Nely Galán, the former president of entertainment for Spanish-language TV network Telemundo, set the record straight on "illegal immigration" during an appearance on Fox News Monday.
Galán went on Fox & Friends to discuss Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Galán was a contestant on Trump's reality TV show Celebrity Apprentice in 2008.
During the segment, Galán discussed some entrepreneurial achievements made by women and Latino immigrants of late before expressing her concerns about Trump's messaging toward both groups.
"That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees," Trump told a female Celebrity Apprentice contestant once, according to a recent New York Times article that documents his horrid treatment of women over the years. Trump also called Mexican immigrants "killers" and "rapists" at a rally where he announced his campaign bid in June.
But after Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade defended Trump's hostility toward "illegal immigrants, not immigrants," Galán called him out for his use of the term "illegal" — and shut Kilmeade down.
"First of all, we don't even like that word, 'illegal immigrant,'" she said. "It's 'undocumented people.'"
Here's a transcript of the conversation:
BRIAN KILMEADE: But I think his problem is illegal immigrants, not immigrants.
GALAN: Well, you know, that's like saying I like this minority, but not that minority.
KILMEADE: Not really.
PETE HEGSETH: No, no, no. Isn't that not a fair and important distinction?
GALAN: Well it's not fair, because when you talk about people en masse, right, and you — it's like if you say to me, "I don't like illegal immigrants." Well, a lot if those illegal — I'm one of those people that at one point was —
HEGSETH: Well, illegal immigration, right.
GALAN: First of all, we don't even like that word, "illegal immigrant" — it's "undocumented people."
KILMEADE: What do you call people that come across the border without permission?
GALAN: Well, people that come across the border are undocumented. But I think, without getting into that because I'm not a political pundit, what I care about is how we speak about people in this country. I think you have to remember that people, like Latinos for instance, who are— Latina women are the number-one emerging market in the world, right, in the U.S. You know, when you speak about people in a way that's not lifting them up, that's not honoring all the good things that they're doing, and what you hear is something's wrong with these people, that's not the right messaging. And I think you have to remember that Latinos are very conservative people. When you look at the idea that Republicans in general have not really messaged properly to all of these diverse people.
Calling someone an illegal immigrant isn't just unfair: Anti-immigrant advocates use the term to dehumanize people crossing the border in hopes of a brighter future.
While entering the U.S. without a documentation is a civil offense and not a criminal one, pundits used the language of criminality to demonize undocumented people and link them to illicit activities — despite that native-born Americans commit more crimes than Latino immigrants by a landslide.
The media is complicit in painting this picture as well. According to Jose Antonio-Vargas at TIME, journalists politicize and editorialize on the immigration issue when they use the term "illegal immigrant" — a serious problem, especially when their role is to maintain fairness and neutrality.
As a result, many news organizations have started using the term "undocumented immigrants" when referring to people crossing the U.S. border without documentation. It's high time Fox News followed suit.
You can watch the full video of Nely Galán setting the record straight here.