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CNN NEWSROOM

Hunt for Three Missing U.S. Soldiers; Immigration Reform

Aired May 20, 2007 - 23:00   ET

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


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Bullets fly. Street battles. New video from gun battles in the Middle East.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody who can kidnap an American soldier and murders them, we're going to continue to hunt down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Going behind enemy lines to bring you the hunt for three missing U.S. soldiers. Are they here? Are they still alive? And why is the killing of this al Qaeda big so important? SWAT officers, tanks, and people told to stay inside. A small town under siege. Now asking why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to tell you. After standing up with them, some of these people frighten me. They frighten me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: A spit fire of a politician says what most dared not say. Mike Gravel in the Sunday spotlight.

And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez here in B control, where we're going to begin as we often do with some dramatic video and dramatic news from a really troubled region.

Take a look at this man. You may not know his face or his name, but U.S. commanders in Iraq are saying that he led an attack that killed five American soldiers. It's his last high profile attack, because we learned tonight U.S. troops have confronted him and killed him.

His name is Sheikh Azhar al-Dulaymi. A military spokesperson is saying that he's been the target of a relentless hunt since January. January 20th to be precise. That was the day that insurgents who spoke English drove American cars and wore American clothing somehow managed to get right inside a U.S. Army post. And that's what made this attack like few others. CNN's Tom Foreman has detailed a report from that week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New details suggests the attack in Karbala was precise, well-rehearsed, and very different from the assault the Pentagon first described; 5:00 in the afternoon, a dozen American troops are reviewing security plans for an upcoming Shia pilgrimage to two important shrines.

And a dozen gunmen wearing uniforms much like the Americans are heading straight toward them. They travel in a convoy of at least five American-made SUVs, such as those used by high-level military brass. Three times, the gunmen stop at Iraqi checkpoints. Three times, they apparently pass themselves off as Americans and are waved through.

When they reach the compound where U.S. troops are working, they unleash gunfire and explosives. Five U.S. soldiers were killed, the governor of the town first reports, but the Defense Department now says only one American soldier is killed on the spot. Four others are abducted. The convoy speeds away.

Outside town, the kidnappers hit another checkpoint. Iraqi police let them through again, but, suspicious, start following them. The convoy heads east, then north. And, finally, the insurgents abandon their vehicles. The Pentagon says, two American soldiers are found handcuffed together, dead in the back of one SUV, each shot through the head. A third is dead on the ground nearby. And a fourth, found alive, dies on the way to a hospital.

It is a much more complex story than the first version from the military.

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I have just been made aware of the discrepancy in the account. And I have asked for the specifics about it.

FOREMAN: This tactic of enemies posing as friends is not new. Two years ago, a suicide bomber dressed as an Iraqi soldier struck a mess tent. In Saudi Arabia, when terrorists hit a U.S. compound, they even made a training tape, showing how they painted an SUV to look like a police car.

And military analysts say, this attack was exceedingly well- planned.

Pat Lang is retired from military intelligence.

COLONEL PAT LANG (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Whoever was involved in this is a -- is a professional who really knew how to do this.

FOREMAN: But investigators still want to know if the kidnappers had help from someone the Americans trusted, someone on the inside.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: That was then. But tonight, the military focus in Iraq remains the search for three U.S. troops that are still missing after a brazen insurgent ambush more than a week ago. And now military officials are telling us they have reason to believe they may be alive. They say they'll keep searching whether it takes eight days or 80.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, SPOKESMAN, MULTINATL. FORCE-IRAQ: All I can tell you is the search does -- continue. You know, we can't promise the outcome that we all, of course, are praying for, but what I can promise you and I can promise the American families out there that are waiting anxiously that the American forces and Iraqi counterparts are going to continue with this relentless search until we find the fate of our missing soldiers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: This is important. Their efforts did turn up some new leads today. The U.S. military acted on a tip and drained another canal. What they were told might be in that canal is horrific. We take you to the ground now and CNN's Arwa Damon for the very latest on the search.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the Janabi run (ph) Canal that runs from the Euphrates River to the Janabi village, a former Sunni insurgent stronghold. It is the second canal that the U.S. military has drained in this area, following tips that the bodies of the three missing soldiers may have been dumped here.

