Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies
Political Editor, LifeZette; Former White House Political Correspondent, The Daily Caller
Director of Communications, Office of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
MARK KRIKORIAN: Good afternoon, folks. We’re going to get started to respect people’s times in case somebody has to, you know, work for a living and get back to the office on a Friday afternoon in the summer.
My name’s Mark Krikorian. I am executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. And we have been giving the award we’re awarding today – we have been – initiated it in 1997 to highlight good reporting in a field where so much of the coverage is marred by more than the usual degree of bias. The award – the Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration – is named in memory of Eugene Katz, a native New Yorker who, after attending Dartmouth and Oxford, started his career as a reporter for the Daily Oklahoman in 1928. And then he joined the family business, worked as an advertising salesman for the Katz Agency, which became Katz Communications, which was a large firm that dealt in radio and television advertising, and also owned and managed radio stations. So he was in both sides, the business side and the news side of the media.
The reason we named it after Gene was that he was a member of the Center for Immigration Studies board for many years until shortly after his 90th birthday in 1997, and he passed away in 2000. And so we decided to honor him by naming this award after him.
I’m going to first introduce our keynote speaker, and then we’ll present the award to the honoree and tell you a little bit about him. Our speaker is Stephen Miller, who is communications director for Senator Jeff Sessions and is part of the team that has really – obviously, led by the senator – made the immigration issue something that is discussed in a much more sophisticated and complete way than it has been up to now. And Stephen really is – you know, is a key part – has been a key part of both I would say raising the way this issue is debated, but also sort of making – allowing that debate to be more complete and meaningful. So Steve will regale us with some, I don’t know, war stories, thoughts, whatever it is he wants to say about – I hope it’s about immigration, just – (laughter) – OK. And then we’ll – then I’ll introduce Neil.
STEPHEN MILLER: Thank you, Mark.
I’d like to thank everyone here today, and especially at the Center for Immigration Studies for everything they do to illuminate a debate that far too often operates, like illegal immigrants, in the shadows. (Laughter.)
So in particular, let me thank Jessica Vaughan, who is seated back there. There is no one in America who knows more about immigration enforcement than Jessica Vaughan. And, if she were to take, like, an island vacation for a year, I don’t think we would have a single worthwhile investigative report done in the course of that year on what’s really happening on our border.
Then, of course, we have Steve Camarota, who knows more about immigration numbers, history, demography, the economy than anyone I’ve ever worked with. And one of the great pleasures of my professional life is just being able to get on the phone with Steve and just talk, just have a conversation and just explore what’s in his thoughts, what he’s studying, what he’s researching. And for those of us who’ve had a chance to do the same, they’ll understand that completely.
And then, of course, Marguerite, who broadcasts all this information to the whole world, sitting right there. And without her, of course, nobody would even know about all the great work that Mark and Jessica and Steve are doing.
What I wanted to talk about briefly today is how important words are in the immigration debate. And this relates very closely to why Neil is getting this award, because Neil, unlike so many of the people who cover immigration, provides the context and provides the language and provides the information that makes it possible to understand what it is that we’re ever talking about. Neil and me both have a lot in common. We share a great passion for the issue. And if anyone ever makes the mistake of inviting me or Neil to an expensive cocktail party, there’s a really good chance we’ll spend the evening talking about corporate influence in H-1Bs. (Laughter.) And so we never get a second invitation. (Laughter.)
So I think we can all agree that, as human beings, words are the essential ingredient for expressing thought. It’s very hard to understand the world around you, to process events, to seek change, to communicate with friends, family, neighbors, politicians, without words. And as you notice in the immigration debate, words have either changed or disappeared in a very purposeful and intentional way over a period of many years now.
I mean, obviously, one example we’re all very familiar with, right, is how “illegal alien,” which is a very technical term with a precise legal meaning, became “illegal immigrant” became “undocumented immigrant” became “immigrant without papers” became “new American,” which is what it is now. (Laughter.)
