ABC News Live Prime: Thursday, February 18, 2021

Houston residents displaced by pipes bursting due to cold; Latinos pummeled by pandemic; Can your job require a COVID-19 vaccine?
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Transcript for ABC News Live Prime: Thursday, February 18, 2021
Com and robbery in Ecuador meant. Points a gun at a TV reported online only around. Outside of the soccer stadium in the country's biggest city. Deserving of answers. From a power emergency channel water crisis triggered panic. It turned out not. It's nice serious questions about how it's come to this roughly fourteen million Texans cannot drink their water at home without boiling it. In the days before that changes residents scrambling to get water from wherever they can't even by melting snow men. This is state is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis the major backlash senator Ted Cruz is facing tonight. After jetting off to his family to can't tune I do think it's time. Temperatures finally warm up in Texas. And is the East Coast out of the woods just yet after another. Thursday home rob Marciano is standing by with the forecast. Solace in depth report about the school this pandemic is taking on Latino communities. Especially undocumented. Immigrants sometimes too scary to see the care they so desperately need I am deaf and hearing. For patients who are craving. Vaccine requirement when you eventually go back to work physically keep your employer tell you need to get a shot. A celebration. Eight years in the making perseverance is touched down on Mars Princeton. Coverage on the most ambitious trip to the red planet never attempt to. Good evening everyone I'm Lindsey Davis thanks so much for streaming plus. Absolutely. Unacceptable that's how the governor of Texas describes the crisis in the lone star state. Now that the lights are slowly started to come back on the extent of the catastrophe is really being eliminated. More than thirteen and a half million Texans cannot drink their water tonight and it could stay that way for days and that's if residents even have working pipes in their homes to get the water for some of those who don't they were lining up to fill jugs and buckets with water from a host good samaritans and public figure stepping up to help distribute. Hospitals remain under severe stress tonight and many without water. One hospital nurses were forced to use bags instead of toilets. Meanwhile Texas senator Ted Cruz is facing major backlash tonight for his family trip to Cancun. We're also learning harrowing new details about how this Texas size mess could have been. Much worse officials say that the state was just seconds and minutes away from losing power for months. There are major questions tonight as we learn officials failed to see the warning ten years ago to winterize the grid. Are Marcus Moore. Once again lead to some. Second diminished. Given the amount of generation of becoming opposite them at the same time that the demand was. Still going a significantly. Overnight families suffering in the dark broke outside Austin Julie Crawford has been boiling small Arafat to use as their primary water source and are running dangerously low on water. So now what we've been doing all day is actually coming outside and getting snow. Couldn't get our hearts. And heating unit on our propane grill. Hospitals around the state turning to generators and water trucks in Austin the facility would 300 patients losing heat. Now the struggle to get basic necessities of long lines stretching far beyond the doors at this Austin grocery store. And outside as fast food. The restaurant. Tom how. Used audience being warned they may have to keep boiling their water until Monday. We already disaster relief organizations as well as the city. Handing out bottled water to families who need it and although the power is coming back. Problems in Texas still remain and this is always an across the state water pipes bursting and firefighters responding to reports of possible buyers. This is attached to be on holding it so many ways for several days. The storms that plague the south now moving east blowing snow and ice rain and wind. And tonight looming questions about why are caught the private company that runs about 90% of the Texas power grid. Was not prepared for weather event like this when conditions were even worse than in February of 2011. What eyes in cold knocked out power to more than three million across Texas. Just as the state was hosting the Super Bowl. For every ten years it's injury to really bad one and in the last one federal report suggested we need to winterize for the lowest known temperatures. Texas didn't do that. The State's independent grid system the only one in the country. Means they don't have to adhere to federal regulations. And Erica failed to heed those warnings Marcus Moore joins us now from Dallas and Marcus Moore Texans are getting their power back on now after a difficult few days but the dangerous holder still not letting up. No they really are Lindsay and tonight live below is expected to be fifteen degrees. With the wind chill at seven but there is a small glimmer of hope tomorrow. For the first time in six days temperatures are expected to get back above freezing and that well that will certainly be a moment of real relief for people here. And we can imagine and we also saw that outrage today over those photos of Texas senator Ted Cruz signaled his family to Cancun right in the middle of this emergency. Howard Texas residents reacting to that NG in general what's our overall response to how political leaders in the state have handled this crisis. One woman's as you can imagine as soon as those pictures started to surface on social media there was a very strong reaction to it. Obviously people upset and saying that the senator should have stayed here in Texas but then there are supporters as well. Who said that he deserves a break but overall. There are people who are simply