Now this company has been searching the canal and the reed line running alongside it, trying to look for clues. They also found shell casings from a Dragunov sniper rifle. Further down, U.S. military found what they initially thought may have been an American boot but it wasn't.

CPT. SHANE FINN, U.S. ARMY: You want to find the clues, because you want so badly to return these soldiers to their families. But the same token, you don't want it to be that boot because it could then mean other things. So I'm not sure if I am relieved or happy right now or sad. I don't know.

DAMON: This area is about seven or eight miles away from the site of the attack. But it is significant. Because back in October, this very same company found the flak jacket belonging to one of the 101st soldiers that were killed and kidnapped about a year ago. That flak jacket found along the southern reed line. This is all part of, the U.S. military says, its promise that it will leave no stone unturned to find its missing men.

Arwa Damon, CNN near Yusufiya, Iraq.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: And then there's a question -- what about the rest of the U.S. forces in Iraq? Unfortunately, they're continuing to take some heavy fire. Since Friday, 15 more American soldiers have actually been killed in Iraq. Most of the violence has been in or around Baghdad. Yesterday alone, eight U.S. troops died in separate attacks. 20 days into May, this month's death toll has already reached 71. So far, 3422 U.S. service members have lost their lives since the Iraq War began.

The thing is those numbers represent the magnitude of the loss, obviously, enough, but they'll never show the heartache of each individual family. The U.S. military paid tribute them today in Washington. And it was a very emotional ceremony for the families of the fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps this one point by the Army's chief of staff sums it up best.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, U.S. ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF: It is sure the families of the fallen here that your sacrifice and your commitment to the values and the ideals that make this country great are not only recognized and appreciated, but will never be forgotten.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: General Casey then presented medals to the children of the fallen soldiers.

Coming up in our Sunday spotlight, a controversial candidate who says not one more drop of American blood should be spilled in Iraq. He is as feisty as they come. And he's all the rage on the blogs, by the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. SEN. MIKE GRAVEL (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just please get out. It's their country. They're asking us to leave. And we insist on staying there. And why not get out?

I think terrorism, terrorism has been with civilization from the beginning. And it will be there until the end. We're going to be as successful fighting terrorism as we are fighting drugs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Former Senator Mike Gravel is still having a lot of people talking about his performance at that last debate where you see him right now. He says really what most politicians would never say out loud. It's a must see interview. It's live. We're going to be hooking up with him real soon. He's our Sunday spotlight. And he's coming up in just a little bit.

All right, let's take you back to the Middle East now. Some incredible video coming from several incidents in the region tonight. In one, Israel intensifies its response to ongoing rocket attacks from the Gaza. One Israeli airstrike hit the home of a Hamas member. Palestinian sources say he was away at a meeting with Hamas and Fatah. Officials at the time discussing a Palestinian ceasefire. Eight civilians, including some of his relatives, were reported killed. The Palestinians also reported at least two other deaths in the Israeli airstrikes. All right, here's the other incidents I was alluding to. The Lebanese army is also locked in a fierce and deadly fight. They are battling with Islamic militants, who have ties to al Qaeda. And we're about to show you some of that dramatic video that we've been monitoring.

These are gunfights on the streets, folks. The fighting apparently started when the Lebanese security forces raided a building in a neighborhood north of Tripoli. The militants inside opened fire on the security forces and then they shot back. 32 people, mostly Lebanese security forces, were killed today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These things aren't supposed to happen in Moscow, Idaho.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Maybe in Moscow, Russia. But in Idaho? A sniper on the loose. A shootout. SWAT teams called. Several dead. We'll take you there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people call it amnesty. We say it's not amnesty. We can argue about that for years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: The debate begins tomorrow. In depth coverage tonight. Why so divisive?

I'll take you inside a typical U.S. restaurant, the back way to see who's in the kitchen.

And tonight's quick vote. We're 48 hours from the "American Idol" season finale. Whoo oh! Log on to CNN.com and tell us who you think will win.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Immigration reform, this is one of the most divisive issues in the U.S. in decades, fueled by extreme views on both sides. A group of senators from both parties finally reached a compromise deal just days ago. Full Senate starts debating it tomorrow, but it's already being attacked today.