And you know, another term that has once meant one thing and now means a completely different thing, of course, is the two magic words “immigration reform.” How many of us have picked up an article and it went something like this? “Today, President Obama unveiled a new immigration reform plan, but immigration reform opponents like Jeff Sessions said that they opposed the immigration reform measure and other anti-reform hardliners like Steve King said they also opposed immigration reform. But polls broadly show Americans support immigration reform and that support for immigration reform has been increasing.” (Laughter.) Right? And this is – a huge part of my job is I’ll get on the phone with a reporter or send them an email and I’ll say something like, first of all, when you say “immigration reform,” what do you mean? And you’d be amazed at how they have a hard time even answering that question. They say, “You know, immigration reform, just, you know, reforming the laws.”
Now, of course, the word “reform” has a positive connotation. When we say we want tax reform, we want energy reform, we mean to say we want to improve it. We want to improve our energy laws, improve our tax laws, whatever we may think that may be. But somehow the term “immigration reform” has been used to describe a set of policies that is inherently destructive, that serves the interest of a small few at the expense of the great many. And I mean, if immigration reform or comprehensive immigration reform were to be roughly defined today, I think we mostly agree that if you see those words, it basically means a massive, large-scale amnesty for illegal immigrants that includes access to government benefits and lifetime residency, combined with a very large permanent increase in future immigration and guest worker programs. Of course, that will never appear anywhere in the article.
The other – the other thing that gets left out of articles a lot – and again, this is where Neil has been so exceptional – is numbers. Numbers provides context.
One of the examples I always use is, imagine having a conversation about taxes where the ground rules are you can’t discuss what the tax rate currently is, you can’t say what it used to be, you can’t say what it’s going to be, and you can’t say whether you think it should be raised or lowered. (Laughter.) You’d find yourself having a really hard time having a conversation about taxes. Yet, those are the ground rules for the immigration debate. That is the – that is the entry-level requirement by which all participants must abide.
Now, the other thing – and then I’ll close by reading some examples from some articles that illustrate these points, which I think will be fun – but the one other point I wanted to make, which is one of the – one of the trickiest and one of the ones that I think about and deal with a lot, is the question of legal versus illegal immigration and how that affects how we discuss and talk about these issues. Now, in America, because we’ve had so much illegal immigration, it’s I think created the impression among many people that that’s how most immigration occurs, is illegally. It also provides an easy escape hatch for politicians because you can avoid having to deal with the more difficult issues of how immigration affects the economy and how it affects societies and how it affects social cohesion if you just say, oh, well, you know, I’m not saying I want to limit immigration, I’m just saying that, you know, we need to have more legal immigration so there’s less illegal immigration.
Of course, if that statement was taken at face value, then you would say, well, the solution to the border crisis is to hand everyone a green card when they arrive – here you go, here’s a green card, no more illegal immigration. And the – I mean, but politicians will say, sometimes in the same breath, that, well, I want to have a merit-based immigration system, and also the solution to illegal immigration is more legal immigration. Well, most illegal immigration, of course, is unskilled, so you can’t have a merit-based system in which your operating premise is every intending illegal immigrant gets a green card. It doesn’t make any sense. But no reporter would like – except for Neil and some others who we know – would ever ask that as a – as a follow-up question. And so you’ll see perverse articles.
One of the things we’ve seen a lot recently is articles that say, politician so-and-so – and notice how this word gets thrown in – even – “even” wants to limit legal immigration. (Laughter.) And the word “even.” Now, you never – the word “even” always gets in there. And this always – I always have a few questions about this when I read that because I say, well, first of all, what other kind of immigration would you seek to limit? The limit on illegal immigration is zero. Like, would it make sense for me to say I propose a cap of 1 million a year on illegal immigration? (Laughter.) Like, by definition it’s zero. The only kind of immigration you limit is legal immigration.
So anyway, these are just some examples. I could go on about this for a while. But I wanted to read some articles just to sort of illustrate some of the interesting points here.
