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Kim Jong-un Arrives in Singapore from Pyongyang; G7 Summit Ends in Chaos; Tributes Pour in for Anthony Bourdain; A Look at Singapore's Sentosa Island; Immigration Debate; Royal Family Celebrates Queen's Birthday. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired June 10, 2018 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We are following the breaking news in Singapore. The leader of North Korea has arrived ahead of this historic summit with the U.S. President. Welcome to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm George Howell at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
I want to show you the first images we're seeing of Kim Jong-un on the ground here. You can see him with Singapore's foreign minister, greeting him at the airport. That image came moments after an Air China jumbo jet arrived nonstop from Pyongyang.
Then these images: amid heavy security, Kim and his motorcade left the airport, arriving moments later at The St. Regis hotel there. President Trump is expected to arrive in Singapore in the coming hours. He left Canada on Saturday after the G7 summit.
In a tweet from Air Force One he said that he has a feeling that, quote, "This one-time opportunity will not be wasted."
Before leaving Canada, Mr. Trump put the responsibility for success of this summit on the North Korean leader. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He's got an opportunity the likes of which I think almost, if you look into history, very few people have ever had. He can take that nation with those great people and truly make it great. So it's a one-time -- it's a one-time shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: We've got a deep bench of insight and details with our correspondents, covering every angle of this story around the world. Our Paula Hancocks live in Singapore; Nic Robertson standing in Seoul, South Korea; but first let's go Manisha Tank at The St. Regis hotel, where Kim Jong-un is staying there in Singapore.
Manisha, what is the latest you're seeing and hearing on the ground?
MANISHA TANK, CNN HOST: Actually, we have a source inside the hotel who has finished up with quite a detailed report on what's been going on inside there. We know that the plane landed. But Air China jumbo landed around 2:30 pm.
When that happened, there was a bit of a scramble inside here. You saw the various guards who were on duty. They were notable. There were about 30 North Korean guards. They had red motifs on their lapels. That's how our source knew they were the North Korean guards.
When Kim Jong-un arrived here at The St. Regis hotel in the heart of Singapore, it was about 3:40 pm and he strolled in, in a leisurely fashion, repeatedly. He didn't acknowledge the crowd but instead he headed straight for the elevators along with those people who were with him.
That included his sister, Kim Yo-jong, and also North Korean filming crews. So we do have eyes on knowing what's going on inside there. But we do expect further through the day more movements. We're being warned that we will move at some point because he will leave this hotel potentially. There will be movement.
He's due to speak to Singapore's prime minister today and this will be a very important meeting. He has already been greeted, a big welcome to Singapore from the foreign minister, Vivian Balakrishnan.
So a lot of media from all around the world here. This is momentous for this little red dot, this Southeast Asian nation that was approached by the U.S. and the North Koreans to host this all- important, momentous summit -- George.
HOWELL: Manisha Tank, live for us, just outside The St. Regis hotel, thank you so much.
Let's cross over now to our colleague in the same city-state there, Paula Hancocks following this story.
Paula, you know, we have seen these images, these optics, the Air China flight from Pyongyang, the several vehicles leaving the airport. The image of the North Korean leader, meeting with the minister of foreign affairs, just talk to us about what we are getting so far and what more could we get?
Because again, information is tightly controlled here.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, George. Even before you think about what could happen at this summit, just the very fact that the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is here in Singapore is significant.
It is the furthest that the North Korean leader has traveled, as far as we know, since he took power. In fact, when it was the beginning of this year, when Kim Jong-un said he was going to start opening up to South Korea, he hadn't even met another world leader at that point. And now you've seen he's met the leader of China, of South Korea. He is about to meet the leader of Singapore, prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. He will be meeting him at some point today, we understand, from the prime minister's office. Also suggesting they're going to be showing us those images live. Now of course this is something that, just six months ago, we couldn't even have imagined, the fact that you would see the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meeting with another leader, beaming those pictures out --
HANCOCKS: -- across the world live. So a very significant moment.
This particular meeting will be for protocol, of course. This is the leader of the host country. They have made huge efforts to secure both of these leaders within Singapore. There is about $15 (ph) million they have spent on this summit according to the government at this point. We don't know whether or not they will also be paying for some of the North Korean delegation's costs. Certainly the U.S. has said they are not going to foot the bill but the North Koreans have said that they would like someone to pay for it.
