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New Day Saturday

Massive Explosion Cripples Bridge Linking Russia To Annexed Crimea; Biden Touts Job Market As Proof Of Strong Economy; No Verdict Reached Yet in Alex Jones' Sandy Hook Defamation Trial; New York City Mayor Declares State of Emergency for New York. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired October 08, 2022 - 06:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning and welcome to your New Day. I'm Boris Sanchez.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Amara Walker. Breaking overnight, a fuel tanker explodes on a massive bridge linking Russia to the annex territory of Crimea. What this means both strategically and symbolically and how Ukrainian and Russian officials are reacting.

SANCHEZ: Plus, you would think a strong jobs report would be great news, but new numbers may signal trouble for the long-term U.S. economy. Why good news may now mean pain in the future.

WALKER: And cleaning house in Uvalde. The school district there suspends its entire police force and puts two officials on leave following the school shooting that left 19 children dead. How the families are reacting.

SANCHEZ: And anger and confusion in Florida as many left homeless by Hurricane Ian are stuck waiting in line for hours to get the help they need. We're going to take you here this morning. New Day starts right now.

Amara, we made it. It's the weekend, Saturday, October 8. We're so grateful that you're with us. And before we start, a heartfelt welcome is in order. I hope that our viewers will join me in welcoming and congratulating Amara Walker, the new official co-anchor of weekend New Day. Congrats, Amara.

WALKER: Thank you so much, Boris. It really feels like the first day of school for me. I'm a little nervous, I guess, and also excited and truly there is no one else I would rather be doing this with than you especially --

SANCHEZ: That's very kind.

WALKER: -- during these dark and early morning hours. But you and me together, we got this World Watch out. Happy to be here. Thank you so much, Boris. SANCHEZ: Of course.

WALKER: Well, we are following breaking news out of Crimea where there has been a major escalation in Russia's war on Ukraine.

SANCHEZ: There was a massive explosion overnight that crippled Europe's longest bridge linking Russia to the annex territory of Crimea. The Kerch bridge is not only logistically important, it's also a huge symbol for the Kremlin. And its attempt to reunify Crimea with the Russian mainland.

So let's take you to Kyiv now and CNN Senior International Correspondent Frederik Pleitgen. Fred, the source of the explosion is still unclear, but I think a lot of people would naturally assume that this is the work of Ukraine.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot of people would naturally assume that. You're absolutely right, Boris. And certainly, the Russians seem to be assuming that as well. It was a devastating explosion or set of explosions that took place there in the early morning hours. I think we just saw some of that CCTV video of that explosion taking place. You can see that it was still dark outside when it happened.

The Russians initially saying that it seems to be some kind of truck that blew up. And what happened in the aftermath of that is that part of the bridge actually collapsed. Now that bridge is a very elaborate bridge. It's not just very long, but it's also very wide as well. It has two lanes for cars or several lanes for cars, and then also a rail link that's in the middle. And all of that is now shut down.

There was a train that was going past there at the moment of the explosion, apparently also carrying fuel, possibly also contributing to that very large explosion. That train is still sat there, that was burning for a very long time until the authorities managed to extinguish those flames. And again, part of that bridge collapsed.

The Russians are already saying that bridge is going to be out for at least several weeks. Going forward, the Russians have already put in place Vladimir Putin. And investigative committee, a commission to find out exactly what happened is to try and get it up and running again. But you know what, you guys are saying is obviously absolutely correct. It's strategically an extremely important bridge, because it links the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, links that to the Russian mainland, and that's really one of the main supply lines that the Russians have for their entire southern military operation that they have going on in their war -- their invasion of Crimea.

So a lot of tanks, a lot of logistical equipment going along the railings, but along the road as well. Now, obviously, all of that is shut down. It's interesting because the authorities have already been saying that there's not going to be any shortages there on the peninsula as far as fuel is concerned. They are, obviously, very concerned that people will be racing to gas stations now to try and get food and then also to grocery stores to try and stock up there as well. It's a big blow.

