Amid the ongoing media coverage surrounding Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on illegal immigration, Thursday’s NBC Nightly News surprisingly went down to the U.S.-Mexico border to further understand on the situation.
Following a news brief that mentioned a protest at the site of a Trump hotel being built in Washington D.C., anchor Lester Holt explained that even though some are “angered” by Trump’s remarks, they “are striking a cord” “for others” as they “believe he’s calling attention to a vital threat along our border.”
With surveillance footage of illegal immigrants crossing the border into Arizona being played, correspondent Mark Potter explained how “[f]or several years, hidden cameras in the Arizona desert have captured scenes like these, of drug and immigrant smugglers, sometimes armed, hiking through miles of American ranchland after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.”
Potter brought Trump into the equation by revealing that the footage just shown “was shot in May, south of Tucson, just two months before Donald Trump complained about boarder security.”
Concerning ranchers that are confronted with the problem, Potter introduced “John Ladd, whom we visited several times before along the Mexican boarder fence” as he “and others have long complained...about what they say is an insecure boarder that leaves them facing security threats on their own land.”
Ahead of Trump’s weekend visit to Arizona, Potter noted that, for ranchers like Ladd, “[t]hey applaud Trump for giving their concerns a national voice.”
Potter then found two soundbites of business owners in Arizona (with one owning a restaurant near the border) who were against Trump’s comments, but their airtime was far less than what was given to both Ladd and fellow rancher Fred Davis.
Later, the NBC correspondent concluded by noting the GOP candidate has “plans to travel to Arizona this weekend, where he's already drawn lots of attention.”
The relevant portions of the segment from July 9's NBC Nightly News can be found below.
NBC Nightly News
July 9, 2015
7:13 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: On the Border]
LESTER HOLT: And while those remarks have angered some, for others, Trump's comments are striking a cord. People who believe he's calling attention to a vital threat along our border. NBC's Mark Potter has more on that part of the story.
MARK POTTER: For several years, hidden cameras in the Arizona desert have captured scenes like these, of drug and immigrant smugglers, sometimes armed, hiking through miles of American ranchland after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border. This video was shot in May, south of Tucson, just two months before Donald Trump complained about boarder security.
POTTER: Arizona rancher John Ladd, whom we visited several times before along the Mexican boarder fence, and others have long complained –
JOHN LADD: They just cut everything at ground level now.
POTTER: – about what they say is an insecure boarder that leaves them facing security threats on their own land. They applaud Trump for giving their concerns a national voice.
LADD: I really am impressed that finally, somebody has courage to talk about the reality of what's going on.
POTTER: While ranchers see a dramatic drop this year in immigrant traffic, drug smuggling, they say, is ramped and insist Trump's message is vital.
FRED DAVIS He's talking about securing the border. That's the important thing.
UNIDENTIFIED NBC NEWS PRODUCER: And in your estimation, the boarder is not secure?
DAVIS: Absolutely not.
POTTER: But others in Arizona say Trump’s comments about Mexicans are offensive and insists he is over playing the security threat. Jimmy Peyonki lives a half mile from the boarder.
JIMMY PEONCKI: The tone was arrogant at best and nonsensical at worst. What he said was just not true.
ARIZONA BUSINESS OWNER BILL THOMAS: Mr. Trump doesn't actually know what is going on. It's easy to sit back in New York City in Trump Tower and make statements like that.
POTTER: Trump plans to travel to Arizona this weekend, where he's already drawn lots of attention.