During Thursday's Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News and Google, moderators looked to anti-immigrant group the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to ask the first question on immigration. Nearly 20,000 questions were reportedly submitted on a variety of topics, but for immigration, Fox chose one by FAIR spokeswoman Kristen Williamson. From the debate:
WILLIAMSON: Struggling U.S. workers continue to compete with millions of illegal aliens. Do you support legislation to require all employers to use E-Verify in order to insure that the people that they hire are actually legally authorized to work in the U.S., and will you impose penalties against employers who continue to hire illegal workers?
FAIR is an anti-immigrant organization considered a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It not only has a history of using extreme, violent, and offensive language directed at undocumented immigrants, but it has extremist ties as well.
The second and last question about immigration submitted by a viewer that Fox chose asked: "Are you going to exert an effort to stop the abuse of U.S. citizens by illegals?"
It's hardly surprising Fox would choose a question on immigration from an extremist group in light of the negative tone it has set in framing the immigration debate. Moreover, considering Fox has a history of advocating for the error-prone and potentially racist E-Verify program, it's also not shocking that the network chose a question that advanced the common anti-immigrant sentiment that undocumented immigrants "compete" with "struggling U.S. workers" -- a sentiment that is simply misplaced.
From the September 20 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Fox News has a well-documented anti-immigrant bias. This is apparent not only in countless examples of slanted coverage and purportedly "fair and balanced" debate, but also through the network's choice of slurs and smears when discussing undocumented immigrants. Fox's calculated decision to continually blast this one image of a man climbing what could be a border fence is a perfect example of how Fox uses its brand to reinforce negative views of unauthorized immigrants.
The way Fox responded to the decision by a federal judge to suspend implementation of the harshly criticized Alabama immigration law was yet another prime example.
In her ruling temporarily blocking the law from taking effect, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn said she needed more time to review the various lawsuits brought by the Obama administration and other groups who questioned the law's constitutionality.
Fox, which has defended and applauded the law, decided that guests from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigration organization, carried the best insight and brought them on to discuss the ruling. FAIR has been labeled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Dan Stein, the group's president, was welcomed on Fox News' America's Newsroom, and he promptly blasted the Obama administration for "making all kinds of wild allegations" in its lawsuit. As Stein spoke, footage of what appeared to be immigrants running near the border appeared on screen.
Stein went on to parrot the conservative argument that "[t]here's really nothing revolutionary here but for the fact that ... President Obama and his people do not want immigration laws enforced and so they and their allies are challenging all these laws." He also argued that the Alabama law would free up jobs for Americans and that the "administration is taking us down a course of chaos and anarchy and we have to stop it."
Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin today seized on the arrest of President Obama's uncle to attack the administration's immigration policy, including the recent decision to prioritize the deportation of undocumented immigrants who are a threat to public safety.
When the White House began issuing its deportation waivers last week, I reminded you again about the endless appeals process and immigration litigation lottery played by deportable aliens and their open-borders lawyers. And remember: Capitol Hill compounds the problem with a raft of special private relief bills that protect illegal alien criminals.
This chaos creates a friendly atmosphere in which those who plot to destroy the American dream can hide, work, and flourish. As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that awoke snoozing feds to the nexus between systemic lax immigration enforcement and compromised homeland security, the paparazzi president has nothing to say about the deportation abyss. We'll get photo ops and platitudes about never forgetting. The open-borders lobby will get a continuing windfall of get-out-of-deportation passes.
Malkin further wrote: "Entry into this country is no longer treated as a privilege, but an irrevocable right for every last griping Zeituni and reckless Omar." She concluded with this "crack" from Doug Powers, a contributor on her blog:
"If the president was serious about rounding up illegals he'd host a family reunion and have ICE throw a net over the South Lawn."
Malkin previously attacked the administration for its prosecutorial discretion guidelines in deportation cases.
From the August 30 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Boston radio host Howie Carr trumpeted a caller's voicemail that discussed shooting an "illegal alien" with an "illegal gun" Friday, after Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick cautioned against blaming "illegal immigration" for a fatal automobile accident involving an alleged drunk driver.
From the "Chump Line" segment where Carr comments on listeners' voicemails:
VOICEMAIL: Hey, hey Deval, I didn't shoot that illegal alien, my illegal gun did. Technically, is that illegal, to shoot an illegal, with an illegal?
HOWIE CARR: You see how you can tie yourself in knots when you begin to say one law is going to be enforced but another law is not going to be enforced.
(h/t Kyle de Beausset)
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) leader William Gheen has frequently presented himself as a moderate within the American nativist movement since founding ALIPAC in 2005.
Last May, for example, Gheen yanked ALIPAC's backing of a major rally for Arizona's notorious immigration crackdown law, S.B. 1070, after learning that one of its organizers was linked to racist skinhead groups.
Such anti-extremist posturing has lent Gheen mainstream media credibility. He's been quoted often, nearly two dozen times by mainstream papers in the last six months, according to a Nexis search. Even The New York Times included his comments in a story on border security published August 9.
