In a post Thursday on National Review Online, Mark Krikorian attempted to deflect criticism from Sen. Marco Rubio against so-called "Democratic" Hispanic critics, writing, "Apparently it's news that 'Rubio faces Hispanic Critics.' " According to the Politico article Krikorian was referencing, "the broader Hispanic electorate" is not enthused with Rubio because of "his hard-line stance on immigration," especially in light of recent revelations about his background. But Krikorian rationalized the criticism as "phony," claiming that it's "hilarious" to expect Rubio to appeal to a broader swath of Hispanics because of their shared ethnic history.
Here's a hint: his critics are -- drum roll -- Democrats! The controversy itself is obviously phony (the Post has his parents' 1956 immigration application but we can't see Obama's transcripts?), but what's really hilarious is the idea that a Cuban-American Republican is somehow naturally going to appeal to Mexican-American Democrats just because their ancestors came from countries that were once both part of Spain's long-defunct empire. News flash: Cubans aren't Mexicans. Puerto Ricans aren't New Mexico Hispanos. And Mayan-speaking Guatemalans certainly aren't Portuguese. The very idea of an "Hispanic" or "Latino" identity is an ahistorical fiction, but one we are doing everything in our power to create and reinforce.
Setting aside the fact that the Politico article also highlighted Republican critics of Rubio or that it was in no way making the point that Rubio's appeal, or non-appeal, is predicated on his ethnicity, what is Krikorian really saying here? Is he really pushing the idea that the only reason one Hispanic can disagree with another is because one is an American of Puerto Rican descent and the other is an American of Cuban descent? Is he in fact claiming Hispanics or Latinos don't have the intellectual capacity to take sides because, well, they can't really argue the merits of an issue since ethnic history trumps all?
This premise would be ridiculous in this day and age, but not for Krikorian. He has stated that Haiti is "so screwed up" because "it wasn't colonized long enough." He once blamed a bank's demise on its diversity policy -- specifically, its commitment to Hispanic diversity. He has repeatedly suggested that the U.S.-born children of foreign nationals, because they won't be raised in the United States, could one day grow up to become terrorists. (And there's more.) And let's not forget that Krikorian is the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which is part of an anti-immigrant network comprised of hate groups founded on nativist ideology.
According to the most recent U.S. Census data, there are nearly 309 million people in the United States. Of those, the Pew Research Center estimates that 11.2 million are undocumented immigrants. Yet Fox News would have you believe that number to be much, much higher if the type of discussions about immigration and immigrants on the network is any indication.
A Media Matters analysis of the immigration issues Fox News asked its guests to talk about between April 13, 2010, when Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law, and June 9, 2011, when Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in turn signed an anti-immigration bill critics have called a "sweeping attack on immigrants and people of color," reveals that Fox News views immigration through the prism of illegality and crime, almost to the exclusion of everything else.
During that time period, according to our data, of the 1,697 guest appearances (most of whom took anti-immigrant positions or held anti-immigrant views) 69 percent were prompted to discuss border security or other immigration enforcement measures. Besides immigration enforcement, topics included S.B. 1070, state laws that were similar in scope to the Arizona immigration law, the workplace immigration verification tool E-Verify, birthright citizenship, and other general enforcement measures. However, when crime, including border violence and other stories dealing with criminality were factored in, all told, these constituted 78 percent of the total immigration discussions on Fox News.
What many consider the real issues of immigration were all but ignored by Fox News. A paltry 11 percent of appearances was spent discussing immigration policy, including comprehensive immigration reform. The rest comprised the DREAM Act legislation, education, particularly in-state tuition measures for undocumented students, breaking news, political stories, the economy, and labor issues.
On every single show, save The O'Reilly Factor, at least 71 percent of the guest appearances discussed border security, enforcement issues, or crime. On The Factor, 57 percent of the guest appearances discussed these issues, while on Your World with Neil Cavuto, it was an astonishing 90 percent. On the Record with Greta Van Susteren and Happening Now followed with 85 percent apiece, with Hannity next with 84 percent, and America's Newsroom with 82 percent.
