Right-wing media are dishonestly arguing that senators have not had enough time to read the approximately 1,200-page immigration reform bill the weekend before a scheduled vote on it. In fact, the majority of the bill has been online since May, a fact even Karl Rove acknowledged on Fox News to push back against conservative criticism.
The bulk of the bill's 1,200 pages are available online and have been since May 21. On June 21, the Senate added enforcement provisions submitted by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) to the main text of the bill, which total 119 pages.
Those opposed to the legislation, such as The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol jumped on the Corker-Hoeven addition to make the misleading claim that the Senate only had the weekend to review the entire bill before voting on it. As highlighted by Breitbart.com, the Washington Post's Bob Woodward also implied that the Senate was rushing to pass immigration reform, saying on the June 23 edition of Fox News Sunday: "It's proven time and time again, when you pass complicated legislation and no one has really read the bill, the outcome is absurd." Other conservative outlets, like Red State, picked up the misleading narrative, with The Drudge Report showing a picture of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) drinking from a water bottle with the headline, "Senate to vote on bill before reading it":
From the June 24 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group's The Laura Ingraham Show:
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Right-wing media have adopted Betsy McCaughey's unfounded conspiracy theory that immigration reform, like health care reform, is a secret plot to create a permanent one-party system, reminiscent of Marxist Russian premier Vladimir Lenin. Like her health care fearmongering, McCaughey has no evidence to support her charges.
Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York, has a long history of pushing conspiracy theories about health care reform, including that the bill's outreach provisions are designed to create a "beholden" Democratic majority. In an interview with The Daily Caller's Ginni Thomas, McCaughey revived the same baseless attacks on the Senate immigration proposal, claiming that "you can count on" third party outreach groups to register immigrants as Democrats. Later in the interview, McCaughey claimed President Obama was using the bill to "elevat[e] community organizations to a fifth branch of government without any of the rules that limit what the other branches can do." McCaughey went on to claim the tactics were similar to those used by Lenin.
McCaughey's baseless conspiracy theory was picked up by Andrea Tantaros, co-host of Fox News' The Five, who cited McCaughey to call the bill a "Christmas tree of carve-outs for lobbyists," claiming, "she says that it funnels money to groups like La Raza, community organizing groups, takes the authority away from the DHS and lets them handle the amnesty process":
Of course, the text of the bill limits the scope of activities for which organizations can use federal funding.
From the June 21 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group's The Laura Ingraham Show:
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Right-wing media outlets cherry-picked data from a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the Senate's immigration reform proposal to incorrectly claim that the bill would hurt American workers. In fact, the CBO report found that the Senate immigration reform bill would have temporary and small negative effects but over the long term would greatly benefit both American workers and the economy, which is reinforced by past studies.
Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham endorsed the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) on her radio show, following months of her campaign to kill the bipartisan effort for comprehensive immigration reform.
During a commercial break between segments on The Laura Ingraham Show on June 20, a recording played of Ingraham endorsing FAIR, claiming that immigration reform was "a declaration of war on American workers and taxpayers" and that FAIR fought "for true reform that puts the future of America first":
INGRAHAM: I want you to know there's an organization fighting to restore integrity to our immigration system and to make sure that your voice is heard. I'm talking about the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR. FAIR works for strong border security and enforcement to stop illegal immigration, and FAIR leads the fight to make sure that we don't just keep importing more and more foreign labor to replace American workers, who want and need jobs. Right now, special interests are giving us phony promises of enforcement, while they're working hard to make sure millions get amnesty. They don't care about the rule of law or the American worker, that's not their priority. Listen, amnesty is not immigration reform. It's a declaration of war on American workers and taxpayers. But you can help FAIR fight for true reform that puts the future of America first. Go to FAIRus.org. Let's retake control of the immigration debate. Get involved and make a difference at FAIRus.org.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has designated FAIR as an anti-immigrant hate group, writing "FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements. Its advertisements have been rejected because of racist content." FAIR has promoted people who made violent threats against immigrants, has known ties to the nativist leader John Tanton, and has received money from white supremacist groups. The group's founder and president Dan Stein also published an error-ridden piece for Politico in April urging Republicans to "walk away" from a deal on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
Ingraham's on-air endorsement of FAIR follows months of her campaigning against the bipartisan effort to reform immigration policy. In March, while guest-hosting for host Bill O'Reilly on his Fox News show, Ingraham let FAIR spokesman Bob Dane deny that the anti-immigrant organization is a hate group while demonizing the Southern Poverty Law Center. She has hosted a nativist group director on her radio show to push debunked immigration myths, argued that a "two-tiered" class system for undocumented immigrants "sits better" with her than comprehensive reform, claimed that immigration reform will "destroy American sovereignty," and has promoted smears against Latinos. Ingraham has also promised to campaign against congressional Republicans who support comprehensive immigration reform.
Rush Limbaugh cited a flawed statistic several times during his radio show to claim that the future immigrant population will reach 46 million in two decades under the Senate's immigration reform bill, even though the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) scoring of the bill contradicts that statistic.
The 46 million immigrant statistic was reported by The Daily Caller's Neil Munro, who claimed that "current forecasts predict an inflow of roughly 11 million per decade, or 22 million by 2033." Munro goes on to explain that 22 million "plus the new 16 million [as reported in the CBO] and the eight million illegals [who are already here], add up to 46 million new or legalized people for the nation in 20 years."
