tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN July 29, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
♪ ♪ hello, everyone. welcome to "newsroom." i'm alisyn camerota. victor is off today. we begin with the growing call for vaccine requirements from government and private employers. netflix, black rock, morgan stanley, saks fifth avenue, "the washington post", ascension health, lyft and more business e es all issues vaccine requirements for all employees. two hours from now president biden will announce all federal workers must be vaccinated or
receive regular testing. he will continue to push to get more vaccinated. the unvaccinated are still driving the spread of coronavirus. the cdc says only 1% of the u.s. population lives in an area with low transmission at this point. the u.s. is now averaging almost 64,000 new infections a day. that is 59% higher than last week. almost 40,000 people are hospitalized with the virus and that's roughly 1 1,000 more tha last week. but there are signs that the unvaccinated are being swayed. more than 700,000 vaccine doses were administered wednesday. that's way up from the day before. the average number of people getting their first shot is the highest it has been in three weeks. so let's get to cnn's jeff zeleny at the white house with a preview of the president's message later this afternoon. what is he going to say? >> reporter: alisyn, the president is going to increase his rhetoric and language, going from simply asking americans to get vaccinated to requiring them
to, at least those in the federal workforce. the white house believes that the president does not have the broad authority to require all americans to get shots, but they do believe he has the authority to require people who work for the federal government to do that. so by doing so, they believe he is setting an example for other private businesses, several of which you just named right there. they do believe that all of this increased conversation about this is having some effect. you had noted that vaccinations are, indeed, going up, so that's what the white house is hoping as they head into august, that will continue as the trend. but, look, the president is going to -- he's really changed his rhetoric. only a few days ago here he was saying, look, we're not going to blame anymore or shame anyone. that basically has changed. i am told he is going to, you know, really deliver some intense remarks this afternoon in a couple of hours, targeting the unvaccinated, again, urging people to do so. alisyn, interestingly, the word "mandate" has long been a do-not-say word here at the white house. they thought it would simply
backfire, it would be bad politically, and in terms of a matter of public policy. now they are stopping just short of that, but by requiring the federal workforce to get this vaccination it is a dramatic shift in what they have been doing. the question is will that spark other business esz. it looks so far like it is doing so. we will see if it is enough to slow this rising variant, alisyn. >> thank you for the preview. we will check back. turning to florida now where nearly every county has high virus transmission. still, the republican governor there will not allow any mask mandates. we're also seeing anti-mask protests erupt at school board meetings, but the state's second largest school district, broward county, is pushing back and says they will require masks. cnn's leila santiago is outside a school in broward county's pompano beach. how is the school board getting around the governor's ban on mask mandates? >> reporter: well, it was a unanimous vote yesterday, alisyn, when the school board decided to move forward with the
upcoming school year, saying they want to require masks. that's even after having heard from parents who were against it, parents who were echoing the governor's stance. he is doubling down, saying he's not a fan of this. he does not believe that masks should be required in schools for the upcoming school year despite what the cdc is recommending. he has even hinted at calling a special session for the legislature to ensure that it remains optional. so i went back to a school board member and asked her response on that. listen to this. >> you know, the governor can make his decisions if he wants to use taxpayer dollars to call in a special legislative session. he can go ahead and do that, but while i'm one of nine board members and while i am a board member, i'll try to be the adult in the collective elected official room and make the right choice for our constituents. >> all americans should be free
to choose how they govern their affairs and they should not be consigned to live, regardless of which state in the union, consigned to live in a fauci dystopia and which we are governed by the whims of bureaucrat authorities who care little for our freedom. >> reporter: now, the governor is encouraging people to get vaccines, but his critics are quick to say, stop attacking fauci and focus on vaccination. the governor back in may signed legislation which limits what local municipalities can do in terms of measures set for their own counties. i will say the mayor of miami-dade, she yesterday also announced that she is requiring masks in all county buildings. but, again, alisyn, keeping in mind that the governor has limited what local municipalities can do in terms of combatting covid-19 and this very contagious delta variant. >> yeah. it makes it complicated.