CNN's Thelma Gutierrez has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a day when hundreds took to the streets of Los Angeles to march for immigrant rights, word came from Washington that legalization might be in sight. Sweet news to Chuy Arias, who's waited years to come out of the shadows.

CHUY ARIAS, UNDOCUMENTED WORKER: I'm happy for the fact having been here for 12 years and now finally, I'm going to be able to legalize my status.

GUTIERREZ: Miguel Lopez says it's all he's ever hoped for, the chance to work legally and support his family, but legalization for Lopez and others like him won't happen overnight. Those who are here before January 1st of this year will be eligible for a four-year renewable visa, but they will first have to pass a background check and take English classes.

ARIAS: I think it's a wonderful idea. And not just for the United States, but for us.

GUTIERREZ: They will have to pay $5,000 in penalties and fees. And the head of household will have to return to their country of origin to register there as well.

MIGUEL LOPEZ, UNDOCUMENTED WORKER (through translator): I think it's impossible to go back. And how will we return? How much will it cost to go back and forth? If we leave, what will happen to our jobs? That part will be difficult for us.

GUTIERREZ: Armando Rodriquez welcomes the news, but says it raises many fears about losing his job if he must return to Mexico and register, and fears about whether he'll be allowed back into the United States once he leaves.

ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ, UNDOCUMENTED WORKER: We will do what they ask, so that we can have this opportunity.

GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: If illegal immigrants are here working, are they taking jobs from U.S. citizens? And if that's the case, isn't that a problem? Here's Commerce Secretary Gutierrez when I asked him that same question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLOS GUTIERREZ, COMMERCE SECRETARY: I talked to businesses who are telling me we cannot find workers. We cannot find people to do this occupation. I've got a list from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the highest growth occupations and the fact that we cannot find enough workers. This is a reality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: We're going to have more of my interview with Secretary Gutierrez. That's coming up later right here from the NEWSROOM. By the way, developing story as we speak. We're now getting word. There they are. Those are the humpback whale, the mother and her calf. They're finally heading out to sea. That doesn't mean they're there yet, but they traveled several miles. They've been trying to do this for a week now. They finally came out with a process where they're making these noises underground and they're stopping the tributaries so they can't go off in a different direction. Guess what? The whales are finally moving, folks. And there's a lot of people excited about that. We're going to keep monitoring this throughout this newscast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a major impact to those officers that were working tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: A sniper setting off a night of terror in a small Western town.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just want justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: A family wants answers tonight after another controversial shooting by the NYPD. It's straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: You don't hear about very many sniper attacks in Idaho, do you? But that's exactly what police are investigating tonight in the small college town of Moscow. A gunman shows up at a county courthouse. And several hours later, three people are dead, including this 17-year police veteran. Cara Kostinich with affiliate KREM brings us this story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARA KOSTINICH, KREM NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At 11:30 last night, Moscow assistant police chief David Duke says his officers and Laytaw (ph) County Sheriff's deputies responded to this area around the courthouse on a shots fired call. Duke says the information given to law enforcement indicates shots were being fired into the sheriff's office.

RICHARD MASKALI, WITNESS: I think that this is a sad landmark.

KOSTINICH: Duke says at 11:31, officers arrived and reported shots fired at Fifth and Van Buren.

MASKALI: Well, this is one of those towns that you don't think something like this could every happen in. KOSTINICH: 11:35, Officers Bill Shields and Lee Newbill come under fire. Newbill receives multiple gunshot wounds and then collapsed.

MASKALI: I think I'm just in a state of shock.

KOSTINICH: Duke says a perimeter is set up and a quick response team to evacuate Officer Newbill. Then we later learn Officer Newbill dies before reaching the hospital.

MASKALI: That's really the most tragic thing about it.

KOSTINICH: It's 11:47. Authorities receive another report of a gunshot victim. This time it's the civilian found on the parking lot on the East side of the courthouse. Next police say the gunman enters the Presbyterian Church at Fifth and Adams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently, the courthouse is badly shot up and even shot -- shooting up the inside of the church, which I think is the most beautiful one in town.

