In her most recent Tribune Media column, former Fox News pundit Rachel Marsden, a Canadian who now lives in France, purports to advise U.S. lawmakers on what is the best "recipe" to be competitive in the global economy. She advises them to "focus on importing top talent and limiting low-level immigration," which she says would also better reflect their constituents' supposed views. But as it turns out, Marsden has no idea what she's talking about.
In a column brazen for its naked racism, Marsden laments the "white guilt overkill" that has seen the United States welcome "more Third World immigrants" in the past 40 years than "from Western European democracies and Canada." She then cites an Ipsos Global poll that found that "nearly one half (45%) of global citizens believe 'immigration has generally had a negative impact on their country' " -- including 56 percent of Americans -- and suggests that should be justification for halting immigration from Latin America and Asia. Indeed, she complains that following revised immigration laws to correct the system's historically racially biased structure, "Latin America and Asia dominated, while European immigration was reduced from 86% to a mere sliver of 13%."
Predictably, the column was hyped by Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) President Dan Stein, who linked to the column using the headline, "Public Isn't Buying Mass-Immigration."
But Marsden is just plain wrong. According to the Ipsos poll she mentions, Americans are split on the question of whether "priority should be given to immigrants with higher education and qualifications who can fill shortages among certain professions" in the United States. In fact, among all countries polled, the United States had the lowest number of respondents who agreed with that statement, with just 33 percent saying that high-skilled immigrants should be given priority. An equal number disagreed, with 30 percent being neutral.
In the past two years, Glenn Beck has repeatedly invoked slavery to attack President Obama, progressives, and progressive policies, among other things. Here is a sampling.
From the June 28 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight
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A trend that has been noticed far too often here at Media Matters is this: if Fox News wants to spin a certain aspect of a story to fit their conservative agenda, they'll do it any way they know how. Their blog, Fox Nation, seems to exist solely to do just that.
On June 25, an article appeared in the Los Angeles Times about a call by human rights groups, including the ACLU and Amnesty International, to investigate fatal shootings of various people who threw rocks and nail-studded boards at U.S. Border Patrol agents. The headline, as it appeared in the Times, read:
Fox Nation, linking to the same Los Angeles Times article, posted this headline:
Here, Fox Nation clearly manipulates the headline of the Times article in order to do two things, both of which are big talking points on the Fox News agenda: attack the ACLU, and use the blatantly offensive term "illegals" to describe the attackers in question who threw the rocks.
Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, recently revealed that he is an undocumented immigrant. Right-wing media responded with virulent anti-immigrant attacks, with Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail writing: "kick the lying, illegal alien Jose Antonio Vargas out."
Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter for the Washington Post, "outed" himself today as an undocumented immigrant in a self-authored New York Times Magazine piece detailing his experience as a young Filipino immigrant working hard to achieve the American dream. It wasn't until Vargas attempted to obtain a learner's permit at his local California DMV that he learned the citizenship documentation he had been provided by his naturalized grandparents was fake.
I decided then that I could never give anyone reason to doubt I was an American. I convinced myself that if I worked enough, if I achieved enough, I would be rewarded with citizenship. I felt I could earn it.
I've tried. Over the past 14 years, I've graduated from high school and college and built a career as a journalist, interviewing some of the most famous people in the country. On the surface, I've created a good life. I've lived the American dream.
But I am still an undocumented immigrant.
Predictably, it took almost no time for the right-wing slander machine to gear up its attacks on Vargas and his family.
First up, National Review's Daniel Foster accused Vargas of "fraudulent tax fraud," in a piece posted today:
Vargas entered the country illegally after his grandfather paid a coyote $4,500 to smuggle him in. The grandfather then obtained a fake passport and green card for Vargas, which they used to acquire a valid Social Security card. But that card, which subjected Vargas' right to work to the approval of the then-INS, was illegally doctored, allowing Vargas to secure job after job for more than a decade by showing nothing more than a photocopy of a fake document.
The first part of Vargas' story -- a kid living and loving America for years before his shocking discovery that he has been made complicit in a crime -- does indeed elicit sympathy. It's stories like these that make me open, at least in principle, to something like a narrowly-tailored version of the "DREAM" Act. But the second part of his story, in which a fear- and shame-driven Vargas, with the aid of his family, perpetuated and compounded those crimes (Vargas eventually got around to what you might redundantly call fraudulent tax fraud, repeatedly reporting himself as a citizen rather than a "permanent resident", when in fact he was neither), elicits from me nothing like the outpouring of support Vargas is already enjoying on the Left.
