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NEW DAY SUNDAY
11 Million Under Threat of Flash Flooding as Rain Pounds Louisiana; ICE Raids Targeting 2,000 Immigrant Families Start Today; Investigation Underway After New Yorkers Are Plunged Into Darkness. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired July 14, 2019 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:39] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Sunday, 7:00. Glad you're up early. I'm Christi Paul.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell. Welcome to your NEW DAY.
Our top stories this morning, well, Tropical Storm Barry still slowly moving through Louisiana. Right now, more than 11 million people in potential flash flood zones.
PAUL: And this morning the lights are back on in New York City after a massive blackout. Large part of Manhattan was in darkness.
SAVIDGE: And ICE agents are set to go door to door today to arrest and deport as many as 2,000 undocumented migrant families.
PAUL: Right now, there are life-threatening flooding concerns as heavy rainfall is just down pouring onto Louisiana.
SAVIDGE: Tropical Storm Barry slowly crawling north, leaving more than 11 million people under flash flood watches this morning. The national hurricane center is warning that tornadoes could pop up across Louisiana, Mississippi and eastern Arkansas.
PAUL: Now, last night hundreds of people slept at local shelters, we know, and there are more than 154,000 people who do not have power at the moment.
Erica Hill is in Baton Rouge this morning.
And I think one of the things that the national weather service and officials want us to get out there is that, look, the majority of this precipitation is still over the Gulf, but it is coming. Yes, Erica?
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is coming. It's going to be heavy in Baton Rouge. The latest estimates are 5 to 10 inches. We're sort of in a waiting mode here. The rain, we're told, is not very far off. And when it comes, Christi, to your point, there will be a lot of it. This will last for some time.
And so, that's the important message that, A, this storm is not yet done with the region. The other important message is that there will be lingering effects, specifically in terms of flooding. You mentioned the flash flood warnings we're talking about for millions of people in much of this area. There has been a flood issue for months.
The Mississippi river behind me has been at flood stage since February. That's 30 feet. It's expected to crest at 43. In this state, in this region, there are memories of difficult periods of flooding before most recently 2016, which really impacted this area very heavily. They are looking at things that happened three years ago. Of course, allowing that to inform some of their judgments. As we say every time, each storm, each event is different so you want to be careful not to put too much stock in exactly what happened before, because things don't play out the exact same way today.
Allison Chinchar knows that well, our meteorologist in the CNN weather center. We were talking about that yesterday in terms it of the storm itself, Allison, because it was only scheduled -- when it did come onshore, it was a category 1, quickly dropped down to a tropical storm. People may say, not a big deal. That is not the case. This is still a big and prolonged deal.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is. . And it's an odd storm. Typically speaking, we always tell people to avoid the northeast quadrant of a storm, if you think of a clock, between the 12 and 3. That's the worst part of the storm.
But that wasn't the case for this storm. The bulk of the rain is in the southern half of the storm and that's still the case right now, which is why our rainfall observed amounts aren't that high yet. The keyword is yet. We do have a couple of spots in southwestern portions of Louisiana that have picked up 4 to 6 inches and areas around Mobile, Alabama, around 4 to 6 inches.
The next region to likely start seeing their numbers tick up pretty quick is the area between Hattiesburg and Jackson, Mississippi. We have a big band of very heavy rainfall. Also to the west and south of Baton Rouge, you have a very heavy band of rain starting to slide in.
In some of these cases, it's going to be 1 to 2 inches an hour it's going to come in. That's the concern. Fine, you get that for one hour, it's no big deal but for a lot of these areas you'll get rain for 36 hours. You don't want rainfall rates at 1 to 2 inches an hour, if that's the case.
We'll see the lightning tick back up and the severe threat. We have a tornado warning expire to the north of Hattiesburg. But we do expect more tornado warnings as we go through the day today, for this entire area that you see here.
[07:35:00] So, it's not just for Hattiesburg. You're talking New Orleans, Baton Rouge, up towards Memphis, has the potential for tornadoes today.
But heavy rain is still going to be the main concern. Why? That's because 70 percent of the moisture with Barry is still out to sea. We have yet to see that move onshore. When it does, that's when we'll start to notice the bulk of the flooding problems really begin to take shape.
The forward movement of this storm is only 8 miles per hour. That's incredibly slow. It's picked up ever so slightly from yesterday. Yesterday, we were averaging about 5 miles an hour.
