BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Politicians utter a few words here and there in Spanish and they feel, "This is what we need to do to get the Hispanic vote." Their actual issues and their positions on the issues that is going to decide whether they're going to get the support or not.

JORGE RAMOS: I call it the Christopher Columbus syndrome. Because every four years they rediscover us, Hispanics. And then they forget about us for three years and then they rediscover us again.

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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Millions of us were waiting this week for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to connect with reality, to connect with the lives we actually live. It didn’t happen. The 90-minute debate went by, for example, without a word about immigration—not a thing said about the countless people trapped in our muddled policy. And this in Colorado, a swing state where both Romney and Obama have been courting the large Hispanic vote.

That wouldn't have happened if my guests on this week’s broadcast had been moderating the debate. But their participation was rejected by the tiny group of insiders who set the rules.

That's a shame, because Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas are two of our most knowledgeable, popular and influential journalists. They work for the most important Spanish-language network in the country, "Univision." I met them for the first time earlier this week when they were in town to receive the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Here’s part of the video presentation that introduced them to the Emmy audience.

NARRATOR: They are two of the most well-recognized journalists in the United States. Pioneers and advocates. For more than two decades María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos have informed millions of Hispanics through the popular evening newscast “Noticiero Univision.” Their brand of journalism is characterized not only by subjective and perspective, but also by a high degree of social advocacy. […]

In the last three decades with “Noticiero Univision,” both have covered a wide range of news and have witnessed history in the making. From presidential elections around the world, to the most destructive natural disasters. María Elena Salinas has interviewed dictators, revolutionaries, world leaders, heads of state in Latin America and in the United States. She was among the first female journalists to report from the war-torn street of Baghdad.

Jorge Ramos has covered five wars, and right after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, he drove all the way from Miami to New York to report on the tragedy first hand. Once he even asked for a vacation to cover the war in Afghanistan.

JORGE RAMOS: Where is Osama?

NARRATOR: An assignment that at the time the network deemed too dangerous.[...] He’s had very public encounters with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, with former Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, and with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, stood up only after six minutes of questioning by Ramos. Both Ramos and Salinas made history by moderating the first ever bilingual presidential debates. And most recently with the “Meet the Candidates” forum. But perhaps they are best known for defending the rights of immigrants by reporting on their plight, and giving a voice to the voiceless.

BILL MOYERS: María Elena Salinas is the most recognized Hispanic female journalist in the United States. In fact, "The New York Times" called her "The Voice of Hispanic America." Among many other honors, she has received four Emmys plus the Edward R. Murrow Award. You'll want to read her highly acclaimed memoir: "I am My Father's Daughter: Living a Life without Secrets."

Jorge Ramos, says The Washington Monthly, is "the broadcaster who will most determine the 2012 elections." Just three years after he arrived in the United States from Mexico, he was anchoring Univision’s nightly news, one of the youngest national news anchors ever. He's won 8 Emmys and authored 11 books, including this one, "A Country For All: An Immigrant Manifesto."

Welcome to the two of you.

JORGE RAMOS: Thanks so much.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It's a pleasure to be here.

BILL MOYERS: And congratulations on that lifetime achievement award.


JORGE RAMOS: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: You were honored the other night as the top of your craft, our craft. And yet you weren't selected to moderate a presidential debate. Do you think that you were not selected because, A) you do force politicians until they scream and because you're outspoken on immigration?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I personally don't think that that's the reason why. First of all we are not disrespectful to, at least I've never been disrespectful, I don't think Jorge has either—

BILL MOYERS: No, no, I'm not saying that.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: You know, asking a tough question is not disrespecting the office of the presidency or a political candidate or any politician for that matter. So I don't think that we were not chosen because of our style of interviewing. I think it was unfortunately a lack of understanding of the importance of the Latino community.

I think they don't realize just how fast we're growing, how influential we have become and how politicians are now forced to respond to the issues that affect Latinos. I think that they oversaw that, I don't think that they really--


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: --paid attention to that.

JORGE RAMOS: Sometimes we are invisible and we are fighting so hard not to be invisible. The Commission on Presidential Debates, they're stuck in the 1950s. They still think that the country could be divided between men and women and that's it. And they do not realize that one in every three persons in the United States is from a minority. They think it is okay to have an African American president but they don't think it's okay to have an African American or—


JORGE RAMOS: --a Hispanic journalist as a moderator for the debates. So what we did is, it was a wonderful response to this oversight, this huge oversight. Instead, they didn't want to invite us to their party, so we had our own party.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, you did.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, our own party. And that party turned out pretty good.

JORGE RAMOS: And yeah. So yeah, maybe—

BILL MOYERS: You mean these presidential forums you had?


JORGE RAMOS: Yeah, the presidential forums.

BILL MOYERS: Which came after you were not selected for the debate?

JORGE RAMOS: And at the end it ended up being better.

BILL MOYERS: The presidential commission on debates is very close to the parties. It's a tool of the two party system in this country. They look at the polls, the numbers the Hispanic vote is decisive in states like North Carolina, could decide North Carolina, could decide other swing states. They knew you represented a significant vote in this election.

JORGE RAMOS: But how can you choose how can you not choose a representative from a minority in a country like this? I truly—

BILL MOYERS: So that's what I'm asking you.

JORGE RAMOS: --yeah, I truly admire the work of the three moderators for the presidential debates—

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, they're all--

JORGE RAMOS: --and for the vice president--

BILL MOYERS: --capable.

JORGE RAMOS: I personally admire their work. But the U.S. is much more diverse than that, much more diverse than that. So--

BILL MOYERS: Were you angry? Were you hurt?

JORGE RAMOS: We don't want to be invisible. So we are not invisible, so we're just making sure that even with an accent that people hear what we're saying, you know. Yes, of course.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, we are mainstream. You usually try to separate us from ethnic media and mainstream media. We are mainstream media. And when you look at the ratings we compete directly with ABC, CBS and NBC. And many times in major cities we have higher ratings.

JORGE RAMOS: We are the fifth largest network.


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: The difference between us and them, and we really, it should really fall under the same category, is the language that we're, we transmit in a different language. However now we're changing that and that's why we have--

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We're changing that now because now we have this joint venture with ABC and we are going to be doing the same thing that we do in Univision, but we'll do it in English so that we can make sure that we have all the market. And the special thing about that is that it's not only for that sector of Latinos who is more English dominant and prefers to speak English.

But I think it actually contributes to the society and to democracy in this country so that everyone who speaks English in this country understands who Latinos are, what are the issues that affect us. Maybe they need to know what's going on with their neighbors south of the border. You know, here you have this continent that sometimes it seems that people in the north don't like to look south and they don't realize that we are one continent and that this what, over 300 million people there that speak Spanish and that affect us, and directly affect us economically.

BILL MOYERS: What does it say that you're moving into the larger English speaking--


BILL MOYERS: --audience?

JORGE RAMOS: What it's saying is that her daughters and my son and my daughter, they don't watch us. Because they feel much more comfortable in English.


JORGE RAMOS: Their friends don't watch us. Their generation is not watching us. So either we change or we're going to be out of here. And so there's always going to be space in Spanish, but what has, there's been, even within the Hispanic community something has been changing.

We used to get the majority of the growth because of immigration. That has changed. The border is stronger than ever. The number of undocumented immigrants has decreased from 12 million to 11 million. So the majority of the growth is coming from within the Hispanic community and that means—


JORGE RAMOS: --U.S. born. That means most Latinos, new Latinos, Juan, Jose, Pedro, Jorge, they're all speaking English. They feel more comfortable in English than in Spanish. So if we don't do something to attract them they're going to watch you.

BILL MOYERS: Well, I hope you can--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We want them to watch you, we want them to watch you.

BILL MOYERS: --accept the status quo.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: But, you know, I really don't think Spanish is going to go anywhere, and let me tell you why. You know, the immigrants that came from Europe in the last century, they came here wanting to get away from their country and decided that they wanted to establish roots here.

It's not that the Latino immigrants don't want to establish roots here, but their country of origin is right next door. And there's this very special link that they have and their cultural identity is very strong. I remember when Jorge and I started working in the media a few years ago people used to say, "You should really try to make a crossover to English because there's no future in Spanish language media. Latinos will assimilate and there won't be an audience to watch you."

14 million Hispanics then, 50 million Hispanics now. I think they didn't understand that. And even though Latinos have been assimilating and acculturating, what people don't understand, is assimilation doesn't mean leaving behind your culture and your language, but adopting a new one, embracing a new one.

So I think, you know, Spanish isn't going anywhere. This is a very important part of the identity of the Latino community. That's the one thing that does unite all Latinos is you have some that are more conservative and, you know, more liberal. There's several things that separate, like we said they're not monolithic. But the one thing that does unite the Latino community is the love of the language.

BILL MOYERS: You used over and again the term Latino communities, Latinos, Latinas where most of us have become accustomed to saying Hispanics and the Hispanic community.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I know that there's people that give a lot of importance, a lot of credence to a label.

JORGE RAMOS: We don't, right?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: For me personally you can call me whatever you want. You can all me Chicano or you can call me Mexican-American, Latina, Hispanic as long as my ethnic culture is involved. I'm very proud of being a Latina. My daughters were born here and I was born in the U.S. And my daughters were born in Miami and they feel Hispanic.

JORGE RAMOS But it's interesting because--the study of the Pew Hispanic Center just recently, they did a wonderful study on how do we like to be identified. And first of all people prefer, Latinos prefer to call themselves Mexicans or Cubans or Puerto Ricans, first of all. Then maybe Hispanic or Latino and third American. I know this is going to sound terrible to many. But that's the way it is. They feel much more comfortable saying, “I’m, Soy Mexicano, I'm Mexican or I'm Cuban American." Even though there's so many differences within the Hispanic communities, it’s not monolithic.

BILL MOYERS: You were born in L.A., you came there as a young man, a student. I was intrigued to watch both of you age in the—



BILL MOYERS: --in the videos.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: He had brown hair. I still remember his brown hair.

BILL MOYERS: --what does this country, what does this culture look like to a kid coming from Mexico?

JORGE RAMOS: It was a wonderful opportunity because this country gave me the opportunities that my country of origin couldn't give me. I was censored in Mexico when I was 23, 24--

BILL MOYERS: As a reporter?

JORGE RAMOS: --as a reporter. It was the usual thing in Mexico. The government would say what you could say on the air and what you couldn't say on the air. And I decided I didn't want to be that kind of a reporter. So I sold everything and came to the United States. So just imagine that now I can talk to anyone without asking permission for anything, and I had to leave my country because of that.

Alexis de Tocqueville, he used to say that the powerful and the rich never leave their country only those who need possibilities and those who are poor and those who are ambitious leave their countries. And that's exactly what happened with me.

