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Don Lemon Tonight

Buffalo Mass Shooting Survivor Shares Her Story; A.G. Bill Barr Tentatively Agrees To Give Sworn Testimony To January 6 Select Committee; Confirmed Case Of Monkeypox Identified In Massachusetts; Stocks Down Again A Day After Massive 1,100+ Point Loss; Fear Of Migrant Surge On Lifting Of Title 42 Restriction. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 19, 2022 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, normally, we would be starting the top of the hour with the developing news, but this interview is so compelling that I wanted to continue on. I'm back now with Latisha Rogers. She is an employee at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo who called 911 during Saturday's mass shooting and had the operator hang up on her, she says, because she was whispering and she was telling her harrowing story.

Latisha, when we left you, you said, it was dead silent. The music in the store --


LEMON: -- had gone off. The phone in the office --


LEMON: -- kept ringing and ringing. You were hunched up against the wall on the floor and you could hear the shooter, his feet crunching like glass and debris on the floor, and it sounded like --


LEMON: -- he was getting closer and closer to the front of the store where you were.

ROGERS: Yes. And then after that, it was just -- it was kind of silent but I didn't know if there were more people in the store or anything. And then I proceeded to get a phone call from another friend. He is a local jitney that gives customer rides or employee rides, you know, to and from the store.

He called me and he said, please tell me that you are okay, and I whispered to him and I said, yes, I'm scared, I'm -- I don't know what to do. And he says, where are you? I said, I'm at the desk. He said, just stay down, don't move, the cops are outside, they're going to be coming in. He said, I will be outside waiting for you. Just come find me outside.

So, I waited and I heard the walkie-talkies from the police. I kind of peeked my head up a little bit over the counter and an officer happened to look in the window. He just told -- he says, stay down, stay down. I got back down flat and I waited a couple more minutes. It seemed like forever.

I heard people walking and then I heard somebody crying hysterically. So, I kind of just got up and I stood up with my hands up so that I could be noticed in the window.

And I saw officer walking an employee by. And I just asked her -- I just said, can I get out? Please, can I get out? I just want to get out. And she asked me if I could be able to get out through the door. And I told her, yes, and she told me to come out. And when I came out, I just saw -- just bodies everywhere. It wasn't a good sight at all.

LEMON: Hmm. Bodies everywhere. As you look back through the store, did you have to go -- you didn't have to go -- did you have to wade through the debris and the bodies?

ROGERS: When I was able to get out, I only looked out in the store because I was looking for the young lady that was working with me. And I was just looking just to see that she wasn't on the ground anywhere.

And the first person I saw was the security guard, Aaron Salter. And I knew it was him by his uniform. And I saw a couple more bodies near the self- checkout. I saw two bodies in front of the desk where I was.

They led me out the door. There were two bodies there. When I kept walking in the parking lot, I saw another person that we knew that was another jitney that was there every day, Dicken (ph) Patterson. I saw him and I saw a woman next to him.

And when I got to the yellow tape, the first person I saw was my office -- my department manager, her husband, and I just ran to them. And I just was in complete shock. You just didn't know what was going on. And I didn't know until after that, it was one person that did all this.

LEMON: Did you see the shooter?

ROGERS: Not at all.

LEMON: You never saw him?


LEMON: How does one recover from something like that? I mean, it's -- look, it sounds like a scene out of a movie, right? The killer is getting closer. It's just -- I can't even imagine.

ROGERS: It was completely eerie. I would never wish nobody to -- the fear that was instilled in me, that situation, period, and to see what I saw, I would never want anybody to ever experience that, ever.

LEMON: Latisha, how long --

ROGERS: This is not the first massacre.

LEMON: Say again.

ROGERS: I'm sorry. I said, this is not the first massacre that I've been through. My brother was killed in 2010 at the City Grove (ph) shooting, and I was also there for that. So, I'm just back at another massacre and going through this again, trying to find a healing process.


LEMON: How long did this all go on?

ROGERS: Maybe like two like two to three minutes but it just seemed like forever like it just wasn't going to stop. It just felt like a slow motion in a movie or something. It seemed like it took forever but maybe like two or three minutes.

