Tucker Carlson battled out the issue of immigration and demographic change with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, and his recent controversial statement about whose country it is. They debated Wednesday on Fox News.
"So, at an event several weeks ago in February," Carlson began, "you said this and I wanted to ask you about it, and I'm quoting you, 'I'm a proud Latino immigrant here in the United States. You know what is exactly going on here in the U.S.? There are many people who do not want us to be here, and they want to create a wall in order to separate us. But you know what, this is also our country. Let me repeat this, our country, not theirs. It's our country."
"Who is the 'us' and who is the "they"?" he asked, "Who's country is it?"
"This is our country," Ramos responded, "it is your, it is mine, and it is ours. And the interesting thing is that with the Trump administration and many people who support Donald Trump, they think it is their country, that it is a white country, and they are absolutely wrong. This is not a white country, it is not their country, it is ours, and that's precisely what I'm saying."
"Look, in 2044," he continued, talking over Carlson's interruption, "the white population will become a minority, it will be a minority-majority country. That's precisely what I'm saying. Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, or whites, it is our country, Tucker."
"Right, yeah, let me point out, you are white," Carlson laughed, "Obviously, you're whiter than I am, you've got blue eyes. So, I mean, I don't know exactly what you mean by 'white' or 'Latino.' But let me ask you again, to explain, 'our country, not theirs,' who is they? Whose country is it not?"
"Well, many people who want to go back to 1965," Ramos explained, "when there was a white majority. Many people who believe that Latinos and immigrants and refugees shouldn't be here. That's precisely what I was referring to."
"So it's not their country, it doesn't belong to those people?" Carlson added, "What are you saying?"
"It's also their country, but it's not only their country," Ramos replied. "They have to understand that this is a multi-cultural, multi-racial country. And we have to live and be tolerant. And that is exactly what I was referring to."
"Well definitely, I certainly," Carlson added, "agree with that. Now I don't want to bring this to race, you did, so I'm gonna follow up on that. You've posited yourself as a leader of Latinos, and I'm not exactly sure what that word means. So Latinos seem to encompass, I dunno, German Guatemalans, and Italian-Argentines, and Afro-Cubans, and non-Spanish speaking Peruvians, and I don't know, blue-eyed rich Mexicans like you. What do those groups have in common, exactly?"
"What we have in common," Ramos said, "is that mostly, we come from a region in the world, Latin America, and there are many differences, many people call them Latino, many people call them Hispanic, and we tend to speak more Spanish at home than others, we have not only hundreds but thousands of mass media in our own language in contrast with what happened with Italians or Europeans before us. So in other words, it's a kind of immigration that has a distinct characteristics that others didn't have before."
Carlson pressed him on the differences among people under the "Latino" banner, and he answered that it, "mostly has to do with the country of origin, to which Carlson responded, "OK, it still doesn't make any sense to me at all, but as a political matter it makes a lot of sense, because it allows people like you to say 'I represent everybody on an entire continent, when clearly, that's not true."
The debate continued after a commercial break, when Carlson asked, "get back to the point you were making a minute ago that Americans have no right to be concerned about the dramatic, demographic change taking place in their country. Let me stipulate, I'm for getting along, I'm for color-blindness, I'm for tolerance, one hundred percent. But I also think that if things radically change in your country, it's OK for you to say, 'what is this' and maybe I don't want to live in a country that looks nothing like the country I grew up in. Is that bigoted? It seems to me in Mexico you'd be allowed to say that."
"Well we have to understand that there's a demographic wave," Ramos replied, "or revolution if you want to call it, happening right here in the United States. And right now there are about 60 million Latinos, in another 35 years there's gonna be 200 million latinos, so there's a demographic revolution or a Latino revolution going on."
"Now on the other hand, if you are implying that there's an invasion going on in the United States..." Ramos accused.
"I'm not saying invasion," Carlson interrupted, "I'm merely saying you're name-calling. You come to this country, you make a ton of money, then you yell at people who say 'wait a second, this is having an effect on my kid's school on my culture, on the economy,' and your point is you're not allowed to have that opinion."
"Actually, that's not true," Ramos disagreed, "It's having an impact, but it's having a positive impact."
"Yeah, in some ways it is, but not in all ways." Carlson allowed. The debate got side-tracked on how much of a benefit immigrants provide to the United States, which Carlson quibbled with, but moved on about.
I just want to make a point that there's a downside as well. There's clearly an upside. And we all recognize it, people like immigrants actually in America, despite your claims, they do. But there's also a downside, 15% of federal inmates, prisoners, are Mexican citizens, so like, why should I be allowed to say that's a problem? I don't want those criminals here, from another country, they're not even citizens.
"That's precisely the problem, because you," Ramos answered, "like Donald Trump are also criminalizing the immigrant population that's not true."
"Criminalizing?" Carlson objected, "I'm noting a fact about who they are."
"It is not true," Ramos disagreed, "These are the facts: 97% of undocumented immigrants, 97%, are good people. Less than three percent, are 'bad hombres,' or they committed a felony."
"I'm not arguing that the vast majority are criminals," Carlson said, "Their presence here illegally is a crime, and I think we should be honest about that. But most are decent people, I agree, and most Americans agree. 15% of all federal inmates in America are Mexican citizens, that's not a small number, that's many many many thousands. That doesn't mean they're all bad. That's a big number."
Ramos said he did not know the source of Carlson's statistic, to which he replied, "so you don't actually know anything about this. So that's what I'm saying here. You're making generalizations that are not rooted in fact."
Ramos repeated his statistic that 3% of undocumented immigrants compared to 6% of American citizens commit felonies, concluding, "in other words, the more immigrants that you have, the less crime that you have." Ramos then admitted that Mexico treats illegal immigrants terribly, and said it should be no example for immigration policy.
"Let me just ask you very quickly, would you just acknowledge the truth, which you're obviously a very rich person and I, y'know, I'm around rich people a lot. Rich people in America disproportionately benefit from low-wage, low-skilled immigration in the form of household help, in the form of cheap labor. Let's be totally honest. The middle of the country doesn't benefit a whole lot from this. It lowers wages, they don't hire a lot of household help. And there is a lot of crime whether you're willing to admit it or not."
After a skirmish about crime, he continued, "it doesn't actually help an American citizen born here making $40 grand a year to have a bunch of people willing to work for $20 grand a year move to his town. Will you concede that?"
"No, there's a minimum impact, you can laugh all you want, but that's not the truth. Because you're laughing, that doesn't mean it's the truth. Check the National Academy of Science, there's an immigration surplus, in overall, immigrants contribute much more to the economy than what they take away in the equation. Those are the facts. Some people might be affected, but overall, which is what we care about, overall, they have a positive impact."
President Trump's campaign platform included shutting down sanctuary cities, building a border wall, and deporting illegal aliens, but he has hit some roadblocks since coming into office. Some sanctuary cities are fighting back, even as some cave to his demands, while faith leaders in some states are organizing "safe houses" to keep illegal aliens from being caught by immigration officials.
Democrats have also vowed to keep Obama's "Dream Act" amnesty policies, and Trump has even signaled that he's willing to consider allowing them some kind of legal status.