I came here because I had to come here. Something pushed me out of Mexico and something pulled me from the United States. And now I have two passports. But honestly this country, I really have to thank this country because it gave me all the wonderful opportunities. If I would have stayed in Mexico it would have been, I don't know what would have happened, but I would have been a very poor, sad and probably censored journalist.

BILL MOYERS: Why did your parents come?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: My parents came in the 1940s. And it was because my father wanted my, to raise a family here and to have all these opportunities and to have all these possibilities. He wanted to continue his studies. Now, you mentioned at the beginning that I wrote a book that's called “I Am My Father's Daughter: Living a Life Without Secrets.” Now, he's got an interesting story.

My father had been a priest, he had been a Catholic priest. He left the priesthood and moved to the U.S., got married and moved to the U.S. But I didn't find out about this until after he passed away. And so my book is sort of like--

BILL MOYERS: He kept it a secret?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: --yes, it's an, it was an investigation into my own life and into my own background, into trying to find out why he came here. And he lived as an undocumented immigrant for a long time in the U.S. But my father was an intellectual, he had a doctorates degree in philosophy, he spoke six languages. He's not your prototype of undocumented immigrant. That's why, you know, people shouldn't rush to judge because everyone comes here with such different circumstances.

BILL MOYERS: There's a recent documentary called Harvest of Empire. It's directed by Peter Getzels and Eduardo Lopez and based on a book by a colleague of mine, Juan Gonzalez. Look at this excerpt.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Of course you really can’t tell the story of Latino’s in America without dealing with the Mexican population because Mexicans are by far the largest group of the Latino population in the United States. Most people are not aware that since 1820 when the United States first started gathering immigration statistics, there has been no nation in the world that has sent more people to the United States than Mexico. And we are talking about legal immigration. More legal Mexican immigrants have come to this country since 1820 than the Irish, than the Germans, than the French, than any other population.

The reality is that great swaths of the United States and the west were originally part of Mexico. California, Nevada, parts of Utah, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado. That was all the northern territory of Mexico.

And there were Mexican citizens living on that land before it became part of the United States. As they say in South Texas or in Northern New Mexico, Southern Colorado, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS Mexicans have a big presence here and they have had a big, big presence here. And it just goes to show you how this country is a country of immigrants. So it's very difficult when you hear people say American values and American values are being threatened by the influx of immigrants from other countries. What American values? What are, American values are values of immigrants that made this country.

JORGE RAMOS: After that it's easy to argue for the, an open border, right? Like the European Community. It is never going to happen here. I don't think so.


JORGE RAMOS: Because the economic differences are so big. When an immigrant here in the United States can make in half an hour what they make in a day in Mexico, about $5 a day. And still immigration has to do with economic forces, it's an economic problem. I don't think I'll see, I'll live to see an open border between Mexico and the United States even though internet and communications and traveling has made it possible. I don't think there's the political will to even discuss that possibility. At one point--


JORGE RAMOS: --when the Europeans were discussing that many people thought that it would be a good idea. But not anymore, I don't think it's going to happen.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I don't either. And I don't think, why it's necessary. A lot of people think that if you favor immigration reform that means that you favor open border. And I don't think anyone is actually saying, "Yes, we should have an open border and let people come in and out whenever they want." I think there needs to be order and I do believe that this country and every country has the right to control their borders, just like Mexico has the right to control its border with Guatemala.

It's the way that you treat human beings when they do cross over. And as part of a comprehensive immigrant reform you could also have legal immigrant that's more orderly. I don't think that is the issue of immigration reform. The issue of immigration reform is what do you do with people that already came here? What do you do with people that have roots in this country, that have children that were born in this country? What do you do with them and how do you treat them? You know, it's—

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, the movement of people has been a constant in our human history.


BILL MOYERS: They just, we just keep moving.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And whenever you have a country, a poor country next to a rich country you will always have people trying, anywhere in the world, trying to make a better life. Trying to come into the richer country looking for a better life.

But I think one thing needs to happen, and this is something that I would love to see in this, these countries that export immigrants, they need to be strengthened. I mean, when are we going see some of these Latin American countries strengthen their democracy? Their justice system? We can't continue to have so much crime in Mexico--

JORGE RAMOS: But what you're saying also is very interesting because we can explain violence in Mexico in part because of the United States. We have 22 million people in this country who are using drugs, 22 million people. And the last survey that I saw was reported on the people who had either used some kind of illicit drug in the last month.

Because of that drugs, because of that, the drug consumption here interest United States we have drug traffickers in Mexico making sure that they bring all the drugs from South America, crossing Central America and Mexico to come to this country. So in the last six years in Mexico 65,000 people died, were killed because of the drug war.

And the United States has to take responsibility with the fact that there are people being killed in Mexico in part because there are so many people here using drugs. And what's amazes me is that this is not an issue for Romney or for President Barack Obama even though President Barack Obama has spent, I think, $31 billion in drug programs and prevention, which is a huge amount of money. We have to take responsibility in this country for all the people being killed in Mexico and in Central America.

BILL MOYERS: So, from each of you, quickly, what are the priority issues, as you see them, in the Hispanic community for this election?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Jobs and economy is the number one issue, and Latinos, all polls show that. But immigration, like we said, is the issue that moves the Latino vote--

BILL MOYERS: What's the unemployment--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: that inspires them to vote.

BILL MOYERS: What's the unemployment rate?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: The unemployment rate among Latinos right now is, 10.2 percent.

BILL MOYERS: Higher than--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It's much higher--

BILL MOYERS: --except for blacks.

JORGE RAMOS: It's been above, 11 percent during the, Obama's presidency. But for Latinos, the symbolic issue is immigration. For us, it's personal. It's not like an abstract issue. It’s personal. Either we are immigrants, or we know someone who's an immigrant, or we work with someone who, or our neighbor is an immigrant. It's not abstract. It's very personal.

BILL MOYERS: Why do so many Anglos seem to resent Hispanic immigrants more than they do others?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I think that there's a couple of things there. I think that there's a certain feel of, because there's the growing, a community that's growing so fast, there's sort of like a threat that our way of life is going to change. And I don't think that they see immigrants as part of America.

And you know, the funny thing is the majority of Hispanic, well, all of Hispanic voters are U.S. citizens of course, and why do they care about this immigration issue so much when there's a minority really that are undocumented? It's because it affects us as a community, it affects the image of Latinos as a community. It has spilled over where you're perceived, where you can't tell the difference between who's legal and who isn't legal--

JORGE RAMOS: But it's the numbers--


JORGE RAMOS: --there’s a demographic revolution--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: There's so many, right.

JORGE RAMOS: --it's a demographic revolutions. We're, when I got here, I don't know, 25, 30 years ago there were only 15 million Latinos--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, in the early '80s there were 14 million Latinos.

JORGE RAMOS: Exactly. Right now we're talking about 50, truly I think we're talking about 60 million. And we are changing the face of America. It's not black and white anymore. We're changing the way we eat. I say this a lot, but people eat more tortillas than bagels and more salsa than ketchup. We're changing the way people dance in this country, the way people speak. Even an accept like mine now has sort of been accepted. And we're changing the way people vote. And no one can make it the White House now without the Hispanic vote, that's completely new.

BILL MOYERS: Here's what some conservatives tell me. Conservatives embrace law and order, conceptually, and they say we're talking about enforcing the law and if the law isn't enforced the society cannot hold itself cohesively together.

The second thing they say is that we can't have a cohesive, coherent country without a common language. And if you have two peoples living side by side speaking separate languages you're not going to have a country.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We heard the arguments. I know that, as far as the language is concerned, everyone knows that language is the official language in this country. Why is it necessary to make it official in, by law? I think there's more drawbacks to that.

Because for example in California when they tried to make English the official language it was virtually impossible, it didn't work. It was approved, but it didn't work. Why? Because you have so many different languages that are spoken there. Besides Spanish you have several Asian languages. So what would happen is in the schools the schools would be forced to send all materials to parents in English

When you have, you know, elderly people who do not speak the language and who would feel more comfortable it's very hard to do business. So it's not necessary to make the official language. We already know that English is the official language in this country. In fact, most immigrants and most immigrant families want their children to succeed in life, they want them to speak English so that they can be successful.

Remember that we are a very young society as far as Hispanics are concerned. We're very young. Median age is 26. Hispanic children are 25 percent of all children in the U.S. So the future of this country is in the hands of Latino children. It is to their benefit to learn the language in order to progress.

JORGE RAMOS: This is the only country in the world what I know, who people, there are people who think that it is better to speak one language instead of two. I really can't understand it.

Nothing's going to change. We're not seceding. We're not creating a nation within a nation. And what unites this country? It is not language. I think what unites this country is this wonderful idea of freedom and possibilities.

What strikes me is that even though the Declaration of Independence says that we are all equal, here we have 11 million who are not equal. Forget about being second class citizens, they're not even third class citizens—

BILL MOYERS: These are what critics would call illegal immigrants, undocumented…

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Undocumented immigrants. That's…

BILL MOYERS: There are 11 million of them, you think, roughly.


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, and they're not all from—

BILL MOYERS: And they live in the shadows.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: They're not all Mexicans and they're not all, you know, there's over, that's another thing, one of the reasons why it's so important to Latinos is that immigrants, the enforcement is usually on the southern border. And you have over a million Europeans; you have over a million Africans. You have Canadians, so you have Asians there are here illegally.

Yet it seems that as if all the undocumented immigrants were Hispanic and all of the enforcement, yeah, but all the enforcement's on the southern border. So you do not see someone say, "Let's go and round up all blue-eyed blonde Germans that are here illegally because they're a threat to our country." So only Hispanic immigrants are considered a threat to that country. So there is a very negative tone to the rhetoric concerning the immigration issue. If we remember one of the things that changed was 9/11. President Bush was very much in favor, not of amnesty, but of an immigration solution, comprehensive immigration reform.

BILL MOYERS: And he won 40 percent of the Hispanic vote.


BILL MOYERS: In 2004, the record for Republicans.

JORGE RAMOS: Actually, probably up to 44 percent, probably.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I remember interviewing President Bush exactly a week to the day, Tuesday before 9/11, about immigration. And that Thursday President Vicente Fox of Mexico spoke in Congress.

PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX: Our links are countless and ever-growing. No two nations are more important to the immediate prosperity and well-being of one another than Mexico and the United States.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And it seems that there was just an ambience where everyone, even very hardcore conservatives, seemed to favor the idea of immigration reform. Then 9/11 happened and then immigrants were a threat even though Hispanic immigrants, you know, none of the terrorists crossed the border from the south. They all flew in and they flew in legally.

