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Photo of Drowned Father and Daughter Highlights Tragedy of Border Situation; Interview with former ICE acting director, John Sandweg; Interview with British U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 26, 2019 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:22] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, the shocking photo that

captures the sheer desperation and the danger at the center of one question: Who is allowed into America? We're live in Texas for the


And this story isn't just a human tragedy, it's also a political battle. So how are Democrats reacting on the day of their first presidential

debate? A Democratic House representative will be joining me live this hour.

Also, Iran's foreign minister speaks to CNN, saying Washington is in no position to obliterate his country. I speak to Britain's ambassador to the

United Nations about what need to be done to avoid conflict.

They're more than numbers, more than names on a screen. They are people, desperately trying to enter the United States, sometimes taking huge risks

in the hope for a better life. And now, the shocking, haunting photo is showing the world the human toll of that quest.

This father, from El Salvador, and his two-year-old daughter -- you can tell she's still wearing diapers -- drowned while trying to cross the Rio

Grande, the river between Mexico and the U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump, just minutes ago, was asked about this photo and this is what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hate it. And I know it could stop immediately if the Democrats changed the law. They have to

change the laws. And then that father -- who probably was this wonderful guy -- with his daughter, things like that wouldn't happen.

Because that journey across that river, that journey across that river is a very dangerous journey. That's a very, very dangerous journey. And we

don't think -- and by the way, just so you understand, many other things happen. Look, you've seen it. Women being raped --


TRUMP: -- women being raped in numbers that nobody believes, in the caravans coming up.


GORANI: And that was the reaction of the U.S. president. And by the way, the U.S. president, perhaps, may not have been aware of a report that this

migrant father, apparently, had requested asylum in the country of origin. We'll get to that question in a moment, with our reporter on the ground.

Rafael Romo, though, has more on the stricken family and how these deaths have sparked renewed anger over the Trump administration's hardline

immigration policies.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): The victims have just been taken out of the river, and the wife and mother of

the deceased follows close behind.

Moments before, cameras had captured the tragic scene, a father and a daughter lying face-down in the water, the child's arm around her father's


The government of El Salvador has identified the migrant as Oscar Alberto Martinez. His daughter, Angie Valeria, was not yet two years old.

Back home in El Salvador, a grandmother clutches the dolls her grandchild left behind before departing with her parents to the United States in

search of a better life.


ROMO (voice-over): Ramirez says her son died while trying to save his daughter's life. A Mexican daily, citing the girl's mother, says,

"Martinez had already made it across the river with the girl, and was returning to the other side to help his wife, when he noticed his daughter

had followed him back into the water."

The migrant's father says he last spoke with his son on Friday. "They had spent a few days in Mexico, and he told me things had been wonderful,"

Ramirez said.

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): This father, this child were victims of American metering, where they attempted to cross at a port of entry, reportedly.

They were refused the ability, put back into Mexico, where they had no family, no friends, no resources. So they did what so many others try to

do in that situation, and say, "We've just got to try to get across the border.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- the bill is passed without objection, the --

ROMO (voice-over): Late Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of a $4.5 billion aid bill to address the crisis at the border.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Today, our legislation is a vote against the cruel attitude toward children of this administration.

ROMO (voice-over): The Senate has yet to weigh in. And President Trump has threatened a veto. Salvadoran authorities have promised to help the

wife and mother of the victims to repatriate the bodies.

[14:05:00] Back in El Salvador, a grandmother is left only with memories of her son and granddaughter, two more victims of an immigration crisis that

has played out for years at the U.S.-Mexico border. Rafael Romo, CNN.


GORANI: Let's take you to the U.S.-Mexico border now to check on conditions there. CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Clint, Texas, where a hundred

migrant children have been moved back to a controversial detention center there.

Ed, before I ask you about the center -- and I don't want to put you on the spot, but of course we've all read the story of this Salvadoran immigrant

father who died in those shallow waters in the Rio Grande, and his daughter.

There are reports -- and we heard from one lawmaker there -- that he'd actually attempted to claim asylum but was pushed back. What more can you

tell us?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're trying to get -- confirm all of those details. But right now, our understanding is, is that that family

had been there in Matamoros, Mexico, which is right on the Texas-Mexico border, and had spent some time.

We have to remember that right now, there is a policy in place that the Trump administration is using, which is essentially limiting the number of

people who can request asylum at the legal ports of entry. So here in Texas, it's crossing the river over a bridge and declaring that you want to

seek asylum.

Right now, the numbers of those that are allowed to do that is limited every day. And so people are being forced to wait in Mexico. And for

months, critics of the administration have been saying that this is forcing people to make desperate decisions, and force them away from these legal

safe ports of entry, and cross the river or cross through remote parts of desert, which is definitely much more treacherous, much more dangerous.

