Univision's Biased Reporting, Maryland Edition

By Kausha Luna on August 17, 2015

In January, soon after taking office, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan decided to participate in the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). Gov. Hogan's move is appropriate but very limited, merely cancelling former Governor Martin O'Malley's policy of non-cooperation with ICE; the state continues to give illegal immigrants in-state tuition and driver licenses, with some restrictions.

After the Washington Post wrote about Hogan's move last week, Univision followed suit with a Spanish-language story titled Under the headline "Maryland Governor's decision to cooperate with Secure Communities Criticized" (actually, PEP is President Obama's watered-down replacement for the Secure Communities program).

The caption under the lead photo illustrating the story makes clear the story's bias: ''The program's objective is to obligate local police to tightly collaborate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the arrests of undocumented immigrants.'' In fact, PEP represents "a major setback to rule of law," compared with the original Secure Communities program, according to the Center's own Jessica Vaughan, and "will result in the release of even more criminal aliens back to the streets".

The Univision article itself is largely a platform for Gustavo Andrade, director of strident immigrant advocacy group CASA de Maryland:

  • ''Governor Hogan without any obligation chose to work with ICE to hand over immigrants from our community and facilitate their deportation.''
  • ''It is disrespectful to our community and also a gesture of rejection of all Latinos immigrants in Maryland.''
  • ''We want the governor to continue with the previous policy to ensure peace and respect towards our community."
  • ''We think that there is no guarantee that the authorities will only hand over individuals with criminal records."
  • "Sometimes the police arrests people without criminal records, people that are innocent and a judge has not determined to be guilty of a crime and are turned Immigration Services and deported from the United States.''
  • ''The State of Maryland is not obligated to do this. They are criminalizing us.''

Univision then quotes Andrade calling for political action: ''We are inviting the community to use social media to tell Gov. Hogan that we reject the measure and to reverse the decision."

The article uncritically cites a flawed study from the University of Illinois claiming that Secure Communities (PEP, really) will reduce immigrants' trust in the police. But as Vaughan noted in recent congressional testimony, the ''study should be considered with great caution, since they measure emotions and predict possible behavior, rather than record and analyze actual behavior of immigrants. Moreover, the Theodore study is particularly flawed because it did not compare crime reporting rates of Latinos with other ethnic groups."

To punctuate Hogan's "misconduct," the Univision article concludes by advertising Martin O'Malley's (D) bid for presidency and advocacy for an immigration reform that ''brings the majority of 11 million undocumented [immigrants] living in the country out of the shadows."