Immigration

Issues ››› Immigration
  • Editorial Boards Blame Republican Obstruction For Supreme Court's Immigration Impasse

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Numerous editorial boards slammed the Supreme Court’s “maddening” and “depressing” “nondecision” in United States v. Texas that upheld a federal court’s decision to block President Obama’s executive action on immigration that temporarily relieved millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The editorial boards blamed the impasse -- which “condemned” millions to “live in the shadows” -- on congressional Republicans’ obstruction of Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, as well as their failure to pass immigration reform.

  • National Association Of Hispanic Journalists Reminds Media To Avoid Anti-Immigrant Slurs In Coverage Of SCOTUS Decision

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) released a statement calling on media to “stop using the dehumanizing term ‘illegals’” in their coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision blocking one of the president’s executive actions on immigration.

    On June 23, the Supreme Court split evenly on Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), a deadlock that affirmed the lower court’s decision to block implementation of the program. In a statement sent through its electronic mailing list, NAHJ urged media reporting on “the SCOTUS indecision” to use “accurate terminology” in their coverage, reminding journalists of their decade-long campaign to stop the use of “pejorative” terms like “illegals” or “illegal aliens.” According to the NAHJ, by using the pejorative terms, media appropriates “rhetoric used by people on a particular side of the issue.”

    The anti-immigrant term has been continuously pushed by conservatives, ranging from Republican lawmakers to Fox News figures to radio hosts. Other national media figures have been guilty of also adopting the slur, although an increasing number of outlets have revised their policies to advise the term “illegal” be used only when referring to an action, not a person. Latino journalists like Univision and Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, former Telemundo president Nely Galán, and undocumented journalist José Antonio Vargas have urged media not to use the term, pointing out, as Vargas did during an appearance on Fox News, the term “is not only inaccurate but really dehumanizing.”

    From the June 23 NAHJ statement:

  • Media Shouldn't Forget That The SCOTUS Tie On Immigration Affects Real People

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    While reporting on the Supreme Court deadlock on President Obama’s executive action on immigration, media should make note of its negative impact on millions of workers and families, as Univision and NPR have done in their past reporting on the case.

    On June 23, a 4-4 Supreme Court split affirmed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's decision to block implementation of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). This exercise of “prosecutorial discretion” would have given temporary relief from deportation to close to 3.7 million people, bringing the undocumented parents of American citizens or permanent residents out of the shadows and making them eligible for work authorization. The decision also affects an expansion of President Obama’s 2012 executive action Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

    According to immigration attorney and CNN opinion columnist David Leopold, who speculated about the outcome of the case back in April, the tie could lead to “three levels of profound chaos”:

    A 4–4 split in U.S. v Texas, for example, would result in three levels of profound chaos ensuing. A 4–4 split on the Supreme Court would: provide a green light to Republican-controlled states — not the federal government — to determine the nation’s immigration enforcement policy — contradicting the Court’s major precedent in the process; open the door to a myriad of politically-charged lawsuits that states would be newly empowered to bring against sitting presidents; and raise questions about whether the injunction placed on the deportation deferral guidance, known as DAPA and DACA+, should continue to apply across country, ultimately leading to a patchwork of confusing immigration enforcement regimes in different states and regions of the U.S.

    The impacts, however, are also deeply personal to immigrant families, particularly to the Latino community. A Univision segment on June 15’s Univision's Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna highlighted the stories of some of those who benefited under the 2012 DACA executive action and explained that over 3.5 million people could be negatively impacted if the president’s 2014 executive action failed at the Supreme Court:

    The American Immigration Council explained in April that a Supreme Court tie would be harmful to the economy, as individuals who would have benefited from the programs would no longer be able to contribute by earning “an additional $7.1 billion ... in income” or by generating additional tax revenue.

    Most importantly, media should contextualize the case by reporting that the success of this executive action would have kept families together, protecting children whose parents are at risk of deportation from psychological harm, an issue exemplified in a June 22 NPR report:

    KELLY MCEVERS (HOST): For many families, there is a lot riding on a case that's now before the Supreme Court. It's about President Obama's executive order known as Deferred Actions for Parents of Americans. It could shield millions of people who are here illegally from deportation. There's growing research that shows when a parent is arrested by immigration authorities, it can have a big impact on a child's mental and physical health. Adrian Florido of Code Switch brings us one family's story.

    ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: The Diaz family lives in a squat, pink apartment building in Miami's Little Havana. Early one morning three years ago, Dad, Jose, was arrested just as he left for work. When Mom, Marcela, and her 8-year-old son, Bryan, went outside, they saw Jose's truck idling in the driveway, its door open. A white van with tinted windows was blocking its exit, and they realized Jose was inside. As the school bus pulled up, Bryan started crying.

