Nets Cheer Migrant Caravan ‘Defying the President,’ ‘Undeterred’ in Their ‘Mission’

On Monday, all three broadcast network morning shows offered a heroic portrayal of the caravan of thousands of illegal immigrants heading to the U.S. border from Central America. Anchors and correspondents were particularly thrilled by the group “defying” President Trump’s demand that they turn back, being “undeterred” from “their mission to get to America.”

“Breaking overnight, on the move and on the rise. That massive caravan of migrants moving toward the U.S. grows even larger. The group, now numbering more than 7,000 and defying the President’s demands to turn back,” co-host Savannah Guthrie excitedly proclaimed at the top of NBC’s Today show. She emphasized: “The political battle reaching a boiling point with the midterm elections just 15 days away.”

 

 

In the report that followed from Mexico minutes later, correspondent Gabe Guiterrez declared: “This morning, the migrant caravan is growing as it marches toward the U.S., swelling to more than 7,000 people. ‘We’re going to keep moving forward,’ this man says. He’s been traveling for more than a week with his two-year-old daughter.”

After noting how “President Trump is seizing on these images” and “promising to use the military to seal the U.S. border,” the reporter pleaded the case of the migrants:

This is the epicenter of the immigration debate. They say they’re fleeing violence in Central America and have been making what they hope more will be a 2,800-mile trek, now for more than a week. We met this woman, Gilma, from Honduras, as she climbed onto a raft in Guatemala, enter Mexico illegally and hoping to eventually reach the U.S. “We live if a terrible situation in our country,” she says, telling us her son was beaten by the military.

He lamented that “others are turning around, boarding buses back to Honduras....Their dreams for a new life on hold.”

“Thousands of Central American migrants march into Mexico, vowing to get to the U.S....Families face blistering heat on their mission to get to America as President Trump vows to send the military to greet them at the U.S. border,” announced ABC’s Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos as he led off the show.

Introducing the later report, fellow co-host Robin Roberts asserted that the “growing humanitarian crisis over the border” was “sparking a fierce political battle here just two weeks ahead of the midterm elections.” Correspondent Mat Gutman, traveling with the caravan, enthused: “The migrants bursting through the gate at the border separating Mexico from Guatemala over the weekend....This migrant caravan, miles long, filled with families clutching children, all of them trudging on foot deeper into Mexico.”

The reporter noted how Mexican immigration officials were “pleading with them to register for asylum,” but feared: “President Trump vowing over the weekend to greet them at the U.S. border not with words, but with force.”

Gutman dramatically described the journey: “They started out in Honduras a week ago, 2,500 miles separating them from the United States. Footsore and weary, migrants straggled on under a merciless sun.” Talking to Roberts following his taped report, he gushed: “They’ve also realized that the sheer numbers have offered them strength. They’ve literally been walking right past Mexican immigration authorities and police for the past couple of days now.”

Fill-in co-host Cecilia Vega chimed in: “Those images so tough to look at, and you wonder why, if they would be willing to face those conditions, what it is that they’re fleeing from back home.”

“Thousands of Central American migrants are vowing to continue their march to the U.S. border even though President Trump wants to turn them away,” co-host John Dickerson satisfyingly touted on CBS This Morning. Like Gutman on ABC, Dickerson highlighted them “surging past police barricades and crossing a river on makeshift rafts.”

Fellow co-host Bianna Golodryga added: “It’s a hot-button topic for the President ahead of the midterm elections.”

Correspondent Adrianna Diaz explained how the migration began:

They’re part of a caravan organized by local advocacy groups in Honduras. Caravans happen about once a year, leading people north in a large group for their safety because it is so dangerous to go alone or with smugglers. We saw people walking in 100-degree heat. They were sweating, they were exhausted, but they’re determined to reach the U.S. border roughly 1,500 miles away.

She applauded how over the weekend “the caravan lurched forward, carrying babies, suitcases, and hope.”

Wrapping up the segment, Diaz heralded: “Every single person we’ve spoken to tells us they are undeterred by the President’s vow to keep them from entering the U.S.”    

Aside from a few brief soundbites of the President objecting to the caravan, no other illegal immigration opponents were cited. There was also little criticism of the ineffectual response by Mexican authorities and barely any discussion of Central American governments being responsible for the refugee crisis in the first place.

Here is a full transcript of the October 22 report on NBC’s Today show:

7:02 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And we’ll start this with that growing caravan of people marching from Central America, through Mexico, with hopes of making it to the U.S. And with the midterm elections fast approaching, it has the attention of the White House and Congress. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez joins us from southern Mexico where that group is right now. Gabe, good morning.

