Immigration Journalism is Discussed
December 7, 2017
The dynamic of immigration is now different compared to the last 100 years in the history of the United States, this according to Pulitzer-winning journalist Julia Preston.
The Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego and Newsweek in Spanish, organized a workshop on how to cover the issue of immigration in the media, which was presented by Preston, at the Tijuana Cultural Center (CECUT), on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Preston was a member of The New York Times staff who won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on international affairs.
She also covered immigration for The New York Times for a period of 10 years, until December 2016. She has worked as an editor and foreign correspondent for The Times and, before that, The Washington Post.
“Since the 1920’s, we have never had an administration with a policy as extreme and nationalist as the one of president Trump,” Preston said to a room full of journalists of Baja California and California. “Journalists have to follow the facts. It’s important to demonstrate a real portrait of the immigration situation.”
To be able to write articles about immigration, journalists need to read all the documents published by the agencies in charge of enforcing the immigration laws of the United States like the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which includes the U.S. Border Patrol.
ICE and CBP are both U.S. federal government law enforcement agencies under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security that publish several documents with figures like the number of undocumented aliens deported, the total number of deportations, among others.
“The articles need to feature the situation or immigrants that illustrate the data,” she said.
One example she mentioned was how she travelled to Texas in February 2014, because an official document stated that the number of asylums requests went up in that part of the country.
When she arrived, she could physically see how entire immigrant families travelled in rafts from Mexico to the U.S., to later look for a Border Patrol agent and ask for asylum. She mentioned that before that, immigrants were only taught to cross and run in the desert to avoid Border Patrol agents, when that was not necessarily true.
Preston’s workshop was part of a new initiative to get together a group of journalists that cover border issues and talk about different issues like immigration. There will be another conference to talk about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in January.