Obama Amnesty Failure Examined on Telemundo

In the wake of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against a request from the Obama administration to move forward with his executive amnesty, MSNBC and Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart invited two activists from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum - LIBRE Executive Director Dan Garza and the Texas Organizing Project’s Alain Cisneros - to discuss the ruling and the topic of immigration on his weekly talk show, Enfoque.

During the segment, Díaz-Balart once again “showed his cards” on the issue by adopting the left’s standard anti-deportation narrative (i.e., in his words, against “the separation and destruction of the Hispanic family”), lobbing supportive softball questions at Cisneros, while in his tough questioning of Garza putting the blame squarely on Republicans for the impasse over immigration, with no acknowledgement of President Obama’s role and responsibility for the situation.

Díaz-Balart’s questioning of Cisneros was entirely sympathetic, asking him about the Soros-funded organization’s plans to “fight” the ruling, along with what Cisneros wants Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the other 25 states suing Obama over amnesty to do. Cisneros took advantage of the opportunity to talk about his organization’s mission of “fighting the deportation machine and called upon Abbott and the other states to put compassion and mercy above enforcement of the law.

In contrast, when questioning Garza, Díaz-Balart immediately went after Republicans.

Díaz-Balart failed to acknowledge that a 2012 effort, led by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), to legalize the so-called “Dreamers” was derailed by the first Obama executive amnesty (DACA). Díaz-Balart also ignored that the second, post 2014 mid-term elections round of President Obama’s unilateral actions, essentially torpedoed the appetite of the newly elected Congress to work with Democrats on the issue.

In response to Díaz-Balart, Garza contended that immigration reform can only be achieved by negotiating and reaching consensus, pointing out that Hillary Clinton’s approach of being more extreme and uncompromising will not accomplish it. Garza concluded his remarks calling for pressure to be put “on the two sides.”

The transcript of the referenced segment of Enfoque is below.

Enfoque 05/31/2015

English Translation:

JOSE DIAZ-BALART, HOST: We’re going to talk about the future of DAPA and DACA and immigration. With us today, in Houston, Dan Garza from the LIBRE Initiative, and Alain Cisneros, from the Texas Organizing Project. Alain, I’d like to start with you because you have been organizing for many years in our community to deal with the issue. More specifically, it is the separation and destruction of the Hispanic family. Tell me your reaction about this and what are your plans to fight against it.

ALAIN CISNEROS, TEXAS ORGANIZING PROJECT: Well, for years we have been fighting so that there isn’t that separation of families...we have organized, trying for people to understand that the government isn’t the one who gives and takes, The community is what has to organize to defend its rights and advance in its agenda in this country.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Dan Garza, the friend Alain was talking about many times politicians promise and there have been moments in the history of this country, where changes were promised, that there was going to be immigration reform. The most recent was now two years ago, when the Senate in a bipartisan manner approved an immigration proposal and the House of Representatives, the Republican Party that controls that House of Representatives, killed that proposal, and then we are here today.

DAN GARZA, LIBRE INITIATIVE: Yes, because I believe both sides took very opposite positions, very extreme, and what was missing was a demonstration of leadership where they can reconcile their differences and have that call within a spirit of bipartisanship to arrive at the table. Now, we have to suffer what has happened. José, it was predictable what happened to the President, that this court ruling, I think this put the breaks on what had happened with the executive action, it had already been predicted. The Latino community had been warned that this was not the right way to go about this, but rather calling on our elected leaders to come to the table and reconcile those differences they have, those two extreme positions.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Now, Alain, you are trying for the Governor of this state that is the one that began this lawsuit against the Obama administration due to these executive orders, executive actions. 25 other states have joined. What are you asking of the Governor of Texas and those other 25 states?

ALAIN CISNEROS: That they stop the political part and the extremes in the politics that they are having on immigration and they get together with the families and see the suffering. Governor Greg Abbott has said that the law is above compassion, and that is not correct when the law should be merciful with those who seek the good for this country and for their families...

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Now Dan, if the House of Representatives had the political will. Now again, that House of Representatives is not only, no only is the House of Representatives in Republican hands, the Senate is, too. If there were political will, political leadership, in those chambers today there could at least be a conversation, a first step, toward an immigration reform so these families don’t continue being separated and that is not happening, Dan.

DAN GARZA: No, no that is why it has to be proposed that the debate start, that a new effort starts to try to achieve a reform.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: But the same party controls both chambers, Dan.

DAN GARZA: What’s happening is that they can make all the promises the want, José. What’s important here is that they fulfill those promises. And now Hillary Clinton has said, she has taken a more extreme position, she says, even more than the Democrats because she wants to advance a reform, but in her own way. What’s happening is this: Hillary, you can make all the promises you want, but if you don’t move to the center to reconcile the differences, there’s never going to be anything. So I believe that incapacity to be a leader, to persuade people, I think to bring together a group of people who are in agreement on certain things, certain aspects of a reform, that has to be advanced So what the President has to do is not impose his own law or his own whim, but work with the other side.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: But that the other opposing side also work.