GORANI: And the detention facility there in Clint, Texas, where 250 kids were moved out, then a hundred of those were returned, what's the latest on

the conditions in there? Because they're not -- they're not exactly -- there's no open-door policy there, to say the least, at these detention

facilities. So it's virtually impossible for journalists to see what's going on in there.

LAVANDERA: Right. We have not been able to get inside to see. That could change later this afternoon. We are scheduled to get a tour without our

video cameras, but a tour nonetheless, perhaps, is in the works. So we will report back on that.

But essentially, you have to understand that this is a border patrol facility, so these are the agents that are the first line of officers and

agents that migrants will come in contact with. And they are processed through in buildings like this.

And then depending on their immigration status and where their cases will go, they are then moved into other locations, Health and Human Services,

that might, depending on their situation, it's very complex from here. But they can be placed in various different situations, and released.

But right now, Customs and Border Protection, which is the agency that is - - Border Patrol is a part of, they say they're simply overwhelmed with far more numbers than they're able to account for and to be able to care.

Customs and Border Patrol officials have been telling us that they don't want to see this number of children here. And all of this kind of came to

a head last week, Hala, because there was a group of advocates and lawyers who had interviewed a number of children who were inside these facilities,

and they describe the conditions in there as "unconscionable."

GORANI: All right. Ed Lavandera, thanks very much.

John Sandweg was acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, under Barack Obama. He joins me now from


John Sandweg, thanks for being with us. Your reaction first --


GORANI: -- to that picture of that Salvadoran father and his two-year-old daughter, drowned in the river.

SANDWEG: Yes. It really -- really hits hard when you look at that picture. It reminds me of the times when I was dealing with these issues.

I spent five years at DHS, including my time at ICE, working on these issues.

And it's so easy for everything to become numbers. You just start looking at the daily flows and the populations, and you lose the humanity of this.

But that picture reminds you that these are real humans who are, frankly, desperate to flee their circumstances and get to this country.

GORANI: But there are reports that this father tried to claim asylum and, after weeks of sort of floating around in a Mexican no man's land, where he

knew nobody, then attempted a desperate crossing.

SANDWEG: That's the real risk we're taking here. Right now, we are somewhat fortunate with a border situation -- I know that sounds, you know,

a little bit unusual with the numbers that are coming across. But this is different than the threat we've ever encountered at the border.

These people come across and surrender immediately, allowing us to do comprehensive background checks and allowing the agents, at least, to

concentrate their efforts to the places where they're coming across, and surrendering.

And as we transition, though, with this kind of security-based approach the president's taking, in which they're trying to block people off and push

them back into Mexico to either wait for asylum or to make an asylum claim in Mexico themselves.

We're creating a very strong risk that we're going to drive these people back into the behaviors we've seen at the border for 50 years, which is

crossing the wildest parts of the Rio Grande River, crossing through long stretches of the Arizona desert, trying to sneak into the country. But

when they do that, we're going to see the death toll rise, especially if vulnerable children are involved.

[14:10:13] GORANI: The Obama administration dealt with migrants differently, there's no doubt about that. You made the point on another

network yesterday, that family separation was not an Obama administration policy.

But these centers predate Trump. I mean, these centers exist, the legal framework that allows these centers to be utilized in this way, exist,

right? They all predate Trump. So is there -- does there need to be a radical rethinking of how migrants are dealt with at the border?

SANDWEG: There certainly needs to be a radical rethinking about this population. So those centers that we're talking about and where those

children are being housed, where Border Patrol substations, built to hold adult males for a very short period of time. Never designed to hold

children and it's definitely some children pass through there when they were -- you know, during the Obama administration.

But, you know, every single effort was made in a whole-of-government approach to get them out of there as quickly as possible. But things have

changed. Again, beginning of 2014, the Central Americans started coming in great numbers, and more importantly, over 60 percent of these people are

now families, people with little children.

We're still handling this, though, like we're chasing drug traffickers through the Arizona desert. When what we're really facing is a refugee

problem situation, and we're not working --

GORANI: Yes, but should --

SANDWEG: -- you know, we're not -- yes.

GORANI: Should there be legislation preventing, for instance, the detention of minors for more than a certain number of days? Preventing

family separation. Does this need to be legislated? Because if the current authorities on the border are able to process migrants in this way,

does there need to be some sort of legislation to prevent that from happening?

SANDWEG: Believe it or not, the current legal framework already prevents this from happening. What's really going on here is a resource issue.

GORANI: But it's happening.

SANDWEG: Yes, it's a resource issue. And, look, the money that's getting -- that passed, the House passed -- if the president doesn't veto this or

if the House and the Senate can agree on a supplemental appropriations bill, that will help dramatically.

It's two big problems, though. One is the border patrol is separating some kids from family members. Not their parents, but their -- they've dialed

up a little bit when a -- when a child comes across, let's say, with an older brother. That child is likely to be separated and then treated as an

unaccompanied minor.

