Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who is under fire for suggesting that undocumented immigrants should become "property of the state" unless they leave Iowa, applauded a decision by Texas' Department of State Health Services to deny birth certificates to American children of undocumented immigrants.
On his August 28 show, Mickelson criticized what he called "street hustler" civil rights groups who have filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of State Health Services for refusing to issue birth certificates to U.S. citizen children born to undocumented immigrant parents. As Talking Points Memo explained, the plaintiff's complaint alleges that Texas stopped allowing "matricula consular" identifications -- official papers issued by the U.S.-based consulate of the immigrant parents' home country -- "to meet the requirements to acquire a birth certificate for their U.S.-born children" around two years ago.
Mickelson, who denies that the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship applies to the children of undocumented immigrants, said he thinks it is "cool" that Texas is refusing to issue these birth certificates and expressed his appreciation of Texas' approach as "Iowa passive-aggressive," which will prevent such children "to start this process of looting." Listen (emphasis added):
JAN MICKELSON: The Mexican government has now filed its amicus brief -- that's 'a friend of the court' -- supporting a coalition of undocumented parents who are suing the state of Texas because they were denied birth certificates for their kids. So all of the usual suspects, the ACLU, La Raza, and every street hustler organization that has its hooks in us, according to the Texas Civil Rights Project and the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid Society and the Department of Health and Social Services and the Friends of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala, have all decided to sue the state of Texas because they can't get documentation of the birth of their kids, that were illegitimately born here in the United States and they're not following form. Now Texas is doing the Iowa passive-aggressive thing, "Okay, you can be born here, just no record of your existence and you can't use anything from us to start this process of looting." That is cool.
Mickelson has come under fire recently for comments he made on his August 17 radio show advocating that undocumented immigrants who refuse to leave Iowa after being warned become "property of the state" and be forced into "compelled labor." It was the latest of Mickleson's many anti-immigrant remarks, which include his assumption that anyone with a Hispanic-sounding name who gets involved with the police is an undocumented immigrant, and his declaration that educating undocumented children in public schools is "a scam."
Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who recently suggested enslaving undocumented immigrants who don't leave his state, misrepresented a comment made in 1866 by one of the authors of the 14th Amendment to argue that the U.S. Constitution doesn't grant automatic citizenship to American-born children of undocumented immigrants, a wildly revisionist misreading of both American history and legal precedent
Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who recently suggested enslaving undocumented immigrants who don't leave Iowa after being warned, attacked Fox News host Bill O'Reilly for questioning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's extreme views on birthright citizenship and deportation, and said Americans should "applaud" the billionaire businessman for starting a debate.
On his August 24 radio show, Mickelson -- who has recently come in for withering criticism for suggesting that undocumented immigrants who refuse to leave Iowa should become "property of the state" forced to do "compelled labor" -- brought up O'Reilly's recent interview with Trump. Mickelson criticized a question O'Reilly asked Trump about his position on birthright citizenship, complaining that O'Reilly's hypothetical example of two illegal immigrant parents with two legal American-born children -- he asked if Trump would order immigration agents to 'put them in a van [and] bring them to a detention center' for deportation -- was "a scam starting with the notion of birthright citizenship":
When he finished critiquing the Trump-O'Reilly interview, Mickelson read aloud an entire National Review article titled, "The Very Real Economic Costs of Birthright Citizenship," which relies heavily on data and analysis from the anti-immigrant nativist organization, the Center for Immigration Studies, to claim that birthright citizenship is harming America. Citing that data, Mickelson heaped praise on Trump and declared, "We owe Donald Trump at least a round of applause for bringing these issues to the forefront":
Mickelson has a long history of attacking immigrants and Hispanics in America. He has said that he assumes anyone with a Hispanic-sounding name who is involved with police is "not here legally" and that it's "a scam" to let undocumented students attend public schools in the United States.
