CBS contributor and former Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas once again displayed her penchant for portraying immigration as the top priority for the eternally discriminated (in her view) Latino voters in the United States, bolstering her claim with the results of a Univision and Latino Decisions poll.
Watch how Salinas keeps on bringing up the subject of immigration- so critical for her former employer- on today's broadcast of CBS This Morning.
SALINAS: All of the voters who we spoke to said that in addition to health care they are also paying very close attention to candidates ́ immigration plans. They say the two issues will help to mobilize Latino voters to get to the polls both this weekend and of course in November.
MASON: Beyond immigration, health care, what are the other key issues for Latino voters?
Latinos around the country care about health care and immigration only. There was a recent poll done by Latino Decisions together with Univision, and lower health care costs, protecting immigrant rights was something very right important to them. And education, which has always has been an important issue for them. But on that list that we don't see here also is jobs, the creation of jobs.
You know some people sometimes wonder why when you hear this anti-immigrant rhetoric they say it's undocumented people they call them illegals which is not a proper word to use when you refer to a human being, because that negative rhetoric against immigrants also affects U.S. citizens
Actually, the poll Salinas cites on-screen does NOT support her claim that “Latinos around the country care about health care and immigration ONLY.” Lower cost healthcare is, as she states, the main issue facing their community that Latinos think Congress and the President should address, with 25% Latinos on a national level agreeing, and 32% Nevada Latinos agreeing. Second place, at 19% for national level, and 23% for Nevada, goes to improving income. Third place is creating more jobs, at 12% and 15%, respectively. Both the second and third issues for Latino voters are briefly mentioned by Salinas- God forbid her acknowledging Trump´s historic, record breaking unemployment statistics favoring the Hispanic community in the United States.
It turns out that immigration is, in fact, the fourth concern among Latino voters, according to the Univision/Latino decisions February 2020 poll.
At this point, Salinas displayed some of her old Univision form for her viewers at CBS This Morning, reverting to a familiar trope: “You know some people sometimes wonder why when you hear this anti-immigrant rhetoric they say it's undocumented people they call them illegals which is not a proper word to use when you refer to a human being, because that negative rhetoric against immigrants also affects U.S. citizens.”
This is the type of grievance she pushed while behind the anchor desk at Univision. Recall this portion from the op-ed she wrote when then-candidate Donald Trump booted Jorge Ramos from his Iowa press conference:
In reality, most of us that work in Spanish-language media have wanted a piece of him (Trump), have wanted to question him and challenge him and show him that his statements are baseless. Moreover, that his words are the equivalent of a declaration of war against an important sector of American society. As in any war, an aggression against one of our own brings pride and nationalism to the surface. Insult Hispanic immigrants, with or without papers, and you insult all of us Hispanics. They are not alone.
The network may have changed, but María Elena Salinas has not.
Click "expand" to read the full transcript of the aforementioned report as aired on CBS This Morning on Friday, February 21, 2020:
ANTHONY MASON: Welcome back to "CBS this morning". CBS's news contributor Maria Elena is here for this next story. Welcome back.
MARIA ELENA SALINAS: Thank you. Good to see you too.
MASON: Health care is a big issue in Nevada ahead of its caucus tomorrow. The state has one of the worst health care systems in the country according to a recent report. It was ranked last in the nation for prevention and treatment and second to last for access and affordability. Our series ́Every State Has a Story ́ focuses on how issues on the campaign trail actually affect people around the country. María Elena spoke to Nevada voters with conflicting with views on health care.
So, what sets tomorrow's caucus apart, Maria Elena?
SALINAS: Well, actually, what sets Nevada apart from New Hampshire and from Iowa, is the voters. You know, it ́s almost 15% of them are workers. They belong to unions. The state is nearly 30% Latino. A union organizer we spoke to says that voters here more accurately represent America.
YARLENY ROA-DUGAN: 31-year-old Yarnely Roa-Dugan is a mother, an immigrant, and a nurse. As a voter, one of her main concerns is health care.
ROA-DUGAN: Medicare for All is one important thing. I think that most of us can agree that even if you have health insurance, the costs can make it very difficult.
SALINAS: She supports Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
ELILZABETH WARREN: Thank you.
ROA-DUGAN: As an ob-gyn nurse, I see many women that come in without any prenatal care. We can see issues with the babies that we otherwise would have been able to fix or prevent.
SALINAS: How do you deal with that emotionally?
RIA-DUGAN: It's very hard.
SALINAS: Roa-Dugan ́s union which represents health care and public service employees will play a role in Nevada's caucuses. But the state's largest labor organization, the Culinary Workers Union, is one of the most powerful forces in Nevada politics. With 60,000 members, over half Latino, it represents most
hospitality workers on the Las Vegas strip. The bloc of voters is so influential their union took center stage at Wednesday's Democratic debate on NBC.