It is Health and Human Services' job, then, the place that minor is a safe foster care facility or alternative, you know, a family member or something

of that nature that's been vetted.

The problem is, though, because the numbers have increased so much, HHS is not properly funded. We haven't been funding HHS or DHS, that handle this

aspect of the crisis. So we still have the old levels of staffing. Massive backlogs occur. Border patrol is -- has no idea what to do and

they end up putting these kids in these substations and situations like this happen.

It's just a resource problem. The laws are there. We need to get a surge of (ph) resources and we've needed to for over two years.

GORANI: Is it a resource problem? But -- I mean, or is it the Trump administration, really, just enacting a hardline immigration policy. This

is not something that should come as a surprise.

The president has said, in the past, his former chief of staff, John Kelly, who was at the DHS as well, has said in the -- has threatened family

separation as a deterrent. So this was a policy that looks like it was sort of deliberately conceived.

SANDWEG: Yes. I mean, look, there's no doubt there's elements of that that are in place. The administration wants to make things as hard as

possible in an effort to deter people from coming.

Honestly, you can't deter people who are fleeing the conditions they're fleeing in Central America. And that's been proven by the numbers, which

have continued to go up as things even got tougher.

I think you also have to look at how the Administration, what they've been prioritizing, candidly. You look at the wall. They've diverted hundreds

of millions of dollars to build the wall when without -- when they could have easily diverted additional funds to HHS to move these kids out.

So, look, the administration definitely, in the approach that they've taken, certainly shares a lot of the blame for the current situation.

GORANI: I don't know if you read in "The Atlantic." There was an opinion column written by Ken White, who was talking about family separations and

the treatment of children in these detention facilities. And as the former ICE director, perhaps you'd be interested in hearing.

He said, "The fault lies not with one administration, but with the culture. The ICE and CBP culture that encourages these detentions. And our culture,

a largely indifferent America that hasn't done a damn thing about it."

How do you react to that? Because that is criticism directed at you and your tenure under the Obama administration.

SANDWEG: Look, I've got to defend the men and women at ICE and the men and women at Border Patrol. In my experience, they care. I think they're

dealt an unwinnable hand here.

But, look, they are a tool. A tool for law enforcement and a tool for security. And this is the fundamental problem, if you ask me. Is we

continue to take that tool and look for a situation that -- for them to solve a situation that's humanitarian in nature.

This is not a security crisis. These people do not pose a threat to the security of the United States --


GORANI: So it's not a law enforcement issue. But that's the -- I guess that's the point, also, that this author is making. And you're making as

well. It's not a law enforcement issue, it's a humanitarian crisis and it's not being --

[14:15:00] SANDWEG: Exactly.

GORANI: -- dealt in that way. And people who are --

SANDWEG: Exactly.

GORANI: -- seeking asylum are being criminalized and driven from border points, where they're trying to legally apply for asylum into the U.S.

SANDWEG: No, that's exactly right. And we should have been surging resources and thinking outside the box about ways to handle this. We

should have been looking at how can we draw the international community to help us manage this refugee demand? Can we start refugee resettlement in

countries outside the United States?

I get where people are frustrated that the United States shouldn't have to carry the load alone, and that's right. Unfortunately, of course, we've

turned inward. We've alienated a lot of the international community, and I think it'd be difficult to us, to work with -- you know, I'm in Canada

right now -- with the Canadians, to take some of these refugees.

To work with other international partners to think (ph) -- individuals. That would be a great way to help solve this problem. Restarting the

Obama-era program of allowing people to apply for asylum in Central America, that would be a great way to help solve the problem.

Unfortunately, we're taking a law enforcement approach.

And then candidly, just like you said, I agree with the author that that's the wrong approach. But I also say it's dramatically unfair to the men and

women at Border Patrol and ICE, to be -- you know, they are law enforcement officers whose tools are designed for public safety and law enforcement.

And applying those tools to a humanitarian crisis is the wrong approach. And it's not their fault, though.

GORANI: All right. John Sandweg, the former ICE director, joining us from Toronto. Thanks very much. Appreciate your time.

SANDWEG: Thank you.

GORANI: Still to come tonight, envisioning war between the U.S. and Iran. President Trump talks about what he thinks a conflict would look like, as

frightening as that sounds. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Well, with tensions soaring between the U.S. and Iran, Donald Trump says if there is a war, there wouldn't be American boots on the

ground and it wouldn't last long.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen was the only international journalist to interview Iran's foreign minister a short time ago, in Tehran. He asked about

President Trump's warning that an attack on the U.S. would mean obliteration for his country.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you make of President Trump's threats of obliteration, and that war with the

United States won't last very long?

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN MINISTER OF IRAN: Well, he's certainly wrong. But that statement indicates that the United States' intentions are

certainly illegal. The United States is not in a position to obliterate Iran. They do not have the capability, other than using prohibited weapons

to do this.