BILL MOYERS: Do you think that was a natural reaction?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It was a natural reaction, but it really hurt, it really hurt.

BILL MOYERS: Reaction of fear. Did you take it personally?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I think yes because after a while it became very negative against immigrants in the southern border as if Hispanic immigrants, Mexican immigrants, Central America, South American immigrants were a threat to this, the security of the country.

JORGE RAMOS: The conversation changed.


JORGE RAMOS: The conversation changed—

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Definitely it changed.

JORGE RAMOS: Because, every Republican candidate with the exception of-- of Mitt Romney since Ronald Reagan support immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Of course for many Republicans that’s called Amnesty. Romney doesn't support that. Not yet. We'll see in all the debates, but we'll see if he changes or not his position. But the conversation changed because with George W. Bush he was for immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

And immediately after that then we got the rejection of the DREAM Act that would have given about 2 million undocumented students the possibility of staying in this country. Then we had SB 1070 in Arizona and then it was replicated in Alabama and in Georgia. So instead of discussing the possibility of what to do with 11 million undocumented immigrants, here we have this incredibly tough loss on immigrants. So the conversation and the approach towards immigration changed completely. And even nowadays we're discussing only DREAM Act probably or deferred action by President Barack Obama when the conversation should have been much, much wider.

BILL MOYERS: I remember Ronald Reagan was quite positive about immigration. He was quite pro Hispanic. He, I think he gave amnesty to three million immigrants then and—

JORGE RAMOS: Republicans were doing great. As you know Reagan used to say that Latinos are Republicans, they just don't know it. And he would—

BILL MOYERS: Well, he did say that. He did say you have common values in regard to the family, to religion--

JORGE RAMOS: Abortion.

BILL MOYERS: --abortion, issues on that.

JORGE RAMOS: Very conservative.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Gay marriage, yeah, they're very conservative in that sense. But I think the, that's basically what changed everything. I remember reading some, an article where President Bush was asked what was one of his biggest regrets and he said not passing immigration reform. Because as a Republican and having a Republican Congress he could not convince his own party to support immigration reform.

Here we are talking about immigrants and about the Latino community and we focus, you know, only on the undocumented immigrants. And I think that that's what's happened that when people perceive Latinos the first thing that pops into their mind immigrants and undocumented immigrants, or like they say illegal aliens, which is a term we don't like to use. But they don't realize that 74 percent are Americans, are citizens either by birth or naturalized. So the majority of Latinos are Americans.

And we have a buying power of over $1 trillion. If Latinos in the U.S. were a country we would be the 14th largest economy in the world. There are 2.5 million businesses that are Latino-owned or Hispanic-owned, whichever word you'd like to use. So we are a very important part of this country and we contribute very much to the economy, to, you know, culturally in so many different ways.

BILL MOYERS: But something significant happened in 2010. I understand 9/11 changing the tone and the conversation. But what happened that moved the Republicans and the conservatives further to the margins?

JORGE RAMOS: I think it was Arizona. It was Arizona. It was the realization that we were not going to get immigration reform and therefore the states thought that they needed to take action by themselves.

JAN BREWER: Senate Bill 1070 absolutely mirrors federal law, and we are being invaded by illegal immigration in the state of Arizona.

JORGE RAMOS: And then we had Joe Arpaio—

BILL MOYERS: The sheriff in Mariposa County?

JORGE RAMOS: Uh-huh, and then we have—

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And we have some--

JORGE RAMOS: --Governor Jan Brewer.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: --some very conservative-- radio talk show hosts that have so much influence that they also changed the conversation and change the tone.

JORGE RAMOS: Yes, there's a possibility for the Republican Party to reach Latinos as you mentioned because of the values. They feel very close to the Republican Party because of certain values. But somehow the Republicans had a wonderful opportunity in these years, 2012 and they blew it because they had a president who didn't keep his promise on immigration. A president who has deported more immigrants than any other president in the history of the United States, 1.5 million in the--

BILL MOYERS: Obama has deported that many?

JORGE RAMOS: Exactly. So and then Republicans instead of taking this and taking advantage of the situation and saying, "You know, we're going to be the pro-immigrant party, we're going to try to legalize 11 million or do something about it," instead of doing that they're talking about…

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Self-deportation.

JORGE RAMOS: --Arizona being the model, self-deportation, rejecting the DREAM Act and—

BILL MOYERS: What does it mean, self-deportation?

JORGE RAMOS: Make life impossible--


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It's like they're doing in Arizona. They make life so difficult for you. You can't find a job, you can't. If possible you can't get housing. Your children as they go to school will have their background checked and you will just go back because you can't live here, you can't get a job, you can't live, you feel all this pressure. I think that's what he means by self deport.

JORGE RAMOS: Arizona being the model, self-deportation, rejecting the Dream Act and now you see the latest Latino decisions poll, 73 percent support President Barack Obama and only 21 percent support Mitt Romney. And if there's a magic number it's 33 percent.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: 33-38 percent is what a Republican needs to win. So I guess basically we could say that it--

BILL MOYERS: Of the Hispanic vote?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Of the Hispanic vote. So if it's--

JORGE RAMOS: Or they lose, they lose the White House.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: So if it's true that the Latino vote will decide the election then I guess right now--

JORGE RAMOS: It's been decided

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We can say that President Obama is going to win reelection.

BILL MOYERS: Does that surprise you given the fact that he has deported over a million Hispanics, given the fact that he came late to the DREAM Act, given the fact that you pressed him journalistically very hard on breaking his promise?

JORGE RAMOS: But on other hand--


JORGE RAMOS: He has supported, he has definitely supported immigration reform. He definitely supports the Dream Act. And that's a stark difference with Mitt Romney.

BILL MOYERS: You were tough on President Obama when you asked him about why he broke his promise.

JORGE RAMOS: We had to press President Barack Obama on a promise he had made in 2008. He made a very important promise. He said that he was going to have an immigration proposal during his first year in office.

JORGE RAMOS in interview: Can you do it in a hundred days?

BARACK OBAMA in interview: I cannot guarantee that it will be in the first hundred days.

JORGE RAMOS in interview: How about in the first six months?

BARACK OBAMA in interview: What I can guarantee is that we will have, in the first year, and immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting. And that I want to move that forward as quickly as possible.

JORGE RAMOS in interview: In the first year?

BARACK OBAMA in interview: In my first year in office.

JORGE RAMOS: Obviously we're forgetting that the country was in deep recession, there was-- it was very difficult to move anything in Congress. But again if you promise something you better keep that promise or otherwise we're going to ask you about it.

JORGE RAMOS at the Univision Presidential Forum: You promised that. And a promise is a promise. And with all due respect, you didn't keep that promise.

BARACK OBAMA at the Univision Presidential Forum: I am happy to take responsibility for the fact that we didn't get it done, but I did not make a promise that I would get everything done a hundred percent when I was elected as president. What I promised was that I would work every single day as hard as I can to make sure that everybody in the country, regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they come from, that they would have a fair shot at the American dream. And I have -- that promise I kept.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think now about his response?

JORGE RAMOS: I think he was very honest with the response. But if he wants, 12 million people are going to go to the polls this November the 6th. And if they want something from us we’ve got to get something from them. And if he promised that he was going to have during his first year in office an immigration proposal he had to do that. When he had control of both chambers of Congress, when he had the supermajority he decided to go-- another way. Health care is fine, and it's a political priority, I understand that.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: We agree on most things, but we have different views on this.

BILL MOYERS: You and Jorge?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yes. This is the only issue—

BILL MOYERS: Well how do you disagree with him on this?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I know that he promised just like every other politician promises. But I don't think that there wasn't a major effort. And I do understand that for health reform you need 50 votes in the Senate and that for immigration reform you needed 60 votes in the Senate. I think maybe they could have been a little bit more forceful in the issues, but I understand.

BILL MOYERS: Do Hispanics sometimes feel pandered to? I mean, as we speak the White House has announced that President Obama is going to California to dedicate the César Chávez Memorial, a wonderful symbolic right in time for the election.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Well, I think we always have that sense because they are always--

JORGE RAMOS: I call it--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: -- they're always pandering to Latinos and it's not just now. I think it's always. You know, you have politicians go to east L.A. and on a parade wearing a sombrero or they go to Miami and have a little cafecito on Calle Ocho in Versailles. They do the things that they feel, they utter a few words here and there in Spanish and they feel, "This is what we need to do to get the Hispanic vote." And sometimes they forget that there are actual issues and their positions on the issues that is going to decide whether they're going to get the support or not.

JORGE RAMOS: I call it the Christopher Columbus syndrome. Because every four years they rediscover us, Hispanics. And then they forget about us for three years and then they rediscover us again. So—

BILL MOYERS: And yet as the news reported this week, we discussed it earlier but this is still striking, President Obama holds a 73 percent to 21 percent lead over Mitt Romney over Latino voters. That's up from the 65 to 26 advantage he held six weeks ago.

JORGE RAMOS: Latinos will decide the election in Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida.


JORGE RAMOS: Because in a very close election, Latino voters tend to decide which way to go. It happened in 2000, with President George W. Bush in Florida. And it's going to happen again this year.

BILL MOYERS: There was a report from the Pew Hispanic Center a few days ago saying that a record 24 million-- 24 million Latinos are eligible to vote but their turnout rate has consistently lagged behind whites and blacks.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, but not that much. One of the late-- you know, the Latino decision polls and media polls are usually very accurate because they're polling specifically Latino voters, registered voters. And the enthusiasm level was very low. In the last poll it had increased to 83 percent which is--

JORGE RAMOS: But it's understandable--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: --because we're getting--


MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: No, we're getting a little bit closer to the election, people are paying more attention. They realize that there is more at stake. But when you see these polls and to try to understand why the numbers are so different between Romney and Obama, you have to understand that the parties also and the great majority feel that Democrats represent their interests and care about their issues more than Republicans.

And what has hurt Republicans is that very negative rhetoric on the immigration issue. That has hurt Republicans tremendously. And the fact that now they have a candidate for the first time like Jorge said, even in the last election, McCain, all of the candidates have always embraced immigration reform. This is the first time we have a candidate that says, "I want immigration reform for legal immigration, legal immigration."

He keeps emphasizing legal immigration thinking that Latinos are so ignorant that they're going to buy it when he's talking about legal immigration and not finding a solution. I even asked Romney during the forum, "You know, with all due respect the fact that you are not answering this question makes people feel like you're evading the answer.”

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS at the Univision Presidential Forum: If you become president are you going to deport them or not?

MITT ROMNEY at the Univision Presidential Forum: Well, we're not –

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS at the Univision Presidential Forum: Yes or no?