KOSTINICH: I can tell your heart is hurting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is.

KOSTINICH: Next, Sergeant Brana Jordan with the Laytaw (ph) County Sheriff's Department was helping evacuate Officer Newbill. And then at 12:09, came under fire and was taken to the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Been horrified by it.

KOSTINICH: Next, additional law enforcement agencies were called in and the neighborhood secured. Then at 5:51 a.m., three SWAT teams enter the church and found two dead men, one in the church office, the other in the sanctuary. And police say he is the gunman responsible for this horrific tragedy. Now leaving this community shocked, saddened and asking why.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: That was Cara Kostinich with affiliate KREM with that full report. By the way, police say that they have not determined the motive for this attack.

There's a new controversy tonight for the New York Police Department. Once again, a police officer is accused of killing an unarmed man. There are some conflicting accounts to be sure about what happened when 41-year-old Furman Arzu was shot, allegedly fleeing an accident scene. But his friends, family and members of the Reverend Al Sharpton National Action Network say it's a story line we've heard too often.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIRSTEN TROY, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: He lost his life as a result of an impromptu, impetuous and in our estimation, unnecessary action by an off duty police officer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: All right. Police are saying that the shooting is under investigation. They say neighbors are back the police officer, who was off duty at the time of the shooting. It is apparently the first time in his eight-year career that he fired his gun.

He's a spit fire. A loose cannon. A maverick. Wants to legalize marijuana and the end the income tax. He's running for president. And he says what most politicians wouldn't dare say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAVEL: I got to tell you. After standing up with them, some of these people frighten me. They frighten me. I'm the senior statesman here and I was beginning to feel like a potted plant standing over here. Who the hell are we going to nuke? Help me -- Barak. Barak, who...

BARAK: I'm not playing to nuke anybody right now, Mike, I promise you.

GRAVEL: Good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Mike Gravel joins me live, as tonight's Sunday's spotlight next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: All right, here we go. Certainly always my favorite part of our Sunday newscast. He has been called a loose cannon and a maverick. He showed up the candidates at the first Democratic presidential debate by saying what most politicians won't say. Sometimes think but won't say.

He rails against the military industrial complex, wants to get rid of your income tax. Just wait until you hear what else he has to say about Iraq.

Live in our Sunday spotlight tonight, former Senator and Democratic presidential contender, Mike Gravel. Senator, thanks so much for being with us, sir.

GRAVEL: Thank you for having me here.

SANCHEZ: You know, to a certain extent, you remind me of that Howard Beal character in the movie "Network," who says I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. Do you see the resemblance?

GRAVEL: I sure do. And I think all Americans are mad as hell right now, because we're not getting out of Iraq. They put out the word last November that they want us out. And the Congress is sort of diddling around. SANCHEZ: Do you think it's a mismanagement issue or just - or was it wrong from jump street?

GRAVEL: Well, first off, the war was wrong and was lost the moment we went in. This is a fraudulent war sold to the American people.

But you know, it can change right now if the Democratic leadership would do something about it. On Monday, I released a bill and a tactic to have the war ended by September and have our troops home by Christmas. And it's got no fly at all with respect to what's going on in Congress.

SANCHEZ: So you say pull the troops out? And pull them out as soon as we can get them out of here?

GRAVEL: Yes, 120 days, that's what it would take.

SANCHEZ: All right, but you pull the troops out. Suddenly, Iran comes in from the top part of the country. Then the Syrians go in, perhaps to defend the Sunnis because you know that there's going to be a Shi'ia takeover. There could be a lot of blood letting, even more than what's going on now. The Kurds might come in from the other side as well. These things are all possibilities. Are you concerned about it?

GRAVEL: No, I'm not. They're possibilities. But then again, it's like Vietnam. The possibilities were that the -- all the dominoes are going to fall. And of course, nothing like that happened.

And I don't think that will happen in Iraq. We've got a civil war going on right now. And the way to end it is for us to get out of it and then use our diplomatic efforts to end the civil war. And Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, they all got a stake in having stability in Iraq. And so they'll help. They won't help now as long as we're there with our troops.

