Boyles, Musgrave falsely claimed federal immigration reform measure "does not make gang activity a deportable offense"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

During a discussion about a federal immigration measure, 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles did not challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's false assertion that the measure "does not make gang activity a deportable offense." Section 234 of the legislation states that membership in "criminal street gangs" is a deportable offense under U.S. law.

During the May 3 broadcast of his 630 KHOW-AM show, Peter Boyles did not challenge guest U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) when she falsely claimed that "gang activity" is not "a deportable offense" according to a federal immigration reform measure now before the House. In fact, House Resolution 1645 states that "any alien who has been convicted of a crime" under the criminal street gangs section of the U.S. Code "is deportable."

During a discussion about the measure, which is sponsored by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Musgrave said that she was "very concerned about methamphetamine" and cited "gang problems" in Colorado. She further stated that "the most offensive thing" to her about HR 1645 "is that it does not make criminal gang activity a deportable offense." Boyles agreed, responding, "No, I looked, I've -- like I said, I've read it."

Contrary to the statements of Musgrave and Boyles, Section 234 of HB 1645 addresses "increased criminal penalties related to gang violence, removal, and alien smuggling," adding membership in "criminal street gangs" -- as defined in Section 521 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code -- to the list of deportable criminal offenses in the U.S. Code:

(2) DEPORTABILITY -- Section 237(a)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

"(F) MEMBERS OF CRIMINAL STREET GANGS -- Unless the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General waives the application of this subparagraph, any alien who has been convicted of a crime under section 521 of title 18, United States Code, is deportable."

Following her false statement, Boyles asked Musgrave if she had "read the entire bill." Musgrave responded, "I have not read the entire bill. What I have read is the complete analysis ... of the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee." She added, "Imagine carrying the thing on the plane to read it ... 700 pages."

Musgrave would not have had to read all 700 pages: Page 4 of the bill, in the Table of Contents, includes a line noting that Sec. 234 covers "Increased criminal penalties related to gang violence, removal, and alien smuggling." The subsection specifying that aliens convicted of gang violence are deportable is on page 198 of the bill.

Although Boyles claimed that he "read" HR 1645, Colorado Media Matters noted that on his April 25 and 26 broadcasts, while claiming to have "read" from the resolution, Boyles instead appeared to be reading almost verbatim from a Fire Society article published on FireSociety.com. The website identifies itself as "a place where grassroots conservatives can add their input to the debate" and says it is "designed to turn the grassroots debate right-side up." During the two broadcasts, Boyles also offered baseless interpretations of the Flake-Gutierrez bill, such as the false claim that the legislation says "nothing ... about securing the borders" when, in fact, border enforcement is spelled out across 117 pages of the nearly 700-page measure.

From the May 3 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

MUSGRAVE: Just to see this "open door, come on in." And, you know, I'm very concerned about methamphetamine. It is a huge problem in Colorado. Look at the gang problems we have. You know, probably the most offensive thing to me in this bill is that it does not make criminal gang activity a deportable offense. Now imagine that.

BOYLES: No, I looked, I've -- like I said, I've read it. And it's -- and I get, I get to ask the question: Have you read the entire bill?

MUSGRAVE: I have not read the entire bill. What I have read is the complete analysis --

BOYLES: OK.

MUSGRAVE: -- of the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

BOYLES: Well, you're, you're, so far you're better than [U.S. Rep. Doug] Lamborn [R-CO] and [U.S. Rep. Mark] Udall [D-CO], who have not, I believe, even read that.

MUSGRAVE: Well, imagine carrying the thing on the plane to read it.

BOYLES: Yeah.

MUSGRAVE: 700 pages.

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