But despite his racist rhetoric towards immigrants and Hispanics, Republican presidential candidates in the 2016 election have appeared on Mickelson's show over 40 times so far this year. Not even wide condemnation of his undocumented immigrant enslavement plan could keep them away: candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appeared on his show four days after he said it. Mickelson's slavery plan did not come up.
In the aftermath of Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson's public call to make undocumented immigrants who don't leave voluntarily the "property of the state of Iowa" and forced into "compelled labor," the state's largest newspaper published two opinion columns condemning Mickelson's rhetoric and calling for an end to attacks on immigrants.
On the August 17 broadcast of his radio show, Mickelson proposed a plan to drive undocumented immigrants out of Iowa by posting signs around the state saying that after an allotted time, any undocumented immigrant who remained in Iowa would become "property of the state of Iowa" and as such, would be forced to perform manual labor such as building a wall between Mexico and the United States.
Two columnists at The Des Moines Register called out Mickelson's comments, rebuking his rhetoric and calling for more civility in the immigration debate. In her August 22 column for The Register, Rekha Basu called Mickelson "this year's chief demagogue" for attacking undocumented immigrants and warned that by putting ideas immigrant slaver on the table, "people assume it has legitimacy." She urged that the debate over immigration be held "in a responsible way," and continued:
This inflammatory rhetoric is a long way from the approach of past GOP leaders like former President George W. Bush and former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel. Iowa's beloved former Iowa Gov. Bob Ray, who welcomed Southeast Asian war refugees in the 1970s, issued a statement earlier this year supporting Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides free legal services to unaccompanied undocumented minors. "Iowa is a welcoming state!" Ray declared. At least it was then.
I'm hopeful most Iowans will respond to Mickelson's slave-ownership plan by showing it still is.
Kyle Munson also criticized Mickelson's comments in an August 23 Register column, writing that after he heard what was said, he went to talk to Mickelson at the Iowa State Fair. Munson told readers that Mickelson "reaffirmed in person what he said on air," and added:
I just can't wrap my mind around Mickelson's proposal, whether as an intentionally controversial rhetorical device or serious policy. Makes me think of the horrific workhouses of Victorian England.
Like Basu, Munson -- who is hosting a forum on immigration where audience members will be able to discuss and debate the issue with panelists and presidential candidates -- called for civility in the immigration debate. He wrote, "As a columnist it would be easier for me to radicalize this immigration issue than to try to bring everybody beneath a big tent to be more productive. But I believe wholeheartedly that it's worth it."
Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who recently pushed an immigration plan that would force undocumented immigrants to become enslaved workers if they refuse to leave, has hosted Republican presidential candidates 43 times in 2015. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) leads all candidates with 11 appearances; former Gov. Mike Huckabee has appeared 8 times.
On his August 17 show, Mickelson proposed an immigration plan that included posting signs around Iowa warning undocumented immigrants that they could either leave or "become property of the state." When confronted by a caller who said the plan sounded like slavery, Mickelson responded, "what's wrong with slavery?"
Asked by Media Matters to explain his comments, Mickelson argued his plan was "constitutionally defensible, legally defensible, morally defensible, biblically defensible and historically defensible." He claimed Republican presidential candidates "would understand [his position] from a historical and intellectual point of view," adding, "most of them would understand my point isn't serious, the point is philosophical" -- though he told a caller on the 17th, "you think I'm just pulling your leg. I am not."
According to a Media Matters analysis of Mickelson's show, in 2015 alone he has hosted most of the Republican presidential field. Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Rick Perry, Jim Gilmore, Chris Christie, George Pataki, and John Kasich have not appeared on his program this year (click to enlarge):
According to a tweet by Mickelson, he said he hosted Trump "a few months ago," but it appears that was in October 2014 and outside the scope of this analysis. One of Carson's appearances was during an episode featuring a guest host.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appeared on the program on August 21 amid widespread outrage over Mickelson's immigration proposal, but the controversial plan was not discussed.
Mickelson told Media Matters earlier this week about how candidates end up on his show: "They'll come, they'll pursue it and say 'can we come on,' and 'sure,' I don't chase them around looking for them to come on, they usually call and ask me."