MITT ROMNEY at the Univision Presidential Forum: We're not going to we're not going to round up people around the country and deport them. [..] This is something that's going to have to be worked out by Republicans and Democrats together. I will lead a program that gets us to a permanent solution as opposed to what was done by the president which, with a few months before the election he puts in place something which is temporary which does not solve this issue. I will solve it on a permanent basis consistent with those principles.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS And we still don't get an answer from him. And that is one of the things that is hurting Republicans.

BILL MOYERS: How did you come up with the question asking Romney if he felt like he was an immigrant?

JORGE RAMOS at the Univision Presidential Forum: Are you sure you're not a Hispanic?

MITT ROMNEY at the Univision Presidential Forum: I think for political purposes that might have helped me here at the University of Miami today. But truth is, as you know, my dad was born of American parents living in Mexico. But he came back to this country at age 5 or 6 and was helped to get on his feet and recognized this was the land of opportunity and he's been the role model and inspiration throughout my life.

JORGE RAMOS: It is unthinkable for any Latino to have a dad who was born in Mexico and not to call himself a Latino. And obviously it's a much more complicated story. It's they decided to because of religious--

BILL MOYERS: Mormon-- his grandfather went down there because he was a polygamist; he wanted more than one wife.


BILL MOYERS: Yeah, I watched it. I thought he was honest when he said--

JORGE RAMOS: He was honest.

BILL MOYERS: --at the end of that exchange he —

JORGE RAMOS: Nobody would buy it.

BILL MOYERS: I could tell you that I'm an immigrant but that would be disingenuous--

JORGE RAMOS: And nobody would buy it. And I think he's right on that--

BILL MOYERS: I think he was right about that.

JORGE RAMOS: I think he's about-- if he would call himself a Latino that 21 percent would go to 15 percent. It doesn't work that way. We have to find out who is the real Mitt Romney? The one who talked about that he didn't care about the he didn't have to worry about the 47 percent of the people? Or the one who told us in the meeting that he wants to be the president for 100 percent of Americans? That's the challenge for him.

BILL MOYERS: Have you seen the ad done, the one of his sons, to reach the Hispanic--


BILL MOYERS: Have you seen that ad?

JORGE RAMOS: Yes, yes.

CRAIG ROMNEY speaking in Spanish: “I’m Craig Romney. I would like to tell you how my father, Mitt Romney, thinks. He values very much that we are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather George was born in Mexico. For our family the greatness of the United States is how we respect and help each other, regardless of where we come from. As President, my father will work on a permanent solution to the immigration system, working with leaders of both parties.”

CRAIG ROMNEY speaking in Spanish: “I invite you to listen to him.”

MITT ROMNEY speaking in Spanish: “I am Mitt Romney and I approve this message.”

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It's very good, it's very, very good. Now, if all Latino voters were to base their decision solely on this one ad, I think Romney's numbers would be much higher. Because he touched upon the fact that his father was born in Mexico, he touched upon the fact that his father wants a permanent solution to the immigration issue. But once they see interviews like ours, once somebody asks to be more specific about Latino issues, that's where he doesn't come through.

JORGE RAMOS: At the end we are getting smarter. The Hispanic community is getting smarter, and more powerful. And stronger. Because just a few years ago, a few elections ago, we would've bought anything. And by that I mean--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: A few words in Spanish here and there.

JORGE RAMOS: --few words in Spanish. We just wanted it to say, "Hola, buenos noches," just to hear something in Spanish.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Wow, he spoke to us in Spanish--

JORGE RAMOS: George W. Bush, he was incredibly effective. But I used to say, that he was the first U.S. President who thought that he spoke Spanish. But he made so many mistakes in Spanish. But he really didn't care, because he made true, honest effort to communicate in Spanish, and it worked for him. Not only that, he had the right idea on immigration.


JORGE RAMOS: But now we appreciate ads in Spanish, but it's not enough. You have to give us much more than that true idea, a promise, a plan, a program.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: It's a much more sophisticated electorate than you had seen before.

BILL MOYERS: When you press these candidates journalistically do you do so knowing that you're constantly referred to as the voice of Hispanic America which you have been referred to? Do you frame your questions that way? And you I mean, “Washington Monthly,” very respected influential magazine in Washington this summer, the headline, "Forget Rachel Maddow, Bill O'Reilly, Anderson Cooper, Sean Hannity. The broadcaster who will most determine the 2012 elections is Jorge Ramos."

JORGE RAMOS: It's a stretch. No, but you know, I still remember--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Well, you know--

JORGE RAMOS: You know, did you get to know Oriana Fallaci, the Italian journalist--

BILL MOYERS: I did, enviously because she could ask questions in a ferocious way.

JORGE RAMOS: And I think I learn from her a lot. I once saw her at the Iraq war and I just didn't have the courage to say-- to tell her that because of her I became a journalist. But if you remember Oriana Fallaci and her wonderful Interview with History. She used to say that the interview should be like an arm, like a weapon and that in an interview an interview is a war between the interviewee and the interviewer.

Obviously some interviews are just for information. But sometimes when you're confronting the powerful you really have to do that. And I'm completely convinced that the most important social role of us journalists is to confront those who are in power. And the place for us to be is as far as possible from power and you know that, no? I mean, you were in power--

BILL MOYERS: Oh, I discovered after I came into journalism after the White House that the closer you are to the truth is more important than the closer you are to power. So let me declare war on you for just a moment.

JORGE RAMOS: Sure, okay, let's do it.

BILL MOYERS: Declare on you, Univision is constantly referred to by the Republicans as a Democratic leaning if not pro left news organization.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: But we're accused by Democrats as being for being Republican.

BILL MOYERS: The chairman of the American Conservative Union, Al Cardenas, says quote, "Univision is headed and owned by some sophisticated equity fund guys and they have turned it into a corporate institution of great power with a left-leaning message." Do you see yourself as the MSNBC?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Let me tell you something, I have been working for Univision for 31 years and I have gone through five different owners. He's talking about the owners in the last three years. So I don't think that the owners in the last three or four years, besides when you look at our management they are so varied and they never get involved in our coverage. Not once has someone come and told us, "This is what you have to say. This is what you have to do. This is what our editorial position in." No, we're--

BILL MOYERS: I believe you.

JORGE RAMOS: I never received--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: --and I'll tell you, you know who our bosses--

JORGE RAMOS: --a phone call from--


JORGE RAMOS: --anyone, from a CEO telling me what to say or what not to do. And I can under-- you know, what I really love is that we're being criticized from both sides. Republicans might not like us because of what we are saying about their immigration position or because of some of the coverage that we have. And on the other hand just ask the White House if they're happy with our interview with President Barack Obama, they're not.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: And-- we're going to get answers, you know. Yeah, I'm there to ask questions, but I'm there to get answers. And if I don't a typical politician usually doesn't answer questions, and if you don't get the answer the first time then you happen have to ask it again and again and again in as many different ways as you can--

JORGE RAMOS: But you--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: --in order to get the answer that you want to serve your community. And that's what our role is really.

BILL MOYERS: Had you two been selected to moderate one of these presidential debates, couple of questions. What would you ask him?

JORGE RAMOS: Obviously we would stress at some point immigration, what would they do with 11 million immigrants. But I want to know what his red line on Iran, I want to find out about how are you going to create 23 million new jobs in this country. I want them to tell me about his relationship with Mexico, how many more people are being killed in Mexico and if we're going to change our programs here in the United States--

BILL MOYERS: Drug war?

JORGE RAMOS: the programs, the drug war? What's the relationship with Hugo Chávez? Is he a threat to national security? If we have--

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: Yeah, those are the questions that we asked them in the debate and--

JORGE RAMOS: --and China and Cuba, I mean, if we have this very special trade relationship with China, why don't we have the same with Cuba? I mean, there's so many different questions. And obviously you're more a person on taxes and promises.

BILL MOYERS: You have been a team now for 25 years. The most successful team, I would say, since Huntley-Brinkley, whom you don't remember. But I do, a long-running team, and very successful. What's next for you as journalists?

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: I think that making that transition into English language, and being able to reach all audiences. And what I mean is, not only Hispanics that speak English but all audiences. To understand who we are, I think, to elevate the position of Latinos in this country, and the role of Latinos in this society is something that we sort of take on as a mission.

JORGE RAMOS: It’s to stay relevant, you know, it's very challenging right now to stay relevant when you have the internet, when you have social media. And it's very difficult that your voice stays relevant and doesn't get lost among the noise. I think that's one of the most important things. And finally, it has to do with trust. After 25 or 30 years, if we say something and people trust what we say, that's the best award.

BILL MOYERS: María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos, this has been a pleasure.

JORGE RAMOS: Thank you, Bill.

MARÍA ELENA SALINAS: My pleasure, too.

BILL MOYERS: Matt Sitton knew the war in Afghanistan was going badly. He knew because he was fighting it. 26 years old, with a wife and child back home, Staff Sergeant Sitton was on his third combat tour there. His third.

Time and again, he and his men were sent through what he called “A minefield on a daily basis.” His comrades were being blown apart. At least one amputee a day, he said, “Because we are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives.”

Morale was low. The men struggled to remain alert. Sitton said he asked his officers to give them a break but was told to stop complaining. “I am all for getting on the ground and fighting for my country when there is a desired end state and we have clear guidance of what needs to be done,” he wrote. “but when we are told basically to just walk around for a certain amount of time…not sitting well with me.”

At home in Florida, Matt Sitton had attended a Christian school run by the Baptist church attended by Congressman Bill Young. He wrote Congressman Young and told him what was happening. “I’m concerned about the well-being of my soldiers,” he said. “… I just want to return my guys home to their families healthy.” He ended, “If anything, please pray for us over here. God bless.”

On the 2nd of August, while on patrol, Matt Sitton and a buddy were killed. Blown apart by an IED--a hidden bomb. They flew his body home and held his funeral at that same Baptist church. For a long time before Matt Sitton died, Congressman Young called for sticking it out in Afghanistan. The powerful chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, a Republican, helped continue the war by voting against a House amendment requiring the President to set a timetable for withdrawal.

He’s changed his mind. Touched by what Matt Sitton wrote him, he asked that the letter be read into the Congressional Record, and has been talking to other veterans, hearing from them what “A real mess” the war is. Now he tells "The Tampa Bay Times," "I think we should remove ourselves from Afghanistan as quickly as we can. I just think we’re killing kids that don’t need to die.”

Killing the kids that don’t need to die. Let those words sink in. And this, too: Congressman Young says many of his colleagues in Congress feel the same way he does, but “They tend not to want to go public.” There are two more presidential debates. They will be yet another hoax unless someone puts the question to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, “Why are we killing kids that don’t need to die?” And then ask it over and again until they have no choice but to go public.