So I was talking earlier about how language changes the way we talk about illegal immigrants, and they’ve developed new terms. This is from the Associated Press, talking about illegal-immigrant students. And it says, starting Thursday, University of California President Janet Napolitano will host a two-day national conference on how colleges and universities can better serve their, quote, “legally insecure students.” (Laughter.) So that’s a new one.
Now, the – earlier I was – I was talking about the whole shadows issue, so this is a – so it says, Iowa business leaders seek to influence immigration in 2016, and it says these business leaders hope to push candidates to address three topics: “securing the border, visa and guest worker programs, and allowing 11.5 million immigrants currently living in the U.S. to come out of the shadows and get right with the law.” And of course, by “get right with the law” they mean waive all the penalties that exist under the law. (Laughter.) I’d like to get that deal for myself if I – like, if I ever get, like, pulled over for even like a minor violation, and say, “Officer, I’d like to get right with the law.” He’ll say, “What do you mean by that?” “Well, basically you waive all the fines and penalties.” (Laughter.) “And maybe even throw in some special benefits. If there’s any tax credits available, I’d like to know what those would be.” (Laughter.)
Now, earlier I was talking about the use of the word “immigration reform.” This is an article in Politico, and you’re going to think that I, like, was exaggerating earlier about the use of the term “immigration reform.” And this – I’m truly reading from this article. It says, “Poll: GOP Voters Back Immigration Reform.” “Comprehensive immigration reform enjoys broad bipartisan support. Seventy-one percent of likely voters surveyed said they back sweeping changes to immigration laws. This support spans party lines. Sixty-four percent of Republican respondents backed comprehensive immigration reform. Only 28 percent of those surveyed opposed comprehensive immigration reform.” Now, at no point in the article does it actually say what “comprehensive immigration reform” is. (Laughter.) But – right – yeah, most Americans think that “reform” would mean improving the law, as in maybe making the situation better for Americans.
Now, this one I was optimistic when I read the headline. This is from The New York Times. It said, “Workers in Silicon Valley Weigh in on Obama’s Immigration Action.” I thought, oh, this will be really good. This is – we’re going to interview some displaced American workers. (Laughter.) And it says – and it explains, this is the sad news: “President Obama’s executive action on immigration falls short of what both immigrants and industry leaders were seeking.” And then it proceeds to interview both of those groups. (Laughter.)
And then so this was another one. Could go on forever here. Oh, this is one of my favorites.
So there’s a group called Partnership for a New American Economy, which – one of the other golden rules is that, if you have a really big, big, big business group pushing for massive increases in immigration, you must never say what the group’s motivations are or they might financially profit from anything they’re pushing for or mention even who’s in the group, you know, even if like on an issue like drilling, if Chevron was pushing a drilling bill, people would note, like, Chevron stands to make money from the bill. But so this is what this story says. It’s a study saying that increased immigration will produce a rising tide of prosperity for everyone. And it says, “The study is by three groups: the Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition, Americas Society/Council of the Americas” – I’m not sure what that is – “and the Partnership for a New American Economy.” Which – this is great – “it brings together more than 500 Republican, Democrat and independent mayors and business leaders” – and this is what the article says – “who support sensible immigration reform.” God bless ‘em. (Laughter.)
And here’s another one. So this shows how we manipulate polls of Republican voters. This is in The Washington Post. It says, “Republican pollster Whit Ayers’ research has shown that even GOP primary voters want action when informed the other option is de facto amnesty.” So the – (laughter) – well, there you go. (Laughter.)
