One of the hardest things I face when discussing immigration with others is that I must spend an inordinate amount of time just trying to dispel the many myths and distortions about immigration pushed forth via the sound bites of the news media. It is not the news media’s fault because they rely on the sound bites of the political operatives to fill their reports. It is impossible for me to address each of the distortions in one blog post because to do so would require a book. Even then, I probably would not be able to address all of them.

Instead, what I am going to do is point out snippets of distortion every time I have an opportunity to do so. It is my hope that by the time we get to the presidential elections that I will have a body of work that I can use to dispel the many myths.

Case in point is the August 26, 2015 Atlantic article by Priscilla Alvarez titled “A Telling Confrontation Between Donald Trump and a Univision Anchor.”

Alvarez writes “[Jorge] Ramos, who has been called the Walter Cronkite of Latino America, holds a position of tremendous influence within the Hispanic community. So does Univision, which has become perhaps the strongest voice on politics within the Spanish-language press – although not always an objective one.”

Her write up does not bother me until she inexplicably adds the following, from The New York Times:

About 58 percent of all mentions of Mr. Trump in mainstream news media, broadcast, cable, radio and online outlets, in thee pat month have focused on immigration, while Spanish-language news programs, the proportion is almost 80 percent.”

Hmm, English speakers in the United States are generally engaged politically and their focus is predominantly the economy. Their personal perspective encompasses various political issues, most of them having the economy as the nexus. A subset of that is immigration. Of course, the news media that serves them provides them the context that interests them.

On the other hand, Spanish speakers, generally, are consumed by the issue of immigration, whether they are documented, or not. It makes sense that their interest is focused on immigration over the other domestic issues.

Spanish speaking media is not focusing on immigration because they are not being “objective,” but rather because they providing their consumers the information they seek. The Atlantic, The New York Times and Univision provides the content that their readers or viewers want.

It is as simple as that. However, reading the Atlantic piece, the reader is left with the erroneous notion that Spanish language media is distorting the immigration debate because they are providing their viewers what they seek.

I do not believe that Priscilla Alvarez intended the perception she left readers with but rather she is writing from an Anglo-centric perception that leaves her with the wrong reasons for the percentages of why Spanish language media reports about immigration have higher numbers.

It is impossible to have a meaningful discussion about immigration without removing the distorted facts. As with all national politics, immigrants are the easiest rhetoric to use because immigrants are a nonvoting constituency that cannot harm the political careers of the politicians, regardless of the statements they utter. The immigrants that can vote do not do so, exasperating the problem for all of us.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

3 replies on “The Distortion of the Immigration Debate: The Donald Trump Example”

  1. Martin, good points.

    The recent encounter between Ramos and Trump has been distorted by both sides. This was nothing more than a pissing contest. One trying to throw his weight around and the other trying to prove he’s in control.

    These two had previous encounters and each has developed a dislike for the other. Which is stupid, it’s ok to be passionate and strong proponent for an issue. But, we need to learn to accept there are other points of view. Have a courteous discourse. Here in El Paso, people demonize, hiss, throw holy water on members of another political party sometimes even wiithin the same party. it’s has gotten so bad there are fist fights at the polling stations and destruction of an opposing candidate’s signs. Then there’s the racial insults and reference to a person’s IQ.

    If two people in love and married can’t agree on everything, why would one expect everyone to be in agreement about everything. This animosity carries to Austin and Washington. So why is everyone in shock that nothing is accomplished, except verbal attacks, in those cities. Ever hear of listening with an open mind, respect, and compromise. Do you really believe that your political party has “all” the answers ? If you do then you are part of the problem. Has any administration had a perfect record of accomplishments, NO. They develop some good policies and sometimes not so good. There’s the answer, neither party has “all” the answers.

    What is destroying this country is US. We are to blame. Learn to respect other opinions and respect doesn’t make you a traitor to your beliefs. Who knows the other person just provide a great idea or make you realize that your idea is not so good. And that’s ok, no need to become belligerent. That’s why we have pencils with erasers, erasable ink, spell check and delete keys.

    Learn to look, learn and listen for yourself. Don’t be gullible and believe everything you hear or see. Above all, don’t be like our two friends, the only thing accomplished, is they peed on each other.

  2. Martin did have a short talk with Ms. Alvarez today. Believe you would be very hard pressed to support or prove any Anglo-centric perception conspiracy with this lady. Oh just to start with she is Hispanic. Since you like coming up with meaningless words such as Anglo-centric we believe that whether they are Hispanic or White or other most are not “mono-eccentric” in their thought on political issues. Hey what ever ethnic group we all would like a good economy, we all would like at least some end to the constant bickering of immigration, we would all like some real affordable health care reform. We would all like to see the problem with infrastructure addressed, etc.. No the majority do not have tunnel vision for what we want from our government. One thing I do agree with is it sure would be nice if the majority would stop being lazy, do their duties as a citizens (The Master), and engage their government at all leaves and get out and vote. Hey I know it’s only a dream but let the old man have his dreams. ;O)

  3. I firmly believe that decorum was thrown out the window in the exchange. First i’m shocked with the way Mr. Ramos acted in his capacity of a journalist, as popular as he is this display lowered him in my opinion. Trump is a known factor and when Trump asked Ramos to sit or wait his turn that should have been it, but no, we know now that Mr. Ramos was going to make a “statement”because he dislikes Trumps ideology. A reporter, i was taught, does their absolute best not to use that profession to infuse their own beliefs. It would be chaos for any news organization otherwise and simply out of line with their code of ethics. What everyone seems to lose sight of is that Trump did invite Ramos back in and then went mano a mano on the questions Ramos so adamantly wanted to debate Trump on. You may not like Trump but the woodpecker says that Trump is voicing more than words…he’s the mouth of many disenfranchised taxpayers and voters solidly irate at the Washington crowd. Democrat, Republican, Independent, or otherwise the politicians should heed the warning that Trump is not an enigma, but rather saying what others are only thinking.

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