- The most popular and influential political and news commentator on Hispanic television
- Calls for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path-to-citizenship for illegal immigrants in the United States
- Claims that the U.S. is rife with “white privilege”
Jorge Ramos was born in Mexico City on March 16, 1958. In 1981 graduated from the Universidad Iberoamericana, where he majored in communications. In 1983, while working a news reporter for the Mexican media conglomerate Televisa, he became disenchanted with his country’s government-imposed media censorship and immigrated to California. He promptly enrolled in a TV journalism class at UCLA, and in 1984 he was hired as a reporter by KMEX-Channel 14 in Los Angeles, an affiliate station of the Spanish International Network (now called Univision, the Hispanic American community’s leading news source).
Since November 1986 Ramos has anchored the daily newscast Noticiero Univision, a program that draws more than 2 million viewers each day. He also hosts a Sunday morning political show, Univision’s Al Punto, which has an audience of nearly 1 million. And he hosts the weekly Tuesday-evening news program America with Jorge Ramos on Fusion television, a Univision-ABC News joint venture targeting Latinos and millennials. The Wall Street Journal has described Ramos as “Hispanic TV’s No. 1 correspondent and key to a huge voting bloc.” Time magazine has included him in its list of “The 25 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States.” Newsweek names him in its list of 50 leading political and media figures. And Latino Leaders magazine chose him as one of “The Ten Most Admired Latinos.”
Ramos became a U.S. citizen in 2008 and is a declared political independent. He is best known as an outspoken advocate of comprehensive immigration reform that would provide a path-to-citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. He has written several English-language books on this subject, including “In A Country For All: An Immigrant Manifesto (2010). As The New Republic notes, Ramos in this book “mak[es] it clear that he wouldn’t accept anything short of citizenship—not even permanent legal residency—for the undocumented workers in this country.”
In June 2012 Ramos was angered by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a provision in Arizona’s SB-1070 statute authorizing state police to check the immigration status of anyone they stopped or arrested if there was reason to suspect that the individual might be an illegal immigrant. In Ramos’s calculus, the Court’s “very disappointing and very dangerous” ruling heralded “a very sad day for the Hispanic community” and “will only create more persecution and discrimination.”
In January 2013, Ramos wrote that although he had left his home country 30 years earlier: “I’ve never ceased to be Mexican. I have two passports, and I vote in elections in both countries. I’m deeply proud of this privileged duality. The best thing about America is its embrace of diversity.” Next, he turned his attention to what he most disliked about the United States: “The worst thing about America, of course, is the racist and xenophobic attitudes that tend to emerge now and then—Arizona’s anti-immigrant laws, for example. I hope that one day soon Americans will treat all immigrants, including the 11 million undocumented residents already living in the United States, with the same largess that I experienced when I arrived here.”
At a May 2014 press conference in Washington, DC, Ramos confronted Republican House Speaker John Boehner and accused him of “blocking” immigration reform by refusing to “bring it to a vote” in Congress. “Republicans don’t get it,” said Ramos in an interview. “They’re going to lose the 2016 election if they don’t move on immigration reform, and they’re going to lose again in 2020. They have a very short memory. They forgot in 2012. They’ll remember after 2016.”
Ramos was similarly confrontational during a September 2014 interview with Barack Obama, repeatedly reminding the president, “with all due respect,” that “you didn’t keep that [campaign] promise” of signing immigration reform legislation.
On multiple occasions, Ramos has cited “the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner[and Trayvon Martin]”—three African Americans who died in confrontations with non-blacks or police officers between 2012 and 2014—as “clear” evidence that “we don’t … live in a post-racial society” and that the U.S. is rife with “white privilege.”
In January 2015, Ramos objected when Republicans in the House of Representatives tried to stop funding for President Obama’s recent executive order granting millions of illegal immigrants immunity-from-deportation. “If Republicans had their way, more than four million undocumented immigrants would lose the protections President Barack Obama granted through an executive order in November,” said Ramos. “They would face deportation again. Latinos have no choice but to take this personally…. [Republicans] don’t seem to realize what a terrible message they are sending to Latinos: We are against you.”
In a May 2015 exchange with conservative author Ann Coulter, the latter posed a question to Ramos: “We [the U.S.] have taken in one quarter of the entire Mexican population. At what point will we have taken in enough, in your view?” Ramos replied: “It’s an economic situation. As long as you have people here who need immigrants and workers and as long as you have workers needing a job, they’re going to be coming here. It’s an economic situation.”
In January 2016 Ramos lamented how “sad” it was that “treacherous” Republican presidential candidates had fueled a “xenophobic discourse in the United States” by repeatedly launching “harsh attacks on immigrants.” These “attacks” included such transgressions as “label[ing] undocumented immigrants ‘illegal’,” “support[ing] the idea of building a wall along the southern border with Mexico,” and being opposed to “offering a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.” But “most incomprehensible for many Hispanics,” Ramos emphasized, “is that the two Latino candidates, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, have taken such a harsh stance against immigrants who are here simply because they’re doing the jobs that Americans won’t do.” He accused “both Rubio and Cruz” of having “broken a decades-long tradition in which Hispanic politicians, no matter their family origins or political affiliations, tended to defend the most vulnerable immigrants in this country.” Ramos cited Luis Gutierrez and Nydia Velazquez as laudable examples of such politicians. “There is no greater disloyalty than the children of immigrants forgetting their own roots,” added Ramos. “That’s a betrayal.”
In a February 2017 interview with the Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace, Ramos denounced President Donald Trump’s repeated claim that many illegal aliens in the United States are criminals, and said: “The vast majority of undocumented immigrants in this country are not criminals, are not terrorists…. They come here because they want to work … and they don’t want to get in trouble with the police.” Citing people who come to the U.S. and obtain false paperwork that allows them to drive a car and get government benefits, Wallace asked: “Do you consider that a crime?” Ramos replied: “It’s not a violent crime…. It is a crime, but you know they are here because of us. They are coming here, again, not because they want to go to Disneyland or because they want to kill Americans, they are here to benefit our lives. Millions of Americans benefit from their work. Thousands of American companies hire them.” Also regarding the fact that many illegals use fake IDs and driver’s licenses, Ramos added: “Why? Because they are working for us. The reason they are here … is because of us. So we have to be responsible for that…. [T]hey are here to help us. So we are partly responsible for that, and I think we are partly responsible for finding a solution.”
In a March 2017 interview on Fox News, Ramos had the folowing exchange with host Tucker Carlson:
CARLSON: So at an event several weeks ago in February you said this, and I wanted to ask you about it, and I’m quoting you, “I’m a proud Latino immigrant here in the United States. You know exactly what is going on here in the U.S. There are many people who do not want us to be here and who want to create a wall in order to separate us. But you know what, this is also our country. Let me repeat this, our country, not theirs, it’s our country.” Who’s the us, and who’s the they? Whose country is it?
RAMOS: This is our country, it is yours, it is mine and it is ours. The interesting this is with the Trump administration and many people who support Donald Trump, they think it is their country, that it is a white country, and they are absolutely wrong. This is not a white country, this is not their country, it is ours, and that’s precisely what I’m saying. Look, in 2044, the white population will become a minority, it will be a minority/majority country, that is precisely what I’m saying. Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, whites, it is our country, Tucker.
CARLSON: Let me just point out that you are white, obviously, you are whiter than I am. You’ve got blue eyes. So I mean, I don’t know exactly what you mean by white or Latino.
In addition to his bachelor’s degree in communications, Ramos also holds a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Miami. In 2002 the National Council of La Raza honored Ramos with its “Ruben Salazar” award for his positive portrayal of Latinos.