And then also, of course, a big blow symbolically. I think Amara was saying that, also a very true, this bridge was inaugurated by Vladimir Putin himself. It was a huge project. It was built very quickly. The Russian leader was very proud of the bridge as well, and it was blown up just one day after Vladimir Putin 70th birthday.


And as you guys can imagine, Ukrainian officials are already setting social media on fire, if you will, mocking the Russian President. In fact, the National Security Adviser of Ukraine, he put out a tweet juxtaposing Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to John F. Kennedy, with the bridge burning saying Happy Birthday, Mr. President, obviously, mocking Vladimir Putin in all of that. So the Ukrainians taking advantage of all this, not acknowledging it was then though just yet, guys.

WALKER: Yes. A very interesting tweet, as you mentioned, that has really gone viral there on Twitter. Appreciate your reporting, as always. Frederik Pleitgen, thank you.

So now, taking the temperature of the U.S. economy and hoping the fever will break soon, the economy has cooled down a few degrees, but it is still hotter than the Federal Reserve would like to see.

SANCHEZ: Look, and in any other climate, this would be great news. Employers added 263,000 jobs last month that slightly more than economists predicted. The unemployment rate also dipped to 3.5 percent.

WALKER: President Biden says the latest job numbers are evidence of a strong economy. But the Fed now faces the delicate balancing act trying to cool down the job market and tamp down inflation without triggering a recession. That's key here.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that's where the trouble lies. And CNN Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans breaks down the latest numbers for us and what they mean.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Amara, still strong job market but showing some signs of cooling down. You can see the trend here gradually slowing jobs growth, fewer jobs added in September than in August, and below the supercharged pace from earlier this year.

The jobless rate fell to 3.5 percent near the lowest in 50 years and down sharply from the worst days early in the pandemic. Hiring was broad based, 83,000 jobs added in bars, restaurants and hotels. Healthcare has now recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic. 46,000 new jobs in Business and Information Services, 22,000 in manufacturing.

Wage growth slowed to an annual rate of 5 percent. Slowing down from the Red-Hot growth earlier this year and potentially a sign the Feds medicine is starting to work. Taken together, it shows a job market still strong but moderating. And because monetary policy takes some time to affect the economy, it may be just the beginning to reflect the Feds higher rates. Boris, Amara?

SANCHEZ: Christine Romans, thank you so much for that.

President Biden is saying that these robust jobs market is evidence of a strong economy where everyone is doing well. Here's what he told supporters at a rally in Maryland yesterday.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All across America, we're proving made America's is just a slogan, it's reality. We're proving that our best days are ahead of us, not behind us. This is an economy built on, building from the middle out and the bottom up, not from the top down.

And when that happens, everyone does well. The poor have a ladder up, the middle class do well, and the wealthy do very well. They're not hurt at all. That's an economic vision I offered to America when I ran and I'm pushing that.


WALKER: CNN White House Reporter Kevin Liptak is traveling with the President in Wilmington, Delaware. Good morning to you, Kevin. As we heard there, the President touting his economic plans, but also taking aim at Republicans as midterms are what, just exactly a month away. What's he saying?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, he's really turning up the heat on Republicans about a month away from the midterm elections. And he's also defending his economic record, even as there's so much uncertainty still lingering in the economy. So yesterday, the President was at that Volvo manufacturing plant in Maryland, it was just across the border from Pennsylvania. That's the side of those critical Senate and governor's races.

And the President really trying to lay out the stakes of what would happen if Republicans took control of Congress. Listen to a little bit more of what he had to say.


BIDEN: Many of my Republican friends are basically arguing that good news for the economy is bad news, is bad news for America. As if they're rooting for fewer jobs and lower wages. They love to attack Democrats. They say, we -- for what we've done. But they really don't want to see what their plan is. I doubt any of you can tell me what the Republican reelection plan is this time out. What's their platform if they take control of Congress?


