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A Change In U.S. Policy Could Further Complicate Conditions At The U.S.-Mexico Border; Reduced Snowpack In Sierra Nevada Mountains Is Another Symptom of Drought. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired April 04, 2022 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi. I`m Carl Azuz. Hope your week and month are off to a good start.

Today`s coverage begins with a down the middle look at a change in U.S. immigration policy and some of the effects it could have in America`s

southern border with Mexico.

Two years ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading in America, the administration of President Donald Trump announced a rule called Title 42.

What it did was allow the U.S. government to deport or expel people trying to enter the United States in an effort to keep those who might have been

sick with coronavirus from carrying it into America. Title 42 was initially a temporary law, but it was extended indefinitely in May of 2020, and it

has remained in place under the administration of President Joe Biden.

Late last week though, the Biden administration announced it would end Title 42. Government health officials said better conditions concerning

COVID and the presence of more tools to fight it meant that the border rule was no longer necessary. So starting on May 23rd, people who are seeking

asylum, those who say they`ve been discriminated against in their home countries will have an easier time getting into America.

But the decision to end Title 42 is controversial, just like the rule itself. When the Trump administration put it in place, critics said it was

an illegal and unfair way to keep asylum seekers out of the U.S. When the Biden administration announced it would get rid of the rule, critics said

it would lead to an uncontrollable number of people wanting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. As many as 18,000 migrants per day could try to do that

when the rule is lifted.

The Department of Homeland Security is preparing temporary facilities and deploying hundreds more officers to try to handle the increase in migrants.

Analysts predict that the number of people who will attempt to cross the border will overwhelm facilities that are already full.

Last year, a record number of migrants were either expelled from the U.S. or taken into custody to have their cases heard. This year`s numbers were

on pace to break that record before the government announced that Title 42 would be lifted.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With a predicted surge in migrant families expected in the coming weeks, the Department of Homeland Security

in the United States saying that it is preparing for a worst-case scenario and that could mean according to the federal government up to 18,000

asylum-seeking people showing up at the nation`s doorstep. That`s certainly concerning. Some critics of that by administration and the announcement

that was made on Friday have said it expressed concern that the infrastructure in many of these border communities is not ready to handle

an expected uptick in these migrant families.

And the key issue here are these communities -- these temporary communities of migrants that have basically popped up in Mexican border towns,

including this one that you can see and brand new CNN drone video in Reynosa, Mexico, which is just across the Rio Grande just a few blocks from

where I`m standing at this hour. And these are migrants that according to sources, many of them have been basically expelled back. There are others

who have made that journey to the doorstep of the United States but due to that Title 42 public health authority have decided to simply wait out that

policy until it`s no longer an issue.

And then that announcement made by the Biden administration on Friday that it will essentially allow that to expire come May 23rd, there`s some

concern of some of these fight administration critics that many of those people that are still waiting there potentially up to ten thousand in this

border town alone will seize that opportunity to finally show up at ports of entry and declare asylum, and that is what`s dividing many people in

border towns throughout the country.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Hidalgo, Texas.


AZUZ: The U.S. government is sending an additional $300 million worth of military equipment to Ukraine as it continues to battle forces from Russia

which launched an invasion of Ukraine in late February. The new arms will include attack drones, rocket systems, night vision devices, machine guns

and medical supplies.

The Biden administration has made announcements like this several times over the past month. It says it sent more than $2.3 billion in security

assistance to Ukraine so far and a few weeks ago, President Biden signed legislation worth $13.6 billion for emergency aid to Ukraine. The fighting

in the Eastern European country has not let up.


AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

Which of these U.S. states was admitted to the union in 1850 before any of the others?

California, Kansas, Washington or Arizona?

California was the first of these states to be admitted. All the others achieved statehood after 1850.


AZUZ: Officials in California are telling residents to fix any leaks in their homes, make sure the tap isn`t running when they brush their teeth

and they consider letting their lawns go brown. And California`s ongoing drought is the reason why.

The current one has lasted for more than two years now, though California`s government says droughts are a recurring feature of the climate. Things

were looking up in December. More than 17 feet of snow fell in part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, breaking records that had stood for decades. But

then things started drying up again in January.

And now, the mountain ranges snowpack is at 38 percent of where it normally is at this time. That`s not the lowest it`s ever been. "The Mercury News"

reports that the Sierra Nevada snowpack has been lower on several occasions since 1950, but here`s why the measurement is so important to the state.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am standing south of Lake Tahoe in California and it is an absolutely beautiful day here. That`s actually bad,

and the reason that that`s bad is because this is where California snowpack is.

And what the snowpack is, is basically a frozen reservoir. It`s a place where water is stored throughout the cold months so when it storms and they

get snow up here at Lake Tahoe, all of that snow that`s throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains that is called the snowpack and it accumulates and

then slowly it melts off and it finds its way down rivers and makes its way into our reservoirs and that is pretty much a large way of how we get our

drinking water.

In fact, according to California, this is where 30 percent of our water, including our drinking water, comes from in the state. So we really do care

and really do need to know how much water is up here. So what they do routinely is several different times throughout the cold months is that

they will have a few people come out and measure how much snow is on the ground.

And sometimes, it`s a lot. This could be like taller than, you know, me. It could be more snow than that. And then other times, there`s not a lot.

In fact, I want you to take a look at this video because it`s really cool. This is a scientist from the Department of Water Resources for California,

and he`s got this cool pool that`s got a hollow center to it and he can stick that into the ground to see how much snow is there. And they do this

in different parts of the state or different parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and they do it on the same days every year just to make sure that

they have a routine measurement.

And so with this most recent measurement, you can see there`s not a lot there. In fact, they said there was only two and a half inches of snow.

That`s it, just two and a half inches of snow. And that means about one inch of water once it melts off.

And so, once it melts off, you would like for it to take its time to come down the mountain because if you take a look behind me and you look at that

shot, you can see there`s already a lot of water that`s making its way down out of the mountains. That`s going to make its way into our reservoirs.

It`s also going to make sure those habitats for some of the fish out there. It`s very important that this happens.

But that`s very little, and this is concerning because California is already in a drought for now going into its third year. So this is going to

show to us and it does indicate to us that we are not going to have the normal amount of water that we would normally rely on for those dry hot

months that are ahead of us. So this is why they take these measurements and this is why we look at them.

This is not good. I mean, they`ve been measuring at the same location since 1941, and the average is like 66 inches. It`s somewhere around there. So if

you look at just that two and a half inches, that shows you just how little is there and that is exactly why we come up here to see this.



AZUZ: Okay. The way to look at this and not be completely grossed out is to think of it like chocolate?

This is slime and not just any old toxic sludge. Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong say it can be controlled like a robot using


Okay, that`s nice, Carl. But why?

Well, if they make it safe to ingest, it`s not at this point, this slime could be used to remove deadly substances from the body. It could also be

used in electronics.

Or maybe it`s just the stuff of movies. Think the green slime, the slime people or Ghostbusters, he slimed me. There`s I know what you did last

slimer, Franken-slime, Valenslime`s day, the slime side. Of course, everybody`s favorite, slimedog millionaire. It`s sure to find slime for a

leading role.

I`m Carl Azuz.

Marietta High school in Marietta, Georgia, gets today`s shout out. You guys are like Fridays and we hope to see all y`all again tomorrow.