"I don't claim to be any legislative genius": Boyles offered baseless interpretations of proposed immigration legislation

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Claiming that he was reading from a proposed immigration reform bill sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives, 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles mischaracterized numerous provisions in the measure, House Resolution 1645. Boyles, in fact, appeared to be reading from a conservative website's "in-depth analysis" of the bill -- not the bill itself.

On the April 25 and 26 broadcasts of his show, 630 KHOW-AM's Peter Boyles mischaracterized U.S. House Resolution 1645, a proposed immigration reform bill sponsored by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). On April 25, Boyles dubiously claimed that "Flake-Gutierrez Section 301 does not require most employers ... to verify the lawful status of existing employees. So this eliminates raids." In fact, Section 301 of the resolution deals exclusively with establishing employer verification requirements and has no bearing on the ability of federal authorities to conduct immigration raids.

Moreover, on April 26, Boyles falsely asserted that H.R. 1645 says "nothing ... about securing the borders." In fact, Title I of the act, "Border Enforcement," spells out -- in 48 sections and across 117 pages -- the various provisions aimed at securing the United States' international borders, including but not limited to the addition of enforcement personnel, the implementation of aerial surveillance and other technologies, and initiating increased cooperation with the Mexican government.

Although Boyles repeatedly claimed to "read" from the bill, he instead apparently was reading from a Fire Society article published on FireSociety.com, a website that identifies itself as "a place where grassroots conservatives can add their input to the debate" and "turn the grassroots debate right-side up."

Contrary to Boyles' assertion that there is "nothing" in the Flake-Gutierrez resolution about "securing the borders," the National Journal's CongressDaily (accessed through the Nexis database) reported on April 26 that while the bill would "create a guestworker plan and propose a path to earned citizenship for undocumented workers," it would also "beef up border control [and] set up an electronic employer-enforcement system."

Furthermore, as Section 101 of Title I, Subtitle A, "Assets for Controlling United States Borders," reads:

In each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2012, the Secretary [of Homeland Security] shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, increase by not less than 500 the number of positions for full-time active duty port of entry inspectors and provide appropriate training, equipment, and support to such additional inspectors.

Section 102 of the resolution calls for an "increase [in] the availability and use of Department of Defense equipment, including unmanned aerial vehicles, tethered aerostat radars, and other surveillance equipment, to assist the Secretary in carrying out surveillance activities conducted at or near the international land borders of the United States to prevent illegal immigration."

Section 123(a) mandates that the "Secretary of State ... and representatives of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies that are involved in border security and immigration enforcement efforts ... work with the appropriate officials from the Government of Mexico [toward] ... improved border security along the international border between the United States and Mexico."

Numerous other provisions of H.R. 1645 call for "Border Security Plans, Strategies, and Reports," enhanced "Secure Entry Initiatives," and "Rapid Response Measures," while establishing methods of apprehension and detention of individuals attempting to illegally cross U.S. borders.

On his April 25 program, after telling a caller "it takes a long, long time to understand this," Boyles dubiously stated that "Flake-Gutierrez Section 301... eliminates [immigration] raids" of places like the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado:

BOYLES: All right. I don't claim to be any legislative genius, but Flake-Gutierrez Section 301 does not require most employers -- read Swift -- to verify the lawful status of existing employees. So this eliminates raids, which create a huge loophole in the employment eligibility verification system. Most currently employed illegals will be able to keep their current jobs forever. In addition, day labor centers -- we have them here; of course that's not sanctuary -- will not have to verify the employment eligibility of a worker that they refer into the center. Do you want that?

While Boyles claimed to be reading from the bill itself, his description of Section 301 of H.R. 1645 mirrored the March 28 Fire Society "in-depth analysis" of the bill, "If It Looks Like Amnesty, And Smells Like Amnesty, It's Amnesty!":

The Flake-Gutierrez bill does not require most employers to verify the lawful status of existing employees, which creates a huge loophole in the employment eligibility verification system. Most currently employed illegal immigrants will be able to keep their current jobs forever. In addition, day labor centers will not have to verify the employment eligibility of workers they refer. (section 301)

Furthermore, contrary to Boyles' assertion that Section 301 "eliminates raids," that section of the bill says nothing about the ability of federal or local law enforcement officials to conduct "raids" on worksites aimed at identifying and apprehending illegal immigrant workers. Boyles also failed to note that Section 305 of the resolution calls for additional "worksite enforcement and fraud detection agents":

(a) Increase in Number of Personnel -- The Secretary shall, subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, annually increase, by not less than 2,200, the number of personnel of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the 5-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

Throughout the April 25 broadcast, Boyles continued to read from other portions of the Fire Society article while professing to be reading from the Flake-Gutierrez bill. For example, at one point Boyles said, "Let me read you from other sections, just 'cause -- this is the 500 Section. This is 507":

BOYLES: The quota for this temporar -- H -- H -- H-1B temporary visas for professional workers will increase from 65,000 to a 180,000 a year. In addition, all aliens with graduate degrees from U.S. universities are exempt from that quota, as are all aliens with foreign graduate degrees in math or science. This will have the effect of doubling the quota to about 360,000 a year, since about half of H-1B aliens have graduate degrees.

