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Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) is Interviewed on Immigration Issues; San Francisco Bans Sales of E-Cigarettes; Anchors Sue For Age and Gender Bias. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 26, 2019 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:14] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We've been struggling all morning with how to see this gut-wrenching photograph and not turn away in horror. A father and his 23-month old daughter drowned during their attempt to cross the Rio Grande River and make it to the United States. This captures the extreme danger that so many Central American migrants face trying to get into this country.

Joining us now is Republican Congressman Will Hurd of Texas. His district spans about one-third of the U.S./Mexico border.

Congressman, thank you so much for being here.

It's really hard to look at that photo, I find, at least emotionally. What do you think when you see it?

REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): Look, it's absolutely terrible. I was just in Eagle Pass this weekend and the men and women in Border Patrol there in Eagle Pass had to do 96 rescues in the last couple of months. That's a lot of rescues. They're seeing human smugglers that are tossing children into -- into the river in order to get Border Patrol to react. And, in some cases, these men and women in Border Patrol have to go tell a family member that somebody else -- that another family member drowned. And that's -- that's hard for -- for those individuals.

And so it's -- it's -- it's unimaginable to think about what are they leaving in order to take this perilous journey, which is one reason that we need to be doing more to addressing the root causes of this crisis, which is lack of economic opportunity, violence and extreme poverty in the northern triangle, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.


HURD: I think we --

CAMEROTA: I mean, well -- well, I just want to say like what can Congress do because, you know, they passed this $4.5 billion aid package last night in the House and does that address the root causes?

HURD: No, that addresses things like making sure DHS is funded through the rest -- through the rest of the year. We've been working on other appropriations bills to fund State Department, USAID, organizations like OPIT (ph).

I think what should happen is the secretary of state should identify a special representative for the northern triangle, meaning a senior diplomat who is involved in coordinating with those three countries, coordinating with Mexico. This is not just a problem for the U.S. and Mexico. This is a problem for the entire western hemisphere. And the entire western hemisphere needs to get involved.

I've seen the programs that USAID and the State Department is doing in these countries to decrease violence. And when you decrease violence in these places, guess what happens, you have less people leaving there and trying to immigrate illegally to the United States.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but, congressman, as you know, the Trump administration has cut millions of dollars in aid to those Central American countries. They're going in the opposite direction of what you're suggesting.

HURD: Well, and I've disagreed with that strategy. I think we should be going the other -- it's a fraction of the cost to solve the problem there then having to try to solve the problem here at a border. And we're seeing what we're dealing with, right? We all know last month 144,000 people came to this country illegally. For context, all of last year you just had 400,000. You have facilities that were not created to be detention facilities being overrun and over capacity. You have everybody that is involved in this process, border patrol, ICE, Customs, that are overwhelmed. You have cities and counties that are having to take the responsibility of housing people, NGOs as well, that are -- that are being overwhelmed also, which is why I'm glad we were able to get funding to reimburse the cities and counties in the bill that was passed last night.


Congressman, if the president says again no more immigrants, we're closed, we're full, as he has said, if today they don't want to take any responsibility for what happened to Oscar and Valeria, his two- year-old daughter, because they try to warn people not to take this risky journey. They've said it time and again, they try to deter people.

HURD: Yes.

[08:35:11] CAMEROTA: What's your response to that?

HURD: Well -- well, I don't know how you actually shut down the border. Commerce, legal people, American citizens have to be able to come back and forth. I think we should be doing more against the human smugglers. The Department of Homeland Security is collecting all this information. If you had 144,000 people come in last month, guess what, they have a cellphone number for a human smuggler. They have a license plate for the bus that they got on. They have a pickup location in (INAUDIBLE), wherever they came from, and we should be taking that information, DHS is collecting it, and ensuring that the national security community is working against this and collecting information to dismantle the infrastructure that is moving people from these areas up to our -- to our southern border.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, I also, while you're here, I want to ask you about Iran. You have an op-ed in "The Wall Street Journal" today in which you make a case that Congress is emboldening Iran. What does that mean?

HURD: Look, I think some of the decisions that Congress is making is sending a mixed message to Iran. We have to disaggregate the issues that we have with Saudi Arabia over the death of Jamal Khashoggi from what they're doing to try to stop the Houthis in Yemen. The Houthis are being backed from -- by Iran. There's no question about that. There is the -- the worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now is in Yemen. And that is being exacerbated by the Houthis and the support of the Iranians.

If you look on a map, why does Yemen matter? They are right on the opening of the Red Sea. Thirty percent of international commerce goes through this. That's why the Iranians want to have a toehold and a foothold in southern Yemen. And so when we do things like, you know, we should make it very clear -- a very clear stance that the Houthis are a part of the problem, the Iranians are a part of the problem there, and make that very clear and not send a mixed message by trying to stop arm sales, by trying to pass things like the Yemen War Powers Act, that this is being seen by the Iranian government that there might be some people in Congress that actually support what they're doing and can be a thorn in the side of this administration.