The Iranian people are prepared to resist any aggression. But we're not seeking war. We don't seek war. We do not seek a confrontation. The

actions by the United States over the past few weeks have been confrontational, provocative. Particularly the imposition of sanctions on

Iranian leadership, has been an additional insult by the United States against the entire Iranian nation.

[14:20:03] Iran has been implementing its rights under the nuclear deal. And under Security Council Resolution 2231, the United States is in

flagrant violation.

And I think President Trump should remember that we don't live in the 18th century. There is a United Nations Charter. And threat of force is

illegal under the U.N. (ph)...

PLEITGEN: How do we get out of this? How can the world, how can the U.S. walk back from this?

JAVAD ZARIF: We did not walk into anything to walk back from it. The United States, trying to undermine the Iranian government, walked into it

based on a wrong analysis. I think the B-Team gave President Trump wrong information, wrong analysis. And now, President Trump finds himself in a

situation where he believes that he needs to get out.


GORANI: All right. Meantime, Iran could be just hours from breaking the nuclear deal that the United States walked away from. Tehran says as early

as Thursday, it will speed up the process of enriching low-grade uranium and it will have bigger stockpiles than it's allowed under the terms of

that deal.

Karen Pierce is the British ambassador to the United Nations and she joins me live from New York.

Ambassador, thanks for being with us. What are we -- first, let me ask you for your reaction to Donald Trump tweeting out that if Iran attacks any

U.S. asset, that it would mean obliteration for Iran. How do you react to that type of rhetoric from the U.S. president?

KAREN PIERCE, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Well, I think the first thing to say is that it is Iran who shot down an American drone. So there was, in

that sense, an attack there. And I believe that's what the president was responding to.

But I think the most important thing is that there's de-escalation on all sides. And that we find a diplomatic solution to the current problems and

tensions. That's certainly what the United Kingdom is trying to do, along with our partners in the E.U.

GORANI: How are you trying to achieve that, a diplomatic solution? Because there's more and more worry in the region that there could be open

conflict here.

PIERCE: Well, I think this is a very crucial week for Iran, as your introduction implied. We don't want to breach the nuclear deal, the so-

called JCPOA. We want it very much to stay within that. We have created some incentives on the economic side, to encourage Iran to stay within the


But there's no doubt that there will be consequences if he (ph) breaches the deal, and we will have to think with the rest of the people in the

nuclear deal, what those consequences might be. But the most important thing is to keep talking and to try and find a way to de-escalate. I can't

stress enough how vital that is at the moment.

GORANI: And what consequences are you -- are Europeans considering here, if Iran does not abide by the rules of the deal, the JCPOA, and starts

enriching more than is allowed under that agreement. What types of consequences?

PIERCE: Well, there are a number of mechanisms in the deal itself that one could look at. There are various economic measures that one could look at.

I don't want to go into too much detail because we wouldn't want to signal in advance, our hypothetical response to what is still, even at this late

hour, a hypothetical problem. But we would want to get together and think what the consequences should be in practice.

GORANI: So from the Iranian perspective, obviously, they're saying, "Why would we, you know, follow the rules when it's the U.S. that walked away?

We were basically" -- I mean, you know, "We were not enriching uranium beyond the point that we'd agreed with Western countries. We were not on a

path to a nuclear bomb, and it's America that walked away." How do you respond to that?

PIERCE: Well, I think you have to remember that this all started because Iran was making a nuclear weapon. And when the nuclear deal, the JCPOA,

was agreed, it really was a landmark achievement. And it remains in place, even though America has left it and we regret that. So we really would

urge Iran to stick with it and stay within the deal. As I say, this began with an illegal Iranian campaign to make a nuclear weapon. That's why the

deal itself is so important.

GORANI: Right. But I mean from their perspective, they are saying, "We were doing everything that we promised we would do. It's America that

broke that promise."

PIERCE: I don't think that changes the fact that the nuclear deal is very important for regional security, it's important for our own security. it's

important for global nonproliferation.

[14:25:06] And if Iran wants to be a responsible member of the international community, and having agreed to the deal and the fact that

the other five countries remain in the deal, we very much encourage her to stay in.

GORANI: So it's really -- but time is of the essence here. What are your -- are you optimistic that a diplomatic solution can be found in just a

matter of days?

PIERCE: I don't want to be optimistic or pessimistic. I think we've just got to put our shoulders to the wheel. We sent a minister to Tehran

recently, Dr Andrew Murrison, to talk to the Iranians about staying in the deal, talk to the Iranians about de-escalating.

I think these steps become all the more intense, they become all the more pressing. I wouldn't want to characterize it one way or another, but

obviously we hope everything can be done to avoid a real practical conflict.

GORANI: So -- but you're neither here nor there on whether or not you believe this will be a successful mission with the U.K. sending a

representative, trying to calm things down and de-escalate?

