Over the last six months, Fox News has repeatedly hyped Arizona's efforts to raise private funds to build a fence along the state's border with Mexico. However, such a fence would cost millions of dollars per mile and its effectiveness at increasing border security is unproven.
Thomas Sowell, a conservative economist and syndicated columnist from the Hoover Institution, is outraged. Actually, that's an understatement. Sowell is seething, judging from his latest column lashing out at Newt Gingrich and the Republican presidential candidate's comments stressing a "humane" immigration policy. But in a diatribe laden with falsehoods that mimics the tone most often employed by scores of anti-immigrant nativists, Sowell relies on agitprop from that same lobby to broadcast a flawed economic argument against immigration.
Sowell begins by taking a swipe at Gingrich, slapping down his characterization of a "humane" immigration policy. He then reminds Americans that the supposed "purpose" of "American immigration laws and policies is not to be either humane or inhumane to illegal immigrants." It is "to serve the national interest of this country."
There is no inherent right to come live in the United States, in disregard of whether the American people want you here. Nor does the passage of time confer any such right retroactively.
The more doctrinaire libertarians see the benefits of free international trade in goods, and extend the same reasoning to free international movement of people. But goods do not bring a culture with them. Nor do they give birth to other goods to perpetuate that culture.
Why do people want to come to America in the first place? Because America offers them something that their native countries do not. This country has a culture which has produced a higher standard of living and a freer life than in many other countries.
When you import people, you import cultures, including cultures that have been far less successful in providing decent lives and decent livelihoods. The American people have a right to decide for themselves whether they want unlimited imports of cultures from other countries.
At one time, immigrants came to America to become Americans. Today, the apostles of multiculturalism and grievance-mongering have done their best to keep foreigners foreign and, if possible, feeling aggrieved. Our own schools and colleges teach grievances.
As an economist, it's surprising that Sowell would invoke the argument that immigrants hurt the economy, seeing that study after study continues to prove that immigrants' economic impact is overwhelmingly positive.
From the November 18 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Betsy McCaughey has a long history of misinforming on health care. In 2009, she received Media Matters' 2009 "Health Care Misinformer of the Year" award for relentlessly attacking health care reform, spreading falsehoods and distortions through opinion pieces and television appearances at nearly every stage of the debate. She has rarely appeared on television, written an opinion piece, or given a speech that doesn't contain at least one falsehood associated with health care. In her appearance Monday on Neil Cavuto's Fox News show, McCaughey lengthened that streak.
Aside from her bogus claim that health care reform will have the effect of killing jobs, McCaughey asserted that community health centers "largely" cater to unauthorized immigrants. In her rush to tar the health care reform law as a "spread-the-wealth and buy-the-folks program," she stated of the Obama administration: "They're spending some $11 billion on community organizations that serve illegal immigrants, largely. So this is a spread-the-wealth and buy-the-folks program."
But unless McCaughey has some insider information to which even community health clinics aren't privy, her claim stretches the boundary of fact.
In a November 7 editorial titled "Occupy America: Obama immigration policy erodes U.S. national identity," The Washington Times wrote that "President Obama is 'fundamentally transforming' the nation with a plan to flood the United States with individuals whose hearts belong to other lands" and that "Mr. Obama's leadership is a throwback to 19th century Marxism." From the Times:
This isn't your father's America. As promised, President Obama is "fundamentally transforming" the nation with a plan to flood the United States with individuals whose hearts belong to other lands. The message to illegal immigrants is if you can get in and keep out of further trouble, you're welcome to stay. The Land of the Free has become the land of the home-free.
The United States is the most ethnically and culturally integrated society the world has ever known. One of this country's strengths has always been its heritage as a "melting pot" that welcomes those who want to come to the country, learn its language and partake of the American Dream. In a crass political move, leftists are looking to reward those who ignore the laws with an eventual amnesty designed to swell the Democratic voting ranks. This comes at a great cost to society.
Far from progressive, Mr. Obama's leadership is a throwback to 19th century Marxism, characterized by the politics of resentment that pits groups against each other - in this case, illegal occupiers against legal Americans. By challenging states attempting to observe immigration laws, the Obama administration hastens the fundamental change that is unmooring the nation from its founding principles. That's not the change voters wanted when they sent Barack to the White House.
From the November 2 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Fox News has provided Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer with softball interviews to promote her book, including calling her a "strong hero" for "many Americans." Fox's promotion of Brewer falls in line with its history of promoting anti-immigrant legislation -- such as the controversial law Brewer signed in Arizona -- and hosting mostly anti-immigrant guests to discuss immigration issues.
After losing major advertisers AT&T and Verizon, KFI Los Angeles' John & Ken Show can add one more brick to the pile: General Motors. The auto company reportedly pulled its advertisements from the program following a campaign led by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) calling for a boycott of the program by its advertisers in response to the disparaging, anti-immigrant vitriol the hosts frequently use on-air.
This was a radio ad buy from a group of dealers, and we quickly asked the ad group to cancel it, which they are doing now.
The John & Ken Show -- hosted by John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou -- airs from 3 to 7 p.m. on KFI, a Clear Channel network, and reportedly has an audience of 1.2 million listeners.
On October 18, an ad by NumbersUSA, the anti-immigration group with white nationalist ties run by Roy Beck, aired during CNN's coverage of the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. In the ad, NumbersUSA pitted immigrants against Americans, blaming legal immigrants for high unemployment among Americans, especially minorities. It featured a diverse group of people taking turns saying:
The immigration debate should not be about the color of people's skin, or their country of origin, or their religion, or where their grandparents were born. The debate should be about the numbers. Should Congress give work permits to 1 million new legal immigrants again this year when 20 million Americans of all colors, national origins, and religions are having trouble finding jobs? Immigration, it's about the numbers. The numbers. The numbers. Tell Congress at NumbersUSA.org.
In a post at National Review Online touting the ad, Mark Krikorian asked: "Is the issuance of green cards to more than 1 million legal immigrants per year (plus hundreds of thousands of 'temporary' workers) a good idea when we have 9 percent unemployment?"
A similar ad by anti-immigration group Californians for Population Stabilization aired during MSNBC's coverage of the September 7 Republican presidential debate. It also blamed immigrants for the fact that millions of Americans "are unable to find a job." This claim is still not true, as we noted at the time. Yet anti-immigrants persist in using it to stoke xenophobic sentiment.
And that's the message behind this ad campaign.
Writing for the Daily Caller, nativist crank Tom Tancredo argues that we're missing the big picture regarding the U.S. government's killing of terrorism suspect -- and U.S. citizen -- Anwar al-Awlaki:
Lost in this debate is whether al-Awlaki was ever really an American citizen.
Al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico in 1971. Both of his parents were Yemeni citizens in the United States on student visas. As a child, he moved to Yemen along with his parents. He returned to the U.S. as an adult on a foreign student visa.
Under the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment, al-Awlaki is considered an American citizen. Section 1 of the amendment opens, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." The operative phrase is "subject to the jurisdiction thereof." During the ratification debates in 1866, Senator Lyman Trumbull, who was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that the phrase meant "not owing allegiance to anybody else" and that "partial allegiance if you please, to some other government" is disqualifying. It goes without saying that neither al-Awlaki nor his parents had any allegiance to America.
Anwar al-Awlaki was born in the United States. His parents were not in the service of a foreign government. Therefore, as laid out in the Constitution, he was an American citizen. Period. Full stop. QED.
What Tancredo describes as "the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment" is actually the historical interpretation going all the way back to Reconstruction and reaffirmed many times over by the courts. The only people who dissent from this established concept of American citizenship are post-birthers who refuse to give up the ghost regarding President Obama's citizenship, and anti-immigrant bigots (like Tancredo) who deliberately misunderstand the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" phraseology in order to argue against conferring citizenship on the children of undocumented immigrants.