CAMEROTA: Well, it's a really interesting op-ed. And, again, it's in "The Wall Street Journal." We direct everybody to read more of the details that you say would help.

Congressman Will Hurd, thank you very much for being here with us on all of these important topics.

HURD: Always a pleasure to be on.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, San Francisco just became the first major American city to ban the sale of e-cigarettes. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has an inside look at this landmark new law, next.


[08:41:55] BERMAN: So new this morning, San Francisco officials voted to make that city the first in the country to ban the sale of e- cigarettes.

CNN chief health and medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta here with the details.

Sanjay, what exactly does this measure do?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a -- it's the first time and they're basically saying that no one can sell or distribute e-cigarettes any longer in San Francisco, adults, kids, anybody. That's what they're saying. They're -- they're -- it's got to go to the mayors desk. It's still got to get approval. But if this happens, then any kind of online store coming -- you know, where they're shipping things to San Francisco, bricks and mortar stores, it simply wouldn't be able to get e-cigarettes in San Francisco anymore.

BERMAN: Period, full stop.

GUPTA: Yes. I mean you can go somewhere else, bring it in, use it in San Francisco, but buying or selling in San Francisco could not happen anymore.

BERMAN: Why do officials think this is so necessary right now?

GUPTA: You know, it's interesting, John. I think there's a couple of things. I mean, you know, we've -- we've talked a lot about how much this has increased among youth. And I think San Francisco, they wants to make a statement saying, look, if you look at the numbers, and we can show them, over the last couple of years, I mean, look --

BERMAN: That's crazy.

GUPTA: Look, 1.5 million more middle schoolers and high schoolers vaping now as compared to the year before.

BERMAN: In one year.

GUPTA: In one year. So, obviously, they don't want that bar graph to keep going up.

But, I'll tell you, you know, as we've been reporting on this, there's a sort of side battle going on with the FDA as well. Typically these things go through what's called a premarket approval before they're allowed to actually be sold and distributed and marketed. That hasn't happened. And the FDA sort of punted on this, saying we'll get to it maybe in 2022. And San Francisco said, look, we don't want to wait. This should have been pre-market approved. It should have been shown to be safe and effective before it was allowed to be marketed. That didn't happen. So this is why we're throwing up a flag.

BERMAN: We've learned so much from you about e-cigarettes over the last year, but what does the science say or is there real science yet?

GUPTA: Well, this is a relatively new thing. I mean, you know, we're talking about something that just over the past few years has -- there's a genesis of it and you've seen an evolution. So we -- we don't really know.

With kids we do know that nicotine affects their brains differently. We know that they are more -- can become addicted more easily because their brains are still developing. We know these various problems can occur as a result of that impact on the brain specifically.

There's another thing, John, I want to share with you quickly, because the devices themselves are not regulated, there's a real concern. This is a device you're sticking in your mouth. And you know what happens sometimes? They can start to combust. They can even explode. This 17-year-old had this e-cigarette vaping device explode in his

mouth. It just completely cracked his jaw. You can see what it did there. That's one of the things they want to avoid as well.

BERMAN: I saw that image in the papers. That's terrifying.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for being with us.

And, again, this is all new stuff. It's so important we have you here on this.

GUPTA: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: Soon, U.S. Supreme Court issues opinions.

9:00 a.m. ET, Attorney General Barr speaks in D.C.

9:00 p.m. ET, First Democratic presidential debate.


[08:45:25] CAMEROTA: And then there's this story, five of the most recognizable news anchors in all of New York are suing their bosses.


ROMA TORRE, ANCHOR, NY1: I understand some people when they get older they slow down, they lose energy, they -- you know, the enthusiasm isn't there. That is not true of us.


CAMEROTA: Their story, next.


CAMEROTA: Are women in the public eye allowed to age gracefully? Five women, all on-air journalists at a local New York City cable news channel, say the answer is no. They claim their bosses have stamped an expiration date on them despite their years of experience. Now they're suing.

[08:50:09] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMA TORRE, ANCHOR/REPORTER, NY1: I started at New York One in 1992.


JEANINE RAMIREZ, BROOKLYN REPORTER, NY1: I have been at New York One for almost 23 years now. AMANDA FARINACCI, STATEN ISLAND REPORTER, NY1: I started at New York

One as an intern.

VIVIAN LEE, ANCHOR/REPORTER, NY1: I'm one of your veteran anchors.

CAMEROTA (voice over): These are five of the most recognizable faces in all of New York City. Five long time anchor women at New York One, a local news institution. Added up, their time at the station totals more than 100 years.