But even up-ticking at 8 miles an hour, the average person rides a bike at 9 1/2. You could ride a bike faster than this storm. The longer it takes to get through this area, the more time it has to dump that rain. Widespread amounts about 5 to 10 inches, but we are going to see some areas that could pick up in excess of a foot, especially in you get in what we call the feeder bands, where the storm is trained and they're dup-u dumping 2 to 3 inches an hour. That's where you're going to have to start having major problems.
The thing is, it's not just Louisiana. The track continues to take it north so other places, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, even eventually into states like Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky are also going to be looking at the potential for some flooding with these storms. That's why you've got over 11 million people under that flash flood watch as we go through t next several days.
Again, the imminent threat is the flash flooding. The long-term threat becomes the rivers, the creeks and the streams that it takes a little longer to see those beginning to swell, even more than they already are.
HILL: Yes, which makes this a long-lasting event, as we know. Allison, thank you.
Allison just mentioned potential tornadoes even in New Orleans. Gary Tuchman is in New Orleans. He's already seen a good portion of the rain this morning that we're waiting for sort of in our area over here to the west of Gary.
What's happening, though, now, Gary?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, my crew and I are hanging out on the banks of the Mississippi River, just like Huck Finn and his crew. The reason it's relevant is there is no possibility that I would be able to stand on these rocks next to the Mississippi River in New Orleans if what we feared happened would have happened.
The thought was early in this week that this water would come over the banks, could go over a 20-foot level. Right now it's at about 16 1/2 feet. If the water got that high, it would go in this direction where there's a flood wall. That flood wall is designed to protect the city of New Orleans and the French Quarter behind it from 20 feet of water or less. If it gets over 20 feet, then it gets dicey.
Unlike Hurricane Katrina, 14 summers ago where the devastation caused by levees that snapped open. In one case a 450-foot gash at the levee leading to the death of hundreds in New Orleans. The fear this time was the Mississippi River would flood and cause mass devastation. That hasn't happened. This storm is not done yet.
People are not complacent but everyone is breathing a collective sigh of relief right now. The only casualty as of now here in New Orleans, Louisiana, a metropolitan area of 1.3 million people, is the business. French Quarter behind me, right now the sun is literally coming up at this minute. The sun comes up at six minutes after 6:00 central time, which is two minutes ago the sun just came up.
Saturday night just ended in the French Quarter but it was very empty Saturday night and Friday night. They're hoping for increased business tonight as the storm hopefully starts to peter out.
Erica, back to you.
HILL: Gary Tuchman with the latest for us in New Orleans. Thank you, my friend.
So, Christi and Martin, that gives you a sense of where we stand this morning. Much more to come, as we know, across this region.
And we'll continue to check in with our teams as well. We have folks headed to harder hit areas. We'll hopefully get a sense of what happened yesterday and what they're going through this morning.
So, all of that as CNN continues its coverage right here for you, guys. We'll see you in a little bit.
PAUL: All righty. Erica, thank you so much.
Erica, I do believe we have Rebecca Torriani from the Red Cross in New Orleans with us this morning.
Rebecca, what do you know about the situation there and what is the most urgent need at this point?
REBECCA TORRIANI, NEW ORLEANS RED CROSS: So, right now in New Orleans, and it has been raining sporadically, the wind is picking up, we did get tornado warnings and also a flash flood warning last night on our phones. So, it's just really a matter of just letting the individuals know, you know, to please stay indoors, make sure they are taking, you know, precautions and preparations are in order, they have their kits in place, you know, batteries, flashlights, three days' worth of food and water.
The storm may be calm right now, but as we know the storm is still coming. It hasn't reached inland as far as the back bands are concerned. We are expecting a lot of rain, so we want people to be aware of that and make sure they stay safe indoors.
[07:10:05] And also, you know, stay tuned to local media, NOAA and local officials, to make sure if they need to evacuate, they do so.
SAVIDGE: It's Martin Savidge here. What is the Red Cross standing by to do in the aftermath, you know, as this thing subsides?
TORRIANI: So, currently we have more than 200 Red Crosses on the ground right now. We already prepared evacuation centers, so as the storm is unfolding, we have those individuals coming to the shelters, to seek shelter and safety. After we assess the situation and damage, we can determine whether we need to prolong those shelters to house those individuals, if they cannot return to their homes due to flooding or damage in their homes as well.