From the September 28 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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During Thursday's Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News and Google, moderators looked to anti-immigrant group the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to ask the first question on immigration. Nearly 20,000 questions were reportedly submitted on a variety of topics, but for immigration, Fox chose one by FAIR spokeswoman Kristen Williamson. From the debate:
WILLIAMSON: Struggling U.S. workers continue to compete with millions of illegal aliens. Do you support legislation to require all employers to use E-Verify in order to insure that the people that they hire are actually legally authorized to work in the U.S., and will you impose penalties against employers who continue to hire illegal workers?
FAIR is an anti-immigrant organization considered a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It not only has a history of using extreme, violent, and offensive language directed at undocumented immigrants, but it has extremist ties as well.
The second and last question about immigration submitted by a viewer that Fox chose asked: "Are you going to exert an effort to stop the abuse of U.S. citizens by illegals?"
It's hardly surprising Fox would choose a question on immigration from an extremist group in light of the negative tone it has set in framing the immigration debate. Moreover, considering Fox has a history of advocating for the error-prone and potentially racist E-Verify program, it's also not shocking that the network chose a question that advanced the common anti-immigrant sentiment that undocumented immigrants "compete" with "struggling U.S. workers" -- a sentiment that is simply misplaced.
Fox News' Laura Ingraham took time away from her favorite pastime of attacking President Obama and his policies to demean undocumented immigrants today and attack Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Ingraham wrote on her Twitter feed:
It is not clear to what Ingraham was referring or why she singled out undocumented immigrants in her post.
However, Fox News has a decidedly anti-immigrant bias. And it has continued to refer to undocumented immigrants as "illegals," even after several news organizations urged the media to stop using the racially charged and dehumanizing slur. Indeed, just two days ago, Fox host Eric Bolling used the epithet while accusing the Obama administration of pushing "backdoor amnesty."
Last summer, Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist appeared on CNN's Larry King Live to defend Arizona's notorious immigration crackdown law, SB 1070.
The law requires that local and state police officers check the immigration status of any individual they encounter in the course of their law enforcement duties who the officer reasonably suspects to be an immigrant in the country illegally.
Pressed by CNN host Larry King to explain what sort of criteria officers might legitimately use, Gilchrist said, "Responding to an officer, 'No hablo English, Gringo go back to Europe.' Obviously there's an issue there that probably the person may be illegal and perhaps the officer should pursue that."
King identified Gilchrist as the founder and president of the Minuteman Project. That's half-true. Gilchrist is co-founder of the Minuteman Project, the nativist group that popularized the concept of placing armed but untrained civilian volunteers on the U.S.-Mexico border to discourage immigrants from entering the country illegally. But he's not been the group's president since February 2007 when the Minuteman Project board of directors fired Gilchrist for allegedly stealing donations.
Gilchrist promptly launched a new organization called Jim Gilchrist's Minuteman Project, which is little more than a website promoting Gilchrist.
Long after he was being drummed out of the civilian border patrol movement he played a major role in creating and despite repeated revelations of the white supremacist ties of his followers, including murderer Shawna Forde, Gilchrist continued to be invited to speak at universities and appear on major cable news shows. He's been treated by the media as a legitimate authority on immigration issues and often misidentified as the current president of the Minuteman Project.
Last campaign season, Gilchrist further raised his profile by endorsing and stumping for at least ten Republican state and national candidates who sought his help in burnishing their tough-on-immigration credentials. Through all this, Gilchrist has continued to deny that he misappropriated funds. On the issue of white supremacists involving themselves in the movement he played a major role in creating, however, Gilchrist expresses regret.
"Racial supremacists have been a thorn in my side from day one," he told me earlier this year. "They existed in the Minuteman movement, but they had no legitimate reason for being there, because they do nothing to promote equal treatment under the law for all, which after all was our main goal."
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again, that I am very, very disappointed and saddened at the outcome of the Minuteman Project and the citizen border watch movement," Gilchrist said. "All these different organizations and groups just started calling themselves Minuteman this or Minuteman that and unfortunately it turned out that some of the people involved in them had sinister intentions."
In June, Fox News repeatedly promoted the accusation that undocumented immigrants had set the Monument wildfire that was raging in Arizona at the time. However, the Justice Department recently announced that it has charged two U.S. citizens in connection with the state's worst-ever wildfire.