Transcript for 'What Would You Do?': Diner shocked to learn woman sponsored immigrant child
Oh, thank you. What do you say to the nice lady, Lydia? Gracias. Oh, you're very welcome, sweetie. Oh, my god, your daughter is adorable. She's actually not my daughter. Oh, you adopted. Not quite. I'm just a sponsor. I am taking care of her while she waits for her immigration hearing. What do you mean? In 2018, the trump administration instituted a zero tolerance policy at the border. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be separated from you. If they feel there will be separation, they won't come. According to government data, last year alone, nearly 70,000 children were held in detention, many spending long periods in overcrowded facilities like these, where lights were left on all night, and as the children tried to go to sleep, they were only given these thin Mylar sheets for warmth. While traveling for this scenario, we met this father and son at an airport in Texas. They were apprehended at the border while legally seeking asylum. Little Mateo was one of the lucky ones. He and his father were not separated while in custody. But thousands of children remain separated from their families as the coronavirus rages. ABC 15 investigators learning about a huge spike in covid-19 at a detention center. In response, just last month, a judge ordered three family detention centers to release up to 124 children with their parents, or to a suitable sponsor. She's here illegally, and that should have consequences. She's an innocent child. There are plenty of innocent American children that need help. Why are you sponsoring them? This young child represents thousands of undocumented immigrant children who have been released to sponsors here in Texas, more than any other state. If you saw this woman criticizing a sponsor for taking in an immigrant child, what would you do? This is only temporary. I really don't see the issue. You're encouraging these criminals to break the law. We shot this scenario before the pandemic, at Mac's, in El Paso, Texas, less than one mile from the u.s./mexico border. Indigo? Si. Ah, Bien. Our young actor Lydia is originally from Los Angeles, and she is fully prepared for Rebecca's hurtful language. Hi. Is your daughter teaching you Spanish? Yes, she is. Actually, she's not my daughter. I'm her sponsor. This first customer takes notice as Rebecca takes offense to the child's presence. So she's illegal? She currently is an undocumented child, yes. I'm sorry. They don't deserve to be here. I think you should send her back. I'm a taxpayer. This is a waste of money. I'm a taxpayer, and you're wasting our money. Caught in the middle of this debate, this man agrees that the U.S. Government cannot help everyone. Really? I mean, I'm all for helping the children, but why isn't the government in the country where she's from? Why don't they have something to help her? I just don't think they have the resources. We don't have the resources to indefinitely take care of children that aren't citizens. Well, I just feel like we're fortunate to live here. We are very fortunate, but there's got to be a limit. It just can't be an open door. Clearly at an impasse -- she can be upset and leave. That's okay. We will go ahead and go. Dawn gets up and leaves. Thank you very much, sir. You have a nice day. I appreciate what you're doing. I just don't know why it has to be here. Have a good one. Do you think I said anything wrong? You didn't do anything wrong by stating your views. You're as free to state your view as she is to state hers. Maybe more so. Time to find out more. We have responsibilities and debts to the people in our country. But once the kids are here, what can we do with them? I don't know what the answer is. Hopefully the government can find some kind of solution, but I don't think it should just be an open-ended. But other customers disagree. So she's undocumented? Currently, she is undocumented, yeah. Placing the onus of Lydia's situation on the U.S. Government. How does this not bother anyone? You have to remember that the United States has a system and a process to handle these situations. That's what she's going through. Leave it at that. Right or wrong. The system isn't working. It may not be working, but that's the system. And when it comes to the children's well being -- It's encouraging people to come here illegally. We don't know their whole story. Customers say that responsibility shifts to the public. So you're okay with it? Absolutely. She has every right to be here. Regardless of political beliefs. There's something else going on that's bigger than this woman and what's going on in El Paso. When you look at all the people coming from all the different Central American countries, it's a big political problem. But showing compassion to a little girl can't be wrong. Right? To those who argue that it only encourages others to come? They're coming by the hundreds or the thousands, whether or not we take care of them. So, it's our obligation, I think, to help the people that god puts in front of us. Especially the children. These next customers offer Rebecca a couple of solutions. I think you need to take this child back to Mexico. I think that you should stop speaking to her. She's not engaging you, so please don't engage her. How does this not bother you? This is the problem that we're in right now. You're the one who's making everyone here uncomfortable, so you're the one who should probably just leave! While these coworkers politely refuse to engage in a political debate -- Aren't you concerned about what this is doing to America? This is not the time nor the place for that. Leave her and the child alone. -- Other customers aren't as shy. She doesn't belong here. She is illegal and this is the problem, right? I don't think so. Shut the hell up! Because if you want to talk about it, like, illegalities, I'd talk about Donald Trump. We're rolling one last time. She is undocumented? Yes, and we're waiting on a hearing to see about citizenship. You're helping people come here illegally. That's what you're doing. This family patiently waits for Rebecca to make her point. She's better off in Mexico. Actually, she needs support right now is what I see. And then they provide their perspective on immigration policy. But she wasn't even supposed to be here in the first place. Oh, yeah, that's true. But she's here. That's the thing. I understand you, what you're saying, because, you know, I immigrated here legally. Armando Altamirano waited more than five years to become a legal U.S. Resident. I'm like you. How can this happen, right? But the U.S. Government has all these different pathways to become residents. They can still come here and become residents. Isn't this an incentive? It just encourages more people to come illegally. Yes, but then who is responsible? The people who have the laws or the people that are coming? It's not her fault. It was not her decision. And it's been happening since the '40s, okay? Rules have not changed. Have her leave. How about she storms out? I lost my appetite. I'm just going to go. I'm -- You can do whatever you want. You don't need to explain to anybody else what you're doing. Thank you. Thanks. All right, we'll break it. And, you know, great for you. I really appreciate what you're doing. How are you doing? I'm John Quinones, with the TV show "What would you do?" You applaud the lady who took the child? Yes, it's a child, you know, and the other person was doing something in order to support her. So, you're torn. You can see both sides? Yes, it took me a lot of effort financially and emotionally to become a resident. So it's difficult sometimes to say who has a better idea of how to become a citizen, and why it should be faster for them than it was for me. Right? In the meantime, these children are caught -- In the meantime, they're here. Someone brought her over here. She is innocent. So what is happening there, too, right? It's a complicated issue on both sides of the border. But it's the innocent children caught in the middle who are
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