PAUL: So, do you know -- forgive me if I missed it, but do you know how many people are in the shelters right now?
TORRIANI: So, currently in our Red Cross shelters we have more than 100 people. We expect for that to increase as the rain starts to, you know, get a little heavier and the flooding start -- the water starts to rise. We hope individuals take those evacuation orders seriously.
If they can, go to a shelter, to please seek shelter. The weather is calm and the rain is coming. We do think it's necessary for people to take those orders in place and seek shelter as much as possible.
SAVIDGE: And if people decide to come to one of your shelters, should they bring anything with them or is everything provided when they get there?
TORRIANI: So, at this point in time, it is an evacuation center, so it's mainly to hold those individuals until the storm passes. So, we are asking individuals to bring their medication, make sure they have their emergency kit in place, which should be three days' worth of food and water for each individual in the household. Make sure you have batteries and external connecters to charge those batteries and phones, any kind of devices so they can keep communication in line with their family members and friends to let them know they are safe and all well in a center, or if they're home as well.
SAVIDGE: All right. Real quick. Do you accept pets?
TORRIANI: At Red Cross shelters at this point, we don't. But we do advise to visit redrover.org is to see where they accept pets. We also ask that you call 211 to find out where pets are expected to those centers, and if you're looking to house yourself in a hotel, please call ahead of time to make sure that those hotels will allow pets during the storms.
SAVIDGE: All right. We have talked before about how important that is to people.
Rebecca Torriani, thank you so much for the work you and the Red Cross do.
TORRIANI: Thank you. Thank you so much.
So, this morning ICE agents are fanning out in nine cities across the U.S. their goal is to round up undocumented migrants. We have a live report for you coming from Chicago where the community has pledged to help those people who are being targeted.
[07:16:09] SAVIDGE: ICE agents are set to carry out raids on undocumented cities in nine cities today. The action has sparked protests in cities across the U.S., like this one in Chicago yesterday where the mayor says the city will not cooperate with the deportations.
In Tacoma, Washington, activists rallied outside a detention center there. Police had to shoot and kill a man who they say was throwing incendiary devices at the facility. Police say the armed suspect was also trying to light propane tanks in order to set the building on fire.
The White House, meanwhile, has said criminals who have deportation orders are the focus of these raids, but many families are concerned because their only crime is being in this country illegally.
CNN's Rosa Flores joins us now from Chicago this morning.
Good morning to you, Rosa. You spoke with one such family, right?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Martin. We've been following this story of this woman for about two years now.
Her name is Francisca Lino. She's been living in which church taking sanctuary for two years. So, process that for a moment. She hasn't left the church in two years. She's normally on edge, of course, but she's afraid that ICE is going to come knocking on her door, but it's only been heightened this weekend because of the scheduled raids.
FLORES (voice-over): Francisca Lino has lived in Chicago for some 20 years. She's the mom of four U.S. citizens who she raised in the outskirts of town, but for the past two years, Lino has lived inside a church, away from her family and hoping to not be deported.
Lino who is undocumented said she gets in a panic thinking about getting pulled away and stashed in overcrowded detention facilities she's seen on the news. She took sanctuary in this church, a place federal agents avoid raiding.
(on camera): Do you have a plan if there is a raid here in the church?
FRANCISCA LINO, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: No.
FLORES (voice-over): But now, she's worried that it could all come to an end this weekend, when planned ICE raids in cities across the country, including Chicago, are set to begin.
For more than a decade, a time span covering administrations of both parties, Lino checked in with immigration officials twice a year and there was never any issue, until Donald Trump took office. CNN was there in 2017 the morning of her first check-in during the Trump era.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It brings me a lot of fear.
FLORES: It was an emotional affair for her entire family. First an immigration agent told her she could stay for another year.
LINO (through translator): I feel very happy because I was given another year.
FLORES: And then --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, cameras away from the building.
FLORES: -- her joy turned to heart break when she was asked to return to the federal building in four months with her bags packed and a one- way ticket out of the country. Her daughter became physically ill.
(on camera) : You were having a panic attack upstairs?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I couldn't breathe. I was choked up. I couldn't talk.
FLORES: Lino says that's what hurts her the most, about being hunkered down the last couple of years. It is not being able to simply hug her daughters outside of this church, especially when they needed their mom and that's something she may never do again on U.S. soil come this weekend.
