On Monday, all three network shows recited the same liberal script as they bemoaned a caravan of over 100 migrants from Central America being blocked from entering the United States illegally. The Border Patrol simply doing its job was portrayed as a cruel act that created a “desperate situation” and “crisis at the border.”
“Border showdown. The standoff escalates over that caravan of migrants from Central America. Denounced by the President, they’re now at the U.S. border. Will they be turned away?,” fretted co-host Savannah Guthrie at the top of NBC’s Today show. Introducing the topic as the lead story on the broadcast, she breathlessly proclaimed:
Let’s get right to the news, our top story, that drama playing out at the U.S./Mexican border. The world has been following the journey of that caravan of asylum seekers, they’ve faced warnings from the President. Well, now they have reached the border.
Correspondent Miguel Almaguer announced: “They’re vowing to remain outside the immigration processing center until every last one is admitted into the country. Today their mission will test the Trump administration’s tough rhetoric on immigration.” The reporter further touted how “The migrants and their supporters today preparing for a showdown at the U.S. Border.”
Almaguer described how the asylum-seekers were taking “the final steps in the desperate journey of a lifetime” after a “treacherous trip,” but worried that “the last few feet may be impossible.” He later melodramatically concluded: “Today, as the sun rises, so does hope for these families. A journey with one last road block that may prove impossible to pass.”
“Crisis at the border. Overnight, a caravan of nearly 200 migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. told they can’t come in. A desperate situation,” warned Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos. Minutes later, fellow co-host Robin Roberts emphasized: “Now to the crisis at the border. A caravan with more than a hundred migrants seeking asylum arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico, but told there’s no room.”
Correspondent Matt Gutman lamented: “After a grueling month-long slog, 150 or so Central American migrants made their way to the San Diego crossing, the busiest in the nation. But right on the doorstep into the U.S., they were told entry was blocked.”
He highlighted how “Caravan organizers were skeptical.” A clip played of one such “organizer” ranting: “We can build a base in Iraq in under a week. We can’t process 200 refugees? I don’t believe it!”
Leading off CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell declared: “A caravan of migrants from Central America reaches the U.S. border and wants asylum. We’re in Tijuana, where the caravan is camping out. Plus, President Trump’s furious response.”
Correspondent Mireya Villarreal sympathized:
The U.S. port of entry is about a hundred feet right behind me over here. Between here and there, rows of migrants. They are choosing to sleep on the cold hard floor. We’re talking about families with young children and mothers.
She later promoted: “On the U.S. side of the border, Sunday, dozens gathered to show their support for the refugees.” A soundbite was featured of one supporter blasting the President: “We have, I think, a legal obligation to at least here these claims of asylum. So the way that he’s used the caravan to stir up anger, hatred, and racism on the far right, it’s concerning and it’s offensive.”
Here is a full transcript of the April 30 report on the Today show:
7:01 AM ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let’s get right to the news, our top story, that drama playing out at the U.S./Mexican border. The world has been following the journey of that caravan of asylum seekers, they’ve faced warnings from the President. Well, now they have reached the border. NBC National Correspondent Miguel Almaguer is there. Miguel, good morning to you.
MIGUEL ALMAGUER: Savannah, good morning. Their desperate journey began thousands of miles ago, many have now reached this port of entry, one of the busiest in the world. On the other side of the building, they are literally standing and sleeping, waiting for their chance. Now that they have gotten here, though, the most difficult part of the journey may still be ahead.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Showdown at the Border; Caravan Turned Away After Reaching U.S.]
This morning, the final steps in the desperate journey of a lifetime. At the San Ysidro port of entry, the migrant caravan, filled with children, mothers, grandparents, who are seeking asylum from violence in Central America. They’re vowing to remain outside the immigration processing center until every last one is admitted into the country. Today their mission will test the Trump administration’s tough rhetoric on immigration. The migrants and their supporters today preparing for a showdown at the U.S. Border.
Arriving over the weekend, families like the Lopez’s, with baby Joshua, were turned away when the checkpoint hit capacity. The young couple says, “We’ve been traveling for over a month. We don’t care if we have to wait a few more days. Whatever it takes.” Four weeks ago, the caravan began its journey near the Guatemalan border on foot, by train, and bus. They slept on the streets and in shelters before finally reaching Tijuana. Their numbers, once over a thousand, are now over a hundred, after the treacherous trip. But after some nearly 3,000 miles, the last few feet may be impossible. President Trump has repeatedly called the caravan a threat to the U.S., ordering Homeland Security to keep them out.
DONALD TRUMP: Are you watching that mess that’s going on right now with the caravan coming up? Are you watching this? And our laws are so weak, they’re so pathetic.
ALMAGUER: With protesters and supporters jeering and cheering the group, many of the migrants have met with volunteers, lawyers advising them of their rights to seek asylum.
ERIKA PINHEIRO [IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY]: There’s nothing wrong with preparing for a legal proceeding. That’s what we do in the United States, we prepare our clients for court and that’s the exact same thing we’re doing here.
ALMAGUER: Today, as the sun rises, so does hope for these families. A journey with one last road block that may prove impossible to pass.
GUTHRIE: So, Miguel, I guess that’s the question. They’re there, they’re literally at the border on the other side of the fence there. What happens now?
ALMAGUER: Well, Savannah, about 50 of them were able to reach the building behind me last night. They’re waiting for their petitions to apply for asylum. After their chance to be heard, we know the rest of the group, about 150 others, will then wait for their chance. But all of this process could take several days to play out, so it’s unclear exactly when they’ll be granted asylum, if they’ll be granted asylum, or what exactly is next left for their journey, Savannah.
GUTHRIE: Alright, Miguel, thank you very much.
