Conservative media are pushing the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration deliberately created the humanitarian immigration crisis on the Southern border for political reasons. The rhetoric echoes claims from Republican politicians, most notably Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who said he didn't want "to be conspiratorial," but the administration may be "in on this somehow."
Child migrants have surged across the border in recent months to flee violence in Central America. President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to respond to the crisis, as the mass migration has overwhelmed existing detention facilities and border resources.
The president has publicly discouraged the migration, stating in an ABC News interview on June 27: "That is our direct message to the families in Central America: Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it." PolitiFact called the claim that Obama planned the border crisis "pants on fire" false, writing: "Many of the factors behind the surge of children lie outside the control of the administration. No expert we reached gave any credence to the idea that the administration planned this crisis on the border."
Gov. Perry has responded to the humanitarian crisis by suggesting the Obama administration is secretly coordinating the effort. In a June 17 Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Perry said: "We're doing our part to make sure we can keep our citizens as safe as we can. But the federal government is just absolutely failing. We either have an incredibly inept administration or they're in on this somehow or another. I hate to be conspiratorial, but how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort?"
The potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate subsequently appeared on ABC on July 6 and said Obama may have an "ulterior motive" on the crisis.
Other Republican politicians have also suggested President Obama is deliberately creating the border crisis. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told conspiracy website WND, "If you don't see them bring reinforcements down there to seal the border, that means that, yes, it's a Cloward-Piven maneuver to flood the country until we get to the point where we are an open-borders country that welcomes everybody, legal and illegal" ("Cloward-Piven" is a reference to a right-wing conspiracy theory that believes progressives are attempting to overwhelm capitalism, leading to its collapse). Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) similarly claimed it's "an open secret Obama is trying to flood Texas with illegals to make it into a blue state." Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) told Fox Business' Lou Dobbs on June 10 (via Nexis), "Everything that Barack Obama's doing is intentional, deliberate ... This is deliberate, Lou, and all Barack Obama's asking for is more money to do more of the same."
Despite evidence to the contrary, many members of the right-wing media have followed their Republican partners in accusing Obama of having "planned" and "orchestrated" the crisis for political gain. Here are ten examples:
Rush Limbaugh Speculates "This Whole Thing Was Planned In Advance By Somebody." Speaking on the June 24 edition of his radio program, Limbaugh said: "Somebody needs to go to the Oval Office. I don't know who. I wouldn't want to be the guy, but somebody better make tracks to the Oval Office right now and tell Obama that this whole thing was planned in advance by somebody. Don't wait for the newspapers on this -- and they're not gonna trust me when they hear about it." Limbaugh's website headlined his remarks, "Obama Regime Planned the Influx of Illegal Alien Children at the Border."
Newt Gingrich: There's A "Deliberate Policy Of Maximizing The Number Of Illegal Immigrants." The CNN host wrote on his website on June 27 that the crisis "is a direct result of deliberate Obama administration policy that encourages illegal immigration" and "appears to be a deliberate policy of maximizing the number of illegal immigrants allowed to stay in the United States." Gingrich added: "If you have any doubt consider that the Obama administration is deliberately encouraging this surge in illegal immigration, consider that instead of focusing on controlling the border and stopping people from entering illegally, we now have our government using our tax money to hire 'escort services for unaccompanied alien children.'"
Sarah Palin: "Opening Our Borders To A Flood Of Illegal Immigrants Is Deliberate." The Fox News contributor called for Obama's impeachment in a July 8 Breitbart.com post, citing Obama's allegedly "purposeful" actions with regard to the immigration influx:
Without borders, there is no nation. Obama knows this. Opening our borders to a flood of illegal immigrants is deliberate. This is his fundamental transformation of America. It's the only promise he has kept. Discrediting the price paid for America's exceptionalism over our history, he's given false hope and taxpayer's change to millions of foreign nationals who want to sneak into our country illegally. Because of Obama's purposeful dereliction of duty an untold number of illegal immigrants will kick off their shoes and come on in, competing against Americans for our jobs and limited public services. There is no end in sight as our president prioritizes parties over doing the job he was hired by voters to do. Securing our borders is obviously fundamental here; it goes without saying that it is his job.
Lou Dobbs: "All Of This Is Orchestrated By This Administration." Dobbs stated on the June 26 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight: "All of this is orchestrated by this administration. Anybody who doesn't understand that hasn't got the common sense that, you know, God gave a goat ... The fact is that this administration is working in concert with the Central American governments."
Monica Crowley: "He Created This Crisis, He Orchestrated It, And He's Perpetuating It." The Fox News contributor added on the July 10 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co. that Obama "wanted the chaos" to pressure Republicans on immigration reform and to turn red states blue.
Jeanine Pirro: "One Conclusion: Barack Obama Is Intentionally Using The Immigration Crisis As An Excuse To Change The Demographics And Ultimately The Electorate." Pirro added on the July 12 edition of her Fox News program Justice with Judge Jeanine that Obama is using a "Trojan horse" of children to advance his political party, his agenda and his legacy."
Peggy Noonan Suggests Obama "Let The Crisis On The Border Build To Put Heat On Republicans." Noonan accused the president of trickery for political gain in her July 11 Wall Street Journal column.
Allen West: "A Planned Event By The Obama Administration." The Fox News contributor and former Florida congressman wrote on his website on July 3, "it seem [sic] harder to believe it was not a planned event by the Obama administration. That's not that conspiracy theory - it's trend analysis." West wrote on July 14: "I believe the whole immigrant surge is purposeful" and asked if it's to turn red states blue.
Dinesh D'Souza: Obama Wanted Border Chaos To Put "Republicans On The Defensive." The conservative filmmaker and campaign finance felon claimed on Fox News on July 15 that Obama wants the crisis to "put the Republicans on the defensive and say, listen, either you give me amnesty or I'm just going to let these people start coming across the border and there's nothing you can do about it."
Bryan Fischer: "This Is All Deliberate On The Part Of President Obama." American Family Association's Fischer added on the July 14 edition of his program that it was part of his "anti-America agenda" to transform the country.