SANCHEZ: You don't think it'll be stabilized. Let me ask you a question. Why are we in Iraq?

GRAVEL: We're in Iraq for oil. That's what George Bush wants to get control over and when you hear the Democratic candidates and Republican candidates for that matter saying we'll pull out our combat troops what really they're saying we'll stay there with over 100,000 American soldiers and we're going to try to continue to control that oil and that is wrong. Oil in Iraq is not worth one ounce of American blood.

SANCHEZ: But nobody ever said anything about when we went to Iraq and most of the American people including us in the news media bought into some of the theories we had at the time and now we're left with the fact we got rid of Saddam Hussein and also that we're heading towards the Wolfowitz theory, in the future we're going to need to stabilize Iraq one way or another to have that region stabilized. Do you buy it? GRAVEL: Nope. Not at all. That region will stabilize itself if we stop being so warlike and I think a thing we could do is try to bring about peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. That is what essentially would help defang the entire confrontation of the Islamic world with the West.

SANCHEZ: Well, if we do that what do we have to do? Do we have to pull the harness on Israel since we are the ones backing them for so long?

GRAVEL: Well, for the first thing we have to is we ought to bring the moderates together. Build a cocoon. Arrive at the deal which everybody knows it's going to be '69 -- the '69 boundaries. '67 boundaries, rather. With some tweaking.

But once that is done, and arrived at, then you have the Israeli people, the citizens and Palestinian citizens vote on it. Not just make it a transaction between the leaders of the world. -- of these two countries or the United States.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question. I'm thinking about this as I'm listening to you talk about the Palestinian issue. Do you think if the United States had taken the $350 billion spent in Iraq and we would have spent it on the Palestinian issue even buying each one of them a house or whatever it would have taken to somehow bring those two together, do you think that would have been much more well spent?

GRAVEL: Very much so. In fact, Rick, that's part of the plan that I would hope to bring about is we have to bring the economic level of the Palestinians to the same level as the Israelis. Then everybody will have a stake in peace.

SANCHEZ: So that is what I'm hearing you say. You're saying the money that we spend on -- because you rail against the military industrial complex. You're an Eisenhower guy, right?

GRAVEL: Correct.

SANCHEZ: Well, you're saying that we need to spend less money on military and more money then on what?

GRAVEL: On aggressive diplomacy. On dealing with many of the infrastructural problems we have here at home with respect to education, healthcare. The treasure that we're spending to try and get control of Iraqi oil is like trying to get control of the Titanic. We need to move in a different direction with respect to energy, have a global institution. Put on a carbon tax. Invite other countries to do the same and then try to take this wealth and bring in together the world's scientific and engineering community to get us off of carbon in a decade.

SANCHEZ: My producer's telling me we are down to a minute. And I want to get to a couple of other issues. Why don't we go to -- you want to legalize drugs?

GRAVEL: Of course we do. Stop and think. Marijuana is not a problem. Not anymore than taking a fifth of booze but what we need with harder drugs to legalize the regulation thereof. We're spending $60, $70 billion a year on the war of drugs and it's been as effective as we have had with respect to prohibition. We have to stop the prohibition of marijuana.

SANCHEZ: You also want to get rid of the federal income tax. What do you want to do? I understand you want a national sales tax, instead?

GRAVEL: Correct. It's a fair tax that would take care of the poor and could be made very progressive. It is fair tax. The reason why the word fair is that our present tax system is not fair. The burden is carried by the average American. Wealth has gamed the system. It's probably the most corrupt form of taxation we could devise.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you this. A lot of people are saying that you are getting in the way of the real candidates in these debates. How do you respond to that?

GRAVEL: I'm a real candidate in this debate and I think Americans will buy into that when they really understand. Americans want to hear the truth. They're fed up with the partisanship. They're fed up with politics as usual and that, of course, is not what I represent in the slightest.

SANCHEZ: You're in to stay. Where are you getting the money, by the way?

GRAVEL: Well, I hope some of it is coming from you, Rick. Anybody that hears my voice and they want to help, all they have got to do is go to gravel08.us. And I would appreciate any financial support anybody is prepared to give.