LIPTAK: So you hear the President really trying to sharpen his message just as the midterm elections near now. He was speaking just a few hours after those jobs numbers came out showing the robust jobs market cooling slightly but the President will have a challenge in the weeks and months ahead trying to explain to Americans how he's trying to stabilize this economy even if it means fewer jobs, even if it means inflation coming down.


Now the President is also contending with a slight uptick in gas prices. And that's something that he and his top advisers are watching very closely for a lot of the President's senior aides. That's the most important metric in the weeks before the midterm elections. President Biden was delta blow last week, of course, when OPEC, the OPEC Plus, the oil cartel announced that it was cutting production. That was after the President's high stakes trip to Saudi Arabia over the summer.

But those officials insist that was not a waste of time. But certainly, it could mean that gas prices continue to go up. You're already starting to see prices reach almost their heights in California. There are some refineries that have went off line over the past few weeks. And so, the President and his top aides are watching that very closely.

Now, the President in his speech yesterday, did acknowledge that gas prices were starting to tick back up again. And he mentioned that situation with OPEC. And he said he's not finished with it yet. So clearly, raising the specter of taking some sort of action against OPEC, trying to bring down gas prices as voters begun to make their decision in the weeks before the midterm elections. Guys?

WALKER: Of course, OPEC Plus cutting oil production happening just days before the midterm elections. Timing not exactly fortunate for the President. Kevin Liptak, thank you very much.

So, obviously, the economy is a major issue in the upcoming midterm elections. That could spell trouble for the Democrats, of course. Let's get some perspective now on that and more from CNN Political Commentator, Errol Louis. Good morning, Errol, always good to see you.

So, we just heard there from Kevin, right? We've got stubbornly high inflation, rising interest rates and, of course, it doesn't help that of course, OPEC Plus countries cutting oil production, and that is clearly going to lead to higher gas prices. How do all these issues play into the November elections?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Amara. The way a lot of this plays out is that the many, many voters really close to half, in some ways, according to this political science literature, are making their decisions based not on a detailed analysis of where candidates are coming from, but on the very simple and very reasonable question of whether or not life is better for them.

And if things are looking ugly, at the supermarket checkout line, and at the pump, when they go to fill up the cars with gas, they're going to say whoever is in power, we need to just make a change. I mean, that's just the way it goes. And it may seem unfair, since after all, it's not a Democratic or Republican problem that Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine. But the reality is, Russia is a member of OPEC, and the United States is not.

And Russia convinced its fellow cartel members to raise the price of gas. And there's not a whole lot we can do about it, along with the supply chain problems that are caused by the war itself. So, it's going to be very, very tough for Democrats to convince people who are not paying all that close attention to the ins and outs of whatever policy might be proposed.

And, of course, the President is right. The Republicans are not proposing anything particularly different. They're just saying if you've got pain, you've got to make a change. And that's a pretty effective slogan in the closing weeks of the campaign.

WALKER: Interesting. And of course, yes, a lot of voters obviously vote based on their emotions, right, and what they're feeling in terms of what's in their pockets. When you look at Nevada and Arizona, really important battleground states. It shows, according to some polls, including CNN polling that voters are focused on the economy, no surprises are top issue. But the Senate and gubernatorial races don't seem to have a clear winner in these two states. How do you read into that?

LOUIS: Well, yes, it is interesting because in one case, in particular, in Arizona, especially I should say, Donald Trump has injected himself into the election where the entire Republican slate are pro-Trump. I mean, all in Trumpers. I believe he's going to be campaigning there this weekend as a matter of fact.

And so that introduces an entirely new factor, it's all of it. So even though, for example, gas prices are spiking in Arizona, and normally that would just help Republicans, you got this other X factor. You know, we've got the final of the public hearings of the January 6 committee coming up.

There are questions of -- I mean, there are Republican candidates, Amara, who are saying that the 2020 election was wrongly decided, and that given the chance, they would have thrown out their own state's electoral ballots. I mean, this is extreme behavior. And I don't think Republicans who could be running on simply the question of inflation, I don't know if they're necessarily going to be helped by throwing Trumpism into the middle of the mix.