LEMON: You actually saw on the face -- you said you heard a noise and you saw a woman pushing a cart and she turned around. You said she had an expression. You saw her expression of trying to realize whether this was real or not and what was happening.

ROGERS: Uh-hmm.

LEMON: And you read it all in her face.

ROGERS: Yes. She just looked horrified. She just turned like she was going to run. And like I said, it was a little gap, a few seconds, but it just seemed like it was a long time. And then you just heard the next booms go off, like I said. It sounded like bombs were being dropped in the store. It was just -- it was so loud. You could feel it. I've never experienced something like that. It was like you were in the middle of a battlefield.

LEMON: So, Latisha, just so some people may be joining us -- for the viewers who are just joining us, Latisha is telling her story. And you said that you called 911, Latisha. And the dispatcher had hung up on you. The Erie County executive, Mark Poloncarz, said that there was an inquiry and explained how the 911 call center looked into your call. I want you to listen to this and I will get your response.


MARK POLONCARZ, ERIE COUNTY EXECUTIVE: So, on Sunday, they went through all the calls. They identified this one call, the issue associated with it. It was completely unacceptable. On Monday, the individual was put on administrative leave pending a hearing, which will be held on May 30th, in which our intention is to terminate the 911 call taker.


LEMON: Now, he is confirming that the dispatcher is currently suspended and will face a disciplinary hearing where the county will seek her termination. You've gone through a lot. Is that satisfactory to you? Are you satisfied with that?

ROGERS: I mean, I'm not a coldhearted person at all, and I would not want anybody to try to get me fired, but right is right and wrong is wrong, and that was absolutely wrong, the way she handled that situation. So, I mean, I do feel like she should be terminated.

You see on TV and movies and even on real-life cases, they will play the dispatch call back and the operator is calm and trying to keep you calm and trying to keep you talking to get information. I didn't have that from her at all. It was just like I was just bothering her. And I feel like when she hung up on me, she never called back. I felt like she left me to die, and I thought I was going to die that day.

LEMON: You thought you were going to die? Do you know any of the people? You know Aaron Salter.

ROGERS: I know Aaron Salter and I know Dicken (ph) Patterson, Heyward Patterson.

LEMON: How are you -- how are you doing?

ROGERS: I try to be strong. I don't like being in silence. It takes me right back to that place. I'm trying to be soft with my associates because it's kids that work in there with us and a lot of them are cashiers and they were in there. So, it's a scary thing in my life. I just really thought I was going to die that day.

LEMON: Well, you are strong. And I know it's hollow that we are sorry that this happened to you, but we are. Yeah. You be well. I don't know anything else to ask you.

ROGERS: Thank you.

LEMON: Is there anything else you want to say before I let you go? You want people to know about.

ROGERS: I just want to give all of my condolences to all of the families, especially to the ones that I knew. Just to pray for us associates. The ones who were there and work there. Just everybody that works at that store because we are hurt, we are scared. Some of us want to come back and some of us don't. It's a tough time we are going through right now.

LEMON: Thank you, Latisha. Be well.

ROGERS: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

ROGERS: Thank you, too.

LEMON: What you want to do? Do you want to take a break? Okay.

[23:10:00] We will be right back.


LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. Now, the latest from the January 6 Committee, they want to hear from a Republican lawmaker who said that they gave a tour of the Capitol complex the day before the insurrection. Plus, sources say the former attorney general, Bill Barr, has tentatively agreed to testify before the committee.

I want to bring in CNN White House correspondent John Harwood and legal analyst Elliot Williams.


Good evening to both of you. Thanks for joining.

So, Elliot, we are hearing the former attorney general, Bill Barr, ready to testify before the House Select Committee. What are the most important questions the committee need to enter?


didn't start being planned on January 5, right? And conversations that President Trump might have had with Attorney General Barr stretching back, frankly, to the summer of 2020 can shed light on what the president's state of mind was going in to January 6.

Obviously, the president's legal strategy was an important element of this whole 'stop the steal' effort and perhaps Attorney General Barr can shed light on that. There is a lot that he can provide to the committee. And again, it may not be testimony per se, you know. It's close door in the form of depositions or interviews but not under the bright lights.