DAN GARZA: Of course. That call has to be made to the Republican Party.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: And that they don’t talk and not work. That is the great problem that there has been in this country. That a lot talk.

DAN GARZA: And pressure has to be put on the two sides.

Español Original:

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: ... Vamos hablar sobre el futuro de DAPA y DACA y de inmigración. Está con nosotros este día, en Houston, Dan Garza de la Iniciativa Libre y Alain Cisneros de Texas Organizing Project. Alain, yo quería comenzar con usted porque usted lleva años organizando a nuestra comunidad para lidiar con el tema. Más específico que es la separación y la destrucción de la familia hispana. Cuénteme su reacción a esto y qué planes tienen ustedes para combatirlo.

ALAIN CISNEROS, TEXAS ORGANIZING PROJECT: Bueno, por años hemos estado luchando para que no haya esta separación de familias...hemos organizado, tratando de que la gente entienda que el gobierno no es el que da y el que quita. La comunidad es la que tiene que organizar para defender sus derechos y avanzar en su agenda para estar en este país.

JOSE DIAZ BALART: Dan Garza, el amigo Alain hablaba sobre que muchas veces los políticos prometen y ha habido momentos en la historia de este país, donde prometieron cambios, que iba haber una reforma migratoria, la más reciente fue hace ya dos años, más de dos años cuando el Senado de una forma bipartidista, aprobó una propuesta sobre inmigración y en la Cámara de Representantes, el partido republicano que lidera esa Cámara de Representantes mató esa propuesta, y estamos entonces en donde estamos en el día de hoy.

DAN GARZA, INICIATIVA LIBRE: Sí, porque yo creo que los lados tomaron posturas muy opuestas, muy extremas, lo que no hubo fue una demostración de liderazgo donde puedan reconciliar sus diferencias y hacer un llamado dentro de un espíritu de bipartidismo para llegar a la mesa. Ahora tenemos que sufrir lo que ha sucedido. José, fue predecible lo que pasó con el presidente, que esta decisión por la corte, de yo creo que frenar lo que había pasado con la orden ejecutiva, ya se había dicho, se había advertido a la comunidad latina de que eso no es la forma de obrar, sino llamar a nuestros líderes electos, que vengan a la mesa y se reconcilien esas diferencias que tienen, esas dos posturas extremas.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Ahora, Alain, usted trata de que el gobernador de este estado que es el que comenzó esta querella contra la administración Obama  por estas órdenes ejecutivas, acciones ejecutivas, se han unido 25 otros estados ¿que es lo le pide al gobernador de Texas y a esos otros 25 estados?

ALAIN CISNEROS: Es que dejen la parte política y los extremos en la política que están teniendo en inmigración y que se junten con familias, que vean el sufrimiento. El gobernador Greg Abbott ha dicho que la ley está por encima de la compasión, y eso no es correcto cuando la ley debe ser misericordiosa con aquellas personas que buscan lo bueno para este país y para las familias...

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Ahora Dan, si hubiera en la Cámara de Representantes la voluntad política, de nuevo ahora, esa Cámara de Representantes está sólo, no sólo la Cámara de Representantes en manos republicanas, sino también el Senado. Si hubiera voluntad política y liderazgo político en esas cámaras hoy pudiera por los menos haber una conversación, un primer paso hacia una reforma migratoria para que estas familias no sigan siendo separadas y eso no está ocurriendo, Dan.

DAN GARZA: No, no por eso hay que proponer que comience el debate, que comience un nuevo esfuerzo para tratar de lograr una reforma.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Pero el mismo partido controla ambas cámaras, Dan.

DAN GARZA: Y lo que pasa es que pueden hacer todas las promesas que quieran, José. Lo que aquí importa es cumplir con esas promesas. Y ahora Hillary Clinton ha dicho, ha tomado una postura más extrema, dice que, aun los demócratas porque ella quiere avanzar una reforma, pero a su modo. Lo que pasa es esto: Hillary puedes prometer todo lo que quieras, si no te mueves al centro para reconciliar las diferencias nunca va a haber nada. Entonces, yo creo que esa incapacidad de ser líder, de persuadir a la gente, de yo creo de cuajar lo que es una agrupación de gente que ya están acuerdo en ciertas cosas, ciertos aspectos de una reforma, eso hay que avanzar. Entonces lo que tiene que hacer el presidente no imponer su propia ley o su propio capricho sino trabajar con el otro lado opuesto.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Pero que el otro lado opuesto también trabaje

DAN GARZA: Por supuesto. Y hay que hacer ese llamado al partido republicano.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: y que no hable y que no diga y que no haga. Ese es el gran problema que ha habido en este país. Que muchos hablan.

DAN GARZA: Y hay que poner presión en los dos lados.

MRC Latino Campaigns & Elections Immigration Hispanic Media Telemundo Jose Diaz-Balart

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