HOWELL: Paula Hancocks, live for us, thank you. Now let's bring in our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, live in Seoul, South Korea.
Nic, I want to push forward on the point that Paula was making, very important to point out here that Singapore does have diplomatic relations with the United States and with North Korea.
How instrumental is that in pulling a summit like this together?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It does seem to be a key important contributing point. The question was always going to be where would this be held, where would the summit be held.
Various ideas were thrown around; Geneva, which is often, because of the United Nations office there, seen as -- through the view of Switzerland, neutrality over the years, that this is an independent place to me.
But that seemed too far to go. President Trump expressed an interest in having it in the DMZ, had wanted to go there on a visit to Seoul just about eight or nine months ago. Now the weather precluded him from doing that. He wanted the optics of that, what is seen with President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un on the border there, at their meeting, stepping across it.
It was a very positive image of the two leaders together, President Trump seemed to want that. But the idea of finding a country that would be suitable and amenable to both participants, really, where you have the diplomatic relations that exist between those countries and the third country that is host, that's important.
And North Korea doesn't have a huge web of diplomatic release across the world. So and again, taken in the context of what Paula said, Kim Jong-un just doesn't travel very far from home.
When he went to meet Xi Jinping in China, in the first of two meetings recently, he went by train. It wasn't announced until he was leaving and back in North Korea. There's a lot of mystery surrounding that. They were very secretive, as we've seen with his flight In terms of Singapore today.
So you know, there are a lot of things that come into it, the diplomacy, the secrecy and the proximity as well, I think, all of these play into it. But at the end of the day, the key thing is going to be, when the two leaders meet, can they get along?
Can they begin to make headway, make compromises even?
ROBERTSON: -- what all of this is about and has to take.
HOWELL: They might get a little help because we know they've found common ground to meet there in Singapore and we will see how they come together come Tuesday. Thank you so much, Nic.
Let's put this in perspective now with Joseph Yun, CNN global affairs analyst and former U.S. representative for North Korea policy, live in Singapore.
I want to touch on this because I was about to talk to Nic about it. Just getting the sense of how Dennis Rodman might come into play here. We know he will be there as well, as these leaders come together in Singapore.
How might that help or affect this?
JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think there are really two crucial issues at stake. One is denuclearization and the other is how do we assure security for the regime. And these are almost tit-for- tat and we will see how much progress there is made.
But I honestly cannot believe that there won't be any progress, it would be meet and greet alone. So let's look for what they say about denuclearization.
How far can they do it?
Let's look to see what kind of security assurances that President Trump gives Kim Jong-un. Now we must also remember that this is by no way going to finish in one go.
So what kind of process do they set up?
So those are the things we look to see, whether this is sustainable or is one go. But I would think, given what President Trump has said so far, it will go beyond this round. So I think that's good news for everyone.
HOWELL: Joseph Yun there, giving us very good context into how this meeting could come together. Don't think you might not have heard --
HOWELL: -- right off the top, there are some unpredictable variables that I'd like to get your insight on.
First of all, the U.S. president, known for being unpredictable, has a very binary and transactional approach toward these meetings. Kim Jong-un, there has been great mystery around him.
And the third aspect here, this Dennis Rodman variable, how might all of these things come together in a summit like this?
YUN: Quite honestly, let's take the easy one first. I really don't think Dennis Rodman will be much of a factor. I don't see any official statement from either Washington or Pyongyang supporting any role for him.
Of course, much more important is the two protagonists, President Trump and Chairman Kim. On the one hand, contrary to what a lot of people say, I believe President Trump has been wanting to do this for a long time, maybe even before the campaign.
Remember what he tweeted about having a hamburger, I can sit down with him?
It has gone through some ups and downs. But there is no question in my mind but that President Trump has been wanting to do this. At the same time, remember for Kim Jong-un, this is the goal that his grandfather had, his father. So it is a major milestone for Kim Jong- un. So both of them want it.
