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Bills, Bengals Face Off For First Time Since Hamlin's Collapse; New Program Allows Private U.S. Citizens To Sponsor Refugees; More Americans Raising Backyard Chickens As Egg Prices Surge. Aired 10:30- 11a ET

Aired January 20, 2023 - 10:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: This weekend, a highly anticipated rematch between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals more than two weeks after Damar Hamlin's on field collapse in Cincinnati.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: This goes beyond just the game.

BERMAN: Way beyond.

GOLODRYGA: I mean, just the emotions involved in what we're going to see this weekend. This time, the two teams will be facing off in Buffalo. Hamlin is now out of the hospital, but still faces a long recovery after his cardiac arrest, but he is playing an important role in this weekend's game.

CNN's sports anchor Coy Wire joins us live from Buffalo with more. I can't wait to see it this weekend, Coy. How will Damar Hamlin figure into the game?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes. Well, we shall see. We don't know if he'll be here or not. Players though, they're managing this mindset that they had to have to head into a playoff game along with all the emotions from the last time the Bills played the Bengals and what happened, Damar Hamlin's longtime friend, John and Bianna. And his rep, John, Jordon Rooney told me this morning that while Damar still requires oxygen, he gets winded easily, he has his heart monitored regularly and he has a lengthy recovery ahead of him.

Damar remains positive and he's ready to overcome and players across the board, they say their spirits are lifted now that Damar is back in that building.


JOSH ALLEN, QUARTERBACK, BUFFALO BILLS: It's been good to see him, you know, a smile on his face and, you know, guys love having him back in the building.

WIRE: It's been a welcome sight to see Damar Hamlin back at the Bills' facilities on a daily basis this week. DION DAWKINS, OFFENSIVE LINEMAN, BUFFALO BILLS: To see 3 to smile and just wave and just, you know, put his hearts up and keep pushing, you know, it's a -- like it's a positive energy bubble that's just floating around the facility.


WIRE: It's been just over two weeks since he suffered cardiac arrest on the field in Cincinnati.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know like how he went down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to need everybody all call, all call.

WIRE: The NFL ultimately canceled that game. But this Sunday, the Bills and Bengals will face each other for the first time since that horrific scene, and there's no question it'll be on the players' minds.

TRE'DAVIOUS WHITE, CORNERBACK,M BUFFALO BILLS: Just something that I can't get -- I can't un-see. Every time I close my eyes that, it replays.

WIRE: That tragic moment, though, has also brought out the best in humanity. Fans have donated millions to Hamlin's charity and others are using the moment to help raise awareness for heart health.

ERIN OLIVER, CO-CREATOR, HEARTS FOR HAMLIN AND HIGGINS: You go donate blood, go get CPR certified, whatever you can do, just do one thing that can make a small difference in one person's life. And that's all we ask.


WIRE: A huge wave of support for heart health and of course for Damar Hamlin. Check out these, John and Bianna, the entire team will be freed up as Dion Dawkins says. Roger Saffold, Von Miller, players posting these pendants that the team are going to be wearing on the back of them. There's a quote from Damar Hamlin that says, if you get a chance to show some love today, do it. It won't cost you anything. Positive energy bubble. Love that phrase from Dion Dawkins.

John and Bianna, back to you.

GOLODRYGA: Listen, regardless of who wins, it is a victory of life, right, for Hamlin and to see him there and the role that he will end up playing whatever that will be.

Coy Wire, thank you. Hopefully the weather will be better this weekend as well.

WIRE: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Up next, the Biden administration creates a new program that allows anyone to sponsor a refugee looking to start a new life in the United States. I'll speak to an organization that already helps resettle refugees about whether this can relieve the backlog.



GOLODRYGA: This morning, new hope for refugees looking to settle in the United States. The Biden administration has unveiled a new program which allows private citizens to sponsor refugees from around the globe.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the program which is called, Welcome Corps, is the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in four decades.

Joining me now to talk about all of this is Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Mark, always great to have you on. Thanks so much for joining us.

A really bold initiative here. Walk us through how it works. I know it allows for groups of at least five individuals to apply and sponsor refugees from around the world with as little as $3,000 per refugee.

MARK HETFIELD, PRESIDENT, HEBREW IMMIGRANT AID SOCIETY: Well, yes, that's true. But let me -- let me add a little bit of color to that. So, you know, the U.S. has been resettling refugees, obviously, for many, many decades. HIAS has been doing it for 40 years, through the traditional resettlement program.

