From the February 20 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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The Washington Times misled its readers by claiming that African-American workers would see fewer jobs and lower pay if immigration reform were to pass. Despite the assertions made in the piece, immigrant labor does not steal jobs from American workers -- specifically African-American workers -- and often has a net positive impact on the economy by creating more jobs.
A February 12 article in The Washington Times cited two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who wrote to President Obama claiming that successful immigration reform would "likely mean fewer jobs and lower pay for black Americans" but failed to push back on their unfounded claims. From the article:
Two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote to President Obama on Tuesday telling him that if he succeeds in enacting an "effective amnesty" for illegal immigrants, it will likely mean fewer jobs and lower pay for black Americans.
Pointing to hearings the commission held in 2008, the two members -- Peter Kirsanow and Abigail Thernstrom -- said the economics of the situation are clear: Low-skilled blacks compete with low-skilled illegal immigrants, depressing wages.
In fact, overwhelming evidence shows that immigration's negative effect on African-American employment is an unfounded myth. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Daniel Griswold of the Cato Institute called the idea that low-skilled immigrants take African-American jobs a "pernicious myth" and cited a 1997 report that found no evidence that African-Americans have fewer job opportunities because of immigration.
Another study by Robert Paral & Associates for the Immigration Policy Center found similar results. From the Immigration Policy Center:
One of the most contentious issues in the debate over immigration reform is whether or not the presence of immigrants in the U.S. labor force -- especially undocumented immigrants -- has a major adverse impact on the employment prospects of African Americans. The African American community has long been plagued by high unemployment rates, and a relatively large share of African Americans lack a college education. As a result, some commentators argue that undocumented immigrants, who tend to have low levels of formal education and to work in less skilled occupations, are "taking" large numbers of jobs that might otherwise be filled by African American workers.
If this is indeed the case, one would except to find high unemployment rates among African Americans in locales with large numbers of immigrants in the labor force -- especially immigrants who are relatively recent arrivals to the United States and willing to work for lower wages than most African Americans. However, data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that this is not the case. In fact, there is little apparent relationship between recent immigration and unemployment rates among African Americans, or any other native born racial/ethnic group, at the state or metropolitan level.
Gerald D. Jaynes, professor of Economics and African-American Studies at Yale University, who once believed that immigration played a role in the declining African-American workforce, launched a large-scale study that concluded that "declining black unemployment is due more to other factors and events that have been restructuring our nation's labor market during the past several decades," including the elimination of many factory jobs and other blue-collar employment.
Immigrants and other low-wage workers often fill different types of jobs which require different skills. However, when they do work in the same job type, immigrants and other workers often specialize in different aspects of the job, complementing each other rather than competing with one another.
Take the case in Georgia, where a harsh immigration law forced out many of the state's farm workers, which left approximately 11,000 open farm jobs. Despite the open jobs, however, so few people applied that Gov. Nathan Deal pushed farmers to hire 2,000 unemployed criminal probationers, many of whom walked off the job soon after starting.
Wages for native-born workers also, in general, tend to increase as a result of immigration. According to an Economic Policy Institute estimate, native born African-American males experienced an average wage increase of 0.4 percent from 1994 to 1997. Native-born men with less than a high-school education were the only group to see a decrease in wages by 0.2 percent.
In reality, immigration reform would be a huge benefit to the economy. It could add billions of dollars and millions of jobs to the economy, as well as potentially $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional tax revenues.
This false claim about immigrant labor hurting African-Americans isn't new. Breitbart.com's Seaton Motley used this myth to attack President Obama's deferred action plan. The anti-immigrant nativist organization, NumbersUSA, ran ads hyping this myth during the run up to last year's referendum on the Maryland DREAM Act in an attempt to cause the measure's failure. But this effort backfired -- instead, African-Americans voted overwhelmingly for the measure.
Fox News misleadingly invoked the 9-11 terrorist attacks to pillory President Obama's immigration policy, falsely claiming that the hijackers entered the United States illegally, and therefore would not have been arrested had they been detained in 2001 under Obama's immigration policy.