PIERCE: Well, obviously, we hope for success. And obviously, we work really hard for success. But I don't -- at the moment, I think we take it

step by step. We respond to what we see. We continue our efforts with our European partners on de-escalation, and we continue to urge all sides to

look for a diplomatic solution.

I'm not going to -- as I said, I'm not going to characterize that. But obviously, we believe it can be successful and therefore, that's what we're

working hard for.

GORANI: So we'll see if some of these incentives that the Europeans are proposing will have an impact. Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the

United Nations, thanks so much for joining us from New York. Very tense times --

PIERCE: Thank you.

GORANI: -- in that part of the world.

Meantime, Mr. Trump has just left for the G20 summit in Japan. Iran will likely overshadow that gathering, but CNN's Nic Robertson tells us the U.S.

president and his fellow world leaders will have their hands full with many other crises as well.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): In Osaka, President Trump will be busy. His overseas entanglements are troubled,

threatening global markets. He'll have meetings with President Xi of China, tariffs and the elusive trade deal on the menu.

With President Putin of Russia, topics a mystery. But likely Mideast, missiles and maybe election meddling. And with Turkey's populist

president, Erdogan, not so popular now, weaker, a troublesome ally, buying weapons from Russia.

Then, there'll be time with Saudi's crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, MBS, giving Saudis a hand up in their post-Khashoggi murder rehabilitation.

Running through all these conversations? Iran. Tensions rising, ships attacked, a U.S. drone shot down, Trump threatening Iran with oblivion,

slapping on sanctions but holding back from missile strikes.

TRUMP: I decided not to strike. They shot down unmanned -- as you know, an unmanned drone --


QUESTION: -- think they take your threat seriously now, Mr. President?

TRUMP: I think everybody does.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Not so much, according to Iran's president.

HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): The White House is suffering from mental disability.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Trump's Osaka challenge? Prove Rouhani wrong. And when over, G20 leaders. But President Xi buys a lot of Iranian oil.

Putin backs Iran in Syria. Erdogan is a quite ally of Iran. But MBS should be easy. He wants Iran contained or crushed.

ROBERTSON: Trump won't meet the Iranians. They're not here, not a G20 nation. But host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will talk a lot

about them. He's trying to defuse tensions.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He went to Tehran recently, met the leaders. He buys a lot of oil from them, too. If Trump is to avoid war with Iran, Abe

could well fix the formula to make it happen.

In the space of two days, there's much else for Trump and this elite club of the world's wealthiest nations to discuss, much of it not to Trump's

liking. His America First clashes with their multilateralism. On trade, specifically the reform of the World Trade Organization and sustainable

development, meaning climate issues.

A farewell to the British P.M. too, her last global shindig before being replaced next month. No one-on-one goodbye scheduled with Trump just yet.

[14:30:00] And as for Iranian tensions, if the door to diplomacy opens despite Iran's threat to shut it, then that will be a success of sorts. If

the door to diplomacy opens despite Iran's threat to shut it and that will be a success of sorts.

Trump will leave Japan with North Korean nukes on his mind. He's next stop, Seoul, and keeping the plate spinning on another of his stalling

overseas initiative, signing Kim Jong-un up to denuclearization.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Osaka, Japan.


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Still to come, we'll have more on the humanitarian crisis at the American border and that heart wrenching tragic

photo of a father and his daughter. As we ask, will this image lead to any meaningful change? We'll be right back.


GORANI: Let's return now to our top story and that terrible image of a father and his 23-month-old daughter lying face down in the muddy waters of

the Rio Grande. Their lifeless bodies still holding on to each other, as they fight for a better life in the United States came to a terrible end.

That picture has brought back into focus that human cost of U.S. immigration policies and the desperation of people who would rather take

the risk of doing that than staying where they are.

While this crisis is very much a humanitarian one, it's also difficult to ignore the political nature of this issue. And many 2020 democratic

presidential hopefuls are keen to make their opposition to President Trump's policy is very clear.

Elizabeth Warren, earlier, tried to make an impromptu visit to a facility housing unaccompanied migrant children in Florida. But the center there

said visits require at least two weeks' notice, so Warren couldn't get inside, instead she climbed on a ladder and waved to the children there.

Here's what you had to say afterward.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These were children who were being marches like little soldiers, like little prisoners from one

place to another. This is not what we should not be doing as a country. These children did not commit a crime. These children post no threat to

people here in the United States of America and yet they are locked up for weeks, for months, because out government is following a policy of

inflicting maximum pain on families that flee here trying to build a better life


GORANI: That was Elizabeth Warren running for president. Warren's fellow candidate, Amy Klobuchar, is also visiting the detention center.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is in Miami where the first democratic presidential debate will take place tonight. Will immigration be one of the big topics


[14:35:05] ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Hala, there's a very good chance that immigration will be a focus at tonight's debate.

