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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  September 29, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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>> pelley: tonight, the toughest immigration law in the country. it went into effect in alabama today. the governor says they can't live with illegal immigrants, farmers worry they can't live without them. anthony mason reports america's biggest bank will start challenging a fee for using a debit. record low mortgage rates set off a refinancing frenzy. cynthia bowers tells us homeowners who need lower rates the most can't get them. and after the summer... >> it's gone! >> pelley: comes the fall. jeff glor on the historic collapse of the red sox and the braves. captioning sponsored by cbs
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this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening, alabama's tough new immigration law went into effect today, surviving for now a challenge from the obama administration and others. the law will allow officials to check the immigration status of students in public schools and give the police new powers to determine whether someone is in the country illegally. a federal judge yesterday upheld those key provisions of the law. mark strassmann is in alabama with more about this new law and its impact. >> reporter: under alabama's new immigration law, police can detain suspected illegal immigrants and hold them without bond. the supporters complain the 60,000 people here illegally cost alabama taxpayers a quarter billion dollars a year in schools and social services and governor robert bentley promises enforcement will begin right away. >> we have just a law that confirms with federal law and we
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will see what happens. we expect them to do their job now. and we'll see if they're going to do it. >> reporter: but when only five pickers showed up to harvest his sweet potatoes, farmer keith smith saw possible ruin-- the loss of his half million dollar crop. >> they're running scared because of this new law. >> reporter: and you're in trouble. >> i'm in trouble. bad trouble. >> reporter: smith's 200 acres need 20 pickers, mostly mexican nationals. >> there's not enough documented people here to supply that work force. >> reporter: most of your workers are here illegally. >> sure. if they got documentation, they've got a better job than working for me. >> reporter: fernando aldaman, a mexican national, has worked smith's farm since 1992. everybody's just scared. >> yeah. >> reporter: are you here legally? no? >> no. >> reporter: so are you scared? >> yeah, i'm scared. i'm scared, you know? >> reporter: smith's pickers make about $100 a day.
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he supports immigration laws-- just not this one that threatens his third-generation family farm. >> you want to get rid of illegal immigrants, quit eating. that's for everybody. nationwide. if you want to get rid of them, quit eating. that will solve the problem. >> reporter: scott, governor bentley says alabama's new law is not about racial profiling and that only people suspected of breaking a law will be asked for their immigration papers. >> pelley: mark, i wonder about this provision that allows officials to check the immigration status of students in public schools. has there been any reaction to that? >> put it this way, scott, alabama spends an estimated $160 million a year estimating the children of illegal immigrants. we've had reports locally around here that some of those families today worried either kept their children home or pulled them out of school all together. >> pelley: mark, thank you very much. nancy cordes was looking into immigration issues on capitol hill and ran into something that surprised us. congress gives some illegal
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immigrants special consideration, allowing them to stay in the country. it's a legislative measure called a private bill and we asked nancy to show us how it works. >> come on! >> reporter: the parents of brenton miraj say living in america saved his life. brenton was born in 2001 with congenital heart disease while the family was visiting detroit from albania. he had two open heart surgeries before he was six days old and spent the next three years in a new york hospital-- paid for by medicaid. at the same time, immigration officials were threatening to deport his parents for overstaying their tourist visas. >> i went to immigration everyday, i said "this kid is sick. this kid cannot go nowhere." >> i have four other children. they have to get fed. to get fed i need a work authorization. >> reporter: it took an act of congress to keep them here. house resolution 2763, a private
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bill for the relief of the miraj family-- a bill just for them sponsored by their congressman joseph crowley. >> i think it's an extreme case, i think it's an unusual case as well. it's really a case of life and death. >> reporter: there are 66 private bills pending before congress. even if they don't pass, they buy illegal immigrants time. one of them-- house resolution number 564-- was written for rigoberto padilla, a star student at the university of illinois whose parents brought him here from mexico when he was six. julie myers wood, a former homeland security official, says the special bills raise a question of fairness. >> you think about all the other people that have very compelling circumstances who didn't get that special stay. they don't have the relationship with a member of congress, were they not media savvy in order to get attention to their case? >> reporter: when these bill pass-- which is rare-- the recipients typically get permanent residency status, not citizenship. the bill for the miraj family is still pending, scott, so they
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need to reapply for a stay of deportation every year. >> pelley: nancy, thank you. we got word today that the nation's largest bank-- bank of america-- is about to charge a fee of $5 a month for the privilege of making a purchase with a debit card. business correspondent anthony mason now on what's behind the fee and the reaction. >> reporter: bank of america's customers did not exactly welcome the news of of the debit card fee. >> it's ludicrous. at the end of the day, they charge us for a bunch of other fees. this is ridiculous. >> reporter: bank of america joined suntrust in initiating fees for debit cards. wells fargo and chase are also testing the idea. as bank fees continue to climb to record levels. the average fee for using an a.t.m. if you're not a bank's customer is now a record $2.40. the average fee a bank hits you for a bounced check is now nearly $31. also a new record.