That’s it for this week. On our next edition of Moyers & Company, meet the adventurer who’s gone to the top of the world to take the Earth’s temperature – and some beautiful but devastating photographs and video. From the vanishing glaciers of the north, James Balog sounds the alarm on global warming.

JAMES BALOG: This is the memory of the landscape. That landscape is gone. It may never be seen again in the history of civilization and it’s stored right here. […] Climate changes are not imaginary, not theoretical, not based on computer models, it’s right there in front of you.

BILL MOYERS: There’s more at I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.

Watch By Segment

Hispanic America’s Turn

October 5, 2012

According to the 2010 census, the number of American Hispanics grew 43% in the last decade to over 50 million. By 2050, Hispanics are projected to number 132 million and represent 30% of the population. As that population evolves, so does their political power. A new report by the Pew Hispanic Center shows that America’s Hispanic voting population has grown 22% since 2008. But what are the cultural and political implications of these now well-understood statistics?

Bill goes beyond the numbers with two of our nation’s most popular and influential journalists: Univision’s Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas. A Spanish-language U.S. television network, Univision has the largest audience of Spanish-language television viewers, according to Nielsen ratings.

Ramos, says The Washington Monthly, is “the broadcaster who will most determine the 2012 elections,” while The New York Times calls Salinas “the voice of Hispanic America.” In a candid and comprehensive discussion, Ramos and Salinas discuss their responsibilities both as reporters and representatives of their culture, their aggressive journalistic approaches to both President Obama and Governor Romney, and how immigration reform will influence this potentially-decisive voting bloc in November.

Also on the show, Bill shares the story of a young U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan and the Republican congressman he inspired to ask, “Why are we killing kids that don’t need to die?”

Explore More:

Public Agenda: A Citizens’ Solution Guide: Immigration
“Public Agenda’s Citizens’ Solutions Guides are nonpartisan, unbiased resources to help you think through a difficult issue in alternative ways, weighing and evaluating values, priorities, pros, cons and tradeoffs.”

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  • Anonymous

    Bill, disappointed in your very soft ball handling of your guests who want open borders. Ask them to document illegal Germans! What a joke. We are “hard” on Mexicans because 12 million sneaked into our country.

    Bill, if you want respect, stop this softball.

  • Tired of hypocresy

    Do you know how many Canadians invade our state every winter and use our senior center and health care services? If you did you would not comment on the 12 million “Mexicans.” Some Canadians bring their family members who work with impunity because they have blond hair and blue eyes and no one asks their citizenship. But don’t dare be brown-skinned because even if you are a 4th or 5th generation American you may be asked.

  • Joseph Elliott

    Bill, thanks for having Jorge Ramos and Maria Salinas on your show. I appreciate the efforts of you and them in trying to help society. I wish that more Americans would have that desire to help all people. Our President, sadly, claims he represents all Americans. He could have pushed hard to pass the Dream Act, but placed his efforts on the repeal of Don’t ask, don’t tell against the advice of his field Genarals. He pushed hard for Obama Care which will force us to pay for birth control which is against the beliefs of many people. Natural birth control is healthy, free and free of guilt. Obama has endorsed Senator Feinsteins bill to legalize same sex marriage which is against nature and religion. It is sad that the Latinos will vote for Obama not knowing that Romney has a better chance of helping them. We know that Obama cannot work with Republicans.

  • jon

    Hey bill bring up fertility rates and the limited size of the planet, language is not the issue, carbon foot print and limited resources are.

  • jon

    and resource and fertility education…

  • Coming Apart

    Taking responsibility; are “We the People” responsible for the 11mil “illegal immigrants?”

  • Coming Apart

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…..
    President Obama: Emancipation 2013?

  • dscape

    Seriously? Which Canadians “invade our state every winter” and “use our senior center and health care services”? Well the answer is obviously the ones who can afford to do so without a health insurance policy that covers them in the USA. Canadians, unlike Mexicans, aren’t fleeing from drug cartels and ultimately for their lives.

    Yes, we get it; the 1% all over the world can afford to do whatever they want in whatever way they please. But the “middle class” or anyone living in poverty can’t AFFORD to “invade our state” to “use our senior center and health care services”.

    As always, your logic is utterly illogical. And unless you have ever been to the border of Canada, or to Canada itself, please keep your “logic” to yourself. I get the strong feeling that you’ve never left the state of Texas in your entire life.

  • James561

    Tell Maria Elena that although only 25% of the latinos are illegal, that they are not considered “contributing’ members of our society because “THEY Are illegal!!!”
    Send them home. As for the 75% THAT are LEGAL… God bless them. Send the freaking illegals BACK to Mexico!!! To hell with Amnesty! They are ILLEGAL!!

  • dave

    I just watched the episode on Hispanic Americans. I didn’t intend to watch the whole thing but once I started watching I couldn’t stop. It was nice to see the topic from a different perspective. This whole country is made up of immigrants. I am grateful that I live in a country with such cultural diversity. I believe that the only way to completely solve the problem with the Southern Border is to find some way to help Mexico prosper. Mexicans have hopes for better future = less illegal immigration.
    Lastly, I am as patriotic as the next guy, but first and foremost, we are ALL human beings inhabiting this one earth. Anyone who has worked here and raised a family here should be allowed to stay here, illegal or not.

  • kvpackard

    Did they sneak into our country or did our country sneak into their country. You need to do some serious study of the history of the borders of the USA and not just the southern borders. What about all the border pushbacks on Native American Indians?

  • kvpackard

    Excuse me, but how would Romney help Latinos? By destroying public education with vouchers? By repealing Obamacare and putting the donut hole back into Medicare which does serve many Latinos? By taking away the help Senior Latinos get with prescription drugs? Oh, perhaps he plans to move all Latinos who are in the 47% to the top 1% or at least the top 10%.

  • CAG reader

    Mr. Moyers, Great show and so relevent. I used to serve spanish speaking familes as a health worker and now work serving veterans. They actually have a lot in common, both are coming to a place where people don’t understand them and what they have gone through. Our whole famliy are fans. Thanks !

  • Joseph Elliott

    Romneys state is number one in the nation in education and he acomplished this working with a majority of democrats. Obama has not been able to work with republicans. Romneys family lived in Mexico and Romney is very Religious which gives him two strong ties to the Latinos. Also Romney believes that we should have more business ties with Mexico. Obama represents the bottom 10% of Americans who are not Religious and a some what larger percentage who are not practicing thier Religion or they are not paying attention to what Obama stands for

  • Anonymous


    I just had to respond to you that I “get serious” on studying Mexico and our borders.
    Getting my Master’s Degree from Georgetown University in Latin American Studies I learned a great deal about Mexico, its history and all of Latin America.
    I have spent years in Mexico and speak Spanish and have visited every major city on the west coast of Mexico and most on the east. plus many interior towns, cities and pueblos. I attended the University of Mexico campus in the capital. I am very fond of the Mexican people and have a pretty good grasp of their culture, I think. Due to their unique history, they favor family and loyalty over merit in every enterprise. This is one major reason the country has not advanced any more than it has over the centuries. This tendency arises from their long history since the Spanish invasion over five hundred years ago.
    My impression of Mr. Moyers was he did not ask the obvious question – did his guests want open borders whereby all Mexicans, if they wished, could walk into the US? Did his guests recognize we have laws of our own in the United States that should be respected, just as Mexico expects us to respect their laws.
    Striking back in a negative way at viewers like me who support the program and have some understanding about the problem does not make Mr. Moyers show a better one.
    I’d appreciate your passing my message directly to Mr. Moyers for his reaction.
    Thank you for your response.

    William P. Gloege
    Santa Maria, CA

  • Private Private

    I am so conflicted on this issue. I believe in equality. I agree with progress in sufferage issues in American history. However my experience has caused me doubt.
    Honesty helps to solve problems. So allow me to be honest with my fears.

    As a white “dude” I am all for equality but I fear that more power to groups of Americas and especially non-americans that are in america will lead to revenge and lashing out.

    My father married a Puerto Rican and my sister was president of a latino sorority at a major university her in texas. So please do not begin distracting by labeling me.

    I am concerned that hispanics who feel wronged by Americans for variopus reasons might use that power to seek revenge. I look at teh culture in most latin countries and it is a world apart from the normal way of things here in America. Citizens of these latin countries tend to see violence and accept violence in different ways. Please do not allow that to be a complete generalization, there are always exceptions, but there is such a thing as cultural norms.

    Revenge and violence in latin countries is more common in those countries. Why? Could there be more tolerance to those type of activities. Try these activities do occure in America, but what communities are they more prevailent in? Here in Texas we have hispanic immigrant groups with a high violence rate. From spousal abuse to gang murders.

    Another experience I have is I talk to lots of hispanics, most from mexico and I ask very specific questions. They are framed this way, “If america and mexico went to war which country would you fight for?” I have NEVER gotten anyone, even those that wnat to gain citizenship, and some who are already US CITIZENS, who will say the US. All say Mexico. I ask which
    country are you olost loyal to? Mexico is the answer 100% of the time. So this confuses me. What are we saying. We should give domestic political power to a group of people that are not fully loyal to America? I am trying hard to not be biased and find a reason to support the sufferage movement. But when we talk about immigration and immigrants are not loyal to america but want to be a force in our political system I worry.

    In these sometimes hot, but always respected, conversations I have with immigrants and hispanics, I am able to break through the “public image” barrier and many immigrants begin to be fully honest. Some have said that Mexican immigrants see how many in America are sympathetic and they only seek to exploit that sympathy. Some feel it is perfectly ok to not be loyal to a country and expect to be allowed to be a citizens none the less and have full benefits in America and their country of origin.

    Some people do come here to find a better life. That to me is not the real question though is it? The real question is, what is the goal of political power in America? To gain favor and citizenship without being willing to give loyalty. An yes many Hispanics will tell everyone they are loyal to America. You ahve to be able to get one on one in a format that does not fell formal and SOOO many, when honest, are not loyal to the US. Like the man in this video said, they do not want to be called Americans. So hence I am conflicted.

    I want all people to enjoy freedom and liberty. But I will not put my own liberty at risk to those who are not loyal to America and its values. For those will to actually adopt America as its new home and not just a guess house to be exploited for financial and social gain, I think the red carpet should be rolled out. But for those who only seek to exploit the kindness and sympathy i think many Americans share with immigrants, the carpet should be rolled up. The problems is distinguishing whos who, but there are plenty in both camps to be sure.

    I am sorry if this does not come off as constructive. This is only my experince and it is very late/early where I am at. Please excuse any pretense that might seep through.