SANCHEZ: All right. Well, we thank you, sir. Former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska. We thank you for being with us and certainly a pleasure to talk to you. You're a character, I'll tell you that.

GRAVEL: Well, thank you, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Be sure to join us for the presidential debates live from the battleground and you'll see it, of course, right here on CNN.

There's another story that we're following for you tonight. This has got people abuzz and aflutter all over the State of California. It is in Sacramento and we have got word tonight the whales are finally on the move. All the banging of drums and pots and pans or that strategy that they had tried tonight seems to be working. And they're heading out. Let's hope it continues. We'll be checking on it. We'll be right back.

They do jobs Americans don't want to do. Well, from a busy restaurant kitchen to building your home, immigrant workers are vital to America's economy. We're going to find out what they think about a new and controversial immigration reform plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLOS GUTIERREZ, COMMERCE SECRETARY: There is no automatic path so for those folks saying this is amnesty. There's nothing automatic here. There's nothing guaranteed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: You are going to hear more from the man who brokered the plan. My conversation with commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez. He's next in THE NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: We welcome you back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rick Sanchez. The full debate starts debating a bipartisan but very controversial immigration reform bill tomorrow.

Well, we wanted to get away from just the politics and try to bring you a bit of a reality check on this topic. So I talked to several immigrants in Atlanta about their dream of making it into the United States. Our conversation unfolded at a place you may not expect. It is a famous restaurant that dishes out some of the best down home southern cooking in town.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: This is one of the places where suburban Atlantans come to eat. Not only do they come to eat here, but they don't mind the wait. What is it about the food that makes it so good?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think, number one, it is not overcooked, overspiced, it's real southern food. Lot's of butter in it. Sprinkles of good seasoning. If you watch, it moves quickly. Because they serve quickly. That's why my husband and I love it.

SANCHEZ: This is the kitchen as one of the busiest restaurants in all of Atlanta. They can serve up to 3,000 meals in one day. Who's at the center, who is serving it up? Many of them are immigrants.

(Spanish) How long have you been working here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine years.

SANCHEZ: (Spanish).

UNIDENTFIED MALE: Si.

SANCHEZ: (Spanish)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Spanish)

SANCHEZ: (Spanish). You like it here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Si.

SANCHEZ (Spanish) Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: San Marcos.

SANCHEZ: San Marcos? That's the western side of Mexico? (Spanish)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Si.

SANCHEZ: (Spanish)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mexico.

SANCHEZ: You're from Mexico. Acapulco. How long have you been here? (Spanish)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Spanish)

SANCHEZ: Seven years working here?

What is it about the food? (Spanish)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Spanish)

SANCHEZ: It's the workers. It is the workers. That's why it's good. Because you work hard to make it good. And they love it. (Spanish)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Si.

SANCHEZ: If there is a southern staple, if you have ever eaten in the South, you have got to know this is it. This is what they refer to as I'm sure you've heard the term, corn bread. That's what we're doing. This is my friend Lopez.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.

SANCHEZ: You make the corn bread? (Spanish). How long have you been -- five years. Working here. How long have you been in the United States? Ten years. You speak some English?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, try.

SANCHEZ: A little bit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit.

SANCHEZ: You feel appreciated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do very much. Yes.

SANCHEZ: Yeah? You feel like the customers here love your corn bread?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Like sometimes breakfast and people know me so I do appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: People say they love coming here because you do such a great job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yeah.

SANCHEZ: Oh, oh, oh! Caliente. Whoa that is hot. (Spanish)

Eight years in the United States? (Spanish) How long working here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seven months.

SANCHEZ: Seven months? Do you want to stay in the United States?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. Sure.

SANCHEZ: You want to be American?

UNIDENTFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Yes. For sure. For sure?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Spanish)

SANCHEZ: That's the dream of all Mexicans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: They may just now get their chance. We want to thank, by the way, the folks at Okay Cafe for allowing us to do that. And now back to the historic compromise legislation on immigration reform.

Some on the left say that the new measure doesn't go far enough. Some on the right say it gives illegal immigrants complete amnesty. Last night we showed you my interview with the man that helped broker this deal, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Here's some of the very candid and very personal conversation again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUTIERREZ: I know that if we don't have a good immigration system, a workable immigration process, we will not be able to grow our economy in the future and it will impact our ability to continue to be the greatest economy and the greatest country on earth.

