Dear NAHJ members,

This morning, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) requested meetings with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure that there is transparency, access, accuracy and accountability as our members report on a humanitarian crisis at the border that primarily affects children and adults of color.

NAHJ is advocating for:

  • Journalists to have immediate, meaningful accompanied access to centralized processing centers, detention facilities, group homes and other temporary housing for any migrant children, parents, unaccompanied minors or other people who were separated or detained at the border under Trump administration policies.
  • Journalists to have immediate, meaningful accompanied access to any staff at these facilities.
  • Journalists to have audio and video access to any facilities with the understanding that children’s identities should be protected.
  • Journalists to have access to proceedings involving the Executive Office for Immigration Review and other immigration proceedings where decisions are made regarding the rights of children and adults involved in this humanitarian crisis.

Additionally, NAHJ is advocating for government accountability, including but not limited to:

  • Regular phone call briefings and weekly updated information/data on people prosecuted for illegal crossings, on asylum seekers and on unaccompanied minors in detention or at shelters and on how many parents or family members have been reunited with their children.
  • Regular briefings on the process to reunite migrant children with their parents.

The association has a longstanding history of advocating for transparency, truth and government accountability. We fight for a free press and First Amendment rights that strengthen our democracy. We know that the information and access we are advocating for is vital to the public interest.

Similar to other national journalism organizations, we work to ensure journalists can do their jobs and have access to a free flow of information with the government agencies they cover.

NAHJ calls on newsrooms across the nation reporting on immigration and migration to use fair and accurate language in describing people and families at the border. No human being is illegal and seeking asylum is not illegal. For clarification on appropriate references, terms and other questions, reporters and newsrooms may always reach out to the association.

Since the evening of June 17, 2018, NAHJ has remained focused on newsrooms being fair and accurate while reporting on this humanitarian crisis at the border.  Part of that is working to ensure we have as many voices at the table as possible and keeping this coverage front and center.

NAHJ leadership has been in constant communication to newsrooms to expand their staff, guests and contributors to include more Latino journalists, and urges newsroom leaders to include Spanish-speaking journalists in their coverage of these issues to ensure that the voices of Spanish-speaking migrants are included in all stories related to these migration and humanitarian issues.

If newsrooms do not employ a Spanish-speaking journalist to accurately translate the messages and stories of the Spanish-speaking migrants, NAHJ insists on newsrooms employing an independent translator and not rely on the use of government officials as personal translators.

Similar to our continued efforts in the past year for communications in Puerto Rico, the Albuquerque Journal and our advocacy for Manuel Duran, NAHJ leadership is focused on advocating for the issues that are within the association’s mission and best support journalists who give a voice to the voiceless. This is when journalism matters most.

With over 2,200 members our association is at its largest in almost a decade. We want our members to know we hear you and we share your concerns.

We are asking for all of our colleagues in journalism to support our call for transparency, access, accuracy, fairness and accountability. We will continue to share important journalism stories on this humanitarian crisis at the border through our NAHJ Twitter and Facebook accounts—we ask that you join us in this effort.

Sincerely,

 

Brandon Benavides

NAHJ President