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the era of free checking is over. >> i would say the era of free checking has gone the way of the dinosaur. >> reporter: adam levin of says the banks are trying to recoup losses from the card act which limited their ability to raise rates and charge overdraft fees. this weekend, another new regulation takes effect that limits the amount a bank can charge merchants for debit card purchases. that now stands at 43 cents. >> and the federal reserve, empowered by the dodd-frank act has reduced that now to approximately 23 cents a transaction. >> reporter: so they're making about half as much money off the merchants as they were before? >> yes, they are. >> reporter: but customers like lawyer bob celestin say don't pass that cost along to them. >> i'm going to have to seriously consider pulling my money out of bank of america and looking for another alternative or bank that won't charge me this ridiculous monthly fee. it's ridiculous. >> reporter: the bank says the economics of offering a debit card have simply changed with the new regulations. but bank of america also has to
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offset the cost of billions of dollars in bad mortgage loans. >> pelley: anthony, thank you very much. one thing banks are charging less for is mortgages. a report today says the mortgage rate has fallen to 4.01% for a 30-year fixed rate. it's an all-time low. no surprise, refinancing applications shot up 11.2% from the previous week. the federal reserve is holding down interest rates to help struggling homeowners so we asked cynthia bowers to find out if those homeowners are the ones who are getting the help. >> i love saving money. >> reporter: don chookaszian is a serial refinancer. he's refinanced his mortgage three times in three years and knocked the interest on his 30-year loan down from 5.5% to 3.8%. >> you get a checklist, you give it to them and you're done. you just wait for them call you and say "time to close." >> reporter: mortgage banker
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amir said says chookaszian is one of the rare breed of loan applicant these days. >> they're the small exclusive group of people in the economy that their income has stayed in place, they haven't lost their job. >> reporter: but despite the lowest rate since 1949, refinances are actually down 1% compared to last year. that's because there's a cruel paradox at work. the americans who could benefit the most from the lower rates-- the nearly 11 million who owe more than their homes are worth-- can't qualify for refinancing because they don't have any equity in their homes. people like jackie and juan camacho of aurora, illinois. >> the only way to describe it is frustration. >> reporter: the camacho's home is worth $65,000 less than they paid five years ago. a refinance to the current rate could save them $382 a month. >> we're going to pay this huge amount of money every month for how many years? how many years are we going to be trapped? so we can approve it and send it
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to the printer. >> reporter: with a young family and a growing marketing business, they have plenty of places they'd rather put their money. you have big dreams but your big mortgage is killing them. >> we're trapped. yeah, in other words. i mean, we have all the best intentions, we have all the right ingredients, we're doing all the right things and because of the stringent requirements that the banks ask for, we just can't do it. >> reporter: so far, the camachos have been turned down for refinancing three times. they're among the estimated 2.3 million american homeowners who could save themselves money if their lenders would let them. cynthia bowers, cbs news, aurora, illinois. >> pelley: in syria today, u.s. ambassador robert ford was targeted by an angry mob and the obama administration says the assad dictatorship was behind it. the crowd of 200 pelted ford's convoy with rocks, tomatoes, and
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eggs when he arrived to meet with the syrian opposition leader. ford was not hurt. the ambassador has been aggressive about supporting dissidents there. in july, he met with antigovernment protestors in the city of hama. the floodwaters are gone in vermont, but now tourism is drying up. from the flight deck, a message to washington from the c.e.o. of jetblue airways. and the first lady goes shopping. we'll tell you where when the "cbs evening news" continues.