GABE GUTIERREZ: Savannah, good morning. Many of the migrants slept here in this plaza overnight. The Mexican government had hoped to stop this group at its southern border. That did not happen.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Migrant Caravan Grows; 7,000 March Toward U.S. as Battle Heats Up]

This morning, the migrant caravan is growing as it marches toward the U.S., swelling to more than 7,000 people. “We’re going to keep moving forward,” this man says. He’s been traveling for more than a week with his two-year-old daughter. Unlike Friday’s clash at the border, now, the Mexican government says it won’t use force to stop the migrants, but is urging them to apply for refugee status.

With the midterms fast approaching, President Trump is seizing on these images.

DONALD TRUMP: The Democrats want caravans, they like the caravans.

GUTIERREZ: Promising to use the military to seal the U.S. border. “People have to apply for asylum in Mexico first,” he tweeted. “And if they fail to do that, the U.S. will turn them away.”

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [IMMIGRANT]: We’re going to fight. We’re gonna keep on going. We’re not gonna stop.

GUTIERREZ: This is the epicenter of the immigration debate. They say they’re fleeing violence in Central America and have been making what they hope more will be a 2,800-mile trek, now for more than a week. We met this woman, Gilma, from Honduras, as she climbed onto a raft in Guatemala, enter Mexico illegally and hoping to eventually reach the U.S. “We live if a terrible situation in our country,” she says, telling us her son was beaten by the military. But others are turning around, boarding buses back to Honduras. The risk too great. Their dreams for a new life on hold.

GUTHRIE: And, Gabe, I mean, where is the caravan headed today? How fast is it moving?

GUTIERREZ: Well, Savannah, local officials say that the caravan now numbers more than 7,000. It’s unclear how many of those are actually from Honduras and how many people joined the caravan here in Mexico after it crossed the border. They plan to travel about 25 miles to a city near here, closer to the U.S. Savannah?

GUTHRIE: Alright, Gabe Gutierrez, thank you so much.

Here is a full transcript of the October 22 report on ABC’s GMA:

7:03 AM ET

ROBIN ROBERTS: Now the latest on that growing humanitarian crisis over the border. A caravan of thousands of migrants from Central America trying to make their way through Mexico and head toward the U.S., sparking a fierce political battle here just two weeks ahead of the midterm elections. President Trump saying he will deploy the U.S. military if necessary. Our Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman is with the caravan there in Mexico. Good morning, Matt.     

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Caravan Crisis; Thousands On the Move Headed Towards U.S. Border]

MATT GUTMAN: Tensions growing as Mexican police brace for another possible clash with this endless column of Central American migrants. The migrants bursting through the gate at the border separating Mexico from Guatemala over the weekend. Riot police responding with tear gas. Some jumping over the bridge to avoid the melee. This migrant caravan, miles long, filled with families clutching children, all of them trudging on foot deeper into Mexico.

Poised to try to cut them off on Sunday, hundreds of Mexican federal police bearing shields and armor. But just as the migrants approached, the officers pulled back, setting up again, three miles down the road, and again, retreating for the second time. Mexican immigration officials pleading with them to register for asylum, but most kept walking. President Trump vowing over the weekend to greet them at the U.S. border not with words, but with force.

DONALD TRUMP: You have some very tough criminal elements within the caravan, but I will seal off the border before they come into this country, and I’ll bring out our military.

GUTMAN: They started out in Honduras a week ago, 2,500 miles separating them from the United States. Footsore and weary, migrants straggled on under a merciless sun. They’re carrying babies. Some of them with backpacks and plastic bags holding the absolute essentials. Many of them say they want to keep walking all the way to the United States.

On Sunday, the heat turning migrants desperate, sending them scrambling for water. Mexican motorists taking pity, allowing dozens to pile in and to hang on to pickups and even semi trailers. Blanca and her family had been walking since 4:00 a.m. One of many for whom returning to their home country would be a matter of life and death. For Blanca, there is a serious concern that the gangs who killed her husband are gonna come back for her family and the rest of them. And so, it’s just not safe either in their home or their city. A rickshaw driver offered Blanca’s children a ride, another mother begged for her heat-stricken daughter to be allowed in. She was delirious and tried to get out, collapsing into my arms. Put her in the seat.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Put her on the floor.

GUTMAN: No, it’s too hot on the floor. There was no ambulance in sight, no help.

