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CNN NEWSROOM

Thousands March in Immigration Reform Rallies; Congress Sends War Funding Bill to White House; Suspect Pursued by Police Hits School Bus; Immigration Debate; 'CNN Heroes'

Aired May 1, 2007 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Thousands of demonstrators are marching in the streets while an Iraq war funding (AUDIO GAP)

We're following two developing stories this hour in the CNN NEWSROOM, first, a mayday push for immigration reform in rallies across the U.S.

In Washington, the Senate holds a ceremonial send-off of the war funding bill that President Bush has vowed to veto.

Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Susan Roesgen, again filling in for Kyra Phillips.

You are live in the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Yes, you are, but, first, we want to get straight to Chicago, the scene of a huge rally there and a very long march.

And you can see our Soledad O'Brien is in the middle of it.

I know it's loud. I hope you can hear me, Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I absolutely can hear you. We have sort of rigged up a mobile unit that allows me to transmit right from the ground level.

The numbers we're getting officially from the Chicago Police Department, something like 20,000 people on the streets, very early for that.

Hear the people behind me who are saying, "Si, se puede." And what they're -- that means, of course, yes, we can.

LEMON: All right, obviously having a little problem -- little problem there with Soledad's live shot. But I will tell you -- oh, she's back?

Soledad, we had a problem with your live shot. And, as you were talking there, we're looking at this huge crowd that is going to across the bridge there into Grant Park. Pick up where you left off.

O'BRIEN: Yes. You know, what I was that you heard the "Si, se puede" behind me. It's been the cry during this rally, really all morning and all afternoon: Yes, we can.

It's the immigrants, illegal and legal in some cases, all saying, yes, we can. We can give a show of force. One interesting thing that we have noticed, all the American flags, not that many Mexican flags, as we saw last year.

I want to introduce you to Vivian Mesa (ph). She is 21 years old. She is an illegal immigrant who is marching today because she says she would like to go to college.

Why are you marching?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm here so I can -- we could all have the opportunity to be legal and obtain a decent job, so we can save our money and go to college and continue our education.

O'BRIEN: As you well know, there are many people who would say, as an illegal immigrant to this country, you don't get that right. You don't have that right. And lots of people would say you would be taking an education from an American-born citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.

You know, there's plenty of us that we can go to college. We have finished high school. We have no criminal backgrounds. All we want to do is go to school and get an education and work, like everybody else.

O'BRIEN: Are you worried that someone is going to see your face and say, wow, this young woman is in this country illegally; now we know her name; we could deport her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, actually, you know what? I'm not that worried, because I know, you know, that people understand our situation.

And, if they do, you know, I know I was doing something good for the community and trying to help everybody else that is in the same situation as me.

O'BRIEN: What do you say to the very large number of people who say the fact that you want an education literally takes an education out of the hands of a U.S. citizen, that it's unfair, frankly?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't think it's unfair, basically, because we're paying for our own education. We're working for it.

And there's a lot of people that, you know, to have the opportunity, and they will take advantage of it. So, I don't think, you know, we're taking the spot of anybody else. We're just doing our own effort to continue. O'BRIEN: What do you make of all the number of people you are seeing out here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we're all doing a great job. And we're going to go, and we're going to get somewhere, actually, and we're all working for everybody else.

O'BRIEN: Thank you for talking with us. We certainly appreciate it.

And thank you for (INAUDIBLE) anybody...

LEMON: And, Soledad, of course, trying out some new technology. She told you about what we had sort of rigged up.

And I see her picture back.

Can you hear me, Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Yes, I sure can.

LEMON: You can still hear me?

O'BRIEN: Actually, because we have IFB, I can...

LEMON: Yes, you can hear.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes.

OK. So, it's going in and out. But what's amazing, though, about this is, most of the time, Susan, you think about -- when you think about immigration, you think about the border towns...

ROESGEN: Sure.

LEMON: ... border states, like Texas, Florida, and other states along the coast there. You think about that and California as well, but there is a raging debate about immigration happening in the heartland, and a testament there.

You see all of those people who are lined up in Chicago and coming from places, not only in Chicago, but from areas around Chicago as well.

