Groups Slam Green Card TV

A collection of immigrant advocacy groups are opposing Gana la Verde, a reality TV show in which illegal immigrants face off in Fear Factor-like contests to win one year of legal assistance toward getting their green cards.

The show airs on Los Angeles' KRCA Channel 62, owned by Liberman Broadcasting, and on Liberman's other stations in San Diego, Houston and Dallas.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association, California La Raza Lawyers Association, Central American Resource Center, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the Latina Lawyers Bar Association and the Mexican American Bar Association all say the show puts participants in danger of being exposed to immigration authorities and deported.

Three members of Congress, Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), Hilda Solis (D-El Monte) and Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood), also are concerned.

The show launched on July 1 to little fanfare, airing only on the small Hispanic stations owned by Liberman Broadcasting.

Since then, it has attracted average audiences of a  million viewers, and the show's host, George X, is being hit up by fans who want to come on the show.

The show was featured Thursday night in a segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart--complete with footage of contestants eating worms and jumping from one moving tractor trailer to another--where it was pointed out that the winner does not even get a Green Card--which TV shows aren't authorized to dispense, of course--just legal help with trying to get one.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.