And for HIAS this meant we had 22 sites around the country where we could resettle refugees. The challenge is we had people all over the country who wanted to welcome refugees, wanted to resettle them, but if they didn't live near those 22 sites, they were out of luck.

Now, we can resettle refugees anywhere in the country where we have three to five people or congregations who want to welcome refugees into their community. Yes, the official U.S. government requirement is $2,275, but the fact of the matter is, it's a lot more expensive than that to resettle refugees.

You know this -- that is the bare minimum requirement to participate in the program. And we actually, at highest, require that interested communities develop a resettlement plan where they clearly state under -- understand the amount of assets they have to have, the number of volunteers they have to have in order to welcome the refugees appropriately, but it does cost more than $2,275.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And I know that Secretary Blinken said the goal is to mobilize around 10,000 Americans to step forward as private donors, at least in the first few years, and welcome about 5,000 refugees from around the world. We're talking about, obviously, Ukraine, and I know your focus last year was specifically on Afghanistan, as well.

These are lofty ambitions. But I'm just curious, given what we're seeing in other countries, in neighboring countries to Ukraine and Europe taking in millions of refugees, I understand the proximity and the borders there. Is this number too low for the United States to be admitting right now?

HETFIELD: Well, you know, we have to reach the number that the Biden administration set. They set a goal of the overall refugee program of 125,000 for last year. They reached only about a fifth of that number. So we have to do much better. The number is too low. We have to build up capacity and demonstrate leadership because there is a global refugee crisis right now, as you said, not just in Ukraine, but over the world.

There are over 100 million people displaced, two million of whom need to be resettled because they cannot stay where they are. So, yes, we do need to do better, but we understand that it takes time to build things back. And this initiative, the Welcome Corps is a -- is a great step forward.

GOLODRYGA: Mark, for those Americans who are watching and want to extend an arm and hand and some money and sponsor a refugee, what can you tell them in terms of guaranteeing background checks in vetting?

HETFIELD: Right. Well, you know, the vetting is on two sides, right? We have to vet the volunteers. The government vets the volunteers through the community sponsorship hub, and HIAS does the same for our volunteers who want to sponsor refugees, but at the same time the refugees themselves are vetted.


Every refugee who is resettled to this country receives more vetting, more security than any other immigrant who enters the United States. So there is vetting and the vetting has to take place on both sides, both for the people welcoming the refugees and for the refugees themselves.

GOLODRYGA: Well, Mark, you know how special your organization, HIAS, is for my family and myself. I wouldn't be here in this country without HIAS who helped us resettle as refugees some 42 years ago. So thank you for continuing to pass this forward and for everything that you are doing to help refugees around the world who want to come to, you know, the best country in the world. We appreciate that.

HETFIELD: Well, thank you. You're a living example as to why we love to do what we do.

GOLODRYGA: Thank you, Mark.

BERMAN: I honestly always think the same thing. I always think you're a living, walking example of how important this all is.

GOLODRYGA: It's a special organization.

BERMAN: Any moment, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs will answer questions about the billions in new defense aid on its way to Ukraine. We're going to bring you this live when it happens.



SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): I have been really grappling with what to do with respect to my time in the Senate. And I'm very happy to announce that I'm going to run for a third term in the Senate.


GOLODRYGA: There you heard it. That was Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, announcing he will run for reelection in 2024. And this decision likely comes as a major relief to Democratic leaders as they face a difficult 2024 Senate map having to defend many more seats than Republicans with an already slim majority.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans now -- sorry. Christine is not with us, but this was actually big news that we were waiting for. Sorry, that was --

BERMAN: Yes. Look, it came -- it came right after we were speculating about whether Tim Kaine would announce he's running for reelection.

GOLODRYGA: He was watching and he said, listen, I got to go reassure Berman.

BERMAN: He saw the segment. He saw the segment. He saw how much Democrats wanted to run --


BERMAN: And then decided to announce he was doing it. So that happened. We want to bring people up to speed on that.

More news this morning. The cost of eggs have gone up more than any other item in the grocery store. My understanding is up like 60 percent --

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and that's what everyone is talking about.

BERMAN: -- year over year. Yes, that's a lot.


