. In fact, the accident rate is 100 times that of manned aircraft. And there's a question whether they can operate in already-crowded airspace. Solving all these problems is for now being put into the hands of the private sector, those contractors we keep telling you about.

JENNIFER PORTER-GORE, PROJECT ON GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT: We don't think the contractors should be telling the government how to run its business. JOHNS: What do you get when the contractor tells the government how to run its business?

PORTER-GORE: You basically get a better footing for the contractor than you do for the government because there's no reason why a contractor would not say okay let me make a deal that's best for me instead of let me make a deal that's best for the American taxpayer.

JOHNS: The contractors, among them, some of the biggest providers of defense and security hardware in the business, are expected to be selected in the fall. Meanwhile, as far as sealing the border, not to mention what all of this will cost taxpayers, one more acronym, the universal distress signal, SOS. And we'll keep watching and "Keeping Them Honest." Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well coming up, an update on the breaking story just a few miles from here. The example of just how violent things can get on the border. A deadly shooting right at one of the busiest border crossings in the world. As I said just a few miles from here, happened just a few hours ago. We'll give you an update.

Also we'll meet a mother who thought that she was playing by the rules. The price of citizenship, her life savings, the end result, the ultimate con. Be right back.


COOPER: And you're looking at a live picture of the U.S./Mexico border as the sun is setting here along the border some people on the Tijuana side, family out perhaps for an evening stroll on the beach. Just a few, well, few dozen feet away from the U.S. territory. Got an example of just how violent things have become here on the border. Earlier today a few hours ago, there was a shooting, an alleged migrant smuggler was shot as he tried to drive across the border, was not paying attention to border officials who were trying to get him to stop. That driver, as you can see, was killed there -- underneath -- his body is underneath that yellow piece of plastic.

There were a number of other people in the vehicle as many as five other people. They have been taken into custody. The situation is being investigated and we're going to have an update as we speak. That happened at the San Ysidro border crossing, which is one of the busiest illegal border crossings in the United States. They've had to shut it down now for several hours as the investigation continues.

You know many Mexicans who arrive in the U.S. illegally want to become citizens, no doubt about it. But they feel threatened by every cop they see. Any person in authority is a potential ticket to deportation. So they often turn to those who speak their language for help. And what a mistake that can be. Here's CNN's Peter Viles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Maria Garcia, seven months pregnant, running out of money, running out of time. She was 14 when she ran away from home, crossed the border illegally at San Ysidro with no questions asked.

MARIA GARCIA, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: They never checked the papers, nothing.

VILES: She found work as a baby-sitter then at Taco Bell, then Target, and started a family and built a life in Orange County. But along the way she made a terrible mistake. She believed an immigration consultant could actually help her. What did you want?

GARCIA: American citizen.

VILES: You want to become an American citizen?


VILES: And you thought that this was going to help you?


VILES: She went to this storefront in Santa Ana, once occupied by La Guadalupana Immigration Services.

JOSE HERNANDEZ, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: What they tell them is in 90 days I can get you a work authorization and within about a year, year and a half you will be able to get your green card.

VILES: Every time the business asked for money, Maria paid it.


GARCIA: $8,000.

VILES: Prosecutors say she was the victim of a common scam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have undocumented aliens who visit what they believe is an expert in immigration who speaks their language, who understands their plight, promises them some sort of benefit and in reality, is just taking them for a ride.

VILES: The operators of La Guadalupana were arrested in 2003 and charged with numerous counts of fraud. But they fled after posting bail. Roberto Fernandez and Marisela Camerio are fugitives. But Maria lost more than money. When she hired a consultant she unknowingly put herself on the road to deportation. She violated the first rule of being an illegal immigrant. Never tell the federal government you're here.

Authorities say the scheme worked like this. First the company applied for asylum for Maria but that application was quickly denied. And that sent the case into immigration court where the deportation process began, but during that process, she was eligible for a work permit. HERNANDEZ: Most of these immigrants think, we're on the right path, we're actually getting what we were promised. Little do they know that in about a year and a half, they're actually going to be ordered removed.

VILES: Maria's appeals are nearly exhausted. She's to be deported next month.

GARCIA: I need to leave on June -- June 10th.