frustrated. About the fact that there was nothing done to address the vulnerabilities with the power grid after the last. Major outage here in this area back in 2011. And so there are a lot of questions left to be answered and certainly. Plenty of frustration to go around this entire state. Marcus Moore our thanks to you. And as you just saw their millions in Texas continue to be impacted by a collision of various crises from the cold bursting pipes lack of water all of this. On top of coding and joining us now are two of those people who are right in the throes of it now Elizabeth Felix along with her daughter Emilia. Ladies thank you so much for your time and then joining us today Elizabeth first I'd like to just start review how are you and your family doing how are you coping through this time one of the last few days been like. The last few days an era in art we in just come together and share band my daughter or the counsel who is. And just get it he even went back over the house yesterday and what wet are all live know how are you it was just it was freezing cold that's why some horse right now because I was losing my. Boris. And tell us what it was like when the pipes actually started bursting in your house what kind of personal belongings were ruined and what was going through your mind at that time. He straight scandal happened at all costs that the new tattoo is to take what you are processed and dear dearest to your. I die is grandma and my sense and it's completely around and my daughter. In Houston Texas chip Annan shop sweet just as steel output and Aaron. German everything is earning like thousand dollars or quit net everything's lost and unfortunately did not have great insurance rules with a loss for us. Yeah stay married and I'm my heart. Goes you have it where it's unwise. Almost seems so many people I need it so happens then when I'm out now. And that I expressed the last disparity is very very. But she's out and shop in so no all I'm and it was it was more like you're all around and immediately know. There's not -- she found this tattoo wedding people up north don't understand. I'm bill which is handing each and power is gone now are liars though why is it. Yeah. Why you're out right now we're just. Or. How are Karen on teens have Auburn or her Argenis. Kathleen asked who would people are already parents eat this close. And everybody is just really happy to eat next so. We're. Irony now and it's where people are all and I just for starters are searching Anwar well I don't see why restricts our. We can be racks. Revenge I'm some more water. It's. Frustrating is it are you. Angry do you feel that your officials are doing enough. I don't think there are. Not happy when you just we're just not prepared. Yeah yeah Ali attorney hearing either done or the anxious Herman. Senator Clinton's right. Our guy. Senator it's really important that our government stepping in evenings and weekends. People does not see any on how to deal with this when there and opt in to bat. Temperature. So many isn't the pipes of course there are not insulated because you're not used to having a deal of this kind of cold Elizabeth and a million we thank you so much for your time. All the vested to you and and your family. Yeah. Share analysts now go straight to romping in a snowy Philadelphia snow in the east still cold in the south what exactly tracking tonight rob. We got one last wave of winter preset Lindsay that we've got to get through before any real warm up. Begins. Especially for the deep south so let's get through that we've got a little bit of snow that's heading through south Texas and where he San Antonio tonight there you see what are we. Storm warning and expansive hard freeze warning for another. Dangerously cold night across that storm zone were so many people are still without power. What's your weather alerts up for the northeast. Icing conditions for North Carolina and of Virginia with that last low coming through off the coast of the Delmarva tomorrow could see some strong thunderstorms to across southeast. Then another couple of inches potentially here in Philadelphia Bob through Trenton Newark New York the I 95 quarter through Hartford Providence and Boston kind of lingering a little bit tomorrow afternoon just enough to meet Clough global snow but it and also to adapt to could create a more of a headache is a very slow. You long dated system that doesn't really get out of here until late tomorrow afternoon all right meant and that dangerously cold air tonight. Tomorrow morning these are actual temperatures not including the wind chill. Fifteen and and Dallas settled they'll freeze the pipes that are frozen 25 along the coast there in Houston nineteen entry port nearly freezing in New Orleans. And getting above freezing a little bit tomorrow afternoon going back below freezing tomorrow night but these are encouraging numbers is we look ahead towards the weekend. 40s50s. And in in Dallas sixties Lindsay in Houston. Not a moment too soon that warmth is going to feel good as they've finally fall out of what has been a really catastrophic week for much of Texas. Us they certainly need some relief rob Marciano our thanks to you. From the cold we turn to corona virus and that winter weather shutting down vaccination sites and holding a vaccine deliveries across the country this comes as a stunning new report finds that life expectancy in the US has dropped because of the pandemic. Also tonight finds are now testing a vaccine on pregnant women. And a federal investigation of New York's code response here's ABC's Stephanie roms. Tonight Ed Winter blast is slowing the delivery of tens of thousands of vaccine doses across the country this. Is a real problem is we've lost a couple of days in terms of vaccine supply route from New York City to Massachusetts the governor asking for federal approval to send the National Guard down south to pick up the vaccine but we just need to do is make sure that the current