WALKER: Right. So -- right. So then if there are people out there who are concerned about, you know, America's democracy hanging in the balance, you know, and you look at some of the CNN polling that shows Republican voters in those two battleground states, Arizona and Nevada, they're more motivated to vote. 62 percent for Republicans versus 52 percent for Democrats.


But you also have Roe v. Wade, and you would think that that would have lit a fire in terms of, you know, really motivating voters or Democratic voters. So, I mean, where's this disconnect here? LOUIS: Well, you know, well, it's interesting. I mean, Republicans may be more motivated in the polls do suggest that. On the other hand, there's a factor out there that the poli (ph) may not be picking up, which is that we've seen from coast to coast, Amara, a surge in voter registration among women, following the overturning of Roe.

Now, you know, you can't make a straight-line correlation but it's safe to assume that you wouldn't see that big bump in registration among women if they were planning to simply stay at home, you know that. And you have to presume that this is going to help Democrats now. How all of that plays out from state to state? It really it depends on the candidates, it depends on the money, it depends on the advertising and the messaging.

But in every instance where we've had a chance to sort of get a glimpse at it, really from one end of the country to the other from Kansas to New York, what we're finding is that it really gives quite a lot of help to Democrats. So they're going to sort of be hoping to exploit that, I think, in Nevada, and in Arizona as well.

WALKER: And just lastly before we go regarding OPEC Plus and cutting its oil production, and obviously a slap in the face for the -- for President Biden, who was just there a few months ago hoping to, you know, get the Saudi Arabian kingdom to actually, you know, put out more gasoline. How is the Biden administration mulling this issue? Because the oil production cuts are supposed to happen, I think is in November 1, which could spike gas prices. And Biden seems quite angry about this. So -- but retaliation could also backfire. So he's kind of in a pickle right now.

LOUIS: Well, retaliation could backfire big time. I mean, what should the United States do? Should it start? I'm holding back on some of its arm sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and destabilize the entire region over gas prices? I don't know if that's a smart thing to do. I mean, the President's in a difficult position.

I believe what -- to the extent that it becomes an issue, he can say, truthfully, I did everything I could. I went over and tried to argue in person for them not to do this. But in the end, Russia is a member of OPEC, and the United States is not and they chose to do what their cartel member wanted them to do. And that -- I don't know if it's that much more complicated as far as the reality of it. The political blowback, of course, is going to be pretty fierce for the Democrats.

WALKER: Errol Louis, appreciate your time as always. Thank you so much.

LOUIS: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Still ahead, long lines, frustration and for many, nowhere to go. A lot of folks who lost their homes during Hurricane Ian are now turning for help at Mega shelters, wondering how much longer they'll have to go before being forced to go somewhere else.

WALKER: Plus, a major shake-up in Uvalde after that tragic school shooting. The school district has suspended its police fort -- force, I should say. So how is the community responding to a little too late? That's next.



SANCHEZ: There are some new developments to share with you this morning and a very important story. Four months after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the school district superintendent Hal Harrell has announced plans to begin the process of retiring. That comes on the same day the district suspended its entire police force until further notice.

CNN Crime and Justice Correspondent Shimon Prokupecz has more on that and the ongoing investigation.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The Uvalde school district suspending all of its officers pulling them out of the schools in Uvalde and putting them into administrative roles. All of this of course happening after our reporting that a newly hired officer who came from the DPS, she resigned from the Department of Public Safety and was hired by the school district despite the fact that she was under investigation for her response while at the DPS to the Robb Elementary School.

The school somehow, someway hired her even though they knew, they were told by the DPS that she was under investigation. Also, a school administrator by the name of Ken Miller was also suspended. He retired because of that suspension. He decided he's just going to retire. And then also Lieutenant Miguel Hernandez, he's the lieutenant, he's the commanding officer of the school police force. He also was placed on administrative leave.