ROESGEN: And not just Chicago, but, in D.C., immigration reform has been stalled in Congress for years. And now thousands of people in Washington are trying to jump-start that legislation.

Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN en Espanol is at Malcolm X Park there in D.C. -- Juan Carlos.

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN EN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: Susan, and the numbers here aren't quite as high as they are in other cities. They were expecting -- they were giving the people the opportunity to come from work, come to the park, and come to protest and try to influence Congress on the upcoming debate on immigration reform.

Now, they expect to have two hours, speeches and different acts in this park. And, then, they're going to have a very short march, and, I said, not the numbers that you see in other cities. They weren't expecting the numbers to be as high, many reasons.

They say that current raids being carried on by immigration authorities have scared people off. People are at work. And this year's rally is very different from last year's May 1 rally, because they didn't call for a boycott. And they did -- they thought that calling for a boycott did not send the right message.

This year, they want to have the right message. And that is, they want immigration reform. They don't like the bills that are being discussed right now, one in the House, another proposal by the White House. And they expect the Senate, that takes this measure up on May 14, to deal with it and to have something they could accept. But, obviously, until now, they do not accept what is being presented.

ROESGEN: Yes, Juan Carlos, many people thought that a Democratic-controlled Congress would be more favorable to the sort of immigration reform that these people are pushing for. And, yet, that hasn't really happened.

LOPEZ: No, it hasn't happened.

And the sense we receive from Congress, especially from the Senate, negotiations have been going on for the past week. And they are trying to reach an agreement, so that, when they take up the issue on May 14 -- that's when it is on the calendar -- they can discuss a project.

But I have heard from sources in the Senate that it doesn't look good. There doesn't seem to be agreement. There doesn't seem to be consensus and hopes for an immigration reform aren't really there. They expect a very short time frame, from May 14 until the end of -- of the period. And it doesn't seem that they are going to get that.

ROESGEN: OK, Juan Carlos Lopez reporting for live for us there in Washington, thank you

LEMON: We want to get you right to Washington now, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid about to speak, talking about the war funding bill that's about to hit the president's desk at 4:00 p.m. today, we are told, speaker of the House, Senate majority leader right now.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Good afternoon.

Welcome to the House side.

Welcome back to the House side, Mr. Leader.

Mindful of our responsibility to the Constitution and to the American people, I am pleased to join in signing this Iraq legislation which is so important to our national security.

With its strong commitment to support our troops and to fulfill our promises to our veterans, this legislation honors the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.

With the benchmarks to hold the Iraqi government accountable, this legislation respects the wishes of the American people to end the Iraq war.

I'm pleased to sign this legislation which passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support.

I urge the president to sign the global war on terror supplemental so that we can refocus on fighting terrorism.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Madam Speaker, I understand the solemn nature of what we're doing here today. We, as an equal branch of government with that of the executive, are sending the president a piece of legislation that is extremely, extremely important.

As we know, the president has put our troops in the middle of a civil war. Reality on the ground proves what we all know: A change of course is needed. A change of course is needed.

April was the deadliest month in 2007. In the 51 months of this war, it's one of the deadliest months of the entire war.

Constant violence, corruption and mismanagement of Iraq reconstruction efforts -- the State Department reports that terrorist attacks in Iraq have increased dramatically.

Our bipartisan bill -- this bill -- holds Iraqis accountable for finding political solutions. It helps us more effectively fight terrorism, and strengthens United States security. It re-deploys our troops out of an intractable civil war. It ensures our troops are combat ready before being deployed in Iraq. It provides them with all the resources needed on the battlefield and when they return.

A veto means denying our troops the resources and the strategy that they need.

After more than four years of a failed policy, it's time for Iraq to take responsibility for its own future.

Today, right now, we renew our call to President Bush. There's still time to listen to the American people. There's still time to sign this bill and change course in Iraq.

Madam Speaker, thank you for your leadership and your partnership in this effort, to have this bipartisan bill sent to the president for his signature.

PELOSI: Thank you, Mr. Leader.

I join you in calling upon the president to sign this important legislation.

