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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Oil Slick Nears Land; Immigration Battle in Arizona
Aired April 29, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news: The Gulf oil well slick is heading ashore. It's five times bigger than first thought as well. The emergency response and the White House involvement is growing sharply, but so is the spill itself -- and new word now the oil could still be leaking months from now. We will tell you why.
Also, tonight, under Arizona's new immigration law, can police pick up just anyone merely because they look like an illegal immigrant? That's something we're talking about a lot. One of the state's top cops says, no. He told me so last night. Tonight, what the letter of the law says, "Keeping Them Honest."
And, later, what Shakira says about the law as well and boycotting the state of Arizona. She's the "Big 360 Interview."
First up tonight, though, the breaking news. In fact, it's heartbreaking news for anyone who counts on the Gulf Coast for a living or simply loves the natural beauty of it. It is murder for the animals that call it home.
The first fingers of the massive oil spill off the coast of Louisiana approaching land tonight just a few miles offshore. According to late word from the four-agency federal task force that is handling this emergency, the slick is enormous, 120 miles wide, the winds blowing out of the southeast pushing it ever closer to shore, and some of the numbers are simply staggering.
The doomed well is leaking from three points under water. Take a look here, dumping 210,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf. That's amazing. Making things even worse, there's no indication that crews can cap the flow any time soon, perhaps not for weeks or months.
This spill is already America's second worst environmental disaster on record after the 1990 Exxon Valdez spill. At the rate it's going, it could be on track to be the worst.
Tracking the spill, joining us now, Chad Myers in the CNN Weather Center.
Chad, we have been talking about this the last couple nights now. What are you hearing tonight?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, today, it became a weather story, and now it's an environmental story because of the way the winds shifted. They're out of the southeast now. It's blowing all of that oil -- basically sludge right now -- kind of tar balls originally, because that's the oldest oil. It has broken down and broken down, lost a lot of its volatility, and now tar balls coming on shore, although shore is a relative term down there -- the bayous and the ditches.
There's the oil slick itself. So, what is going to happen for the next couple days? By tomorrow, that slick, including the initial surge of tar and oil and almost mayonnaise-consistency oil, will be coming all the way up into the bayou.
And then, by Saturday into Sunday, it continues to move. See, there's today. And then it moves a little farther to the north and to the west. And then, tomorrow, it again moves a little bit farther to the north and to the west. That's all because of the wind.
By Saturday, it's up to Biloxi. By Sunday, it could be Mobile. And, by Monday, it could be into Pensacola. And you said this is no end in sight to this. The water is still mixing in. The wind is still blowing it right to shore. And we're still seeing 210,000 -- up to 210,000 news gallons of oil in the water every day.
GUPTA: They can't go in there and cap it off. It literally keeps coming out.
Yesterday, we were talking about the fact that they burn oil off, you know, a slow burn.
GUPTA: But they didn't do that today. Why not?
MYERS: They didn't do it today because the wind was too strong. Yesterday, it was perfect conditions, and they lassoed it all up. They corralled the oil. They made it deeper and thicker. They lit it on fire.
And it made smoke. I understand it makes smoke, and that's a point of pollution as well. But it's not as bad for the environment nor the water fowl or the animals and everything living in that water for the smoke to be bad compared to the oil getting on the feathers of birds, getting into the plankton. The plankton are eaten by everything else.
And, all of a sudden, you have a food chain disaster. And that is what happening right there on the southeast coast of Louisiana. Already, lawsuits being filed against BP by some of the fishermen in the southeastern part of Louisiana, because they know -- they know their livelihood is over.
GUPTA: And things may even happen throughout the hour today, Chad. We will keep checking back with you if they do.
And with that oil -- that oil fast approaching, countless people, from experts to volunteers, are scrambling to try and minimize the damage to wetlands and wildlife, as Chad was just talking about.
Meantime, oil engineers and others are racing to try and stop the flow. It's a huge challenge. And nothing has worked so far.
"Up Close" with the latest, Tom Foreman joins us.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Sanjay.
The technical challenges here really are absolutely massive. I'm going to move inside here and show you underneath the water what you're looking at. And this was explained to me by some experts today at LSU. I'm going to put it in really simple terms.
You have three pipes leaking down there, but let's just imagine just one of these. What you have is a pipe of less than foot in diameter or so spewing oil under enormous pressure. A massive device down here called a blowout preventer, 450 tons 50 feet high, should have automatically shut this down, but it did not.
BP has been trying to fix it with robots, but no luck yet. So, what do you do now? Well, one of the possibilities that BP is preparing for is to lower an undersea collection device. For simplicity, just think of this as a huge inverted funnel. And this is way oversimplified, but it gives you an idea.