FLORES: Now, there are a few things that give her hope, she says. First of all, the mayor of Chicago has announced that Chicago police will not be helping ICE during these raids. The state attorney's office has also announced it's trying to maintain its relationship with the noncitizen community so that they can feel safe to report crime to the state attorney's office. Finally, Marty, this mom says she is just a mom, that she is not a criminal.
[07:20:00] SAVIDGE: Rosa Flores, thank you very much for that very moving story. Again, ICE agents across the country will begin their action later today. We have teams across the country following.
When we come back, we are continuing to track Tropical Storm Barry as the governor of Louisiana says the worst is yet to come.
And then we'll have more of this remarkable moment, when people rallied together to save horses from rising floodwaters. We'll be right back.
SAVIDGE: More than 11 million people are under flash flood watches this morning as Tropical Storm Barry moves across Louisiana.
PAUL: Now, the National Hurricane Center is warning tornadoes could pop up across Louisiana, Mississippi and Eastern Arkansas.
We want to go to CNN's Erica Hill in Baton Rouge right now, where they are waiting for what officials there say is going to be the worst of the worst, which is on its way -- Erica. HILL: Exactly. I can tell you we're just starting to feel the first
raindrops. The winds have picked up a little bit here. We are just looking at the radar, actually, before we came on the air.
It is definitely coming and it's big, as we know. Throughout the morning we've been talking about the fact that 70 percent -- about 70 percent of the moisture for Barry is still in the gulf. Just think about that for a minute. I can't see our air right now, but I'm sure we have those pictures up just to give you a sense of, this is a storm that's not over.
[07:25:01] Again, it's a break but it's not over. We have already seen the impact of it just from the first stage of this storm, the first part that came onshore.
We know about, obviously, some of the flooding, some of the issues we've had. We mentioned more -- I think it's up to 154,000 people without power now. In St. Mary's Parish, south of where I am, that's where Morgan City is, where our correspondent was throughout the day yesterday with her excellent reporting in terms of what was happening on the ground as power went taught to 100 percent of that town, about 12,000 people at one point. The parish at one point was still 92 percent without power.
So, these are the things that folks are waking up to today, and then other areas, they are already feeling the rain. We're waiting for the next bands of heavy rain in Baton Rouge. Once they come, that rain continues for hours on end, will go well into the night, possibly into Monday morning. And then it's what happens after, as we've been pointing out.
There are flash flood warnings for millions and also the significant floods that will happen in the days and weeks after, especially when we look at things like the swollen rivers. The Mississippi behind me here in Baton Rouge was already at 30 feet when Barry moved through town. It's supposed to crest at 43 feet.
We talked about the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Now, that at one point last week was supposed to, perhaps, crest at 20 feet. Anything over 17 is a big issue.
Gary Tuchman is in New Orleans now.
The good news, it did not get quite that high. But, Gary, you're not done with weather yet either.
TUCHMAN: That's right, Erica, we're not done with the weather yet. For right now, the rain has stopped, it's been coming down heavily, not coming down at all. We know it's not over yet. People here are breathing a collective sigh of relief.
I'm sitting for a specific reason. This is the flood wall that protects the city of New Orleans, the French Quarter behind me from the Mississippi River in front of me. If there were a catastrophe, which was envisioned, a possibility -- we hear a train coming. We'll have to move very quickly. But if this flooding would have been what was possibly envisioned,
this wall would not be seen anymore. I would not be sitting on it. The water would be going over it and it would be in the city of New Orleans. That's the good news.
The Mississippi River is right back here. I usually don't like to use numbers when I talk in live reports because people's eyes glaze over. It's important for this point. The normal level for the Mississippi River is 11 feet. Before it came it was after 16 1/2 feet. 20 feet is dangerous. It's not expected to go over 17.1 feet.
That's the good, encouraging news. People here were worried the levels of the Mississippi River would get so high and inundated city and cause deaths. There have been no deaths, there had been no injuries in the city of New Orleans. The only casualty has been in the French Quarter and elsewhere. Everything else has been shut down for the last couple of days. The sun is coming up, a new day has begun. The business people were hoping the French Quarter will be busy again as the tropical storm pulls away from Louisiana.
Erica, back to you.
HILL: All right. Gary, thank you.
