Immigration

Issues ››› Immigration
  • WSJ Op-Ed Rehashes Discredited Evidence To Fearmonger About Noncitizen Voting

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    The Wall Street Journal opinion page provided a platform for serial misinformers -- citing discredited research -- to falsely suggest that a large number of noncitizens voted in the 2016 election. The evidence used by the authors, who have made careers out of pushing misleading claims to advocate for laws that would result in voter suppression, has been criticized by academics and flies in the face of data showing no evidence that noncitizens have voted in recent U.S. elections in any significant numbers.

    In a November 30 op-ed, Hans von Spakovsky, a National Review contributor and a current senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and John Fund, a columnist for National Review, asserted that “there is a real chance that significant numbers of noncitizens and others are indeed voting illegally, perhaps enough to make up the margin in some elections.” The authors declare that “the honor system doesn’t work” and that “there are people—like those caught voting illegally—who are willing to exploit these weaknesses that damage election integrity.”

    The evidence von Spakovsky and Fund cite to back up their claim is seriously misleading, is methodologically flawed, and has been debunked by experts. Von Spakovsky and Fund point to one “2012 study from the Pew Center on the States estimating that one out of every eight voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date or duplicate.” But as USA Today pointed out in a write-up of the study, “experts say there's no evidence that the [registration] errors lead to fraud on Election Day.” The article quoted David Becker, the director of Pew’s election initiatives, warning that “‘the perception of the possibility of fraud drives hyper-partisan policymaking.’”

    The authors also cited a 2014 study that “used extensive survey data to estimate that 6.4% of the nation’s noncitizens voted in 2008 and that 2.2% voted in 2010.” That study was endlessly hyped by right-wing media, but Brian Schaffner, a political scientist who was “a member of the team that produces the datasets upon which that study was based,” wrote, “I can say unequivocally that this research is not only wrong, it is irresponsible social science and should never have been published in the first place. There is no evidence that non-citizens have voted in recent U.S. elections.” Another expert, Michael Tesler, pointed out that the study had “methodological challenges” that rendered its conclusions "tenuous at best.”

    The authors additionally cited a Heritage Foundation report that they call “a list of more than 700 recent convictions for voter fraud” to dispute “academics who claim that voter fraud is vanishingly rare.” However, as FactCheck.org noted, the report found "less than a dozen individual cases of noncitizens convicted of registering or actually voting since 2000," and USA Today found that the report, which is “based largely on news clippings and news releases,” contains “only a handful of allegations of voter impersonation that voter ID could have prevented.”

    In fact, a 2014 study conducted by Loyola University law professor Justin Levitt found only 31 credible allegations of in-person voter fraud among the more than 1 billion votes cast in "general, primary, special, and municipal elections from 2000 through 2014."

    Von Spakovsky and Fund’s reliance on discredited research is no surprise, given their history of pushing misinformation about voting. Von Spakovsky, who has been featured on Fox News and on National Review for years, has demonstrated an unending willingness to distort the truth in the service of restrictive and discriminatory voter ID laws. Von Spakovsky, in particular, has repeatedly overstated the prevalence of in-person voter fraud and continues to push for voter ID laws that disproportionately affect minority communities and suppress legal voters. At National Review, he also characterized the modern civil rights movement as "indistinguishable" from "segregationists." Even former President Ronald Reagan’s attorney general Dick Thornburgh accused von Spakovsky of being “wrong on both the facts and the law.”

  • Univision Helps Anti-Immigrant Hate Group Sanitize Its Nativist Image

    FAIR Is A Nativist Anti-Immigrant Hate Group, But Univision Won't Say So

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Univision has continuously failed to provide proper context to its audience when interviewing members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), by omitting the fact that the group is an anti-immigrant “hate group” with ties to the nativist movement and white nationalism.