leila santiago, thank you for the reporting. now to orange county, florida, where some of the nation's biggest tourist attractions draw millions of visitors. so the mayor there has just issued a state of emergency and an ultimatum to about 4,000 non union county employees. they have until august 31st to get a first vaccine shot, and they must be fully vaccinated by the end of september. orange county, florida, just reported the highest number of covid cases in a single day, more than 1,300. earlier this week the mayor said his county is in a, quote, crisis mode. mayor jerry demings joins us now from orlando. mayor, thank you for taking the time to be with us. how did your county get back into a crisis mode? >> well, thank you, first, for inviting me on the show. we are a county that has been open for business now for better than a year. we were one of the first to do so, and we were able to get our numbers down really low for an
extended period of time. they were well below 5%. but because of really all of the people coming in to our county and the mutation of the current virus, it has created some perhaps unpredictable circumstances for us here within orange county. we have been the number one tourist destination for travelers for the most recent holiday period of time, to include independence day, memorial day. a significant number of people flying into our orlando international airport here, and that creates an opportunity for others to bring the virus into our community. we have been innovative. we have been offering vaccination opportunities for those who come in to our airport, and we were doing very well. unfortunately, once the virus mutated, that was something that created an additional challenge for us. and here within the state of florida, of course, from the
state level they have not been as good at partnering with those of us at the local level as i believe they should have been. >> that might be an understatement. let me play for you what your governor said yesterday. as you know, he is opposed to mandates and he seems just opposed to the cdc guidance. here it is. >> did you not get the cdc's memo? i don't see you guys complying. i think it is very important that we say unequivocally no to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions, and no mandates! [ cheering and applause ]. >> okay. that's a lot of nos right there. so if he doesn't want business closures and no lockdowns and no school closures and no restrictions and no mask mandates, how do you think your state is going to get out of this situation? >> certainly the governor has failed to lead in this regard.
i think that in many ways our governor's not focused on the people here in the state of florida. he's focused on his political future and he's really running for another office, and he is pandering to a base and, unfortunately, this crisis has nothing to do with politics or should have nothing to do with politics. it should be all about health safety and welfare of floridians here. and at the local level, when our citizens get in trouble and they need help, they dial 911 and they depend on our local first responders to respond to help take care of them. that is where i come in to play as orange county mayor. here in the metro orlando area, it is to ensure that we are prepared, that we have all of the tools by which to make some decisions in the best interests of the life. >> health and safety of our residents. we should despend opend on havi good relationship with our governor and with those who
serve at the federal level as well. unfortunately, our governor has been too busy focusing on other things rather than focusing on the crisis that we have before us at this point. so it has been left up to us. and then what did the governor do? he diminished our ability to be able to have any type of enforcement to ensure that the businesses comply with any mandates. he diminished, took away our ability to even institute any types of mandates if the circumstances dictated that. that's all because of being more concerned about his political future than being concerned about the people here in florida and their life, health and safety during a public health crisis. >> well, i'm just curious, mayor. i mean if he has his sights -- if you think the governor has his sights set on a higher political office, how will that go if his is the worst state in the nation with covid? >> i don't know. unfortunately, i don't have a crystal ball. i'm not sure how all of that is going to work out.
what i have been focused on here as a leader in this county is to make certain that we are making adjustments when we should real-time to take care of the people here, to stop the spread of the virus, to stop people from being infected and dying. i went to a funeral today of one of my correctional officers who died as a result of covid-19. so i have several other of our employees who are now hospitalized in critical care units, and i care about our employees. i care about the residents of this community. i spent a full career in law enforcement as a police chief, as a sheriff, as a public safety director, standing up to make certain that we were taking care of our citizens. so since i am the may have here in the metro area, i'm not retreating from that responsibility at this point. i just demand that our legislature realizes that we
need to be engaged in the process of taking care of our people. >> how are you going to enforce that your county employees get the vaccine? >> in terms of our county employees, we have received a lot of review and advice from our legal team, our county attorneys, and we are certain we are on solid legal grounds to be able to mandate this. again, the people who live in these local communities, they depend on us to provide the services. when i start seeing my own employees dying as a result of the virus, then there's a call to service and make -- for me to make adjustments in what we're doing here. so i have to protect our employees and the citizens of our county. >> no. i understand. i just mean are there vaccine passports? are they going to have to show their vaccine card. >> how do you enforce something like that? >> yes, okay.
