Immigration portrayal in the media

The media seems to use immigrants as scapegoats for America’s problems.

The United States has always been known as the Land of Opportunity, the place to fulfill the American Dream and is commonly referred to as “The Melting Pot.” As a U.S. citizen, I have always been proud of the diversity that surrounds me because of our nation’s long and ever-changing immigrant history. Lately, however, it seems to me that a shift to nativism has overcome many and has incited a great deal of anti-immigrant sentiment throughout the country.

What has really disappointed me in the past few days is the media coverage of the bus crash in Cottonwood and its relation to the immigration issue. These types of crashes are tragic events that occur far too often in our society, but I don’t believe it is fair to the victims of the bus crash nor to immigrants, documented or undocumented alike, to turn the incident into a stage to debate the issue of undocumented immigration.

The Pioneer Press’s headline on Feb. 25 about the bus crash was titled “Her name’s Olga Franco. She’s 24 and Guatemalan.” Upon reading this, I was shocked and disappointed at the same time. While I understand that headlines are what sell in the news industry, I also hope that the Pioneer Press chooses headlines that do not send messages about immigrants that perpetuate negative stereotypes.

Olga Franco did not cause this accident because she was Guatemalan, she did it because of a human mistake. In the United States today, there are many documented citizens with as many or more traffic citations than Franco had and many people who lie in the face of punishment. I feel those people are just as prone to cause accidents like the one she caused or be found out by the law. This time, however, it was her.

The connection to her nationality and citizenship status had nothing to do with the children who died, neither with her traffic violations nor with circumstances of the accident. In the future, I ask that individuals in the media, leaders who inform our nation and communities about the events surrounding us, try harder to cover the real issues at hand and dispel stereotypes rather than falsely perpetuating them in their coverage.

Jennifer Decker is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]