So I’m going to end on a – on a serious note, because there are voices that are being shut out of the immigration debate. And so I’m going to read a letter that our office received before handing it back to Mark and the extraordinary Neil Munro. This is an article that our office received from a displaced American IT worker. Again, in all seriousness, these are the people who actually are living in America’s shadows, and this is what they said:
“I am an IT professional and worked for Southern California Edison for over two decades. I was a loyal employee and always received outstanding reviews. A foreign worker with an H-1B visa recently replaced me. My co-workers were the best of the best, and they were also replaced. Having my job taken from me has affected me greatly. I am the sole provider of my children. Due to a disability, finding employment at the same wage and with a work modification will be very difficult. When I was given notice of my termination date, I asked if they could assist a disabled person and they said they could not. I may need to use my 401(k) and pension to supplement my income and take a job that will not facilitate my disability. Half my pension was lost in a divorce and is the only asset in the marriage. It is an ominous possibility that in five years or less I may have no assets, suffer from severe pain, and need to go on full disability with a catastrophic decrease in income. If my job was not replaced, I could have worked full-time for 10 to 15 years. My layoff has made my children fearful for their future and the security of their home. My young son already knows two computer programming language(s), but he now has firsthand knowledge of the H-1B visa abuse and may not choose to use his natural gift and work in the IT field.”
And the person concludes by saying, “I pay my taxes, obey the laws, and have been a good citizen supporting the community with donations. The government needs to do their job and serve the American worker.” I can’t say it any better than that.
So thank you for your time today, and I will hand it back over to Mark. (Applause.)
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Stephen. That was outstanding. Although I’ve never read a New York Times headline and then been optimistic about the story that was going to follow it. (Laughter.)
It’s said that a reporter’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Unfortunately, on immigration it doesn’t work that way, or most reporters at least seem to confuse the categories. Immigrants themselves are seen as the afflicted, illegal immigrants most afflicted of all, and thus the subject of reporters’ solicitude. Their travails are recounted in detail. They’re cast is the heroes of their story, battling against the Man. Sometimes there’s actually something to that – employers stealing the wages of immigrants and the like – but this is an incomplete picture, to put it mildly.
Putting to one side the fact that the immigrants, legal or illegal, made the decision to come here in the first place, what about the American victims of excessive immigration, the kind of people that Stephen read a letter from? Who comforts them? Where are their stories? Where are the stories about excessive immigration’s effects on less-skilled workers, on tech workers, on young people just starting in the labor market, on black Americans passed over by employers who prefer compliant Latin Americans, on ex-cons or recovering addicts seeking entry-level work to start rebuilding their lives? No reporters include their stories in coverage of immigration.
And matters are even worse when it comes to afflicting the comfortable. The moneyed interests that actually drive most of immigration policy are not only not viewed by reporters with the healthy skepticism that’s warranted; they’re practically presented as victims themselves. The assertions of a corporate lobbyist – whose job, after all, is to manipulate the immigration law in order to keep the labor costs down of their clients – those assertions regarding immigration are simply taken as gospel by reporters, who wouldn’t believe a word they said in any other area of national policy. No reporter would think of transcribing the press releases of some lobbyist claiming that the smoke released by their client’s factory is good for air quality. And yet, when Mark Zuckerberg’s minions say that Americans are too stupid to write computer code, or when farmers tell fairy tales about crops rotting in the fields, otherwise-skeptical reporters take down their words as though they’re sitting at the feet of Plato. (Laughter.)
Today’s honoree is an exception. Neil Munro, until just recently, was the White House correspondent for The Daily Caller. He’s started a new venture, which he may or may not be able to talk about. He’s an editor – which is a bad sign, I think – but hopefully he’ll still be actually writing. But when he was at The Daily Caller, he frequently covered immigration. He didn’t start out of doing that. Neil had a very Washington reporter resume, writing for journals that probably nobody outside Washington reads, such as Government Computer News, Defense News, Washington Technology, and then for more than a decade worked for National Journal, covering whole variety of topics.
And as worthy as all of this work was, he didn’t garner national attention until he had the temerity to afflict the comfortable by asking President Obama a question. During a staged event in 2012 – some of you may remember this – where the president announced his lawless amnesty for the DREAMers, Neil, thinking the president was done, jumped in and asked, why do you favor foreigners over Americans? Followed up a little later with, what about the American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?