yes, we are going to require our employees to have to attest that they have been vaccinated. they have to receive at least the first dose if they take the two-shot vaccine by august the 31st and the second dose by the end of september. they have to provide an attestation that they have done so. if they don't fall under one of the areas where there's an exemption, then they are subject to disciplinary action. >> mayor jerry demings, thank you for your time. thanks for explaining all of this to us. we will be watching what happens there. >> thank you very much. have a great day and weekend. >> you too. so as president biden's infrastructure plan gains new momentum, house and senate progressives are still split over the next steps, with aoc accusing a fellow democrat of tanking her own party's progress. how is that going to work? plus, all-around gymnastics
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it was a shocking display of bipartisanship. 17 senate republicans joining democrats to advance that nearly $1 trillion infrastructure plan. there's still a long way to go before one of president biden's signature goals becomes reality. cnn's manu raju is live on capitol hill for us. cnn obtained a 57-page summary of what is in the bill. we could read the whole thing in its entirety or you could tell us the headlines from it right now.
>> reporter: well, we could do that. we are also still waiting for the bill text itself, what they'll actually vote on. it is more than 1,000 pages, that's what is ekszxpected at least. this 57-page outline gives a run break down. it would include about $110 billion for roads and bridges, an additional $66 billion for public transit that had been actually one of the sticking points here. you can see money is spreadal across different areas of so-called hard infrastructure, clean water, about $55 billion for that. that was another sticking point that emerged through the course of the talks. this will be financed through a wide range of efforts that would not raise taxes. that had been a red line for republicans. democrats did not want to raise the gas tax so both were off the table. instead, they will redirect covid relief money that has been enacted but not yet spent. they will do things such as target so-called cryptocurrency to raise more than $28 billion. also, they assume this proposal will increase the economic growth and it would generate
revenue to the federal government for that. that accounting mechanism has been criticized in the past by democrats, but they've agreed to use it as a way to contend this would be fully paid for. but now we are about to begin the arduous process of legislating on the floor that requires amendments to be considered. they have to agree on amendments, any changes. and if the republicans in particular are not happy with the number of amendments being considered, presumably they could break ranks and block the bill from passing on the back end. there's still many hurdles to get to final passage. there's optimism they will get there but still a ways to go. >> manu, what about the larger $3.5 trillion bill? as you know, the progressive democrats are sparring with the more moderate democrats about it. so where does that leave it? >> reporter: yeah, because nancy made clear in a question i had with her yesterday she will not move on this bipartisan senate infrastructure plan unless the
larger $3.5 trillion passes the united states senate. but at the moment there is not a consensus among democrats about what that bill will look like and about how much money they should spend. kyrsten sinema, the arizona democrat, came out against the price tag. she said she is willing to negotiate but is opposed to spending that much money. we are hearing push back from one senator like bob menendez who said we would not get everything we want. >> at some point any member of the democratic caucus will say, "i will not support x if x doesn't happen." so this is not unique to our colleagues who have made those statements. i could say i will not support reconc reconciliation if immigration is not in there. i will say i would not support reconciliation if some of the things i care about are not realized. when that happens, then nothing succeeds. >> reporter: now, this is just this one step in a two-step process to approve the larger $3.5 trillion plan.
the first step is actually to pass a budget resolution that would set the stage for that larger bill. importantly though, alisyn, democrats are signaling they will support moving forward with that first step, the budget resolution. that includes joe manchin who told me earlier today they should move forward. kyrsten sinema is signaling she would support moving forward. that's what chuck schumer wants, move forward on the first step, they will haggle over the details and the price tag. at the moment they want to keep the process moving forward and are confident they can. alisyn. >> thank you for helping us understand it all. >> reporter: thanks. now to covid. hospital units across the country are filling up again with the unvaccinated as misinformation drives up the death toll. we will talk to an er doctor in a michigan hot spot about how he is trying to fight his patients' misinformation. >> i just got done with a shift. i had one of the most frustrating conversations with a patient who is just violently
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the women's all-around competition. the minnesota teenager stepping up to fill the void of simone biles and then beat out brazil and russia. her win sealed a record equaling sixth victory in that event for the u.s. she was cheered on by teammate simone biles who watched from the sidelines after dropping out of the competition. so the medal count shapes up like this. the u.s. is leading with 38, followed by china, russia and japan. cnn's selina wang is in tokyo. tell us more about suni lee. did she almost quit gymnastics at one point? >> reporter: alisyn, she has just faced so much adversity leading up to this moment, pain, tragedy, loss. in the last few years she had to train through several injuries. she lost both her aunt and uncle to covid-19 last year, and in 2019 after an accident her father was left paralysed from waist down. this is a man who she calls her best friend, her number one supporter, her inspiration.
