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Pandemic-Era Child Care Funding Set To Expire Sept. 30; CNN Spends 24 Hours At NYC's Main Migrant Intake Facility; Colin Kaepernick's Pens Letter Asking NY Jets To Sign Him. Aired 3:30-4pm ET

Aired September 27, 2023 - 15:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: A federal pandemic era program is about to expire leaving millions of families scrambling to find childcare support. The $24 billion program, which was part of the historic American Rescue Plan that was passed in 2021 will end this weekend on September 30. It's expected to impact more than 3 million children and shutter more than 70,000 child care programs across the country.

Joining us now, we have CNN Senior Writer, Tami Luhby. Tami, those numbers, by the way, sound crazy, they're so high but they are correct. How do these federal grants help providers survive?

TAMI LUHBY, CNN SENIOR WRITER: Well, the childcare industry has long had trouble and the pandemic made it even worse. Parents who are working from home were pulling their kids out of programs and workers were not going to work or they were finding jobs that paid more so providers were really struggling.

The providers that I spoke to said that this $24 billion Rescue Plan from Congress, it really helped them. They basically used it to provide more raises. They provided more retention bonuses. For them, it was really about retaining and -- and hiring more workers. They were also able to use it for some other things like paying mortgage or rent, paying utilities, buying PPE. But for them, it was really about the workers because they couldn't -- they can't open and run their businesses without having employees.

KEILAR: So when these grants go away, then what happens for them?

LUHBY: Right. So what the money did was it helped -- it actually went to 220,000 providers. And it reached -- that -- that's, by the way, nearly one in eight licensed childcare centers in the U.S. And it touched probably about 9.6 million kids. So now that the funding is going away, as you had -- as you mentioned before, the century foundation said that more than 70,000 providers may have to close their doors. And that could mean that 3.2 million children lose their spots.

I spoke to multiple providers in the last couple of weeks. And they said they are very concerned they needed this funding and those retention bonuses and pay raises really help them keep their workers and keep their doors open. So they're telling me they're having to raise tuition, which is making it harder on families. One of them is closing a classroom because they just don't have the workers. And another one had to close an entire center leaving more than 20 families scrambling to find childcare for their kids. So parents are really struggling here to figure out what to do.

KEILAR: Yeah, they certainly are. Is there a chance that there will be more funding that Congress may intervene here or no?

LUHBY: Well, there are -- there's a group of progressive Democrats and independents in Congress that are really hoping to add to the stabilization fund. They're looking to provide $16 billion a year for five years to do exactly this, to help the child care industry and help child care providers. Because as these providers stress, without them, people are not going to be able to go to work and it's going to hurt the entire economy.

So the problem is, is you know, as you've been mentioning on air, and as we've all been reporting, you know, we're bracing for a government shutdown because Congress can't decide, you know, what -- how to fund the government for the next year. So right now, they're looking to either, you know, cut funding or, you know, hopefully hold it steady for -- for many of them, but adding $16 billion a year for five years might be a big lift.


KEILAR: Yeah. Well, it's a really interesting story that you wrote for, Tami, that details what's happening to these childcare providers and the impact that it's having on parents who really are scrambling. And we see that in your -- in your story. So Tami, thanks for being with us this afternoon.

LUHBY: Thank you so much.

KEILAR: And ahead, Hyundai and Kia asking the owners of more than 3 million vehicles to keep their cars parked outside. That's right, keep them outside, don't park them in the garage due to a fire risk. We'll have details on what the issue is ahead.

Plus, CNN heads inside the hotel that is serving as the main intake facility for migrants in New York City, the desperate situation that many families they are facing, next.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Now, to some of the other headlines we're watching this hour. Hyundai and Kia are recalling more than 3 million vehicles in the United States over concerns about potential engine fires.

In a notice today, the Korean carmakers are even advising owners to park outside and away from any physical structures until repairs are completed. The problem apparently has to do with brake fluid leaking near an electrical circuit. And it's impacting a long list of car and SUV models sold between 2010 and 2019. You can find out if your vehicle is included in a recall by going online to

Also today President Biden approving an emergency declaration for Louisiana as that state battles a potential water crisis. A severe drought there is already allowed saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico to creep in and contaminate the water supply for thousands of residents. Biden's declaration today will unlock federal funds and resources which they hope will prevent it from reaching thousands more people.

And a California man is free today after spending nearly 30 years behind bars for crimes he didn't commit. Gerardo Cabanillas was just 18 years old when he was wrongfully convicted of robbery kidnapping and sexual assault in Los Angeles. Officials there say Cabanillas was arrested in 1995 because he matched a suspect's description.

