The surge of unaccompanied minors along the United States’ southern border has raised tensions on both sides of the political divide. Fifty-thousand unaccompanied kids, mostly from Central America, are now in U.S. shelters.
President Obama has asked Congress to provide nearly $4 billion to tackle the growing crisis. Yet he declined to visit the border during this week’s visit with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
NPR’s Media Correspondent David Folkenflik joined Fusion Live to discuss how the media is portraying the border crisis, and how public opinion has been influenced by the language used by conservative talk radio pundits on one side, and human-rights activists on the other.
“The way in which we talk about these people however very much I think affects the way in which the general country thinks about it,” said NPR’s Folkenflik. People’s opinion about unaccompanied minors from Mexico and Central America tends to be influenced by words like “illegal” or “refugee,” he said.
Ultimately, words matter — especially in states such as Texas, where 40 percent of the population is of Latino decent, Folkenlik said.
“It’s an interesting moment — almost a pivot point for the state as it figures out how it wants to address this issue of people coming from the south,” he said.