Univision's need to inject the specter of Donald Trump into every immigration story is getting out of hand, as we see from a recent report from a small town in Oaxaca, Mexico, that has closed its doors to Central American immigrants. But did Trump really have anything to do with this, or was something else at play?
Here is how anchor María Elena Salinas framed the report, during a recent edition of Noticiero Univision.
MARIA ELENA SALINAS, NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: The border wall that was the emblem of Donald Trump's election campaign to contain the migrant flow seems to have inspired a Mexican town to shut the door to Central American immigrants. Residents of an Oaxaca town are using a wall to write messages of rejection to the immigrants, including threatening them with deportation.
After injecting the old standby "anti-immigrant" into the graphics and misleading viewers into believing that President Trump somehow had a direct effect on the actions of local townspeople in the town of Vicente Camalote, in the southern state of Oaxaca, Salinas proceeds to toss the report over to correspondent Alejandro Roldán, who goes on to make no mention whatsoever of Donald Trump anywhere in his report.
The seemingly forced transposition of Trump into this report was merely a narrative device deployed by Salinas in order to conceal a most inconvenient truth: that Mexican nationals might also be interested in securing their southern border. This signage shown below, displayed during the report, is at the heart of what is bemoaned here as "anti-immigrant sentiment":
The sign on the left read as follows: "Migrant friend: We inform you that you are forbidden to stay in this town as well as to circulate around the streets in search of help, therefore you should continue along your way, avoid being reported. Sincerely, The People At Large". But the sign on the right is really the one to watch, because it is the true story that Salinas attempted to obscure with the random Trump analogy. It reads, "Migrant friend: Due to the unfortunate events suffered by our community, you are forbidden from staying here and going around asking for help. Avoid being reported. Sincerely, The People At Large."
The March 29 report briefly makes brief mention of "the unfortunate events". A local woman was allegedly killed last November, and it was not clear whether the perpetrator was a migrant or a "foreigner". Nothing more is said about what happened. The testimony is ambigious enough that viewers can't really make out what happened.
But in fact what happened, according to local newspaper El Buen Tono (graphic image alert), was that on November 6, 2016, a 53-year-old local woman was murdered subsequent to a home invasion at around three in the afternoon. Eyewitnesses saw the suspects leave the home. Law enforcement could not rule out sexual assault because of the state in which the body was found. The main suspects sought in connection with this murder were -wait for it- in Mexico illegally from Central America.
The November incident may have been the straw that broke the camel's back and prompted the controversial "keep moving" signage, but also kept out of the report is that Vicente Camalote was already known as a "hot" place. Mind you, it's not even a border town as suggested, but is close to 400 miles away from the Guatemalan border as the crow flies.
Contrary to what Salinas' framing would suggest, it would seem that both immigrant crime and an interest in preserving a border are very real things in southern Mexico, and therefore, very inconvenient to report on Univision - but the truth, nonetheless finds a way to emerge.
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