Once again, Spanish-language media displays their commitment to reporting all sides of the immigration issue, by including the underreported perspective of the misunderstood coyotes.
Watch as a couple of human traffickers tell Univision’s man down at the border that the migrant rush is due to “benefits” granted by President Biden.
PEDRO ULTRERAS, UNIVISION: Is business booming right now, does it pay well?
COYOTE 1: It does, given the situation with the people.
ULTRERAS: At least that’s what these two young men say, having built a highly profitable business by helping Central American families seeking asylum to cross (into the US).
COYOTE: We just come here to earn our daily bread like everybody else.
ULTRERAS: Both young men claim to be 22 years of age, and agreed to speak to us without concealing their identities at the edge of the Rio Grande, on the American side.
COYOTE 2: In all honesty, there are way too many people. Believe me…with the benefits your new president is now granting, the people found the courage to come.
This isn’t new. Recall that it was back in May that Telemundo reported that COVID crashed the human trafficking business, in an embarrassing spotlight of an optimistic coyote:
COYOTE: (It’s down) now, because of the coronavirus. It’s crashing, really, because not everyone is willing to risk coming to a country where the epidemic is.
COYOTE: The entire economy crashed- (both) for us and for our people.
COYOTE: In fact, we have lists with hundreds of clients that are waiting for this to settle down so that we can begin to cross them over.
COYOTE: The wait is temporary. Just give us the green light and we’ll move forward.
Our analysis at the time proved prescient:
It’s worth asking: what purpose was served by giving airtime to the temporarily unemployed coyote? Was it to position him for a stimulus check in the next House coronavirus relief bill? A PPP loan, perhaps? Take notice of the coyote’s optimistic forecast of a V-shaped recovery, as evidenced by his boasts of a big client list and announced increased fees.
The plight of the temporarily unemployed coyote was little more than a narrative device with which to frame the drastic reduction in crossings and arrests along the southern border. This, of course, meant less viewers for Spanish-language television where immigration reigns supreme and the survival of which, as Jorge Ramos reminds us, is wholly dependent on a continuous flow of immigrants (whether legal or not).
Here we are again. As the border explodes, the networks once again turn their lonely gaze to the plight of the brave and misunderstood human trafficker. The coyote may have been right, though. The promise of a “benefit” for migrants appears to be enough of a “green light”.
There’s one more thing that the record will reflect: so critical is a broken border to the long-term survival of the nation’s Spanish-language media, that actual human traffickers will receive more airtime and be more favorably spotlighted than a proponent of strong border enforcement.