And it would capture this oil before as it's loose in here, before it spreads out, then pump it up to a barge. This has been done before, but never at such a depth. So, the military could be crucial with their involvement, because they have deep diving subs to help run this operation.
That could take about four weeks, but that's not bad compared to the other alternative. BP is also moving another drilling rig into position to drill right down into that broken well to establish a new line. But that would take even longer, Sanjay. And that's also very tough. It's no sure thing.
GUPTA: (AUDIO GAP) earlier, Tom, the clock is ticking right now. I mean, how much danger is there to the Gulf itself while they sort this out?
FOREMAN: Well, you know, Sanjay, this is in the middle of one of the world's most productive fisheries. More than a billion pounds of fish and shellfish are harvested here annually.
Researchers at Louisiana State tell me that the big fish species, if we think about those, they may be OK for the moment, the grouper, that sort of thing, because they're largely below the oil, and they can swim, at least for the moment. They can get away from it.
But since oil rises to the surface, we move to the next group of animals. They're the ones who are really in immediate danger right now. Dolphins, porpoises, turtles, and seabirds, for example, they really may have nowhere to go right now, Sanjay, and the oil is upon them.
GUPTA: And that's -- yes, I mean, you're talking about right now. But maybe within the next few hours even, Tom, this thing could hit shore. What happens then? It could be quite forceful. FOREMAN: That's a really good point, because that's where it gets much, much, much more complex.
We're going to widen out here and talk about some of the area Chad was. Here's Biloxi over here. Here's New Orleans up in here and the Louisiana coast, all the way over to Texas here. This area is called the fertile fisheries crescent. Some of those LSU researchers I was talking about, earlier today, they told me the marshes all down in here are absolutely critical to the success of the entire region down here, because this is where many critters, from shrimp to crab and many fish -- fish species, start their life cycle.
And, in fact, some of the younger, juvenile ones have to live here. So, enough oil in this area could be disastrous, because this really is a nursery for the entire Gulf. On top of that, millions of shorebirds are nesting here right now, including the state bird, the brown pelican.
Plus, this is a prime migration route for around a half-billion other bird that we see all over the country. They're coming through here right now.
Plus, one more thing. See how this all winds around in here? You see these little areas? What that means is, you don't have a straight shoreline of 200, 300 miles. What you actually have in Louisiana down here are thousands of miles.
And, as long as the oil keeps flowing, each time you clean up one of these areas, it can be recontaminated again within hours -- Sanjay.
GUPTA: Yes. Boy, I will tell you, it's tough to think about. We remember those terrible pictures from just over 20 years ago, the Exxon Valdez.
And -- and, Tom, as you have been hearing, I mean, ultimately, within the next few weeks, maybe months, it could be as bad, if not worse than that.
Is that -- is it going to have the sort of same impact as we saw then?
FOREMAN: It could.
It's a different type of oil, but it absolutely could. I want to show you a comparison. We have been looking at this area down here. If we fly up here to Alaska, we're sort of sweeping up the West Coast here, and we go to Prince William Sound, where this happened, you can see it's a more enclosed area.
And here's a critical difference, as we look at the pictures of what happened up in here. This was absolutely awful. But here's an advantage they had in Alaska. This was a finite amount of oil in one tanker that came out at once. And they were able to address it and deal with it.
Some studies there in just recent years show they still have pockets of oil up there from this spill more than 20 years ago. But at least they knew what they were dealing with.
The point that these researchers I spoke to today stressed over and over again is, as long as the oil is flowing down here in the Gulf, this will simply keep growing and growing and growing, and they have no idea where the end will be -- Sanjay.
GUPTA: All right, Tom, thanks so much. We are going to be tracking this, obviously, throughout the hour and the night, as that oil makes landfall.
We will bring you the latest developments as we learn about them.
Let us know what you think. The live chat is up and running, AC360.com.
Up next: an interview I really wanted to do. Historian Douglas Brinkley, he's going to talk about the spill and the people at BP and elsewhere. He says they're all possibly destroying America's natural heritage. He will explain.
Later, singer Shakira talks about why she's boycotting the state of Arizona.
Plus, big new developments from Washington on this whole immigration front.
Stay with us.
GUPTA: Updating tonight's breaking news now; oil from the ruptured offshore BP, it's now approaching the shore in Louisiana's Mississippi Delta, home to hundreds of species of wildlife, the slick 120 miles wide, the undersea leaks feeding it still uncapped. Efforts to stop the flow have failed, well owner BP with no choice but to shoulder responsibility.
The federal response is massive and growing. And President Obama is now in a politically awkward spot for his decision last month to permit more drilling offshore. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MARCH 31, 2010)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Under the leadership of Secretary Salazar, we'll employ new technologies that reduce the impact of oil exploration. We'll protect areas vital to tourism, the environment and our national security. And we'll be guided not by political ideology, but by scientific evidence.
That's why my administration will consider potential areas for development in the Mid- and South Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: You heard it there. And, earlier, we got an e-mail from a prominent critic of offshore drilling and BP.
To say it got our attention doesn't do it justice. It certainly got us the man who wrote, historian Douglas Brinkley, a spot on the program tonight, his latest book, "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America."
Thanks for joining us.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, thanks for having me, Sanjay.
GUPTA: You just heard from President Obama there. And he's also said that BP is ultimately responsible for funding the cost of the response and the cleanup. As we know, it's something known as the Oil Pollution Act.
But that doesn't mean the administration had judged the firm as negligent. And they were specific about that.
Are -- are they negligent? Is this firm negligent?
BRINKLEY: Well, we're going to find out. It really looks like it.
First off, BP has had a horrific response. They have -- they -- they did deal with the fact that you had a blast. They're not talking about the environmental endgame here. They have basically gone undercover and started doing a blame game on the oil rig company, instead of taking frontal responsibility for this.
You know, British Petroleum, in 2006, had the worst cracked pipes in the North Slope of -- of Alaska. The EPA and the FBI have been breathing down BP's necks. So, this looks like you are going to be hearing the word British Petroleum in an ugly way right now. And it's not the flower symbol of their logo.
It's been a company in the last few years that have been cutting a lot of corners when it deals with safety issues.
GUPTA: You're pretty fired up about this. And I -- we told them you were going to be talking to us tonight. And we have a statement from them as well. And I want to read it to you, David (sic), and get your response.
GUPTA: "When BP plans any activity, drilling or otherwise, in addition to all the required permitting for our plans, we also carry out full environmental impact assessments, examining our planned activities in detail, looking at their potential impacts on the environment, and doing all we can to minimize them. The detailed planning includes plans for response to any unexpected incidents."
I guess that's what they're talking about now, David (sic). What's your reaction to that statement?
BRINKLEY: It's -- it's Doug.
But all have you to do is look at Alaska and what they have done up there and what happened in 2006. They also, here in Texas, 2005, had the Texas City -- British Petroleum -- blowup, where people died. British Petroleum is going to be responsible for 10 national wildlife refuges run by U.S. Fish and Wildfire, of a cornucopia of wildlife, beautiful beaches, salt marshes, sandy barrier islands. It's a home of black skimmers.
It is largest tern colony in the United States. And it's -- to be not stepping forward and talking about the wildlife cost, what's going to happen to the economy in Louisiana now, and to be doing the kind of mealy-mouthed statement you just read tells me that British Petroleum is -- is going to be in deeper trouble and as the days come, because they're not facing the consequences of what the company's responsible for.
GUPTA: You know a fair amount about this industry, Doug. And, you know, one thing, when you talk about the rigs, you talk about the company itself, BP's CEO, Tony Hayward, has laid blame on Transocean, saying, basically, it's their rig, it's their equipment, it's their people, their systems, their safety processes.
I mean, does he have a point in that at all?
BRINKLEY: Of course. And they're also hired by British Petroleum.
Both of them are going to be culpable for this. The problem is, we have had a lot of drill, baby, drill, and it's spill, baby, spill. People have been telling American people that offshore drilling is dangerous. What we have heard is, oh, well, it's changed. There's new technology. We're now green. British Petroleum's logo said they're for beyond petroleum.
What's new-energy about this? It's dirty oil devastating communities in Louisiana and killing some of our richest wildlife areas. Some of these wildlife places Theodore Roosevelt saved. President Roosevelt went down there.
BRINKLEY: He camped there. And we're going to be -- you're going to be seeing devastation to wildlife in the coming days almost unimaginable.
GUPTA: We have seen -- you have written about this. Seen pictures certainly of him in that area as well.
A lot more on this, I'm sure, in the days to come.
Thanks so much for joining us, Douglas Brinkley. Appreciate it.
BRINKLEY: Thank you. No problem. GUPTA: Up next: why the protesters may have a point and officials may be glossing over the impact of Arizona's immigration law. We are going to show you what the law says word for word about whether police officers are able to stop someone simply for looking illegal.
Also, a new plan from Washington, does it solve the immigration problem, or does it just aim to score some more political points?