Politico called this a “surprising breach of etiquette.” And you suspect it wasn’t just because he ended up inadvertently interrupting the president, because he raised questions which are themselves a breach of etiquette on immigration for the press corps, which has internalized the comfortable view on immigration.
Neil himself is a(n) immigrant from the Ould Sod, from the Emerald Isle, and his exchange with the president typified his doggedness in shining light on immigration’s impact on ordinary Americans. He has explored, as you seen in the green books – we have more outside if you don’t – the impact on less-skilled workers and on white-collar tech workers, the impacts on communities saddled with Central American illegal aliens waved across the border by this administration, the impact on individual families whose immigration paperwork is held up because amnesty applicants are brought to the front of the line. He’s chronicled the growth within elements of the Republican Party to develop a kind of pro-worker message on immigration.
Immigrant stories are a legitimate topic for reporters, but they’re not the only topic, and hardly the most important one. The exclusive focus of too much of our media on those kind of stories needs an antidote, and part of that antidote has been Neil Munro’s work.
So I, with great pleasure, present Neil with the 2015 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration. And I’ll pull out the tchotchke that we give him. Neil, if you could come just to – so you can see what it looks like. Ah, here we are. I’ll unwrap it for you. There you go, Neil. It says “Center for Immigration Studies 2015 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration – Neil Munro, Daily Caller.” (Applause.)
NEIL MUNRO: Thank you. (Applause.)
Thank you very much for this award. It’s a – as we’ve seen – they have already laid out – the standards for immigration coverage in this town are very low, so I managed to reach that very low bar to get this award. (Laughter.) And all I did when working at Daily Caller was just apply the standard rules: count the numbers, follow the money, challenge authority and write cleanly.
Anyway, I used to ignore this issue because I covered defense, all sorts of other things, and I bumped into it the first time really in 2007, when there was a mention somewhere of the provisional Z visa. And so I looked up the details of the provisional Z visa and after that I just – (laughter) – it was entirely clear which side was being deceptive and which side was not. So the provisional Z visa was an amazing thing that McCain and Kennedy tried to get into law. I didn’t do much. Jay – (name inaudible) – got the band together again after the election.
But you know, when thinking about why I’ve done all this, well, it’s because I’m biased. (Laughter.) I’m biased in multiple ways – towards myself, my family, neighborhood, my profession, my – but for this category and this area, I’m biased towards Americans for a whole variety of reasons. One being I’m an immigrant and I have a price to pay. I have a favor to return.
And it’s easy to be biased against my profession. See, look, my profession is biased in favor of large-scale immigration for rational reasons. We all seek status. We all seek respect and money. My profession gets more by allying itself with the Democratic Party because the party can deliver us reporters in Washington more status and more money and power. So we’re biased towards them. We can’t help it. We’re not going to change that. Nothing will ever stop that. We are rationally part of the Democratic team. But we all – the reporters all have their multiple overlapping biases, and this – my loyalty to Americans dragged me away.
Anyway, the point about the numbers is also, when doing this area, all you have to do is do the obvious: count the numbers. It took me a while to learn the numbers, and most people I know don’t know the numbers and most reporters don’t know the numbers, the scale. In the end, well – so there was a Rasmussen poll which showed half of Americans wouldn’t even take a guess at the level of national immigration, which is – for my trade to have written so much about this subject, of labor supply and wages, and for the population not to know the numbers, it’s like doctors writing about prescriptions and not saying what kind of drug they want. Just take 10 pills and you’ll do fine. (Laughter.) It’s preposterous that we are so unwilling to discuss the numbers.
The same with the polls. I got a whole pile of articles writing about polls. It’s just – one, if you’re biased, you can – this town is full of clever people whose biases allow them to do whatever they want. And the polls are an occasion for people with a pro-business, pro-government bias to constantly play up what is obviously not true – well, play up one side of Americans’ attitude towards immigrants and labor supply. They like immigrants. They want to like immigration. They also want a lot less – a lot smaller labor supply right now. I mean, it’s not difficult to understand Americans want two different things.