  • Joseph Elliott

    I also speak Spanish and have lived in Mexico and I am married to the love of my life who was born in Mexico. Most Mexicans who are here illegally are here to work and to provide for thier families which they left in Mexico. Many of them mistakenly believe that they will make enough money so that they can return to Mexico and start a small business or a be a rancher. Most of these people get economically trapped here realizing that they can not go back home and stiil take care of thier family and some are embarrassed to return home as a failure or looked upon as foolish for going to the USA in the first place. A very large Majority of Latinos where born here and have no desire to fight for any other country. I served in the military with some latinos who were only legal residents and they were very loyal to the USA. We can solve some of the economical problems of Mexico and the USA if we trade more with Mexico and less with China. I believe this is one of Romneys plans

  • mextex

    excellent interview. Thank you!

  • msann40711

    I was so inspired by Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas
    conversation and happy to hear that they will be working with ABC so more
    Americans can be more informed on Hispanic issues.

  • SFRaw

    this was great I would I like to watch these two people every day I truly found them outstanding.

  • Chaille

    I really enjoyed your show today. I feel sympathetic with their views and suggest Mr. Romney seek contact with Maria and Jorge. We need the Hispanic audience to feel assurance that Mr. Romney does care about all Americans.

  • marilyn martinetto

    I strongly disagree with your most recent guests about
    illegal immigration. The issue is simply whether we do in fact apply our laws equally without special favor, and whether our laws are respected and obeyed by all.
    Our nation was created and was alone in drafting its constitution to place law above rule by kings, by
    noble birth or upon nepotism. It is rule of law, written with representative
    debate, that makes possible “freedom.” It is power and wealth of a
    few that prevent it…as we are learning the hard way now.
    There is no “freedom” among humans without protection of law and adherence to law.

    So, to knowingly choose to enter illegally, breaking federal law to do so, is to profoundly and directly show total lack of respect for law that protects us all from brutal power. It shows instead that protection of our laws is demanded when convenient, but not obeyed when it does not suit ones wants.
    And it is worse to choose to enter illegally, knowingly taking great risk to avoid discovery, to bring
    ones children. That decision, is the decision of the adult parents who know what they are doing, and expect Americans to suddenly ignore our laws to welcome illegal entrants. It shows again, a total lack of understanding of what it means to be governed by law rather than bribery, family connections, or special treatment.
    Further, to DEMAND rights created by citizens and intended for fellow citizens, is unethical amd selfish.
    We are not Mexico, our entire governing system is based upon Age of Enlightenment concept of the
    ruled choosing their leaders and in having a voice in drafting laws, and in bearing responsibility to respect those laws.
    It is a corrupt view of law,
    to assume that once here illegally, that enough begging and threats of withholding votes will trump
    our laws. That can only work when our system of law is politically corrupted enough that politicians will enforce laws according to whether doing so benefits them, rather than the citizens of their nation, who they are elected to represent.
    Do you want the U.S. to cease enforcing laws? Are
    not all the problems we face due to lack of enforcement of laws equally upon all
    citizens? Was not the actual Civil Rights movement based on the demand that existing citizens be treated equally under our laws?

    Would you have the nerve to sneak into another’s nation and
    then demand to be handed the rights provided by and for its citizens?
    As it is, Mexico
    and Central America have constituted the #1
    and #2 largest numbers of LEGAL immigrants.
    Taking what one wants rather than “waiting in line” epitomizes behavior of the lazy criminal who just takes what he wants, law be
    damned, because he wants it NOW.

  • PRdream

    Go see “Harvest and Empire” to be able to contextualize what you are saying. Identifying yourself by your ethnicity does not mean being disloyal to the U.S. Latinos have fought in all major wars and have been highly decorated. They’ve also fought alongside African American and Asian Americans to defend the U.S. Constitution and pursue the justice for all.

  • PRdream

    Mr. Romney cares about being elected. I’m anticipating a new performance in the next debate. Too bad Warhol’s gone, I’d like to see a series of Romney portraits called “10 Mitts”.

  • PRdream

    Go see “Harvest of Empire” and learn a little history. You want to talk about invasion and taxing the resources of country?

  • PRdream

    Which of the 10 Mitts are you presenting here? Latinos know that their interests are served better under Obama than Romney who declared himself a supporter of SELF-DEPORTATION, making things so bad for an undocumented immigrant that he is forced to leave. Also, rescinding the Healthcare Bill will make Latinos suffer a loss in healthcare. Get real.

  • PRdream

    An open border with Puerto Rico has existed for nearly a century. This is not solely a Mexican-U.S. issue. Go see “Harvest of Empire” to get a better grasp of the history of the Americas. A great deal of what you state as fact is uninformed, shallow, and biased opinion.

  • Anonymous

    Absurd remark! Puerto Rico is a possession of the US, so US government can have some control over their labor laws, education levels, etc. Puerto Ricans have been asked in the past if they want to remain a possession or get independence, & they’ve rejected independence. If Mexico & other countries agree to give up their sovreignity & become part of the US, agree to live under US laws, then yes, they should the same immgration privileges as PRs. But until & unless they do, they have no right to the same privlileges as US citizens & territorial possessions.

  • Anonymous

    The guests on the one hand say that they aren’t advocating open borders, but then suggest most illegals should be granted a path to citizenship. But if you grant a path to citizenship to current unauthorized it will just encourage more illlegal immigration. This is exactly what happened with the 1986 Immigration Act. Legalizing c. 3 million, & not punisheing employers who hire future unauthorized, encouraged even more to come illegally in the hope that they too will eventually be legalized. If you just legalize any one who comes illegally (except presumably the small number of felons) you do in effect have open borders, i.e. no practical limits on immigration. And no matter how much Moyers & other so called “liberals” may wish otherwise, you cannot eliminate the laws of supply and demand through wishful thinking. Increasing the labor supply through lax immigrationshes wages and conditions for laborers in the lower half of the income ladder DOWN and it pushes the prices of rental housing UP. (Don’t understand why? Try looking up “marginal product of labor” “diminishing returns” or “prices: supply & demand” ). But lax immigration is good for landowners & capital owners because they can pay less in wages & charge more for rents. I can’t tell you how many programs I’ve seen Moyers bemoaning with other guests that the US middle class is shrinking & real wages have been stagnant or falling for the lower half since the 1970s. But then he acts outraged that so manyAmericans actually want to see current legal immigration limits enforced? The only time the working class became middle class in this country is when immigration was at its lowest levels: 1945-1975. That’s when working Americans had some clout in this country & understood that unlimited immigration would undermine their real wages.
    Also, Ramos suggests that all 11 undocumented should be treated “equal” to citizens? Our country has always granted a different set of rights to citizens & non-citizens. There is no obligation under US Constitution to grant all the rights citizens have to unauthorized immigrants,including the right to a work permit.

  • WandaB

    A new low in journalism.

    The presumption of these people is that mass invasion from a failed state ( and the subsequent high birth rate) entitles the invaders to demand social respect and political power.

    Spectacularly galling was blaming the U.S. for the drug violence in Mexico. Applying the logic of Maria Salinas, tobacco companies were the victim of all the smokers who made them manufacture their deadly product. Drugs are addictive and Mexican cartels profit on this ugly fact.

    After this show I have lost all respect for Moyers.

  • Henry Lowendorf

    Why wasn’t the question asked: What forces and motivations caused the Republicans to attack rather than embrace immigrants and the Obama administration to deport so many?

  • marilyn martinetto

    Excellent summary of the effect of massive in-migration of people willing to take lowest pay.
    Further, without access to unskilled and low skilled jobs, working class people have no step ladder up to middle class jobs as they finance training and college to get there.
    The issue has always been law and economics. It is not racial as illegal immigration advocates try to paint it. It’s jobs…
    Excepting truck farm work that needs a regulated work visa program that ensures workers are treated as promised, and then return home…particularly since the cry is “we just want to work.”

  • Anonymous

    Immigrants who come here illegally don’t do so because they are lazy criminals but because they are desperate. Maybe if our leaders hadn’t shoved NAFTA down the Mexican people’s throats, they wouldn’t have been so impoverished as to attempt the dangerous journey and take on the difficult lifestyle of an illegal immigrant. View the documentary movie “Wetback” and then see if you feel the same way.

  • Anonymous

    Ask yourself, Wanda, why Mexico is a failed state. The U.S. and the global elite have played a big part in hampering its development, crippling it with the disastrous NAFTA pact, and devastating it with a forced, so-called “war on drugs.” Moreover, our idiotic gun laws are flooding Mexico with massive firepower.

    Drug profits, of course, aren’t just accruing to Mexican cartels but those who participate in the trade on both sides of the border. Our intelligence agencies, for example, have been known to participate and profit from the illegal drug trade. For another, the big U.S. banks are making an obscene fortune laundering drug money.

  • Anonymous

    Judging from many of the comments, many Americans, even viewers of Moyers & Company, are still grossly ignorant of the true dynamics of illegal immigration and the drug trade.

    People don’t choose the life of an illegal immigrant because they are lazy scofflaws, but because they are desperate. The Mexican people didn’t ask for the snake oil NAFTA pact that impoverished so many of them. Most of them don’t care for and don’t profit from the illegal drug trade, either. And it’s certainly not just Mexican drug cartels that profit from the drug trade, but many Americans, including the law enforcement empire built around treating drugs as a crime and not a social ill, some of our intelligence agencies, and Wall Street banks, who launder the loot.

    Ask yourselves, people, what you would do if your family was starving. Would you take a risk and break a law in order to feed them? I bet you would.

  • marilyn martinetto

    Why is Justice blindfolded? It is because justice means weighing the actions of the person with blindness to race, ethnicity, family, wealth, power and connections. When laws are enforced without special treatment, blind to all but the actions of the person, then we are all treated equally under the law.
    To ask that laws be ignored to enable giving special treatment, that does damage to public trust that law will be applied to themselves equally.
    Whatever the reason someone has for entering, the choice to do so illegally is the issue. And the choice to act illegally, and in obvious disregard to the laws of the nation into which one is sneaking, is the action I refer to as being like the action of a criminal who decides that waiting to get something he/ she wants is too much, and therefore it is okay to take what is wanted.
    We continue to admit millions of LEGAL migrants, refugees and asylum seekers annually, far more than any other nation. And if you note the nations that draw the most legal and illegal immigrants you’ll see they are nations with constitutions and legal systems like our United States: Canada, UK, Australia, Scandinavian nations. It is the safety and freedom in nations governed by law that migrants seek. To begin by breaking those laws and to demand “rights” of the nation broken into, is to attack those laws and that nation’s citizens.
    Yet, by entering illegally, they show total ignorance of what it took to create such nations. And that the corruption and nepotism that caused their desire to leave home. Law, freedom, and justice are only as strong as citizens’ understanding that each person must defend the rule of law and participate in making that law just.