LEMON: Mr. Harwood, Bill Barr and Donald Trump have a complicated relationship based on all of your reporting. Do you expect the former A.G. to be forthcoming with the committee?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I do, Don. Look, Bill Barr, unlike Donald Trump, is an ideological worrier. He is a conservative Christian who thinks that his side of the political divide is under attack. Donald Trump was it useful as a Republican president to advance that agenda and Bill Barr was willing to carry a lot of water for him, particularly with respect to the Mueller report, to advance his own, Bill Barr's agenda.

But once President Trump lost, he felt that what he was being asked to do by President Trump was a bridge too far and not only that, that it was, as Jonathan Karl has reported in his book, that he -- Barr concluded with Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, that it would be useful for him to state publicly what he thought, that the front claims were empty because that might help Republicans keep the Senate and ultimately didn't.

But Bill Barr is about the cause and not about the person, and I would expect him to talk about Donald Trump's state of mind in the confrontations they had over election fraud before he quit his job as attorney general.

LEMON: Elliot, we are -- actually I should say Mr. Williams because I called him Mr. Harwood. Mr. Williams, we are learning -- also learned --

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: -- that the Select Committee has evidence of a Capitol tour Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk gave the day before the insurrection. I mean, this is coming after -- actually, he led an ethics complaint against the Democrats who wanted allegations of these tours investigated in the first place. He is denying it strenuously and this is how he described the visit at the time in an interview.


REP. BARRY LOUDERMILK (R-GA) (voice-over): We actually had about a dozen people up here that wanted to come by and visit, we had them in our office. They definitely were, you know, peaceful people, people that we'd met at church. They were supporters of the president, and they wanted to be up here as if it was another rally.

We've actually checked on them to make sure that they're safe. They saw what it was turning into, they immediately turned and went back down to mall to get away from the crowd here.


LEMON: So, Elliot, there are also texts from Loudermilk to Mark Meadows on the sixth saying that they have breached the Capitol and this doesn't help our cause. I mean, it seems like the bar is pretty high here for the committee to support this allegation, don't you think?

WLLIAMS: Yeah. Look, this is a pretty nuclear claim to make about a member of Congress unless they have some reason to back it up. And look, Don, it's highly unlikely that the committee would have taken the step of sending a letter if they didn't already have some evidence or testimony to suggest something about these tours.

Now, one thing that looks and might seem a little bit fishy here is that the Capitol Building was closed at this time. So, anybody who was giving tours would have looked a little bit suspicious. Now, at the end of the day, he's a member of Congress. He can give tours to his constituents.

So, this could probably be cleared up pretty easily by looking at the videotapes or having him come in to talk or talking to other members of Congress and clearing it up.

But look, it is a big claim to make. As Bennie Thompson says in the letter, based on evidence that has already been made available to the committee, it seems like that they got at least something that has at least raised the question to the congressman.

LEMON: All right. John, Elliot, thank you both. I appreciate it.

WLLIAMS: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: I want to turn now to Democratic Congresswoman Lucy McBath of Georgia. Representative McBath, thanks for joining.

REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): Thank you. It's always an honor to be with you.

LEMON: I want to get your reaction to the January 6 Select Committee saying that they have evidence that Representative Barry Loudermilk led a tour of the Capitol the day before the insurrection. He says it was just a constituent. Do you have questions?

MCBATH: Well, that's very concerning to me as it has been to many of my colleagues. The January 6 Committee has got to continue to do this important work.


I just hope that we never allow these kinds of tragedies to happen again, and we've got to continue to take the steps to protect our country. This is for the sake of our country.

LEMON: Speaking of tragedies, you know, you ran for office to fight for gun safety after your son, Jordan, was shot and killed by someone who thought he was playing his music too loud.

So, I wanted to ask you about this recent string of mass shootings, including 10 people hunted down by a racist gunman in Buffalo. I know you understand the pain of all these families. My question is, why can't Congress do something to help stop these massacres?

