Emily Litella lives! For those unfamiliar with the character, portrayed by the late, great Gilda Radner on “Saturday Night Live” back in its funny days, Litella was a harmless little old lady who confused phrases and terms in the news with near sound-alikes. (“What’s this I hear about Soviet jewelry?” she innocently asked on one occasion.)
Radner’s spirit must have had a good laugh reading the comments posted during last night’s debate by “verified” Twitter users ( identifiable by the coveted blue check mark next to their name) expressing their disbelief at the president’s claim that many of the 545 abandoned immigrant children currently being detained at the border were brought there by “coyotes.”
Here is the president’s remark in context:
These children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels, and they used to use them to get into our country.
And here is the reaction of a cross-section of Twitter’s most celebrated users:
Saving the best for last, here’s Harvard University undergrad David Hogg:
Imagine calling the immigrant parents that bring their children to the United States for a better life “Coyotes”
The level of xenophobia is sickening.
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) October 23, 2020
For what it’s worth, Joe Biden, who scoffed at the idea, claiming it makes America “a laughing stock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation,” may be among those who is clueless about the intended meaning of coyote.
For Biden and low-information voters everywhere, below is an excerpt from a dispute-settling article from NPR titled “Who Is Smuggling Immigrant Children Across The Border?” Notice the date line — the piece was published on June 15, 2o14. Obama and Biden were still president and vice president respectively at the time, which further puts the lie to Biden’s insistence that the “cages” in which these children are housed were built by the Trump administration.
“They call me the Wolf,” said the 25-year-old human smuggler sitting in front of me, sipping a Coke and stepping away for frequent cellphone calls.
“Everybody says we’re the problem, but it’s the reverse. The gringos don’t want to get their hands dirty. So I bring them the Mexicans and Central Americans to do the dirty work for them,” he says, smiling.
U.S. authorities claim that human smugglers like El Lobo (the wolf) are at the heart of the current border crisis because they have facilitated the travels of the 57,000 unaccompanied immigrant children who’ve been apprehended in South Texas since October.
Federal border authorities demonize coyotes as ruthless criminals who kidnap, rape and abandon their clients. But it’s more complicated than that. There are, to be sure, bad coyotes who do abuse their clients. But, as in any business, not everyone is the same.