The following the money, nobody does this in covering immigration politics. Nobody – when do you ever see articles talking about labor supply – on the impact – of wages? It’s just not recognized. But all I did was a couple of those. How difficult is that? Really interesting stuff you find. But nobody ever – it is ridiculous.
And then there’s another part of the basic journalism task, is to challenge authority. If we’re making a list of some times when I challenged authority, it’s quite amusing. There was a – Zuckerberg had a poll, get 10 pollsters in, Republican pollsters, to do the – a very pro-labor-supply speech. So I asked all the pollsters – this was – well, it’s day after Cantor got his walking papers – and I said, so, why should we trust you, given the conflict between what you’re claiming in your poll and what the voters are voting for? And the pollsters sat there is silence because they knew perfectly well the BS they had produced. One of them had the decency to say – lean forward at his microphone and say, those are the numbers we got from the question we asked. (Laughter.) And this part is true.
I had a back-and-forth engagement with a pollster at a major American newspaper. I said, you know, kind of like, hey, you guys, you only show one side of the immigration debate. What’s up with this number? When you look at that poll over there, doesn’t it tell you something’s skewed with what you announced? And it went back and forth, 14 emails, and the eventual result comes back. He says to me, we are not polling to find out what Americans think. We’re polling to find out what Americans say. So this is an organization that you’ve read every day and they’re deliberately not trying – no, they’re deliberately trying not to find out what Americans actually think. And this is a pollster, whose whole profession is based on polling.
So, you know, anyway, there was the – there was another time when – the importance of words is vital. I cannot – I read “1984” when I was a kid. I don’t want words stolen from ordinary Americans by clever people. And so there was one time I was up on the Hill and Reid said – I asked Reid a question about amnesty, and he said something along the lines of it’s not an amnesty, there’s no such as an amnesty. And I said, “Amnesty – A-M-N-E-S-T-Y.” (Laughter.) But I just – I don’t want powerful people to steal words from ordinary Americans.
There was an incident in the Rose Garden which was completely unplanned. And there was three – he was announcing a policy decision which involved basically adding in, you know, maybe a million foreign workers in a time of terrible low employment. And so I intended to ask a question, but I couldn’t ask a question during the first phone call press conference that morning. They wouldn’t accept me. They only invited questions from favorable reporters, who asked lame, uninteresting questions. And then there was going to be a press conference that day in the White House, but no, it got converted into a discussion about the president’s trip down to Mexico. So there was only one occasion left.
And the president, when he gives speeches occasionally, would stop as he leaves the podium. Normally he’s very quick when he leaves the podium. Doesn’t take questions. He finishes that sentence, that syllable, and he’s gone, turned round and halfway up the steps. You can’t get him to turn around. But he has stopped occasionally and invited questions, like on Trayvon Martin. Anyway, so I was – (laughter) – that was a planted question. And I was trying to ask a question, and I got my timing wrong, amusingly enough.
So I turned round thinking, OK, OK, this is – I got my lede, what am I going to write about this. And then I noticed the reporters are coming towards me. (Laughter.) And I got alarmed. (Laughter.) And so one reporter comes up to me and says, what’s your name? And I said, it’s Munro and you’ll spell it wrong. (Laughter.) And so, you know, the next day or so I’m picking up the pieces and I read Politico and there is my name, spelled wrong. (Laughs, laughter.) Well, some of my predictions turn out to be correct. But by and large it’s correct. So that has completely ruined my Google searches for myself. (Laughter.) I can’t get past that particular episode unless I exclude “Rose Garden.”
But the final thing is, as a journalist, you just got to write cleanly and neatly. So I fight for words, to keep the original meanings of words that people recognize, and I try to make facts simple. And in the end, I boil down the numbers to 4 million Americans turning 18 every year, 1 million legal immigrants, say 650,000 guest workers, plus roughly 800,000 which we didn’t know about when I asked that question, about the roughly 800,000 a year in extra work permits the president is handing out. So that means roughly four Americans – 4 million Americans go to find jobs in the market every year and they face competition from, say, 2 ½ million imported workers – migrants, guest workers and such like. And my trade repeatedly acts as if that has no impact on wages, and they never ask why corporate profits are going up. You have to be really clever, really smart to find an excuse not to link those two points, but my trade is up to it. We’re very clever. We’re perfectly capable of portraying icebergs and whatever else as just of no consequence.