You've seen these candidates within the last 24 hours criticizing President Trump when it comes to immigration after that tragic photo that was

released of that El Salvadorian man and his daughter who had passed in the Rio Grande.

And today, you had, as you mentioned, Elizabeth Warren, went over to Homestead, which is a facility that houses unaccompanied migrant children.

Several thousands of them are currently in that facility. And you've seen this wave of democratic presidential candidate come out and say that they

will be visiting that facility, trying to see as much as they can. As you mentioned, they can't exactly get inside, but you had Elizabeth Warren

climbing up on a ladder waving hello to children there.

But for many of these candidates, immigration has been a focal point. There's at least three candidates on the stage tonight unveiled in

comprehensive immigration proposals like Julian Castro, Beto O'Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren. And they certainly -- while they agreed on the issues

that it needs to be handled. They also are in agreement in their criticism of the president over this issue.

GORANI: Arlette Saenz, thanks very much. We'll be following that debate.

Right now, the U.S. Senate is set to vote on its own version of a funding bill meant to address this crisis at the border. The short time ago, it

voted against the funding bill that the House of Representatives approved to fund $4.5 billion in aid, democratic House member Adriano Espaillat

joins me from Washington.

And this House version of the bill, does it have a chance?

REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D-NY): Well, I think so. I felt that it does have a chance because it provides the funding -- our bill provides the funding

for the vital services and supplies that the children need at the border.

And I think the whole nation has seen that horrific photo that father drowning -- drowned in the river with the child and has moved the hearts of

many of the American people. But we must provide immediate help for these children. They must have blankets, they must have toothbrushes, they must

have tooth paste, they must have medicine, legal services, adequate places where they could sleep at night.

And right now, they don't have that. And this bill that we passed yesterday offered $4.5 billion towards that purpose. And unfortunately,

the Senate has voted down 55-37, what I think is a good bill.

GORANI: Right. But so here you have a situation where the House Bill won't be approved in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi, the democratic leader in

the House has said she will not consider the Senate version of the bill.

Could you be left with the situation in America where despite all these images and reports of kids being stuffed in unsanitary conditions in these

detention centers, that no bill is approved to try to alleviate some of the humanitarian issues at the border?

ESPAILLAT: Well, I'm sure that our leadership is willing to sit down with the Senate leadership and have a full discussion. But I think that the

bill that we put forward, while not perfect accomplish a bunch of things, mainly for most and first to get the emergency help that the children need

at the border.

We can talk about $4.5 billion, but the real numbers that matter are the six children that died at the border so far. That's the number that really

matters. And we shouldn't allow one more child to die at the border.

And so in order for us to do that, we need to get those resources down there immediately and the Senate has their own version. I think they're

more prone to look at the enforcement aspect of the border debate. But we want a -- we're looking at the humanitarian aspect of the border debate

which is the children that are dying at the border while in our custody.

GORANI: So where is the compromise? Time is of the essence here.

ESPAILLAT: I'm sure they will be willing to have a full discussion and I'm very confident that our leader, Nancy Pelosi, will be flexible and open to

listen to the senators as to what it is that they want. But this help must go immediately ASAP. This crisis has a label on it. And the label say --

it says, made by Trump.

Any time you deny help to the triangle countries, this crisis is aggravating. Any time you hold up a mom trying to cross the border with a

child and then they had to sneak around through the river, this crisis takes a tragic turn as it did with that dad and his little girl.

So we must bring that immediate help to the border. We felt very confident that we had the provisions on that bill yesterday that emergency

supplemental bill that we passed yesterday was a fair and balanced bill. In fact, they have money for marshals, for law enforcement which is a

concern to the other side of the aisle.

[14:40:10] GORANI: But not as much as what -- not as much as what Republicans want there, certainly allocating more to the law enforcement

aspect, as you said.

Let me just lastly ask you this. Because the world -- we're seeing all over the world -- and that picture of that Salvadorian man and his daughter

was front page news in Europe. So people are looking at America now and they're saying, what is going on there?

ESPAILLAT: A horrible -- a horrible --

GORANI: Europe four years ago -- no. And Europe fours ago had millions of migrants coming from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. And although the

numbers were overwhelming, some countries took them in like Germany, Sweden, and others. Others closed their borders to be fair. But others

took them in. There was never this idea that detention facilities had to be set up and kids had to be separated.

What do you tell people abroad about what's going on right now in America?

ESPAILLAT: Unfortunately, this narrative and this attitude which is pervasive in some sectors of America, have been fueled by the attitude from

the White House.

America has a huge heart. All polls how that immigration is the most important issue right now. As we wait for the presidential candidates to

debate. And by the way, I haven't seen any of them visit an immigrant community and have a one or dialogue with a bunch of immigrants so they

could listen to their concerns.

But as we wait for that debate tonight, that's the number one issue. And by the way, most Americans also feel that families should not be split up,

that children should not be kept in this condition, that Dreamers should be let in.