Again, I hope that he will listen to the American people so that we can refocus our full attention on fighting the war on terror.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam Speaker, why...

LEMON: All right. You are looking at it there.

And what I noticed about that most, obviously, what they were saying, but, if you listen to the clicks of camera lenses there, it talks -- it really echoes the importance of this moment here.

We have two people following this for you.

Our Andrea Koppel is on Capitol Hill, Kathleen Koch traveling with the president today in Florida.

We are going to begin with Kathleen on Capitol Hill.

Again, we heard the clicks of the camera. How much of this is just symbolism, Kathleen?

(CROSSTALK)

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, are you wanting to speak to me or Andrea?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I'm sorry. Andrea.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's quite all right.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes.

KOCH: Well, this is -- it's much more than symbolism, Don. They just signed a bill into law.

But what makes it symbolic is that we know how this story is going to end. In a couple of hours, President Bush is going to follow through on his veto threat. So, the life of this bill is going to be incredibly short.

Nevertheless, Democrats have tried to maximize every angle of this day, this signing ceremony, to maximize their political bang for their buck. They could have signed it last week. They could have signed it behind closed doors.

Why didn't they do that? Well, because they want to get the public's attention to see that they have made good on their promise to get some kind -- and force President Bush to try to change course in Iraq and bring U.S. troops out, which is what this bill would do.

Nevertheless, they have taken it in front of the cameras. You said all the clicks that we could hear there, the shutters going off, are meant to maximize, again, this moment. They did it in the speaker's ceremonial office. They have also chosen today, Don, the fourth anniversary of the president's now infamous comments standing in front of the banner "Mission Accomplished" on the USS Abraham Lincoln, when he was then signaling what he thought was going to be the end of the war.

Here we are, more than four years later, and it's still going on.

LEMON: Thank you very much, Andrea Koppel, on Capitol Hill.

Let's go to CNN's Kathleen Koch, who traveled with the president to CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa.

You heard them urging the president to sign this bill into law. I don't know if there's enough urging that can go on to make him do that.

KOCH: No, Don, there -- there certainly isn't.

The president has been urging Congress for -- for days, for weeks, to give him a clean bill, a clean bill to fund on the troops. He has made it clear from the start that he would not sign any measure that gave a timetable for withdrawal.

He's also said from the start that this measure basically puts Congress in the position of calling the shots in Iraq, tying generals' hands, and also has extraneous spending for domestic items in the measure. So, he has said: I will not sign it.

He's going to make good on that veto threat. He arrives back at the White House 5:45 this evening from Tampa. Some time, then, between 5:45 and 6:10, according to counselor to the president Dan Bartlett, the president will veto the measure.

And then the president, at 6:10, has requested 10 minutes of airtime to speak to the nation, perhaps, again, to reiterate the many reasons that he is vetoing this measure. We don't know if the networks have given him the time.

But, then, this whole process starts over tomorrow. And the president will invite congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and others to the White House in the afternoon at 2:25 to talk compromise -- Don.

LEMON: You mentioned veto. Of course, the president has said it all along. Let's talk about the timing of the veto. Do we know when it will take place? Could he do it by the time he addresses the American public at 6:00 p.m. Eastern?

KOCH: Well, Don, indeed, that is the expectation, again, because the president will be arriving. There will be that time frame, that window, about 25 minutes. And, again, the president, this is something that -- that he does with a heavy heart. He, again, had said he was hoping that Congress would listen to him. But as you heard the leaders of the Democratic Party say, you know, they believe this is something that the American people gave them a mandate to do in November, gave them the majority in the House and Senate, and it was a message to get our troops out of Iraq as soon as possible, and that's what they are trying to do -- back to you.

LEMON: All right, Kathleen Koch, thank you so much.

And, as we leave Kathleen, who is traveling with the president, we look at the president's motorcade there. You can see him. He was at -- in Florida this morning, who -- talking to the commanders at CENTCOM, Central Command.

This one is being brought to you by our affiliate in Tampa, Florida, WFLA -- the president on his way, one would assume, if it's 3:00 Eastern, back to Washington to receive that bill on his desk, which is supposed to arrive at 4:00.