On October 18, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that the agency had deported a record number of undocumented immigrants: 396,906 foreign nationals in Fiscal Year 2011. ICE stated that this included the largest number of criminal immigrants removed at nearly 55 percent, "an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals from FY 2008, and the largest number of criminal aliens removed in agency history."
As The New York Times reported:
"We came into office focused on creating a smart enforcement system by setting a rational system of priorities, and we have done that," John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said on Tuesday. "We said criminal offenders would be our highest priority, and lo and behold, they are the highest priority."
The Times further reported that the deportation program has come under intense criticism by Latinos and pro-immigration activists. The article highlighted a study that found that the program "has led disproportionately to the removal of Latino immigrants and to arrests by immigration authorities of hundreds of United States citizens."
In a post today at National Review Online, Mark Krikorian brushed away ICE's numbers, calling the announcement a "hollow deportation boast." His contention? The "largest number in the agency's history" "is a lot" but it isn't big enough. "[W]hen you look at history," Krikorian argued, "the 'largest number' is only about 1,700 more than two years ago." He continued:
The Obama administration, as a matter of policy, refuses to even ask Congress for the resources needed to deport any more than 400,000 people. Now, 400,000 deportations (of illegal aliens, of course, but also of legal aliens who made themselves deportable because of crimes) is a lot, but it can easily be doubled; I remember one of the top people at INS in the Clinton years telling me that the 114,000 removed in 1997 was a really, really big number and sufficient proof of their seriousness about immigration enforcement.
Krikorian seemed to be echoing Rep. Lamar Smith, who reportedly stated on October 18: "The Obama administration continues to inflate its deportation numbers. ... [I]n reality they are enacting amnesty through inaction."
Controversial Los Angeles radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou are dismissing the loss of advertisers after their campaign against a leading immigrant rights activist was connected to threatening phone calls, apologizing for those calls but nevertheless vowing to continue "giving out phone numbers."
In September, Kobylt and Chiampou aired the personal cell phone number of Jorge-Mario Cabrera, communications director for the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Kobylt and Chimapou urged listeners to call Cabrera and leave messages protesting his support for the California DREAM Act, which they called "the theft of tax money for illegal aliens."
Cabrera detailed some of the "very angry, and at times threatening calls" he received after Kobylt and Chiampou launched their campaign, including 291 calls to his cell phone alone.
On October 13, the Los Angeles Times reported that Verizon and AT&T Wireless pulled their ads from the John & Ken Show, and that Vons and Ralphs agreed not to advertise in the future. On Friday, Kobylt and Chiampou responded to what they called an "economic boycott" by promising that "nothing on the show is changing."
With Monday's comments, Kobylt and Chiampou made clear that promise includes a vow to continue the very reckless commentary that has led advertisers to reconsider sponsoring them in the first place.
Read Kobylt and Chiampous's response after the jump.
With immigration back on the front pages and in-state tuition for certain undocumented students a barometer by which some GOP presidential candidates have set their conservatism, Fox has renewed its push to promote anti-immigrant efforts. In a post last week, Fox Nation featured two students from a conservative group at Texas A&M University who are trying to repeal the Texas DREAM Act, a law that grants in-state tuition to certain undocumented students to attend college in Texas. Fox Nation trumpeted their opposition after they appeared on Fox News' Fox & Friends:
The students, Steven Schroeder and Justin Pulliam, from a student group called the Texas Aggie Conservatives, appeared on Fox & Friends and argued that "Texas taxpayers should not be forced to subsidized the college education of adults who cannot legally work in the United States." The Aggie Conservatives have started a petition asking Gov. Rick Perry to "call special legislative session to end in-state tuition for illegal immigrants." A separate group at the University of Texas countered with a statement of its own, condemning the Aggie Conservatives' action.
During the interview, co-host Gretchen Carlson agreed that "many, many, many, many, many millions" of taxpayers do subsidize undocumented students' college education. She did not point out, however, that the state gained more than $11 million in 2010 from the tuition and fees paid by undocumented students.
The Los Angeles Times reported on October 13 that Verizon and AT&T Wireless have pulled their ads from the John & Ken Show, a Los Angeles-based radio show with a history of inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric.