And we will have more of our continued coverage from our team. Some of the teams out there assessing the situation at this hour. So, they'll be letting us know what they're finding in other areas of the state throughout the day. We'll bring that to you as well.
Martin, Christi, back to you guys.
PAUL: All righty. Hey, Erica, thank you so much.
SAVIDGE: Well, we want to just take a moment to show you this report from our affiliate WVUE. They were on the scene as locals rescued horses from floodwaters in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: In this field, it's 12 feet deep, certainly too deep for the horses. They are up to the top of their neck as they try to swim through the area. The gentleman we spoke to earlier, Shawn, he's on that boat right there. Most of the waters have spared homes so far. But they certainly are coming up in the back of people's properties.
That's Shawn. He just popped out of the back of the boat. They're going to try to herd horses out. The horses don't have names but certainly he wants them to be high and dry. I think they'll be much happier once they come out.
Oh, wow. That was a hairy situation for a few moments there. They weren't certain how they were going to get those horses out. They were being very stubborn.
We'll go ahead and see if we can talk to Shawn again and see what that was like because now you've got the horses. They're safe and sound, nothing to worry about. They look like they're going to be in a much better situation, especially high and dry.
I'm going to back away. I don't want to spook them. They see that blue jacket. We'll get them out of there. They'll load that boat back up.
Thanks to Good Samaritans helping out. That was incredible work there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Just glad everybody is OK there.
So, it's the morning after a very eventful night, let's say, in New York. Power is back on now after a partial blackout caused major problems for subway riders, for tourists and even for Broadway.
SAVIDGE: What happened when the lights went out, and the real question is, what caused it? That's up next.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, it's the morning after a very eventful night, let's say, in New York. Power is back on now after a partial blackout caused major problems for subway riders, for tourists and even for Broadway.
[07:30:08] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: What happened when the lights went out, and the real question is, what caused it? That's up next.
SAVIDGE: The lights are back on in New York after a partial blackout left sections of Manhattan in the dark.
PAUL: Oh, yes, those are the cheers across the city the moment the lights started coming back on. The outage knocked out power for hours in some of Manhattan's most popular tourist districts, including Times Square and Broadway.
SAVIDGE: According to the city's utility company, that's Con Edison, around 72,000 customers, that's actually a lot more than just people, were without power at one point.
PAUL: CNN's Athena Jones is with now.
Any word on what caused it yet?
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORREPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Martin.
Con Ed is going to be investigating this. Their CEO said they're going to do a full engineering analysis to get to the bottom of what caused this outage that lasted almost five hours. We also know the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is calling for a full investigation as is the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. So, it will be investigated. But this as you mentioned, knocked out power to some 72,000 customers. Some of these customers could have been huge buildings, condo buildings, apartment buildings.
[07:35:01] People were trapped in elevators. People were trapped on the subway with the fire department helping to evacuate the subways.
I can also tell you a lot of things that are very popular and common in New York City were disrupted. Several Broadway shows were disrupted or canceled. You had some performers, for instance, from the musical "Come From Away" coming out on the street and performing songs from the show for folks who weren't going to be able to see the musical.
Also, a Jennifer Lopez concert at Madison Square Garden was disrupted. It had to be evacuated. It was early in the show, second or third song, and there was a lot of confusion at first when the lights flicked off. Eventually people were evacuated. J. Lo tweeting she was devastated and wants to do a show later, reschedule that show.
I can tell you from my own experience that the subways were disrupted. I had to be let out in a darkened subway station where they let us out, the street lights, all of them off. Civilians were jumping in to direct traffic until Governor Cuomo dispatched a couple hundred troopers to direct traffic.
But this is New York City, so imagine all of these huge buildings with all of the lights out, no air conditioning, no elevators, no street lights, no traffic signals. So, a lot of disruption for those five hours.
It wasn't citywide. It affected the west side. I'm standing at one of the dividing lines behind me. Everything north was blacked out and went down to about 30th. So 40 or so blocks north to south and several more east to west were affected.
SAVIDGE: All right. Athena Jones, we're sorry you had to go through it, but we're glad the lights are back and hopefully they stay on.
PAUL: Absolutely. Athena, thank you so much.
Now, here's the thing, this isn't the first major blackout for New York City, obviously, but this happened actually on the 42nd anniversary of the big 1977 New York City blackout.
