BONILLA: Univision's 'Rio Grande Swim Class' Story Part of Its Immigration Advocacy

MRC Latino | April 19, 2022
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GREG KELLY, So- take a look at these folks. They are swimming the Rio Grande. Funny- I've seen people walk across it. I haven't seen too much of this but swimming across the Rio Grande? People do it to get into our country illegally. And oh, by the way, it's very, very dangerous. An interesting media campaign south of the border to help these people is underway. I’d like to first bring in Jorge Bonilla. He is the director of the Media Research Center Latino. Jorge, welcome back to Newsmax. How are you, sir? 

JORGE BONILLA: I'm doing great. Thank you for having me back. 

KELLY: So look, we have a news clip. There’s instructional programs in places like Nicaragua and other places, aimed at teaching people how to swim across the Rio Grande. I was a little bit shocked. We're going to show a clip in a moment. Do you think this was a one-off thing? You know- a television segment because they were filling time? Or is this a systemic, widespread effort to really teach people how to swim across this river? 

BONILLA: It's part of a systemic effort. Certainly, promoting a video that would give people the hope of learning how to swim across the river is part of that system. These networks, both Univision and Telemundo Greg, they depend on a constant inflow of illegal immigrants in order to survive. Jorge Ramos went to Harvard, in 2015 I believe it was, and he said as much. He said that so long as you have a million and a half to two million illegal immigrants coming over year after year, Spanish-language media will survive. So it's in these networks’ best corporate interest to promote illegal immigration whether it's giving airtime to coyotes or promoting swim classes across the dangerous Rio Grande. It's part and parcel of the plan. 

KELLY: Let me ask you- we're going to show the swim moment in a second, the program- and it's kind of wild that they're talking about it, but what are they getting at? Like, how does that media company do better? I mean, there are people who speak English and Spanish. And maybe they want to hear some Spanish television. Why do they need a constant influx of new audience members? 

BONILLA: Because if you look at the growth of the hispanic population in the U.S., Greg, it is mostly now -and it has been for years- people that are born in the U.S. So it may be that somebody comes over the river and watches Univision and Telemundo. But they have kids. They go to school in English. They watch whatever their friends are watching in English. When I was growing up, I didn't watch Univision and Telemundo routinely. I grew up watching channel 5 in New York. Uh, you know, Tom and Jerry cartoons, Bugs Bunny- in English. This was what I primarily consumed. So it follows that with these kids, you know, as they grow and as they acculturate into the U.S., they watch English language TV. So you need those new migrants coming over year after year in order to fill that void and to keep getting those eyeballs and those clicks.

KELLY: And now it looks like they're getting- giving lessons on how to get here because they need this audience. This is a clip from, I believe this is Univision, correct? That's correct. It's from Univision's midday newscast . Alright, let's take a look and again this guy is promoting a swim program to teach people how to swim across the Rio Grande. 

CAROLINA SARASSA: I ask you, Mario: Obviously, when people see the Rio Grande it looks very calm, still waters- like a pool. However, there are many currents which are very dangerous. What do you do so that your pool has turbulent waters like those of the Rio Grande and that people truly learn to swim against the current?

MARIO VENEIRO: We made a tunnel with some lanes inside the pool, and we placed 10 people with boards on each side and we created turbulence (by) splashing water on the person going over the channel.

KELLY: So they're really serious about this. I was taken aback that this should be on television. How to swim. Call me for a lesson. At the same time, do you think it actually, in a weird way, saves lives, or does it endanger them? 

BONILLA: It's probably, looking at it in the aggregate- it probably endangers them. If it gives people hope that they can swim over the Rio Grande, the Rio Grande, as we know, is very dangerous. It has a very strong current. You know, even a few feet of water is enough to drag somebody under with those strong currents. I mean, this isn't like when you're in the service, and they're giving you swim quals and they teach you how to roll and how to do survival swim. That's not gonna cut it in the Rio Grande with somebody who doesn't know how to swim. You gotta know how to swim. And all this does is really give people a false hope, and further promotes- with everything that's going on along the southern border, with Title 42 about to get ripped away, it just promotes more people coming into a dangerous situation. 

KELLY: And as we go to…as we go to break that water, it looks sometimes placid. It looks like you can swim it. You can't in places on the Rio Grande. It is very turbulent, very dangerous. And you don't want to go in there. Here they're walking and there are other areas where it's too deep. And you can't, so it's bad news all around. Jorge Bonilla. We appreciate it. From the Media Research Center, so much great work there. Thank you, sir. And we’ll be right back.


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