  • marilyn martinetto

    Mexico was a failed state well before 1900. It is its system of government modeled after that of Spain’s in which family connections not law was important. And Mexico was modeled after Spain’s agrarian system. Agrarian economies consist of a few landowners with a large number of laborers and a few tradesmen. And, yes, much much later, NAFTA did damage to the few tradesmen…as it did to the American working and lower middle class. “Free trade” is not.

  • Anonymous

    “BILL MOYERS: Why do so many Anglos seem to resent Hispanic immigrants more than they do others?

    Because it’s a massive demographic whose growth has been largely a function of illegal immigration, with a huge portion of that population having their presence in this country connected to an illegal activity that was opposed by most people in the country. The citizens of this have every reason to feel resentment, more so towards a government hasn’t represented them on this issue. They have even more reason to much more feel resentment, or worse, towards elites, like you Bill Moyers, who couldn’t care less about about what the people of the country wanted.

    Having this demographic change the political direction of the country through Latino ethnic identity politics amounts essentially a takeover whose foundation is based on illegality, pushed by people like Moyers, his guests on this program and the overwhelming majority of the news media elites. The native citizens who would choose another direction are having their country taken from them because of bad people, like these three.

  • jami

    To be fair, Bill doesn’t have to live in apartments that are being taken over by illegals: doesn’t have to send his children to school with the children of his illegal neighbors: doesn’t need any courses from his local adult school whose primary focus is on the illegals rather than current citizens, etc.

    For those of us who do… it’s a different story entirely.

  • jami

    Very soft ball.

  • jami

    Try living in Los Angeles County.

  • jami

    “The guests on the one hand say that they aren’t advocating open borders,
    but then suggest most illegals should be granted a path to citizenship…”

    The only reason that I understood was that they essentially wanted open borders because the idea of an illegal was disparaging to all “Latinos”.

  • jami

    “When laws are enforced without special treatment, blind to all but the
    actions of the person, then we are all treated equally under the law.”

    In Los Angeles County, our officials prefer the two-tiered system based on status as either 1. illegal or 2. A Findable & Billable Citizen.

  • jami

    and the same goes for our County medical care as well…

  • jami

    “The citizens of this have every reason to feel resentment, more so towards a government hasn’t represented them on this issue.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • jami

    “We are not Mexico…”

    No but the Mexico Model is our model: a few rich and many, many poor. The rich shall live behind walls and have the best security. The more desperate the poor, the better for the rich!

  • jami

    I think many do empathize with the plight of the immigrant but the solution cannot continue to be illegal immigration supported by forced public subsidies. We can’t afford to support this group of workers that benefits only a few, leaving the rest of us to make sure they are fed, clothed, housed, educated, and attended to medically. We’re done.

  • jami

    I always lose a bit of respect for people who Demand Respect.

  • jami

    If only citizens had advocates…

  • jami

    “Obama has not been able to work with republicans.”

    Just the unreasonable ones…

  • jami

    We didn’t ask for NAFTA either.

  • Anonymous

    It’s worth noting, that not unlike this show and most you will ever see the mainstream media, the “Public Agenda: A Citizens’ Solution Guide: Immigration” that this page links to has the focus group-tested amnesty description in what is supposedly the enforcement option, as compared to the others. It says:

    “Requiring that unauthorized immigrants already here pay stiff fines, learn English and apply for citizenship.”

    It’s simply outrageous that the media elites deny the citizens of this country the opportunity to hear an honest and open debate on illegal immigration. That fundamental premise of a democratic, representative government is being taken away by Moyers and his ilk.

  • Anonymous

    Mexico didn’t have near the problems before NAFTA as it did afterward. It had its problems but it didn’t meet the definition of a “failed state.” Neither does Spain, for that matter.

    Agrarian economies don’t have to be dominated by a few landowners. In fact, Mexico had broad-based farming prior to NAFTA, and the dynamics set in motion by that pact caused millions of farmers to lose their livelihoods. U.S. food conglomerates recognized that this was happening and heavily recruited in agrarian regions and actually bused “illegals” into this country to work in meatpacking plants.

  • Anonymous

    “by entering illegally, they show total ignorance of what it took to create such nations.”

    Utter nonsense. The vast majority of these migrants are desperate. They don’t have the luxury of considering legal niceties. Get off your high horse and put yourself in their shoes. Moreover, many “illegals” were born here through no fault of their own.

    The law isn’t an end in itself. What counts are people.

    Our problems in this country are caused by greedy elites, not desperate immigrants, who work for almost nothing in horrible conditions and pay almost every tax citizens pay, including social security which they will never collect.

    It’s a shame how easy it is to divide people and get them to attack the less fortunate rather than the elites who’ve rigged the system in their own favor.

  • Anonymous

    So, because we’ve been victimized by NAFTA too, that invalidates the effect of NAFTA on Mexicans?

    Again, answer the question, “would you break a law in order to feed your starving family?”

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Empathy Deficit Disorder (EDD) is on full display on the Moyers & Co. message boards.


    My hope is that someday, ordinary people everywhere will join together and topple the elites that are taking advantage of all of us and destroying our planet, instead of allowing themselves to be divided and picking on the less fortunate (or stewing in anger over somebody who possibly makes a few bucks more because they belong to a union).

    In the U.S. the top one-tenth of one percent of households hauls in about 10% of national income. THAT’S something to be outraged over, not desperate Mexicans and Central Americans who risk everything to come here and be grossly underpaid, work in horrific conditions, pay taxes, fight in our wars, and be treated like $hit.

    People, you can’t be this stupid or this cruel, can you?

  • Anonymous

    It’s not clear whether illegal immigrants are a net benefit or a net cost. They make our food cheaper by working in the fields for almost nothing. They also pay virtually all the taxes other Americans pay, including FICA (social security) under bogus SSNs, subsidizing the rest of us when they will not get to claim SS benefits.

    I suggest, rather than demonizing desperate immigrants, we take on the bankers, fossil energy giants, military-industrial complex, drug companies, chemical companies, Ag companies, mining companies, private equity pirates, hedge funds and others who are polluting our planet, destroying our communities, mistreating workers, underpaying workers and rigging our courts and political system.

  • marilyn martinetto

    “The law isn’t an end in itself. What counts are people.”
    That is precisely the point: People choose the type of government they will accept. We, of the U.S. are extremely lucky to have had people who understood human nature, the corruption of money and power, and wrote a constitution and laws in an attempt to base our government on law rather than family connections, brute power or buying special treatment.
    It takes continual effort to KEEP special connections, bribery, power and money from corrupting our government. But if we exert the effort to be informed, to be involved and to help our local governments, then maybe we can keep our government mostly free of corruption, so that our laws are in fact applied equally to all.
    But, it is law that protects the weak from the powerful. It is when laws can be bought and bent to create special treatment for a few, that all of us are in danger.
    We have poor and desperate citizens here. Why is it you believe citizens of the U.S. who may be paying taxes and fees to support their government from a job and savings …must be accept people who enter illegally?
    We welcome millions of “desperate” and not so desperate legal immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees yearly. Why is it, you believe we alone have some obligation to welcome those who enter illegally, and who must obviously think they are entitled to do so, regardless of our laws and our own desperate citizens?
    As for “high horse” it’s more a case of having extreme gratitude to my nation’s people who came before me who had the courage to declare war on an empire and to somehow win. It is wonder at the legal system they created. It is pride that many legal immigrants who answered ads sent worldwide and came to labor in mines, factories, farms, and decided to create public schools and libraries to educate each generation of legal immigrants who would need knowledge and have a profound appreciation for the duty to help create, modigy and enforce their laws.
    It is those people who cannot accept masses of illegal entrants who obviously disrespect law.

  • marilyn martinetto

    I agree with you. But I blame us. As citizens, we need to watch and be involved to prevent corruption. At least in this nation, we are EXPECTED to do so.

  • marilyn martinetto

    Sorry to hear that about L.A.

  • Clement

    Who do you mean by “native citizens”, the Native Americans?

  • Anonymous

    Desperate illegal immigrants don’t “obviously disrespect law.” The driving force is their desperation. Watch the documentary movie “Wetback” and perhaps you will learn something.

  • marilyn martinetto

    Yes, humans, and all living things, will do desperate acts to survive. And that is understandable.
    But understanding the motivation does not mean condoning the illegal action taken.
    THAT is the problem. THAT is why we have laws. It is to protect ALL of us equally against the actions of desperate and just plain greedy people. It is the action that’s illegal.
    Sort of like murder. We can understand a person who has finally killed his/her spouse after years of beatings and abuse. But the killing is a fact that will be investigated and possibly tried. The cause of the act of murder comes in to soften both the crime recorded and any punishment that might have been given for murder.
    But the law is carried out, and the punishment is changed. So it must be with masses of people who choose to enter our nation illegally. All are guilty and face the consequences, and a few who do have genuine terror and danger, may be given leniency. And the burden of proof is one the person.

  • Anonymous

    Native as in nativity or place of birth, not indigenous.

  • Anonymous

    I’m reposting this as apparently the editors took it down. The Moyers show, which specializes in criticizing others, seems to have a different standard for itself.

    It’s worth noting, that not unlike this show and most you will ever see the mainstream media, the “Public Agenda: A Citizens’ Solution Guide: Immigration” that this page links to has the focus group-tested amnesty description in what is supposedly the enforcement option, as compared to the others. It says:

    “Requiring that unauthorized immigrants already here pay stiff fines, learn English and apply for citizenship.”

    It’s simply outrageous that the media elites deny the citizens of this country the opportunity to hear an honest and open debate on illegal immigration. That fundamental premise of a democratic, representative government is being taken away by Moyers and his ilk.

  • Joaquin Murrieta

    I as a Hispanic did not truly realize how “powerful’ the Hispanic vote was until this documentary. Ramos mentioned that in every key state, the Hispanic vote would be the deciding factor. That said he mentioned that the Hispanic vote favored Pres. Obama. Ramos was the most forceful of the two guest speakers. As a US Hispanic I truly believe Ramos doesn’t 100% understand US Hispanics. He mentioned that assimilation of US Hispanics would “kill” his career and he also mentioned that US Hispanics were a “force” to be respected. Ramos was too overly positive on the US Hispanics and all he mentioned were their virtues. Ramos does not truly understand the US Hispanic mentality, why US Hispanics are being assimalted, and why US Hispanics are not proportionately contributing very much of educational, scientific or professional value to this country. The US Hispanic media is controlled by the Cuban-American intelligentia out of Miami to the detriment of the US Mexican-American. Ramos is a Mexican-American “front” used by the Miami Cuban elite to sell Spanish media to the Mexican-American majority. Fifty million Hispanics need a “voice” to speak for them. They need a national leader. Fifty million persons are without a leader and are suffering because of this fact and Ramos failed to mention this. We, the US Hispanics need a Hispanic version of a Dr. Martin Luther King NOW!!!. Ramos could be that special national US Hispanic leader if only he knew and truly understood the US Hispanic.

