Latin American Press Enters Immigration Debate

The top story in the Latin American press this week—almost without exception—was the debate over the future of undocumented immigrant workers in the US.

In El Salvador, the daily La Prensa Grafica exclaimed, "Thousands march for legalization in the US," from the front page. "Immigrants make their voice heard," proclaimed El Diario de Hoy. There are 2.5 million Salvadorans in the United States who send back $2.8 billion to their families in El Salvador each year.

Both papers were partial to the plight of undocumented Salvadoran immigrants and critical of HR 4437, the bill that would criminalize undocumented immigrants and anyone who assists them while in the US. However, Sunday’s La Prensa mimicked President Bush’s statement that the failure of the "three-tiered" bill—which would have divided immigrants into three classes based on an arbitrary "date-of-entry" formula—was the fault of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. No other contextualization was provided.

La Prensa also printed a piece by Kalena de Velado that pulled at heartstrings and pleaded that current immigration law prevents the unification of families. She ended her piece by calling for prayer for a resolution to the question of undocumented immigrants. She would not specify which proposal she supported.

In Mexico, the daily Universal set up an online poll for Mexicans immigrants in the US that asked, "You live over there? Tell us: What’s the feeling within the Mexican and Latino community?"

The same paper issued an editorial noting, "The [Mexican] contribution to the US economy has not impeded, at least in the case of Mexicans, that [immigrants] lose their sense of national pride rooted in the dignity of their origins, and this demands particular attention from the Government of Señor Fox."