From AP: US launches media campaign on immigration dangers

The U.S. government has launched a $1 million international media campaign warning families in Central America that it’s best to stay at home, following a surge in illegal immigration, especially by unaccompanied children.
The effort will test high production value messaging against the pervasive gang violence and intense poverty that pushes many immigrants to flee their homelands.

Standing beside the Rio Grande on Wednesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said the message aimed primarily at Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador is two-part: The trip to the United States is extremely dangerous, and immigrants who make it here will not be allowed to stay.



Kerlikowske said that 226 immigrants have died crossing the border since October. More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained during the same period after entering the U.S. illegally, mostly in South Texas.

The so-called “Dangers Awareness Campaign” will employ hundreds of billboards and some 6,500 public service announcements for radio and television stations in the target countries.

One offering has an image of a child’s footprints in the desert running toward the horizon with the message in Spanish: “I thought it would be easy for my son to get papers in the USA. … I was wrong.”

A television spot slated to air in Guatemala shows a teenage boy preparing to leave home for the U.S. His mother pleads with him not to go. He confides to his uncle — already in the U.S. — in a letter that she’s warning him about the dangers of the gangs on the train that immigrants ride through Mexico, the cartels that kidnap and the dayslong walk in the desert. Ultimately, he writes his uncle, “he who doesn’t take a chance, doesn’t win.”

The next image is of the boy dead on the cracked desert floor. A voiceover says smugglers’ claims that new arrivals will easily get papers are false. The television and radio spots all finish with a similar parting message: “They are our future. Protect them.”

“We want a relative that is about to send $5,000, $6,000 to a relative in El Salvador to see this message and say, ‘Oh my god, they’re saying that the journey is more dangerous,'” said CBP spokesman Jaime Ruiz. “We try to counter the version of the smuggler.”

Ruiz said the campaign is scheduled to run 11 weeks. He will be traveling to cities with large immigrant communities in the U.S. as well to reach the parents or relatives on this side of the border who may help fund a child’s trip.

About Sabina Covo

Nombrada como una de las colombo americanas más influyentes en el sur de la Florida por The Americas Community Center and Broward County, y galardonada como uno de los 20 mejores profesionales de menos de 40 años en el sur de Florida por Brickell Magazine en 2013, Sabina Covo cuenta con más de catorce años de experiencia en periodismo, escritura y consultoría en comunicaciones, tanto en Estados Unidos como en América Latina. Ha sido reportera, presentadora de noticias de televisión y radio, y corresponsal de Telemundo 51, donde comenzó su carrera en el año 2000, ha trabajado para Mundofox, Cadena Ser, La W Radio y Caracol, La Televisión Nacional de Austria, Prisa, Canal Cartagena y ADN Chile. incluyendo convenciones nacionales democráticas y republicanas. Sabina ha entrevistado a personalidades como la secretaria de Estado Madeline Albright, los presidentes colombianos Álvaro Uribe y Juan Manuel Santos o la estrella internacional Julio Iglesias para nombrar algunos. Ella ha cubierto elecciones desde 2004 incluyendo convenciones nacionales Sabina Covo fundó su agencia de relaciones públicas Sabina Covo Communications LLC con sede en Coconut Grove en 2014. En 2008 obtuvo un premio Building Our Community Award de la entidad internacional March of Dimes por su trabajo dentro de la organización y en 2009 fue nominada por la Cámara de Comercio de Coral Gables con un “Raising Star Award”. Se graduó de la Universidad Internacional de la Florida con un grado de Comunicaciones y Ciencias Políticas en 2001. Sabina started her career as a journalist in 1999. She graduated with a Communications Degree from Florida International University and has worked as a journalist, TV and Radio Anchor and Reporter for different stations and print publications in Latin America and the US including Caracol, W Radio, Austrian National Television, America Teve, Canal sur, NBC and Telemundo. She served as the director of Media Relations for Gordon Reyes and Associates in Miami and was nominated for a Raising Star Award by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. She has a Building our Community award for her collaboration with the March of Dimes, and is part of Sharing for Kids. Sabina is a columnist for El Nuevo Herald in Miami, and a journalist and TV personality for America Teve.

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