He is expected to make comment tonight at 6:00, between 6:00 and 6:10. And you heard Kathleen say he's asked the networks to give him at least 10 minutes there -- the president live now on the ground, back to live pictures.

He's asked people to -- the networks, at least, to give him 10 minutes, so that he can discuss this. We're going to carry this for you live right here on CNN, 6:00 Eastern time, between 6:00 and 6:10, all the president's comments today about that.

ROESGEN: And we are continuing our coverage of the other hot- button issue today in our immigration nation, the immigration rallies all across the country. We will have more on that coming up.

Plus: From her own immigrant parents to her experiences as a high-profile television anchorwoman, Maria Elena Salinas has her own views on immigration. And she will join us -- ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROESGEN: It is 20 minutes after the hour. And here are three of the stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Did they get him or not? We just don't know yet. Iraqi tribal groups claim that the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq was killed in fighting with al Qaeda rivals today. But jihadists say Abu Ayyub al- Masri is still alive and still fighting in -- what they call the enemies of God.

A Los Angeles jury has found former pizza delivery man Chester Turner guilty of murdering 10 women and also killing one victim's unborn fetus back in the '80s and '90s. Prosecutors say Turner might be L.A.'s worst serial killer.

And the traffic is heavy in California's Bay Area, but not as bad as people expected, after Sunday's overpass collapse near the Bay Bridge. Work crews have now removed most of the debris.

LEMON: Live pictures now -- this is Los Angeles, of course, a beautiful skyline there. But what's happening is one of the many immigration rallies happening there that's going on across the country.

This is why people are rallying. They want a push for immigration reform. Millions of illegal immigrants, at least -- estimated 12 million to 13 million currently in the U.S., and they want those people to be let in legally.

Turnout, they say, is expected to be a little bit low, but it's still early in many cities where these are happening. So, we don't have control of those pictures, but you are looking at a live picture there happening from Los Angeles. We showed you Chicago earlier.

We're going to take you to Miami now -- take you to Florida, at least.

For would-be immigrants from Cuba, the first step toward a new life in America is a single step on American soil.

And our John Zarrella joins us from Miami, as we promised, a scene of some unique immigration issues.

Hi, John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF: Hey, Don.

Certainly is unique here in South Florida. And you mentioned numbers perhaps down across the country, expected to be down today, too, a rally and march scheduled to begin here at 4:00 this afternoon, about 35, 40 minutes from now, a group of 40 independent organizations coming together to form the Unity Coalition.

And Democratic Party chairman John (sic) Dean is part of the event here today. And Dean has already come out today and said that he thinks that legislation in Washington, on the table now in Washington, is -- quote -- that immigration legislation is -- quote -- "insane."

Now, the rally and march here today come at the same time that, this morning, 13 Cuban migrants made it ashore here in Miami. And under the government's wet-foot/dry-foot policy, they are likely to be allowed to stay here in the United States after they are processed.

And the Coast Guard, at the same time today, at sea, picked up 130 Haitian migrants and promptly returned them to Port-au-Prince. Now, that comes a day after 198 Haitian migrants were found at sea in a rickety sailboat. And they also have been returned.

And law enforcement sources tell us they are a little bit concerned because, during the month of April alone, some 700 Haitian migrants were interdicted at sea and returned to Haiti. So, the numbers are up fairly significantly in the number of Haitians taking to the sea in those rickety boats, a very dangerous undertaking, trying to make it here to the United States -- Don.

LEMON: CNN's John Zarrella in Miami -- thank you, John.

ROESGEN: And now we want to go to the newsroom and T.J. Holmes to tell us about a bus crash -- T.J.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take you to Queens here and show you these pictures of a school bus accident. The bus, you can see, on its side there, always a scary picture. This is the second one we have done in the past couple of days here that we have see, but this one, in particular, in Queens.

You can see another car there that it's crashed into. Right now, we know from our local affiliate there that possibly as many as six children have been injured, and a couple of adults as well -- none of the injuries right now described as life-threatening.