Although these recent inflammatory comments have garnered significant attention -- due in part to Mickelson's kingmaker status in the state -- Mickelson has a long history of making offensive comments about immigrants. Earlier this year, Mickelson said he assumed anyone with a Hispanic last name who gets in trouble with police is "not here legally" and called educating undocumented children at public schools "a scam." Mickelson has also suggested bringing back Jim Crow-era voting laws such as something similar to a literacy test.
Mickelson has promoted his anti-immigration theories during interviews with candidates, including pushing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to embrace the argument that undocumented children shouldn't be allowed to attend public schools and asking Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) if they believed a debunked Dick Morris conspiracy theory about the Trans Pacific Partnership including a provision for unrestricted immigration to the United States.
Media Matters listened to every edition of Mickelson In The Morning from Jan 1, 2015, through August 21, 2015, and counted every time all declared and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate were hosted.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is scheduled to appear on Jan Mickelson's radio show tomorrow, just days after the Iowa host proposed a plan to enslave undocumented immigrants if they refuse to leave the country.
On his August 17 show, Mickelson proposed an immigration plan that included posting signs around Iowa warning undocumented immigrants that they could either leave or "become property of the state." He added, "And we start using compelled labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the state and become an asset of the state rather than a liability and we start inventing jobs for them to do." When confronted about his plan by a caller who said "everybody would believe it sounds like slavery," Mickelson responded, "what's wrong with slavery?"
During an interview with Media Matters, Mickelson stood by his comments, calling them "constitutionally defensible, legally defensible, morally defensible, biblically defensible and historically defensible." He claimed you would likely only have to force "maybe one or two people" to work in a "highly visible fashion," which would lead to "a vast sucking sound of illegals departing the state."
Republican presidential candidates have flocked to Mickelson's show. According to Mickelson, candidates "would understand [his position] from a historical and intellectual point of view," and "most of them would understand my point isn't serious, the point is philosophical." (On his show the day he laid out his plan, Mickelson told a caller, "you think I'm just pulling your leg. I am not.")
MICKELSON: Good morning everybody, welcome back to the conversation. I'm Jan Mickelson. We have some open line time between now and the bottom of the hour when The Big Show starts. Tomorrow's program, at a little bit after 9 o'clock [AM CST] we'll be talking with Senator Ted Cruz. He will be out here as a presidential candidate. That should be lots and lots of fun and very, very interesting. He's one of the most dynamic speakers on the tour this time and I've been reading some of his think pieces as a legal scholar in one of the Texas legal scholarly magazines and I'm going to be talking to him about some of that tomorrow morning. That should be interesting.
Mickelson told Media Matters that presidential candidates actively pursue appearances on his show: "They'll come, they'll pursue it and say 'can we come on,' and 'sure,' I don't chase them around looking for them to come on, they usually call and ask me."
On August 19, Cruz was endorsed by Steve Deace, another prominent Iowa-based conservative radio host. Like Mickelson, Deace has made offensive remarks about the LGBT and immigrant communities. He also recently suggested that the Republican Party should have thanked presidential candidate Donald Trump for his suggestion that Mexican immigrants are rapists.
Iowa radio host and influential conservative kingmaker Jan Mickelson unveiled an immigration plan that would make undocumented immigrants who don't leave the country after an allotted time "property of the state," asking, "What's wrong with slavery?" when a caller criticized his plan.
On the August 17 edition of his radio show, Mickelson announced that he had a plan to drive undocumented immigrants out of Iowa that involved making those who don't leave "property of the state" who are forced into "compelled labor," like building a wall on the US-Mexican border. Listen (emphasis added in transcript):
JAN MICKELSON: Now here is what would work. And I was asked by an immigration open border's activist a couple of weeks ago, how I would get all the illegals here in the state of Iowa to leave. "Are you going to call the police every time you find an illegal, are you going to round them up and put them in detention centers?"