government's gonna let the National Guard do this for us vaccinations postponed or canceled in at least 42 seats. We're just gonna have to make up trick as soon as that weather though no lifts so be it the ice melts that we can get the trucks out of the people out. And getting the vaccine. People's homes. But with vaccinations grinding to a halt in some places vaccine trials are full steam ahead at. Flies are announcing its testing its vaccine on 4000 pregnant women a round the world. Pregnant women. Or at increased risk for. Upper respiratory tract infections and some other things so he immunized he knew them against this terrible black terrorists. You would be helpful to mom as well. For now pregnant women are encouraged to discuss a vaccine with their doctors so far about 20000 pregnant women have received the vaccine without complications. A year into the pandemic a new measure of its grim whole. The country's seen the steepest drop in life expectancy since World War II by one full year for whites nearly two years for Latinos and almost three years for black Americans. Did differential. Among people of color vs white. Again on to score is. The health disparity. And now new scrutiny of how the pandemic was managed early on sources tell ABC news that the FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating New York governor Andrew Cuomo's Kobe taskforce. Focusing on its handling of nursing homes. We were in the midst of dealing with the pandemic and trying to save lives. Cuomo has long defended his decision to send hospitalized cope with patients back to nursing homes saying she was just following federal guidance at that time cold food did not get into the nursing. Homes. By people coming from hospitals. A new report found to nursing home deaths may have been undercounted by as much as 50%. The governor's top aide also recently admitted his office delayed turning the numbers over to state lawmakers this inside his mother died of coated in a New York nursing home. Our senior deserve just Jeff and daddy that requires an independent investigation. In so many looking for justice for those senior citizens Stephanie Ramos joins us now from vaccination site at the meadowlands it's close because of the storm seven. Can you tell us about that alarming new study about a deep crease in a life expectancy. What we know and co. It has become a leading cause of death here in the US and doctor bounty just today saying that dig deep crease in life expectancy is directly related to Kobe but of course research researchers are continuing to it is to study that it look at that given that we are still a pandemic Lindsay. Stephanie Ramos thanks to you. We now head west of the state of California which seems if indeed turning a corner and their battle with Kobe but the sting of the virus and subsequent pain and suffering in the last few months still lingers. Ours arrange child looks at the disproportionate impact this pandemic has had on the Latino community in California. When the second big Kobe wade hit Los Angeles and really not as it was one of the helpers threatened to. He he just had hole hard and I'm helping people he grew up tangled with gang members and turned his life around to get. Actually south Philly community through his nonprofit resilient he just decided to. Transitions like cold Turkey. Transition to husband and father of seven Stanley is everything to immunize is but with so many people under one small road. The raging virus caught a holdup all of them. We started to get. It won by lying and as he began to get positive it was me and my son's first. We try to isolate in a separate room and then the next day the other results came in for my other two daughters and then. Never was bound third. And then she married daughter were last. The most recent waves and cases amongst Latinos soaring 1000%. Latinos make up 55%. A statewide cases. And 46%. Of deaths and those numbers are not the case in surrounding wealthier predominantly white areas. And even for much of the drive north until you get closer to a police cult cleanup yet another mostly Latino community. The doctor what percentage of your key chains are militant a community we serve about an 80% Latino population doctor. Alison combos a practicing physician in her very own community says chronic disease has led to many more becoming very sick when they're infected and. One of fed. Big things that I've seen is that we. Unfortunately have higher rates of chronic diseases. Especially diabetes. Among other things like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And obesity and we know that these are some of the main risk factors that increase a person's chances of developing severe cold it's being hospitalized. And and also possibly dying. A community more likely to get the virus but less likely to get health and often water patients are undocumented. And they are often concerned about their legal status when they seek care will this affect I'm will this be counted as a public charge for example. And they also don't qualify verse some of the benefits that are allowing people to just get. By and even less likely to re back seen benefits also patients who fired. Afraid and concerned and have hesitation about the vaccine. There are very few in this community currently geographically close to where we there's there are only two that I know the plane that is one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in the entire country need nearly one out of every five deployment residents. Has fallen ill from holy and one in about 430. People hasn't died in the hands of the virus. We've seen about a 400%. Demands in food. So because of layoff and lost jobs lost didn't comment. You know people who never contested Hampshire before our comings commands looking for June. Can't bring us he'll men's organization CEO says they're never used to be aligned for food but in recent months it crawls around the block. It stays that way port hours. Typically we might