he even built a wooden beam in their backyard for her to practice on when she was younger because they couldn't afford one. now, after she won, she thanked her parents for their support. said her victory was surreal. take a listen to what else she had to say. >> this medal definitely means a lot to me because there was a point in time where i wanted to quit and i just didn't think i would ever get here, including injuries and stuff. so there are definitely a lot of emotions but i'm super proud of myself for sticking with it and believing in myself. >> reporter: alisyn, also a proud moment for the community. she is the first olympic gymnast. while her family couldn't be there to cheer her on, there's heartwarming video of a huge part of her family there, jumping up and down, excitement and tears of joy. they were not there in person but simone biles was cheering her on with the rest of team usa. there's just been an outpouring of support for her since she has come out about her mental health challenges.
in a tweet she said she is thankful for that support and it makes her realize that she is more than just gymnastics and her accomplishments, something she said she didn't truly believe before, alisyn. >> oh, my gosh. what a story just on every level. i mean one door closes, another opens. suni lee has this incredible experience. by the way, scientists need to study her and her family for resilience. i mean they're just the models of that. but selina wang, thank you very much for that inspiring story. so the uk is reopening and seein seeing packed nightclubs and busy bars. so why are cases there dropping and what can the u.s. learn from this?
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fights over masks playing out in washington just one day after the capitol hill physician reinstated the mask mandate for the house of representatives. scores of republicans defied the rule by showing up maskless. congressman chip roy even tried to redirect the problem. >> we have a crisis at our border and we're playing footsie with mask mandates in the people's house. we have people infected with covid coming across our southern border into texas and you all put masks, masks up front here? which is it, vaccines or masks?
either the vaccines work or they don't work. either the masks work or they don't work. this institution is a sham and we should adjourn and shut this place down. >> it is both, congressman, vaccines and masks. they both help. meanwhile, as emergency rooms fill up across the country, front line workers are battling misinformation that is masquerading as a question, like this. >> americans were promised that if they took the vaccines they could have their lives back. so by the millions they did that. now they have learned in the clearest possible way that they were lied to. they got their shots but the biden administration has decided to continue to control what they wear, where they go and who they talk to. why are they doing that? what's happening here exactly? >> joining me now, dr. rob davidson, an er doctor in west michigan and the executive director of the committee to protect health care. i see you shaking your head.
listen, misinformation like that works to get good ratings for a tv show, but what is the real world impact of that misinformation that you deal with every day? >> well, the real world is my patients are listening to that instead of listening to me, instead of listening to my family doctor wife who has been doing her job for 20 years like i have, whose patients trust us on any number of things. people come in having hardt attacks, they trust me to give them drugs that thin their blood, that could cause complications, but when they come in with symptoms of covid or suggest covid, i had a patient this week yell at me in the er, didn't want the test because she swore we were getting paid $100,000 for every positive test and we were giving people covid-19 with the vaccine to increase the profits. it is just maddening. to hear tucker talk about people not getting their lives back, you know, these vaccines are protecting lives. they're allowing people not to die, unlike the unvaccinated we are seeing across the country. >> i don't even understand his -- i don't even understand
his logic. i don't even understand the logic. 160 million people or something, i haven't looked at the latest numbers today, have gotten the vaccine. it is keeping people from dying. we know that. that is proven, it is keeping people from getting terribly ill. so the fact that people are unvaccinated is what the problem is, but i just feel for you, doctor. i feel for you that you are having to be on the receiving end of all of this vitriol. what else are patients saying to you? >> well, you know, most patients who i talk to about the vaccine -- and i do with almost every patient who isn't vaccinated, most of them just shut it right down. tell me, i'm not interested, i don't need that, i'm not worried about that and it sort of ends it there. i'm a little persistent. i'm old enough and seasoned enough that i'm not afraid of a little bit of a confrontation, you know. if it starts to really ramp up i let it go. i've had a few who said, yes, i want it now. but, honestly, in about a month a handful of people who have accepted the vaccine in a moment. another few said, i will think about it and talk to my doctor.