Eighty percent of America, this is coming from the White House. Again, this crisis has a label and it says "made by Trump."

GORANI: All right. Adriano Espaillat, thanks very much. Democratic congressman for joining us.

ESPAILLAT: Thank you so much.

GORANI: Live from Washington. Appreciate it.

ESPAILLAT: Thank you.

GORANI: For many of us, it's difficult to look at that harrowing image of Oscar Alberto Martinez and his little girl, not only because of the tragedy

that it captures, because it forces us to confront the desperate reality that's difficult to comprehend and it is happening on our watch. Will a

shocking image like that one actually change anything or force anybody into action?

Let's discuss this. It's sort of the media image angle and it's an important one, because Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent, joins me

now from New York.

Brian, you might obviously, many of our viewers remember Allen Curdy, the Syrian boy whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey when he's family was

trying to make that dangerous crossing to Greece.

I remember at the time this is when the big migrant wave hit Europe 2015.


GORANI: And it did soften hearts. And it's just difficult to see this pictures still today. It did soften some hearts. And across Europe, you

saw in some communities and some countries people are being more welcoming of migrants.

I wonder will this picture change anything.

STELTER: Yes, that photo is what you think of when you see this new horrible image from the Rio Grande. And yet, the three-year-olds, and said

to an interview a year after, everybody went back to business afterwards. Yes, there was a surge of donations immediately and yes, there were changes

to some of the country's laws. But everybody went back to business, she said. That's my fear with regards to the photo on the left, the photo from

the Mexico-U.S. border this week.

I think what is so striking, so heartbreaking about this new photo is that you see the father and the daughter together. Everybody has a parent, many

of us who have children see these images and are horrified by them. You see the daughter clinging to the father in those final moments.

And I think that is why, among other reasons it's been on the front pages of these papers all around the world. You see the complete and terrible

story in a single image. And images do have power. But they alone are not enough. Empathy alone is not enough to move politicians and to make


GORANI: And where is it in the U.S. newspaper, is it front page, this picture?

STELTER: Front page at the New York Times, front page on and other major news sites. As you would probably predict, it's getting less

attention from right-wing media. There's a lot of blame going on about Barack Obama. We've heard President Trump trying to put blame on the

Democrats and on the former president.

And that's a very effective strategy for his base. Obviously most Americans see it through, but it's an effective strategy for his base.

And what I wonder, Hala, is what we are not seeing, what images are we not seeing from these camps? So there's been a virtual black out for the

press, for these migrant facilities in the Southern border. There's a lot going on, according to the testimonies of lawyers that is disturbing, that

is inhumane, perhaps.

But we don't see it. We don't see pictures, we don't see videos. I think that's what makes this image from the border all the more shocking when you

see these two dead bodies. You're reminded that there have been a number of children that have died in these facilities. There's an unknown number

that die every year trying to cross the border, to begin with. Every so often though, I think we all are stopped in our tracks, thanks to the power

of one photo.

[14:45:08] GORANI: But you know what? I found interesting are the Twitter replies to articles that I've tweeted out, that I've seen CNN tweet out

featuring this photo, right? It's interesting because you would expect the most people to say, forget politics for a minute, I'm heartbroken, I have

kids too. Here's this two-year-old faced down in muddy water, dead for trying to flee to a better life with her father.

But a majority of the replies have seen have been unsympathetic to the father and I wonder why that is. Because it was different with Allen

Curdy, it was different with that kid Omran who was caught also in a bombing in a -- I can't remember the city in Syria, but he was kind of

covered in dust in Aleppo from a bombing. And now, I'm seeing less sympathy for these kids. I wonder why.

Stelter: I think that the loudest, ugliest voices oftentimes rise to the top on social media, on Twitter, on Facebook. It is those hateful and

resent filled voices that ended up bubbling up, partly because of the algorithms. They make them rise to the top. And I think it hides for us

the reality. The decedent that most people -- most people do feel.

And I think that is still true, even though it's hard to see sometimes on social media. At least that's my hope, Hala. Maybe I'm too hopeful.

GORANI: Brian Stelter, thanks very much. Thanks for joining us.

Still ahead, Jared Kushner says the U.S. will address the political issues at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian situation when the time is quote,

"right." But for now, he's challenging Palestinian leaders to embrace an economic plan. We'll be right back.


GORANI: July 17th, mark that day in your calendar. Because that is the day Robert Mueller has agreed to testify in front of the U.S. Congress and

the world will be watching.

The former special counsel has said that his report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign speaks for itself. But Democrats have

been pressing him for weeks to answer their questions.

Even if Mueller doesn't say anything new, watching Democratic and Republican members of Congress try to trip him up and pry the best

soundbite out of him. Should be some of the best political theater of the year? Though it seems President Trump, for one, won't be watching or is

sick of it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Mueller thing never stops. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction, there was no

nothing. How many times do we have to hear it? It never ends. It just keeps going on and on. I've been going through this for two years, 2.5



GORANI: Now to the question of which should come first. A political resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or a plan to kick start the

Palestinian economy?