    [...]

    WENDY CERVANTES: Inability to sleep at night, a lot of anxiousness, behavioral problems, low academic performance.

    FLORIDO: This is Wendy Cervantes of the children's advocacy group First Focus.

    CERVANTES: But it's also - obviously the mental health impact becomes even greater when a child actually witnesses a parent being arrested or loses a parent as a result of deportation or detention.

    FLORIDO: Lili Farhang directs Oakland-based Human Impact Partners, which has tried to quantify the effects. Her group estimates that in 2012, for example, up to 100,000 kids had shown signs of withdrawal after a parent's detention or deportation. She says this is only a fraction of the children at risk.

    LILI FARHANG: You have 4 million kids, you know, who can face having a parent be deported and you have to wonder what are the long-term effects for this population of children?

  • James O’Keefe Is Still Not a Journalist

    ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    Since 2009, self-described “guerilla journalist” James O’Keefe has repeatedly embarrassed himself while attempting to launch undercover stings targeting government agencies, media outlets, and  liberal organizations and institutions.

  • Hate Group FAIR Hosting Annual Event With Anti-Immigrant Radio Hosts

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) announced that it will hold its “10th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row broadcast in Washington,” on June 22 and 23. In previous years FAIR has hosted speakers at the event who have used their own radio shows to push anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment. In addition, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has designated FAIR as a hate group whose founder “has expressed his wish that America remain a majority-white population.”

  • Republicans Slammed For Trying To Force Library Of Congress To Use Anti-Immigrant Language

    NY Times Calls Terms "Anachronistic And Offensive"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The New York Times slammed Republican lawmakers for “fighting to preserve” the “anachronistic and offensive” terms “alien” and “illegal immigrant” in subject headings made by the Library of Congress.

    Republican lawmakers introduced legislation demanding that the Library of Congress “retain the terms ‘alien’ and ‘illegal immigrant,’” after the American Library Association called for dropping the terms as subject headings. Numerous media outlets and style guides have retired the culturally incompetent anti-immigrant slur "illegal alien," and Latinos and others in the media have criticized its use. Former Telemundo president Nely Galán confronted Fox News hosts over their constant use of the offensive term, and Univision’s Jorge Ramos pushed back on presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s use of the word by saying, “No human being is illegal.”

    On June 20, the Times’ editorial board criticized Republican lawmakers’ attempt to tie legislation defending use of the “anachronistic and offensive term” to an appropriations bill that includes funding for the Library of Congress:

    In January, the association passed a resolution calling on the Library of Congress to drop the subject heading “illegal aliens” and replace it with “undocumented immigrants.” In March, the library’s officials said they intended to replace “illegal aliens” with two new terms: “noncitizens” and “unauthorized immigration.”

    The library changes or eliminates thousands of subject headings each year as language, meaning and connotations evolve. The term “Negro,” for instance, was retired as a subject heading in 1975; “insane” was abandoned in 2007 and replaced with “mentally ill.”

    In April, Representative Diane Black, a Republican from Tennessee, introduced a bill called the Stopping Partisan Policy at the Library of Congress Act. It demanded that the library retain the terms “alien” and “illegal immigrant” as subject headings. “My constituents know that illegal immigration by any other name is still illegal, and we should identify it as such,” Ms. Black said in a statement. A version of her bill was later added as a provision in the appropriations bill for the legislative branch, which includes the Library of Congress.

    In May, four other Republican lawmakers, including Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, wrote a letter to the library urging it not to change the terms. They accused the library of bowing “to the political pressure of the moment.”

    [...]

    Congress has never sought to control the library’s subject headings, noted Representative Joaquín Castro, who has introduced legislation to remove the terms “alien” and “illegal immigrant” from federal code.

    “These folks may not be American citizens, but they are not people from outer space. They are human beings,” Mr. Castro, a Democrat from Texas, said in testimony before a House committee. “When ugly, belittling terms are used to describe groups of people, those terms can make discrimination seem O.K.”

    Despite the Democrats’ efforts, the amendment seeking to retain the term made it into the House appropriations bill. The Senate version does not include a similar provision. When the bills are reconciled in the coming weeks, lawmakers should consider if fighting to preserve an anachronistic and offensive term is worthwhile.

    Right-wing media have repeatedly mocked the attempts to move toward more accurate language by dismissing them as actions from "the PC police," as Fox's Brian Kilmeade did on March 31. Fox's Neil Cavuto ridiculed the notion that calling someone an "illegal alien" could be dehumanizing, while hosts of the show Fox & Friends have praised their colleague's use of the term on live television and used it just moments before supposedly celebrating the contributions of Hispanics in the United States.