BERMAN: And our Gabe Cohen is here with us right now to talk about how -- what some people are trying to get around this surge by getting their own eggs from their own chickens.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Backyard chickens, it's becoming a -- it started as a trend at the beginning of COVID. And now it's having this resurgence as egg prices are out of control. I know it sounds like a really bold move, but remember, it's not just egg prices. We're talking about grocery prices overall up 11.8 percent.

Egg prices here in New York, some people paying more than $11 a dozen. And now just frustrated by all this food price volatility and the strains some people want to invest in their own food source.


COHEN: Every morning, Cassidy O'Donnell fetches a feast from her Pennsylvania yard.

CASSIDY O'DONNELL, CHICKEN OWNER: Drop that one in there.

COHEN: Fresh eggs from eight chickens, an idea she hatched last spring as food prices surged.

O'DONNELL: We had seen that the price of eggs had gone up quite a bit and now they've gotten even more expensive. So grateful for the decision that we made a year ago.

COHEN: The price of eggs is up a rotten 60 percent in a year. Largely driven by a deadly avian flu outbreak across 47 states that's left some store shelves empty.

O' DONNELL: Come on.

COHEN: Inspiring more Americans to invest in backyard chickens, hoping to save some scratch.

MIKE HIGMAN, OWNER, MY PET CHICKEN: What we're seeing right now is just a wake-up call for a lot of our customers.

COHEN: Mike Higman owns My Pet Chicken, which sells chicks and supplies for backyard flocks. He says business is booming, up 80 percent this month compared to a year ago.

HIGMAN: We're looking at record numbers because people are seeing the prices of eggs going up in stores and that they're out of stock. There are people that are concerned with what things are going to look like for food prices and food availability over the next 12 months.


COHEN: Renee Ruiz built this coop last May and purchased three chickens, with eight more just hatched, concerned with the cost of feeding his family of five.

RUIZ: I just don't think it's sustainable for people to continue to just pay what they're being asked to pay in the supermarket without having an alternative, and that's what this is.

COHEN: But his hens still haven't laid their first eggs. And he's already spent more than $1,000 on this project.

Do you think this will be worth it in the long run as opposed to just buying eggs?

RUIZ: Yes, it's going to pay off not only after my first year, but just long term if I continue this process.

COHEN: But some experts are skeptical. Do you think most families won't actually end up saving money?

BRIGID MCCRAE, POULTRY SPECIALIST: No. The numbers don't really work out.

COHEN: Brigid McCrea is a poultry specialist that teaches chicken owners how to raise small flocks, and she's warning them not to wing it as costs like feed, housing, equipment, electricity, and time, she says can drive up the average cost of backyard eggs to more than $20 a dozen.

MCCREA: The reality is that you're going to spend more money on your chickens at home than you are on eggs at the grocery store.

COHEN: But Cassidy O'Donnell says her hands are already fluffing the family's bottom line, laying roughly eight dozen eggs each month, which could cost more than $40 in a store. Instead, she's spending about 20 bucks on chicken feed.

O'DONNELL: So we're saving a lot having them in the backyard right now.

COHEN: And she expects roughly 150 eggs a month once the weather warms up and says, they'll try to sell what they can't eat.


O'DONNELL: That's like $70 in eggs at the store right now, so, yes, we'll see a return on it


COHEN: So as you can see, it's not such a simple equation trying to save money by getting backyard birds. But it shows the level of frustration that families are really feeling with these food prices.

Now, the good news, guys, the Department of Agriculture, this week, is saying that they are seeing a, at least, slight dip in the price of eggs, but there are still major concerns about both supply and then again, that avian flu, which even those small flock owners really need to be concerned about and paying attention to.

GOLODRYGA: And, look, this isn't for every American family --

COHEN: Right.

GOLODRYGA: -- to do. But for those that have been, you know, like this family, it's actually helping --

COHEN: And for a lot of them they're telling me, look, this is something I was already interested in and kind of running the numbers and then when I saw these prices go up, it was enough to say, this is going to be worth it.

GOLODRYGA: All right. Gabe Cohen.

BERMAN: Gabe Cohen, thanks.

GOLODRYGA: And thank you so much for joining us today. It's been fun with you this week, John.

BERMAN: It's been a great week. Thank you so much.

GOLODRYGA: I'm Bianna Golodryga.

Berman: And I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN," after a quick break.