Here is a full transcript of the April 30 report on GMA:
7:04 AM ET
ROBIN ROBERTS: Now to the crisis at the border. A caravan with more than a hundred migrants seeking asylum arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico, but told there’s no room. Our Senior National Correspondent Matt Gutman is on the scene there in Tijuana with more. Good morning, Matt.
MATT GUTMAN: Good morning, Robin. This is literally the end of the road for these migrants. You can see them camped out here by the dozens against the morning chill. They are literally sleeping up against the border terminal. Now, theoretically, Customs and Border Protection has to process each and every of them. But 12 hours into the stand-off, not a single one of them has been processed.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Caravan Arrives at U.S. Border; Hundreds Traveled Weeks to Seek Asylum]
Overnight, the so-called migrant caravan finally reaching the U.S. border and clamoring to be let in. After a grueling month-long slog, 150 or so Central American migrants made their way to the San Diego crossing, the busiest in the nation. But right on the doorstep into the U.S., they were told entry was blocked. U.S. Customs and Border Protection turning them away because it said the crossing, where it initially vets asylum seekers, was already “at capacity.” Caravan organizers were skeptical.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We can build a base in Iraq in under a week. We can’t process 200 refugees? I don’t believe it!
GUTMAN: So, migrants decided to sleep right outside overnight. The migrants, including children, originated from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala. It traveled through Mexico, sometimes by train or bus, other times on foot. They say they’re fleeing violence and persecution.
MANUEL RAMIREZ: You see kids, you see mothers, you see men like me, you know? We’re fighting to, you know, for a better future.
GUTMAN: The group might have been forgotten had President Trump not called for the caravan to be stopped.
TRUMP: Are you watching that mess that's going on right now with the caravan coming up?
GUTMAN: Even threatening to shut down the government, on Saturday, because of it.
TRUMP: We need the wall. And if we don’t get border security, we’ll have no choice, we’ll close down the country, because we need border security.
GUTMAN: Yeah, Robin, the President has tweeted that he does not want these migrants admitted into the U.S. But even if they can get into this border terminal, into a processing center, it’s just the start of a very long road for them. They are then sent to detention centers inside the interior of the country, where they’ll have to make the case to federal agents that they face persecution if sent back home. Now, organizers tell us they’re willing to wait it out. The question is, under these conditions, how long can these people last here? Robin?
ROBERTS: Alright, Matt, thanks so much.
Here is a full transcript of the April 30 report on CBS This Morning:
7:03 AM ET
NORAH O’DONNELL: Big news this morning, we’re going to start with this. A caravan of Central American migrants traveling for more than a month is at the U.S./Mexico border trying to cross. U.S. officials are trying to keep the group of nearly 200 people out. They want asylum, but have not been allowed to start the application process.
JOHN DICKERSON: Customs and Border Protection officials say the San Diego port of entry is already full. President Trump vows to stop the caravan, which has become a flashpoint in the immigration debate. Mireya Villarreal is just across the border, in Tijuana, Mexico. Mireya, good morning.
MIREYA VILLARREAL: Well, good morning. The U.S. port of entry is about a hundred feet right behind me over here. Between here and there, rows of migrants. They are choosing to sleep on the cold hard floor. We’re talking about families with young children and mothers. They have decided to camp out here, because they want to be the first in line tomorrow morning when the doors open so they can seek asylum from the U.S. They have been told that this process can take several days and there are no guarantees they will get in.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Asylum Showdown; Migrants at U.S.-Mexico Border Face Uncertain Future]
A showdown at the border as the caravan of Central Americans attempted to cross into the United States Sunday. Some climbed the border wall but didn’t cross over to draw attention to their ultimate goal of asylum. Nearly 200 people lined up to approach the port. Mailene Charlotte Prado is from Honduras and applying for protection because of daily violence in her country, “The truth is there is too much violence, there are daily killings, and violations of human rights.”
At one point, the group swelled to around 1,000 people as they made their way north from Central America, through Mexico, to Tijuana. Along the way, they crammed onto trains and buses with the few belongings they could carry. The caravan is now down to around 200 people, many traveling with children.
DONALD TRUMP: Watch the caravan. Watch how sad and terrible it is.
VILLARREAL: President Trump has warned they will not be allowed in the U.S.
TRUMP: I call them the dumbest immigration laws anywhere on Earth. If a person puts their foot over the line, we have to take them into our country. Lawyers are telling them what to say.
VILLARREAL: Immigration lawyers deny they are coaching the migrants. On the U.S. side of the border, Sunday, dozens gathered to show their support for the refugees.
LAIKEN JORDAHL [SUPPORTER]: We have, I think, a legal obligation to at least here these claims of asylum. So the way that he’s used the caravan to stir up anger, hatred, and racism on the far right, it’s concerning and it’s offensive.
VILLARREAL: Several Border Patrol agents say that there were people who actually crossed the border illegally that were associated with the caravan by climbing over a metal scrap wall. For the people, though, that are here and are waiting, we know that several of them have been given white arm bands to wear. These are the people that have met with the immigration attorneys. They feel they have good cases for seeking asylum and they are asking that those cases take priority when the doors open later this morning. John?
DICKERSON: So, Mireya, what exactly happens next for those people who are waiting in line?
VILLARREAL: Well, for people that are waiting right now, they have to chose or show that there is a credible fear of returning to their home country. They have to show this and prove this to an asylum agent, also to an immigration judge. About three quarters of the cases that do that actually make it through this process. If they do, some of them will go to a detention facility. They could be possibly separated from their families during that process. Others of them are allowed to actually stay with family in the United States. They are given ankle monitors so that they can watch over them while they are in the United States. All of this is happening while they wait to see an immigration judge, and that could take several months before that actually happens.
DICKERSON: A very long road ahead. Mireya Villarreal, thanks so much. In Tijuana, thank you.