Vetting Puerto Ricans? Ignorant C-SPAN Caller Gets Schooled by NPR Correspondent

We are fairly certain that you weren’t watching Washington Journal on C-SPAN during Christmas Eve, so we are pretty certain you missed the following exchange between Brian from Washington state and NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten, who was on the show to discuss immigration in the United States and his 2015 book, A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story. Near the end of the show, Brian had a question and Gjelten pretty much schooled him. Watch the clip below and read the transcript:

BRIAN: GOOD MORNING, “WASHINGTON JOURNAL.” HAPPY HOLIDAYS. I AM CALLING IN REGARDS TO MY WIFE AND I BOTH HAVE GREAT GRANDMOTHERS FROM NORWAY. WE TAKE PRIDE IN THE MIGRATION AND FAMILY HISTORY. I THINK THAT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE NEED TO REMEMBER. IT IS SOMETHING YOU TALK AROUND THE HOLIDAY TABLE. THE UPCOMING GENERATION GETS TO LEARN STORIES THAT ARE PASSED ON AS CIVILIZATIONS AND CULTURES DO. I WILL LIKE TO ASK THE GUEST WHAT HIS OPINION OF THE MIGRATION THAT IS COMING FROM PUERTO RICO DUE TO THEIR FINANCIAL CHAOS. 1000 PUERTO RICANS A WEEK, NOT CONSIDERED IMMIGRANTS, BUT COMING TO THE UNITED STATES AS U.S. CITIZENS WITH NO VETTING. THIS SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING THAT IS NOT BEING DISCUSSED AT ALL.

GJELTEN: THE REASON IT IS NOT BEING DISCUSSED IS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT IMMIGRANTS. PUERTO RICO IS NOT A STATE, BUT PUERTO RICANS ARE U.S. CITIZENS. WE SAW A SIMILAR SITUATION DURING THE DEPRESSION WHEN PEOPLE FROM WHAT WAS CALLED THE DUST BOWL IN THE SOUTH WERE MIGRATING TO OTHER PARTS OF THE UNITED STATES, CALIFORNIA, FOR EXAMPLE, WHERE THERE WERE MORE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES. YOU SAW THE SAME THING WITH AFRICAN-AMERICANS MIGRATING TO THE CITIES FROM THE SOUTH. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT MIGRATION FROM ONE PART OF THE COUNTRY TO ANOTHER PART OF THE COUNTRY BECAUSE THERE ARE DIFFERENT ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES. YOU ARE RIGHT, PUERTO RICANS ARE GOING THROUGH A TERRIBLE FINANCIAL SYSTEM RIGHT NOW, BUT THOSE PEOPLE HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO MOVE TO SOME OTHER PART OF THE COUNTRY WHERE THERE ARE MORE JOBS. YOU TALK ABOUT VETTING—WE DO NOT VET PEOPLE WHO MOVE FROM STATE TO ANOTHER FROM ONE PART OF AMERICA TO ANOTHER. IT THAT IS THEIR RIGHT AS AMERICANS TO MOVE. I DO NOT SEE HOW WE CAN INSTITUTE SOME KIND OF SPECIAL POLICY FOR PEOPLE FROM PUERTO RICO WHO WANT TO MOVE TO SOME PART OF THE UNITED STATES TO FIND WORK.

Gjelten was really nice to answer the question, although he could have easily shown Brian this and moved on:

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