Telemundo Arizona issues an apology for using the word "Illegal"

On a five o'clock transmission of Telemundo Arizona the reporter Diego Santiago utilized the phrase "Illegal Immigrants" over and over again. The report was referring to a DPS female officer that discovered she's an Undocumented Immigrant. The reporter went so far as to say that someone was going to have to pay for the broken plates! The reporter was making reference to possible criminal charges for the former officer. What the hell is that? Is the Telemundo reporter, Prosecutor, Jury, Judge and Executioner?

The audio is available below:

I covered this on my radio show this morning and asked my listeners to help me in pressuring Telemundo Arizona and Telemundo National into issuing a retraction and apology for their offensive statements. To be clear, the use of the word "Illegal" when referring to an undocumented Immigrant is inappropriate and demeaning. No person can be illegal. The act of entering the U.S. without proper authorization may be a violation of the existing Immigration laws, but that does not render the "person" an "illegal." 

We launched our campaign via phone calls, tweets, Facebook and emails. I finally reached someone at Telemundo Arizona around 4 o'clock this afternoon. I spoke to Noe Gonzalez from Telemundo Arizona. He quickly stated they were "taking care" of the inappropriate use of the phrase "Illegal Immigrant." I made it very clear that we, the Latino community, were insisting on a retraction and apology! He assured me the news producer would call me. She, of course, did not call me. I provided two different phone numbers. One of them Noe Gonzalez already had because he has interviewed me numerous times.

Within one hour from that conversation, at the 5 o'clock newscast, Telemundo Arizona finally stepped up to the plate and issued a formal apology. I would have liked to have seen them lead the newscast with the retraction, since they ran the offensive words as a lead story last night, but, the apology was issued and that is what we, the Latino community demanded.

There are two lessons to be learned here. While Telemundo Arizona broadcast the offensive words "Illegal Immigrant" to describe an undocumented woman who had amazingly worked for the Department of Public Safety as an officer for over a decade without knowing that she was in fact an undocumented Immigrant, FOX 10 News Arizona was covering the same story referring to the same woman utilizing the term, "Undocumented Immigrant." We all complain about FOX and how slanted they are and how offensive they have behaved towards undocumented Immigrants, but even they know better than to use a nonsensical, yet offensive term like "Illegal Immigrant." Lesson one? Don't always believe that someone or some entity who speaks your own native language is looking out for your best interest or is not willing to offend you in the course of doing business. The next lesson is that when citizens coalesce and form a common selfless goal and push the envelope to achieve that goal, much can truly be achieved. When Dee Dee Blase Garcia, who used to be a Republican, and who has garnered the scorn of many on the extreme left, joined me, and other wonderful activists in hammering this corporate giant, Telemundo Arizona, we achieved what we wanted for our community. Lesson two? Don't hold grudges with those who used to be politically opposite to you. We all evolve, Dee Dee Blase Garcia moved center and I moved center left. Five years ago, you would have wagered that neither of us would have ever moved center on any of our political positions. Lessons learned?

The apology from Telemundo Arizona in Spanish is available below. I've translated it to English for you here:

And before we say goodbye, on behalf of Telemundo Arizona, we would like to offer the entire Immigrant community a public apology.

Yesterday, in one of our coverages, an incorrect term was utilized to refer to the undocumented immigrants that live in the country.

In no manner, and for no reason, or under any circumstances, did Telemundo Arizona intend to offend any one. It was a mistake that we obviously regret, It’s unfortunate and that is why we once again would like to offer the entire immigrant community a huge apology, confirming our commitment to always be at your disposal.”
— Ruben Pereida, anchor, Telemundo Arizona
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