spend about 25 or 30000 a year on food and supplemental food and then. Shares of aren't easily over a 100000. You know they can afford not to work they can barely afford. Life when they are working so to lose link comment from places their family at risk. Lara Hidalgo and no government employee who also grew up nearby this is the struggles in her community pummeled by the pandemic. We get updated and Coleman's case numbers and our communities are always the highest. It is gut wrenching because here we are on the front lines trying to prevent a lot of this for a lot of this from. Happening and unfortunately it's gone out of control she fears losing pieces from an entire generation I do sense the fear and I think touching own culture and it's just important for us to continue to. Uphold a lot of medical journal on of those conditions. Because we are seen a lot of them a lot of our. Sixteen years. Back in south Philly the fear of losing elders eventually hit very nice family ever got so sick his wife Andrea have you taken to the hospital in November. I remember giving him a hug and a kiss. And telling him it's going to be okay and that was the last time she held a love of her life. She watched him walk into the hospital he stepped in to show me times a floor for other chronic care. Weeks later. A seemingly routine hospital call home an economy that evening that I it was a nurse to face time for that evening and they called me let me know that my husband's heart rate is dropping the family rushed to say goodbye. But. They missed him lead got their regulator the five. Redefining its lady. Had passed away or radio passed away at time his community was desperately needed him the most. For its food and PP giveaways he's encouragement with gang members to turn their lives around all of that suddenly gone. I have a lot of people. When he casually come and tell me I'll think they needed to their life. Blew the whole eastern lives. He only for the people do you think people feel. He needs and we're in. Clearing dead even in week seventeen they'll need similar thing. Missouri shock ABC news line Los Angeles. Context is a marine for that and today history was made. On an entirely different planet NASA's remarkable trip to Mars is aimed at providing scientists clues about whether or not like ever existed on the planet but before the rover revived it had to survive what is called seven minutes of terror. Gina Benitez has more. Tonight history made the NASA rover perseverance and landing on Mars Cindy back this image tweeting. Hello World my first look at my forever home. Cheers from NASA's mission control in California has perseverance touches down. Roughly the size of a whole our perseverance is the most advanced robot ever sent to displace known around here lovingly as Percy. NASA was most worried about what they call the seven minutes of terror. That's how long it took perseverance to enter the atmosphere and land on Mars. Everyone's talking about these seven minutes of terror take us through it why is this so dangerous. It's really as an incredible technical challenge how to train hit safely onto the service can come in at 121000 miles an hour. We have to slow down to less than two miles an hour in seven minutes. It's and to Dave they didn't. Perseverance landing in a draw wide lake bed about the size of Lake Tahoe its next mission. Drill into mowers and collect rock samples searching for ancient signs of life to send back to or contact armed. Tonight NASA is one step closer to answering the question. Was there ever life on more cars. GO thanks so much and when we come back he stayed isn't complete crisis and yet Texas senator Ted Cruz left with his family can tune. How he's defending his decision tonight. The virtual grilling the CEO of Robin Hood questioned about whether it favors the wealthy over average investors after the game stop after debacle. Up next can your boss may you get a komen vaccine stay with us. With more Americans getting Kobe nineteen vaccine every day will still reach a point where more of us will be. Going back to the office or place of work on a regular basis so on some business is thinking about whether they could actually require their employees to get the vaccine is part of coming back to work in order to keep their fellow employees as well as customers safe so could your job make you get the shot it's easy and you Denver has the story. For the better part of a year as the pandemic crescendo to unthinkable heights. The nation's top health officials have long maintained it would take a vaccine to really turn the tide when your turn comes up please. Get vaccinated. Both for your own safety. That of Europe family. And that for the American community in general. And as to vaccines have arrived to the public since December the CDC says more than forty million Americans have rolled up their sleeves to get shot more vaccinated Americans may signal a return to the days of going back to the office in cubicles to assembly lines in kitchens in bars. What if that return. Was dictated by the vaccine. Put another way can your boss for seated taking. Arguably yes. Charles graver is a law professor at George Washington university in says while there are some exceptions your employer can likely mandate all employees get the shot. Employees who work from private employers employed accountant will in the United States which means I can terminate you for good cause bad cause or no cause. Any time and so if you don't cooperate with me and you don't have really isn't sure you don't have a disabilities act as you and you don't come on his own state law. Thank you are not willing to die seaboard to. New work where you're getting faster. As Kobe vaccines become more widely available it's a question many employers for large corporations to small businesses may soon have to face it. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said recently that the company is looking into requiring employees to take the vaccine. While noting other industries would need to buy in to make a requirement. Work I think the right thing through it without question is to make the vaccine meant. Well I hope is that there are a coalition. I don't like minded companies will be resentment. And I figure that does happen just get all grow. So with more employees reimbursing themselves back into those close Dee Lee interactions with customers in coworkers alike should employees face getting the vaccine. Over getting fired anybody who wants to not get vaccinated that's their body ultimately they're responsible for their own body. Jason Berry is the founder of need hospitality Washington DC and owns multiple restaurants. Instead of taking any punitive approach to employees getting shot he's rewarding those who do. As soon as the vaccines are available will be offering a variety of incentives for our employees as we want to encourage them to do it even though we're not mandating it. That includes four hours of pay. As a bonus when they're fully vaccinated. The extra incentive isn't without reason. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll from January suggests about a third of the overall public. Is taking a wait and see approach to getting vaccinated that's higher among minorities with 43% of black adults and 37% of Hispanic saying they want to wait to take the vaccine. And roughly three of every 10 non health care central workers feel the same. She will Mon is an essential worker at a Safeway grocery store near Seattle. Since the onset of the pandemic even with strong CoBiz safety recommendations and guidelines she knows how hard it is to still protect yourself and loved ones. Even with masks and social distancing it's why she doesn't think there's much need for a vaccine directive seems ready to roll up her sleeve now. And in just weeks she'll say or it would make the yellow light. Not good at bringing home annaly it would make a ceiling you're not. My neighbors my customers. It would just would be Culbertson needs to get fascinated and I'm just waiting for. We blame Joseph for Sula Garrity supermarkets in Pennsylvania says the decision not to require his employees get the vaccine comes down to a matter of joint. We don't think that's necessary. Within our employees. You know can make an informed choice and by hydrant most of them are are very eager to get it anyway. It's that sort of choice mark Barone of the united food and commercial workers union says. He's prepared to fight for if his union members are required to get the shot by their bosses wouldn't employers around us and sailor we're gonna mandated or we're gonna but somebody ought to we're we're gonna Wear and our membership the wall more companies and small businesses are opting for rewarding or encouraging their workforce to get vaccinated. If your boss does make it mandatory. You may be left without a choice. I'm clerk does have a legal obligation and maintain his health and healthy work environment. And that includes techniques individual employees themselves and their coworkers and protect and customers. Enter Gilbert ABC news Washington. Many people been asking that question our thanks to Andrew for that still ahead here on time. Democrats unveil ambitious plan to overhaul America's immigration policy but doesn't stand a chance of passing. The Alaska lawmakers. Another school in Nigeria is attacked two more school children abducted. And the pandemic is changing the makeup and population of cities as many choose to relocate we take a look at by the numbers but first. Our post on the day Dolly Parton and icon and legend that when lawmakers in Tennessee wanted to honor her with a statue of the capital. Her response to what's going on in the world right now she did not want to put on a pedestal for her good deeds and. Welcome back everyone we turn to some early indications of how the pandemic is transforming America's cities the nonprofit Milken Institute tracks the economic opportunities and living costs of the country's largest metro areas and rinse the quote best performing places here's a look at the list. 2021. Findings and by the numbers the number one city for road to recovery. Is total Oregon Utah home to Brigham young university and a growing hub for high tech companies. Trouble or assign 28. Send job growth through 2014 to 2019 and during the downturn in the past years songs are simply loan 1%. Job loss. San Francisco on the other hand fell from the number one spot last year to number 24 this year due in part to remote work and job losses which have led to an exodus from. Some of the country's most expensive cities according to researchers. Austin, Texas ranks number three it's a growing tech center was relatively low taxes and cost of living and boasts. 121%. Job growth through 20142019. Salt Lake City, Utah took fourth place and he in the small city category. Idaho Falls ranked number one. And finally while we're seeing shifts and where jobs are located nationwide layoffs continue. 861000. Americans filed new unemployment claims last week according to Labor Department data released today. And we still have lots to get to here on time tonight. Emotions running high as Serena Williams loses again to Naomi Osaka what's next for perhaps the greatest to ever play the game. Is it about the red planet that is constantly captivating and our own plan. And news tonight about Bob Dole but first a look at. Top trending stories on abcnews.com. One. When. Millions of Americans from North Carolina to new England and I'm against this bitter winter blast at least ten states plus Washington DC under a state of emergency according to a large trucks out eleven smallpox could that is those in the northeast also thinking of new outlook already pummeled by the same storm barriers just actually hard time has trucks and car stuck in this snow in Mississippi and Arkansas and hadn't seen the streets in Houston the fourth largest city in the US and so called energy capital of the world. It's