    During a November 29 segment about FAIR’s hard-line anti-immigrant policy proposals on Univision’s Noticiero Univisión, anchor Jorge Ramos and correspondent Janet Rodríguez both helped mainstream the group by labeling it a “conservative organization that opposes undocumented immigrants” and a “conservative anti-immigrant organization.” By simply labeling the group as “conservative,” Ramos and Rodríguez failed to properly identify the group’s nativist origins and extremism while interviewing FAIR spokesperson Jack Martin:

    Translated transcript:

    JORGE RAMOS (HOST): A well-known conservative organization that opposes undocumented immigrants is preparing a series of recommendations for the future Donald Trump presidency. Among the suggestions there is the elimination of the deferred action program and increasing deportations. Janet Rodríguez spoke with a leader of this organization.

    JANET RODRÍGUEZ: If Donald Trump promised to be strict against undocumented immigrants, the organization proposing to advise him on this topic is even stricter. Today, the directors of FAIR, a conservative anti-immigrant organization, put forward a series of recommendations that they're making to the new administration.

    JACK MARTIN: We think they will find these recommendations very favorable.

    RODRÍGUEZ: For the first hundred days of the administration the organization is proposing that the president eliminate deferred action, withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities, restart workplace raids, and start building the wall.

    MARTIN: Just being in the U.S. illegally should be enough for deportation.

    RODRÍGUEZ: They say that during the first year the goal should be to limit reentry permits and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), eliminate the use of ankle monitors and conditional freedom, reviving the 287G program and the secure communities program. The plan is very similar to the one Kris Kobach, also an enemy of immigration reform, and who is looking to become the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He has presented the plan to the president-elect. But these are just recommendations, and the organization recognizes that perhaps the president-elect and the new Congress will never approve a plan as harsh as they'd like it to be.

    This is not the first time Univision has provided FAIR with a platform to air its extremism without providing necessary context. On November 17, the network also featured Martin’s point of view devoid of context.

    According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), FAIR earned the “hate group” label because of its history of “defending racism, encouraging xenophobia and nativism, and giving its all to efforts to keep America white.” FAIR also accepted funding from the Pioneer Fund, “a group founded to promote the genes of white colonials” which also “funds studies of race, intelligence and genetics.” SPLC also noted that FAIR has hired people who are also members of “white supremacist groups” to its top posts and specifically promoted “racist conspiracy theories about Latinos.” The group’s founder, John Tanton -- a current member of FAIR’s national board of advisers -- has “expressed his wish that America remain a majority-white population.”

    In a July 22 report about the nativist influences on President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, The Daily Beast described FAIR’s work as an effort to “demonize immigrants" and explained that even conservative groups “loathe the Tanton network.” In addition the piece noted that before Trump, “these groups found themselves pushed to the margins of the conservative conversation of immigration.” Yet failures by the media to appropriately characterize groups like FAIR has allowed the group to pass as a mainstream conservative organization with a valid seat at the table in the immigration policy debate.

    Spanish-language media has in the past failed to grasp the influence of white supremacy on anti-immigration sentiments. Regardless of whether the Trump administration implements FAIR’s policy proposals or not, providing hate groups with a platform could have an impact on rhetoric and negatively impact those affected by the immigration policies. As NPR’s Latino USA host pointed out in her coverage of virulent 2016 campaign rhetoric, “words are powerful; they can motivate people in good ways and bad.”

  • Morning Joe Hosts, After Carrying Water For Trump And Meeting Him Privately, Aghast That Anyone Questions Their Impartiality

    ››› ››› KATIE SULLIVAN

    Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, have met privately with Donald Trump while Scarborough is reportedly advising the president-elect, yet both still reject media criticism of their overly positive coverage of the former reality show celebrity. On the November 29 edition of Morning Joe alone, the hosts carried water for President-elect Trump on five separate topics, including criticizing journalists for scrutinizing his extensive conflicts of interest and reporting on Pro-Trump “fake news.”