i consider that a victory if we are breaking through. but, you know, they just come to you with the information that tucker carlson talks about, the self-reporting of complications that the cdc investigates and has found no significant complications beyond those few blood clots associated with j & j that they've issued guidance on. it is just, you know, impossible to do the job that i want to do, is protect my community. >> how frustrating is that, doctor? >> yeah, i mean i have never experienced it. listen, people come in with -- in mental health crises, people come in intoxicated or with dementia who may argue with you or accuse you of things that are outlandish, and you brush it off as the disease speaking. bus these are people with all of their faculties about them and accusing you of trying to hurt them. i told this person, listen, that really hurts, i have thick skin. i can handle it. you move on to the next patient and do your job. but i feel for the individuals being duped by a network, duped
by, you know, politicians who are trying to sow doubt about vaccines and the cdc and everything else we have told people for a year and a half, and it is coming home to roost in the states with high unvaccinated numbers. this is going to be whack-a-mole for years and years if we keep up with it, and rural communities without high vaccination rates will see flare-ups periodically. i am just bracing for when it comes to my neighborhood. >> it is not just, you know, prime time tv hosts who are doing it for ratings, as you point out. it is also politicians. so the congressman from your state of michigan, peter mayer, here is what he tweeted. the cdc's reversal on viral load among breakthrough vaccinated cases is based on an indian zudie iz study with a non-u.s. approved
vaccine, mask mandates coming back based on unapplicable information from the get go. do you have any idea where he is getting this information or is it misinformation? >> i think it is misinformation. representative meyers in the neighboring district, i have followed him and he has accepted reality about covid, about the election, about many things some in his party have not. he tweeted a retweet of a retweet of a his tore torian an a member of congress commenting on public health, opposing the cdc who is the preeminent public health agency in the world. the data that the cdc is using is in the past few weeks showing over 1,000 times the viral load in patients who are breakthrough cases compared to the original strain. they're showing that those are leading to infection chains. you know, the guidance is only changing because the virus is changing, the delta variant is different, and then low vaccination areas with high
transmission people should be wearing their masks even if they're vaccinated. it is not abridging their freedoms. it is trying to protect them. i wish that he would just recognize that and not be so quick to hit tweet when he -- you know, the real information is out there for him to get. >> on a personal level, with this new cdc guidance it is confusing to people in terms of whether or not they are supposed to be masking back up indoors. have you adjusted your behavior and your family's yet? >> i have. i did it two weeks ago and i'm not in a high-transmission area. before anyone loses themselves, i'm not virtue signaling. this is not to try to make anyone feel bad. i just feel like, listen, the analogy i like best is that the vaccine is like an umbrella. you go out in the rain, you use an umbrella. if the rain is coming at you sideways with winds, you might put on a rain coat to keep yourself from getting wet. so if i'm going into a small store with lots of people and i just don't know who is or isn't vaccinated, i put on the mask. if i'm outside amongst any number of people, i don't.
