Rush Limbaugh said that "it's up to me and Fox News" to stop immigration reform. Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt appears to be answering the call, characterizing possible provisions for same sex couples in immigration reform as a "poison pill" proposal from President Barack Obama as part of a campaign to "enrage the right, divide the GOP and set the table for a Democratic victory in 2014."
BuzzFeed reports that the White House framework for immigration reform will include provisions for opening up green card eligibility for same sex couples. Heterosexual couples routinely have access to permanent resident visas via marriage, while same sex couples do not because the Defense of Marriage Act bars federal recognition of same sex marriages.
Stirewalt's column again spotlights the role of Fox and other elements of the conservative media in policing the Republican Party in order to prevent the passage of legislation alongside Democrats. President Obama discussed this dynamic in an interview with The New Republic: "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it."
As Reuters reported, "There are at least 28,500 same-sex couples in the United States in which one partner is a U.S. citizen and the other is not, and 11,500 same-sex couples where neither partner is a U.S. citizen." By that measure, proposals on this issue would affect at least 80,000 people in a same sex relationship.
Immigration Equality, a pro-reform group, estimates that 45% of these couples also have children, who of course would be directly affected by these immigration reforms.
Under criticism for discouraging Republicans from cooperating with Democrats to pass legislation, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are telling Republicans how to move on comprehensive immigration reform.
President Obama told The New Republic that it would be easier to work with Republicans to pass legislation "[i]f a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest." Fox and Limbaugh lashed out at Obama in response to his comments on Monday, but on Monday night, Fox host Sean Hannity advised Republican lawmakers to "proceed with caution" on immigration reform. During the segment, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said that Hannity gave "good advice."
While Fox was dispensing advice to the GOP, Limbaugh declared that "it's up to me" to stop comprehensive immigration reform because he doesn't think Fox "is that invested in this." Rubio will be on Limbaugh's program on Tuesday to discuss the immigration reform that Limbaugh has pledged to halt.
As Fox and Limbaugh criticized Obama for highlighting their ability to sway Republican lawmakers, they proved him right with their comments about immigration reform. This is not the first example of their influence over the GOP - past media reports indicate Fox News and Limbaugh's influence on key Republican lawmakers crafting laws and negotiating bills with Democrats.
Right-wing media figures have responded to immigration reform by invoking the oft-repeated conservative argument that legalizing immigrants will enlarge the "welfare state." In fact, the announced immigration reform proposal would prevent newly legalized immigrants from receiving federal benefits for an extended period of time; moreover, immigrants in general are less likely to receive welfare benefits.
From the January 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Fox News contributor Monica Crowley attacked an immigration reform proposal by claiming the federal government has failed to protect the U.S.-Mexico border. However, recent reports show that undocumented migration from Mexico has come to a halt, and border security is at an all-time high.
After a bipartisan group of senators announced a proposal to overhaul the U.S. immigration system that will focus on -- among other initiatives -- border security and opening a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the country, Crowley blasted the federal government for failing to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, causing states like Arizona to take matters of border security into their own hands. Crowley said drastic measures are needed because "the federal government either has not or will not enforce [the U.S.-Mexico] border."
However, Crowley's suggestion that current border security is not capable of enforcing our laws is wrong. An April 2012 report by the Pew Hispanic Center explained that net migration flow from Mexico to the U.S. has been reduced to zero and may be headed in the other direction:
After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants--most of whom came illegally--the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed, according to a new analysis of government data from both countries by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
Among the causes for lower undocumented immigration, the report points to heightened border enforcement, increased amount of deportations, and the growing danger of illegal border crossings.
From the January 28 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the January 25 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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The right-wing media are claiming that the "liberal agenda" President Obama outlined in his second inaugural address is out of the mainstream, even though polling has shown that the majority of Americans agree with Obama's stances on marriage equality, sustainable energy, and other issues.
Now that the Obama administration and Congress are engaged in a debate over immigration policy, a Media Matters review of major news outlets has found that when it comes to immigration coverage, anti-immigrant commentator Mark Krikorian continues to be the media's preferred conservative voice. Krikorian heads the Center for Immigration Studies, a group associated with notorious nativist John Tanton and whose research has been called into question -- but these facts are routinely ignored in coverage of his remarks.
From the January 14 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Despite its long history of anti-immigrant rhetoric, Fox News promoted a conference sponsored by former President George W. Bush's foundation that discussed the benefits immigrants bring to the U.S. economy.
On the December 4 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox correspondent Casey Stegall reported live from the conference in Dallas where Bush was about to speak. According to Stegall, the conference featured discussions of "how immigration actually benefits the economy and how reform is really necessary to get the economic engines going." Stegall's report contained footage of a woman stating that "immigrants actually accelerate growth."
While waiting for Bush to take the podium, Happening Now co-host Jon Scott interviewed The Hill's A.B. Stoddard about how Bush now wants to have a role in the "reset" of the Republican Party on issues of immigration. Scott noted that Bush "did pretty well" with Hispanics as a presidential candidate, while Stoddard highlighted how Bush "spent so much time" in Texas "speaking Spanish, living among -- a place where the demographics were changing so quickly. ... He knew this had to be a part of the Republican tent." After airing about four minutes of Bush's speech, Scott and Stoddard returned to discuss immigration again.
In noting President Obama's opposition to a Republican-promoted House bill allowing more skilled workers into the U.S., Wall Street Journal columnist Gordon Crovitz failed to mention the reason for Obama's opposition: The House bill eliminates a visa program for immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S., and is too "narrowly tailored" to achieve Obama's goal of comprehensive immigration reform.
Fox misrepresented the effect of a Massachusetts plan to provide access to its state colleges for some immigrants in order to falsely suggest that this plan would be a burden on other students and taxpayers.
On November 19, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick reiterated a policy granting undocumented students the ability to qualify for state resident tuition rates at state colleges. The Massachusetts DREAM Act would allow young people who meet federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals criteria to receive in-state tuition rates if they meet residency requirements.
On the December 3 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade opened by misrepresenting the law, asking, "Should illegals be allowed to get a break on in-state tuition on the backs of legal students?" He followed up by claiming Massachusetts had made this possible. Kilmeade hosted Massachusetts State Rep. James Lyons who asserted that the law forces "struggling taxpayers of Massachusetts to subsidize those who are breaking the rules." Co-host Kilmeade agreed with Lyon: "[Y]ou believe you should actually be an in-state resident and legal in order to receive [in-state tuition]. What a novel thought." From the show:
Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer slurred undocumented immigrants as "illegals," a term that has been condemned by several prominent journalistic organizations.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on Face the Nation and he said that he intended to "pass an immigration reform bill." Schieffer responded by asking "Would that mean finding some path to citizenship for the illegals that are in this country?"
The Associated Press Stylebook instructs journalists not to "use the terms illegal alien, an an illegal or illegals."
Numerous organizations and commentators have also called on the media not to use the loaded term "illegals." For instance, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has called on news media to stop using the word "illegals" as a noun. The NAHJ stated that it was "particularly troubled with the growing trend of the news media to use the word 'illegals' as a noun, shorthand for 'illegal aliens.'" The statement added that "using the word in this way is grammatically incorrect and crosses the line by criminalizing the person, not the action they are purported to have committed." The Asian American Journalists Association's handbook implores journalists to "avoid" the word "illegals," calling it "a slur."
From the November 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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