Crisis at the border?

The only crisis is the way we treat other human beings

How to Prepare for a TV Interview

I’ve never owned a TV (thanks, parents, for a childhood full of books). Even though I work as a journalist, I rarely watch TV. But occasionally I get asked to do TV interviews related to my work, and I immediately worry about a few things like how people will judge me and what I will wear to look authoritative. With writing, I can live or die on the strength of my word, but with TV, I need to think about how to be an effective messenger for my work. Ana Cabrera interviewed me for CNN Newsroom this weekend about an op-ed I wrote for CNN that went viral. My friend Andrea Pitzer, who wrote a history of concentration camps (and, just imagine, is suddenly on TV a lot these days) agreed to interview me in preparation for my six minutes with Ana Cabrera, and her insight was really helpful. She worked with me to distill down my basic talking points, and then I spent the day practicing them. Although this seems like a lot of work for a six minute interview, given that asylum seekers are dying at our borders, I wanted to do my best to share their stories.

Is there a crisis at the US-Mexico border?

What I have seen is the increased militarization of the border both in the US and in Mexico. If a country spends all its money on treating migrants and particularly children like criminals rather than, for example, processing asylum requests, then there is a crisis, but not exactly the type of crisis you are being sold. It costs much less financially and emotionally to behave in a humane manner but for some reason humans often prefer to be punitive to those who have less than them.

Who is doing nuanced, poetic photography on the border?

Border photojournalist Veronica Cárdenas is quietly doing some of the most difficult and moving work about migrants. She lives in McAllen, Texas so has the perspective of someone living on the border, plus the fact that she is ethical and deeply empathetic. Fred Ramos, who is based in El Salvador, also does complex, beautifully reported work on migration.

Best advice for when you/me feel anxious?

I felt a lot of anxiety this week after my TV interview, partially because anything I do for CNN inspires a lot of hate mail, which then makes me worry about the state of humanity. And so I drove out into the countryside with friends to watch three generations of a Mexican family make mole over an open fire. There was no internet but there were lots of stars. I know that I have a hard time being kind to myself and taking a break, so I imagine it is pretty common.