Framing the Discussion on Univision

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on April 18, 2011

The Univision Sunday morning program "Al Punto" yesterday offered a discussion that illustrated how the Spanish-language television network frames as "anti-immigrant" any measures directed against illegal immigration. It also included comments from a Los Angeles activist about President Obama's political calculations regarding immigration reform.

One exchange began with a straightforward summary by Katherine Vargas, spokeswoman for the National Immigration Forum, of efforts in several states to pass legislation to penalize illegal immigration and to require employers to use the federal E-Verify system. Then came commentary from host Jorge Ramos, followed by Juan Jose Gutierrez, a president of the recently formed organization, Vamos Unidos USA, which is based in Los Angeles.

RAMOS: It's becoming more and more difficult to be an immigrant in the United States, no?

GUTIERREZ: What we are seeing is a big anti-immigrant offensive. You began this program saying we are more than 50 million. Fundamentally, at the root of the problem, that is the problem. There is a big, racist reaction that has to do with the concern about what it means politically that our numbers are growing so much. This is bringing us to the point that, while a little fewer than 9 million Hispanics voted in the last elections, it is estimated that there could be as many as 12 million who would vote in the next elections. That is what causing the reaction.

A bit later in the discussion, Gutierrez offered an explanation as to why President Obama has not issued executive orders that would grant temporary protection to illegal immigrants. Advocates of illegal immigrants are urging Obama to take that step as a means of buying time until Congress once again takes up legislation to provide permanent legal status.

GUTIERREZ: Why doesn't he do it? Because he is concerned about what the people would think – the people who were not responsible for electing him, instead of [being concerned about] what those of us who elected him are thinking.

More tomorrow on a warning from Juan Jose Gutierrez.