Now, another twist to this story, that this bus ended up on its side, possibly, according to our affiliate, because a police officer was chasing a burglary suspect involved in a high-speed chase, when the school bus and the police car collided, taking the school bus on its side there.

Now, we see that vehicle in the middle there. It looks like it's certainly a part of the crash, but doesn't appear to be a police vehicle. Not sure what that vehicle is, if that was the vehicle being driven by the burglary suspect. But we do understand that the police officer, and also the burglary suspect, are being treated as well -- none of the injuries, again, being described as life-threatening, but several injuries here to report, and a local affiliate saying at least -- at least six children injured in this, but certainly pretty high impact to knock that school bus on its side like that.

We will keep an eye on it. Get any more updates and specifics on the injuries, we certainly will bring them to you -- Susan.

ROESGEN: OK, T.J. It looks like it sheared off the front of that bus. Thank you.

We will go back to Soledad O'Brien, reporting live from a crowded scene in Chicago, as we continue our immigration day coverage of the rallies.

You are watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A sea of American flags there at this demonstration, at demonstrations all across the U.S., two of them today in Los Angeles County, home to about a million illegal immigrants.

And CNN's Thelma Gutierrez is there -- Thelma.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, I can tell you that I am down on the ground, right in front of city hall. (AUDIO GAP) where there are thousands of marchers who are walking out to this rally right now. They are carrying many different flags. I see the majority of American flags and Mexican flags.

Many of these people say they are here to show their solidarity with the undocumented workers who are working here in Los Angeles, who work in the fields, who work in the hotels, the restaurants, that kind of thing.

They want to see immigration reform, and they say that they aren't going to stop these marches until they get that reform. Now, one of the marchers is here with me, and his name is Fabian (ph). Fabian works in the clothing industry.

Fabian, what do you think of all of this? And why are you here today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we're here, you know, to show the world that -- I am an immigrant. I'm not legal. I'm in the process.

But, united, we can do something. I'm here because I am so grateful to this country. It has given me a lot. And I know that, one day, I am going to become a U.S. citizen.

GUTIERREZ: All right, Fabian, thank you so much.

And, Don, last year, there were about 650,000 people who were out here in front of city hall, some say close to a million people -- the crowd much smaller now. But, as you can see, there are thousands of people out here today -- Don.

LEMON: CNN's Thelma Gutierrez, thank you for your report.

ROESGEN: And let's go live again to Chicago, the scene of a huge rally there and a long march.

Soledad O'Brien has been marching with the marchers -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: And there are tens of thousands of people out here. We're walking down Washington Street, headed due east, making our way to Grant Park. And that's where the big rally is going to be taking place.

They have been marching now for an hour. And, of course, marching may not be quite the right word. It may be better to say strolling. We're obviously moving very, very slowly.

You can hear people behind me saying: "Si, se puede. Si, se puede."

It's a show of support among immigrant groups that they have power, that, even though in many cases the people who are out here are in this country illegally, they feel that the sheer fact that they're here and they contribute to the economy, they have a certain amount of power to demand simple things -- education, as we've heard from our last interview, ability to stay with their families should they be caught and deported.

Interestingly, when you talk to the other side in this debate -- and there have been no alternative protests, protesting the marchers -- one of the things you see are people saying, listen, we find that this is encouraging for us, even though we're on the anti-immigrant side of the debate, because they say all these numbers underscore, in their opinion, that there's an immigration problem in the United States. It's a very interesting point.

But there have been no countermarches to this march, and this march has been very, very peaceful. It's been hot. Every so often someone throws water and orange juice down to the marchers. Lots of little kids in this march.

Hi there.

He's got a good way around, because it's quite a long distance to march some three miles or so.

So we continue to make our way this way. We've got a mobile unit that's somewhere behind us that allows us to broadcast live to you from the street right down on the bottom.

Back to you guys.

ROESGEN: OK. We'll keep up with you.

Thanks, Soledad -- Don.

LEMON: And from a major city, Chicago, to another one, Queens, New York, an accident there.

Our T.J. Holmes on top of it.

What do you have for us, T.J.?

