Geraldo Rivera Stands Up for the Undocumented

By Mary Ann Zehr — March 06, 2008 1 min read
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Geraldo Rivera, the T.V. star who hosts a show on Fox News, has written a book, His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S. He argues that the U.S. Congress should provide a path to legalization for the 12 million people in this country lacking residency or citizenship papers.

He writes: “Who but the most eager and hardy can walk across forty or fifty miles of parched desert, dodge dopers, coyotes, and the feds, endure hardship and risk life and limb just to get a job at the other end of a gauntlet of discomfort and anxiety? Don’t you want these tough sons of guns on our team?”

Passion this man does not lack. In April 2007, Geraldo (it doesn’t seem right to call him Mr. Rivera, as is my usual style in this blog) got into a shouting match over the issue of illegal immigration with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on T.V.

“You want anarchy—open-borders anarchy,” shouted Bill O’Reilly.
“I want fairness,” Geraldo shouted back.

Geraldo, whose father is Puerto Rican and whose mother is Jewish, touches on education in his book, noting that “one of the historic obstacles of the linguistic assimilation of immigrant children has been the traditional reluctance of Hispanic parents to become involved in their children’s education.”

He adds: “Whether because of the more authoritative educational model in Latin countries or just immigrant shyness, many parents expect schools to assume complete responsibility for their children’s education.” He tells about a school district in Surry County, N.C., that has set up Hispanic Parent Teacher Organization meetings to get parents more engaged.

To read an excerpt of the book and learn more about Geraldo’s views on immigration, listen to National Public Radio’s interview with him from this week. Blogger Literanista says that His Panic is the first in a series of books about Hispanic personalities that Penguin Group plans to publish under its new imprint, Celebra.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.