VILES: She is torn, the baby is due in July, she doesn't have a doctor or health insurance in Mexico. Her children are American citizens, she may have to leave them behind with their father.

GARCIA: My kids say, "No mommy! You can't go to Mexico."

VILES: Many days her oldest refuses to go to school. He wants to protect his mother if the authorities come.

GARCIA: My big child, he says the border is coming and arrest me and go to jail.

VILES: The government rarely goes looking for people like Maria. She only faces deportation because she went looking for citizenship. Peter Viles for CNN, Laguna Hills, California.


COOPER: Well, for all of the talk of politics and of course this is a political issue, this is also a human issue and those tears are very real.

Ahead tonight -- she is not the only victim of those taking advantage of illegal immigrants. Traffickers, people who are bringing drugs, children, even sex slaves into the United States. Coming up, in the next hour of "360", a special edition, 24 hours on the border, trafficking, a minute by minute look of what happens along these borders every day and every night. 24 hours a day.

But first, a mayor with strong views.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The border needs to be taken back by this country and it should not be just our problem.


COOPER: She knows what she speaks. She used to be a migrant worker herself. She came to the U.S. from Mexico legally. Coming up how she is trying to secure the border.


COOPER: And that is what it's all about the fence here separating the United States from Mexico in San Diego County. Over in Yuma County, Arizona where President Bush was today, that's one of the nation's busiest illegal border crossings. San Diego County used to be, but the fencing here has cut down a lot on it. In Yuma County it's also home to many legal Mexican immigrants, legal immigrants. There's a tremendous need for migrant workers in the region. And if you're an employer who needs workers it can be tempting to overlook work papers that are frankly suspicious. It can be tempting but intolerable. According to a local mayor who's got a very unique story of her own. Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the corner of Main and Urtuzuastegui, the American nation and the Mexican culture are one. This is San Luis, Arizona in Yuma County. But it very much feels like the Mexican states of Sanora and Baja, California, which border this American city of 27,000.

MAYOR NIEVES GARCIA RIEDEL, SAN LUIS, ARIZONA: 10, 12 years ago it was about 12,000. I'll say ten years from now we're going to be about 55,000 to 60,000.

TUCHMAN: This is explosive growth.

RIEDEL: It is.

TUCHMAN: San Luis Mayor Nieves Garcia Riedel has seen the more ambitious border crackdown near places like Tucson and San Diego result in increasing numbers of people crossing illegally here.

RIEDEL: You see all of these vans? These are the vans that carry lots of illegals coming across. You see them at night. All night long.

TUCHMAN: The mayor, who met with President Bush during his visit to Yuma County is delighted with the huge increase of legal Mexican immigrants. She was one herself. Mayor Riedel is an American success story. She moved here from Mexico at the age of 12 and was a migrant laborer for years. Now she's not only mayor of the city, she's also owner of a $25 million construction company. She believes Mexicans who have been in this country for longer than three years should qualify to stay legally. But --

RIEDEL: The border needs to be taken back by this country. It should not be just our problem. It's not just a United States problem. I think that Mexico, the Mexican government needs to take responsibility for its people.

TUCHMAN: At this farm in Yuma county dozens of Mexican workers are picking watermelons. They had to submit documentation to get this work. The man who runs the farm says he will turn away those with clearly fraudulent papers.

PAUL MUTHART, GENERAL MANAGER, PASQUINELLI PRODUCE: But if the documentation looks authentic, then we accept that as would any employer. We're not really charged with being fraud detectives. TUCHMAN: But the San Luis mayor, while proud of her Mexican heritage feels it's her duty to try to keep illegal immigrants out. So she has honed her fraud detective skills.

RIEDEL: You can spot a green card that is not real especially when they show you a green card that is made in a copy machine. I mean you have to be an idiot not to know that it's homemade. And then the social security card, the social security card -- if we, employers really want to do the job and help the government. We can always call the social security office and verify that that's actually a legal number.

TUCHMAN: The mayor's message, to work for her you need to be legal or a very accomplished liar.


COOPER: Well Gary as you know, they don't even have to go to the social security office. They can actually just do that online through social security. But does the mayor have a lot of support in the town?

