60 Minutes gives us a migrant sob story except that all signs suggest the migrant is pretty rich

CBS's 60 Minutes could have had an interesting story about how middle class people in El Salvador are entering the U.S. illegally now, yet are generally tenderfoots when they enter the illegal alien scene as well as ill-equipped to take on the elements as previous Central American rural poor have successfully done.

But why do a truthful story like that when a cookie-cutter activist narrative is out there to parrot the leftist line that President Trump is evil for trying to keep a border on the U.S. and everyone in El Salvador is poor and oppressed and dodging bullets?

The news show began with a sad story of Tania Avalos, who, along with her purported husband and daughter, attempted to cross the rain-swollen Rio Grande river illegally, resulting in two deaths. 60 Minutes matched the event to a widely reported news photo of the two dead bodies in the river. The man who died was Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, and toddler was named Valeria. The news show never got around to asking why the last names of the parents did not match, and tellingly, never gave the last name of the father which is kind of an indicator of something they don't want us to know. After all, 'who, what, where...' -- the old news industry standard. Were they really a family or were they cobbling together a fake family to take advantage of asylum laws as large numbers of migrants do? They certainly knew enough about it to understand that they were to surrender to the Border Patrol, so they weren't utter naifs as they had been portrayed in terms of their odds. Sad story indeed, and yes, as Avalos says, it was the result of Martinez's bad decision. 

Thousands of poorer migrants have made it across the Rio Grande in years past however, but the three Salvadorans and their Salvadoran friend didn't stand a chance. First, they were set upon by thugs at the border who demanded more than a thousand dollars in crossing fees, which apparently intimidated them as tenderfoots, and in fact raises a separate story about how open borders are never actually free borders. How this could have happened on a public bridge with presumably two sets of border guards from two nations watching on each end was not explained, however. Then they decided to swim across the river, despite Avalos not being able to swim and quite possibly Martinez not having much swim knowledge either. City people, they likely wouldn't know much about swimming. They knew nothing about rivers or currents as agricultural migrants might, and the two people drowned.

As the boilerplate story of misery and oppression in El Salvador was being told as the backdrop to the whole picture, a funny thing started to be noticible about the survivor being interviewed: She looked rich. She had expensive hair color streaks in her hair, nail polish on her hands, and cateye-style eyeliner, expertly applied, as if makeup were something she had plenty of money to buy a lot of in order to get into good practice. The jacket she had on had expensive rounded gold buttons and her shirt was hardly some crummy tshirt often seen on poor migrants, it was an expensive gathered neckline blouse that looked new. Photos were shown of her with Martinez wearing fashionable high heels in one instance and a costly red dress in another. She whipped out an expensive and new-looking cell phone to show the 60 Minutes interviewer pictures of her daughter:

Image credit: 60 Minutes// fair use

More tellingly still, both she and her husband (or "husband" perhaps) had jobs, which is not typical of shantytown life at all in Latin America, it's typical of El Salvador's middle class.

How much would such jobs have paid? Well, according to Teleport, which examines salaries in San Salvador, a waiter makes $2,467 a month and a cashier makes $2,358 a month, and it comes in U.S. dollars not crummy peso-type currency that loses its value. With annual salaries north of $25,000, and in a presumably two-income family, it comes to a $50,000 annual income for a family of three, quite enough to buy cell phones, motorcycles and a daily makeup supply.

It's a far cry from the poverty blather 60 Minutes put in its transcript. What's more, El Salvador is a country that has experienced strong growth and rising incomes in the last few years, enough for some people to think of taking that seed capital earned in the booming local economy and putting it to better use up north. It was clear from the interview that Avalos was interested in a better salary and better opportunities. The only thugs she mentioned encountering were on the bridge between the two states.

That's a story, 60 Minutes missed it. Such a shame because they could have had something interesting -- middle class migrants are now joining the move northward and they're less equipped for the illegal entry even if they might be better equipped to succeed here. Missed it. Too much more import to them to put out leftist boilerplate about poor migrants and wicked borders, all in the name of Getting Trump.

Image credit: 60 Minutes screen shot // fair use



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