The morning shows at both Telemundo and Univision were ablaze today with stories about the coronavirus aid package that recently passed the Senate, which provided an opportunity they did not waste to lobby for – guess what – illegal immigration.
Watch this sample, taken from Univision´s Despierta America and Telemundo´s Un Nuevo Día. Both networks featured quotes from Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ),which they highlighted in order to make it seem that helping the citizens of the United States through these tough times is a no-no.
EDWIN PITTI: I had the opportunity yesterday to talk to Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and he told me that they tried, until the very end, to try to include the undocumented in this package but the Republicans said no.
CRISTINA LONDOÑO: A disappointed Senator Bob Menendez told us that those benefits are for taxpayers who pay taxes but NOT for the undocumented.
BARBARA BERMUDO: Does this apply to immigrants or only to U.S. citizens?
RAFAEL MARRERO: It applies to anyone who is a permanent resident or (U.S.) citizen with a Social Security number, and that has their income taxes in order.
BERMUDO: I want to know: those who don't have papers, will they be able to get this money?
JANET ÁLVAREZ: Unfortunately not.
(Repeats) Unfortunately, they will not qualify for that assistance.
First, Univision White House Correspondent Edwin Pitti pits the Democrats against Republicans, and illegal immigrants against legal, law abiding citizens of the United States. “Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey… told me that they (the Democrats) tried, until the very end, to try to include the undocumented in this package but the Republicans said no."
Later in Telemundo’s kaffeeklatsch, a visibly hurt Cristina Londoño stated that “A disappointed Senator Bob Menendez told us that those benefits are for taxpayers who pay taxes but NOT for the undocumented."
Pitti later quoted Sen. Menéndez as saying that what undocumented immigrants can do is to “continue visiting local organizations” (whatever that means) and to get medical help if the person presents any of the coronavirus symptoms, since they will not be questioned about their immigration status.
Rather than using a crisis to push immigration grievance, both Univision and Telemundo should’ve observed that the passage of the largest ever emergency relief in the history of our country targets small businesses for assistance- many of which are owned by (and often employ) Hispanics. That is the real news.