NBC Promotes Twitter Handle for Illegal Immigrants: #RefugeeRiders

On Wednesday morning, NBC’s Today went beyond avoiding using the term “illegal” to describe the immigrants being bussed from Texas into California. The Peacock network has created a Twitter handle to show its support for the illegal immigrants. 

Following a report by NBC’s Miguel Almaguer, Today anchor Matt Lauer triumphantly declared: “We want you to weigh in on this. Share your comments using the #RefugeeRiders.” [See video below.]

On Tuesday, July 1, the CBS Evening News was the only network to use the term “illegal” when describing the protests in Murrieta, California where the residents have objected to immigrants being bused into their community to live while they await possible deportation. While CBS did use the term “illegal” in its initial reporting on Tuesday night, on Wednesday morning it had joined the ranks of ABC and CBS in avoiding the term.

NBC''s Lauer began his editorializing by arguing that “as so many issues in this country do it's going to boil down to politics. And wherever you stand on the issue, one side or the other, I'm not going to weigh in on that, it's hard to see those images moms and their kids in that situation.” The NBC host then encouraged his audience to share their thoughts using the Today show hashtag #RefugeeRiders.  

Throughout the entire report, NBC’s Miguel Almaguer refused to use the term “illegal immigrant” and instead used the term “undocumented immigrants" to describe the 140 individuals being bussed to California:

This is where the undocumented immigrants ended up, 75 miles away from their original location. Bus loads of children and their parents turned away from a community that would not let them in. They first arrived in San Diego by plane from over-crowded facilities in Texas -- 140 undocumented immigrants, many just babies and toddlers with their mothers boarding buses for Murrieta, California.  

On ABC’s Good Morning America, reader Ryan Smith didn’t even use the term “undocumented” during the news brief and instead noted that “ new information about those government buses full of immigrants which were blocked from entering a processing center in California Tuesday by this group of angry protesters who say the immigrants are a public safety threat.” During the 8:00 a.m. hour, Smith did use the term "illegal" in his news brief. 

Finally, CBS This Morning substitute anchor Margaret Brennan introduced its report by highlighting the “controversial government plan to transfer undocumented immigrants from Texas to California is set to continue this morning.” Reporter John Blackstone, who provided a full report Tuesday night did not use the term “illegal immigrant” again on Wednesday morning.

Blackstone noted that “Well the border patrol station here in Murrieta has become a focus for protests against the recent surge of undocumented immigrants...In spite of the protests here, city officials are bracing themselves for the arrival of more busloads of undocumented immigrants being brought here for processing”

See relevant transcripts below. 


CBS This Morning 

July 2, 2014

2 minutes 35 seconds 

MARGARET BRENNAN: A controversial government plan to transfer undocumented immigrants from Texas to California is set to continue this morning. Angry flag-waving protesters blocked the buses carrying the first group yesterday. John Blackstone is in Murrieta, California. John, good morning. 

JOHN BLACKSTONE: Good morning. Well the border patrol station here in Murrieta has become a focus for protests against the recent surge of undocumented immigrants. Residents here have been resisting plans to bring hundreds of migrants through here for processing. 100 or more protesters blocked the road into the Murrieta border patrol station. For an hour they stood their ground blocking three buses carrying 140 undocumented immigrants. The immigrants, many of them children, arrived by plane in San Diego from overcrowded holding facilities in south Texas. They were supposed to be processed at the facility in Murrieta, but angry residents there got in their way. These buses gave up and headed to other border patrol facilities but immigration officials have plans to send more here. 

ALAN LONG: We have been told that the immigrants will come in 140 every 72 hour shift for several weeks with no definitive end point and that's what concerns us when you start to look at the numbers and the magnitude we’re talking about. That's a significant impact on our resources.

BLACKSTONE: At a Murrieta City Council meeting last night residents worry immigrants will bring crime and disease to their community. Lynn Sparacino [sic] lives in Murrieta and is an immigrant from Central America herself but her family came here legally and she said others should too. Can you have any sympathy for the people inside the bus? 

LYNN SPARACINO: I can. As a mother, sure. I can have sympathy for those children sure. And I still can as I stand on the other side saying this is unacceptable. This is a small city. We cannot house them here. We cannot take care of them here. 

BLACKSTONE: The buses that were turned away from Murrieta ended up at a border station in San Isidro near the Mexican border. Advocates say the migrants, mostly from Central America, are fleeing poverty and unsafe conditions. 

ENRIQUE MORONES: They're trying to find safety. They're trying to find a way to get away from that violence. If we want to preach human rights as a nation, and we do, we need to practice it right on our front door. 

BLACKSTONE: In spite of the protests here, city officials are bracing themselves for the arrival of more busloads of undocumented immigrants being brought here for processing. The next group is expected to arrive on Friday, the fourth of July. Charlie? 

CHARLIE ROSE: John, thanks. 

 

ABC's Good Morning America

July 2, 2014

7:13 a.m.

RYAN SMITH: And new information about those government buses full of immigrants which were blocked from entering a processing center in California Tuesday by this group of angry protesters who say the immigrants are a public safety threat. Now, the buses were turned back to San Diego, but, this morning, another bus is on the move, carrying women and children from Central America who have been pouring across the border. This time, officers were seen blocking the entrance to the highway as the bus drove away.

 

NBC's Today

July 2, 2014

7:10 a.m.

TAMRON HALL: And another major story this morning, tensions exploding in southern California where protesters blocked the arrival of buses carrying undocumented immigrants. Miguel Almaguer has the latest. Miguel, good morning.

MIGUEL ALMAGUER: Tamron, good morning. This is where the undocumented immigrants ended up, 75 miles away from their original location. Bus loads of children and their parents turned away from a community that would not let them in. They first arrived in San Diego by plane from over-crowded facilities in Texas -- 140 undocumented immigrants, many just babies and toddlers with their mothers boarding buses for Murrieta, California. There they were greeted by angry protesters- (CLIP OF PROTESTERS) -furious the families from Central America would be processed and released from a holding facility here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER #1: They're not born here. They need to go back to Mexico. 

ALMAGUER: Confrontations with immigration advocates turned heated. With roads blocked, police stood by as three bus loads of young families were turned away because of fears for their safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER #1: Thousands of people are being allowed into our country illegally, and we're coming out here to voice our objection against that.

CLIP OF PROTESTERS: USA! USA! 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PROTESTER: It's heartbreaking to see this happening coming from the land of opportunity. 

ALMAGUER: The buses returned to San Diego.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER #2: Thank you, Obama! Thank you! 

ALMAGUER: The families instead brought to this border facility to be screened for criminal history and health problems. Those who have made this trip say this is the easy part. For many, the life or death journey across the desert is worth the risk. Desperate to escape violence and poverty in El Salvador, Cecilia made the dangerous trip with her two children. "We know the risk," she says, "but in my country, my kids are in great danger because of crime and poverty." Immigration advocates say that story is a common one here. Because those 140 undocumented immigrants were in danger, ICE officials will not confirm their location or where they will go next. Tamron?

HALL: Alright, Miguel Almaguer. Thank you very much Miguel.

MATT LAUER: As so many issues in this country do it's going to boil down to politics. And wherever you stand on the issue, one side or the other, I'm not going to weigh in on that, it's hard to see those images moms and their kids in that situation. We want you to weigh in on this. Share your comments using the #RefugeeRiders. 

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