Now the trouble, George, maybe the leaders want it more than their staff. And that's where we typically get into problems. Leaders are way forward leaning. Staff, well, they are saying we tried this before. It hasn't worked out, sir. And they're saying, don't worry, it's going to work out this time.
Maybe yes, I don't know but it is a problem that leaders want it much more than their staff.
HOWELL: Joseph Yun, we really appreciate your time and perspective today. Thank you so much and we'll keep in touch with you.
YUN: Thank you, George.
HOWELL: Now the G7 summit, a very different summit that wraps up in shambles after the U.S. president arrived there late, leaves early and ends up dismissing the group's official statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: What's for dinner?
What makes you happy? And when you're willing to sit down with people and share a meal, something that they're usually very proud of, they reveal things and tell things about themselves that they may not otherwise do.
HOWELL (voice-over): And we continue to look back at the legacy of our colleague, Anthony Bourdain, what a fellow chef who had just served Bourdain in France is saying about the late host and author.
HOWELL: President Trump is due to arrive in Singapore in the coming hours. We'll continue to follow developments there. But he leaves behind a lot of confusion in Canada after he backed out of the G7's formal statement, the communique.
And now a trade war with allies seems all the more likely. America's allies had hoped their summit would ease tensions over U.S. tariffs but that was not the case. Nothing was resolved and the summit ended in disarray.
By all accounts, the U.S. president didn't even want to be there. This video tells part of that story. He arrived late for the summit and then showed up late to breakfast the next morning.
During their meetings, the other members lobbied hard for Mr. Trump to change course on his trade policies and optics are important, as told by two photos. This is the first of one (sic). The official White House photo, it shows members seeming to get along. They're smiling.
Compare that to this now, this released by the press secretary for Germany's Angela Merkel. The body language tells the story there, Merkel leaning in to the crossed-arm Mr. Trump. The U.S. leader summed it up like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will say it was not contentious. What was strong was the language that this cannot go on. But the relationships are very good, whether it be President Macron or with Justin. We had -- Justin did a really good job.
I think the relationships were outstanding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: But on the issue of trade, Mr. Trump had a different story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's going to change. It's going to change. It's not a question of I hope it changes. It's going to change 100 percent. And tariffs are going to come way down because we -- people cannot continue to do that. We're like the piggy bank that everybody's robbing. And that ends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: So now follow the timeline. President Trump departed for Singapore. Again, that's where he's to meet with the North Korean leader on Tuesday. At this point everything seems fine. The other members of the G7 believe the U.S. was on board with that communique.
But then this happened from the Canadian prime minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: It would be with regret but it would be with absolute certainty and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1st, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us.
I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing. But it is something that we absolutely will do because Canadians, we are polite, we're reasonable but we also will not be pushed around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: And when Mr. Trump got word of that, he fired out this angry tweet, backing out of the communique. Then he sent another tweet, calling the Canadian prime minister, meek, weak and dishonest.
Then this response from Mr. Trudeau's office, "The Prime Minister said nothing he hasn't said before, both in public and in private conversations with the president."
Not much enthusiasm among U.S. lawmakers for President Trump's actions at the G7 summit. Take a look at this from Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer.
"Are we executing Putin's diplomatic and national security strategy or America's diplomatic and national security strategy?
"After the last few days, it is hard to tell."
And a prominent Republican senator, John McCain, was practically apologetic to the members of the G7, saying this, "To our allies, bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro- globalization and supportive of alliances, based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you even if our president doesn't."
A lot to talk about here. Inderjeet Parmar is live with us. He teaches international politics at City University of London.
Thank you so much --
INDERJEET PARMAR, CITY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Good morning. HOWELL: -- look, Mr. Trump en route to Singapore. We continue to track his developments there. But surely, his counterparts of the G7, they're not singing his praises. The American allies are now looking more likely to face off in a trade war.
Where do you see things going?
PARMER: Well, I think they're going to get a little bit worse before they get better. I think clearly President Trump's entire style --
PARMER: -- is very, very upsetting and has caused a lot of annoyance. The fact that he sort of shifts and moves around in terms of the position that he occupies, I think he is playing a very narrow game of party politics or really personal politics.
He sees that his support base wants him to lay down the law to the rest of the world, never be taken advantage of again. And I think he is treating China and his much closer allies, like the Europeans and Canadians, in that kind of way.
