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NPR Anchor Downplays Importance of Border Security

Maria Hinojosa blames U.S. for Central America's challenges

• January 9, 2019 3:16 pm

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NPR anchor Maria Hinojosa downplayed the importance of border security on Wednesday, saying Democrats have played too much into President Donald Trump's "narrative" of its importance.

"What we're really talking about right now is the fact that arch-right-wing conservatives, Republicans, [and] some white supremacists want to change the conversation on the narrative around who we are as a country," said Hinojosa, NPR's Latino USA anchor and executive producer, during an appearance on MSNBC's "Velshi & Ruhle."

Co-host Stephanie Ruhle asked about solutions concerning immigration.

"In terms of who we are as a country, we have always brought in immigrants. We're a country, apart from slavery, that is of immigrants, so this notion of closing down is not realistic. People are going to continue to come here, so what do you do? People want to be identified. People don't want to be undocumented. They don't want to be called ‘illegal.' No one wants that," Hinojosa continued.

The NPR anchor criticized Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) response to Trump's Tuesday night Oval Office address about border security.

"The problem with the Democratic response is they are continuing to play into this narrative of ‘Oh my God, border security, border security!' Guys, I've been talking about this story for 30 years. For 30 years there's been the neurosis about border security," Hinojosa said. "The greatest terrorist attack in our country did not happen because someone crossed that border. It happened in our city because they got off of planes. So there it begins to feel like the wheels are just spinning, spinning, spinning talking about border security."

Co-host Ali Velshi stated that the United States has "a hand in what happened in South America [and] Central America."

"A hand? You've got about two hands and your feet also," Hinojosa said. "Because what people don't realize, how quickly we forget: One, [it] started basically in the early 1900s, the United States's relationship with Central America, interventionist. But then in the early 1980s is when the United States goes full in, they are propping up a military dictatorship in Nicaragua. They are propping up a military, well military guys, who are running pretty much a lot of what's going on in El Salvador. They are propping up dictatorships in Guatemala."

Hinojosa argued "there is not a flood, a crisis of people running out" of Central America, and she said the people coming to the United States are "the most desperate."

"It's not just willy-nilly, ‘oh everybody's coming across,' the way the president talks about. That's absolutely ridiculous, and he should be ashamed of himself for the way he spoke about caring about human beings and women and children, caring about human trafficking," she said.

"Do you know what people who have their children who are still being held by this government say? They say that Donald Trump is responsible for the human trafficking of their children in this country, so I'm not going to be gas-lit in terms of suddenly this president saying that he cares when he's directly responsible. The buck stops with him. He's responsible for Jakelin's and Felipe's deaths. Then you tell me that he cares about children when he takes responsibility for that," Hinojosa continued.

Jakelin Caal and Felipe Gomez Alonso were migrant children who died last month after arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Published under: Illegal Immigration, Immigration, NPR