After Trump’s speech about the government shut down and funding for the wall, The Real News spoke with refugees waiting in Tijuana. Here’s what they said
NARRATOR: President Trump addressed a live television audience on January 8th. The context was the government shutdown over a funding for his promised border wall with Mexico.
DONALD TRUMP: My fellow Americans, tonight I’m speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.
NARRATOR: The Real News spoke to migrants from the central american caravan about the speech.
MIGUEL ANGEL DELGADO (EL SALVADOR): My response is to ask him to open his heart, because what he is doing is very ugly. We just came here to work.
JOSE MIGUEL (HONDURAS): [My response to Trump] is to ask him to give us a chance. Some of us are fleeing gang violence by the Maras [name of a gang] and all that.
MARIA (HONDURAS): Everything he says is a lie. We come here to have a better future, to help our families. We aren’t going there to hurt anyone. We are travelling to improve our lives and for our families. Not to ruin anyone’s life or do bad things. We go there to work.
JUAN DOE: I am bothered by it [Trump’s speech], because it is not true what he said. It is totally false what he says, we are not criminals, we are not a danger. What we want is to advance in life. We are fighters and we want to take care of our families.
NARRATOR: This is “Juan Doe”, a father from Honduras who wishes to remain anonymous. He hasn’t seen his daughter in 5 months, and his voice is distraught.
JUAN DOE (HONDURAS): I feel anguished, desperate. There are days… Every day I wake up feeling like going back to my country. Because the desperation of not being with my daughter drives me crazy. But she gives me strength to stay here and try to make it.”
JOSE ALCEDO MACHADO (HONDURAS): He is trying to throw blame on immigrants, about things that immigrants don’t do. Maybe it has happened occasionally but we shouldn’t make everyone pay on account of one person.
I think that all of this “caravan thing” is a political play from Honduras and the rest of the countries all the way north, to facilitate that 30% of the wall that Donald Trump wants.
DONALD TRUMP: Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.
This is a humanitarian crisis. A crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul. Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States, a dramatic increase.
NARRATOR: Robert Vivar, is a US Veteran whose son is currently serving in the military. He took exception with President Trump’s words.
ROBERT VIVAR: What he was saying does not go very well with me because what he is talking about instead of making America safer is making America more dangerous, because all he is doing is trying to stir up more hate, more fear in the public. And validating the fear of racism for more violent acts to be created against people that are not white.
NARRATOR: Jonathan Gonzales said he was deported just 3 days before enlisting in the army. He thinks Trump is manipulating the facts to make immigrants look bad:
JONATHAN GONZALES: I would use the term he uses all the time, ‘fake news’, that is what he did right now, he always talks about ‘fake news’. Why doesn’t he talk about the three girls that he raped, yet he talks about three girls that got raped by hispanic people. They got proof of that? He doesn’t.
Why doesn’t he talk about the three children that just died like three [weeks] ago in ICE facilities? Why isn’t he talking about that? He is just not going to do it.
ROBERT VIVAR: He talks about trafficking drugs, come on!
That is just fear mongering, besides, does a regular drug runner drug trafficker can even afford to traffic drugs into United States? Let’s look at the problem. Who is behind this drug trafficking? The bankers? Major bankers? Major business people? And who are those people?
Those are the same people that supported him in his candidacy and other people like him in the government. So as far as him wanting to eradicate the drug flow into United States I don’t think so, because that would take away from their pocket book.
Undocumented, yeah there is bad apples in there too. And those bad apples, we don’t want them either, we don’t like them either and they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
If he wants to talk about violence. Why doesn’t he talk about the children murdered, massacred by his gun trotting hate filled, racist supporters in the United States?
JONATHAN GONZALES: We all know our countries have gangs and all that, and of course we know that MS 13 does a lot of bad things. But we all know that in United States more people are killed by the police not the gangs. When a hispanic, black or muslim gets killed, nobody talks about that.
But when a white american man kills all these people like the thing that happened in Boston or the discoteque, where all these white men are killing a lot of people. Why isn’t he talking about that? What do they say? -Oh he’s got mental problems-.
That is just an excuse.
NARRATOR: It is often the innocent who pay the price
ROBERT VIVAR: As a father and as a grandfather, you know, there is a lot of children that are being affected. And in every child that I see, I see my grandchild, I see my son I see my daughter. Those fleeing violence, fleeing persecution, extreme poverty, is something that as a human being has to hit home, hit your heart.
MARIA: In our country there is a lot of crime. And sometimes you get threatened, even if you didn’t commit a crime. And that is why I protect my face, because if we go on television or anything like that [it would be bad]. They will be watching.
If you come here it is because you have troubles back home, due to the gangs, and if they see me, you know…
NARRATOR: Many members of the migrant caravan, fleeing gang violence, are in danger if they ever go back; even for some people currently in the US, deportation means a death warrant.
JONATHAN GONZALES: When I was in detention I met 3 guys, they I knew that if these guys got deported they would get killed and they are dead already.
Because when I was there, I heard that one guy got deported and a day later he got killed. The second one was deported two months ago, at the same time, the other two friends I met over there, got killed the day they returned.
NARRATOR: With the Federal Government shut down over the 5 Billion Dollars President Trump has asked for to construct the wall, and the American public polarized even more after the speech, the only thing certain is that more migrants on both sides of the border will continue to suffer.
Follow The Real News for more reporting on the issue.
Oscar León is an experienced international press correspondent and documentary filmmaker based in Arizona. His work has reached continental TV broadcast in many occasions on Telesur, ECTV, Ecuavisa, Radio Canada, Canal Uno and even Fox Sports Latin America and El Garaje TV; he has been a TRNN correspondent since 2010. Oscar has reported from as many as 9 countries and more than 12 cities in US; his coverage includes TV reports, special reports and TV specials, not only covering social movements, politics and economics but environmental issues, culture and sports as well. This includes the series "Reportero del Sur", "Occupy USA - El Otoño Americano", "Habia una vez en Arizona", "Motor X" all TV mini series broadcasted to all Americas and "Once upon a time in Arizona" finalist in Radio Canada's "Migration" 2010 contest.