TUCHMAN: Theoretically Anderson, most people we talked to agree with the mayor. But practically there are many community leaders here in Yuma County who are very concerned if there are fewer Mexicans legal and illegal who come here, it will create huge problems for the economy. They need 30,000 to 50,000 people in the fields in the winter here. This is the salad capital of the world. More lettuce and broccoli and cauliflowers grow here than any where else. And they feel without all of the Mexicans, they probably wouldn't be able to fill all of those jobs.

COOPER: An example of just how complex this issue really is. Gary Tuchman, appreciate that from Arizona.

Here in San Diego County, an example of just how deadly the battle on the border can be. A man was killed today, an alleged immigrant smuggler. We'll have an update on that breaking news story. Also tonight the battle on the border, trafficking, 24 hours on the border, 24 hours a day, drug traffickers, child traffickers, sex traffickers, you name it. It is being smuggled across this border. We'll give you a day by day, hour by hour account, coming up ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back. We are live on the U.S./Mexican border. Actually two people have actually just kind of crossed over, hopped over the border. They're just down there on the beach. There they are. Likely looks like they're going to be heading back to the Mexican side because there are border patrol agents very close by. That's what they're actually looking over their shoulders at an SUV where some border patrol agents are. Looks like they're going to slip back right now across the fence. There you can see them trying to slip through. It is a hard fence to slip through right there. But it's not that hard, as you can see. And there they go. I want to update you on some breaking news involving a deadly border shooting. It happened earlier here in San Diego County a couple of hours ago near the busy San Ysidro crossing, that's about a couple miles from where I am. Joining us now on the scene is Carlo Cecchetto, from CNN affiliate KFMB. Carlo, what's the latest?

CARLO CECCHETTO, KFMB-TV: The latest is that this border is going to be shut down for at least a couple of hours more, Anderson. I'm told that by San Diego police homicide detectives. They are in control of this investigation. This all began a little before 3:30 this afternoon when somebody called in a tip to border patrol that a vehicle had picked up some what they believed were illegal immigrants in (INAUDIBLE). So that's about 6 1/2 miles east of where we are right now.

Some federal agents began following that vehicle. At some point it appears the driver of the SUV, the black Dodge Durango may have realized he was being followed. He attempted to turn back into Mexico we believe. He got onto the southbound 5 at the San Ysidro border crossing to go in south into Mexico. At that point he stopped because of traffic. Agents got out of the vehicle, they -- out of their vehicles. They approached that vehicle and he made some aggressive moves. We're told that's when they opened fire, killing the driver. The five other people are in custody being questioned by investigators.

COOPER: And the border's still shut down right now. Very dangerous day indeed. Carlo Cecchetto appreciate it, we'll check in with you later on in the next hour of 360.

Coming up, a special report on the trail of smugglers dealing drugs, human lives and sex slavery, "24 Hours on the Border." First, Erica Hill from "Headline News" has some of the business stories we're following. Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson nobody expected the market to rally today and they were right. Stocks again lower on the session, drifting at first then plunging sharply toward the close. Blue chips fell 77 although compare that with more than 200 yesterday. Said one trader today the market is just scared right now.

Nothing but sad rags again today for The Gap. The clothing retailer announcing first quarter profits are down 17 percent compared to a year ago. Sales also falling. None of that though came as a surprise to investors. The Gap issued a profit warning two weeks ago.

As rates on a 30-year loan climbed this week to their highest point in nearly four years to 6.6 percent. There is one silver lining though, today Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says he expects a very orderly and moderate cooling of the housing market, not a crash. So that answers the eternal question about the bubble Anderson.

COOPER: It sure does. Erica thanks.

Straight ahead a "360" special starting with an exclusive look at what is coming across the border every day, tons and tons of drugs, 80 tons of them being held at a secret government warehouse in southern California. We'll show you inside there, that's our exclusive look. 160,000 pounds of contraband that they have seized. Tons more, of course, getting through. We'll look at drug smuggling, human trafficking and a young woman even children, being taken across the border into the lives of sexual slavery. That is next.


COOPER: And good evening again from the border. Tonight the high price of not being able to control who comes and who goes. Drug smuggling, baby smuggling, people delivering the young and the vulnerable into sexual slavery, all of it happening all around us all around the clock. Trafficking: 24 Hours on the Border, a special edition of "360" starts now.


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