Now, after serving 28 years of a life sentence, L.A. prosecutors say new DNA testing has proven his innocence. Cabanillas was officially exonerated and released from prison last week. Brianna?

KEILAR: Well, New today, the Department of Homeland Security says it will provide $12 million in new funding to communities receiving migrants. And it comes as we learned that San Diego County in Southern California, of course, has declared a humanitarian crisis over its recent surge of migrants. The county says it needs federal help after about 7500 individuals have been released on the streets over the last two weeks and for those migrants who have crossed the border seeking asylum. The ordeal is far from over. CNN Shimon Prokupecz takes us inside New York City's main Intake Center for homeless immigrants.


DR. TED LONG, SENIOR VICE PRSEIDENT, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS: We're going to offer you food and water right away. A hot meal can go a long way.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Dr. Ted Long from New York City's Health and Hospital is proud of the operation the city has established here.

LONG: Everything that we've developed in New York City is to meet the needs that were not met for people coming to us from Texas so far. So, here, whether it's screening for communicable disease, if you're a pregnant woman, giving you prenatal care, or screening for the very important mental health conditions you might have, like depression, we do it all here because it's not done before here.

PROKUPECZ: It really catches your eye to see so many kids running through the halls of the Roosevelt Hotel, almost like a playground, so many kids. The city says 20,000 migrant children have come through New York so far.

(On camera): Why did you come to America?

(Voice-over): Lady Kaza (ph) is 23 years old and escaping violence in Ecuador. She says she came here for her daughter, Mia, who was born with a physical disability.

(On camera): How are you feeling?

(Voice-over): She says she's happy that she's here now, and she's scared to go back to Ecuador. I'm afraid that my daughter will die there if she can't get medical attention. I need a place to stay. I think they're going to help me.


PROKUPECZ: Good luck, OK?

It's good news for Lady and Mia. They're being moved out of the intake center to a shelter. As this group leaves, another is already shuffling in behind them. A 116,000 have come to New York City since the spring of 2022, city officials say. And it's a reminder that the flow of migrants doesn't stop.

FABIEN LEVY, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR FOR COMMUNICATIONS: The burden on New York City is too much, quite honestly. We are at past our breaking point.

PROKUPECZ: Among those just arriving, Luis Flores (ph). We met him outside, and his wife, Irmalinda Morales (ph). They now have seats inside.

It's a dream come true, he says.

It took him two and a half months to come to this country through the border. And now he's just hoping to give his family a better life. And they've been sitting here now for several days, waiting for the next steps and the next process.

And this is your wife, yes? 38 years you have been marry.

How are you doing?

Irmalinda (ph) tells us it was their dream to come to the United States and she doesn't want to lose her husband now that they've finally made it.


As we leave, Luis (ph) speaks directly into our camera. I just want to work, he says. These are the hands of a worker.


KEILAR: Thank you to Shimon Prokupecz for that report. And you can see all of his reporting from the Roosevelt Hotel on

Still ahead, the struggling New York Jets, well, they could use all the help they can get right now. Does that include bringing in Colin Kaepernick with the former NFL QB is offering the team in a new letter.



SANCHEZ: Former NFL Star Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still working on a comeback after claims that he was blackballed by the League for his views on social justice. He's pitching himself as the new practice squad quarterback for the New York Jets, as they face a dilemma with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers nursing season-ending injury. And a letter that Kaepernick wrote to the Jets. He says quote, "I know that there are currently depth issues and I've heard that the backup spot is likely to be filled by a veteran quarterback. As much as I would love the opportunity to fill that spot, I would be honored and extremely grateful for the opportunity to come in and lead the practice squad."

Bomani Jones is the host of the right time with Bomani Jones podcast. Bomani, thanks for being with us. I'm wondering what stood out to you about Kaepernick's letter and his eagerness to join the practice squad?

BOMANI JONES, HOST, "THE RIGHT TIME WITH BOMANI JONES": Well, honestly, the thing that jumped out to me is that Jay Coleman was the one who told us, like that is tough. And I was like, wow, this is an interesting information chain that we have gotten going here.

Colin still wants to play in the NFL. And, you know, they tell us all the time, he's still working out every day waiting on the call. The only thing is, I think at this point, we could all acknowledge that Colin Kaepernick, his letter is not going to be responded to by the Jets. But wait, come on down, and we'll kick the tires on you. That's not going to happen. And so I do wonder to a degree what Kaepernick is getting out of still doing this at this point, because I think this ship has sailed.