And, later, how a kindhearted rancher became a fatality in the battle over securing America's southern border.
GUPTA: Well, that didn't take long, the first legal challenges to Arizona's new immigration law, one lawsuit filed by a Latino clergy group, the other by a Tucson police officer. He argues that there's no way officers can confirm people's immigration status without chilling the relationship they have with the communities they patrol.
You know what? Put yourself in the policeman's position. Now, take a look at these images over here. If you were to look at these images, do you have any idea, just by looking at them, if they're actually illegals or legal?
And that, some critics say, is the problem. Some of them are legal. Others are legal. But how could you possibly know?
And the law invites police to try and determine immigration status just by looking. So, this is it, incidentally, the thing that's causing all this controversy, Senate Bill 1070.
We're going to show you the relevant language in just a moment, though
You know, I had a chance last night to sit down with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and really talk to him specifically about everything that's going on here.
And, "Keeping Them Honest," I ask him point-blank about this notion that it's going to lead to racial profiling. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: Well, if you haven't done any crime, we don't go around grabbing people off the street corner because they look like they're from another country. We don't do that.
And I'm sure that the law enforcement will not do that, even there's -- you know, there's more teeth in this new law. So, I'm not concerned about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: But you know what? That didn't sound right. Only or mainly checking I.D. after a stop or some other suspected crime.
So, what we did today, we decided to take a closer look at the bill. And here's the passage. I want you to bear with me, because it's long, but important to really look at this specifically.
What it says here specifically: "For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of the state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of the state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person."
Think about that, lawful contact. Legal experts say that mean anything from a felony arrest to a traffic stop to, yes, a random sidewalk encounter.
And critics say, if Arizona lawmakers wanted to limit I.D. check to Sheriff's Arpaio's more benign scenario, they would have written it that way.
GUPTA: "Raw Politics" now.
You will recall, last night, President Obama said the company needed comprehensive federal immigration reform. He also said he wasn't sure the political will or popular support was there for it.
Well, some 24 hours later, Democrats took the wraps off a 20- point draft reform plan and appeared to lay down a political challenge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: We are inviting our Republican colleagues from states like Arizona, where the law enforcement officials have invited them to join us in this effort, to step forward, show the political courage to join us and work with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And joining us now, CNN'S Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, and Roland Martin.
GUPTA: It's been quite a couple days.
Dana, you were at that announcement today. You heard what Senator Durbin said. Do you think he and Senator Reid, they actually think they're going to get the Republicans on board? I mean, Lindsey Graham has already said that he's not going to work with this on -- on this anymore.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
Democratic senators and the president, for that matter, they have already started reaching out to a handful of other Republican senators, Sanjay. But we talked to several of them today, and, so far, no takers.
Now, this program, as you just proved, likes to keep them honest, so let's keep them honest. Even as they were unveiling this, Democratic sources were telling us privately today they don't think that there's really a chance that immigration reform can pass the Senate this year.
But they decided on a political strategy and this particular proposal to try to make it hard for some Republicans to oppose it. This is it. This is the proposal. It's 26 pages. And, if you look at it, the first 17 pages, Sanjay, are really focused entirely on border security -- border security, of course, the issue that Republicans say that really needs to happen first and foremost, in many cases only.
It is only until the last three pages that this proposal talks about giving legal status to illegal immigrants.
GUPTA: I want to play you something, Dana, something the president said last night on Air Force One. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue. There's still work that has to be done on energy. Midterms are coming up. So, I don't want us to do something just for the sake of politics that doesn't solve the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: So, essentially, because he -- it almost sounds like he's saying he doesn't want it, but then you're telling us leaders in his own party are pushing it.
Is there a disconnect going on, a little loss of discipline? What do you think?
BASH: All of the above.
Look, President Obama's comments, Sanjay, do reveal a subplot that have -- that has been stirring behind the scenes for some time, a difference of opinion on whether or not this is really a good idea politically to push this right now.
Many at the White House don't really want this politically divisive issue right now. But, as one Democratic congressional source said to me, President Obama is not on the ballot this year. And some Democrats who are up for reelection are well aware of the fact that Hispanic voters are simply furious at Democrats for not keeping a problem to push immigration reform.
And especially goes for the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, who's in a tough reelection battle back in Hispanic-rich Nevada. And the hope among some Democrats I talk to is, at least if they show they're trying, tell Republicans put up or shut up, effectively, that that will give them political cover with those voters.
GUPTA: Gloria, along that line, I mean, not to sound too cynical, but is just as simple as the majority...
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Go ahead.
