Diaz-Balart Badgers Guest: ‘How Many Terrorist Attacks in the U.S. Have Been Carried Out' by Illegal Immigrants?

On his MSNBC show Tuesday morning, Jose Diaz-Balart invited on conservative commentator and film maker Dennis Michael Lynch to discuss a series of documentaries he has made that are critical of U.S. immigration policy and illegal immigration. From the start of the segment, it was clear that Diaz-Balart would be at odds with Lynch’s viewpoints and only grew to the point where he hounded Lynch on whether illegal immigrants have committed terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

After airing an excerpt from one of the documentaries highlighting concerns about illegal immigrants causing a competition for jobs with American citizens, Diaz-Balart told Lynch that “there are a lot of studies from both the left and right that show that undocumented immigrants don’t take American jobs” and asked him why he thought this was not the case. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Lynch responded that “all indicators show that not only did they take the jobs that Americans do want by and large, but it depresses wages” while millions of Americans are out of the workforce and on welfare. Diaz-Balart pushed back with the argument that “out of the 11 or 12 million people that are here without documents, most of them didn't arrive yesterday” and are “contributing to the economy and they're really not taking jobs away from people because they're not crossing the border” in numbers Lynch may believe.

Respectfully disagreeing, Lynch pointed to his experiences talking those in construction jobs who are losing them to illegal immigrants and then criticized Democrats, Republicans for falling “guilty” to “[t]he need or want for cheap labor” as that’s “what’s really driving all of this.”

After insisting that many are coming to the U.S. because of the violence in their home countries, Diaz-Balart played an excerpt from another one of Lynch’s documentaries in which a group of ranchers agreed with a question from Lynch that “another 9-11" could happen with “[i]nstead of people coming in through airports, they come from the border.”

Upon its conclusion, Diaz-Balart turned up the liberal bias even further, with this question:  

So how many terrorist attacks in the U.S. have been carried out by undocumented immigrants? Come on. I know the fear exists, but the fact is that the undocumented immigrants that are here don't commitment terrorist attacks. 

Lynch slammed the question as “an irresponsible statement to be quite honest” and told Diaz-Balart that immigration policy was designed “to protect American workers from unfair foreign competition, and to protect American lives from people who want to come in here and disrupt the American way of life” and how neither one of those things are happening. 

Also, he cited the illegal immigrants coming across with “diseases such as tuberculosis” and bacterial pneumonia while terrorist networks and drug cartels can take advantage of the situation. 

While he was saying that, a graphic was put on screen with the vaccination rate of countries that large numbers of illegal immigrants are coming from (according to nbcnews.com and the World Bank) as a slight to what Lynch was saying. 

Actually, Lynch’s statements were indeed accurate, as government officials and news reports are citing cases of fevers, coughing, tuberculosis, scabies, and chicken pox in children coming across the border.

Diaz-Balart then began wrapping up the segment by expressing his disappointment with Lynch for not answering his question and “didn't explain why what I said was irresponsible.” Attempting to respond, Lynch said that he did and that “visa violators – have broke our immigration laws,” but Diaz-Balart cut him off and ended the segment.

While no official terrorist attacks have been committed by the most recent wave of illegal immigrants, serious crimes have been committed by illegal immigrants over recent years. On July 23, a University of Southern California graduate student was murdered and police in Los Angeles have charged an illegal immigrant who came to the United States seven years ago. Also in July, a Philadelphia doctor was raped on her way home by an illegal immigrant who had been apprehended then deported to his home country of Honduras last year. Additionally, Townhall has compiled a list of seven recent examples that can be found here.


The complete transcript from the segment that aired on MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart on August 5 is transcribed below.

MSNBC 

Jose Diaz-Balart

August 5, 2014

10:47 a.m. Eastern

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Over the last few weeks, we’ve set out to hear all voices on the crisis at the border. Today is no different. My next guest is a producer of two documentaries that focus on the immigration crisis and how some people feel about what’s happening. They are called "They Come to America and They Come to America II" and here’s the clip. 

[DOCUMENTARY CLIP FROM THEY COME TO AMERICA]

DENNIS MICHAEL LYNCH: What do you think if happen if 11 million illegal immigrants are now allowed to compete for the same jobs as –  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, bringing in more immigrants in is going to make it worse than it already is. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm all about us making it over here first before we can take care of someone else. I think that's the important thing. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see – I’ve been seeing a lot of companies hiring illegal immigrants. They don't look toward us. 

[END CLIP]

DIAZ-BALART: Joining me now the producer of that film Dennis Michael Lynch. Thank you for being with us. 

LYNCH: Jose, thanks for having me. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Filmmaker Looks at the Immigration Crisis]

DIAZ-BALART: Dennis, you know, there are a lot of studies from both the left and right that show that undocumented immigrants don't take American jobs. Why do you think there is such different opinions about whether they do or not? 

