Offers Immigrants Legal Residence
7/28/04 - Notimex news release
Los Angeles, U.S.A., July 21, 2004 (Notimex) - A television
show offering as the top prize legal residency for
undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles caused a great deal of
controversy among activists here, where it was described as
"shameful", "ridiculous", and "revolting".
The show, something akin to "Fear factor" on American TV,
challenges participants to eat things like raw animal
entrails, even live animals such as worms, or to clean the
windows of a building over 20 stories tall.
The spot on Channel 62 called "Gana la verde" promises the
winning undocumented immigrant, who might feel like throwing
up what he just gulped down, the company will cover the
expenses of gaining legal residency in the United States.
"Even though they eat a live elephant, if U.S. immigration
officials say no, it's no," said Angela Zambrano, director of
the Central Americans` Refugee Center (Carecen) warning of
risks for the company and the undocumented immigrants
"It's highly questionable for anyone to attain their residency
in this way, it is only issued if the requestor qualifies
under immigration law, therefore, the risk is that they are
toying with a person's dreams," she explained.
In a separate interview, community activist Xavier Gonzalez
pointed out the show "is shameful and a disgrace since it only
embarrasses people, even tortures them, to see if they can
have a chance at a green card."
"Watching this show is like seeing bread being offered to the
famished or when the Romans threw the Christians to the lions
for the people's entertainment, it's unethical," he stressed.
Besides, he explained, if a person seeking legal residency
hires a good lawyer, once they qualify, the proceeding usually
costs between 500 and 10 thousand dollars, therefore the prize
is not really as attractive as they make it seem.
Nativo Lopez, leader of Hermandad Mexicana Nacional (HMN) said
the show is only ridiculing a human condition to a degree that
it plays with people's needs in a revolting manner.
"The sad part is that shows like these compete with the most
revolting American TV has to offer instead of competing at a
cultural level people are demeaned, it's incredible," he said.
For his part, Luis Carrillo, an attorney distinguished for his
activities in favor of immigrants warned that many people will
be unable to attain their residency even if they win shows of
this kind, those whom the law considers legally disqualified
This means that false hopes are being generated exploiting the
enormous needs and despair of an entire community.
Miguel Vanogian, programming director for Channel 62 would not
take any calls asking for his opinion on the show.