So although – I’ll put one thing at the end. There’s one advantage. Being an immigrant and covering this issue is very useful, mostly because Americans are so nice to immigrants that when I do something that’s considered terrible gauche in my professional circles – as I did for a long time at National Journal – the response was, well, don’t worry about it, I won’t take it personally, he’s just an Irish guy. (Laughter.) So they’d excuse me for saying the most obvious stuff because I’m kind of like that little kid.
So anyway, it’s been very amusing, and it’s a great – covering this issue fairly and properly is a small part of the repayment I owe to Americans and their parents and ancestors. So thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. KRIKORIAN: Thank you, Neil. We got a couple of minutes, so if they – if you have any questions, we can have a little discussion but not too long. We’ve got about five minutes or so. Anybody has – we haven’t said anything provocative or interesting or unusual I guess, so I’m not sure – and we don’t have any – we don’t have too many members of the press corps here to object. Although we do have one, so Peggy will – Jamie, up here.
Q: Thanks. So I write for a Hispanic magazine. I cover Congress, Neil. And they’re surprisingly open to truth because the –
MR. KRIKORIAN: Who is?
Q: The Hispanics, my magazine. But I have trouble getting it – getting this kind of stuff, the truth about the numbers, especially the Hispanic vote. I did a C-SPAN covered panel here at the Press Club, and the only press that came were the Hispanic press. And so, Neil, any suggestions? Who will take this stuff, the truth?
MR. MUNRO: I’ve thought about that and I’ve – and come up with no particular answer to that. In the end, the – look, my profession, our profession, is just so middle-class and comfortable. We’d rather serve our own interests. The good thing is the Internet and free-market competition create the opportunity for good and interesting publications. And one of the virtues of this debate and the president pushing the buttons so hard on this is Americans kind of are getting over their politeness. So you could see this in very short order in 2014, when Americans were asked about the president’s policy of letting the migrants over the southern border. Even in the context of kids – and it wasn’t just kids – but even when the media was happily portraying it as kids, the polls – Americans sort of looked at each other and said, you think the same that I think? Yeah, we’re against this? Yeah. I think we’re being taken by a ride. Yeah. We like immigrants. We like immigration. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But we can’t have this. And so the strong opposition to the president’s policy went up to like 53, 57 percent, I mean, just really high. That was just the strong opposition. So that’s the public opinion that’s out there.
And it’s also true among the Hispanics. What middle-class Hispanic wants to be – have the neighbor fill up with people from central Nicaragua or somewhere? Very few. Their attitude is generally – it’s like this: yeah, yeah, we should have immigration reform, and yeah, and then tighten the border. Yeah, tighten the border really tight, really really tight. (Laughter.) It’s the same thing as Americans. It’s a rational, reasonable balance between generosity and common sense, between generosity and self-interest.
And so, in that sense – I think there’s just piles of information in the polls that show where Americans are on this, and that is a real demand for news and accuracy on this. And whenever the issue pops up, these Americans sort of turn away from TV and other issues and say, no, I really don’t want that. Then the media – my trade – does its best to bury the issue as much as possible with obfuscations and reluctance to address the numbers. But the support – the support – Americans know where their bread is buttered on this, and so do the Latinos. Nobody’s stupid here.
MR. KRIKORIAN: Anyone else?
Well, thank you, Stephen, for your time and your thoughts.
Congratulations, Neil, and hope the – your new effort, which maybe we’ll find out about soon, is going well.
Thank you, everybody, for coming. This whole event will be on our website hopefully next week. And we’ll see you next year – same time, same place. Thank you. (Applause.)