And I think it's a very narrow game and short-termist game of party politics. And he just refuses to take any kind of criticism from anybody. But in the end, I don't think he is actually serving even his political base. Those people who voted for him in those agricultural states are not going to thank him very much in the longer run for the kind of dispute which is now breaking out, which could get worse.
I'm not sure how bad it will get but I think November 2018 will tell us a great deal about the temperature of those particular states as well.
HOWELL: It will be interesting to see; time will tell. What results from these possible trade wars, if, in fact a trade war does result. Optics are very important, Inderjeet, as you well know.
From the G7, there was that moment where President Trump arrived late. People took notice and then the timeline here is important because initially we heard from leaders who felt that there could be some agreement.
Listen to Theresa May from the United Kingdom talk about the summit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: As I've said we have had some difficult discussions, some open and frank conversations around the table at this G7. But the point of being here at the G7 is we are able to do that.
We are able, we know each other, we are able to have those full and frank discussions. And by working together, we come to resolution. And that's exactly what we've done. And what you will see in the communique is agreed language in relation to trade. What you will see in the communique is agreed language in relation to Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: But, Inderjeet, we didn't. President Trump backed out of that communique, just adding to the sense of disarray at the G7.
PARMER: Correct. Well, absolutely. And I think we have to look at two big things.
One is the domestic base. I don't think President Trump ever forgets the kind of messaging and the way in which those messages are received. And I think he's playing an opportunistic game.
One of the things he said was that the Canadians applied a 270 percent tariff on dairy products. And that's an opportunistic use of the dire strait of the dairy farming industry.
But the people there are not really looking for that kind of a solution from President Trump. But he plays politics there.
The second thing I think is there is a kind of loosening up of the world system that's been going on since the mid-1970s. Each 20 years or so, there's further loosening of it, partly because of its own successes (ph).
The whole thing about the postwar system was to get a large number of powers back on their feet after World War II. They did.
Bu when world powers get back on their feet, they begin to compete for their own interests. And now what America has -- is in a position, is it's lost position. And I think that President Trump is trying to lay down the law, to try to restore some of those positions.
And I think they're doing it in a very nationalistic way. But America is not alone. Germany is doing it, to some extent or other. Russia is doing it. China is doing it. Theresa May is doing it by the Brexit and with this alleged global Britain approach.
I think there's a broader kind of shift going on.
What does that mean?
It is very difficult to say. I don't there's going to be necessarily rival antagonistic blocs but I think the level of competition within the world system and among allies are incorporating.
HOWELL: Indeed, Inderjeet. We will see what happens with this possible trade war. Thank you so much for your time.
PARMER: Thank you.
HOWELL: Now we here at CNN and around the world continue to mourn the loss of our colleague, the beloved chef, storyteller and host of CNN's "PARTS UNKNOWN," Anthony Bourdain. Fans are paying tribute to memorials like the one you see here in New York, fans leaving notes there, flowers, pictures of the building that used to house the restaurant where Bourdain rose as an executive chef.
His took his own life on Friday. Anthony Bourdain was 61 years old.
At the time of his death, Bourdain was working France on an episode of CNN's "PARTS UNKNOWN." One of his final means was in the town of Colmar. CNN's Jim Bittermann reports Bourdain left quite an impression on one local chef there.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chef Julien Schroeder never met Anthony Bourdain until just four days before he died. Bourdain visited Schroeder's restaurant on a side street in the Alsatian town of Colmar.
It was where Bourdain had been told he could find a nice choucroute, sauerkraut, an Alsatian specialty. Schroeder now proudly, sadly displays what he think was one of Bourdain's last postings on Instagram, a shot of the choucroute he served the TV personality he instantly liked.
JULIEN SCHROEDER, CHEF, LA PETITE VENISE (through translator): He was always very cool and very agreeable. You wouldn't have seen a problem. We had a chance to do a photo with them. There was no problem. They were very down to earth, no fuss. We were very surprised when we heard the news.
BITTERMANN: Schroeder runs the kind of place Bourdain loved to find, a small, out-of-the-way restaurant with simple but memorable food. And while Schroeder may not have known much about Bourdain beforehand, he realized the day Bourdain came to his restaurant that he was in the presence of a culinary superstar.
