During a discussion about immigration on his April 16 show, 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles did not challenge his guest's false assertion -- which Boyles himself repeatedly has made -- that "families with children born in the United States ... are not being deported." Neither Boyles nor his guest mentioned news reports that deportations of immigrant parents of U.S.-born children are widespread; in fact, later in the show Boyles identified two mothers who were deported.
On the April 16 broadcast of his 630 KHOW-AM show, Peter Boyles left unchallenged the false claim of his guest, conservative author and activist Jerome Corsi, that "families with children born in the United States, both mothers and fathers, are not being deported." In fact, as The New York Times reported on November 24, 2004, "immigration experts say there are tens of thousands of children every year who lose a parent to deportation." Further, in a discussion with former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb later in the broadcast, Boyles even identified two women with U.S.-born children who were deported.
Boyles and Corsi, co-author of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, were discussing a guest editorial by Colorado Media Matters Editorial Director Bill Menezes that was published April 13 in The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. Referring to the editorial, Boyles complained, "But these guys write, 'On numerous broadcasts Boyles repeated the assertion that a U.S.-born child of illegal immigrants entitles the parents' -- which I always said just the mother -- 'to avoid deportation, despite the fact that federal law indicates otherwise.' So I'm being called a liar."
Boyles then asked Corsi, "[W]hat's your take on that statement?" Corsi stated, "The reality is that families with children born in the United States, both mothers and fathers, are not being deported. But then, Peter, the people who make this criticism of you, why don't they show who is being deported at all?"
The statement echoed remarks Boyles made on his April 13 broadcast, when he demanded, "Show me the parent who's been deported. Show me the mother, because that's what it is."
In fact, as the Times article reported, "tens of thousands of children every year ... lose a parent to deportation." It further noted:
No one keeps track of exactly how many American children were left behind by the record 186,000 noncitizens expelled from the United States last year, or the 887,000 others required to make a "voluntary departure."
Officials at the Department of Homeland Security say they are simply enforcing laws adopted in 1996, which all but eliminated the discretion of immigration officers to consider family ties before enforcing an old order of removal.
"There are millions of people who are illegally in the United States, and it's unfortunate, when they're caught, seeing a family split up," said William Strassberger, a spokesman for federal immigration services. "But the person has to be answerable for their actions."
Moreover, other newspapers have reported more deportations of foreign mothers with U.S.-born children:
- As the San Jose Mercury News (registration required) reported on April 7, 2006, "Despite an 11th-hour legal appeal, Isabel Aguirre, the Palo Alto mother of four U.S.-born children, decided to leave Friday on a flight bound for Mexico, ending the illegal immigrant's long battle to remain in the United States." The article further stated that "in the end, Aguirre rejected all appeals and complied with a 2005 deportation order. After a day filled with anguished decisions, and an anonymous 'scary phone call' to her home the night before, she chose to take her children to Mexico instead of giving them up to foster care in the Bay Area. Federal immigration agents were to escort the family to the plane."
- A February 16 article in the Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia (accessed through the Nexis database) quoted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Mike Netherland as saying that deportation of foreign mothers with American-born children "happens every day."
- The National Journal (accessed through Nexis) reported on July 15, 2006, that Carolina Sulecio-Hernandez was deported to Guatemala from Richmond, Virginia, leaving her 3-year-old son Sammy with her husband. She was brought to the United States by her mother as a child. When she went to immigration enforcement seeking to become a legal U.S. citizen, "Immigration enforcement agents met them [Sulecio-Hernandez and her husband] there, took Sulecio-Hernandez into custody, and locked her up in a jail in Hampton, Va. It turned out she had an outstanding deportation order against her" from when she was 12 years old and her mother brought her back from Canada.
- According to a June 10, 2006, article in The Kansas City Star, Myrna Dick, a Mexican immigrant who "came to America with her parents when she was a child," was deported in 2006, leaving "her husband and 19-month-old-son" in the U.S. after "a denial by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis of her emergency application for a stay of deportation."
- St. Petersburg Times reported on February 27, 2006, that Elizabeth Setiawan Navarro had been separated from her husband and twin sons when she was deported to Indonesia in 2003 "as part of an immigration sweep in the Tampa Bay area." The Times reported, "Navarro said she tried to tell the agents that she had been granted a stay of the deportation order and that she was now married to an American citizen. She said she also tried to tell them that a new application was being filed to legalize her immigration status. But the wheels had already been set in motion. She was sent to the Clay County Jail, where she remained until her deportation." According to the Times, Navarro was reunited with her family in July 2006 after her lawyer "filed immigration waivers for the Indonesian woman based on her marriage to an American citizen."
Later in the broadcast, Boyles claimed during the interview with Webb that the deportation of illegal immigrant mothers with U.S.-born children "doesn't happen." Yet he then cited two examples of such deportations, and later contradicted himself by saying, "But we don't do that."
From the April 16 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:
BOYLES: Both newspapers in the city, and I can't find another time where they both ran the same guy's editorial, and some of this obviously -- I suspect all of it is in the wake of Imus, sort of blood in the water. But these guys write, "On numerous broadcasts Boyles repeated the assertion that a U.S.-born child of illegal immigrants entitles the parents" -- which I always said just the mother -- "to avoid deportation, despite the fact that federal law indicates otherwise." So I'm being called a liar. Jerry, what's your take on that statement?
CORSI: Well, the -- the way the 14th Amendment's been interpreted is anchor babies, as soon as they're -- a baby born in the United States to an illegal immigrant is considered a U.S. citi -- citizen. Although I think that's an incorrect interpretation of the amendment --
BOYLES: I do as well. I do as well.
CORSI: Secondly, there's virtually nobody being deported anyway. And certainly in the reality of how deportations are done, there -- there's a great reluctance to deport any woman who has a baby born in the United States because it would separate a family and it would be considered, you know, that'd be a huge uproar if that kind of policy were put into place. The reality is that families with children born in the United States, both mothers and fathers, are not being deported. But then, Peter, the people who make this criticism of you, why don't they show who is being deported at all? I don't see hardly --
CORSI: -- any deportations going on.
BOYLES: I brought that up and -- we had -- something that turned for me was, a police officer that I actually knew was murdered by an illegal --
BOYLES: -- who was in the employ of the mayor.
BOYLES: And the Rocky Mountain News that ran that editorial had a picture of his girlfriend, who was also illegal, and their baby. He also has a woman with two children he left in California in the same conditions.
CORSI: Well, you know --
BOYLES: None, none of those people have been -- have been taken out of this country.
BOYLES: We also have a law -- to the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post, we also have a law about breaking into this country. That's not enforced either.
WEBB: And I think that one comment that I've heard you mention on a couple of times was a comment that I made about where a woman was being deported and the baby was being left here. I, I have -- I, I do have a sense of just from a morality point of view as a nation of not -- us separating mothers and parents from their kids.
BOYLES: But that doesn't happen.
WEBB: Well, it has happened.
BOYLES: Once -- there's a woman was from Guatemala, I think.
BOYLES: I did some research --
BOYLES: -- before you came on the show. And, short of that one, sir. And there was an Irish woman, her name was Maureen Farrell, and she -- she was -- she was caught in a shoplifting deal when you were the mayor. So there -- those are the two I could find. I couldn't find any other ones.
WEBB: Well, my view -- what I'm saying is, as a policy I don't think that we should be separating mothers and --
BOYLES: But we --
WEBB: -- their children. Whether it's one --
BOYLES: But we don't do that, sir.