SAVIDGE: Here's more reaction from when the lights went out in Manhattan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: We are getting the preliminary reports, what it appears to be is a transmission problem. Con Ed in New York City is working to address it now. We hope to have news soon on when power will be restored.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on the sixth floor. We lost power very quickly. And my understanding is that there's a wire underneath our building, 101 West End, that caused the transformer to explode. Timing was right around 7:00, give or take. That explosion caused the blackout up and down the West End.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No power at 66th street.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're in midtown Manhattan three or four blocks south, you'll end up in Times Square.
But check this out. Another two or three blocks north you would eventually run into central park. You're looking down Seventh Avenue and West 51st Street. It's really incredible when you see how dark it is. We're standing basically on the perimeter line of the area and the places that aren't affected. A few feet away the gift shop is completely in the dark.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: You can see some police officers directing traffic on Central Park South. There is no power. Think about famed hotels like the Plaza Hotel, Essex House, those buildings still without power.
JOHN MCAVOY, CONEDISON CEO: We divide the electric system into networks. They're roughly equivalent to neighborhoods. We lost six of the networks on our electric system. I'm happy to report that as of a few minutes ago, all six networks and all 73,000 customers have been restored.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We have to make sure the system is designed in a way that this does not happen. When you are talking about a blackout or a potential blackout or significant area of the city having a blackout, you are -- you are really dealing with potential chaos and public safety threats. And the system has to be better than that. Period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: You know, today's the day a lot of people have been talking about, ICE agents detaining undocumented immigrants and protests across the country about it.
Up next, we're talking with the author of a new book, some of what we're seeing now didn't necessarily start with President Trump.
[07:43:34] PAUL: Today's ICE raids crowded detention centers at the border. The constant push for a border barrier with Mexico, President Trump has made these hard-line immigration policies the centerpiece of his administration.
Well, our next guest has studied U.S. immigration and border policy over the past three decades and he is with us now. Investigative reporter John Carlos Frey.
John, thank you so much for being with us. His new book "Sand and Blood: America's Stealth War on the Mexico Border." That word war stood out to me. What does that mean, war, and did it
start with President Trump?
JOHN FREY, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: No, it didn't start with President Trump. I traced it all the way back to the Reagan administration and every subsequent executive branch has sort of added armament at the U.S./Mexico border.
We have border fences. We have Blackhawk helicopters. We fly drones over the border. We have 25,000 border agents armed to the teeth.
We have casualties. People die on a regular basis in our detention centers or trying to cross our borders in the mountains and deserts. So, if we have casualties and all the pieces of war, it certainly feels like an undeclared war if you visit that area.
PAUL: Is it the rhetoric now that seems different than past years?
FREY: Yeah, I think the Trump administration is not shy. They're brash. They say what's on their mind. They call migrants rapists and terrorists and they point their finger directly at Mexico and Central America.
That is fairly new. And it seems like the rhetoric is definitely on steroids.
PAUL: So, we know that we're going to be watching what happens today with these raids that have been promised. President Trump contends, look, I'm just following the law. He is looking for, he says, people who have gone through the process, their cases have been adjudicated and they've been ordered to get out of the country.
Is that true? Is this valid?
FREY: He is following law. If you have an order of deportation, ICE has every right to apprehend you. But it's complicated. You know, we're talking about families who maybe they didn't receive the order of deportation or maybe they have a court case.
There are so many complicating factors when it comes to ICE raids, deportation that aren't necessarily being adhered to. We're also talking about people who have an order of deportation -- they say they're going after criminals. Sometimes the only crime they've committed is a lapse in their court hearing.
So, it's not as easy as it seems.
PAUL: I understand you went into some detention centers to see the conditions, you know, as research for your book. When did you visit and what did you see?
FREY: I have visited detention centers over the past ten years up to as recent as last year. These conditions in these facilities are the same and they've been the same for a long time. We have surges in migration at the border. Sometimes detention facilities get filled, like they are right now. There are no beds. There are no showers. There's no place for a
cafeteria for them to cook. There are no medical services.
They cram people into these facilities, as we've seen these horrible pictures. The same with children. I've seen these conditions for a very long time, so for the administration to say that this is something new that they're overwhelmed is actually false. It actually seems like political grandstanding to me.
PAUL: So, you're saying that these conditions are essentially carryovers from other administrations. And I thought I heard you say at one point -- are they intentional, these conditions?
