BuzzFeed Reporter Highlights National And Local Immigration Issues

Nov 8, 2018

President Trump recently announced plans to end birthright citizenship, which grants citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil, including children of undocumented immigrants. KUNR’s Karina Gonzalez recently sat down with BuzzFeed News reporter, Adolfo Flores, to talk about immigration issues including the migrant caravan.

Adolfo, you’ve covered a variety of immigration issues including the family separations at the border. Tell me about what that experience was like.

You know, I was covering family separations back in November, before the Zero Tolerance policy went into effect. I think what changed a lot the conversation around the family separations this summer was the audio that we heard of kids crying, the video of that little girl — you know, ProPublica got that audio and I think being able to hear and see where these kids were, for the public, I think it really did lead to change. I think it’s hard for folks, who — no matter what side you're on, to listen to kids cry like that and not have sympathy for them. Our job isn't to advocate for either side right, but our job is to show the public the full scope of the story.

In addition to the family separations, you’ve also been covering the migrant caravan which is happening now. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

So, I went and I never imagined that it would get the attention that it got. It was very intense, it was hard. And just kind of watching that journey for those people was an experience for me. Like as a reporter, those are the kind of stories you want to write about, that you wanna be there for and document.

What would you say are the most important things people should know about the caravan?

I think people need to remember that they're not gonna show up at the border and storm in. You know, it's not an army of invading immigrants. Last time out of like the 1,500 -1,200, only 20%, about 20% I would say, made it to the border to seek asylum. If they are seeking asylum, I think it's — legally, they're allowed to. Everyone has their own reasons for being there, but the biggest concern that I had with the coverage was this sort of, this perception that this group was gonna overrun the country. And as a reporter, I was worried because my job is to get the truth out there and that was not the truth, and I felt like I didn't — you know you always wanna do a better job at making that point.

While you’re covering immigration on the national scope, how do you see local communities being impacted by immigration?

You know, you have an administration that's telling people that they could lose immigration services if they were recipients of public benefits. You know, that's gonna affect not just immigrants but U.S. citizen kids whose parents would have gotten those benefits, who may still be able to get them without losing anything, but now everyone's so scared losing that, that they're not gonna risk it. Well, yeah but you see raids — I haven't looked at the numbers — they may be the same as the Obama administration which did do them. But because of this fear that's instilled in these communities, when something happens, it invertebrates I think a lot wider and like that fear is magnified. With TPS ending, a lot of families are starting to like think of, 'What are my next steps?'. Kids are starting to think of 'What my life may be like without my parents here?', 'Will I follow my parents back home?' 'Will I stay here? I'm a U.S. citizen.' You know those are really hard questions for a family to ponder, let alone a child. Also I think the psychological impacts that the family separations had on families such as kids, on spouses, is gonna be something worth looking at down the line.

Karina Gonzalez is a senior at the Reynolds School of Journalism and works for Noticiero Móvil, a Spanish-English multimedia news outlet for Northern Nevada.