LA Times Reporter: 'We Will Have Blood On Our Hands' If We Deport Illegal Immigrant Children

Talking to MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart on Friday, Los Angeles Times reporter Sonia Nazario demanded that tens of thousands of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children from Central America be allowed to stay in the U.S. and condemned anyone opposed to the idea: "Because if you put this decision of sending these children back in the hands of the Border Patrol, many of these children who really should be protected by our government will instead be hurtled back to these countries where they will die. And we will have blood on our hands." [Listen to the audio]

Diaz-Balart touted how Nazario had just "testified before a congressional committee" about the issue and wondered: "What was your message to the Senate yesterday and did you feel that, well, yesterday was more than just about politics, which is what we've been seeing a lot from Washington?"

Nazario seized on the softball question to launch into her rant:

What I told the Senate yesterday is these children are primarily leaving, fleeing for their lives, because of the violence that has been spawned by these narco cartels that control much of Honduras now....the Obama administration is saying we want to expedite these children's removal and Republicans are saying this as well. And I said if you shortchange the due process that these children have in immigration courts where they can claim asylum, they really are, in 40 to 60% of these cases of these children, refugees fleeing for their lives. And you should not shortchange this process.

After allowing Nazario to make her declaration, Diaz-Balart wrapped up the segment by notifying viewers of "an important programming note," declaring: "We will be broadcasting live from Los Angeles next week. I'll be participating in the National Council of La Raza."

La Raza is a left-wing organization currently leading campaign efforts in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act, and a boycott of Arizona over the passage of the SB 1070 law to combat illegal immigration in the state.

As NewsBusters' Laura Flint observed on Wednesday, in the first three days of his new 10 a.m. ET hour show on the liberal network, Diaz-Balart devoted most of his coverage of the border crisis to pushing the illegal immigration agenda.

Here is a full transcript of the July 18 segment with Nazario:

10:48 AM ET

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: Let's turn to another issue still generating controversy and still searching for a solution. Today a group of women and children from Guatemala will be flown back to their home country. Monday, the first flight transporting families back to Honduras left the United States. Across the country we're expecting protests today, over the weekend as well, against the federal government housing Central American migrants in shelters in those communities.

And in Washington, Speaker Boehner now says he does not see Congress finding a solution to the humanitarian crisis by the end of the month.

Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize winning author of Enrique's Journey, Sonia Nazario, who testified before a congressional committee yesterday. Sonia, thanks for being with us.

SONIA NAZARIO: Thank you, Jose, for having me.

DIAZ-BALART: What was your message to the Senate yesterday and did you feel that, well, yesterday was more than just about politics, which is what we've been seeing a lot from Washington?

NAZARIO: Well, you know, we have many crises going on around the world but we have one on our southern border with all these children coming here alone. And what I really stressed was these children – you know, I wrote about a boy who came from Honduras ten years ago, thirteen years ago. And he was coming alone in search of his mother. Ten years ago these children were largely coming for economic reasons and to reunify with a parent who had left them behind. But I just went back to Honduras, and what I saw was this enormous change in the drivers for these children.

And what I told the Senate yesterday is these children are primarily leaving, fleeing for their lives, because of the violence that has been spawned by these narco cartels that control much of Honduras now. We've rerouted – you know, we cracked down on the movement of cocaine from Colombia up the Carribean corridor, spent $8 billion to do that in the past decade, but the cartels simply went inland and are now landing in Honduras. And they're recruiting these children as their foot soldiers to gain turf, to sell and distribute drugs, and to extort people in Honduras. And these children have been often threatened multiple times.

And so what I told the Senate is if you – you know, the Obama administration is saying we want to expedite these children's removal and Republicans are saying this as well. And I said if you shortchange the due process that these children have in immigration courts where they can claim asylum, they really are, in 40 to 60% of these cases of these children, refugees fleeing for their lives.

And you should not shortchange this process. Because if you put this decision of sending these children back in the hands of the Border Patrol, many of these children who really should be protected by our government will instead be hurtled back to these countries where they will die. And we will have blood on our hands. And I believe that the American public is compassionate towards refugees, people fleeing for their lives. Much like Cubans did, much like Haitians did. I think that we cannot start sending these children back to their deaths.

DIAZ-BALART: Sonia Nazario, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

NAZARIO: Thank you. I appreciate it.

DIAZ-BALART: And an important programming note. We will be broadcasting live from Los Angeles next week. I'll be participating in the National Council of La Raza.

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.