And what our understanding is this lieutenant was the one who was behind vetting that officer, Officer Elizondo, the newly hired officer by the school district. And so really the school district here responds -- responding in decisive form, taking all of their officers out, removing this administrator and then also suspending this lieutenant.

Of course, this is all welcome news for the families who have been fighting for justice, who've been fighting for accountability, wanting the school to take this kind of action, certainly after our report. But also since the shooting, they have not felt safe in that community with those officers and they've wanted accountability for the failures. But also the failures that they believe occurred by the school district.

We're also told on one final note is that the superintendent Hal Harrell, he plans to retire. That announcement is expected sometime possibly on Monday. So certainly, a big shake up there in Uvalde. Something that the families didn't think they would get, but finally, some accountability for them offering them some relief. Boris, Amara?


SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Shimon Prokupecz for his excellent reporting on that story.

So, more than a week has passed since Hurricane Ian made its deadly landfall. But for some folks in Florida, restoration and recovery efforts are still strained and slow going.

WALKER: Frustrated residents have faced long lines at FEMA help centers. Some survivors say they have yet to hear from insurance adjusters. CNN's Leyla Santiago with more now on the recovery.


ALEXIS HINSON, MOTHER STAYING IN SHELTER WITH YOUNG CHILDREN: It's been very stressful and overwhelming.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alexis Hinson has been living in a shelter now for 11 days. The kids are getting cranky. It's difficult to explain to them their new reality, uncertainty is growing.

HINSON: It's hard to get your kids to realize what's going on when they're so young. Honestly, I don't really have a plan. It's really just a waiting game right now.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): The family of three is staying at the Hertz Arena, a mega shelter in Lee County run by the Red Cross. Cameras not allowed inside here. But the Red Cross provided this video which shows children, families, hundreds of cots. Organizers tell us about 500 people will be staying here tonight.

TIFFANY GONZALEZ, RED CROSS SPOKESWOMAN: That Red Cross is here for as long as need be.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): A big ask for many just a warm shower. The comforts of the home that Hurricane Ian took away

VANESSA DIEUJUSTE, NURSE: It's everything to someone not affected by the hurricane.

DENISE GRIFFIN, FORT MYERS BEACH RESIDENT STAYING IN SHELTER: I had my first nightmare. That was about 2:00 this morning.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Denise Griffin is also staying here. Her home in Fort Myers Beach was wiped away. A former paramedic and 911 dispatcher, she's frustrated by how mandatory evacuation orders played out.

GRIFFIN: I wish I had known earlier, give me a couple of days, I could have walked off the island, but we had less than 30 hours and I have a bike. I don't have a car.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): While we were here, Florida's Lieutenant Governor stopped by. We asked her about the criticism and calls for accountability.

LT. GOV. JEANETTE NUNEZ (R), FLORIDA: And we're going to engage on focusing on rebuilding. We are not going to criticize our local emergency managers.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): She says she wants to focus on making sure people have access to services they desperately need.

NUNEZ: FEMA has been an integrated and an active partner every step of the way. So we're really pleased with their response.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): A long term response for what's been a nightmare disaster.

(on-camera): That nightmare you had.

GRIFFIN: Water. I love the water, but not like that.


SANTIAGO: Every single person we talked to at the shelter had the same question -- how long do they have? How long can they count on this shelter as a place to stay? It certainly speaks to the uncertainty of it all for them. According to the Lee County sheriff, they have three shelters right now in the county that are open, inactive and a bit of news when it comes to progress. Florida Power and Light now saying that 98 percent of power has been restored. Boris, Amara?

WALKER: Leyla, thank you for your reporting there.

Well, it was an emotional week of testimony after Sandy Hook families share their pain and suffering in the Alex Jones trial. Now the jury is left to deliberate a verdict. We're going to have the latest on that trial next.



WALKER: No verdict yet in the Alex Jones-Sandy Hook defamation trial. A jury in Connecticut will reconvene early next week after wrapping up its first full day of deliberations on Friday.