MCBATH: Well, I'm actually exhausted by the numbers of tragedies that we see happening. I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm so frustrated having to do these shows and talk about the death and despair that we continue to see with just, you know, all of the frequency.

And, you know, my prayers are with the people of Buffalo. I have family who live in that neighborhood. I played on the streets there as a young child. My mother is from that neighborhood. It is a Black neighborhood that was attacked by a white supremacist who has just been -- we see these kinds of attacks far more frequently.

And so, the victims of that Buffalo shooting died in the same way that my son died. They were shot just going about their everyday life, simply because of the color of their skin.

And I've said this before and I will say it again. We have to have the courage to do the right thing to save and protect our families because I do know that pain of burying a child and no family should ever have to go through these kinds of experiences. These are just life- shattering experiences and grief.

LEMON: You are on a ballot on Tuesday and having to compete against your Democratic colleague in Congress because of partisan redistricting. Are Georgian lawmakers succeeding in rigging the elections in their favor by redrawing districts?

MCBATH: Well, unfortunately, I've always been the top target of Republicans because of the legislative success that I've actually had on gun safety and veterans and healthcare and just many other pieces of legislation that I've actually been able to get signed into law by both presidents.

And, you know, after my son died, I made a promise to my son, to my family, and to my community. I promised that I would do everything in my power to keep them safe and to keep from -- keep from what happened to us happening to any other family, anyone else. And to keep that promise to my son and to my community, I must run in the newly created democratic district, Georgia Senate seat, because lives are depending on it.

And I just refused to let Brian Kemp, Governor Kemp, the NRA and the Republican Party decide who represents our communities in Congress. That is for the people to decide.

LEMON: I want to get your take on Oklahoma's legislature, passing a bill today that would ban abortion from the stage of fertilization. I mean, it would also allow private citizens to sue abortion providers who knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman. It seems to make no sense to me. You are a lawmaker and you are a woman. I want to get your take on this. How could restrictions like this ever be practically applied?

MCBATH: Well, Don, you know, as I shared my story with my colleagues in Congress yesterday, you know, it's my story but is also the story of many women across the country. It includes the joy of being able to give birth to a child and then the heartbreak of losing a pregnancy. And the story that I shared with my colleagues, to my colleagues yesterday is, you know, as I said, it is uniquely my story but it doesn't just resonate with me, it resonates with women --

LEMON: Can we play that and then get your -- the rest of it? I want our audience to actually hear what you said because it's so powerful, and then I would get the rest of your response. Here it is, congresswoman.



MCBATH: After which failed pregnancy should I have been imprisoned? Would it have been after the first miscarriage, after doctors use what would be an illegal drug to abort the lost fetus? Would you have put me in jail after the second miscarriage, or would you have put me behind bars after my stillbirth, after I was forced to carry a dead fetus for weeks, after asking God if I was ever going to be able to raise a child?

And I asked because the same medicine used treat my failed pregnancies is the same medicine states like Texas would make illegal. I asked because if Alabama makes abortion murder, does it make miscarriage manslaughter?



LEMON: Again, I wanted the audience to hear your very powerful words there. And I have to ask you, 10 or 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriages. Do people passing these restriction abortion laws actually understand what the implications are for women's bodies?

MCBATH: I really don't think they do. I really do not think they do. And it's -- you know, it's what I have experienced, yes, but it's also the same experience of millions of women that they've actually had to endure.

The women in our workplaces and our homes and our neighborhoods and in our places of community, they have all experienced similar tragedies to mine. And this potential ruling is a threat. It's a threat to all the women in our lives that have needed or will one day need access to very vital and critical family planning and healthcare services. They have no idea what they are about to do.

LEMON: Thank you, congresswoman. I appreciate you joining.

MCBATH: Thank you very much. Take care.

LEMON: An extremely rare disease making its way to the U.S. A case of monkeypox confirmed in a man in Massachusetts, several more possible cases in this country, others showing up in Europe. We are going to tell you what you need to look out for. That's next.




LEMON: Tonight, the CDC and health officials in Massachusetts investigating confirmed a confirmed case of monkeypox identified in a patient hospitalized in Boston. The CDC also tracking clusters of cases around the globe. But most of us have probably never heard of monkeypox. So, is there a cause for concern?