SANCHEZ: So what -- so what you're saying is that in your opinion, the United States needs those laborers?

GUTIERREZ: Absolutely. And I'll tell you what, Rick. Just about every developed economy in the world will have to embrace immigration because the working age populations aren't growing fast enough.

SANCHEZ: Well, wait, wait. I have to stop you real quick. What would you say to those who say, wait a minute, they're taking jobs that U.S. citizens should have?

GUTIERREZ: They are taking jobs that U.S. citizens are not doing. We have evolved as an economy, our unemployment is below the average of the last four decades. I go around the country and I talk to businesses who are telling me, we cannot find workers. We cannot find people to do this occupation. I've got a list from the Bureau of Labor statistics showing the highest growth occupations and the fact that we cannot find enough workers. This is a reality.

We're worried about importing food because we know that we have a very good system and we like the safety of our food. Well, if we want to produce food here, agriculture, we have to have the people. Every time I see a newspaper story that says we have fruit rotting until the fields, that is wrong. We shouldn't allow that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Secretary of commerce Carlos Gutierrez. Our thanks to him.

By the way, there it is. One of the two humpback whale that are finally heading out to sea and folks around Sacramento are all but celebrating. It's a new technique that they're using, making noise and closing off the tributaries and it is working. Several miles already in the last several hours. We are all over it. We'll continue to monitor it. If anything changes or if they stop and start going the other way, oh no, we'll let you know as well.

Here is another story. CNN covers the world and the includes the World Wide Web. Just ahead, it's the most popular Internet video right now. Put on your dancing shoes. We're going to show you some fancy footwork. First, though, our Jacqui Jeras is watching the fire dangers in the East and in the West. Her forecast is coming up in just a little bit. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. We are back in B Control now. Back to a story, by the way, that we've been following this hour. Great news to report tonight for friends of directionally challenged whales everywhere. This mother and calf took a major wrong turn near Sacramento, California, last week.

Right now, they are finally swimming toward open water. Do I hear applause? The two humpbacks are out of trouble. Yeah, they're applauding in ways here. There's plenty of ways that they can go astray again so they're really watching them but right now it looks like they're funneling them out. They're definitely headed in the right direction and a fleet of Coast Guard boats is gently urging them toward the Pacific.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROD MCINNIS, SW REGIONAL DIRECTOR, NOAA: We don't know for sure what sparked the movement. What happened just about the same time, we had some tugboats that fired up their engines in the harbor. They were a fair distance from the whales but that may have had some relationship. We don't know. You'd have to ask the whales, I'm afraid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: We'll try and ask the whales. By the way, there's helicopters in the air. They're following the story with live broadcasts. Huge story out around Sacramento. We've been monitoring it.

Brushfires and wildfires are keeping emergency crews busy on both coasts tonight. First to California. North Los Angeles County, this angry blaze roared through the Angeles National Forest this weekend eating up about 2,500 acres and chasing out thousands of campers. Good news on this one, though. Firefighters now have it surrounded. And expect it to be fully contained by morning.

Lake County, Florida. The Bugaboo Fire, that's right. That's really what it's called. Is one for the history books. Thankfully, finally it's almost history itself.

Tonight firefighters say it's 90 percent contained. Maybe more. It's burned for the entire month of May, consuming more than 200,000 acres in Georgia and Florida. Fire officials are carefully watching, of course, for any potential flare-ups. Let's go to Jacqui Jeras. Is there a possibility there could be flare-ups or have they gotten enough rain down there to make this thing finally stop?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, they've gotten not a whole heck of a lot of rain, actually, Rick. Very dry there today again. They had a little bit Thursday night and into Friday morning but this weekend is dry, dry, dry. And red flag warnings continue to be posted through tomorrow afternoon across much of the State of Georgia and most of Florida, as well.

All the rain has been down here and boy, that rain has been heavy at times. You got a good downpour yesterday afternoon and evening and then northeastern parts of Miami-Dade County just soaked early this morning between 7:00 and 10:00. Doppler radar estimating five to seven inches of rain fell in that very short period of time. Of course, that causes flooding problems and our I-Reporter from Miami Beach has proof of that.