FREY: Yes, of course. These are intentional. We have a policy called deterrence, prevention through deterrence. Let's make the conditions and journey for migrants into the United States as horrible as possible. Let's shake up these migrants.
We're not going to give them a cushy bed or a good night's sleep. We want them to remember their stay in the United States so they never think about coming back or maybe they're going to tell their friends back home, don't try this, it's a horrible journey. It's on purpose.
PAUL: Does it deter them, though? I mean, when we look at the numbers, it doesn't seem to be.
FREY: We have a spike. We're close to record levels. We have more people in these facilities than we've had in over a decade.
So, to say that it works and to see such a large increase -- you know, people aren't coming or not coming because the conditions are so horrible. They're coming because they don't have a choice. So, the conditions aren't even something they weigh when they decide to migrate.
PAUL: I have 15 seconds but I have to get to this. Is this the fault of administration's or a 33-year gridlock in Congress?
FREY: It's both really, but the administration isn't helping. They're making this situation worse by ramping up the rhetoric.
PAUL: All right. John Frey, again, the book is "Sand and Blood: America's Stealth War on the Mexico Border" -- so interesting. Thank you for taking the time to be with us.
FREY: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: What can a cupcake do? Well, according to this 13-year-old boy, it can do a lot. Find out how he combined his passion for baking and advocacy against childhood hunger to make a difference in his community. Human kindness, that's next.
[07:52:55] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me putting plants in my bedroom is so that I could relax and just fall asleep with no worries.
I have certain plants like the snake plant or the ZZ plant. With those cleaning the air, it helps me sleep better.
DR. W. CHRISTOPHER WINTER, SLEEP SPECIALIST: The presence of plants in an individual's bedroom could facilitate positive sleep because the plant is going to take up carbon dioxide that's in the room and give off more oxygen. We do know sleeping in a more oxygen-enriched environment can certainly be helpful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hear about lavender and other plants have that scent that calm you enough to put you to sleep.
WINTER: They actually studied it and found that people being exposed to lavender actually slept better.
UNIDENTIED FEMALE: That makes me happy, just seeing it come alive.
WINTER: The big thing plants can do for our sleep is really helping to create the environment that an individual likes. That's a big part of sleep right there.
PAUL: You know, just 13 years old, our next guest has been in business for two years. Michael Platt runs a thriving cup cake business called Michael's desserts, started at his family home in Maryland when an epilepsy diagnosis meant he had to give up some of his favorite sports.
So, for every dessert he sells, he donates one to someone in need. Here's what he and his mom Danita told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANITA PLATT, MICHAEL PLATT'S MOTHER : When I was first starting out of college, I would just pack up soup and take it to people who were experiencing homelessness in the parks of in D.C. So, I said, well, you know, let's do that. So, we packed up desserts and husband and brother and we all jumped in the car and went down and just started handing out these homemade desserts. And people were kind of, like, wow, it's a cupcake.
PAUL: I was just going to ask. What is the difference between handing out soup and handing out cupcakes since you had that experience of both?
[07:55:05] PLATT: Right. So, I think the difference is just that shock. Like you all baked a cupcake for me. And many times it's people saying, oh -- Michael will give someone a cupcake and they will say, oh, thank you and will start to eat it and go off and then say this is delicious. Little man, you can really cook.
PAUL: I read that that your parents gave you a pair of Toms three years ago, Toms shoes. And that one for one model is what struck you. How did you transfer that to cupcakes? MICHAEL PLATT, 13-YEAR-OLD: So really I was interested in hunger and
fighting hunger with my parents. I knew I wanted to make a difference. My parents got me a pair of Toms shoes for Christmas. I read the model, and I was like that's it. That's spot-on. I'm going to use that for my business definitely.
PAUL: Plate isn't just about giving food away. It seems you have a goal to help people be self-sustaining. To help them help themselves. Tell me about that.
M. PLATT: So it's kind of like you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. We don't want to just give people food. We want them to cook and eat under a budget, give them a healthier option and make sure they get the three meals a day that they need. And not just that we give it to them but that they can go anywhere and be able to get that every day.
PAUL: Just a remarkable family. Plate is the nonprofit that he's working out of startup.
So, best of luck to them. We thank then so much taking time to be with us.
And we thank you as well. We hope you make good memories today.
SAVIDGE: "INSIDE POLITICS" is up next.