A fundamental disagreement on that is overshadowing phase one of the Trump administration so-called "deal of the century."

[14:50:05] Donald Trump's Son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is pushing a plan to inject $50 billion into the Palestinian economy. But Palestinian leaders

are boycotting his conference in Bahrain, saying, economic needs take a backseat to their bigger concern ending the Israeli occupation.

Kushner says Palestinian leaders actually want to make their people's lives better, they should follow what he calls a great framework laid out in


Jeremy Diamond is live at the side of that conference in Manama, Bahrain. So it's interesting because in order for the economic plan to work, there

needs to be a political resolution. But the political resolution has not been unveiled and certainly not realized. So how does the economic portion

of this plan go into effect?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. And listen, the White House is clear-eyed about this notion that this economic portion

cannot happen until there is a political solution. It's what Jason Greenblatt, one of the coauthors of this plan with Jared Kushner told me in

an interview earlier today.

But beyond that notion of how is this possible and is a political resolution indeed in the car. I also pressed Jason Greenblatt about the

current situation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. And specially, I asked him about his definition of occupation.


JASON GREENBLATT, WHITE HOUSE MIDDLE EAST ENVOY: There is a land dispute, there's no question about it. But there is no border that is drawn in

resolution 242. So it's a disputed territory. Part of our peace plan will have to deal with that. But I think that I do not use that term.

DIAMOND: So you're talking about the restriction on Palestinian movement in the West Bank concrete, the walls, the barbed wire. What do you call

that if not occupation?

GREENBLATT: I think, unfortunately, those restrictions exist because of security reasons. So when the Palestinian authority claims that their

economy isn't doing well because of these restrictions, I think there's truth to that. No question about it.

But we have to understand why those restrictions exist. If there was peace, then those restrictions wouldn't be there. The last thing the

Israelis need are using their money and their forces to have those restrictions in place.


DIAMOND: Now, some of the criticism of the Trump administration's peace plan and their approach to it has been that they are too cozy with the

Israeli government and far too critical of Palestinian leadership.

But I asked Jason Greenblatt specifically about that notion, why not also criticize Israeli government actions and criticize comments like Israeli

Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made when he vowed to annex parts of the West Bank. And Greenblatt told me that he does not see any Israeli

actions that are worthy of criticism. Hala?

GORANI: Jeremy Diamond, thanks very much in Manama.

More to come, stay with CNN.


GORANI: Hearing colors and seeing sounds, virtual reality is giving new texture of things like music and emotions. CNN's Will Ripley checked it

out as part of our series "Innovate Japan."


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the most common uses for virtual reality these days, gaming.


RIPLEY: I'm with legendary Japanese game creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi. Once a game designer for Sega. He formed his company, Enhance Games in 2014.

[14:55:00] RIPLEY (on-camera): You are would you say the kind of called icon? You have a cult following. You're famous. Don't be shy.


RIPLEY (voice-over): VR is only one reason I'm here. The other and I think cooler reason is this. Enhance's latest and greatest creation, the

X1. This $100,000 prototype is designed to give users the ultimate sensory experience. Something neuro scientist call synesthesia when you can hear

colors and see sounds.

MIZUGUCHI: This is the two speakers and a 44 -- not woofers but haptic of theaters. The inside, each unit a pause has the haptic of theaters.

RIPLEY: You're going to feel things?

MIZUGUCHI: Yes. So you feel texture the haptic texture with the music and sounds. So this is totally a new experience.

RIPLEY: Each X1 experience takes about seven minutes. For me, it was better than any VR. Because my mind was creating its own colors, shapes

and images as I listen to music. One minute, I was flying through a purple tunnel, the next, I was swimming in an ocean near my own island. At the

end, the moment you, for lack of a better term, flat line, I saw a beautiful sunrise. All in my imagination. No VR head set required.

When it was over, I had more energy and was in a better mood.

Can we do it again?

Yoshiki Ishikawa says the effects of X1 shows similar benefits to meditation on the mind.

YOSHIKI ISHIKAWA, PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCHER: Simply experience every kind of emotions, strong, weak, positive, negative. These emotional diversity

improve your well-being. So X sound is the product preach brings you a variety of sensation or emotions.

RIPLEY: Technology like the X1 is designed to tap into our other censuses, to stimulate our mind.

What's missing from our life that X1 can provide?

MIZUGUCHI: Time to think myself and listening and hearing inner voice. We are too busy, I think.

RIPLEY: There's not off switch.

MIZUGUCHI: Yes, that is a diffusion possibility.


GORANI: All right. Well, that's going to do it for me for this evening. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani.

A quick break on CNN and then it's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."