GUPTA: Yes, I know. You and I -- well, I mean, the majority, in the middle of a tough reelection fight, who desperately...
GUPTA: ... needs Latino votes, I mean, is that what this is all about?
BORGER: Yes, you know, I think that's part of it.
You know, one of the benefits of being the majority leader of the Senate is that you get to set the schedule, whether the White House agrees with you or not. But, clearly Harry Reid has made the decision. Now he says we can do immigration reform and we can do climate change. We can do both of them.
But, when you talk to Democrats privately, as Dana was saying, they will tell you, there is virtually no chance, Sanjay, none, that immigration reform is actually going to pass this year. And I talked to a moderate House Democrat today who said: Look, the last thing in the world I want to be voting on in the House is immigration reform. I have already had a tough vote on health care. I had to vote for the stimulus package.
And he wasn't so convinced that immigration reform was actually going to help Democrats in the long term, with 10 percent unemployment out there.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hey, Sanjay...
MARTIN: ... just can we just go ahead and call it like it is? We have political punks in Washington, D.C.
GUPTA: This is all preordained, Roland,?
MARTIN: No, no, no, they are political punks.
MARTIN: Listen what Gloria just said.
Oh, that moderate House Democrat: I don't want a tough vote. Well, why in the hell are you in Congress? I don't understand how you have people in the House and Senate who act as if they can't do climate control and immigration. Yes, it is a political year. Yes, people are running for office.
But I think one of the reasons why you see so much just -- so much just dissatisfaction with political leaders across the country, because they have no guts. And, so, I don't care if there's an election. You are sent there to represent the people.
In Arizona, in Texas, in New Mexico, you're dealing with people who are facing crime and people who are in this country illegally. And, so, what do you do? Not shore up the borders? What do you do? Not deal with 12 million in the country illegally?
MARTIN: This is why you need people in Congress who have some guts.
MARTIN: Clearly, they don't.
BORGER: Well, they want to write a good bill, though. And I might add they don't want to hand the House of Representatives over to the Republicans, which would make life a little bit more difficult for the president.
GUPTA: Roland, were you surprised by the president's remarks last night? I mean, where...
MARTIN: Well, first of all, I mean, I don't know -- I'm trying to figure out what President Barack Obama is doing. It's either the -- it's on one hand, on the other hand.
I'm sorry. Take an actual position. Also, this is where the president should show some leadership. Either they should take it up or not. But to sit here and say, well, yes, I know it's tough, and there are votes, this, that and the other -- no. Say, this is what we're going to do, and lead.
BASH: And you know what was really interesting? This certainly surprised me, and it probably will surprise you. That -- that call for presidential leadership, that actually came from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today, when she was asked about the president's comments.
She said, you know, they want the Senate to go first in the House, for the reasons that Gloria just articulated, but she said, look, the president's got to lead on this. President Bush did. President Obama has got to as well -- pretty surprising.
BORGER: You know, this is not, though -- honestly, this is not a slam-dunk for the Democratic Party in this economic environment.
BORGER: This could be really risky.
And the Republicans I talk to say, OK, you know, they want a fight on this, we're going to talk about jobs for Americans.
GUPTA: Right. Right.
BORGER: And there are lots of Democrats who say, this president ought to be talking about jobs and trying to sell his health care bill.
MARTIN: ... immigration, trust me.
GUPTA: A lot of people surprised, I think, on both sides by what's happened over the last couple of days. We will keep on it as well.
Roland Martin, Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, thanks so much.
And still ahead: Grammy Award-winning singer Shakira has also joined the fight against Arizona's new law. She met today with the mayor and police chief of Phoenix. She joins me tonight for the "Big 360 Interview."
Plus, Rielle Hunter sits down with Oprah Winfrey to talk about her secret affair with John Edwards, their 2-year-old daughter, and that sex tape. It didn't go away. How did the interview go? We will let you decide.
GUPTA: Still ahead, the brutal killing of an Arizona rancher, a death some say ignited this whole bitter immigration battle. First, though, Tom Foreman back with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Tom.
Possible new trouble for Goldman Sachs. "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that federal prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into whether the investment firm or its employees committed securities fraud in connection with mortgage trading. The firm and one of its traders are currently fighting civil charges of securities fraud. "The Wall Street Journal" is also reporting Continental and United are nearing a deal to form the world's largest airline. The merger could be announced Monday, unless negotiations fall apart at the last minute, like they did in 2008.
And in Australia, a massive balloon launch goes horribly wrong. As the 400-foot balloon was launching off, the gondola came loose, hit the launched rig, sideswiped an SUV and almost hit onlookers. Look at this thing. It was carrying a multimillion-dollar gamma ray telescope bound for space. That's a pretty pricey payload to lose -- Sanjay.
