Right-wing media have dishonestly portrayed recent reports of children fleeing across the U.S.-Mexico border to escape violence in Central America, even portraying the immigrants as dangerous disease-carriers, terrorists, and cartel members.
On the June 24 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Fox News' parent-company 21st Century Fox, penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, a stance in stark contrast to Fox's callous coverage of the immigration system and immigrants, which frequently disparages migrants as akin to garbage, criminals, and terrorists.
In a June 18 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch, also the executive chairman of the Journal's parent company News Corp, urged legislators to pass comprehensive immigration reform, citing it as "one of the most immediate ways to revitalize our economy." Murdoch emphasized:
Immigrants enrich our culture and add to our economic prosperity.
I don't believe that people come to America to sit on their hands. The vast majority of America's immigrants are hardworking, family-minded individuals with strong values. They are drawn here from many different places by a common belief that this is still the land of opportunity for those willing to work hard.
Murdoch even urged lawmakers to provide "a path to citizenship" for "those individuals who are already here," and called it "suicidal to suggest closing our doors to the world's entrepreneurs, or worse, to continue with large-scale deportations."
It's a stance that runs in stark contrast to his news organization's recent extreme immigration rhetoric.
Last month, Fox reported on President Obama's speech urging immigration reform by deceptively editing footage to pretend the president was advocating for the release of criminal immigrants.
Evoking connections between immigrants and garbage, criminals, and terrorists is standard fare for the network, especially in light of a recent surge in migrant children entering the US to flee growing violence in Central America.
The June 4 edition of Fox & Friends reported on the undocumented immigrant children being dropped off at a Phoenix bus station awaiting deportation proceedings with on-screen text that read "illegal dumping," a phrase commonly used to describe the unlawful disposal of garbage or other unwanted items.
Fox has used the humanitarian crisis to attack President Obama and hype fears that the migrant children may be terrorists and violent cartel members. One Fox host said she "wouldn't be surprised" if the unaccompanied immigrant children were fronts for drug dealers or terrorists.
On June 13, Fox News reported on news that some military bases would open up to house immigrant families by portraying the immigrants as "whining" and accusing them of complaining "of conditions in free lodging," while denouncing the administration for "serving illegals while soldiers wait."
Rupert Murdoch and his Fox family have a history of conflicting on immigration -- Murdoch has been consistent in his support for immigration reform and has built a reputation for breaking with the network to back such reform, while Fox has been known to temporarily clean up their act when the boss is around.
Just today, Fox News' America's Newsroom took a uncharacteristically sympathetic stance on immigrants to report on Murdoch's op-ed, emphasizing the man's entrepreneurial success as an immigrant himself. The hosts followed suit with the network's tradition of abandoning typical anti-immigration rhetoric for more positive coverage when it comes to Murdoch, underscoring Murdoch's focus on America's entrepreneurial history of imagination and ambition and highlighting the importance of strengthening border security. No mention was made of Murdoch's advocacy for a path to citizenship for immigrants already residing in the U.S.
Fox News incorrectly claimed that children crossing the U.S. border to flee violence in Central America are getting a "free ride" into the United States and are being allowed to stay despite evidence showing that these children are immediately put into deportation proceedings and are not eligible for any of the Obama administration's deportation relief programs.
This year, precipitated by growing violence in Central America, thousands of migrant children have entered the U.S. and have been held in various locations in border states, including temporary housing in Arizona. Estimates have varied on the number that is expected to cross this year, with The New York Times reporting that some federal officials predict at least 60,000 unaccompanied minors will attempt to cross into the U.S. by the end of this fiscal year.
Fox News has capitalized on the situation to attack the Obama administration and incorrectly claim his administration's immigration policies are to blame for the rise, while falsely claiming these children would receive a free pass into the U.S.
On the June 17 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer used the border crossings by unaccompanied migrant children to claim that the president was doing nothing about the situation. Fox contributor David Webb agreed, blaming the Obama administration for exacerbating "a human crisis" by "actively promoting" their "open borders approach":
From the June 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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There's a stark difference in the way Fox News and Fox News Latino covered reports of hundreds of migrant children crossing the U.S. border to flee violence in Central America.
Hundreds of migrant children crossing the U.S. border to flee violence in Central America are being held in a makeshift shelter in southern Arizona. The New York Times reported that federal officials predict at least 60,000 unaccompanied minors will attempt to cross into the U.S. by the end of this fiscal year.
In Nogales, Arizona, the Department of Homeland Security made available a warehouse to house thousands of children, but according to local media outlets, it has not been without problems. CBS Houston reported that some of the children have complained to the consul of Honduras that the food provided by the shelter is making them sick.
