Sunday Morning TV

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on March 2, 2009

"Al Punto," the Sunday morning news show of the Spanish-language Univision network, featured a plea yesterday by the leftist candidate for the Salvadoran presidency that President Obama protect his countrymen who are living illegally in the U.S. The program also included a discussion with authors of the new book "Latinos and the Nation's Future."

Mauricio Funes, candidate of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, expressed concern about the "threat of immediate deportation that hangs over hundreds of thousands of our countrymen." (All translations are mine.) A former journalist who leads in Salvadoran opinion polls, Funes said that Salvador could not handle a large-scale return of its countrymen because of miserable economic and public safety circumstances that he blamed on the long-ruling, rightist ARENA Party.

Said Funes: "I would ask of President Obama -- if he wants to help us construct democracy, reduce social inequality and create conditions of economic and political stability in our country -- that he guarantee, using the weight of his office, that there will be stability in terms of immigration that would permit the Salvadorans to live and work in the United States as they aspired to do."

In another segment of "Al Punto," former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, talked about his book's plea for a recognition of mutual interests between the growing Latino population and U.S. society as a whole. In an essay in the book, Cisneros noted projections that by 2050, the Latino population of the U.S. will reach 100 million.

Said Cisneros: "The theme of the book is this: that the number of Latinos is already very large, so we must not talk just of the interests of the Latinos, but really about our obligations to construct, to develop the country. And [the theme is also] that the country has the responsibility to recognize that if it is going to maintain its greatness for the long run, its place in the world, it will have to include this population of Latinos. Because these youngsters, these children in the schools now are the future: the engineers, researchers, doctors, the leaders of finance and education for the future."

Lionel Sosa, the Latino Republican campaign adviser credited with helping elect Republicans from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, took up the same theme. Sosa said Latinos must emphasize the need to prepare for leadership.

Sosa said he would like to see "every father and mother say to their children: you are going to go to the university; you’re going to have something, a good life; you are going to be leaders in this country. We have to be leaders."