Guy Farmer: Exploiting immigrant children
January 5, 2019
If you read, watch or listen to the mainstream media you probably think U.S. Border Patrol and ICE agents are the bad guys and poor, downtrodden illegal immigrants are the good guys in the immigration war currently being waged along our southern border with Mexico. However, the truth is the exact opposite of that "open borders" scenario.
I write about mainstream media bias yet again because major dailies like the New York Times and Washington Post, and the old TV networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — seem to be on "destroy President Trump" missions by allowing opinions to contaminate their straight news coverage. When I took Journalism 101 at the University of Washington back in the last century we learned it's important to keep personal opinions out of straight reporting.
I saw an egregious example of tendentious reporting in the Seattle Times last month as I was making my annual holiday visit to my old hometown. It was a half-page story by Maria Sacchetti reprinted from the stridently anti-Trump Washington Post, and headlined "Don't Abandon Me Here, We Have a Dream to Fulfill."
This was an alleged quote from the father of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy, Felipe Gomez Alonzo, who died in U.S. Border Patrol custody on Christmas Eve. But there's more to this story than Sacchetti reported. "Word spread through the impoverished village in the western highlands of Guatemala . . . (that) immigrants traveling with a child will likely make it past the Border Patrol and into the United States," she wrote. Nothing could be further from the truth because Felipe's 47-year-old father, Agustin Gomez Perez, decided to take his young son on a perilously dangerous and difficult journey north to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Agustin and his son were apprehended by the Border Patrol and placed in a holding cell in Alamogordo, N.M. on Christmas Eve, where young Felipe vomited and spiked a high fever. American officials immediately airlifted the boy to the nearest hospital (a fact Sacchetti omitted), where he died. Of course illegal immigration and open border advocates immediately blamed the Border Patrol for young Felipe's death, but there's only one person responsible for this tragedy: the boy's father.
What parent in his or her right mind would subject their child to such a perilous and potentially fatal journey? However, Sacchetti didn't ask that obvious question. Instead, she wrote a fairy tale about the boy's alleged dream of living in the U.S. "Felipe was eager to go, the boy's stepsister said in an interview," the journalist wrote. "It was his dream."
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Sacchetti went on to quote the father, who allegedly cried after his son died and said, "Don't abandon me here. We have a dream to fulfill." Well, that's a real tear-jerker of a story, but the issue here isn't how everyone felt about Felipe's tragic death, it's about border security. No one wants children to die at the border but the need for border security trumps (no pun intended) all other considerations.
We face a national security crisis on our southern border as thousands of destitute, unskilled Central Americans arrive at the border in so-called "immigrant caravans." Although TV cameras focus on crying women and children, they clearly show most of these illegal aliens are healthy young men willing to charge the border and throw rocks at Border Patrol and ICE agents. Even worse, too many of these young men are gang-bangers and/or drug traffickers.
That's why Congress should urgently pass real immigration reform and give President Trump something he can call "a wall," even if it's not really a wall.
Guy W. Farmer, a retired diplomat, follows immigration issues closely.