I said, "No you don't have to do any of that stuff."
"Well you going to invite them to leave the country and leave Iowa?"
And I said, "Well, sort of."
"Well how you going to do it, Mickelson? You think you're so smart. How would you get thousands of illegals to leave Iowa?"
Well, I said, "Well if I wanted to do that I would just put up some signs."
"Well what would the signs say?"
I said, "Well I'd would put them on the end of the highway, on western part of the interstate system, and I'd put them on the eastern side of the state, right there on the interstate system, and in the north on the Minnesota border, and on the south Kansas and Missouri border and I would just say this: 'As of this date' -- whenever we decide to do this -- 'as of this date, 30--' this is a totally arbitrary number, '30 to 60 days from now anyone who is in the state of Iowa that who is not here legally and who cannot demonstrate their legal status to the satisfaction of the local and state authorities here in the State of Iowa, become property of the State of Iowa.' So if you are here without our permission, and we have given you two months to leave, and you're still here, and we find that you're still here after we we've given you the deadline to leave, then you become property of the State of Iowa. And we have a job for you. And we start using compelled labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the state and become an asset of the state rather than a liability and we start inventing jobs for them to do.
"Well how would you apply that logic to what Donald Trump is trying to do? Trying to get Mexico to pay for the border and for the wall?"
"Same way. We say, 'Hey, we are not going to make Mexico pay for the wall, we're going to invite the illegal Mexicans and illegal aliens to build it. If you have come across the border illegally, again give them another 60-day guideline, you need to go home and leave this jurisdiction, and if you don't you become property of the United States, and guess what? You will be building a wall. We will compel your labor. You would belong to these United States. You show up without an invitation, you get to be an asset. You get to be a construction worker. Cool!'
When a caller confronted Mickelson and said his plan amounted to "slavery," Mickelson replied, "What's wrong with slavery?" Mickelson told the caller his plan was "moral," "legal," and "politically doable" and should be modeled after Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "tent village" (emphasis added in transcript):
MICKELSON: So anyway back to the point. Put up a sign that says at the end of 60 days, if you are not here with our permission, can't prove your legal status, you become property of the state. And then we start to extort or exploit or indenture your labor. This is Fred. Good morning Fred.
CALLER: Hey good morning, how are you?
MICKELSON: I'm doing great.
CALLER: Great. Well you caught me--I was up at 4 o'clock this morning, I'm travelling from Tulsa through Des Moines. I think I'll stop by the state fair to see Carly and them, but your idea is clever on the face but it sounds an awful lot like slavery. I don't think - I think it'll go over like a lead balloon.
MICKELSON: No, just read the Constitution, Fred. What does the Constitution say about slavery?
CALLER: Well didn't we fix that in about 1865?
MICKELSON: Yeah we sure did and I'm willing to live with their fix. What does the 13th Amendment say?
CALLER: Well you know I don't have my Constitution in front of me and you know like I say, it sounds like a clever idea and maybe you can make it - put it in action, but I think the fall out would be so significant. And I, you know --
MICKELSON: What would be the nature of the fall out?
CALLER: Well I think everybody would believe it sounds like slavery?
MICKELSON: Well, what's wrong with slavery?
CALLER: Well we know what's wrong with slavery.
MICKELSON: Well apparently we don't because when we allow millions of people to come into the country who aren't here legally and people who are here are indentured to those people to pay their bills, their education of their kids, pay for their food, their food stamps, their medical bills, in some cases even subsidize their housing, and somehow the people who own the country, who pay the bills, pay the taxes, they get indentured to the new people who are not even supposed to be here. Isn't that a lot like slavery?
CALLER: Well you know, you're singing my song; we're all slaves today the way the government is growing -
MICKELSON: If that's the case, maybe it's time to reverse the process. Isn't this a perfectly good time to do that?
