NBC Continues To Omit Term ‘Illegal Immigrant’ When Discussing Border Crisis

Ever since the border patrol began sending hundreds of illegal immigrants from Texas to the town of Murrieta, California, despite opposition from local residents, the folks at NBC News have repeatedly failed to use the term “illegal immigrant” to describe the confrontation between the two sides. 

On Thursday, July 3, NBC’s Today continued to omit the term “illegal immigrant” from its lexicon. In fact, it has been the only one of the "big three" networks to not use the term when reporting on the situation in Murrieta. Instead, its reporters continue to refer to them as “undocumented immigrants.” [See video below.]

NBC’s Miguel Almaguer began a report on Thursday morning by highlighting how “border patrol agents who work at this facility say they are not prepared to handle another wave of undocumented immigrants here, but that does not mean they won't come.” During the 8:00 a.m. hour, Peter Alexander provided a news brief on the border crises and omitted the illegal status of those being sent to Murrieta:

The mayor of Murrieta, California, says he expects more undocumented immigrants to arrive there as early as tomorrow. Earlier this week angry protesters forced three buses carrying immigrants to turn around. Last night the mayor heard from hundreds of residents. And told them to be prepared for the arrival of many more immigrants because of what he described as a nationwide problem. 

That same morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, Jim Avila noted how “With only 96 beds for the thousands of Central American moms and kids crossing the border illegally, the Department of Homeland Security is overwhelmed.” On CBS This Morning, Margaret Brennan reported that “In Murrieta, California this morning protesters vow to continue their fight against the transportation of illegal immigrants to their city.” 

When the story of the Murrieta protests first broke on Tuesday, July 1, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer and the NBC Nightly News did not refer to the immigrants as “illegal” but the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley did. On Wednesday, July 2, NBC’s Today was the only network morning show to not use the term “illegal immigrant” whereas ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning did. That evening, only the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley used the term in its report whereas ABC and NBC’s evening news programs omitted the language from their reports . 

See relevant transcripts below. 


CBS

CBS This Morning 

July 3, 2014

MARGARET BRENNAN: In Murrieta, California this morning protesters vow to continue their fight against the transportation of illegal immigrants to their city. On Tuesday they blocked three buses carrying the undocumented immigrants. As John Blackstone reports Murrieta residents are turning their attention towards immigration and border control officials.  

JOHN BLACKSTONE: Tensions remain high in Murrieta, California, an hour north of San Diego, outside a town hall meeting to discuss the options for this small city with a growing problem. It's facing an influx of undocumented immigrants arriving for processing from overburdened holding facilities in Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You're doing them no favors. They belong back in their country. 

PAUL BEESON: I felt like based on our logistics, based on our ability to process, the Murrieta station can handle 214 people. 

BLACKSTONE: That answer didn’t calm the anger of many Murrieta residents. 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Please, use the word "Illegal aliens." They came across here illegally. 

BLACKSTONE: Just a day earlier, buses were turned away by protesters. But another wave could arrive here this week. It's an issue facing many western cities in the U.S. On Wednesday a plane full of migrants from Central America landed in Yuma Arizona and were taken to El Centro, California without incident. Hundreds more are expected to arrive across the southwest in the coming weeks. This Honduran immigrant crossed the Texas border with her infant son earlier this year. 

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: We come here not to steal from anyone, she says, but to work. We can't live in our country because of the violence. 

BLACKSTONE: Most of these new immigrants are from Central America. They are processed, released, and then have 15 days to report back to immigration offices. 

UNKNOWN WOMAN 3: What is the police department's plan on how you're going to deal with these people that don't leave?

BLACKSTONE: Critics contend they'll join the growing ranks of the nation's undocumented population. Officials are now keeping quiet on exactly when the next plane of immigrants will arrive in California hoping to ward off further protests. For CBS This Morning, John Blackstone, Murrieta, California.