Citing a former Bush Immigration and Customs Enforcement official's February 2012 congressional testimony, Fox & Friends First co-host Ainsely Earhardt claimed that Obama's immigration policy would have allowed the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to remain in the United States had the policy been in effect in 2001, claiming his "policy prevents agents from arresting people solely for entering the country illegally."
However, the 9-11 hijackers did not enter the country illegally, so any immigration policy changes dealing with people entering the country illegally would not apply. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks reported that the hijackers entered the United States legally via visas issued by the State Department:
Beginning in 1997, the 19 hijackers submitted 24 applications and received 23 visas. The pilots acquired most of theirs in the year 2000. The other hijackers, with two exceptions, obtained their visas between the fall of 2000 and June 2001. Two of the visas were issued in Berlin, and two were issued in the United Arab Emirates. The rest were issued in Saudi Arabia. One of the pilots, Hani Hanjour, had an application denied in September 2000 for lack of adequate documentation. He then produced more evidence in support of his student visa application, and it was approved.
And while several of the hijackers had overstayed their visas, the Obama administration has taken steps to crack down on those who stay when their visas expire, focusing on security risks. From an Associated Press report in September 2011:
The Obama administration is cracking down on immigrants in the U.S. who have overstayed the terms of their visas by using a system that automatically checks multiple national security, immigration and law enforcement databases at the same time, a senior Homeland Security Department official said.
The common practice has been to make manual checks of individual databases. The new system already has identified dozens of investigative leads, said John Cohen, deputy counterterrorism coordinator at the Homeland Security Department.
The immediate focus is to identify people who have overstayed their visas and who pose potential threats to national security or public safety, Cohen said.
The department also is checking regularly the systems for people whose visas have not expired -- in some cases, as often as daily or weekly, Cohen said.
Such a review process deals with the reality that information about a person's potential terrorism ties might not be clear to the intelligence community until after a visa has been issued.
From the February 2 edition of Sirius XM's Media Matters Radio:
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As congressional leaders debate a framework for comprehensive immigration reform that will likely grant undocumented immigrants legal status, conservative media are engaged in promoting myths and falsehoods about what reform means for the country.
Rush Limbaugh attacked President Obama for his comments on Limbaugh's influence over Republican lawmakers. But in 2007, Republicans on both sides of the immigration reform debate highlighted Limbaugh's influence on Republican attitudes towards the bill, which they eventually defeated.
After the president told The New Republic that it's easier to pass bipartisan legislation if a Republican lawmaker "isn't "punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest," Limbaugh responded by saying that Obama was "trying to goad [him] into saying something extreme." But Limbaugh soon proved the president's point by declaring that it was up to him to stop the new comprehensive immigration reform effort and debating the issue with one of its sponsors, Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
Obama isn't the only one who has pointed out Limbaugh's ability to persuade Republican lawmakers from cooperating with Democrats on bipartisan legislation -- several Republicans singled Limbaugh out for his role in the previous attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2007.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who opposed immigration reform in 2007, touted Limbaugh's role in its defeat, saying that right-wing talk radio was "a big factor" in opposing the bill and that the Senate was trying to pass it "before Rush Limbaugh could tell the American people what was in it."
Republican supporters of the bill also called out Limbaugh's influence. A May 27, 2007, Los Angeles Times article reported that then-Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) "directed his criticism squarely at Limbaugh" when he said: "He has emotion on his side, but I think I have logic on mine." And on May 16, 2007, President George W. Bush's White House Press Secretary Tony Snow -- who had previously guest hosted Limbaugh's show during his talk radio career -- appeared as a guest on The Rush Limbaugh Show to sell the radio host on comprehensive immigration reform:
LIMBAUGH: [O]ne of the things happening in the Senate right now that's of extreme interest to people in the White House and out is this immigration bill, and I've heard a couple of things about it and I want you to tell me if what I'm hearing is right or wrong. One thing is that the Senate's trying to push this thing through without senators having a chance to read the whole thing. It's 600 pages. They're trying to move a procedural vote forward to get a vote going without debate on this much, because there's so much in it that is confusing and, I mean, 600 pages is a lot of things, and a lot of people are upset that anybody would sign a bill that they haven't read, even though that's more common than people know.