  • NY Times Cites Anti-Immigrant Groups, Doesn't Mention Their Ties To White Supremacists

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A New York Times article cited anti-immigrant groups Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and ignored their ties to nativists while reporting on sanctuary cities’ efforts to combat costly federal immigration proposals.

    The November 27 Times report cited FAIR president Dan Stein and Center for Immigration Studies director of policy Jessica Vaughan. Both took the opportunity to advocate for President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities unless they enforce immigration policy, a role that historically falls under the responsibility of the federal government. The article identified FAIR as a group that “opposes legalization for unauthorized immigrants” and said the Center for Immigration Studies “supports reduced immigration.”

    FAIR, which has already influenced Trump’s immigration proposals, has ties to white supremacists and was labeled an anti-immigrant hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The founder of FAIR also helped launch the Center for Immigration Studies, which, like FAIR, uses the veneer of impartiality to inject lies about immigration into mainstream media. By including commentary from nativist groups while failing to properly identify them, the Times is recycling misinformation and robbing its audience of essential context. From the November 27 New York Times report:

    Across the nation, officials in sanctuary cities are gearing up to oppose President-elect Donald J. Trump if he follows through on a campaign promise to deport millions of illegal immigrants. They are promising to maintain their policies of limiting local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents.

    [...]

    Supporters of tougher immigration policies, however, expect a swift response. Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which opposes legalization for unauthorized immigrants, predicted “a very aggressive, no-holds-barred support for using the full power of the federal government to discourage this kind of interference.”

    “These local politicians take it upon themselves to allow people who have been here for a long time to stay here and receive services,” Mr. Stein said. “The Trump administration is basically saying, ‘If you want to accommodate, don’t expect the rest of us to pay for your services.’”

    Some believe Mr. Trump could go further than simply pulling federal funding, perhaps fighting such policies in court or even prosecuting city leaders.

    “This is uncharted territory in some ways, to see if they’re just playing chicken, or see if they will relent,” said Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports reduced immigration.

    Cities have “gotten away with this for a long time because the federal government has never attempted to crack down on them,” Ms. Vaughan said. [The New York Times, 11/27/16]

  • Media Should Not Sanitize Trump Immigration Adviser Kris Kobach’s Extremism, Ties To White Supremacists

    Kobach “Wrote The Book” On Muslim Registry And Was Behind Anti-Immigrant SB 1070

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    A reported architect behind President-elect Donald Trump’s extreme immigration proposals, radio host and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has received significant media attention following the announcement that he was joining Trump’s transition team. However, media outlets are failing to note his ties to hate groups and nativist organizations and his attacks on immigrants and LGBTQ people.

  • 17 Of The Worst Attacks Potential Trump Press Secretary Laura Ingraham Has Made On Latinos, Civil Rights Groups, And Others

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Laura Ingraham

    Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is reportedly under “serious consideration” to be White House press secretary in the upcoming Donald Trump White House.

    In an appearance on Fox News, where she is also a contributor, Ingraham said she is “honored” to be among the contenders for the position. She added, “I'm at the point where, if my country needs me, and if I can do something to actually, you know, advance the Trump agenda, which is stuff I have written about now for 15 years, with trade, immigration and just renewing America, then I obviously have to seriously consider that.”

    Throughout her career in conservative media, Ingraham has repeatedly used her platform to attack ethnic minorities (especially Latinos), civil rights organizations, and progressive leaders in a crude and often racist fashion. Here are 17 of her worst moments:

    Ingraham: Minority Voters Picked Obama “Because He Was … Half-Black.” Ingraham said, “There are a lot of minorities who just voted for him because he was, you know, half-black, and that was a historical milestone.”

    Ingraham: Mexicans “Have Come Here To Murder And Rape Our People.” Discussing Mexican immigrants, Ingraham said, “They have come here to murder and rape our people. We know that. That doesn't mean everybody has, doesn't mean everyone who comes across the border is a nasty, horrible person, but they have violated our laws.”