According to the Fire Society article:

The quota for H-1B temporary visas for professional workers increases from 65,000 to a maximum of 180,000 a year. In addition, all aliens with graduate degrees from U.S. universities are exempt from the quota, as are all aliens with foreign graduate degrees in math or science fields. This will have the effect of doubling the quota to about 360,000 a year, since about half of all H-1B aliens have graduate degrees. (section 507)

Similarly, speaking about the bill's provisions dealing with the detention of illegal immigrants, Boyles, after saying, "Honest to God, God as my judge," asserted:

BOYLES: The taxpayer -- go get a mirror -- will provide immigration-law violators who are being detained, quote, and this is from the ad -- from the law, rather -- with individual and group counseling -- pardon me? -- daily access to indoor and outdoor recreational programs and activities, services that recognize their special religious and cultural and spiritual needs. They must fund new detention facilities with, quote -- this is from, this is from the law ... meaningful recreational activities -- private toilets, private shower facilities, clothes that are not prison-style uniforms or jumpsuits. Section 175, 178.

Again, Boyles' statement was nearly identical to the Fire Society article:

The taxpayer must provide immigration-law violators who are being detained with "individual and group counseling", "daily access to indoor and outdoor recreational programs and activities", services that recognize their "special religious, cultural [and] spiritual" needs, and must fund new detention facilities with "meaningful ... recreational activities", "private toilet and shower facilities" and clothes that are not "prison-style uniforms or jumpsuits". (section 175, 178)

From the April 26 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: Let me come back to how this has been presented on the national level. If you read how Flake-Gutierrez is being presented, it's being presented as this package that George Bush wants on, quote -- they call it immigration reform; it's not even close. It is called -- and I have some of the national press -- the major immigration proposal in the 110th Congress. It's Jeff Flake, who's a Repub; Luis Gutierrez, who's a Dem. It's House Resolution 1645, and they actually dubbed this the STRIVE Act -- Security Through Regulatized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy. Notice, though, that vibrant economy part of this.

CALLER: Yeah, I get all that.

BOYLES: It was -- it was put out there on the 26th of -- pardon me, 22nd of March, double-oh-seven. And it is the attempt to legalize literally millions of illegals in this country at your expense. Now, it's being called -- the, the provisions for guest workers and all the kinds of things, securing the borders -- there's no, nothing in here about securing the borders. This is, this is again, the Trojan horse of this administration.

From the April 25 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: Let me read you from other sections, just 'cause -- this is the 500 Section. This is 507.

CALLER: OK.

BOYLES: The quota for this temporar -- H -- H -- H-1B temporary visas for professional workers will increase from 65,000 to a 180,000 a year. In addition, all aliens with graduate degrees from U.S. universities are exempt from that quota, as are all aliens with foreign graduate degrees in math or science. This will have the effect of doubling the quota to about 360,000 a year, since about half of H-1B aliens have graduate degrees.

[...]

BOYLES: Most of the "tough" enforcement provisions and, and in Flake-Gutierrez, and that's sections 101, 102, 105, 111, 112, 113, 114, 132, 181, 217, 305, and 409 -- which shows you I gotta get a life -- these provisions are really meaningless. There's no teeth in them, because they are circumvented in other sections of the bill. So Flake-Gutierrez does give away the sovereignty of this country. It does.

CALLER: Yep. OK. I understand.

[...]

BOYLES: All right, let me give you this one: Section 175, 178 of, of Flake-Gutierrez. Honest to God, God as my judge. The taxpayer --go get a mirror -- will provide immigration-law violators who are being detained, quote, and this is from the ad -- from the law, rather -- with individual and group counseling -- pardon me? -- daily access to indoor and outdoor recreational programs and activities, services that recognize their special religious and cultural and spiritual needs. They must fund new detention facilities with, quote -- this is from, this is from the law --

CALLER: I'm with you right here. I'm looking at it online, yeah.

BOYLES: -- meaningful recreational activities -- private toilets, private shower facilities, clothes that are not prison-style uniforms or jumpsuits. Section 175, 178. You want this thing?

CALLER: OK. Well no, I couldn't read the whole bill, Peter; it's extremely lengthy and --

BOYLES: Oh, of course, that's why you -- that's why I'm trying to --

CALLER: -- and can't be managed --

BOYLE:-- I felt like I was back in school.

CALLER: OK.

[...]

CALLER: Well, see. All I saw, for instance, under continuing employment, now it does say it's unlawful for an employer after lawfully hiring an alien for employment to continue to employ the alien in the United States.

BOYLES: But look at, look at -- go to 301. Section 301 -- this is why it takes a long, long time to understand this. And I don't particularly -- I'm not claiming to be --

CALLER: Well, I threw that in there just so you'd know where I was coming from.

BOYLES: All right. I don't claim to be any legislative genius, but Flake-Gutierrez Section 301 does not require most employers -- read Swift -- to verify the lawful status of existing employees. So this eliminates raids, which create a huge loophole in the employment eligibility verification system. Most currently employed illegals will be able to keep their current jobs forever. In addition, day labor centers -- we have them here; of course that's not sanctuary -- will not have to verify the employment eligibility of a worker that they refer into the center. Do you want that?

CALLER: OK. That's contradictory, by the way, to the opening line there --

BOYLES: That's right, it is. That's right.

CALLER: OK; I appreciate that. You're doing a damn good job and --

BOYLES: Well --

[...]

BOYLES: They call it immigration reform in the 110th -- it's Flake-Gutierrez, HR 1645. If -- and it's extensive. I mean, it has -- it's a lengthy, lengthy bill, as most of these things are. But -- like I said, I -- I'm not an expert on it, I just went to a class on it, had people, you know, discuss it, and then read it myself.

[...]

BOYLES: Let me read you from Section 304 of Flake-Gutierrez: Employers nationwide cannot favor U.S. citizens for jobs over certain foreign workers, including illegals who have been granted Temporary Protected Status.

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