completely dark summoned the lone star state without lights or heat for days data you have abandoned cars and Saturday night the entire city under a boil water and. I three Kelly how can learn Texans deserve answers. About why visual Paul's return. And how would it be corrected. And Texas don't begin to move those enhancements. Are you finance arm the next. Yes the games stop making a full stop on Capitol Hill and from my hearing underway on the company's wild stock market rise in. CEO of the retail investment platform Robbie knowing this testifying under GameStop stock price soared 16100%. And Robin hoods decision to call buying stock and others on a platform these injuries are right. Yeah. You gonna look ansari. More. What happens what what what matters here is so great to ensure that we proved groundless Wheeler from Edmonds and we don't have the same mistakes in the future. Co-founder of the social media messages or read it will also testified after reading was the catalyst that led to the surgeon trading big idea that I use social media to promote change jobs dollars from unwitting investors includes the market is preposterous. The episode has been portrayed as a victory for the little guys over Wall Street titans lawmakers from both parties are among us. Exists. In Nigeria another school kidnapping at 2 AM an unidentified gunmen reportedly stormed a government science secondary school killing a student and kidnapping 42 people 127 of them students. This boy managed to its case. And I see again. Kidnappings for ransom are all too common here are just two months ago an abduction from another northwest Nigerian school resulted in nearly 350. School bullies forcibly taken. The Nigerian army says it's pursuing those responsible. Former longtime Kansas senator Bob Dole revealing his battle with stage four lung cancer. And 97 he says he will begin treatment on Monday the former Republican presidential candidate served in both houses of congress from 1961. To 1996. He released a statement saying Lou Molly certainly have some hurdles that hadn't I also know that I joined millions of Americans who face health challenges of their own. Serena Williams actions after her loss in Australia are raising questions about her future members Serena Williams lost her Australian Open semi final that he stay on for the long pretty usual put her hand on her heart technology crown in the miss after the match back V8 fare well these CB forty year old said. Paramount right you're her sister Arlington. Yeah. Moments later when asked about how she played in her loss Williams suddenly grew emotional and I don't know. Yeah Hamm in soccer who feel really doesn't face another American Jennifer Brady in Saturday's finals. While many in Texas remain in the dark and cold one of their senators senator Ted Cruz is facing sir backlash today as he headed south of the border caught boarding a flight when this failing to Cancun. He quickly diverted back to Texas where he is now trying to explain his actions are true overall has the very latest. With Texas reeling and millions of its constituents without power or water. Texas senator Ted Cruz jetted off to sunny Cancun with his family. Cameras catching him at the airport those pictures making headlines in he's storm ravaged state. Senator Ted Cruz made time for a family vacation. In the middle of our State's historic winter storm this is quite a maddening. We upsetting as you Saturday where crews in Cancun while we're dealing with this mess. Just Monday crews warned his fellow Texans are dangerous storm was coming even urging them to stay home. We could see up to a hundred people lose their lives this week in practice of don't risk it Kiki pierced your. Family safe ended just stay home and hug your kids. Of course the senator didn't stay home himself two days later he was off to Mexico to Houston Police Department which was grappling with the natural disaster as a member of the cruise team called in quote requested assistance for the senator at the airport. Meanwhile in Galveston Randall hall was shivering inside his house. At just 42 degrees. It appears that yesterday senator Ted Cruz flew to Cancun. How do you feel about that. They can stay there actually. Yeah you don't need of that. We're donating back in Houston R&R and US senate health today Democrats like the mayor of Houston were unsparing. Well there's certainly much warmer where he's going. Then images put it they're just put it like that. And the Republican governor was at a loss for words can only. Haven't been following people's vacation plans we've we've been work and little literally. All night it took hours for the crews team to acknowledge he had flown to Cancun the senator saying in a statement with school canceled for the week. Our girls asked to take a trip with friends wanting to be a good dad I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. Late today cameras caught crews pulling the suitcase through Cancun international airport heading home. Yesterday my daughter's fast. Heidi and I've read the long here and I'm headed back. Back continuing to work. Try to get power. And senator crews just admitted to reporters moments ago that he was originally planning on staying in Mexico through the weekend. He's now calling this trip a mistake. And said he needed to be here. In Texas. Lindsay. Today Democrats introduce a swift immigration reform bill three of the biggest focuses of the bill are pathway to citizenship attacking the border back blonde head on and continued improvements to border security joining us now he is one of the leading members of congress behind this bill California representative Linda Sanchez. Congresswoman thank you so much for joining us today. Now this bill which whereas a lot of what president Biden laid out during his first day in office is one of the most wide ranging immigration roll outs and we've seen in decades what's the reality of this getting enough Republican support to make this into a