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, keeping an eye on this accident. Always scary pictures, always just scary words when you hear "school bus" and "accident" in the same sentence. But there it is. You see the scene there.

The school bus -- understand that at least six students, at least reports out of our affiliate there in New York, at least six students involved in this crash have been injured in this school bus accident. You see that other vehicle there at the bottom of the screen right under that -- right under that school bus. It certainly looked like it made an impact possibly with that school bus, but involved in that accident.

We do understand that a couple of adults also have been injured. None of the injuries described as life-threatening. But it certainly looks like a strong impact there if -- whatever hit that school bus and was able to knock it on its side like that.

We're keeping an eye on this, trying to get more details about exactly what was going on that led up to this accident. And also, trying to get more details on the injuries of the students, certainly, on this bus. But understand that none of the injuries are described as life-threatening.

So we're keeping an eye on that right now. And still trying to work those details. When we get more, we'll bring it back to you -- Don.

LEMON: It's amazing when you look at that bus on its side there, not life-threatening.

HOLMES: Yes.

LEMON: That's good news.

HOLMES: Yes, absolutely great news. And it appears maybe not many students on that bus as well. Not one of the larger school buses that are so commonplace.

But that's a good thing as well. But it appears that only six students. And yes, to see a bus on its side like that, always scary. It's scary to see these school bus accidents.

But from what we know right now, not many on that bus and not serious injuries, Don. So that is a good thing.

LEMON: All right. Thank you so much, T.J.

ROESGEN: And as we continue our immigration day coverage, from her own immigrant parents to her experiences as a high-profile television anchorwoman, Maria Elena Salinas has a lot of credibility when it comes to immigration. She's been there, done that, and she will join us next in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROESGEN: And once again, we're looking at various immigration day rallies around the country. We've looked at Chicago today, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston. American flags and Mexican flags and other flags from other immigrant nations here as rallies are planned all across the country.

And now we have a different perspective on this day. Maria Elena Salinas knows first hand the struggles that immigrants face because her parents came to this country from Mexico. One a legal immigrant, one illegal. And she joins us now from the Miami studio of Univision Network, where she is the anchorwoman. She's also a syndicated columnist and author of "I Am My Father's Daughter".

Maria Elena, what is this like for you as an Hispanic journalist covering the immigration debate in this country? Can you be objective about it?

MARIA ELENA SALINAS, UNIVISION ANCHOR: Well, definitely. We have been covering immigration issues for many, many years. Twenty- six years, to be exact, is as long as I've been working in this company. And we do have a different perspective because we know immigrants.

I, myself, like you mentioned, am the daughter of Mexican immigrants. I was born in Los Angeles. My parents came to this country legally, and for circumstances beyond his control, my father did become an undocumented immigrant during several years of his life. But I think his story just goes to show you how every immigrant has a different story and has a very particular set of circumstances that lead them to live under those circumstances. So they cannot be stereotyped.

ROESGEN: Well, when people here talk about shutting the borders and kicking illegal immigrants out, how does that make you feel?

SALINAS: Well, I think it's very difficult. I think it just doesn't make sense.

It's not only an emotional issue. I think it's an issue of common sense. And probably even some of the most fervent critics of immigration realize that it is impossible to kick 12 million people out of the country, particularly when you have immigrants not only from right over the south of the border, Mexico, but from central America, South America, from Europe, from Asia, from Africa, from Canada, north of our border.

There are undocumented immigrants from different parts of the world here in this country, and the majority of them are contributing in many, many ways through their work, through paying taxes. They add to the cultural diversity of this country. So, like I said, I think even the most ardent critics of immigration now realize there's a strong consensus that something has to be done and that there's an urgent need for immigration reform in whatever shape or form it comes in.

ROESGEN: What sort of form do you think it should come in? I'm not Lou Dobbs here, so I can't debate you on this. You know that he has differing views here with CNN.

What's your take on immigration reform?

SALINAS: Well, I think immigration reform, up until now, I think everyone has realized even the more conservative proposal that is out there that comes from the White House and conservative Republicans in the Senate, is that something has to be done to open the path, to open the door for legalization. There definitely needs to be some type of restriction.

