Immigrants with criminal records and multiple DUIs have new cheerleaders at the Spanish-speaking media that will go to any length to prevent their core audience from shrinking, as evidenced in Telemundo and Univision´s coverage of new DOJ rules regarding deportation.
In a scene that seemed to have come right out of a Better Call Saul promo instead of the evening news, Telemundo’s in-house immigration attorney dished out free legal advice regarding two new DOJ decisions on deportations involving undocumented immigrants with previous criminal convictions and for repeat DUI offenders.
Watch below as Telemundo’s immigration expert Alma Rosa Nieto theatrically delivers instructions on how illegal immigrants should act in the face of an arrest:
ALMA ROSA NIETO, TELEMUNDO IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Very important to get the advice of a criminal lawyer too, not to disqualify yourself, not to say in court 'I am guilty', no fighting because this could affect you in the future.
In the report, veteran Telemundo and NBC anchor José Díaz-Balart immediately cast a dark shadow at President Trump -not the repeat-offenders– as he opened the segment, by stating that Trump´s “Administration places even more obstacles on immigrants in their fight against deportation. Attorney General William Barr announced that the removal from the country of persons with previous criminal convictions will no longer be stopped, and that immigrants who have been sentenced for drunk driving will not be able to obtain legal status.”
These measures, as the anchor emphasized, “make it less and less possible for immigrants to defend their stay in the country.” Mea culpa, mea culpa.
The absolution, however, comes in the ´why´ behind the Department of Justice’s decision regarding repeat DUI offenders: two or more Driving Under the Influence sentences disqualify an undocumented immigrant from having “good moral character”, one of the requirements for naturalization. In layman's terms: behave well, you stay; break the law, you leave.
While Telemundo ignored this fact, Univision´s report on the William Barr decision did include another immigration attorney’s explanation of the good moral character clause. However, anchor Ilia Calderón and correspondent Vilma Tarazona resorted to blowing up the number of people it applies to (delinquents), claiming that “The decision….will affect hundreds of thousands of people”… “hundreds of thousands of immigrants.”
This video is a classic example of the “can´t-lose-our-audience” talk at Univision News:
ILIA CALDERÓN, ANCHOR, UNIVISIÓN: The decision limits the choices these immigrants have to defend themselves against deportation and will affect hundreds of thousands of people.
VILMA TARAZONA, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISIÓN: …hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
Better to exaggerate than understate, or at least that appears to be the editorial line at Univision News. According to a Pew Research Center study, “among ICE arrestees in 2017 with prior convictions, the most common criminal conviction category was driving under the influence of alcohol (59,985 convictions, or 16% of the total). The number is high, but to say it is in the hundreds of thousands, that's another story.
The sad bottom-line of both reports is that, in their appeals, Telemundo and Univision reinforce the number one stigma they – and all of the liberal media -- so arduously “fight” against: That large numbers of undocumented Latino immigrants are violent.
Below are the complete transcripts of the news reports, as aired on Noticias Telemundo on Thursday, October 29th, 2019 and Noticiero Univision on October 31, 2019, respectively (press Expand to view):
JOSÉ DÍAZ-BALART, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: The Trump Administration puts even more obstacles on immigrants in their fight against deportation. Justice Secretary William Barr announced that the expulsion from the country of persons with previous criminal convictions will no longer be stopped, and that immigrants who have been sentenced for drunk driving will not be able to obtain legal status.
These measures make it less and less possible for immigrants to defend their stay in the country.
ALMA ROSA NIETO, TELEMUDO IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: If a person is sentenced for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it used to be that he or she might have been eligible for a benefit, but now with the much deeper prosecutor investigations, it is possible that a person with that same conviction could be ineligible for a court benefit or citizenship.
DÍAZ-BALART: Important, according to official information, crimes for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are the most common offenses among immigrants arrested by ICE.
ILIA CALDERÓN, ANCHOR, UNIVISIÓN: The Donald Trump Administration decided to speed-up the deportation of immigrants with two infractions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The decision limits the choices these immigrants have to defend themselves against deportation and will affect hundreds of thousands of people.
VILMA TARAZONA, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISIÓN: From now on, a migrant with two or more convictions for driving under the influence, or DUI as commonly referred to in English, can be deported. This immigration lawyer says that basically DUI is being turned into a serious felony.
MARIE JAVIER, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: Practically, what´s being done is turning a DUI that traditionally is not a serious felony when two or more are amassed, practically you are turning it into a serious felony in regards to the residency or any immigration benefit.
TARAZONA: This change in immigration policy follows a decision by Attorney General William Barr who ruled that a person who has been caught two or more times driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has no moral character, a requirement that is key when it comes to having any immigration benefits. According to migration experts, this new decision by Attorney General William Barr affects hundreds of thousands of immigrants across the country. This new policy harms not only undocumented immigrants seeking to stop their deportation, but immigrants who are legally in the country seeking permanent residency or citizenship. The new measure would disqualify many immigrants who are legally seeking their stay in the country.
JAVIER: Persons applying for citizenship cannot not have committed crimes within the last five years. If a person gets the residency today, they cannot have committed any crime because that would be a reason to withdraw their residence.
ACTIVISTA: For organizations that look after immigrant rights, this is a policy that seeks to close the doors to immigrants.
TARAZONA: It is another war against low-income immigrants that strengthens the nativist and white supremacist ideology of the Trump administration. In Miami, Florida, Vilma Tarazona for Univision.