reality. We're here. Asking me out but apparently reality that we can't get her support for themselves in the last congress and were able to pass a number. He isn't immigration reform legislation would recover its support I think this bill Little Rock supply unit. I think plenty inhabitants conversations. Yeah me and wins in the well and why our country safer stronger and more our hearts are. It's just a matter to me outreach and cancer question and trying to address these parents clearly gets is the certain. No piece of legislation. Star looks like but while he's at legislation. Will vote I think just the beginning the very democratic process. There's absolutely no reason why did he ever who took her. That's and you just said that a it earlier during a press conference and also just now we all know that when you introduce a bill often times the end result is not the same as the starting result given everything that's going on in our country right now between komen vaccines in the economy would you say this is the best time to present this bill and and how much of the original proposal are you willing to separate. Fights aren't just saying yes this is common sense solution to immigration reform. There Harris played our immigration system for decades narrow it certainly had time. Most of the people who will be applying for citizenship through this process. Are already living and working here in the united seeing many of them are essential workers who. The mood sort of murder Arabs that are purchased are innocent women who have helped us here are the elderly nursing facility. Who had. Pop music patients that are not strengthening our consumer who people who work there aren't perfect. Be our hearts of our community here in corporate there are many families. And they are some really. Don't you ask any economist Obama grow our economy really are so yeah now it's time. And the bill lays out a pathway to citizenship over the span of eight years how to you reassure the undocumented community of eleven million that there information is in safe hands with the Biden government. Right now he's only elected to serve of course for four years and on the other side of that argument what kind of vetting will be done to make sure the people. Granted this opportunity are truly deserving of it. Well they're ever hurt application for a that's obviously their hope neither background checks that are company. He knew he should. They're little piano rigorous process are concerned that these sorts Shia path of citizenship. There are currency reflection included with the Nextel and Sweetney. Yeah I'm mostly choke points of our legal immigrant son. And help us solve its problems that we can't key France should be separated from decade for decades or already hates children ma. Wants and this bill also includes a focus on the factors that cause people to migrate the price tag on it would be four billion dollars over the span of four years could provide oversight of that money to make sure that it isn't placed in the wrong hands of the very foreign government officials who share a huge portion of the responsibility for the conditions of these countries. So are. Questioned how it should. That is currently immigrants should help prior think it seeks to address the real concrete it's one reason why people come. And it pretty plan she used. You know collaborated with the international community worker crisis here. Chief pretty. Benchmarks. And how governments try to review seems like poverty and violence corruption. Establish rule of law and we democratic institutions in the case. Aren't you don't agree continent's. Car and he's he will split income or we can't stand much tighter immigration. Yeah but who administration they. Try every salute an error in Britain reached an immigration. Stewart did I didn't grow its onslaught and not more. Yeah we we heard it once again on a ball and acts not solutions marketing prop. This no. And there aren't ambitious. Us he should be sources have and infrastructure. At our ports of entry. She that we are able to manage our southern border and who that. It more prominent crows. But yeah kartsonas I think. It's a brand. Six common sense. Policies. Will help six it's not once but I'll. All right so we'll see if you're closers are able to make it happen congressman Sanchez we thank you so much for your time appreciate it might or any chance. And Mary Bruce joins us now Mary we've seen so many versions of the immigration reform over the years just a sense of how likely this is was so much on the agenda from the Biden administration right now how realistic it is that this moves forward anytime soon. While passing a comprehensive immigration bill like this is certainly going to be a very heavy lifting this would be the most sweeping overhaul of our immigration system in three decades and Democrats realize that getting Republicans on board what this is going to be really difficult now Democrats do have options right they could break this stop doing piecemeal try to pass it in chunks doing simply what has the most potential for bipartisanship some Democrats on the hill support fat or Democrats could simply try to go it alone but that would require that they watered down the bills significantly. Now you mention what else is on Washington's plate and there's a lot right there trying to pass this Kobe relief bill. They want to continue doing another round of economic stimulus and infrastructure plan still in the I suspect that actually scenes and action on his immigration plan. Could take some time. Our primary Bruce our thanks to you. Thank you back in a moment when another quick trip to Mars. And next so why it's never a bad idea ten reach for the stars can't whitworth has the story of a man who spent his childhood picking produce. And is now in space. I started off. Working on that land and land that was it mine I worked for other farmers. Taking just about any. Any. Fruit and vegetable that gross here in the valley. You