During the June 19 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh jumped on board attributing this number to the CBO report, not Munro:
Right-wing media outlets cherry-picked data from a Congressional Budget Office report on the Senate's immigration reform proposal to claim that immigrants who would benefit under the bill will drive down the wages of U.S. workers. In fact, while CBO predicts a slight decrease in wages in the first decade, that decrease would be outweighed by the larger increase in wages in the following decade. CBO also noted that its estimates "do not necessarily imply that current U.S. residents would be worse off" in the first decade.
A post on Breitbart.com asserted that CBO found that "illegal immigrants who would receive amnesty, or legalized status, would see a spike in their income while Americans' incomes dropped." The post added that "it would be harder for Americans to find jobs if the bill passed." Similarly, on her radio show, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham aired comments by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) claiming the bill would depress U.S. wages, then stated that the bill "goes beyond all common sense":
In reality, the CBO report on the economic impact of the Senate immigration bill states that "average wages for the entire labor force would be 0.1 percent lower in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher in 2033 under the legislation than under current law." CBO continues:
The estimated reductions in average wages and per capita GNP for much of the next two decades do not necessarily imply that current U.S. residents would be worse off, on average, under the legislation than they would be under current law. Both of those figures represent differences between the averages for all U.S. residents under the legislation--including both the people who would be residents under current law and the additional people who would come to the country under the legislation--and the averages under current law for people who would be residents in the absence of the legislation.
As noted, the additional people who would become residents under the legislation would earn lower wages, on average, than other residents, which would pull down the average wage and per capita GNP; at the same time, the income earned by capital would increase. [emphasis added]
Glenn Beck announced on his website The Blaze that he will be attending a June 19 rally in Washington, D.C. to oppose the Senate's immigration reform bill and to "stand against amnesty." In a segment titled "Why is Glenn going to DC?" Beck claimed that the bill would pit "amnesty over security," culminating weeks of inflammatory rhetoric directed at the bill and its supporters:
Fox News is reviving the pernicious smear that undocumented immigrants are criminals in order to attack the comprehensive immigration reform proposal being debated in the Senate. In fact, the legislation toughens provisions against those immigrants who have been convicted of crimes and bars them from gaining legal status; moreover, studies show that immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native-born Americans.
From the June 17 edition of Cumulus Media Networks' The Mark Levin Show:
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From the June 17 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group's The Laura Ingraham Show:
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National Review Online continues to hype and misrepresent a dubious lawsuit against the current deferred action policy for certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children, trying to insert it into the Congressional debate on immigration reform.
NRO has repeatedly and uncritically promoted this legal challenge underwritten by the nativist "immigration-restriction" group NumbersUSA, filed in federal court last summer by the anti-immigrant movement's attorney of choice and Arizona SB 1070 author, Kris Kobach (also an NRO contributor).
On behalf of 10 disgruntled Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, the lawsuit claims that the deferred action policy implemented to formalize prosecutorial discretion for qualifying undocumented students and veterans who came to the U.S. as children - also referred to as "DREAMers" - requires them to violate immigration law. From NRO, which calls out "most Republicans [who] have expressed little interest in the ICE agents' lawsuit":
U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor has already indicated that the ICE agents "are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim." If that proves true, it would mean that the agents' request for a temporary injunction would be granted, and the policy ultimately struck down, barring a successful appeal. Judge O'Connor's ruling is likely come in the next week or two, as the Senate debates and considers amendments to the immigration-reform bill. "It could definitely affect things in Congress," says Kris Kobach, the attorney representing the ICE agents in the case (and a contributor to National Review). "If Congress doesn't take notice of what's going on in this case, and the shocking facts that have been revealed, then Congress is not looking at the full picture."
Kobach, who opposes the Gang of Eight bill, says such a ruling would significantly undermine proponents' claims with respect to border security and law enforcement. "All we really have on the law-enforcement side, with the bill in the Senate, is the Obama administration's promise to enforce the law," Kobach says. "Well, they've already shattered that promise, as demonstrated by this case. They're ordering ICE agents to break the law, which is pretty extraordinary. They're not engaging in any serious law enforcement."
[The Obama] administration has demonstrated a casual disregard for the rule of law. Even if the DREAM Act is good policy -- and even a number of Republicans think it is -- certainly the fact that the president lacks the legal authority to implement it by executive fiat is a "good reason" to stop him from doing so.
If for no other reason than the fact that the anti-immigrant activism practiced by NumbersUSA and Kobach has become toxic for a Republican Party trying to fix its overwhelming unpopularity with voters of color, the GOP's noticeable aversion to this challenge is unsurprising. However, in seeking to justify the automatic deportation of these non-criminal undocumented immigrants, NRO also fails to recognize the other reason Kobach is not getting much support.
Contrary to NRO's presentation, the lawsuit is seriously struggling.
The Drudge Report is reframing a Senate vote on a border enforcement amendment to the Senate immigration bill as Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) blocking a "fix" to the border. In fact, the Senate bill as drafted already includes tougher border enforcement measures while the amendment Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) proposed continues an enforcement first policy that has been deemed ineffective.
On June 13, the Senate voted to table an amendment by Grassley which would have required strict border controls be in place before undocumented immigrants are able to begin the path to citizenship process.
The Drudge Report highlighted the vote using the headline, "Senate Fight: Reid Blocks Border Fix," and linked to a piece at Breitbart.com by Matthew Boyle that blamed Reid for killing the amendment:
Boyle highlighted Reid's decision to file a motion to table Grassley's amendment and said that Reid "made a move to formally kill" the amendment that would "require border security."
From the June 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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