CALLER: Well that'll swing the pendulum back in a pretty broad swing and maybe too far and we may end up swinging back the other way further left than we are right now. I take it about halfway Jan. I think it's a clever idea, it's worth throwing out there. It isn't an easy topic -
MICKELSON: No this is pretty simple, actually this is very simple, what my solution is moral and it's legal. And I can't think - and it's also politically doable.
CALLER: So are you going to house all these people who have chosen to be indentured?
MICKELSON: Yes, yes, absolutely in a minimal fashion. We would take a lesson from Sheriff [Joe] Arpaio down in Arizona. Put up a tent village, we feed and water these new assets, we give them minimal shelter, minimal nutrition, and offer them the opportunity to work for the benefit of the taxpayers of the state of Iowa. All they have to do to avoid servitude is to leave.
CALLER: [laughing] Hey, good luck.
MICKELSON: All right, thank you very much I appreciate it.
CALLER: You bet. You bet.
MICKELSON: You think I'm just pulling your leg. I am not.
Mickelson has a history of making racially-charged, anti-immigrant remarks but he also has a strong pull with conservative caucus voters in Iowa. His influence is so big that he recently hosted several 2016 GOP candidates on his show, including Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Ben Carson during their visits to the Iowa State Fair. After Mickelson defended his immigrant-slave plan, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) appeared on his show. Not surprisingly, Mickelson's immigration plan didn't come up.
Iowa radio host Steve Deace hosted Troy Newman, a radical anti-abortion activist and president of anti-choice group Operation Rescue, to hype the deceptively edited Planned Parenthood videos Newman helped produce and release. Newman has a history of violent speech and actions directed at abortion service providers, including systematically harassing clinic workers and defending the murder of an abortion clinic doctor.
Following the July 21 release of a second deceptively edited video purportedly showing a Planned Parenthood staff member engaging in a discussion about "selling" fetal tissue for medical science, Deace hosted Newman to discuss the videos he admitted helping create:
Although not discussed by Deace, who also has some extreme thoughts of his own about women's reproductive rights, Newman and Operation Rescue have a track record of aggressive anti-choice rhetoric and actions. According to a 2003 Operation Rescue West press release, Newman defended Paul Jennings Hill, an anti-abortion activist who murdered a Florida abortion doctor and his security guard in 1994. In the release Newman said Hill's conviction was unfair because Hill was unable to present "the legal defense that his conduct was justifiable defensive action" to "save the lives of pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day."
For his part, Newman has engaged in personal harassment of clinic staff. As the Los Angeles Times reported in a February 17, 2004 article, he planned to stalk clinic workers -- who he compared to infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele -- to "make it clear they're not welcome in Wichita":
Newman will pick through clinic workers' trash to figure out where they do business; he'll trail them at a distance to learn their routines.
His goal is not just to make their lives uncomfortable. He wants to unsettle and disgust their friends and associates, so their hairstylists and their pharmacists, even their neighbors, make it clear they're not welcome in Wichita.
"If Josef Mengele came into a bank saying, 'Here are a few gold teeth I ripped out of the Jews before I gassed them,' the bank would be horrified. They'd say, 'I'm not taking your blood money.' That's the picture of abortionists that we have to paint," Newman said.
The videos Newman's organization consulted on and took credit for on Deace's show are full of deceptive edits and do not show any illegal activity. As the New York Times explained in an editorial discussing the videos, the full first video, which was edited down from over two hours to less than 10 minutes, "shows something very different from what these critics claim" by "eliminat[ing] statements made by Dr. Nucatola explaining that Planned Parenthood does not profit from tissue donation." The editorial continued:
The Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal. Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women's health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk.
Factcheck.org agreed, saying the deceptively edited videos did not show Planned Parenthood violating any laws and highlighting experts who said that the money discussed in the video "represents a reasonable fee" for tissue donation.
Journalists planning to cover the upcoming Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa should be aware of the extreme anti-gay rhetoric regularly voiced by several of the event's sponsors and speakers, including host Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader and one of the most influential conservative activists in Iowa. Attendees will also hear from Tony Perkins, the head of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council and Brian Brown, the head of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, among others.