SCHROEDER (through translator): For example, when they were shooting their segment, there was a table with two Americans. They didn't even look at their menu. They said, "We are going to eat the same thing as Mr. Bourdain."
BITTERMANN: Schroeder has since found out a great deal about the American chef who came to lunch and how much he did to awaken tastes and encourage culinary exploration around the world. Said Schroder, "He was a defender of everyone in the kitchen" -- Jim Bittermann, CNN, Colmar, France.
HOWELL: Jim, thank you for the report. Bourdain was not just a great chef and TV host, he was also an accomplished author. He's perhaps known for this book, "Kitchen Confidential." Released 18 years ago after the news of his death, it's taken the number spot on the Amazon best seller list. We'll be right back.
HOWELL: A warm welcome back to viewers here in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for being with us. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.
HOWELL: The guests are arriving, the tables are set and the moment is quickly approaching for this historic moment to be made. The meeting between the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump less than two days away now.
Tuesday morning local time in Singapore is when it is set to happen. Kim Jong-un will first meet with Singapore's prime minister. That will be in the next hour. The U.S. president Donald Trump again will be arriving in Singapore in a few hours' time. He is set to meet with Singapore's prime minister on Monday.
You would think such a meeting with this type of magnitude would require months of meticulous planning and no detail left up in the air. But in this case there's not a lot we don't know. But we do know the venue of this historic summit. Our Will Ripley reports.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): White sandy beaches, golf courses, casinos and theme parks. President Trump may feel right at home on Singapore's Sentosa Island, the luxurious location of what some are calling the meeting of the century.
Trump says there will be no Mar-a-lago-style golf diplomacy when he meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, trying to make a deal with a man who remains a mystery to much of the world.
TRUMP: Well, it's going to be much more of a photo op. I think it's a process.
RIPLEY (voice-over): The guest list for the island's five-star Capella hotel remains a mystery, too, as is the question of who will foot the bill for cash-strapped North Korea. At the Capella or Kim Jong-un's rumored first choice, the Fullerton, where a presidential suite can cost $6,000 a night.
The U.S. has said it won't pay for the Pyongyang delegation. What is certain, protocol will be paramount. The numbers of U.S. and North Korean delegates must be equally balanced. And we do have some clues as to who may have a seat at the table.
Trump has met Kim Jong-un's right-hand man, Kim Yong-chol at the White House earlier this month. That makes him a likely partner for Kim on his flight to Singapore, along with his trusted younger sister, Kim Yo-jong.
On the American side, Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has met Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang twice.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There will be tough moments, there will be difficult times. I've had some difficult conversations with his as well.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Or perhaps Philippines ambassador Kim Sung, a veteran of Korea diplomacy, can set the stage for Tuesday's summit with planning meetings on the DMZ. The entire Capella resort is on lockdown for the talks, perhaps only the peacocks allowed to roam freely on pristine 30-acre grounds.
Soon this secluded island will host two nuclear armed leaders for what promises to be a surreal first-ever encounter between a sitting U.S. president and North Korea's supreme leader -- Will Ripley, CNN.
HOWELL: David Kim now joins from Tokyo, Japan. David a former U.S. State Department official for East Asia and Non-Proliferation.
It's very good to have you with us on the show. Thank you for your time.
I'm curious to ask you, before you head to Singapore for this summit, what do expect to come out of it?
Because the president says it is all about attitude. He said this really is a get-to-know-you meeting. Optics will surely be important.
Where and when do you see details coming out of this for possible policy?
DAVID KIM, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Right. I think we have to keep in mind this is the start of a process. The president has made clear on several occasions now --
KIM: -- that this is not an end of itself. This is the beginning of something. It is a get-to-know-you moment, like you said.
So what's important is we come out of this summit with not only a broad generic statement with lofty goals, which might be good for the press but what we really need is specific first steps toward denuclearization, a time, a scope that really outlines meaningful steps moving forward.
HOWELL: OK, but for Kim Jong-un and for North Korean leaders before him, being recognized along the U.S. as a nuclear world power, that has been a major priority of that government, of that regime.