LYNCH: Well, I think they ultimately do. Illegal aliens coming into the country, especially when they are coming in the numbers that they are now, all indicators show that not only did they take the jobs that Americans do want by and large, but it depresses wages and right now in this country, we have more Americans who are out of the work force. We have more Americans than ever before now on welfare. So, you can't have mass immigration both legal and illegal and hope you're going to be able to give a job to every American out there or lower welfare for that matter. 

DIAZ-BALART: No, you’re right, but listen. The fact is that out of the 11 or 12 million people that are here without documents, most of them didn't arrive yesterday. Many have U.S.-born children, which means they've been here for some time. Some even have grandchildren in this country. So, the fact is, they're already here and contributing to the economy and they're really not taking jobs away from people because they're not crossing the border in those numbers. 

LYNCH: Jose, I have to – I have to disagree with you on that one. I've met too many people crossing this country doing my films, giving speeches, and I find, specifically in the construction industry, where construction workers have just lost their jobs. They can't compete – they can’t compete against people who are going to be paid cash underneath the table and, you know, one thing I want to make clear, I've been listening to your show the entire time here, and, you know, both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are both guilty of this. The need or the want for cheap labor is what’s really driving all of this and everybody’s talking about fences and you talk about all these different policies. At the end of the day, the people will continue to come to this country for as long as there's an incentive to come and for as long as we continue them to work here illegally, they're going to come. They’re going to come, they’re – we’re not going to stop it.

DIAZ-BALART: And they're also coming because of really difficult situations that they're living in their home countries and many have family members in the United States who will have made a life for themselves already here and feel as though it's better to die trying to get to the United States and be with a mother or father rather than stay in their home country and die, but I want to play – because this is another aspect you bring up. Another clip. It has to do with fears that people have who live near the border. Check – check this out. 

LYNCH: Ok.

[DOCUMENTARY CLIP FROM THEY COME TO AMERICA II]

LYNCH: If I were to run five miles right now, how many border patrol would we see? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, or at night? 

LYNCH: Yeah, in nighttime, there’s no lights. We have all those lights, all in the place with the town is. There's no lights here. If I'm going to jump over the fence, this is where I'm going to jump. [TO GROUP OF PEOPLE] Do you think we could possibly have another 9/11? Instead of people coming in through airports they come from the border?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who says they didn’t come from here to start with? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who says they didn’t?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Two took flight training here. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At Coach East College.

[END CLIP]

DIAZ-BALART: So how many terrorist attacks in the U.S. have been carried out by undocumented immigrants? Come on. I know the fear exists, but the fact is that the undocumented immigrants that are here don't commitment terrorist attacks. 

LYNCH: Jose, that's an irresponsible statement to be quite honest. I mean, let me just say something about immigration policy. It was designed primarily for two reasons: To protect American workers from unfair foreign competition, and to protect American lives from people who want to come in here and disrupt the American way of life and right now, we're not doing either one with our open borders and allowing people to come through the border right now with diseases like tuberculosis and bacterial ammonia (pneumonia). You know, your program and other programs – all the media is focusing just right on the children. The children coming in here without parents is, a very small slice of the overall population that’s coming through the border. The lion's share that are apprehended or, if you want to say, are handing themselves over, those are families. Those are adults just coming with at least one child, many of them teenagers. The other 50% of people who are coming through the border are coming here, they’re sneaking through. They could be from a terrorist network. I mean, we know from a congressional report in 2012, Jose, that the drug cartels –

DIAZ-BALART: Yeah, Dennis –

LYNCH: – are some of the most dangerous terrorist networks. Why would you deny that. We got drug smugglers. We’ve got gang members. You know, I want to protect the American people and the American workers. 

DIAZ-BALART: And Dennis, I – I had to just show the vaccination rate in the different countries where the kids are coming from, but listen. I really want to continue this conversation with you because the fact of the matter is, you didn't explain why what I said was irresponsible and really, you wouldn't answer the question how many – 

LYNCH: I did. 

DIAZ-BALART: – terrorists acts have been carried out by the undocumented that are lived here and have been here for many years.

LYNCH: Visa violators –

DIAZ-BALART: But I got to go, Dennis. 

LYNCH: – have broke our immigration laws. 

DIAZ-BALART: I gotta go. Tell you what, let's have you back in the future because -- 

LYNCH: I'll come back. 

DIAZ-BALART: – we need to continue this conversation. Very much appreciate it. 

LYNCH: Just so long as we continue the conversation as adults I'm here. 

DIAZ-BALART: That's it. I think we're all both over 21, but thanks for being with us. Appreciate your time. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is a news analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division