Let us discuss now with Dr. Larry Brilliant. He is an epidemiologist who spent his career fighting epidemics and is one of the doctors who helped to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. Good evening. Good to see you. Before we get to this, wasn't there one recently, like, within the last seven or eight years?

LARRY BRILLIANT, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, FOUNDER AND CEO OF PANDEFENSE ADVISORY: It was. So, it was in Minnesota. It was spread by giant Gambian pouched rodents.

LEMON: Right. So, let's talk about this. We are learning tonight that New York City officials are investigating the possible case of monkeypox. There is a confirmed case in Massachusetts of a man who had recently traveled to Canada.

The CDC is monitoring six possible cases in this country. And as you can see up on the map on your screen now, multiple clusters around the world. What is monkeypox? How does it spread? What are the symptoms, doctor?

BRILLIANT: So, monkeypox is an Orthopoxvirus. It's a cousin of smallpox. Maybe in ancient history, they had the same common ancestor, but these are all zoonotic diseases. They leap from animals to humans when humans encroached an animal territory or where humans eat animals. And this is one more in the Zika, dengue, West Nile, Ebola and COVID as we live in the nature pandemics.

LEMON: How concerned should folks be?

BRILLIANT: Well, because it is a poxvirus, you know, an epidemiologist ears perk up, but it's not smallpox. Smallpox killed one out of three in half a billion people in the 20th century. Monkeypox only had 3,000 cases in the whole world last year and maybe 5% or 10% or 15% lead to death.

It's primarily probably being spread by other animals and monkeys just get the bad label for it. But it is a disease. It can cause death. It has to be watched. But this is very early in the investigation.

LEMON: Okay. Let's talk about COVID now. Reported COVID infections have more than doubled over the past month and everywhere I go and I'm sure folks at home, we hear that somebody has COVID. What is this and where are we headed?

BRILLIANT: Yeah. So, this is the silent epidemic. This is a silent search. But it is a significant surge. It has the possibility of being the highest surge of cases. Even hospitalizations are inching up. But -- and it isn't that Omicron is a milder disease than previous variants. But we've made it more mild because we got a layer of protection with all of the vaccinations that we've done and some people had prior infection and three or four vaccinations, have hybrid immunity.

LEMON: It's affecting everywhere, right? Obviously, workplaces, schools, so on and so forth. And people now are just starting to -- they think it's inevitable that they are going to get COVID. Is it time that we start treating it like the flu? Like people -- you know, you are going to get COVID, you stay at home, you isolate from people at work or school or whatever, and then once you get better, you back?

BRILLIANT: Absolutely not. You know, with cold, you don't find one out of 10 or three out of 10 who have a long cold. Long COVID is a thing. Lots of people lose their voice. Of course, they lose their taste. Those things may not last for a long time, but this brain fog and this lack of ability to carry on, that's a big deal.

I'm afraid that if we just say we are done with COVID and the virus hasn't agreed because the virus isn't done with us, then we may wind up putting such a burden on our healthcare system with long COVID in treating it. No, we have to be careful. We can't do what China did, lock everybody up and keep them locked up so that if they now get a case later on, China will explode.


And we can't do what people say, just leave it alone, the way they said early on in Sweden, which by the way, has the highest death rate of all (INAUDIBLE) countries.

LEMON: We are seeing a new twist with this antiviral drug. It is called Paxlovid, right? Those have shown to reduce COVID-related hospitalizations and death by 89%. Reports now have emerged that some who received the drug developed a rebound. I know someone who actually developed a rebound of symptoms in just a few days after completing the course of medication.

So, what is going on? I have a very close friend who did the Paxlovid and then thought he was fine, and then again it just boomed, went back to like, as I said --

BRILLIANT: Paxlovid is a really excellent drug. Thank God we have an antiviral that people can take. And I'm not so sure this is a rebound. It may merely be that they should've had a longer dose. We don't have any real evidence that a five-day dose is better than a 10-day dose. We don't know how long it takes. Remember --

LEMON: This is two weeks later.

BRILLIANT: I understand.