The Gutierrez-Flake bill in the House of Representatives has less restrictions than the one that possibly or could be introduced in the Senate from Republicans in the White House. However, they both talk about the need to open the door to legalization. Some are stricter than others. Some have to pay stiffer fines than others. But I think that there is a consensus, and that is the important thing, that there is a consensus now on both sides of the issue that something needs to be done and that it cannot only be security, it cannot only be law enforcement, but that it also has to include a guest worker program so that immigrants can come to this country in an orderly manner. And it also needs to solve the problem of having 12 millions people live in the shadows of this country. And also, something needs to be done about the raids, the massive raids...

ROESGEN: Oops. It looks like we just lost Maria Elena Salinas. We apologize for that.

SALINAS: ... children than...

ROESGEN: We're going to try to get her back here now. She's in our Miami studio.

Go ahead. We lost you briefly. You were talking about the raids that frighten so many people who continue to remain...

(CROSSTALK)

SALINAS: Exactly. What I was saying is that these marches that are going on that you see in over two dozen cities are not only to ask for immigration reform. These marches also are asking for an end to these indiscriminate raids.

There are law enforcement agents going door to door, factory to factory, many times taking immigrants that have children that are born in the U.S. And I think that that's something that is inhumane.

It's not only a matter of what is legal and not. It's a matter of what is human. And that's why so many cities are becoming sanctuaries, that's why so many churches are becoming sanctuaries to these immigrants, because there are children that are born in the United States who have rights, yet are being separated from their parents because they are being deported as we debate these immigration issues.

So, something definitely needs to be done. What shape or form it's going to take at the end, who knows. But I think that everyone believes that this is the year for immigration reform.

ROESGEN: OK. We'll see what happens. Thank you.

Maria Elena Salinas with Univision...

SALINAS: Thank you, Susan.

ROESGEN: ... joining us today in Miami -- Don.

LEMON: And we're following the immigration story today and several other developing stories. One in particular, in New York City, a school bus crash. A bus rolled over. Who was on it? How are the people doing inside, who were inside of it?

We'll have that for you after a break.

And also, we're waiting word from the White House on the bill that was signed today by Democratic leaders. The president is expected to speak at 6:00. CNN will bring it to you live, 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Beginning this week and for the rest of the year, CNN will shine a spotlight on some very special people. Each has a remarkable story, and each shows how a single person can turn a vision into a better world.

We call them "CNN Heroes". And our very first lives in Brooklyn. His name is Thabiti Boone.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE DEJESUS, STUDENT: "Dear Mr. Boone, my name is Michelle Dejesus, and I'm in the fourth grade. This neighborhood that I live in is not a good scene to me. I see a lot of crime and dangerous things in this neighborhood."

THABITI BOONE: I am from east New York, Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York. Like many people who come from this community, you have to chance. There is no hope, no joy to go to school. My name is Thabiti Boone, and I chose a different path.

My father didn't want to be a father. My mom was too young at that time to take me out of the hospital. So I was stuck in the middle with no direction.

My life could have been, I'm angry, I want to fight the world, I have an attitude, but something said, you know what? I'm going to make a difference. I'm going to make it out of here, and I'm going to be one of the ones to come back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Mr. Boone, you make learning fun for us. And by you coming back, it shows my classmates and me that you care about us and our education."

BOONE: Our young people are in such a crisis of lack of love, lack of interest, lack of hope, lack of heroes. The Read to Succeed program is a unique program that connects sports, entertainment and hip-hop to self-development and success through the importance of reading. Bam. That's it.

So students have to read on a continuing basis, they have to learn how to do oral presentations, stand in front of the classrooms, develop confidence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "This program taught me and my classmates that we can be anything in life if we just work hard."

BOONE: You may want to dream to be an athlete or entertainer, but at the end of the day that may not be what you're supposed to be. But let's have a program that teaches you how to self-discover many gifts and talents.

DEJESUS: "Thank you so much. You are like a father to us. We love you so much. Sincerely, Michelle Dejesus."

BOONE: Never...

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP Never...

BOONE: ... accept...