Now he's getting that meeting. Does that tally up as a win for Kim by simply just meeting? KIM: Certainly. I think that this meeting brings credibility. What Kim Jong-un wants is really two things, credibility on the world stage. He wants to be able to see -- to be seen as a trusted negotiator, someone who is -- his regime is non-threatening, almost a de facto nuclear state that had been normalized, almost similar to a Pakistan model.
I think secondly what's important to keep in mind is that sanctions are hurting. President Obama broadened the toughest sanctions on North Korea and which has created the architecture for President Trump's maximum pressure strategy.
And so Kim Jong-un is here to ease some of those sanctions so he can continue what he has called his new strategic line, which is to open up his economy and create a better living situation for those in this country.
HOWELL: OK. So simply meeting tallies up as a win is for Kim Jong- un.
But what about for the United States and what about for President Trump?
The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the primary goal there.
But will we get that out of this meeting?
Will it take another meeting and another?
When is it a win for the United States, do you believe?
KIM: I think this is very critical that this is a process that the idea of denuclearization, 25 years of negotiations have taught us that we can go into one meeting and expect a complete and verifiable disarmament. All of Kim Jong-un's weapons of mass destruction program.
What I think we can see is that this is just the start of a process again and that, for President Trump, it really is a win. He is looking for a foreign policy win ahead of the November elections coming up.
And that is, I think, his primary motivation going into this summit.
HOWELL: Certainly a primary motivation. The question though, how will this stack up against the other things , the G7, the many other things that are also in play as well?
David Kim, we appreciate your time and perspective. Thank you so much for your time and safe travels as you head there.
KIM: Thank you, George.
Still ahead, a glimmer of hope for a father who was threatened with deportation after delivering a pizza. We'll have his story for you. Stay with us.
HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.
A pizza delivery man's deportation has been put on hold thanks to a U.S. federal court. Pablo Villavicencio was delivering food to a New York military base when he was detained and turned over to immigration officials.
His wife says that her husband, an undocumented immigrant from Ecuador, was just doing his job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He came like always. He -- they request him the ID. He showed it at once the ID. But this officer told him that is not enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: His deportation has now been delayed until July 20th. This thanks, in part, to the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who wrote a letter to Homeland Security. That letter reads in part, "Mr. Villavicencio's expected removal serves no legitimate public safety purpose and the circumstances leading to his arrest and detention raise serious legal and policy concerns that warrant proper investigation and adjudication."
His attorneys say the court order is a victory for due process.
In the meantime, U.S. lawmakers say they are on the verge of an immigration agreement but for now, it's on hold. U.S. House Republicans say they won't have a breakthrough until they see the details in writing.
They are trying to decide how to handle immigrants like DREAMers, who were brought to the U.S. as children. Reuters reports that nearly 1,800 immigration families have been separated at the U.S. border since October 2016 and hundreds of people are being detained in federal prisons.
Let's talk a bit more about this now with Ahilan Arulanantham. He is the director of Advocacy and the legal director at the ACLU of Southern California.
Ahilan, it's good to have you here on the show with us this hour. The headline that is drawing the world's attention as of late, children are being separated from their parents at the border and reports show the numbers are rising sharply because of the Trump administration's stepped-up prosecutions.
From your work in the field what are you seeing?
AHILAN ARULANANTHAM, ACLU: It is horrific. We have seen more than a thousand family separations in the last five weeks. There are children younger than 4. And that's just a few of them of many, in many cases very young children are being separated from their parents.
It's really an unprecedented and horrific situation that the Trump administration has created just in the last few weeks.
HOWELL: Making matters all the more complicated, a court ruling earlier this year that these children have no right to an appointed lawyer if they can't afford one, children who can't afford an attorney. Tell us about how we got here.
ARULANANTHAM: As to the rights of being appointed an attorney, that's an issue that we have been trying to get the courts to recognize since 2014. It seems like an obvious point when the government has a trained prosecutor arguing for that someone's deportation (INAUDIBLE) child, surely they should have a level playing field, having a lawyer on their side to argue in their defense.
But we haven't yet succeeded in having the courts recognize that and the administration certainly hasn't done anything to try and help in that regard.
