Finally, it was my turn to weigh in on the discussion. I was asked if I believed that their positions were either racist or discriminatory against the Central Americans who were illegally crossing the border. I responded that I was not offended by their comments, nor would I categorize their views as racist. I was not in agreement with everything that was said, though the diversity of opinion was refreshing. I have always thought Spanish News Networks attempts to portray solidarity among Latinos on immigration matters as an improper attempt to influence political arguments. These networks long ago abandoned the long-practiced democratic principle of fairly and impartially reporting the news.
Illegal immigration would dramatically drop off if the economic assistance incentives were removed from the equation. Why would a Guatemalan mother of three illegally enter the US with her three small children? Is she looking to build her American dream or looking for assistance in raising her children?
Since my opinion had been requested I freely gave it. I started by saying that I shared the same views that the group had expressed. They had in my opinion accurately discerned the problem caused by the current wave of Central Americans illegally entering the country; however, it was my understanding that illegal immigration had been declining from its peak in 2000 of 1.6 million. There are an estimated 13 million illegal aliens living in the US. More than half of them are Mexicans. Most of today’s illegal aliens have been living in the US for more than a decade. Though I believed that there should be harsh consequences for illegally entering the US, I thought that the practice of separating families was not warranted or helpful. I rejected with equal vigor the practice of “forced migration” or open borders.
Many asylum seekers file their petitions while on the other side of the border. They also travel great distances for a chance to be legally admitted into the US. None of my friends disagreed with my argument that people who seek asylum by illegally entering the country should not be given an advantage over those attempting to enter legally. Many of my friends seemed angry at the Mexicans and Central Americans for reasons based on their social-economic status. However, I did not resent these “cutters in line” to the degree that some of the members of the group did. We agreed that the people illegally entering the country did not believe in the rule of law.
There was a question that everyone wanted an answer to; What Central American mother of 3 three once allowed to enter the US, who establishes herself in a sanctuary city, participates in the American dream by receiving thousands of dollars yearly in public benefits, and most likely having American children (anchor babies) would ever comply with a deportation order to leave the country once their frivolous asylum petition had been denied? Also, I too wondered how such poor Central Americans could pay human traffickers thousands of dollars to smuggler them across the US-Mexican border. I could not agree with some of my friends without some substantiating facts that the illegal immigrants paid their fares by assisting Mexican drug cartels, though this conclusion was plausible.
The most-watched Spanish-speaking public television networks serving the NYC area are Telemundo and Univision. The stations reach over 95% of the Hispanic households in America. Even though they are both headquartered in Florida, their most lucrative markets are NYC and Los Angeles. Their programming and advertising content cater to the Mexican community, legal and illegal. This fact does not bother me as much as the networks’ inability to fairly and accurately report on issues relating to illegal immigration. My Colombia friends dislike the networks because of their bias towards everything Mexican. The Colombians believe that the networks often do a disservice to Latinos who are “playing by the rules.” I believe that the stations fail to adhere to their responsibility to accurately and fairly report the news about illegal immigration and entry into the US. The host of these networks never talk about how these so-called “good residents’ live and depend on public entitlements.
After offering my opinion, it was time to change the subject of conversation to a less contentious theme. The ordering the second round of pitchers of beer helped slide us into a more congenial mood. We ended the day on a pleasant note and said our goodbyes still friends who valued each other’s points of view.