In September, the show's hosts, John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, aired the personal cell phone number of Jorge-Mario Cabrera of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). The hosts urged listeners to leave messages about Cabrera's advocacy of the California DREAM Act, telling them to "congratulate" Cabrera on "his victory," which they described as "the theft of tax money for illegal aliens."
Cabrera received hundreds of threatening calls after his phone number was aired.
The Times further reported that "Vons and Ralphs, which have advertised on the show in the past, have agreed to not advertise in the future."
From the Times:
Verizon and AT&T Wireless have pulled their advertising off KFI's "John and Ken" show in response to a campaign by several Latino groups to drive the controversial radio talk hosts off the air.
Vons and Ralphs, which have advertised on the show in the past, have agreed to not advertise in the future.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition made the announcement during a demonstration Thursday in front of KFI's offices in Burbank.
The campaign to fire John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou began after the duo read the phone number of Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a local immigration rights advocate, on the air. Within minutes, Cabrera, a staff member with the Coalition of Humane Immigration Rights of L.A., reportedly received hundreds of hate-filled calls.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition has written confirmation from the companies, according to Rosalia Tenorio, spokeswoman for the coalition, which was the lead player in organizing the demonstration.
NPR recently published a laudatory (some would even say fawning) profile of the "one man" behind the controversial Alabama anti-immigration law, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. From it, we learn that Kobach "looked the part" of a "movie star," "handsome and loaded with charisma"; that he is "deified by his supporters" in part because of his Ivy League credentials (Harvard, Oxford, and Yale); and that the time spent on immigration issues has been very "lucrative." Gushed the reporter: "Official documents from Arizona indicate he made $300 an hour with a $1,500 monthly retainer, plus expenses."
Amid all the flattery, however, KCUR reporter Laura Ziegler dropped hints that Kobach isn't all Mr. Congeniality. But she failed to show how extreme a figure Kobach really is. The fact that he has a history of anti-immigrant action and rhetoric elicited barely a mention. Instead, here is what Ziegler reported:
ZIEGLER: At a campaign event before the 2010 elections, candidate Kobach brought in Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona, who's enforcing the immigration law there. Rallies outside the event, in a Kansas City suburb, showed how both had become lightning rods because of it.
MYRNA OROSKO: My name is Myrna Orosko and I came to the United States when I was four years old. And I came legally with a visa. However, like for many immigrants, it expired. I have to, you know, refuse to let men like Kris Kobach and Arpaio continue to spread a message of hate and intolerance for our immigrants around the country.
Zeigler didn't explain what Orosko meant nor did she point to any "message of hate and intolerance." She later added:
ZIEGLER: [Southern Poverty Law Center director of research Heidi] Beirich says Kobach is leading a strategic anti-immigrant crusade, which she says has a racial element.
BEIRICH: His decision to first start at the local level with laws in towns that were going through some strife over growing immigrant populations and then to take that to the state level shifted the entire terms of the debate.
While exhorting a government to enforce its immigration laws may not be racist, that's not the reason critics have given for blasting Kobach for "spread[ing] a message of hate and intolerance." Kobach works on behalf of noted hate group FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. As a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he assigned students a book with an anti-Latino immigrant message.
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 21 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money:
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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.
From the September 21 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the September 20 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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President Obama gave a speech last night at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's Awards Gala, and the Associated Press write-up of the event led with Obama saying his jobs package "would put more money in the pockets of Latino workers and business owners and increase opportunities for Hispanics." It carried the headline "Obama pushes jobs plan as help for Hispanics."
From the story as it appeared on the AP website:
That headline apparently wasn't exciting enough -- or sufficiently disparaging of Obama -- for the Media Research Center's "news" website, CNSNews.com. Its version of the AP article carries the headline "Obama Renews Call for Amnesty for Illegal Aliens," with the original headline relegated to a subhead:
From the September 6 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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Following the Obama administration's decision to postpone the deportation of certain undocumented immigrants in order to prioritize "convicted felons" and "public safety threats," right-wing media have reacted by resorting to fearmongering, inflammatory rhetoric, and falsehoods.