SANCHEZ: Well, to that point, what do you think he's trying to achieve? Because we've seen replacement level quarterbacks have long careers in the NFL, many of them have never had moments like Kaepernick did. And they've come and gone. And for example, the Jets just signed Trevor Siemian, and yet he has been unable to get back out on the field.

JONES: Yeah, but I mean, I think early when we start talking about 2017, 2018, maybe even all the way through 2020, I think that you could have made a better argument for him as a viable option, as opposed to now nearly seven years since the last time he played an NFL game. There's not a team that's going to wind up doing this. I think all of us have our own conclusions that we've drawn as to why it is that this is the case. I think it's because he protested not simply that he protested against the NFL, but he did so before it was sanctioned.

And he clearly articulated that the struggle of black and brown people in this country was the reason why he did the things that he did. And I don't think they're ever going to let him in back into the league as a result of that.

But the other side of it is they're never going to let him back into the NFL. So perhaps this is simply to serve as a reminder that he has been blackballed, and that at the very least in his own eyes, that he has been blackballed. So maybe the move is just to keep this on our minds. But the truth is, I don't think that anybody's ever going to forget that that happened. And I don't know when we're going to get to a point where a job comes up and people stop saying, well, what about Colin Kaepernick? Because the truth is, they're not going to sign Colin Kaepernick at this point. I think he knows that and everybody else does, too.

SANCHEZ: So Bomani, what does it say to you that he was effectively blackballed, as so many NFL owners were willing to look past really serious allegations and behavior in the past, specifically, quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson, Ben Roethlisberger. What does that say to you?

JONES: Well, I think there are a couple of levels. One of them is that I do believe that the NFL and its owners believe that it is easier for their fans to get past the things that have been accused of guys like Watson and Roethlisberger, more readily than they can get over the fact that Kaepernick articulated the struggle of black and brown people in this country. I think that's the number one thing that the league is saying, like one point I always like to make when this comes up, where I think that people look at posts, like Kaepernick with his politics, and they think that they believe that all white people are racist, when in reality is the NFL that seems to be saying that they think their fans are unable to handle a dissenting opinion and thereby don't want that guy to be into the league. It's kind of an ironic twist on all of this.

But on the other side is just cold-hearted capitalism in the end, that they believe that, that guy is bad for money. My question has been from the very beginning, what evidence is there that Kaepernick is actually going to be bad for the business of the NFL, or if they had not pushed him out that he could not have stayed in the league and everything had gone through? And I don't think it would have been new to the big deal that they made it out to be. But I think it's very important to note again, he didn't ask for permission for his protest. Most of the guys after the league said, hey, do what you want.

The league let most of those guys slide after that. It was he and Eric Reid dudes who didn't really ask for permission that seemed to bear the brunt a little bit more than the other ones did. And that's the moral of the story here, stating what he said as clearly as he did and not waiting for permission. This was the outcome. But I think we knew from the beginning when he did this, that this was a possible outcome that he'd never get to play again. And the league is like, hey, guys, you were right.

SANCHEZ: Bomani Jones, appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this. Thanks.

JONES: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course. Still ahead, is it a love story? See if Travis Kelce just says yes in his first comments on Taylor Swift since her appearance at a Chiefs game.



TRAVIS KELCE, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS PLAYER: It was definitely a game I'll remember that's for damn sure. And then we just slid off in the getaway car at the end.



KEILAR: So as Taylor Swift says there will be no further explanation, there will just be reputation.

SANCHEZ: A quote for all-time, I guess. Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce is giving an explanation though sort of --


SANCHEZ: -- during a new episode of his podcast, the tight end finally addressed the Taylor Swift appearance at his Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How's it feel that Taylor Swift has finally put you on the map?

KELCE: Shout out to Taylor for -- for pulling up. That was pretty ballsy, that was pretty ballsy. Yeah, am -- I just thought it was awesome how everybody in the suite had nothing but great things to say about it.



SANCHEZ: He didn't delve into too many details on this, you know, alleged romance. I think it's a stunt.

KEILAR: You can't kiss and tell --

SANCHEZ: I'm taking a stunt. It's a stunt -- I think, if it's --

KEILAR: I don't know, but he's right -- I mean, I didn't really like who's this Travis guy until Taylor did put him on the map.

SANCHEZ: He's a great tight end. I got him on my fantasy team. Highly recommend, his Jersey sales went up. His Instagram followers went up.

KEILAR: That's right.

SANCHEZ: Thanks for joining us.

KEILAR: And The Lead with Jake Tapper starts right now.