Headlining the 2018 San Antonio Book Festival is Emmy Award-winning television journalist Jorge Ramos, a news anchorman for Univision who is considered one of the nation’s most influential Hispanics. Ramos will participate in a discussion on Saturday, April 7, about his book Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era, which was published in February by Vintage Books.
The conversation will be moderated by Rivard Report Publisher Robert Rivard and take place at the EY Tent at the Central Library from 12:30 p.m.-1:15 p.m. A book signing will follow at the Chihuly Atrium on the library’s second floor.
“Ramos is arguably the country’s most best known and most trusted Latino journalist,” Rivard said. “He is inseparable – as an immigrant himself from Mexico – with the national debate over immigration, over Dreamers, and over Trump’s very controversial insistence on building a physical wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
Ramos’ visit to San Antonio comes at a time when officials in Texas are grappling with the implementation of controversial “sanctuary cities” legislation that permits local law enforcement officers to inquire about the immigration status of people arrested or detained, among other provisions. The City of San Antonio joined a lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality, but the suit suffered a recent setback when a federal appeals court panel ruled that most of the law’s provisions can remain in effect while the case makes its way through the court system.
In his new book, Ramos explains why he feels like a stranger in the U.S., even after living here for 35 years, becoming a U.S. citizen, and having two U.S.-born children. A turning point in Ramos’ perception of his adopted country came in 2015, when presidential candidate Donald Trump had him kicked out of a press conference in Iowa.
“Go back to Univision,” Trump said at the conference, after Ramos insisted on asking a question about immigration policies. In his book, Ramos writes that he attended the press conference to confront Trump on the “racist comments” that catapulted his campaign into the spotlight. Journalists, Ramos argues, cannot remain neutral and need to take a stand when it comes to racism, discrimination, or blanket statements that are untrue. It is the duty of a journalist to question those in power and “give voice to the voiceless,” he adds.
“What happened to Jorge didn’t happen to any English language print or broadcast journalists on the Trump campaign trail, and while many other reporters were verbally assaulted by supporters at Trump rallies, Jorge was the only one I know who was told to go back to where he came from,” Rivard said about the incident, which made national headlines.
Ramos insists that the book is not about Trump, but more about how the U.S. has become hostile to immigrants, Latinos, and journalists.
“There is a growing resistance to the social and demographic changes that the United States is currently undergoing, and the response by many sectors of the population has been to attack those they perceive as a threat,” Ramos writes.
His book also includes research and statistics on the Latino vote, as well as analysis on future demographic trends that show the U.S. will become a majority-minority country. In a chapter titled “Our 2016 mistake,” Ramos acknowledges that he was wrong when he claimed that Trump couldn’t win the election because of the importance of the Latino vote. Not only did a portion of Latinos decide to vote for Trump, but out of the 27 million registered Latino voters, only 13 million made it to the polls.
In the book, Ramos also recounts his painful decision to leave Mexico in 1983 because of media censorship, discusses his “amphibian” role as a journalist covering issues in both Mexico and the United States, and describes the conflicting emotions immigrants or dual citizens feel when they belong to two countries.
“The truth of the matter is that I will never be American enough for many Americans, just as I will never be Mexican enough for many Mexicans,” Ramos writes. “I live the life of a stranger.”
The San Antonio Book Festival’s lineup features more than 90 authors, including former San Antonio resident and Texas Medal of the Arts honoree Sandra Cisneros, children’s fantasy writer Holly Black, Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea, National Book Award finalist Carmen Maria Machado, and former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros. For a full list, click here.