Fox News Latino reported on the "alarming conditions" in which the "undocumented immigrants" were being held, describing images of the shelters as "shocking" and "overcrowded," and quoting Arizona Governor Jan Brewer condemning the conditions as "dangerous and unconscionable":
Fox News has continually tied immigration issues -- including the availability of student visas and municipal IDs -- to terror threats in a misleading campaign to hype fears over immigration reform.
A record number of unaccompanied children are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border -- more than 47,000 have been apprehended in 2014 according to U.S. Customs & Border Protections. According to the LA Times, most of the children are from Central America, and the recent surge in the number of unaccompanied children detained by border patrol has prompted the opening of several temporary facilities and created an "urgent humanitarian situation."
The children crossing the border from Central America are the networks' latest targets as Fox contributors have suggested that some of them are terrorists and violent cartel members.
From the June 12 edition of Fox News' On The Record with Greta Van Susteren:
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From the June 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Right-wing media ignored immigration experts and blamed President Obama's immigration polices for the recent influx of unaccompanied children apprehended illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. In reality, experts cite increased violence in Central America as the driving factor.
Fox News attacked immigrant students who are set to become eligible for in-state college tuition in Virginia under existing state law, and misleadingly attacked the decision as providing an "illegal education."
On April 29, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the state's existing law defining residents eligible for in-state tuition does not exclude students approved under the U.S. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Virginia can now join 17 other states in providing in-state tuition rates for previously undocumented students at the commonwealth's public colleges and universities who are now lawfully present under DACA. During the April 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Heather Nauert claimed the Virginia decision was due to "the Dream Act, which was created by the Obama administration," and falsely disparaged the students as "illegals":
On Fox & Friends First, an on-screen graphic labeled the decision "illegal education":
Fox's misleading report on this law confused the Dream Act, a bill that would provide an eventual path to permanent residency and citizenship to eligible undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, with DACA, an executive action signed by President Obama which allows some of those children to apply for legal living and working status on a temporary basis. As Fox's sister organization, Fox News Latino, explained, it is DACA, not the Dream Act, which led to the judgment of Virginia's attorney general that these students are legally eligible to receive the tuition:
In 2012, Obama created a special immigration status, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), for immigrants between the ages of 15 and 32 who came to the U.S. before they turned 16. That status allows them to remain if they have graduated from high school or are enrolled as students and meet other conditions.
Herring said the new category amounts to lawful immigration status for those who hold it, and he is therefore empowered to implement the change. Herring's office estimated that 8,100 Virginia residents have obtained lawful status under the 2012 program and are now eligible for in-state tuition.
Fox's own Chris Wallace noted the popularity of providing more affordable tuition to undocumented students last month when he favorably highlighted a privately run program that provides aid to these students. Wallace praised the program as "a program supported by everyone from Grover Norquist to Mark Zuckerberg."
Fox News hosted an anti-immigration Arizona sheriff to push the myths that the Obama administration has released violent undocumented immigrants and is refusing to deport convicted criminals. In reality, deportations of undocumented immigrants with criminal records have nearly doubled since 2008, and the claim that the Obama administration is releasing violent undocumented immigrants is based on a flawed report.
On the April 9 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto and guest Paul Babeu -- an Arizona police sheriff, Fox News darling, and anti-immigrant activist -- pushed one of Fox's favorite immigration myths, claiming that the Obama administration is not deporting criminals, "the dangerous folks, or the folks you would think more urgently should be deported." Babeu accused the administration of releasing convicted criminals, stoking fears that those released were "convicted of child molestation, aggravated assault against police officers" and manslaughter:
Contrary to Cavuto and Babeu's claims, the Obama administration has consistently increased the number of convicted criminals that are deported. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data shows that the number of immigrants with Level 1 offenses who were deported has gone from about 3,400 in 2009 to nearly 29,000 in 2013. Since 2008, ICE deportations of immigrants with criminal convictions have increased by 87 percent:
From the March 31 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:
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Fox News used a misleading report from the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) to accuse the Obama administration of "destabilizing the nation" by releasing undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds. In fact, data show that the Obama administration has met its enforcement mandate to prioritize the deportation of immigrants with criminal convictions, which has resulted in a substantial increase of such deportations.
Right-wing media outlets including Fox News falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was only able to reach the benchmark of 6 million enrollees by signing up undocumented immigrants and "Mexican nationals" at Mexican consulates. In fact, Mexican nationals -- like all American citizens and legal immigrants -- are mandated by the law to sign up for insurance, and outreach efforts at Mexican consulates that work to educate Mexicans legally living in the United States about government programs are nothing new.