Piece of advice for Fox News hosts: Don't use the term "illegal immigrant." Not only is it offensive and dehumanizing, but according to one Latina executive, it’s an example of how conservatives fumble an opportunity to reach a crucial demographic.
Nely Galán, the first Latina television network president in the United States and former contestant on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, went on Fox & Friends to discuss the presumptive GOP nominee and his rhetoric on immigration, as well as her new book, SELF MADE: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way.
"It's never been a greater time in history to be a woman," said Galán. "Every company in America, every candidate in America has to look at this new reality that women in America, and particularly diverse women, are the sleeping giants in America. We are the ones that are the growth engine to the U.S. economy."
Galán attributes her unique perspective to her experience of having arrived in this country as an immigrant.
I came to this country when I was 5 from Cuba, and I think immigrants understand, really… they're more american than anybody, because we understand that we're grateful to be here. We come from countries where things haven't gone so great. We have incredible work ethic, and we have incredible drive because, we still know that, even with all the problems people talk about in America, this is an incredible place to take advantage of…
As Galén is interrupted, the conversation shifted to Donald Trump. When asked if she supports the candidate, she explained that his disparaging comments regarding immigrants are especially problematic.
"His problem is illegal immigrants, not immigrants," host Brian Kilmeade said.
"That's like saying 'I like this minority, but not that one,'" Galén countered. And when pressed whether the distinction between "legal" and "illegal" is a fair and important one, she answered in no uncertain terms.
“It’s not fair because when you talk about people en masse, right? It’s like if you say to me, ‘I don’t like illegal immigrants,’ well, a lot of those people… I’m one of those people at one point."
"Well, 'illegal immigration,' right?"one host asked.
"We don’t even like that word,” Galén said. “'Illegal immigrant.' It’s 'undocumented people.'"
Galán then added some important context to her explanation:
What I care about is how we speak about people in this country. You have to remember that people like Latinos for instance—Latina women are the number one emerging market in the world, right? In the U.S. 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 these diverse people.
Will the show's hosts change their vocabulary after this thoughtful explanation? Probably not. But for five all-too-brief minutes Fox & Friends actually made sense when it comes to how we talk about immigrants.