Univision host Jorge Ramos’s argument was that since almost half of undocumented immigrants – about 40 percent, which Politifact rates ‘half true’ – come here by plane or with a visa, a border wall of the caliber that Trump wants is ‘completely useless.’
He did acknowledge in his interview with Anderson Cooper however that illegal immigration has plummeted ever since Trump won the election. But he didn’t attribute that drop in illegal immigration to wise policy decisions by the Trump administration. “Fear works,” he said.
“Yes, fear works but I think we’re talking about human beings and if Donald Trump has a big heart like he has then I think we can do something. He controls the White House. He controls both chambers of Congress. He can do something. If he wants to be like Reagan, be like Reagan.”
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Jorge the May Day protest, protesting among other issues the president’s immigration policies which are obviously central to the campaign or surprised the president hasn’t been able to enact more of his immigration policies, whether it’s funding of the wall or the travel ban or defunding sanctuary cities?
JORGE RAMOS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Well, not really surprised, but really for the Hispanic community and the immigrant community, it’s been horrible. It’s been very difficult. It’s been 102 days of fear. Don’t hold your breath on getting a check from Mexico. The check is not in the mail. Mexico won’t pay for that. And I’m not surprised that the new budget does not include money for the wall. It’s really absurd. As we’ve discussed in the past, almost 45 percent are low, undocumented immigrants they come by plane or with a visa.
And it would be as absurd as if I want to be the fence on my property and then I ask my neighbor to pay for that. So in that sense the wall, I don’t think it’s going to work. I think a good immigration policy, emphasizing legal immigration now the wall would be good. But on the other hand, fear is still present.
COOPER: Just in terms as the wall, the White House is standing by. Sean Spicer, again, just today said the wall is going to get built. Do you believe it will ever get built in a way that President Trump described it?
RAMOS: Not the way he described it. And — so look there’s a 9,200 border between Mexico and the United States. There are already fences or walls in about 700. So we still have like 1,200-mile wall that President Trump wants to build. I don’t know how he’s going to do it. The estimates that I’ve seen suggest that it could cost from $20 billion to $50 billion. I don’t think it going to — and it’s completely useless.
Let me just say, it’s completely useless. Again, when almost half of all immigrants come by plane or with a visa, why do you need a wall? And as long as you have about 20 million Americans in this country using drugs and paying for drugs, there’s always going to be a drug traffic in Latin America willing to take the risk in crossing that wall.
COOPER: For those that who support the president’s ideas of stopping undocumented immigrants from coming over, I mean there have been successes that the White House can point to. If you look at the numbers in December of last year, there are more than 43,000 apprehensions by customs and border agents, in March, just over 12,000. So there has been, I mean, there’s so much of the 68 percent decline in apprehensions of people crossing over that is something the White House can point to as a success.
RAMOS: Yes, but — correction (ph) other numbers, Anderson. For instance, in the first two months of the Trump administration, the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants went from about 16,000 in the Obama years, a year before to about 21,000. And what I’m really concerned is about the number of undocumented immigrants with not criminal record. We’re talking about motors and that’s — and people who are only here working and no rapist or criminals or members of any gang.
So, the concern is that the new policy, the Trump policy is emphasizing the arrest of people really who have done nothing, absolutely nothing wrong in this country. Yes, they broke the law by coming here illegally but we’re all complicit whenever we’re eating food, whenever we live in a house or an apartment. It was built by immigrants. We’re all complicit. So my concern is what Trump is doing and terrorizing the immigrant community.
COOPER: So, even — you don’t believe that even deporting those who have not committed a crime and whether it’s — whether they’re actually going out and actively seeking those people, whether those people —
COOPER: — you know, under the Obama administration, many of them would come and check in yearly. It seems like the people are even now checking — have had to check in yearly in safety under the Obama administration, those people now when they check in, in many cases, they are being apprehended and deported out.
COOPER: It clearly creates fear. I understand that in the community. But do you think it actually does prevent others from coming over?
RAMOS: As a deterrent, yes. I think it’s a deterrent, there’s no question about it. Fear, fear works. But I think when we’re talking about undocumented immigrants, we’re talking about human beings, and we’re talking about people who are here because of us. We have to take responsibility for that. They are here because they are working for us. Millions of Americans, you and me and those who are watching, benefit from that and there are thousands of American companies who are hiring them for a reason. It’s simply a matter of is then and economy supply and demand. So, yes, fear works but I think we’re talking about human beings and if Donald Trump has a big heart like he has then I think we can do something. He controls the White House. He controls both chambers of Congress. He can do something. If he wants to be like Reagan, be like Reagan.
Like, 19 — in 1986, he did something about it. He legalized more that three million. Now if we can legalize 11 million, do you have a big heart Mr. Trump? Show it. He hasn’t show it yet.
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