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and soup has what you need at work, to work. make any place, your happy place. ♪ campbell's -- it's amazing what soup can do. >> pelley: we avoided another government shutdown today. the house passed a bill to fund the government beyond the deadline that was looming this weekend. that means the federal emergency management agency for one won't run out of money that is desperately needed by victims of resent disasters. that made us wonder how the folks in vermont are recovering after that terrible flood from hurricane irene. so we asked wyatt andrews to bring us up to date. >> reporter: in central vermont, the leaves are exploding with fall color like always. businesses are ready for fall tourists, like always. you call them leaf peepers? >> we call them leaf peepers. >> reporter: but waitress cora
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curtis has one question. >> you're like, gosh, where are they? >> reporter: most years in vermont leaf-viewing tourism is a $330 million industry. route 100 in rochester is supposed to be packed with cars by now and there are supposed to be lines for cora's tables at the rochester cafe. instead, she's bracing for a 25% loss in yearly income. >> it's our biggest, busiest time of the year and it generally runs about probably a month, month and a half and we haven't seen it... much business at all. >> reporter: rochester was one of the 13 vermont towns once isolated when irene's floodwaters cut all the roads and bridges into town. 50 families are still hiking out across a temporary foot bridge towards school and to work. at the liberty hill farm and inn, owners saw the flood wash away most of their corn and most of their fall reservations. how many guests did you have last night? >> last night i didn't have any.
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>> reporter: tourists have stayed away, she says, because they think the roads are still closed, but route 100 opened into town ten days ago. >> the roads are open. you got here. >> reporter: most roads are now open because the state-- knowing what's at stake-- is racing to fix them all. for the last month, the state's symbol of vermont has been the road crew. more than 3,000 road workers converged on the state and now, of the 260 roads that were heavily damaged or washed out by hurricane irene, only and a handful remain impassable. >> how are we doing, ladies? >> reporter: they've lost business, they've lost homes and are now losing income. but to most vermonters that means the worst is over and they have not lost faith that the leaf peepers and the industry will find a way to return. wyatt andrews, cbs news, rochester, vermont. >> pelley: now, take a look at this picture. do you recognize this woman?
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yes. in that ball cap behind those sunglasses is the first lady of the united states, michelle obama shopping today at target, the one in alexandria, virginia. she spent about half an hour in the store pushing her own cart but apparently the only person who recognized her was the cashier. we don't know why but we just can't get enough of those pictures of another fixture on the washington scene: the washington monument. today we got a view from the top 550 feet above the ground. four engineers are using ropes and harnesses to explore every stone. last month's earthquake opened numerous cracks on the inside and the outside, but the park service tells us that the monument remains structurally sound. his company has never laid off a worker. what the c.e.o. of jetblue says it will take to get companies to start hiring again.