But now, each of them says they're slowly becoming invisible, pushed aside to make room for younger versions.

TORRE: Systematically, all of the jobs that I had, all of the slots started to disappear.

RAMIREZ: That was up to maybe 50-something weekday anchor shifts in -- in the course of a year. This year I'm down to zero. Zero.

LEE: I think for me it began about a year after I had my second child. I was ready to come back full time, but freelancers were hired instead to fill those hours that I might have been able to work. I saw younger employees being given the very rolls that I was asking for.

CAMEROTA: The women say, in the past two years, their airtime has been cut, they've stopped appearing in promotional ads and campaigns, and their opportunities have dried up. Now they're suing the network's parent company, Charter Communications, for gender and age discrimination.

TORRE: It doesn't make sense that you would replace somebody who's got gravitas and experience over many years, who has achieved a reputation that I think the community appreciates.

FARINACCI: We're not talking about not having opportunities for other younger women or men. But those opportunities shouldn't come at the expense of our careers.

SHAUGHNESSY: You just want to feel like they're not just waiting for your contract to expire so they can get rid of you.

LEE: We'd like to think that anyone who's in opposition to what we have done would realize that one day very soon it may come down to them having to decide, what are you going to do? Are you going to speak up?

CAMEROTA: In response to their lawsuit, Charter Communications issued this statement refuting their claims. We take these allegations seriously and as we complete our thorough review, we have not found any merit to them. New York One is a respectful and fair workplace and we're committed to providing a work environment in which all our employees are valued and empowered. We are proud that at New York One 57 percent of our on-air talent are women, 55 percent of our on-air talent are over the age of 40, and 25 percent of our on-air talent are women over 40. DOUGLAS H. WIGDOR, ATTORNEY FOR NY1 ANCHORS/REPORTERS IN LAWSUIT: The

statistics that they gave to you actually are very misleading. The point is not how many women there are versus men. The point is, what type of opportunities are the women getting? How much airtime are they getting? What we're claiming is that our five clients, because of their gender and because of their age, have been treated differently than older men and younger women.

CAMEROTA: New York One is not without senior women in prominent slots on the air. According to management, their daily line-up includes 14 women over the age of 40.

CAMEROTA (on camera): Our business of TV news is famously fickle. People are there one day and they're gone the next. What's your evidence that this is based on age rather than cheaper talent, rather than ratings, rather than research and focus groups?

TORRE: Well, the fact that most of the people who have taken those slots that we used to have are a lot younger, a lot younger, and a lot less experienced.

RAMIREZ: The last two years they created all kinds of new anchor slots. Everything that's created are for others. And the others happen to be men and younger women.

CAMEROTA: If somebody said, OK, well, you can have an online presence or, OK, you can do a podcast.

TORRE: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: You're open to all of those things?

RAMIREZ: Absolutely. We haven't even --

TORRE: We have shut out of all the new opportunities.

RAMIREZ: And promos. They won't even put us in a promo. We have ideas.

LEE: We've pitched ideas to the department that is responsible for hashing out these ideas and making them happen. They've not been offered to us.

TORRE: I understand some people, when they get older, they slow down, they lose energy, they -- you know, the enthusiasm isn't there. That is not true of us.

CAMEROTA: What do you want? What will satisfy each of the five of you? You've raised awareness and now what?

SHAUGHNESSY: We want to change the game. We want to change it so that women are valued, whether they're 40, 50, 60 or 70. I think it would just be to be given the same opportunities that are being given to younger women or men.

FARINACCI: Or perhaps be given opportunities that reflect the years of experience that you have. CAMEROTA: What if they offered you all money?

SHAUGHNESSY: We'd rather have our careers.

LEE: Yes.

CAMEROTA: You don't want to just take a check and walk away?

[08:55:02] FARINACCI: No, we want to work. You know --

SHAUGHNESSY: We love what we do. We love to tell stories. It's what we've done for almost 30 years.

LEE: I think the cynical has immediately leapt to that conclusion. There's a narrative even going around the workplace. It's understandable. We've all covered stories where that becomes the threat of the story. It's not a threat in our story.

SHAUGHNESSY: I was asked by someone, why don't you look for a new job? I said because I want this job. I love this job.


CAMEROTA: Charter Communications also tells CNN in a statement, quote, in the last few years we've made a point at Spectrum Networks to start promoting our on-air personalities because we believe in their talent and we know that viewers are loyal to certain individuals. As is typical with any network, we have emphasized the most popular programing, our "Mornings on 1" show. Roma, who' is an anchor, has been promoted regularly in the last few years, both in a solo ad and in other forms of advertising as well. The other four women are not regular anchors.

All right, thanks so much for watching NEW DAY.

We should also note that New -- that CNN is -- sorry, New York One is a CNN affiliate.

"NEWSROOM" is up next for you.