  • Joaquin Murrieta

    The goal of this nation is to import all the most intellgent individuals of every nation. Steve Jobs was Syrian, Albert Einstein, German Jewish and the inventor of the USB port is from India. Their intellignece has bettered this nation. They or their parents came to America and we all benefited. The most intelligent humans of the world should be here in the US. This is called human capital. Are you against intelligent individuals coming to this country? During World War II over six million intelligent Jews were slaughtered while the US refused to allow their immigration. Some countries such as Cuba and Mexico allowed their limited entrance but even then the Voyage of the Damned incident did occur. Our countries immigration policy does not know the difference between sh*t and sugar. We allow the most educated and intelligent people to die in gas chambers and then allow the most uneducated, un-protestant work ethic people entrance. Perhaps this is payment for the past US immigration policy stupidity. How about Jimmy Carter allowing 185,000 Cuban CRIMINALS entrance into the US in 1981!!! Mexican cocaine and Mexican undocumented labor is a US demand driven problem. The US consumer needs Mexican cocaine to snort up their nose and Mexican labor to clean their toilets. Mexico is only providing what the US DEMANDS!!!! As Mexico says “You stop using the drugs and the workers and we will stop sending them”.

  • Alex NYC

    Thank you Bill Moyers for featuring these important cultural icons/journalists and for dedicating the majority of the show to their interview. When it comes to the issues facing Latinos in the U.S., the topics the show highlighted were just the tip of the iceberg —- but it was a solid start! Good job.

  • Joaquin Murrieta

    Another thing!!! When Jorge Ramos was asked on the show what was the most important thing for Hispanics Ramos mentioned Jobs!! How would he know that? What Hispanics has be been talking to. Of FIRST importance to American Hispanics is civil rights and being treated like a decent human being!! We, Hispanics all had jobs before civil rights what we didn’t have was human dignity. Human dignity was provided by the Democrat Party. The right to fair housing, the right to an education, the right to equal human treatment in the United States. The right to be treated equally. Jorge Ramos did not live through the times where the signs would read “No Dogs or Mexicans allowed” – he is too young. I would not sell my human dignity in order to have a job. Pres. Obama has offered health insurance to the Hispanics and that is appreciated, that is an example of someone who cares for the poor and downtrodden. There is a saying that I would rather be a King in Hell than a slave in Heaven. Jorge Ramos would rather have the US Hispanic be a slave to the Republicans than be treated like a King by the Democrats. What is a job when one is treated like a dog or compared to a dog. NO! Jorge Ramos does not know the true Hispanic of the US.

  • Joaquin Murrieta

    Immigration should not be a top priority for the NON-Hispanics of this nation. Education should be. The US ranks 9th or 10th against other nations in educated individuals. We are not a nation of idiots we are an un-educated nation. Current modern industry is having trouble finding qualifed employees to work in factores. We as a nation have failed when it comes to Education. Education is the first item that must be corrected – not immigration. Education is the “fire” that melts individual cultures into one American cultural calderon. German, Italian, Jewish immigrants all came here with their language and their culture. Their culture and language was destroyed, stipped and melted into one cultural pot through education. Their cultures were “melted” into one American society. US Hispanics have a secret weapon against cultural assimilation – avoid US schools and US education. (Jorge Ramos didn’t tell you this) US Hispanics have the highest drop out rate of any cultural group and they will remain “Hispanics” until the white Anglo minority figures out what is happening at the Hispanic educational mind set level. Only , only when the Hispanic is educated or is given adequate education will there be an end to the Hispanic culture in America. Then Jorge Ramos and his Spanish television channel will be obsolete.

  • marilyn martinetto

    Joaquin Murrietta
    Your comments:
    “The goal of this nation is to import all the most intellgent individuals of
    every nation.”
    “You stop using the drugs and the workers and we will stop sending them.”
    You asked if I did not want intelligent people, and then you ended with the second statement.
    Neither statement is relevent to what I have been saying. And it shows the great divide between those who understand the basic concept upon which the United States was founded: that LAW is supreme. That law is made by citizens, and that all citizens must be treated equally under the LAW.
    That was and is totally different from the basis of many nations founded and that never really left, the rule by one powerful person, or a group of wealthy families who can decide laws made and whether to enforce them. Citizens have little if any power, and definitely cannot expect to be treated equally to all other, especially those powerful few who wield power.
    THAT is why the act of breaking U.S. law to enter illegally have chosen to place their own wants above the law, meaning contempt for law, and therefore a strong liklihood that future illegal acts will be made…due to contempt for law. (It’s a federal misdemeanor punishable by 5 years in prison, if it were enforced).
    If the person enters LEGALLY, it matters not which ethnic group or nation the person comes. The person has shown understanding that law is enforced FIRST by policing ones own behavior, and then by police when people act without consideration for others or that laws exist to protect us all from criminal activity.
    Laws make it POSSIBLE for citizens to demand Civil Rights, meaning to be treated equally under the law with all other citizens. Those who chose to enter and demand rights reserved for citizens not only break our laws, but damage the entire U.S. legal system if successful in getting special treatment that no law abiding citizen is given.

  • marilyn martinetto

    I agree that our educational system is failing. But it was failing before the Supreme Court decision that mandated citizens must pay for the education of children of illegal entrants.
    Before school districts received the result of that decision and masses of illegal immigrant studetns arrived, schools were being closed as the Boomers left K-12 and the U.S. birth rate had declined to be at slightly above replacement level.
    What caused the decline in education was mainstreaming.
    Following World War Ii, until the late 1970s, urban school districts tested students with achievement tests, intelligence tests and PLACED students in classrooms by achievement results, both on tests and in the classroom. That enabled teachers to far better observe and evaluate student’s progress of subject mastery. ,,and to move students up or down in classrooms (not up or down by grade level) by achievement progress or lack, each year.
    Students in highest achieving classrooms covered subject matter and had class time to go beyond. Students in mid-achieving classrooms covered subject matter. Both were prepared for college. And state universities were subsidized by federal and state funds, enabling working class income students to go to and graduate from college…something very very rare before WWII. Further, colleges had no “remedial” classes.
    Students in lowest achievement classrooms covered more subject matter than if in today’s “mainstreamed” classrooms.
    The very physically and mentally limited students were in special, well-funded schools with classrooms that had an advance degreed teacher, several aides and a total of, for example 5 students if autistic.
    Mainstreaming began in the 1970s with the hope that if under-achieving students were placed with high achieving students, their achievement would increase. What happened was parents all wanted their child to be moved up, regardless of learning speed or retention. The result is today’s classrooms of like aged students of so many levels of learning speed and achievement for reasons other than ability and willingness and desire to learn. That all combined to make teaching logistically possible.
    And the parents able to afford private schools, took their children out, at great cost.
    Why was the push to try to make it easy for teachers to teach far more, more rapidly? After all, this is public school and not private school for elite achievers. It was done, because we were in a Cold War with a nation perceived as capable of surpassing us, and we needed “the best and the brightest” to compete.
    I was a student, and later a teacher in such a west coast district. And I left it in 1979, and am so grateful I was able to. The only bright light was during the mid-1970s, the Vietnamese refugee children arrived and they were hungry to learn. They no doubt succeeded in entering the middle class and beyond.

  • marilyn martinetto

    The subject here is illegal entry and anger that two advocates and a host openly talked about what the illegal entrants want and what political actions they are going to take to get what they want, .
    If the subject were the obvious corruption of our bought Congress and the unequal treatment under our massively lobbied and gutted financial system regulations, and tax laws, then we’d agree.
    And if you look, you’d see the SAME problem applies: lack of equal treatment under the law, regardless of wealth, power, ethnicity, etc. Only the very wealthy have gone beyond to buy changes in the laws to remake the “playing field” uneven, and to make the “free market” free to legal betting that’s called “financial banking”…but that unlike the free market will not feel the consequences of that betting, because financial banks are once again merged with commercial banking as they were in the 1800s until 1933, with all the bank panics and closures. Now, they will be rescued by us, the voiceless who still try to obey laws, because that’s all that’s left of America. That and faith our bonds will be repaid, and why the world parks its money here for safety. All that’s left is rule of law, maybe….and the word of the U.S. it will pay its bonds.
    So, I write about law and how important it is, and worse, how dangerous it is when it’s eaten away by corruption, from the top or from the bottom.
    It is now legal to call ones earned income from investing others’ money …just your own capital gains income in order to pay 15% or less in taxes rather than the top income tax rate of 35%. And that’s just one tiny example of unequal treatment under the law.
    Neither should be tolerated because both illegal entry and corruption given legal guise by congress are destructive to the nation…economically in the effects both have on working and middle class income, the amount of support foisted on the middle class to pay to rescue on from its own risky products and the services used by the other. And both destroy citizens’ trust in their government. Whenever anyone or any group is treated with special favor, it is witnessed and seen for what it is: government corruption.

  • Jorge Serrano

    It is very frustrating to see so much ignorance about Hispanics. Univision or anyone that works there or at Telemundo represents Hispanic-Americans as much as Fox represents all Anglo-Americans. Two Mexicans hardly represent all of the different Latino nationalities that live in the USA anyway. BTW, the no papers no fear ideology is not homogenous to Hispanic-Americans.

  • Gingersnaps Orealy

    I don’t dislike Hispanics and would hope they feel the same way about Black Americans. However, the idea that they are soooo demanding of this Black president in a way that they never were with past White presidents (Regan, Clinton, Bush). Blacks who have been “citizens” in America since the Early 1600s, although due to White enslavement, were forced to work building this country for FREE, while White people sat around living leisurely and not doing ANY work. Blacks never received the free education Blacks earned, nor the financial support that Blacks deserved from free labor to America and for the fact that NO Other group were ever enslaved and forced by American laws; on the state, local and federal levels to give their life and labor to make America a successful country. Black Americans have not gotten their chance YET to forge ahead, even with a Black president. Why the heck should Latinos new to this country (like most Europeans), and other immigrants, feel they can push past Blacks and move ahead with lightening speed and leave Blacks in the dust. The first Black president (if he wants the Black vote) should take these facts into consideration before ignoring the needs of Blacks as he could not be sitting in the “Whitehouse” without the Black Vote. Hispanics got a Supreme Court Justice and the 2 year Dream Act. Blacks got nothing todate. Blacks are still waiting for Obama to show Blacks that he deserves and appreciate the Black Vote on October 6, 2012.