While Tuesday's Noticias Telemundo spent a scant 28 seconds on the murder of 20-year-old Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts by an undocumented alien who confessed to the crime, it tripled the amount of time it spent on a report about ICE raids on businesses employing undocumented workers.
Citing the Trump administration’s stepped-up enforcement and higher penalties imposed against businesses that break the law by employing workers who are illegally in the country, the story focused on restaurants “running out of employees.”
FRANCISCO CUEVAS, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: Restaurants around the country are reporting a shortage of workers, at least with legal documents to be able to hire them.
However, it begs to question the real newsworthiness of the Telemundo report: that it is illegal to hire undocumented workers? That restaurants who hire undocumented workers are now struggling because they have to pay higher wages to legal workers? That ICE is the villain for enforcing the law?
Statements like the ones offered by two restaurateurs interviewed added to the absurdity of the story: “The truth is we are like in a tightrope, we don't know what will happen,” said Rocío Camacho, owner of “The Goddess of the Mole” (La Diosa del Mole) restaurant chain. Any person who owns a lawfully registered business knows the consequences of hiring illegal workers, so being fined by the authorities should be no mystery.
Even more bizarre was what one activist by the name of Gloria Saucedo, from the Alianza Comunitaria Transnacional, a community organization offering immigration services and education programs, had to say when she declared “It is not just in restaurants, but the fields, the services. The United States economy will suffer because there are not enough workers.”
Correspondent Francisco Cuevas did not question Saucedo’s comment, nor did he reference the record number of Hispanics employed in the nation. Yet another reason to question the choice and credibility of the news presented by Telemundo.
Below is the complete transcript of the above mentioned report as aired on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 in Noticias Telemundo.
JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: The government’s war against illegal immigration is happening all around. Now punishments and threats are growing against companies and businesses that hire undocumented immigrants. And the worst thing is that between fines and raids, many restaurants are running out of employees. From Los Angeles, Francisco Cuevas gives us the details.
FRANCISCO CUEVAS, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: Like every morning Rocio Camacho gets ready to delight her customers with her mole. But one of the most important ingredients for the success of her three restaurants is increasingly difficult to find.
ROCIO CAMACHO, RESTAURANT OWNER: There aren’t many workers available to work in the restaurant industry, we are always worried because of the fines.
CUEVAS: Things are so hard that her son Jesse left his career as a nurse to help her in the kitchen in the absence of authorized workers.
CAMACHO: The truth is we are like in a tightrope we don't know what will happen.
CUEVAS: Restaurants around the country are reporting a shortage of workers, at least with legal documents to be able to hire them.
GLORIA SAUCEDO, ACTIVIST: This is the wall of fear.
CUEVAS: This, while the administration of President Trump has considerably increased audits and raids in workplaces.
SAUCEDO: It is not just in restaurants, but the fields, services. The United States economy will suffer because there are not enough workers.
CUEVAS: More than 5,200 businesses across the country have undergone audits so far this year, three times more than the previous year. The raids and the hefty fines are already having a negative effect on many businesses. The penalties imposed to businesses that hire undocumented immigrants range from $220 to over $2000 for the first offense, a punishment that is increased from $480 up to about $20,000 for repeated offense.
RIGOBERTO LOPEZ, RESTAURANT OWNER: … And if you don't adapt to the law, you will be at risk and you will suffer the consequences.
CUEVAS: And it’s that the new ingredient could be, fear. In Los Angeles, California, Francisco Cuevas, Telemundo News.