Now that rickshaw driver, we met up with him later. He told us that he dropped that girl off at an ambulance, which apparently took her to a hospital. We are told that she is okay this morning.

And, Robin, you mentioned that humanitarian crisis that’s building. I just want to show you where we are. This is the main town square in the city of Tapachula, about 20 miles away from the border, and there are literally thousands of people everywhere you look. I mean, there are literally – I’ll show you here – they’re sleeping in the bushes here.

And this morning, you know, families are starting to just gather. There are meager possessions. This is Argentina Rivera and her family of five kids. And ahead, they have a long road because there are no facilities here, no bathrooms, no showers. And they face a potential clash with Mexican authorities later today. Robin?

ROBERTS: Mexican authorities have also offered asylum, but the migrants are leery of that offer?

GUTMAN: Yeah. They’ve rejected it so far because they’re concerned that it’s a trick to try to deport them back to Honduras. They’ve also realized that the sheer numbers have offered them strength. They’ve literally been walking right past Mexican immigration authorities and police for the past couple of days now.

ROBERTS: Alright, Matt, thank you so much. Cecilia?  

CECILIA VEGA: Those images so tough to look at, and you wonder why, if they would be willing to face those conditions, what it is that they’re fleeing from back home.

Here is a full transcript of the October 22 report on CBS This Morning:

7:03 AM ET

JOHN DICKERSON: Thousands of Central American migrants are vowing to continue their march to the U.S. border even though President Trump wants to turn them away. Over the weekend, the migrants forced their way into southern Mexico, surging past police barricades and crossing a river on makeshift rafts. Mexican authorities say more than 5,000 people, including women and children, are in the caravan. Most of them say they’re fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: It’s a hot-button topic for the President ahead of the midterm elections. He told a weekend rally what he has in mind for the caravan.

DONALD TRUMP: I will seal off the border before they come into this country and I’ll bring out our military. Not our reserves, I’ll bring out our military.

GOLODRYGA: Adriana Diaz is following the migrant caravan. She’s in the southern Mexican town of Tapachula. Adrianna, good morning.

ADRIANNA DIAZ: Good morning. I’m going to speak in a low voice, because as you can see, there are people sleeping everywhere on the ground here in the main square. They’re part of a caravan organized by local advocacy groups in Honduras. Caravans happen about once a year, leading people north in a large group for their safety because it is so dangerous to go alone or with smugglers. We saw people walking in 100-degree heat. They were sweating, they were exhausted, but they’re determined to reach the U.S. border roughly 1,500 miles away.     

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Migrant Caravan Swells; 5,000+ People Fleeing Central America for U.S.]  

On Sunday, the caravan lurched forward, carrying babies, suitcases, and hope. In this rushing river of migrants, it was hard for families to stay together. We came across two sisters separated from their parents. She said she was traveling with her mother and father, now she’s not with them and she says her sister was taking care of them.

This woman, watching over the sisters, told us they were put on a truck by their mother who then disappeared into the crowd. She said she has two kids also, she’s not leaving them. We found Karen Lanza looking for her son after he’d fallen behind. He eventually caught up, exhausted. They’ve been walking for ten days.

To get here, most migrants cross this river between Guatemala and Mexico. Some entered legally, through this bottle-necked bridge. Others, out of desperation, jumped, preferring to swim across the border instead. We saw federal police on stand by, but they didn’t stop illegal crossings.

The migrants have finally reached the city of Tapachula and it is now starting to rain. You can see everyone trying to scramble for cover. Children tried to make the best of the wet chaos This boy is 16, alone, and has never been to school. Why did you leave? He said because of violence, because there’s no money, he just wants to have an education.

Amid the crying babies and hastily made meals, we reconnected with Karan and her exhausted children. She told us she was thinking about turning back. She says her kids have had to deal with being hungry, but they’ve never had to deal with being cold, having to sleep on the floor.

The migrants’ next stop will be about 25 miles north to the city of Huixtla. Every single person we’ve spoken to tells us they are undeterred by the President’s vow to keep them from entering the U.S. As for those two lost sisters we told you about, we have learned that they’ve been reunited with their mother. She apparently loaded them on to a truck that drove away before she could get on. Norah?

NORAH O’DONNELL: Wow, Adrianna, I’ve been following your reporting on Instagram, all your videos, great reporting out there with your team. Thank you so much.


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 Latin America Immigration Conservatives & Republicans ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Savannah Guthrie George Stephanopoulos John Dickerson