For four hours after AP correction, Drudge flogged false claim about undocumented immigrants

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

A Drudge Report headline stated "HILL REPUBLICAN: STIMULUS GIVES CASH TO ILLEGALS" and linked to an AP article that reported that "[t]he $800 billion-plus economic stimulus measure making its way through Congress could steer government checks to illegal immigrants, a top Republican congressional official asserted Thursday." A revised version of the article made clear that the claim is false, but the Drudge Report did not remove the headline and link to the original version of the article until roughly four hours after the new version was available.

A January 29 headline on the Drudge Report stated "HILL REPUBLICAN: STIMULUS GIVES CASH TO ILLEGALS" and linked to an Associated Press article that reported, based on a single anonymous source, that "[t]he $800 billion-plus economic stimulus measure making its way through Congress could steer government checks to illegal immigrants, a top Republican congressional official asserted Thursday." However, a revised version of the AP article -- available in the Nexis database at 8:02 p.m. GMT (3:02 p.m. ET) makes clear that the claim made by the "top Republican official" is, in fact, false. Nonetheless, the Drudge Report did not remove the headline and link to the original version of the article until roughly four hours after the new version was available, and as of 7:15 p.m. ET had not linked to the updated version of the article.

The Drudge Report, as of 6:38:58 p.m. ET:

From the version of the AP article linked to by Drudge, headlined "Hill Republican: Stimulus aids illegal immigrants":

The $800 billion-plus economic stimulus measure making its way through Congress could steer government checks to illegal immigrants, a top Republican congressional official asserted Thursday.

The legislation, which would send tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple, expressly disqualifies nonresident aliens, but it would allow people who don't have Social Security numbers to be eligible for the checks.

Undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for a Social Security number can file tax returns with an alternative number. A House-passed version of the economic recovery bill and one making its way through the Senate would allow anyone with such a number, called an individual taxpayer identification number, to qualify for the tax credits.

From the revised version of the AP article, headlined "Stimulus seeks to bar illegals from tax credit":

Illegal immigrants without Social Security numbers could not get tax credits under the $800 billion-plus economic stimulus package making its way through Congress.

A senior GOP congressional official expressed concern Thursday that the bill could steer government checks to undocumented workers, but in fact the measure prevents anyone without a Social Security number from claiming tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple. It also expressly disqualifies nonresident aliens.

The Republican spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. But Democrats were quick to reject the notion.

Posted In
Economy, Immigration
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The Drudge Report
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Matt Drudge
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