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resolutions to keep the f.a.a. funded 22 times in a row and once this past summer when the money didn't come through the f.a.a. was forced to furlough 4,000 workers. barger says businesses don't hire when there's that kind of uncertainty. >> take a look i in the airline industry. the f.a.a. being partially shut down. i mean, that's criminal. >> reporter: what do you mean "that's criminal"? >> when i use the word "criminal," our elected officials are really... they're in office working on behalf of the citizens of our country. so i just used this may rough example within our industry. don't shut us down. help support us. help fund us. don't put 4,000 jobs on the unemployment line. work together. >> pelley: when you saw the country teetering on the edge of defaulting on its debts, what did you think? what a shame. embarrassed. that's not who we are. >> pelley: how do you create jobs in this country? >> we've got to have people out
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of washington that are willing to work together and talk with each other as opposed to not crossing the aisle. so i think that's the number-one issue holding us back at this point in time. >> pelley: how do you get us off 9.1% unemployment? >> as we build a budget, you have to balance the budget. you have to spend that which is within your limits. >> pelley: the republicans want to do it with cuts, the democrats want to have tax increases. what's the answer? >> i think there can be a combination. i truly do. i don't think it has to be a win-lose situation here. >> pelley: that seems to be what they think in washington, it has to be one or the other. >> that's absolutely right. i don't think it has to be that way, i really don't. we can disagree but let's at least meet. and it can't be a hostage situation. it can't be win-lose. it has to be win-win. >> pelley: what's the solution? >> in the airline industry, new airplanes, they're going to china, india, and the middle east. they're not coming to the united states. >> pelley: what does that tell you? >> the real growth, the jobs
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that are being created, they're offshore. they're not happening here. so we have to change that. >> pelley: unemployment has been at 9% and above for right about two years now. >> right. >> pelley: where are things going? >> i think we here in a little bit of a holding pattern right now because we're back into this election cycle. >> pelley: another recession headed our way? >> don't see it. don't see it. could there be a double dip? could. but we're not seeing it. >> pelley: and your message to washington would be what? >> i think number-one message to washington from the airline community is help us be a further enabler to the economy. and most importantly, talk to one another. >> pelley: jetblue's c.e.o. david barger. a historic night in baseball. the ecstasy and the agony. next. [ male announcer ] go beyond the brush
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here's jeff glor. >> reporter: in the end, it wasn't just the collapses spread over one long suffering september, it was the way they went down at the very end. the boston red sox-- one out away from a win, their season in the hands of their dominant relief pitcher. >> jamaica plain's delivery. right center field! nobody's gonna catch it! >> until it wasn't. >> and line drive, crawford coming on! he capped it. >> reporter: the unheralded nolan reimold and robert andino delivering stunning back-to-back hits for the last place baltimore orioles, a comeback that left sox fans and everyone else speechless. >> i think wednesday night, september 28, 2011, goes down as one of the greatest nights in the history of major league baseball, bar none. >> reporter: dan shaughnessy writes for the "boston globe" and has chronicle's sox collapses before. from bill buckner's error in 1986 to buckie dent's homer that dashed boston's home in 1978. as he points out, last night's
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loss was only the beginning of the misery. >> there was a three minute separation between this horrible loss in baltimore and the great victory for the rays in tampa. three minutes later. >> reporter: the rays comeback so soon after even more incredible. they were down seven runs in the eighth inning. teams do not come back from those deficits. the rays did. >> a line shot down the left field shrine. gone! >> reporter: in the national league, the braves' loss also included a ninth-inning breakdown and extra-innings drama and resulted in a late-night celebration for the st. louis cardinals. four games, two epic meltdowns, one evening that's already gone down in baseball lore and, depending on which team you cheer for, either elation or agony. jeff glor, cbs news, new york. >> pelley: that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
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and on our table tonight is the black community brain washed? candidate herman cain said yes. we'll talk about that. plus foot in mouth, pita goes on the defense over what some call another offensive ad campaign. we'll show you what has got so many folks riled up this time. and find out how much one bank wants to charge customers for swiping the debit cards. the massachusetts man who was plotting a terror attack on washington has now been indicted on federal charges. 26-year-old reswan ferdaus, an american citizen, is behind bars as we learn new information about his past. as andrea mccarran reports, his arrest has concerns about home


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