NBC Cites Illegal Immigrant Activist to Label Court Ruling 'Threatening'

Fretting over the Supreme Court upholding a portion of Arizona's immigration law, on Monday's NBC Nightly News correspondent Mike Taibbi declared: "[Leticia Ramirez] and her husband have been in this country illegally for over a decade and when she later watched the Supreme Court ruling unfold, she said the verdict, though it only upheld the so-called 'show your papers' part of the law, was still threatening." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Ramirez decried the decision: "It's going to affect the whole community because they're not going to be able to go out, have a normal life. They're going to be afraid that if we go out they might – we might get stopped just for your color." As she spoke, Ramirez wore a t-shirt that read: "Arrest [Arizona Sheriff Joe] Arpaio, Not the People; End Police and ICE Collaboration."

Taibbi did include supporters of the ruling as well: "Kelly Townsend is a mother, too....She and other supporters of 1070 saw today's ruling, which requires law enforcement to check immigration status, as a clear win and a reason to keep pushing for the parts of the bill ruled unconstitutional."

However, unlike his description of Townsend, Taibbi never identified Ramirez as an activist on the issue, even as footage rolled of her in a room surrounded by fellow activists wearing "Legalize Arizona" t-shirts and a large poster of communist Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

Taibbi concluded: "And the reality, too, that one group, primarily, believes today's ruling leaves them as vulnerable as ever."

He also observed that supporters of the illegal immigration law in the state may be forced to give up: "Arizona's already spent about $3 million defending its controversial law. Most of it from private donations. There are some questions raised today about whether they'll still be the appetite, the political will to continue to defend the law vigorously if the taxpayers have to start footing the bill."


Here is a full transcript of the June 25 report:

7:03AM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And now to where this all started. This was the Arizona case the Court decided today, after all. NBC's Mike Taibbi is there tonight and has reaction for us to the Court ruling.

MIKE TAIBBI: It only seemed like a normal day for Leticia Ramirez's family, her husband off to his construction job, and her children watching early morning TV. But she and her husband have been in this country illegally for over a decade and when she later watched the Supreme Court ruling unfold, she said the verdict, though it only upheld the so-called "show your papers" part of the law, was still threatening.

[Ramirez is shown wearing a t-shirt that read: "Arrest Arpaio, Not the People; End Police and ICE Collaboration"]

LETICIA RAMIREZ: It's going to affect the whole community because they're not going to be able to go out, have a normal life. They're going to be afraid that if we go out they might – we might get stopped just for your color.

[Click on image to enlarge]

TAIBBI: Kelly Townsend is a mother, too.

KELLY TOWNSEND: My daughter is half Hispanic.

TAIBBI: She and other supporters of 1070 saw today's ruling, which requires law enforcement to check immigration status, as a clear win and a reason to keep pushing for the parts of the bill ruled unconstitutional.

TOWNSEND: I do believe that is a victory that was the heart of SB-1070. One step at a time, if necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [PIMA COUNTY BORDER CRIMES UNIT]: This is where the rubber meets the road.

TAIBBI: Meanwhile, on the front line of the state's effort to curb illegal immigration, local units, like Pima County's Border Crimes Unit, work with federal Border Patrol agents to try and stem the flow along 120 miles of border. If they get to this spot, they're almost home free?

MAN: Yes.

TAIBBI: The sheriff's department has detained and arrested hundreds while SB-1070 was drifting in the political winds, and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says the ruling will change nothing about how this job is done.

CLARENCE DUPNIK: It doesn't take a genius to determine whether somebody is here illegally, given the reality of our work.

TAIBBI: It's also a reality that most in this state believe Arizona must do what they say the federal government has not done.

TOWNSEND: This is the law. We need to enforce it.

[Click on image to enlarge]

TAIBBI: And the reality, too, that one group, primarily, believes today's ruling leaves them as vulnerable as ever. Arizona's already spent about $3 million defending its controversial law. Most of it from private donations. There are some questions raised today about whether they'll still be the appetite, the political will to continue to defend the law vigorously if the taxpayers have to start footing the bill. Brian.

WILLIAMS: Mike Taibbi in Phoenix for us tonight. Mike, thanks.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC