Covering the border

Maybe it’s because I’m from Texas, but immigration is a subject I’m greatly interested in, especially as a subject for future reporting and writing projects. This is why 99% of the reporting I’ve seen related to the influx of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the U.S./Mexico border has been making me sick. 

The standard format for stories on these refugees (because this is a refugee issue, not an immigration issue) seems to be something like this:

1. Metaphor like flood or wave that makes children seeking help sound like a biblical plague.

2. Quotes from republicans accusing president Obama of being soft on illegal immigration (ignoring the fact more immigrants have been deported under this administration than any other in history).

3. Quotes from democrats accusing republicans of blocking meaningful immigration reform (still pretending to be the party of the people).

4. Picture of Rick Perry and Sean Hannity with guns policing the border.

5. Very little mention of what conditions are like in Honduras or El Salvador. Complete absence of any historical context or mention of American foreign policy or IMF policy that have affected Latin American economies. Maybe some blame on Latin American parents who send their kids to the border. 

 

It is frustrating to see a legitimate humanitarian crisis framed as a debate in Washington. Who cares what those white guys are saying to score political points.

 

A few notable exceptions to the bad press:

David Bacon, In These Times: http://inthesetimes.com/article/16919/8_reasons_u.s._trade_and_immigration_policies_have_caused_migration_from_ce

Cindy Carcamo and Molly Fiske in the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-ff-honduras-border-20140709-story.html#page=1

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-texas-immigrant-children-20140618-story.html#page=1

Todd Miller:

http://toddwmiller.wordpress.com

Texas Tribune:

http://www.texastribune.org/race-and-immigration/

 

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