In the latter portions of Monday night's Republican presidential debate, the candidates were asked how they would "prevent illegal immigrants from using our health care, educational, or welfare systems." The topic quickly veered into a discussion of citizenship, as debate moderator and CNN anchor John King asked: "If there are two illegal immigrants, two adults who came into this country illegally, and they have a child, should that child be considered a citizen of the United States?"
Herman Cain answered "I don't believe so." He elaborated on his answer after the debate, telling ThinkProgress that the "14th Amendment doesn't talk about people that were here illegally." Tim Pawlenty, who has previously endorsed revoking the birthright citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, said that birthright citizenship came about "because a U.S. Supreme Court determined that that right exists, notwithstanding language in the Constitution."
This is a big deal. At least two people running for the presidency want to change the fundamental notion of American citizenship as it has been understood since Reconstruction. Indeed, they want to change the Constitution to achieve that end. But their position is not getting much in the way of media attention.
The Center for Immigration Studies gave Tucson Weekly writer Leo W. Banks an award for "excellence in the coverage of immigration." However, in his writing, Banks has used dehumanizing and anti-immigrant language and has promoted the myth of extensive violence in United States along the border.
Less than week after fearmongering that if states stop participating in Secured Communities -- a federal deportation program begun under the Bush administration that may result in serial killers being on the loose -- Fox News was back at it, attacking states for not participating in the program.
On Fox News' America's Newsroom, Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse claimed that states opting out of the Secure Communities program is "mutiny" and is "undermining" current federal policy "and the rule of law" at the behest of "the Latino lobby." La Jeunesse's report then got really muddled. While showing a graphic, he falsely asserted that immigrants identified by the Secured Communities program either "had existing criminal convictions" or were "typically arrested for misdemeanors."
LA JEUNESSE: Secured Communities -- the program is a cornerstone of the president's immigration policy, which says, for illegals here, you work hard, you keep your nose clean, you get to stay. You break the law, you go home. But now the Latino lobby is pushing back. And this mutiny by states like Illinois, New York, Massachusetts are undermining that policy and the rule of law.
Now under the program, a criminal's fingerprints are run, not just with the FBI, but also DHS. DHS ran about 8 million fingerprints. Some 500,000 of those were immigrants, mostly illegals. About 200,000 were scheduled to be deported. About three-quarters had existing criminal convictions from murder to shoplifting. The rest arrested for misdemeanors like driving without a license. Now it is this group, the final group that some are -- some states that is -- are refusing to turn over to the feds even though supporters say even non-felons can be dangerous.
In fact, as La Jeunesse himself acknowledged later in the report, 70 percent of undocumented immigrants processed through the Secure Communities program had been convicted of a crime -- whether a misdemeanor or a felony, meaning that 30 percent were not convicted of any crime.
Fox News' Bret Baier, using the word "illegals" to describe undocumented immigrants in the United States, said that a U.S. Supreme Court decision would have the effect of "penalizing businesses for hiring illegals." However, prominent media outlets and journalists' associations have denounced the use of the term "illegals," noting that it "skew[s] the public debate on immigration issues."
The right-wing media is attacking President Obama for discussing immigration reform rather than focusing on the economy, but researchers have estimated that immigration reform can add $1.5 trillion to GDP and create 900,000 jobs.
Fox News figures have suggested that President Obama isn't serious about enacting comprehensive immigration reform and is instead "trying to shore up his base" among Hispanic voters. However, there has been a major increase in border security under Obama -- which Republicans say is their starting point for action on the issue.
From the May 15 edition of The McLaughlin Group:
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From the May 15 edition of The McLaughlin Group:
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A May 12 New York Post editorial accused President Obama of not having "serious interest" in passing immigration reform and claimed his recent speech in El Paso, TX was delivered for the purpose of "scor[ing] political points," "passing the buck," and "smearing Republicans." From the New York Post:
Does President Obama want to fix America's broken immigration system -- or just score political points?
Judging from his trip to Texas Tuesday, it's hard to see any serious interest from him in reform.
And that's a shame. Because, as he himself notes, the status quo is a disaster.
Let's face it: As even The New York Times admitted, "politics were central" to Obama's Texas trip.
He has no plans to introduce legislation or change federal policies. That would unduly antagonize some of Big Labor -- a core Democratic constituency.
Yet he frets that many Hispanic Americans, an increasingly powerful political bloc, will hold him responsible in 2012 for not keeping his vows of reform.
Sorry: Hispanics, like everyone else, know that passing the buck and smearing Republicans won't cure America's immigration ills; it'll just poison the political climate further.