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: ... accept...

BOONE: ... underachievement.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: ... underachievement.

BOONE: There's a piece of who you are that's connected to where you came from. So if you go and don't come back, you're walking around half dead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: That's why we call him hero. It only takes one person to make a difference.

If you know someone who is championing children like Thabiti Boone is, well, you can nominate him or her for a "CNN Hero" award. Just go to cnn.com/heroes.

ROESGEN: And now we know that a tornado has touched down on the ground near Topeka, Kansas. So let's go straight to Rob Marciano to fill us in on that.

(WEATHER REPORT)

ROESGEN: And this just in to the CNN NEWSROOM. We have a developing story. We're following the report of a multiple shooting in Jacksonville, Florida.

T.J. Holmes is there checking the latest wires for us -- T.J.

HOLMES: Yes, in Jacksonville, conflicting reports. Maybe six or seven people shot. Seven, according to The Associated Press. A local affiliate saying at least six people shot.

The conditions of the victims right now, not sure about that, but again, local affiliates are reporting that police telling them at least two of those people are in serious condition. Do not know also yet about the circumstances surrounding what was going on, what happened and why these people ended up shot. And also don't know if the gunman in this case is still on the loose or possibly among those who have been shot and who are being treated right now. So there could be possibly a gunman on the loose somewhere in the Jacksonville area.

Again, six or seven people shot according to wire reports, according to local reports. This is in an area called the Talleyrand area. This is northeast of the downtown area, specifically at 11th and Jones Streets, according to our local affiliates. But six or seven people shot.

Trying to get more information about why, and also if the gunman is still out there on the loose somewhere. Again, possibility that the gunman is among those who have been injured. But still working that information, trying to figure out exactly what's happening.

Back to you guys.

ROESGEN: OK, T.J. We'll check back in with you as we get more information on that. Thanks.

LEMON: And also, we're looking for more information on another developing story, that bus crash we told you about happening in Queens, New York. You see the bus there as it pulls out. A bus on its side. The big question, were there children on board? And if so, how are they doing?

We'll have details for you right after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROESGEN: And straight to the newsroom now and T.J. Holmes with details on our two developing stories today -- T.J.

HOLMES: Yes. The first of those being -- we're going to take you first to what we were talking about just before the break, a shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, where we understand at least six to seven people have been shot.

Don't know for certain about the conditions of the people who have been shot, the extent of their injuries. Of course, it's always serious any time somebody gets a bullet wound. But, according to local affiliates, at least two of the people's conditions at least are classified as being serious condition.

Also right now, not certain about the location of the gunman. It's possible that the gunman is on the loose, but also, according to local affiliates, police looking at the possibility that the shooter is among those who are injured. But again, six to seven people shot in an incident near downtown Jacksonville in an area known as the Talleyrand neighborhood.

But right now, police certainly concentrating on trying to figure out exactly who the gunman is. Keeping an eye on that story. Of course we'll update you throughout the day and evening on that.

Also, this story we were watching a little earlier, this school bus accident out of Queens, New York. You can certainly see a nasty crash there. Any time that something makes strong enough impact with a school bus to knock it on its side -- but you see that vehicle down there. It looks like it did make the impact.

We do know at least four to six children have been injured in this accident. From different reports, local affiliates and wire reports, at least four to six children injured. None of the injuries described as life-threatening. Also, reports that this was the result of a pursuit. Police were chasing a suspect, and this ended up some kind of way getting involved with this school bus.

So we do know at least four to six children have been injured. Again, none of those injuries considered life-threatening.

But just two of those developing stories that have been popping for us the past half hour to an hour. We're keeping an eye on it, and will certainly get you all the details as they keep coming in to us -- Susan.

ROESGEN: OK. Thank you, T.J.

LEMON: Another developing story. This time with the weather. A tornado on the ground near Topeka, Kansas.

We'll toss it over to Rob Marciano.

(WEATHER REPORT)

LEMON: Closing bell after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The closing bell is about to ring on Wall Street in literally seconds.

ROESGEN: Yes. Can you hear it now?

LEMON: There it is.

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

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