name it if they grow it here we picked it. Including grapes. Yeah opposing Hernandez spent his entire childhood working alongside his parents in the east California field picking shopping series onions can cucumbers. Cucumber growth so low so you're always on your fat picky when your booklet filled notebook and then you gotta go in and didn't give you a little. Ship that you didn't turn in for payment. And it's hard work. But you know by about 11 o'clock in the morning you're done. And you know if she did very well he could make 5060 books. But this is his Lance now and it represents to me ever presents life. Every year he's from the cattle from Mexico to California spending months at a time doing hard labor. It's the only life renewing Twomey. It was normal it wasn't it was a tough left that's why I think my work ethic king from. Still learning English Jose excelled in math and science and by ten years old he knew. That he wanted to be an astronaut after watching the last Apollo mission on TV crews 1972. He told his dat about his street. I think what he saw was the determination. Of a ten year old boy. That he did two things that we changed the course. In my life I think first thing is. He validated entering he empowered me to believe I can do it he said because the first thing that he says is I think he can do it. I mean that is powerful for an apparent to a ten year old when he empowered to me. I believe them. We're working very hard to those like him Kimelman. Children to be somebody and then looks Victor they the reward is being proficient and Kabul for a rent if you have a prelude rear really proud of dole all of them. The youngest of four kids he graduated high school in 1980 then earning a degree in electrical engineering from the University of the Pacific two years later. Completing his master's degree he began working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he was instrumental in the invention of the mobile mammogram machine. During his time there he began trying to NASA a process that would take him twelve years and so he was rejected a level not time. Heart and soul I reach this final 100 not once not twice but three times. Can't count it that far accessory to Heinz I was in the final 100 so you could almost taste it. In a sea of more than 121000 candidates he was finally selected in 2004. So don't be so quick to give up but your dreams and he. Failed once or twice insurer failure doesn't feel good sir rejection doesn't feel good but if you prepare yourself to come back stronger. And eventually you get there. Two years later he got his wings and in 2009 he was the flight engineer on EST yes sir. Discovery's flying a fourteen day mission to the International Space Station. He became he first first generation Mexican American astronaut and he also sent the first tweet from space in Spanish. I actually did a far all the countries especially the US Mexico. And now the Latin American countries good luck in the upcoming. Qualifying rounds for the World Cup and see you at the World Cup. At the end of this fourteen day mission whether change their flight path forcing them to land in California. Instead of Florida. On the landing site of Edwards Air Force Base always call it pulling kick just this. Why because it's about eighty miles from where I used picked strawberries in the Ontario chino area. Main gear touchdown. Where their people on your way out that he doubted you. Because of their background. I get the answer the short answer is yes. You perceive that he was in very blatant. But you've perceived it. But I'll soul. I think it also had to do a lot with having an impostor syndrome sometimes. You can't help but you say to. I really belong here. Husband and father of five Jose left NASA Antoine eleventh moving back to Stockton guy running his consulting business investing his time in the community. And buying his own land. Tending to the fines near where his entire family worked for years. We were out here because we have. You it was a matter of survival. Now we're here because we enjoy it. Bottling the first vintage of Tierra Bruno wines in March. As a double meaning Tierra and don't know my wife thought of the name for a restaurant because it meant earth moon. Grail cup but it also has say double meaning because hear us in Spanish and that only means earth it also means there. And while his life remains on this planet for now. He's again inspired by the latest mission to Mars. Do you still aren't Mena news hearts is is that realized that it felt smelly the right one for you to leave. But when you watch stuff like this evening the for the. Thought he I miss it a lot of time this has allowed him. You know I I understand you know once you leave NASA as an astronaut you never gonna go back I understand that part. But you never know I mean you've got SpaceX. He virgin galactic. He got blue origin hold these companies have their own vehicles and may want to have experienced. Astronauts. Oh lead. Some of the munitions whether there report tourism. Or for other efforts centered trying to do you and solved. You know they believe that there are out and that the full neighboring went beyond a go ahead are pretty good shape so talk so bomb bomb bomb hoping you know one day the phone rings and says they'll say you know. Have we got an opportunity for you say hey I'm put me in coach movement. Sounds like he has plans head out of this world at once again our thanks to Cano for that and before we go tonight the image of the day and of course this picture just felt like a must. This is the first pictures sent back to our planet from the perseverance AK Percy and many more of those images to come. That is our show for this hour we should stay tuned to ABC news live for more context and analysis of the day's top stories. I'm Lindsey Davis thank you so much for streaming with us and have a great night.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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