GUPTA: Yes. They actually put rockets up in space, but getting the balloon up there, sometimes even more challenging.
Tom, thanks. You'll be sticking around for us on the "Big 360 Interview" with Shakira. That's next. She slams Arizona for its immigration policy. Some strong words. We'll bring it to you just ahead.
Also, did drug smugglers murder a rancher in Arizona? What the family is saying and what the cops suspect. Next story, coming up.
GUPTA: Well, as we've been reporting, Arizona's controversial new immigration law, the toughest in the country, does continue to make news, here at home and around the world. Some consider it government sanction profiling. Others applaud the measure.
It is a polarizing issue and has many people speaking out. Among them, Shakira. She's the Grammy-award winning singer. She's in Phoenix fighting against what she calls an injustice law. Shakira joins me now for the "Big 360 Interview."
Thanks for joining us.
SHAKIRA, SINGER/SONGWRITER: Thank you for having me.
GUPTA: So, I've been reading about your visit a little bit. You met with the police chief and the mayor. You know, one of the questions I have not been able to get a good answer to, Shakira, is exactly how this law is going to be implemented. Are you able to answer that question? What did you find out?
SHAKIRA: Well, yes, the mayor is very, very worried, as well as the chief of police here, Chief Harris. They're both very worried on the impact that implementation of this law will have on Latino families. The level of abuse that will be inflicted on Latinos, with or without papers.
You know, if this law was already in effect today, for example, I could be detained and arrested and taken away because I don't even have my driver's license here. I mean, I'm completely undocumented here today. So... GUPTA: So you didn't bring your papers to Arizona?
SHAKIRA: I didn't, no.
GUPTA: So, literally, this is an important point, because that's exactly what people are worried about.
SHAKIRA: I just met with some families and -- and woman who have been subjected to domestic violence. And they are so concerned. And it's so saddening, because they feel that they're going to -- that the government is going to turn their backs on them. They're going to live in fear to call the police or to report a crime that has been inflicted to them.
I really couldn't -- couldn't hold the tears when I was hearing these women speak of how -- how concerned they are about their own safety. Women who are themselves trying to -- they're trying to protect their kids and their own families from abusers. And now they're going to have to protect themselves from the government.
GUPTA: As part of your discussion today, Shakira, is there other options, other solutions that you think should work? I mean, one thing people do seem to agree on is that maybe immigration laws are going to change in this country. They're talking about it today, quite a bit, as you know, and certainly in Arizona for some time now. What do you think needs to be done?
SHAKIRA: Yes, there is a true concern about addressing the immigration law. And the Congress must act urgently on this issue to prevent more states come up with this kind of law which is completely misrepresented of the principles of liberty, the freedom of equality that America stands for.
I think that so many people are going to be -- going to see themselves affected by this law. In some ways that we cannot even imagine. People who won't be able to use hospitals, state hospitals, or child-care programs or food programs or domestic violence shelters. People who will live in fear in America.
To me, that's not something I can conceive. I am not an expert on Constitution, but I know that the Constitution exists to protect the rights of every human being living in the country, with or without papers.
GUPTA: Shakira, a lot of people obviously paying attention to this issue tonight, over the next several days, I'm sure. Many of them because of you. Thanks for joining us.
SHAKIRA: Thank you so much for the opportunity.
GUPTA: All right. Next on "360," death at the border. An Arizona rancher murdered. Was he killed by an illegal immigrant? Our "Crime & Punishment" investigation ahead.
Also, a medical first. Fetal stem cells used to treat a man with Lou Gehrig's Disease.
GUPTA: Well, Arizona's clearly ground zero on the fight over illegal immigration. But here's the thing you didn't know. There are some people who say this new battle was triggered by a brutal act of violence.
It happened in Douglas, a small town that sits close to the border with Mexico. It was there that police say an American rancher was murdered, and they suspect he was killed by an illegal immigrant.
In tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report, here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days, Arizona rancher Bill McDonald keeps one eye on his cattle, the other over his shoulder. He isn't taking any chances after his friend and fellow rancher, Rob Krentz, was killed just a few miles away. Shot dead, the sheriff says, by illegal immigrants, drug smugglers.
(on camera) Do you feel safe out here today?
BILL MCDONALD, RANCHER: Relatively safe. Not as safe as I used to feel.
KAYE: You don't carry a weapon.
MCDONALD: Well, I -- that's my personal philosophy. When I'm out here I don't want to look threatening to somebody who might have a weapon and probably has me outgunned.