LEMON: Yeah.

BRILLIANT: I understand, but maybe they didn't get enough of the medicine in five days to prevent it from keep on going.

LEMON: Should you do it then? I mean, should you because most people just sort of let it play out. Let the virus run its course, right? Isolate, sleep, do whatever they are supposed to do. Do you need Paxlovid?

BRILLIANT: You know, I think it depends on who you are. If you are young and you're healthy and you have no pre-existing conditions, you don't have any -- in immunocompromised state, you're not obese, you're not diabetic, maybe you can watch it. But my God, if you're over 65, if you have disease or somebody at home is sick, Paxlovid is a wonderful drug to have in our momentum.

LEMON: Doctor, it's always a pleasure to see you. It's good to see you in person.

BRILLIANT: First time. First time. Truly a pleasure. Really a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

LEMON: Thank you very much. The stock market suffering another steep drop today. That comes a day after the biggest drop in the Dow since Ju 2020. What does this mean for you, next.



LEMON: Another bad day on Wall Street coming after the biggest stock market drop in nearly two years. Growing fears of recession on the horizon, even as inflation slowed in April. High prices continue to hammer Americans at the grocery store and at the pump. And all of this as Biden administration invokes the Defense Production Act to address a crippling shortage of baby formula in the U.S.

So, joining me now to discuss is Jason Furman. He is the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama. As I was reading that, I just wanted to relate to the viewer, I wish I had better news to tell you tonight. Everything has been dismal and depressing. But Jason, we're here, you're here, and thank you. I hope you have some good news for us. Do you have any at all?

JASON FURMAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Look, one piece of good news is the American consumer, which is the backbone of our economy, keeps spending. The people are down about the economy. There are all of these negative things happening, but month after month, spending just keeps going up, and that's keeping our growth going.

LEMON: Okay. Well, there is something, but there is also this baby formula crisis. Tonight, the White House says that it has secured the first overseas shipment, which will arrive in Indiana within days. So, how do we get to such a crisis point with this?

FURMAN: Look, there are so many different failures to government policy, many of them at the FDA. They're layered on top of a long set of policies. We don't allow baby formula in from countries like Germany, even though it is safer and probably better than our baby formula. We put tariffs on it when it comes from Canada. We have government policies that create monopolies for it here. All of those are problems.

The Biden administration is a sweeping some of those away, but we are going to need to rely, you know, to some degree on the rest of the world to help us out right now, and they like to. We need to let them.

LEMON: The FDA chief getting hammered by lawmakers on Capitol Hill today over the shortage that is now in its third month. I mean, he vows that we will see a turnaround in just days. Do you think that is realistic?

FURMAN: I certainly hope so. We are going to see that plan. The FDA ordered it off-line, coming back online in the next week or two. We are seeing the shipments from overseas. The administration has invoked the Defense Production Act to make sure that some of the key ingredients are being prioritized for baby formula over everything else. None of this though, none of these steps will work instantly.

LEMON: Why didn't the administration act faster? Could they have? FURMAN: I don't know. This sort of went from nowhere, something that

probably parents are aware of, to something that all of us were aware of. I certainly think that there could have been some earlier action here. But we are seeing some very decisive action now, as much is the president can do. The problem is the FDA. There's a lot more they could do that they are still not doing.

LEMON: The fed has hiked interest rates to fight 40-year high inflation level. Some people are worried that this hike will spark a recession. But you say no. I mean the bigger problem is that it might not do enough?


FURMAN: Yeah. Look, no one knows. You can always have a recession at any point in time. But right now, as I said at the top, I see consumers spending. I see businesses bringing, you know, more and more workers back. As more workers get hired, lots of job openings. It's an economy with a very strong demand. It's hard for me to see how you go from that to a recession.

I'm worried about inflation. I'm worried about whether the feds can do enough to bring inflation down. But over the next year, recession is not high in my worry list.

LEMON: How much did the stimulus bill under President Biden have to do with what is happening now? They said they put too much money into the economy and that has, you know, heated up things and that helped to contribute to the problems that we are facing now.