it is just simple and it is -- you know, we have mate de such big deal and so many republicans are suggesting masks are an affront. i wish they would step back and realize it is a piece of cloth that can't hurt them. i wish people would teach their kids like we have, like so many people have, and we wouldn't have to have an endless discussion about a simple thing that can actually save your life. >> dr. rob davidson, we appreciate your perspective and wyche ' we're thinking of you and all you have to tackle in the emergency room. thank you for taking time to talk to us. >> thanks, alisyn. as u.s. cases go up, the infection rate in the uk is on the decline. it is a welcome change that has the medical world scratching their heads. cnn reporters bring us that story and other major developments from around the world. . >> i'm phil black in london where sicientists are trying to understand why confirmed coronavirus infection numbered plummeted during the last week, down 36% compared to the week
before. they admit they did not see it coming and only have theories to explain it like warmer weather, encouraging people to stay outside, closed schools for summer, the suspicion that many are being infected in vast numbers but many are not getting tested. they do not believe the uk has hit a herd immunity threshold although they think vaccines are helping. crucial to understanding will be hospital admissions numbers over the next couple of weeks. if this is a real downturn, then the number of people falling seriously ill and requiring hospital treatment should also drop. at the moment those numbers are still going up. i'm in jerusalem. israel will begin offering a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine to anyone over the age of 60 who received their second dose more than five months ago. the prime minister made the announcement this evening saying that the data is showing that the efficacy may wane over time especially in light of the delta variant. data shows israelis who receive
the second dose by the end of january, which tends to be the older population, their ability to fend off infection has dropped to 16%. the prime minister urged all israelis to call their parents and loved ones to get them vaccinated, saying that the first person to receive the booster shot tomorrow will be israeli president herzog. i'm patrick gutman in havana where covid cases and deaths have surged here despite the cuban government's claims that they've done a good job handling the pandemic. certainly it does not help that the historic protests and pro-government demonstrations have taken place over the last few weeks. the government is actually arrested some protesters, saying they violated covid protocols but then held their own large pro-government demonstrations to show that the support of the people is still with them. the government is sitting here with their own vaccines but it likely will be weeks or months more before we see a dip in the
covid numbers. >> our thanks to all of our reporters around the globe. so, next, the gruesome murder of a woman and her dog in a popular atlanta park. it underscores the surge in violent crime and what is happening in cities across the country. get outta here. everybody's a skeptic. wright brothers? more like, yeah right, brothers! get outta here! it's not crazy. it's a scramble. just crack an egg.
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one city is atlanta, georgia. shootings in atlanta have increased by 32%. last week the city shut down all public pools after a teenager was shot and killed at one of them. today they are investigating the murder of a woman and her dog inside a city park. >> it was particularly gruesome. that's how the police are describing it. she was stabbed multiple times. some local reports say she was disfigured. that's how gruesome and violent this crime was. she was walking her dog about 1:00 a.m. in the morning. when her wife couldn't reach her, she went to the park and she found her there. police looking for a suspect. they don't seem to know much at this point. we are still waiting to hear more from police. this all comes on the heels of this report on the council for
criminal justice where they looked at violent crime in 22 cities. what they found is that compared to last year there's a rise in homicides. 16% rise in homicide. in 2019 there's a significant rise of 42%, of course all of this having to do with guns. they also say that gun assaults are higher this year than last year, 5% higher. one of the interest things they did find is that the rate of homicide rose sharply after the george floyd murder. it's unclear as to why, perhaps that has something to do with policing, whatever it may be. they also found that burglaries and robberies are down. so the question is what's going on because this has to be about guns. a lot of what we're hearing from law enforcement officials is
that there are too many givuns the streets. there's a case out of minneapolis where a woman was buying guns for gang members. she was allowed to buy guns. she was buying these guns and giving them to gang members for whatever reason and they were using them in shootings. these are straw purchases pop people go in, can buy guns and they give them to gang members. this is something we see from the department of justice, they're trying these efforts to bring law enforcement together to crack down on this. but guns seem to be the thing driving a lot of these numbers. >> raises a lot of questions about what's happening with these spikes. a new challenge in the border crisis. will the biden administration reverse the immigration policies of the trump era? and a programming note now. on an all new episode of "jerusalem, how the battles
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president biden facing intense pressure from pro immigration activists. several groups say they're cutting ties with the administration and accusing the president of using a trump era covid policy to prevent migrants from entering the country. priscilla alvarez joins us. tell us why the activists are so angry. >> this is the latest sign of tensions bubbling up between the immigrant advocacy organizations and the biden administration over this trump era border policy implemented at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. it allows border authorities to turn away migrants they ep encounter at the u.s./mexico border. this is criticized by health experts who say there is no public health basis for this policy. even so, the biden administration has continued to lean on it and turned away hundreds of thousands of migrants at the border.
a few months ago they worked with immigrant advocacy organizations to identify vulnerable individuals, those who shouldn't be subject to the policy. those orgs are telling me it was supposed to be a temporary measure and they expected a winddown by the end of july and they' 're comfortable with that. they're telling me now they're calling it quits and they are going to end their ties with the administration in this effort on different timelines. one organization tells me they'll stop referrals a t he ed of july, another toward the end of august. a source tells me the policy is likely to stay in effect for now. >> thank you for all of that. ♪ it is the top of the hour. i'm alisyn camerota.