That problem got much more serious when the Trump administration now has begun to dramatically increase the number of family separations --
ARULANANTHAM: -- not just from people who are crossing in the desert, who are being convicted of crimes, the crime of illegal entry, which is itself I think a very serious problem.
The administration is choosing to prosecute people who are coming here fleeing persecution. But they are also doing it even to people who present themselves at the border and just ask for asylum. They're not committing any crime. The government is saying, OK, we'll take you in and process your asylum application. But while we do that, we're going to lock you in a prison and separate you from your child.
So it is really horrific. It seems pretty clear that the administration is trying to do this in order to deter people from coming here to apply for asylum, even if they're coming from very violent countries. And it is a very sad thing because we've had a consistent commitment to the principles of refugee protection really since World War II, from the bitter lessons that this country learned that when we turned away people who were fleeing the Holocaust and it's really a sad day that the administration has chosen to separate these families and disregard these very basic American values.
HOWELL: And just important to point out briefly here, this shift goes against Supreme Court precedent, this case about a Honduran boy, 15 years old, who is facing deportation. ARULANANTHAM: Yes, that's right. We're not aware of any context in
which children are required to represent themselves in proceedings for anything important is at stake, even in situations involving permanent expulsion from school or truancy offenses and things like that. That's things like underage drinking and things like that.
Certainly any kind of juvenile delinquency event. The Supreme Court is very clear that you have a right to counsel because you are a minor as a child. And so really, in our view, the court decision now, one court decision which is held that children can be put in deportation proceedings without lawyers, we think is wrong and it's really unprecedented.
HOWELL: Again, this limbo, separating families, the treatment of children, it has drawn sharp response from the United Nations. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is nothing normal about detaining children. As I said, detention is never in the best interest of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation. On this being a criminal offense, as I said, this should -- entry into a country without the right papers should, at most, be an administrative offense and it certainly does not warrant jailing children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: "Does not warrant jailing children."
Look, the world watching here, is there a sense that attorneys like yourself will be able to gain ground?
Or is the tide simply against these children at this point?
ARULANANTHAM: We are happy that there has been so much outrage at the administration's policy. Obviously the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights office there and also just amongst regular Americans everywhere.
I think it's a sign; there's many communities in our country who are very disturbed by the way the administration is trying to tear families apart, trying to divide us and really divide us against one another. And so we are hopeful that the outrage will go somewhere.
But ultimately it is really the -- on the administration to reverse course and to acknowledge and follow very basic human rights principles and basic American value. We don't -- we're not really a country which has been known for tearing families apart and for mistreating children. But that's really what we are doing now.
I think it's really interesting that the president has not chosen to defend this policy in his tweets. He blames the Democrats for having passed bad laws which require this, which makes no sense. There is no law that requires this, obviously. But it is striking to me that even the president hasn't been willing to say yes, we actually need to do this, it is a good thing for us to be tearing children from their mothers and fathers.
HOWELL: Right now these children just caught up in what seems to be a political limbo but, realistically, what it means for these families, one of the things for them is they are detained.
Ahilan Arulanantham, thank you so much for your time. We'll continue to follow this story.
ARULANANTHAM: Thank you for having me.
HOWELL: The latest ahead on a wildfire, blazing in the U.S. state of Colorado. what the weather looks like for firefighters there. Stay with us.
HOWELL: In Guatemala, international rescuers are still working with locals to search for survivors of last week's Fuego volcanic eruption. The death toll has jumped today 110 people dead. This according to the latest figures. Nearly 200 people are still missing there. This as Fuego continue to spew ash and smoke over nearby towns.
HOWELL: In the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth presided over the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Saturday in honor of her 92nd birthday. There were 1,400 soldiers marching. But one of the soldiers stood out. His name is Charanpreet Singh Lall, a Sikh soldier.
On Saturday, he became the first soldier to sport a turban during the queen's birthday parade. His fellow soldiers wore the usual tall bearskin hat. Lall told reporters that he was honored to take part in the 270-year-old ceremony.
Thank you for being with us for CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. We continue following the breaking news this hour. You see Kim Jong-un, who has arrived in Singapore, being met by officials there.
And also this image, a live image at the hotel where the North Korean leader is staying. CNN is all over this story. You're watching CNN, the world's news leader.