Let's go ahead and take a look at our I-Report from Lee Smith from Miami Beach. There you can see it. The cars surrounded by the flood waters. There is a few cars trying to drive through it. Not a good idea. Lee tells us that this is the worst he that has seen in the five years that he has lived in the Miami Beach area.

More showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast across South Florida. Again tomorrow. But again, staying real confined to just extreme southern part of the states so that fire danger still high here.

Critical fire danger area across parts of Utah, into Nevada, and also northern Arizona as we have an approaching cold front and that is going to be bringing in some very strong, gusty winds.

Traveling tomorrow if you are going by the airways, things are looking pretty good across much of the northeastern corridor. That pesky low is finally going to bug on out of her. You could have a few delays, though, maybe in Boston expecting low clouds in the morning in Chicago. Minneapolis, very windy conditions. Southeast looking pretty good with the chance of thunderstorms and Dallas possibly holding you up and they we are expecting some morning fog and this maybe in Los Angeles in the morning and isolated thunderstorms in Salt Lake City and Denver could cause you a few delays. Otherwise it's looking pretty good out there. Rick, back to you.

SANCHEZ: All right. Thanks, Jacqui. You've got to take a look at this video we are about to show you. The next story is one that you could tell all day. But you just have to really see it to appreciate it.

Check this guy out. He is known as the one-legged salsa sensation. And all the rage on YouTube. Look at this guy. I mean, he's good, right? Some people say his one, two step seems a little sketchy. Maybe a bit digitally engineered. We just think it's entertaining.

All right. I confess. We were bad and asked you to cheat a little bit and vote on who you think should be the next "American Idol" and of course you did. In fact, thousands and thousands of you because this is the story that seems to captivate so many Americans. Here we go.

The results are Jordin with 63 percent of the vote and Blake Lewis, right? Has 36 percent of the vote. Congratulations in this completely unscientific poll. We have decided that Jordin wins.

He's just a teenager but he's already making his cause to end modern day slavery. What a story and what he is doing to get other young people involved makes him a CNN hero. His courageous story is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. All year long CNN highlighting people who have a better vision for the world and are doing something to make it right. Tonight's CNN Hero is Zach Hunter, an Atlanta teenager who says the change in your pocket can help end modern day slavery around the world. Here's his story in his own words.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZACH HUNTER, LOOSE CHANGE TO LOOSE CHAINS: I think that the most important thing that people should know about this issue is that slavery is still going on. Many people don't know that.

Even though it's illegal everywhere, it goes on everywhere, too.

This is a pair of shackles that they would use on modern-day slaves today. If your little brother or sister was wearing these and rolling cigarettes all day, you'd want somebody to free them. That's what we're trying to do.

I'm Zach Hunter, and I am a modern-day abolitionist. I've always had a strong sense of justice. If I saw someone getting pushed down on the playground or something I wanted to go help them. So I first heard about this three years ago.

I was learning abut Frederick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King. Then when I found out that slavery still existed, I felt like I had to do something.

Everybody in this room has benefited from slavery one way or another.

When I was 12 years old, I started Loose Change to Loosen Chains. It's entirely student-led and it's about raising loose change to free slaves. The loose change that we raise goes directly to the organization. They can actually raid the places and get the slaves out.

There's more than $10.5 billion of loose change in American household. So I decided to take something as underestimated as loose change as underestimated as the teenage years, put them together.

This is a really good issue for people my age. And it's just something we can really get dirty and do something about. The main plan is to abolish slavery within my lifetime and I really believe that that can happen.

This Loose Change to Loosen Chains campaign really is my heart. It is something I am passionate about. People my age that can really change things. It is sort of my dream for my generation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: There you go. Trying to help. If you would like to nominate somebody like him for special recognition, all the details at cnn.com/hero for you.

Now stay tuned for a CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: "Danger: Poisoned Food." America's dirty little secret. Do you know what you're really eating? Dr. Sanjay Gupta uncovers the truth next.

I'm Rick Sanchez. Thanks so much for being with us. Good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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