    Ingraham Suggested Deported Immigrants Attempting To Re-Enter The Country Should Be Shot. Discussing undocumented immigrants potentially being deported after being released from prison, Ingraham said, “[Governor Jerry] Brown is releasing all these criminals, because they're spending too much money in the jails. By the way, the jails are what, 27 percent illegal immigrants? Why don't we ship them back home and say you come again, and you'll be shot crossing the border? Why don't we ship them out of this country, why are we paying for these horrific individuals? They do their time, get out of the country, never coming back. Never coming back. You come back, you'll be shot. I'm sorry, this is now -- so now you have a ten day waiting period? Well, you better hope nothing happens in ten days, I guess. That's a long wait, I thought four minutes was long, now you have ten days to wait.”

    Ingraham Played Audio Of A Gunshot While Discussing The March On Washington And Civil Rights Leaders. While discussing the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and remarks from civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Ingraham played audio of a gunshot.

    Ingraham: NAACP Is “A Push Organization For Racist Sentiments.” Ingraham said the NAACP, one of the oldest civil rights organizations in America, “has become a push organization for racist sentiments in many ways.”

    Ingraham Compared Same-Sex Marriage To Incest And Polygamy. Ingraham compared the legal right to same-sex marriage to state-sanctioned incest and polygamy.

    Ingraham Said People Should Wear Diapers Instead Of Sharing Bathrooms With Transgender People. Discussing how people will react to transgender people being allowed to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, Ingraham said, “I think a lot of people are going to be walking around with just Depends on from now on. They're just not going to use the bathroom. Adult diapers, diapers for everybody. No one's going to be going to the bathroom. You have little kids, there's going to be no bathrooms. We're just going to all wear Depends. Everyone will just be happy. Then you'll be in your own bathroom. Everyone's bathroom is just their own clothes, OK? So this is what we're going to go to.”

    Ingraham Played “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” Sound Clip To Mock Migrant Children Fleeing Violence. While discussing the plight of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America, Ingraham played a sound clip from a Taco Bell commercial and said, “I bet there are a lot of American kids who would like free food before they go to bed at night.”

    Ingraham: U.S. Should Accept Only Those Refugees Who “We Can Verifiably Say Are Christians,” And Muslims Should “Stay In The Middle East.” Discussing the Syrian refugee crisis, Ingraham said, “The Christians who we can verifiably say are Christians, who are in the threat of being slaughtered, I'm happy to bring in some of them. I think most people would. But all these other people, they've got to stay in the Middle East. We cannot be the warehouse of all these, you know, Muslim people coming from these far-flung lands.”

    Ingraham: “I Don’t Think Of Jewish People As Minorities Because They’re So Successful. Ingraham said that she didn’t view Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as a minority because he is Jewish.

    Ingraham Mocked Latino TV Anchor For Translating For A Guest. Ingraham attacked MSNBC anchor Jose Diaz-Balart for translating for a guest speaking in Spanish.

    Ingraham: Registering Voters Is “The Politics Of Division.” Ingraham described efforts to register voters in Ferguson, MO, as “the politics of division.”

    Ingraham Mocked A Protester For Speaking Accented English. Ingraham complained that she couldn’t understand a protester’s accent, noting, “Wait, what did she say at the end? I can't -- I need a translator. I speak Spanish too. I'd rather have her just speak Spanish, at least I'd understand that.” Ingraham then went on to mock her accent.

    Ingraham: “A Very Compelling Case Could Be Made That [The Women’s Movement] Has Set Women Back.” Ingraham argued, “I think a very compelling case could be made that this has set women back. The most powerful thing a woman can do is give birth, that is it. That is your power, really your power. And you can do a lot of things in your life, but that's what makes you unique, and now it becomes just kind of commodified in today's society.“

    Ingraham Called Spanish-Language Media Outlets “Toxic,” Said They “Revile The American Experience.” Ingraham described Spanish-language media outlets Univision and Telemundo as “toxic.” She also said, “These are Hispanic-centric networks that I think in many ways, and we've talked about this before, revile the American experience, and I think even encourage the understanding that we're living on stolen land.”