SNOW: (laughs) Well, a couple things first. We're still in negotiations on this. But the fact is, folks are going to have time to read this, and they're going to have time to look at the fine print. The other thing is, you gotta keep in mind one of the guys who's leading the charge on the Senate side is Jon Kyl, who himself has been skeptical of immigration reform in some senses. So I think for conservatives, they ought to feel a certain level of comfort that a guy who has been with them -- and let's face it, Jon Kyl is not the kind of guy who ever backs away from principle. So this is the kind of thing that ought to be inspiring confidence.
From the January 30 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the January 29 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
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From the January 29 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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From the January 29 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Rush Limbaugh said that "it's up to me and Fox News" to stop immigration reform. Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt appears to be answering the call, characterizing possible provisions for same sex couples in immigration reform as a "poison pill" proposal from President Barack Obama as part of a campaign to "enrage the right, divide the GOP and set the table for a Democratic victory in 2014."
BuzzFeed reports that the White House framework for immigration reform will include provisions for opening up green card eligibility for same sex couples. Heterosexual couples routinely have access to permanent resident visas via marriage, while same sex couples do not because the Defense of Marriage Act bars federal recognition of same sex marriages.
Stirewalt's column again spotlights the role of Fox and other elements of the conservative media in policing the Republican Party in order to prevent the passage of legislation alongside Democrats. President Obama discussed this dynamic in an interview with The New Republic: "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it."
As Reuters reported, "There are at least 28,500 same-sex couples in the United States in which one partner is a U.S. citizen and the other is not, and 11,500 same-sex couples where neither partner is a U.S. citizen." By that measure, proposals on this issue would affect at least 80,000 people in a same sex relationship.
Immigration Equality, a pro-reform group, estimates that 45% of these couples also have children, who of course would be directly affected by these immigration reforms.
Under criticism for discouraging Republicans from cooperating with Democrats to pass legislation, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are telling Republicans how to move on comprehensive immigration reform.
President Obama told The New Republic that it would be easier to work with Republicans to pass legislation "[i]f a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest." Fox and Limbaugh lashed out at Obama in response to his comments on Monday, but on Monday night, Fox host Sean Hannity advised Republican lawmakers to "proceed with caution" on immigration reform. During the segment, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said that Hannity gave "good advice."
While Fox was dispensing advice to the GOP, Limbaugh declared that "it's up to me" to stop comprehensive immigration reform because he doesn't think Fox "is that invested in this." Rubio will be on Limbaugh's program on Tuesday to discuss the immigration reform that Limbaugh has pledged to halt.
As Fox and Limbaugh criticized Obama for highlighting their ability to sway Republican lawmakers, they proved him right with their comments about immigration reform. This is not the first example of their influence over the GOP - past media reports indicate Fox News and Limbaugh's influence on key Republican lawmakers crafting laws and negotiating bills with Democrats.
Right-wing media figures have responded to immigration reform by invoking the oft-repeated conservative argument that legalizing immigrants will enlarge the "welfare state." In fact, the announced immigration reform proposal would prevent newly legalized immigrants from receiving federal benefits for an extended period of time; moreover, immigrants in general are less likely to receive welfare benefits.
From the January 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Fox News contributor Monica Crowley attacked an immigration reform proposal by claiming the federal government has failed to protect the U.S.-Mexico border. However, recent reports show that undocumented migration from Mexico has come to a halt, and border security is at an all-time high.
After a bipartisan group of senators announced a proposal to overhaul the U.S. immigration system that will focus on -- among other initiatives -- border security and opening a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the country, Crowley blasted the federal government for failing to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, causing states like Arizona to take matters of border security into their own hands. Crowley said drastic measures are needed because "the federal government either has not or will not enforce [the U.S.-Mexico] border."
However, Crowley's suggestion that current border security is not capable of enforcing our laws is wrong. An April 2012 report by the Pew Hispanic Center explained that net migration flow from Mexico to the U.S. has been reduced to zero and may be headed in the other direction:
After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants--most of whom came illegally--the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed, according to a new analysis of government data from both countries by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
Among the causes for lower undocumented immigration, the report points to heightened border enforcement, increased amount of deportations, and the growing danger of illegal border crossings.