Sharing the Set for a Cause: NBC10 and Telemundo62 Co-Host DACA Phone Bank
"Due to high viewer demand, this was the fourth community phone bank that Telemundo62 hosted this year related to immigration issues. The previous phone bank in July 2017, which aired on Telemundo62 and focused on immigration, garnered more than 200 calls in only 90 minutes. The focus of the fourth was on 'DACA', wherein we partnered with local Latino organizations to answer viewer's questions and concerns about immigration issues." - Diana Torralvo, NBC10 and Telemundo62
Roughly 23% of eligible recipients under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program- also known as DACA -had not submitted their two-year status renewals by October 5th (CNN), the deadline set by The Trump Administration and The Department of Homeland Security. If Congressional action does not take place to save the DACA program or to replace it with an alternative, nearly 800,000 DREAMers will lose their protection.
About ten days before the October 5th doomsday, local efforts were being made to ensure that Philadelphian DACA recipients had the knowledge and the comprehension of the steps needed to re-apply for active status, and the current fate of DACA as it stands. NBC10 and Telemundo62 co-hosted an informational phone bank, sharing the same small studio space to alternate back-and-forth between station footage, hoping to sustain robust bilingual coverage that could reach all the screens of Latino DREAMers in the City, and the hearts of those supporting their frantic, overwhelming rush to reach deadline and to do so without falling into any legal scams or general dubiousness.
The charming Telemundo62 anchor from Puerto Rico, Ramón Zayas, considered the experience of sharing the set for a cause with his parallel, Emmy-winning journalist and NBC10 anchor Rosemary Connors, to be of great importance, given that: “It’s part of our commitment as a news organization to give this valuable information out to the Latino community, especially since we are so close to the limit of DACA renewal. I mean, we’re talking about close to a million young people who have been terribly affected by this outcome, and it’s very important that we direct them towards safety.” Zayas, in brief, clarified that the DACA renewal process was rather complicated and “tricky”. For example, just a “simple little mistake”, like writing the wrong address, or illegibly writing your name, would have voided the application entirely. And, by that point- considering the narrow time frame to turn-in forms -an eligible undocumented immigrant’s chance to continue working, studying, and making valuable contributions to our society would have most likely been rendered obsolete.
As a result, the paramount responsibility of informing the phone bank callers was left to volunteer experts to provide free and confidential counsel from prominent local Hispanic organizations, including Ceiba, Juntos, Nationality Services Center, and The Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia. Though the experts, along with the anchor or anchorwoman, appeared on-camera, the conversations with the concerned advisees were kept private from the broadcast.
Carlos Enrique Torres Corona, the Consul of Media and Promotion to the Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia, shared during a break he took from picking up the lines at the live informational event, that he and many of his colleagues working for the Mexican Government were “surprised” by the decision to rescind DACA, and that it was “lamentable” that the United States Government had taken that path. He believes that a dialogue is necessary between our nations in order to expose the truth about what DACA recipients are all about, because there is a lack of understanding and a climate of fear surrounding Central and South American immigration in the U.S. “DREAMers are nurses, they are students, they are entrepreneurs… They are making contributions to your economy and to your society. They are producing; they are not ‘taking jobs’. In fact, they are providing resources and have proven to be valuable assets in general for your workforce. We need to come together, and we need to spread the word about the truth,” Torres propounded.
Now, with the future of DACA, hanging by a yo-yo’d thread in the toying hands of Congress, it is imperative that media outlets, non-profits, grassroots organizations, and government officials continue to join forces to keep our communities informed and safeguarded in the most comprehensive and efficacious way possible.