FURMAN: Yeah, I think the stimulus bill was too large. I think it did help speed our economic recovery. It had a good aspect to it with 3.6% unemployment. Now, we have a lot of job growth. But we also have a lot of inflation. We have a lot more inflation than you are seeing in other countries around the world. And I think that is because the stimulus bill was oversized.

That is behind us. The question is, what we do going forward? Most of the jobs to control inflation is assigned to the fed. They are the ones with the tools. They are the ones who need to do it. The president needs to figure out, you know, how he can help out a little bit, which is probably all he can do as well.

LEMON: Jason Furman, thank you so much. Be well.

FURMAN: Thank you.

LEMON: The Biden administration expected to lift an immigration order days from now. That has some Texas residents on edge, fearing a surge in migrants. That story is next.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: The Biden administration plans to end a controversial public health measure known as Title 42 on Monday if a federal judge agrees. The Trump-era policy allows officials to turn away immigrants at the southern border and block them from seeking asylum due to the COVID pandemic. Many in Texas are opposed to ending Title 42, fearing a surge of migrants.

Here's CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): So, where are we headed?

RUPERTO ESCOBAR, RANCHER: We're heading towards the river.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): For seven generations, Ruperto Escobar's family has farmed the land near Roma, Texas, 75 acres that sit on the edge of the Rio Grande.

ESCOBAR: Short little ride.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Yeah, short little ride.

ESCOBAR: Right on the river.

Oftentimes I walk this way. My ancestors came and settled right here.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Migrants have crossed the river and through this property for decades. That's not new. But Escobar says what is new is the staggering number of migrants crossing the river now.

ESCOBAR: That's the Mexican side.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Escobar represents the vocal opposition to the Biden administration's efforts to lift the COVID-19 pandemic era policy known as Title 42, which allows immigration officials to block many migrants from staying in the United States for public health reasons.

ESCOBAR: It's going to get wild here. We don't stop immigration right now. And then by lifting that, it will get worse.

LAVANDERA (on camera): U.S. Customs and Border Protection says in April, there were 234,000 apprehensions of migrants along the U.S. southern border. The Department of Homeland Security says that accounts for about 7,000 migrants being caught every day. But DHS is also bracing for a worst-case scenario if Title 42 is lifted of capturing 18,000 migrants per day.

(Voice-over): For more than 40 years, Jorge Salcines has run McAllen Sports, a custom apparel and trophy business. The shop is just blocks away from the most prominent shelter taking care of the migrants passing through this border town.

(On camera): Many people kind of feel like we're over the pandemic, but many people still want Title 42 kept in place. Does that seem kind of hypocritical in any way?

JORGE SALCINES, OWNER, MCALLEN SPORTS: It actually helped. If Title 42 is helping to slow that down, and we take it off, what's going to replace it? Because I don't see anybody coming up with a plan to replace this.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Salcines also owns sprawling ranchland in South Texas. He says right now, the hunting cameras on his property capture more pictures of migrants than deer.

(On camera): If Title 42 is lifted, what worries you most?

SALCINES: It will be chaos on the border. We have a huge influx now of immigrants, illegal immigrants. It will be chaos on the border.

MAYOR JAVIER VILLALOBOS, MCALLEN, TEXAS: We're going to be swamped with people.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): McAllen mayor, Javier Villalobos, says the U.S. government has pumped more than $30 million in the last year to help the city handle immigration costs like transportation and housing. But the mayor says the Biden administration should keep Title 42 in place to slow the flow of migrants into South Texas.

(On camera): Do you worry, though, that Title 42 is going to be used as an immigration policy and not a public health policy, which is what it is?

VILLALOBOS: We have been seeing lesser numbers and it's more beneficial to us. Do I know that it's not a policy, an immigration policy? The answer is yes, but it has been useful to us.

LAVANDERA (on camera): If we're a nation of laws, if we are using a law incorrectly, are we -- are we being hypocritical?


ESCOBAR: Maybe. What else is being done to hold immigration down or to stop it or to at least control it to some degree? Nothing.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Ruperto Escobar will keep working his land and keep waiting for an immigration solution that seems lost in these fields.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.


LEMON: Ed, thank you so much.

And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.