KAYE: Krentz was killed just last month, March 28, while working on his ranch. He had radioed his brother, the sheriff says, but the only words his brother could make out were "illegal immigrant" and "hurt."
When his brother radioed him back, there was no response. And Krentz didn't show up to meet his brother later on as planned. A ranger's helicopter spotted Krentz's body around midnight.
(voice-over) His body was found alongside his vehicle, his guns untouched inside it. Next to him, his dog, also shot. It's a tragic ending to something that, according to Krentz, had been building and building.
The Krentz ranch is next to the Mexican border, and he had been worried about the increasing illegal foot traffic and criminal activity on his ranch for years.
Krentz in 2005.
ROB KRENTZ, VICTIM: It's being overrun, and it's costing us lots and lots of money. KAYE: Yet, despite his frustration, he would often give food and water to those illegally on his land. His wife Sue says all they wanted was to live in peace.
SUE KRENTZ, WIDOW OF MURDERED RANCHER: I have been seriously, seriously violated.
KAYE: In November 2007, fed up, Sue Krentz sent this letter to Congress. "We are the victims," she wrote. "We are in fear for our lives."
Despite all the backlash over the new immigration law in Arizona, Krentz's family and friends say his death is exactly why tougher immigration laws are needed.
(on camera) Is Rob Krentz's murder proof that more enforcement is needed?
MCDONALD: God, I hate to think we needed that kind of proof. But yes, I suppose that it -- you know, I mean, we said something was going to happen. It happened.
KAYE: There were fresh footprint at the scene, the sheriff says, and deputies followed them for more than 20 miles all the way here to the border but were unable to catch the suspects.
The sheriff says, though, that they did gather DNA, including fingerprints at the scene, but they're still trying to figure out who they belong to.
(voice-over) The sheriff says those crossing the border are more brazen than ever about robbing ranchers. One ranch was hit 18 times in the last three years. Eighteen times.
(on camera) Have you seen illegal immigrants, drug smugglers walking through your land?
MCDONALD: Oh, sure. There are people with the drugs and then there's people carrying food, water and that sort of thing.
KAYE (voice-over): In a statement after Krentz was killed, his family blamed the federal government for ignoring their pleas. We have paid the ultimate price for their negligence, incredibly securing our border lands.
(on camera) Do you blame anyone for your friend's death?
MCDONALD: I don't know who to blame. I mean, we're trying to figure out right now, how do you get the Border Patrol actually deployed on the border and not 30 and 40 miles north of the borders playing cops and robbers in these mountains.
KAYE (voice-over): Rob Krentz may have been thought of as a quiet man, but in death, he's a booming voice for those ranchers, wanting to be heard.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Douglas, Arizona.
GUPTA: All right, Randi, thank you. Another perspective there.
And next, a potential medical breakthrough, the first steps in treating ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, with stem cells. What one man is doing to try to help others. I've got an exclusive report on that just ahead.
And Rielle Hunter opens up about her relationship with John Edwards, whether they're still in love, and yes, the notorious sex tape. Stay with us.
GUPTA: For more than a decade we've been hearing about the incredible promise stem cells may or may not hold. So far, they haven't produced a proven cure backed by solid science. So far.
But now the first FDA-approved clinical trial using fetal stem cells in adults is under way. And CNN has been given exclusive access to follow a patient getting the treatment. He's making history. But will it save his life?
GUPTA (voice-over): John Cornick has a terrible illness for which there is no cure. Can you imagine hearing this from your surgeon?
DR. NICHOLAS BOULIS, EMORY UNIVERSITY NEUROSURGEON: I don't honestly think this is going to make you better, which means that the reason that you're doing this is to help other people.
JOHN CORNICK, ALS STEM CELL TRIAL PARTICIPANT: Right.
BOULIS: Right. You know, you have all of my admiration and respect for -- for being willing to do this for the greater good.
GUPTA: The greater good. You see, John has volunteered to be one of the first people in the United States to participate in an operation to inject stem cells directly into his spine. It's called a phase one clinical trial. This is the first step. No one knows what will happen.
Here's how John got to this place.
CORNICK: Two years ago I was running, playing golf.
GUPTA: And then gradually, literally, he began to lose it.
CORNICK: I started tripping and kind of like a foot drop and started catching my foot on bricks and curbs and started losing my balance initially. And then developed a limp in my right leg. I lost the dexterity where you can't button buttons, tie shoes. I can kick a little bit, but I can't really pick my legs up.
GUPTA: John Cornick has ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The nerve cells in the spine and the brain that control muscle movement, destroyed. When the brain can no longer tell muscles to move, those muscles wither away.