    Ingraham Said Multilingualism In Schools Makes “You Think You’re In A Foreign Country.”  Discussing dual immersion classes, Ingraham said, “The money this all costs is staggering. And, hence, I think that a lot of people are noticing this, have noticed it. People speaking broken language who work at various retail establishments. Language is terrible. They can't understand you, and you can't understand them. Sometimes you think you're in a foreign country.”

    Ingraham Called Planned Parenthood Employees “Heinous, Hitlerian Freaks.” Ingraham was one of many in the conservative media to attack Planned Parenthood after a series of deceptively edited videos were released targeting the organization.

  • Trump’s Policy Against Sanctuary Cities Inspired By Unsubstantiated Fox News Talking Points

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Attacking sanctuary cities is one of Fox News’ anti-immigrant battle cries, with many of the network’s talking points echoing the approach that anti-immigrant nativist organizations champion. These views have now percolated into President-elect Donald Trump’s policy plans, even though the talking points are unsubstantiated by reality.

    Sanctuary cities are places where local authorities have enacted ordinances that limit local law enforcement from informing federal immigration authorities of the migratory status of undocumented immigrants. Demonizing the concept has been one of Fox News’ favorite pastimes. The networks’ hosts and anchors routinely misinform on the topic, from Bill O’Reilly saying sanctuary cities cause “anarchy,” Greg Jarrett saying officials in such cities are “breaking the law,” to Eric Bolling asserting that they “ignore federal law.”

    Fox News discussions on the topic are likely to include the following set of misleading talking points, as illustrated by this segment on the November 15 edition of Happening Now: Local authorities are breaking federal law by enacting such ordinances; they should be charged; and federal funds should be withheld from such places as punishment.

    Fox News’ talking points echo those of extreme anti-immigrant groups with nativist ties, like the Center of Immigrant Studies (CIS), which has praised congressional attempts to “withhold certain federal funds from sanctuary jurisdictions” and which gets invited to send its representatives on Fox to push their extreme views. Another such group is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has leaders with ties to white supremacists and which has pushed claims that sanctuary city policies “conflict with federal law.”

    Trump has promised to “cancel all federal funding” to sanctuary cities within his first hundred days in office. And that promise is likely to be fulfilled given that his potential cabinet picks include anti-immigrant extremists like Kris Kobach, who has made a career out of pushing such legislation as Arizona's SB 1070 "papers-please" law (which encouraged ethnic profiling) and suing states for granting in-state tuition to undocumented students.

    The facts on sanctuary cities are much different from what Fox dishonestly pushes. In reality, according to the Congressional Research Service, local legislation that makes a city or a state a “sanctuary city” does not break federal law. These ordinances are also constitutional “as long as sanctuary communities that choose not to ask about immigration status do not bar volunteer communications and follow other federal requirements,” according to legal experts. Additionally, law enforcement experts have noted that sanctuary cities can help deter crime, since they keep local law enforcement focused on local priorities rather than doing immigration enforcement, a role that historically falls under the responsibility of the federal government.

    Even former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a current member of Trump’s transition team, admitted that Fox’s dishonest attacks on sanctuary cities are misguided by defending the similar policies he enacted in New York. Giuliani explained that sanctuary cities reduce crime by shifting the focus to actual immigrant criminals and away from undocumented crime victims who aid police, children whose parents may be undocumented, and undocumented people seeking emergency hospital treatment.

    As Emory law professor and attorney Randy Kessler told CNN on the November 16 edition of Erin Burnett Outfront, “The local, state -- municipalities don’t have to do anything over and above enforcing their own laws, and if they are not interested in going to collect immigrants and deport them, then they’re not going to make it easy on Donald Trump or the federal investigators -- federal law enforcement who want to do that”: