NBC Hypes ‘Fears’ of Hispanics & Muslims on Eve of Trump Inauguration

A Thursday report on NBC’s Today featured the on-screen headline: “The Fear of the Unknown; Hispanics & Muslims Look Ahead to New Administration.” Correspondent Gadi Schwartz began the segment by fretting over the fate of illegal immigrants: “Like hundreds of thousands across the country, Perla Berazza was a student with a secret and a constant fear....she qualified for the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival program created by President Obama....But the program, known as DACA, is in the cross-hairs of President-elect Donald Trump.”

After playing a clip of Trump calling for “a whole new set of standards” for the nation’s immigration system, he warned: “...over 700,000 recipients of DACA, like University of Arizona freshman Maria Graciagio, now fear that the information they gave could be used as the beginnings of a deportation registry that could rip families apart.”

Schwartz turned to Graciagio and sympathized: “So you're worried that because you signed up for DACA, your mom could be deported?...That's your biggest worry?” She replied: “That's my biggest worry, yeah.”

Touting another minority group supposedly fearful of a Trump presidency, the reporter declared: “Across town, another community fears a different kind of registry....The Muslim community of Tucson now holding informational meetings to prepare for what may come.”

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Schwartz highlighted Mahsud Ahmad, “a family man and a small business owner who used to identify with the Republican Party. Now he sees Trump's statements about Muslims as red flags.” Ahmed worried: “When the leaders start talking about it repeatedly and the talk shows, nonstop, bombard the airwaves with this stigma that the Muslims are bad, it takes its toll.”

Profiling another member of the community, Schwartz described: “Ruhla Kalidi became a nurse after the 9/11 attacks....She says when Trump started talking about a registry, her friends of other faiths began to reach out....And as the Inauguration approaches, she is uncertain about the future of the country she calls home.”

Here is a full transcript of the January 19 report:

8:12 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Want to have more of our countdown to the Inauguration tomorrow. For some communities, the transition of power comes with some concern. NBC’s Gadi Schwartz traveled to Tuscan, Arizona for that story.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Fear of the Unknown; Hispanics & Muslims Look Ahead to New Administration]

GADI SCHWARTZ: Like hundreds of thousands across the country, Perla Berazza was a student with a secret and a constant fear. One day during high school, she was asked for her Social Security number.

PERLA BERAZZA: I just looked at the paper and I was like, “What do I do?”

SCHWARTZ: Holding back tears, she approached a teacher.

BERAZZA: And I was just like, “I'm illegal.” And I believed that about myself. I thought that I was an illegal human being.

SCHWARTZ: But Perla was lucky. After giving information about her history and her family, she qualified for the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival program created by President Obama. She's now a working mom and a college student. But the program, known as DACA, is in the cross-hairs of President-elect Donald Trump.

CHUCK TODD: [MEET THE PRESS, AUGUST, 2015]: You’ll rescind the DREAM Act executive order, the DACA?

DONALD TRUMP: We have to. We have to make a whole new set of standards.

SCHWARTZ: But many of the over 700,000 recipients of DACA, like University of Arizona freshman Maria Graciagio, now fear that the information they gave could be used as the beginnings of a deportation registry that could rip families apart.

MARIA GRACIAGIO: I just feel like it will impact my family tremendously and if it were, like, my fault.

SCHWARTZ: So you're worried that because you signed up for DACA, your mom could be deported?

GRACIAGIO: Yes.

SCHWARTZ: That's your biggest worry?

GRACIAGIO: That's my biggest worry, yeah.

SCHWARTZ: Across town, another community fears a different kind of registry.

RUHLA KALIDI: There are going to be some significant changes.

SCHWARTZ: The Muslim community of Tucson now holding informational meetings to prepare for what may come. Mahsud Ahmad has lived in the United States for 42 years. He's a family man and a small business owner who used to identify with the Republican Party. Now he sees Trump's statements about Muslims as red flags.

MAHSUD AHMAD: When the leaders start talking about it repeatedly and the talk shows, nonstop, bombard the airwaves with this stigma that the Muslims are bad, it takes its toll. You start wondering even your closest friend that you are working with may be feeling this way.

SCHWARTZ: Ruhla Kalidi became a nurse after the 9/11 attacks. She and her community have worked hand in hand with Christians and Jews to help those in need for years. She says when Trump started talking about a registry, her friends of other faiths began to reach out.

RUHLA KALIDI: A friend of mine who is a Jewish rabbi called me and then said, “I want you to know that if there is a registry, that my family and I will register as Muslim.”

SCHWARTZ: And as the Inauguration approaches, she is uncertain about the future of the country she calls home.

KALIDI: Islam is part of America and Muslims are part of America, and we belong here. And so, when people shout, “Go back home!,” whether it's to us or our children or the DREAMers and the DACA kids, America is our home. We don't know – they don't know anything else but America.

SCHWARTZ: For Today, Gadi Schwartz, NBC news, Tucson, Arizona.


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW

NBDaily Trump Inauguration Immigration Conservatives & Republicans Race Issues Islam NBC Today Video Donald Trump