BERNIE SANDERS: The Culinary Workers Union, a great union.
AMY KLOBUCHAR: These are hard-working people.
ELIZABETH WARREN: I've been to the Culinary Union's health care facilities. They are terrific.
SALINAS: What is the most important issue for this union and its members now that it's election time, it's primary time?
GEOCONDA ARGUELLO-KLEIN: The most important part for us is protect our health care.
SALINAS: The union has distributed flyers warning that Medicare for All would threaten members ́ currents coverage. Geoconda Arguello-Kline has been with the union for 36 years and is Secretary Treasurer.
ARGUELLO-KLINE: Every human being needs and deserves to have better health care, but at the same time we believe in choices. We feel very important to keep our own health care because we have the best health care in Nevada.
SALINAS: Employers pay into the culinary union's health fund which supports its own private health center for members and their 70,000 dependents. Union member Lino Paredes, who works at Caesar's Palace is voting for the first time.
LINO PAREDES: I just had a baby. My wife just had a C section. You guys know how expensive that is, right? So, I really don ́t have to worry much because I know that I was covered by my insurance.
SALINAS: About 137 million Americans faced financial hardship last year because of medical costs. High health care bills are the number one reason people take money out of their retirement accounts or file for bankruptcy. All the presidential candidates have visited the Culinary Union to share their platforms Some seizing on the union ́s concerns.
KLOBUCHAR: We do not want to take those benefits away.
BUTTIGIEG: We have an obligation to make sure we do nothing that would put that health care in jeopardy.
BIDEN: You get to keep it under my plan. You don ́t have to give it up.
SALINAS: Others argue that switching to government health care could help them fight for higher wages.
BERNIE SANDERS: Employers save money. Under our legislation workers get the difference
SALINAS: We asked senator Warren about the union's fears.
WARREN: I don't want them to lose it. I want to see health care centers like that available not just for the Culinary Union, I want to see them available all across Nevada and all across this country.
SALINAS: Regardless of the outcome this weekend, Roa-Dugan she says she's proud to be participating.
ROA-DUGAN: I think every vote counts so my vote is very important and I am encouraging all my friends and family to vote too.
SALINAS: Good for her. The Culinary Workers Union isn't endorsing any candidate at least not during the primaries. All of the voters who we spoke to said that in addition to health care they are also paying very close attention to candidates ́ immigration plans. They say the two issues will help to mobilize Latino voters to get to the polls both this weekend and of course in November.
TONY DOKOUPIL: I'm so glad we did the piece. I came up over and over in the debate, why is Culinary Workers Union opposed to Medicare for All. But you get it. They have their own health care center.
ALL SPEAKING AT ONCE
SALINAS: They have their own pharmacy. So we don't want to lose that.
DOKOUPIL: You mention the issues that will matter to Latino voters. How important will the Latino vote be for the winner of 2020?
SALINAS: It will be very important. I know that for decades we've been saying that the Latino vote is a sleeping giant and that one day it ́s going to wake up. Maybe this is the year it ́s going to wake up because Latinos will be the largest minority voting bloc in the country with 32 million eligible to vote this year and there are certain states where the Latino vote will really be able to make a difference especially in the close race. Even some of the swing states, Nevada, Florida, among others. In Arizona even.
MASON: Beyond immigration, health care, what are the other key issues for Latino voters?
SALINAS: You know, it's interesting because Giaconda, the head of this union, said, you know, this state really reflects the rest of America and when it comes to the Latino vote it's exactly the same thing. They care about health care and immigration, Latinos around the country care about health care and immigration. There was a recent poll done by Latino Decisions together with Univision, and lower health care costs, protecting immigrant rights was something very right important to them. And education which has always has been an important issue for them. But on that list that we don't see here also is jobs, the creation of jobs. And stopping racism. You know some people sometimes wonder why when you hear this anti-immigrant rhetoric they say it's undocumented people they call them illegals which is not a proper word to use when you refer to a human being, because that negative rhetoric against immigrants also affects U.S. citizens with racism and there's been an increase in incidents of, you know, of racism around the country for adults and for kids just speaking Spanish. You know having an appearance that's Latino will make you a victim of that. So that's another big issue for Latinos.
DOKOUPIL : The Latino voting bloc has been called a sleeping giant because even though it's large people didn't turn out. You get a sense talking to people they are more likely to turn out this year.
SALINAS: Well, not just that. But I think we have the example of 2018 in the mid-term elections where the Latino voter registration and actual voting increased tremendously in states. Just in Nevada alone, there was an increase of a 120% in voter participation and mostly it was in Florida and Arizona and in Nevada. So, I do feel that we have that precedent to see that Latinos this time around are motivated to go out and use their voice and use their power.
MASON: the early vote in Nevada is already 3 quarters of what it was 4 years ago. so yeah
SALINAS: Of course
DOKOUPIL: Even more in fact. Maria Elena thank you very much.