Earlier this week, however, Gheen appeared to relinquish his mainstream legitimacy in favor of predicting race war and endorsing violence in response to the immigration policies of "Dictator Barack Obama."
As first reported by Right Wing Watch, Gheen argued on the air that the Obama administration is preparing for "conflict with White America" by allowing millions of non-white immigrants into the U.S. to "back them up."
Gheen advocated for "illegal and violent" actions in response.
GHEEN: What Janet Napolitano has spent most of her time doing in the last couple of months has been, one, preparing the new spy network that's available now, the new data-collecting, see everything you do online, beyond the normal terrorist list that they're creating, they're creating a much larger list now of people who might be troublesome here in the country. And putting out videos and propaganda telegraphing what I believe to be a conflict with White America they're preparing for after they get another 10 or 15 million people in the country to back them up.
We're no longer referring to him as President Barack Obama, our national organization has made the decision and made the announcement we now refer to him as Dictator Barack Obama. That's what he is. And basically at this point, if you're looking for a peaceful, political recourse there really isn't one that we can think of, and I'm really not sure what to tell people out there other than I guess they need to make decisions soon to just accept whatever comes next or some type of extra-political activities that I can't really even talk about because they're all illegal and violent.
The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that while open expressions of racial radicalism are new for Gheen, the ALIPAC leader is "no stranger to more more garden-variety bigotry and fear-mongering":
He has accused Mexican immigrants of carrying infectious diseases and plotting to take over the Southwest. In April 2010, he targeted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), claiming that the 56-year-old bachelor is gay and saying he should come out to avoid being blackmailed into working with Democrats on immigration reform. In July 2010, Gheen told revisionist "historian" David Barton that LGBT people secretly want to import undocumented immigrants as a way of "replacing many core Americans and American values," part of an overall "war" against Americans.
In his August 23 Washington Times column, Charles Hurt fearmongered over the Obama administration's new immigration policy prioritizing the deportation of criminals by claiming that "you can bet some of these illegals who had been headed for deportation will manage to sneak in a few votes. Maybe even enough to swing the election." Hurt further compared Obama to a "dictator currying favor by releasing political prisoners just before an 'election.' " From the Times:
The surest sign yet that President Obama will cashier his "hope" and "change" gimmicks from the last campaign in favor of a switchblade and brass knuckles for the next one was the stunning landmark decision he quietly made last week before hightailing it up to Martha's Vineyard for a trip to Luxuryville.
Like a dictator currying favor by releasing political prisoners just before an "election," Mr. Obama decided to reject the repeatedly expressed wishes of Congress and halt deportations of illegal immigrants.
[W]ith all the skeezy Election Day tactics we see with same-day registration and a refusal to require voters to actually prove they are legal residents who should be voting in the election, you can bet some of these illegals who had been headed for deportation will manage to sneak in a few votes.
Maybe even enough to swing the election.
In an August 23 Washington Times op-ed titled, "Obama's immigration shake-up, White House grants amnesty to anyone but convicted felons," Emily Miller wrote:
President Obama is using his executive authority to grant backdoor amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the administration's immigration-enforcement efforts would ignore "low-priority cases." That means most criminal aliens can stay, and only convicted felons will get the boot.
This new case-by-case-basis interpretation of immigration laws will give illegals a work permit to stick around in the United States, taking jobs away from the 9.1 percent of Americans looking for work. Congressional Democrats, who couldn't get their laissez-faire immigration bill passed last year, applauded the White House move.
Basically, it's a free pass as long as you don't get convicted of a serious crime.
Mr. Obama might as well stand at the border with a sign saying, "Come on in. Do whatever you want, just don't get caught."
From the August 22 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Earlier this week week, the Obama Administration announced a new immigration policy instructing law enforcement to use prosecutorial discretion in order to postpone the deportation proceedings of certain undocumented workers and prioritize the deportation of convicted criminals. Since the announcement was made, Fox news has claimed the policy is tantamount to "amnesty."
Despite rushing to demagogue the issue, a Fox online poll showed viewers agreed that focusing on dangerous criminals makes sense.
Here are the results as of August 19 at 7:50 p.m.:
Fox News' supposed "straight news" division pushed the theory that President Obama may have committed an impeachable offense by pursuing a new immigration policy, which instructs law enforcement personnel to use prosecutorial discretion to postpone deportation proceedings of certain undocumented workers in order to prioritize the removal of convicted criminals. In fact, the Bush administration used prosecutorial discretion to stop the deportation of certain categories of undocumented immigrants as well.
From the August 19 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Fox News host Dave Briggs claimed that a new immigration policy, which will postpone deportation proceedings of certain undocumented workers in order to prioritize convicted criminals, is "perhaps blanket amnesty." Fox News has a long history of labeling immigration policies "amnesty," a term that has been shown to produce a more negative reaction than describing a policy as "a path to citizenship."
From the August 19 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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