SANCHEZ: The conspiracy theorist could be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to relatives of Sandy Hook victims after he was found liable for damages last year. CNN's Erica Hill walks us through the details.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR & NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Amara, good morning. Jurors in Connecticut will resume deliberations on Tuesday morning in the damages trial of Alex Jones. The conspiracy theorist was found liable last year of defaming families of the Sandy Hook victims.

The jury of six wrapped its second day of deliberations on Friday afternoon. They're deciding how much Jones should pay in damages. The "Infowars" host spent years questioning the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre which left 20 children and six educators dead, calling the shooting a hoax, alleging the families involved were crisis actors. During 4 weeks of emotional testimony, family members of the victims

described how they've been harassed over the past decade, both in person and online, accosted in public, sent threatening letters, harassment that began in some cases before they even buried their children. At the end of his only day on the stand, Jones got in a heated exchange with the plaintiff's attorney, exploding at one point that he was quote, "done, saying, I'm sorry".

The 15 plaintiffs in Connecticut include an FBI agent who responded to the scene at Sandy Hook, and representatives from the families of eight of the victims. Monday, of course, is a holiday, so those jury deliberations will resume Tuesday morning at 9:30. Boris, Amara?

SANCHEZ: Thanks to Erica Hill for that report. Let's get your legal brief now with CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson. Joey, always appreciate you being an early riser for us on a weekend. So, the jury deliberated very briefly Thursday, the full day yesterday. They had some requests. They wanted a dry erase, easel, markers, an eraser and a copy of the jury instructions. Is there anything to read there?

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Boris, good morning to you. What is to read is that they have a lot of work to do. Remember, just to make everything clear about this, liability. That is the responsibility with regard to his false statements about Sandy Hook being a hoax, about crisis actors being the family members who were victims, that has already been determined.

He's already found liable, Boris, as it relates to that. The jurors' job right now is to assess the damages involved. What does that mean? It means that the jury is focused not on his liability.


They're focused knowing he already was locked down liable by default on how much of a monetary penalty this would be. Very briefly, Boris, there's two forms. One is compensatory damages. Those damages are designed to compensate the families for their losses as it relates to his lies. The other measure of damages being punitive damages.

Those damages designed to punish him for his misrepresentation. So when you want an easel, when you want the jury instructions, when you want something to write on it, it means that they're assessing in their view what the evidence has shown, Boris, as it relates to what he owes monetarily for his false claims.

SANCHEZ: One attorney for the Sandy Hook parents had said the jury should award the plaintiffs at least $550 million. How does the jury figure out the exact amount?

JACKSON: So, I think what they do, and it's very ambiguous, right? There's no set formula, Boris, in terms of deciding specifically how much should be awarded. Having said that, the attorneys for the victims have said, hey, listen, you're talking about someone who used his platform as it relates to not only TV, but radio and social media to defame these families, to hurt these families, to emotionally impair these families. If you look at between 2012 and 2018, the 550 million hits, right? In

terms of people looking and evaluating, perhaps that's a measure that you should use imply -- you know, in awarding damages here. And so, while there is no set formula, the attorneys have given a guide, very important point to make, Boris, and that's this. We talked about caps, right, on damages. In Texas, you saw that cap, right?

He was awarded in Texas -- excuse me, the victims in that trial were awarded plenty of money, $50 million. There's a punitive damage cap, right? Punitive damages, again, designed to punish. There's also punitive cam -- excuse me, caps in Connecticut, and those caps are limited to the cost of your litigation, and the cost of attorney's fees.

However, they also sued -- that is, the victims, under unfair trade practices where there is no such caps. So, when we're talking about damages, yes, there are limited damages for -- when you talk about the defamation, but if you continue that to unfair trade practices, there's no cap permissible, and literally, it could lead to ruinous liability. So, that's an important distinction to make here, Boris.

SANCHEZ: We've got to leave the conversation there. The jury deliberates again on Tuesday. We look forward to continuing the conversation in the future. Joey Jackson, thanks so much.

JACKSON: Always, thank you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

WALKER: Still ahead, for hundreds of thousands of migrants, getting to the U.S. is just the first step in a very long process. Next, CNN talks to families navigating their next chapter and the challenges they're facing.



WALKER: New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency Friday in response to the influx of asylum seekers. The mayor said the city now has more than 61,000 people in its shelter system, many bused to New York from other parts of the country.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK STATE: Our shelter system is now operating near 100 percent capacity. And if these trends continue, we will be over 100,000 in the year to come. That's far more than the system was ever designed to handle. This is unsustainable.


WALKER: In fact, Adams says the crisis will cost the city $1 billion, and he's asking for federal and state assistance. The state of emergency will last 30 days and may be extended. SANCHEZ: Further south on the border, the surge in migrants continues.

Nearly 600,000 migrants have been allowed into the United States and processed by U.S. Border Patrol. But what happens to them once they're actually here? CNN's Rosa Flores has a firsthand look.


ROSA FLORES, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Family time without fear.

(on camera): (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Your family was threatened. That's why Felipe Manrique fled Colombia with his wife and three children. They're some of the more than 580,000 migrants processed by border patrol at the U.S. southern border, and released by immigration authorities into the country this fiscal year with pending immigration proceedings like the Manriques.

He says they're hoping to seek asylum. Many are hoping to seek asylum or other forms of relief. The newest migration wave is made up of Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Cubans fleeing failing communist regimes in their home countries, says U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Which also means unlike migrants from other countries, they're mostly not subject to expulsion under Title 42.

The pandemic public health order that allows immigration authorities to remove migrants swiftly to Mexico. We've met dozens of them. So, you were a systems engineer in Venezuela -- in the past few months. What they might not realize is that they're entering a back-logged and complicated American immigration system.

In immigration court alone, there are nearly 2 million cases pending, including over 743,000 asylum claims. Conchita Cruz leads an advocacy group with 400,000 asylum seekers and says they sometimes wait years for a court date.


CONCHITA CRUZ, ASYLUM SEEKER ADVOCACY PROJECT: The government is currently failing to abide by the law.

FLORES (voice-over): Cruz says asylum seekers can apply for work permits 150 days after filing for asylum and the federal government has 30 days to process them.

CRUZ: Unfortunately, the government is taking many months, 3 months or more even to process work permit applications.

FLORES: Without that permit, they can't work legally. We first interviewed Ismail Martinez(ph), professional artist and Jessie Amaya(ph), paramedic both from Venezuela in April in San Antonio.

(on camera): How many days have you been in --


FLORES: San Antonio? (voice-over): They had been processed by immigration authorities, had

no money, and no one to take them in. Martinez(ph) made it to New York, but was homeless until he started making and selling jewelry on the street. He's now renting a room for a $1,000 a month. Amaya(ph) worked construction in San Antonio, purchased a vehicle and paid $800 a month for a two-bedroom house.


FLORES (on camera): Oh, OK, so he says that he's working in an irregular way.

(voice-over): Both Amaya(ph) and Martinez(ph) had no choice, but to work while starting their immigration proceedings, otherwise, they'd be homeless and hungry. As for Manrique --

(on camera): You think you will get asylum? He says he doesn't know.

(voice-over): But like so many asylum hopefuls we've talked to, just being safe on U.S. soil is more than enough.


FLORES: In May, the Biden administration launched an effort to speed up the asylum process. Now, this program is being rolled out in a phased manner, but when it's in full swing, it's expected to reduce the amount of processing time from several years to several months.

As for the asylum work permit delays, according to the USCIS, they're working to cut down the processing time there as well, but they do say that they're receiving an historic number of requests. Amara, Boris?

WALKER: All right, thank you so much for that. An emotional week comes to ahead for U.S. soccer -- U.S. Women's Soccer. The team was back on the field for the first time since a shocking report detailed abuse and misconduct at every level of the sport. Next, you're going to hear their message to officials.



SANCHEZ: By the time the games kick off tomorrow, the NFL could have a new concussion policy.

