The thousands of Central Americans currently making their way through Mexico on their way to the U.S. border have found a champion and cheerleader in veteran Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos. The dual Mexican and U.S. citizen is hosting Univision’s evening newscasts from Mexico this week as he accompanies the caravan, which on his network he calls a “caravan of refugees.”
Though asylum is not designed to protect people seeking refuge from generalized gang violence or crime, much less poor economic conditions, in 2016 alone the Obama administration granted asylum to over 5000 Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorians, and in an interview with Martha MacCallum of Fox News Ramos made it clear that he views the vast majority of Central American nationals travelling with the caravan as “refugees” who also deserve the opportunity to have their cases for political asylum heard in the United States.
JORGE RAMOS, FACEBOOK WATCH HOST AND SENIOR NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: …the vast majority of these people are not criminals, they’re not terrorists and they’re not even immigrants. They’re refugees and as a nation, in the United States, we have to choose what kind of nation we are and treat them with respect. We cannot prejudge them. We cannot say all of them are criminals, all of them are refu…that is not true. So what we have to do is to listen to them, hear their cases and if they deserve political asylum then grant it to them.
Ramos went on to make contradictory statements about the efforts of Mexican law enforcement to confront the caravan, initially saying “Mexico has done its part” and “the Mexican police has become Trump’s immigration police” before acknowledging to MacCallum that Mexican police in fact had failed at the task. “President Peña Nieto tried to become Trump’s police and just simply didn’t work,” he finally conceded.
As a steady stream of northward-bound migrants filed by Ramos, the anchor also tried to put the best face on what he was clearly aware are optics that do not “play in Peoria.” “If you are in the United States and you are watching this, you might think, oh, we are going to be invaded. That's not true. There is no invasion here,” assured the caravan’s most prominent media activist champion.
The referenced portions of Martha MaCallum’s interview with Jorge Ramos, as aired on Fox News Channel on October, 22, 2018, appear below.
FNC's The Story
MARTHA MACCALLUM: So for more perspective on the ground in Mexico, I’m joined by Jorge Ramos, Univision anchor and the author (sic) of Real America on Facebook Watch…A report today from the Washington Post said that many of the people that they talked to, that the Washington Post talked to, they told the reporters that they had already been deported several times from the United States and that they were going to try to make it back in again, many of them. To try to meet up with family members. They said that they would try to run in between the border guards, at places that they know are porous along the United States border and one of them was quoted as saying ‘That's how it is. They catch you and you try to get back.’ What kind of system is that?
JORGE RAMOS: Well, maybe they are only talking to people who speak English. Yes, of course, I have talked to some of them who have been deported, but the majority (turns and asks passers-by) Have any of you been to the United States before? Have you been in the United States? Have you been in the United States?
MAN WALKS BY, SIGNALS BACK: Those who are coming, there.
RAMOS: None of them have been in the United States before. So some of them, yes, have been deported, but the majority not, Martha. And something really important is that the vast majority of these people are not criminals, they’re not terrorists and they’re not even immigrants. They’re refugees and as a nation, in the United States, we have to choose what kind of nation we are and treat them with respect. We cannot prejudge them. We cannot say all of them are criminals, all of them are refu…that is not true. So what we have to do is to listen to them, hear their cases and if they deserve political asylum then grant it to them.
MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, according to one estimate by the Gallup world poll, 57 million people in the Latin America and the Caribbean would like to come to the United States. Do you recommend that they should all be allowed in? I mean, at what point is there, you know a, I mean, how how is this going to work? Leave the border open, just out of the goodness of everyone's heart, welcome in 57 million people eventually? What do you recommend?
RAMOS: No. I, I'm not for open borders. I understand what you are saying, Martha, but I am not for open borders. I think that the immigration system that we have right now is simply not working. It’s not working for everyone. Trump's immigration policy is a complete failure. It hasn’t worked. Enforcement only doesn’t work. And what we need is a legal immigration system that really works. Now despite the optics, I know that if you are in the United States and you are watching this, you might think, oh, we are going to be invaded. That's not true. There is no invasion here. We are talking about 7,000 right now, maybe a few thousand more trying to cross the border between Mexico and Guatemala. Some of them are going to make it to Texas. Some are going to try to make it to California. But at the end this is the truth. There is only 11 million people in the United States who are undocumented
RAMOS: And that has remained stable for the last decade, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Yeah, well, but the problem is that it's a lawbreaking environment. You are not allowed to just cross the border. You are not allowed to go up and find the openings of the border where there are no Border Patrol agents and sneak your way through and you know put your foot on the property and then become the responsibility of the U.S. Government. It simply doesn't work. And what is being asked is for Latin America and Mexico to take their share of the burden and to manage this problem and perhaps to find a way to improve their own economies so that everybody doesn't want to flood out.
RAMOS: I agree with you and I think Mexico has done its part. President Peña Nieto, unfortunately for many immigrants, Mexicans and Central Americans, the Mexican police has become Trump’s immigration police. That's the truth.
MACCALLUM: What do you mean by that? We watched the fence. No, hold on. We watched the fence between Guatemala and Mexico be overrun. It doesn't appear that there was any attempt by the Mexican police to really handle the situation.
RAMOS: Mexican police, Mexican police tried to prevent.
MACCALLUM: Well it doesn’t seem like they’re up to the task then.
RAMOS: Mexican police tried to prevent some immigrants to pass by, and you know immigration is fluid and instead of going through a bridge, they used the river and here they are. So it didn’t work. And President Peña Nieto tried to become Trump’s police and just simply didn’t work.
MACCALLUM: Why doesn’t he be Mexicans’ police? Why not Mexico’s police? This is your problem. I’m sorry.
RAMOS: What President Trump is trying to do right now, threatening foreign aid, to cut foreign aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala is the worse he can do. Because, let me just finish this and I’ll let you talk. Simply because, simply because if you put more pressure on Central America, more people like this are going to try to come to the United States.
MACCALLUM: Yeah well obviously there’s a big problem with the economy and with the Mexican ability. It's not Trump’s police. I mean, Mexico has its own police department. They have a responsibility. You guys in Mexico, they deport tens of thousands of people every year back across that border. But let me ask you this: in terms of the people that are coming now, the caravan which just keeps growing and growing. Why, why now? Why did this all come to pass and this group growing numbers by the day, why now?
JORGE RAMOS: Well, I think it has to do. It started with social media, as it would happen in any other part of the world. And it's so interesting because I didn't seek any conspiracy here or any collusion or Democrats or Republicans participating in this. Absolutely not. What has happened is that once people in Central America, especially in Honduras, once they learned that one caravan was going North, they decided to join for two reasons. First, safety. They are not risking being raped or being vandalized on their way from Central America to the United States. And then it has to do with money Martha, simply money. If you live in Honduras or Guatemala, and you want to go to the United States, you gotta pay a coyote or a smuggler maybe $6,000 maybe up to $7,000. But if you are part of this caravan, you won't pay anything. So I think it has to do with safety and it has to do with money. And that's why we have right now about 7,000 people in Mexico already, and a few thousand more waiting at the Guatemala border.