Eventually the diaphragm, as well, which pulls and pushes air into the lungs. Think about that. The brain is fine. But you simply cannot breathe.
John knows there is no cure for ALS, and so does his wife, and his two daughters.
CORNICK: My first thoughts were I hated for my girls to see me go through this.
GUPTA (on camera): So today is a historic day. What we're going to see is the first FDA-approved clinical trial for fetal stem cells in adults. It's remarkable. Obviously, a lot of issues here.
(voice-over) Dr. Eva Feldman developed the trial.
DR. EVA FELDMAN, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN NEUROLOGIST: With we inject stem cells in the spinal cord, the stem cells surround those large nerve cells and allow those nerve cells to actually become less diseased. In fact, the nerve cells begin to look healthy.
GUPTA (on camera): It's worth pointing out that, as John is going into the operating room, how important today is, especially when they're trying to answer the most important questions at this point: is are these cells safe? Is anything bad going to happen as a result of this operation?
(voice-over) Getting stem cells into John's spinal cord is not easy. It took this surgeon, Dr. Nick Boulis, years to design this special platform to stabilize the needle that delivers the stem cells into the spinal cord. This is a huge breakthrough.
BOULIS: One thing that's critical, in my opinion, is that the injection be done in a very slow and controlled fashion.
GUPTA: The entire operation would last 4 1/2 hours. John is getting five injections, each one about ten microliters of stem cells, tiny, tiny drops.
BOULIS: That's it. We're done.
GUPTA: A week after the operation, John says he's feeling amazingly well.
(on camera) Psychologically, just knowing you have these stem cells now in your body, in your spinal cord, how about that? Mentally, how are you feeling?
CORNICK: Again, I don't know what to expect. And I don't feel like there's anything going on in my body that's, you know, transforming anything. You know, you just don't feel any effects from them.
But I do feel like I'm gaining strength every day. I get to the point that I can physically take my shirt off myself. I'm fighting for those little battles, to win those little battles psychologically. The more there's a win, the better I'm going to feel about it, and I'm going to say, these doggone things are working. Whether or not -- whether or not it's just my mind defeating the disease for one day or whether or not it's the stem cells working some magic.
GUPTA: A real piece of medical history there.
And we are following several other important stories. Tom Foreman joins us again with a "360 Bulletin."
FOREMAN: Good story there, Sanjay.
Raw politics in Florida where Governor Charlie Crist is expected to announce today he'll run as an independent in November's Senate race, not as a Republican. Crist is battling GOP star and Tea Partier Marco Rubio for the seat. Rubio says Crist's decision to switch parties will not change his campaign strategy.
The FDA has approved a new treatment for prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and does not respond to hormone therapy. The drug is called Provenge and trains a patient's white blood cells to attack cancer cells.
And John Edwards's mistress, Rielle Hunter, told Oprah Winfrey today she doesn't think she broke up his marriage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIELLE HUNTER, MISTRESS OF JOHN EDWARDS: He was available. He wanted to be with me. And their marriage had problems for many, many years.
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Excuse me, but did you not think that she was going to find out?
HUNTER: I thought she -- because he hadn't told her yet that eventually she would find out, yes.
WINFREY: Why did you all decide to put yourselves on tape? Having sex. I'm assuming that's what's on the tape, right?
HUNTER: There is sex. I don't think there was a lot of thought going on in the heat of the moment. It was a -- something behind closed doors that was private and I believe should remain private.
WINFREY: You still love him?
HUNTER: Oh, very much.
WINFREY: Does he still love you? (END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Hunter and Edwards, the former presidential candidate, have a 2-year-old daughter -- Sanjay.
GUPTA: Oprah keeping Rielle Hunter honest there a little bit.
Tom, for tonight's "Shot," when it comes to dancing, this guy has got all the right moves. Take a look at this, Tom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: They say, Tom, 80 is the new 40. Is that what they say?
FOREMAN: No, that's good.
GUPTA: Is that you at the last office party? I think you kind of -- you have a similar style of dancing.
FOREMAN: Yes, yes. I didn't have the hat.
GUPTA: We found this clip on College Humor. In case you're wondering, "Blow the Whistle" is the name of the song he's dancing to, and it's by Too $hort. You a fan of his?
FOREMAN: Oh, yes, I've got all the entire Too $hort collection. It's way too long.
GUPTA: Can't take your eyes off that guy. Tom Foreman, thanks so much.
We've got some much more serious news, certainly, at the top of the hour.
We're going to update you on that oil slick threatening the Louisiana shore and also information coming in.