WALKER: Andy Scholes joining us now. Good morning, Andy. So, the union says it's the league's responsibility to make it happen now.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, guys, you know, we've been waiting for the new protocols this entire week, just not knowing what the hold-up is in a league. And the players association have been negotiating the new terms. Well, the NFL PA says the players have agreed to new safety rules and they want them to put into place immediately.

They put out a statement last night saying "our union has agreed to change the concussion protocols to protect players from returning to play in the case of any similar incident to what we saw September 25th." Now, that was the day Tua Tagovailoa stumbled when getting up against the Bills, but still came back into that game later on.

Now, the NFL PA went on to say they want the protocols in place before Sunday's games. And when asked by CNN if that would happen, the league's spokesperson said they agree new rules are needed and have spoken to game-day spotters about the changes that are likely coming.

Now, the U.S. women's national team meanwhile on the pitch for the first time since an explosive report earlier this week revealing widespread abuse in the sport. American and English players coming together holding up a teal "protect our players" banner, then they all took a knee together at kickoff to show solidarity. The game selling out London's Wembley's Stadium, 87,000-plus on hand watching the reigning European champs pull out a 2-1 win over team USA.

All right, baseball playoffs now underway. A new three-game wild-card series this year. Not the start to the post-season Mets were hoping for, ace Max Scherzer giving up a career-high 4 home runs last night, the Padres win game one 7-1. Jacob deGrom could be on the hill today trying to save the Mets' season. The Cardinals meanwhile with an absolute meltdown in the ninth inning against the Phillies.

They were up 2-0 to start the inning, the Phillies then went single, walk, hit by pitch, then Jean Segura came to the play, he had a big single to score 2 to take the lead. Segura waiting 11 seasons and more than 1,300 games to play in the post-season, making the most of it. Phillies scored six in the ninth, winning the game 6-3. Most runs ever in the ninth for a team in the Playoffs after being held scoreless through eight.

In the AL, the Mariners back in the post-season for the first time since 2001. They're making the most of it. Cal Raleigh whose nickname is Big Dumper because of his big home runs. Hitting the two-run blast in the first against the Blue Jays, Luis Castillo, 7-3 shutout baseball. Mariners win that one 4-0.

The Guardians also getting a win over the Rays, guys. But I'll tell you what, if you had any Mets fans in your life --


Just say a quick prayer for them. I mean, Boris, you know, they had that meltdown to end the season, they were leading the division for 170 days, now they're a game away from being completely eliminated. So the Mets fans are in a bad place right now --

SANCHEZ: That trumpet is going to start sounding real sad and soon, right, Andy?

SCHOLES: Yes, oh, boy.

WALKER: Thanks so much, Andy --

SCHOLES: All right -- WALKER: Good to see you.

SANCHEZ: We have a quick programming note to share with you. Please tune in tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN to catch "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE". This week, his guests include Mark Cuban and Clive Davis. It airs tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. right here on CNN.


WALKER: The Bayou State sees its fair share of devastating news, Louisiana has been pummeled by storms, poverty and crime. But this week's CNN Hero Dustin LaFont is getting hundreds of kids in Baton Rouge to pedal beyond adversity and towards a bright future. Take a look.


DUSTIN LAFONT, ENTREPRENEUR: Inside! Let's go. Let's go. Our kids in south Louisiana grew up knowing they have to be resilient from day one. We could probably get you a whole new stem with a bar that has new grips. Is that what you would like the most? Something like that?

Our mission is to create safe spaces that empower our kids to learn about their intrinsic worth as they learn how to build a bike.

I want you to take your lever and run it around all the way, there you go. So, now, we have to insert your tube next. Our program is really open to any kid, any age to come learn mechanics and build it, earn it. In our space, our students get the opportunity to see themselves as creators and designers, dreamers.

Keep it up! Keep it up! Keep it up! It starts to build on this thought of affirming who they are, that they're a wonderful person, that they're a person that makes the world better, that they're beautiful.


WALKER: For the full story, go to