 

ABC

Good Morning America

July 3, 2014

DAVID MUIR: We’re going to turn now to that other headline this morning, the growing crisis on our border. New offensive this morning to stop the flood of children crossing illegally into this country. You remember those dramatic images this week. The bus carrying so many of those families stopped by angry protesters and told to turn around and go back. ABC’s Jim Avila is at the White House with the latest on this. Jim, good morning. 

JIM AVILA: Good morning, David. With only 96 beds for the thousands of Central American moms and kids crossing the border illegally, the Department of Homeland Security is overwhelmed. So today, a new offensive from the border patrol. A TV campaign with commercials on both sides of the border and seen exclusively this morning on GMA. This morning, the first look at new TV commercials designed to discourage the overwhelming tide of Central American children and their mothers crossing the Texas border illegally.

Dramatic stories made in telenovella fashion to be played here in the United States and in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Showing a young teen saying goodbye to his mother and father, and heading to America only to be found a victim of the dangerous journey. At a press conference in the Rio Grande Valley, the border patrol commissioner personally warned Central American parents that the trip north has become more treacherous. 

RICHARD GIL KERLIJOWSKE:  If you cross illegally into the United States, you are putting yourself and your children in grave danger. 

AVILA: The border patrol is also launching radio spots and billboards designed to counter the notion that the immigrants are getting a free pass in the U.S. because they are minors or traveling with minors. A tough sell since the overwhelming number of moms and kids coming across illegally are allowed within days to take buses to be with family already in the United States. And right now, of course, these kids and their moms are released to go anywhere in the U.S. they want hoping on buses with just a promise to appear in court. And our sources say, most of them do no not. David and Amy? 

MUIR: Alright Jim, thanks. This is a debate that's not going away. 

 

NBC

Today

July 3, 2014

TAMRON HALL: And now to the explosive situation in California where 140 undocumented immigrants were turned away from a processing center when protesters blocked their buses, a scene that could be repeated when the next wave of immigrants arrives as early as tomorrow. NBC's Miguel Almaguer is in Murrieta, California. Miguel, good morning.

MIGUEL ALMAGUER: Good morning, Tamron. Border patrol agents who work at this facility say they are not prepared to handle another wave of undocumented immigrants here, but that does not mean they won't come. This is the life of hundreds of immigrant families this morning, shuffling from one secured area to another, awaiting processing and an uncertain future. Maritza and her two sons made the desperate 1,400-mile journey from Honduras to Texas last month, almost losing their lives during a river crossing. "I thought, 'My God,'" she said. "'I brought my kids all this way only to have them drown?'" Mothers like Maritza and their children were on three Homeland Security buses Tuesday when angry protesters in the town of Murrieta forced the buses to turn around. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER: You need to go back to Mexico! 

ALMAGUER: But they're not from Mexico. The number of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has jumped from less than 4,000 three years ago to nearly 40,000 this year. The main reason? Growing violence across central America, fear of rape and murder. 

LUCERO CHAVEZ, ACLU: People are not fleeing from Central America because they think they can get some kind of benefit from the United States. People are fleeing out of desperation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE AT TOWN HALL MEETING: And please use the word illegal aliens. They came across there illegally. 

ALMAGUER: Back in Murrieta, Mayor Alan Long heard from hundreds of angry residents late last night. 

ALAN LONG, MAYOR OF MURRIETA, CALIFORNIA: This is admittedly a nationwide problem, and little old Murrieta has taken the lead in getting change. 

ALMAGUER: A lead some call a defining moment and others label a disgrace. The mayor says the next wave of undocumented immigrants is expected to arrive here on the Fourth of July, Independence Day. He says those waves could continue to arrive here every 72 hours for the foreseeable future.

 

NBC

Today 

July 3, 2014

8:04 a.m. Eastern 

PETER ALEXANDER: The mayor of Murrieta, California, says he expects more undocumented immigrants to arrive there as early as tomorrow. Earlier this week angry protesters forced three buses carrying immigrants to turn around. Last night the mayor heard from hundreds of residents. And told them to be prepared for the arrival of many more immigrants because of what he described as a nationwide problem. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.