Fox News' America Live repeatedly hosts Lou Dobbs to mislead on immigration issues, despite his history of making false and absurd claims on the issue, such grossly overestimating the number of new leprosy cases in the U.S. and blaming that distorted figure on immigrants.
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Dobbs pushed falsehood that Obama is "holding border security hostage"
Dobbs pushes Sen. Kyl's claim--which Kyl later walked back--that Obama told Kyl "he would hold border security hostage" to get comprehensive immigration reform. On the August 26 edition of America Live, Dobbs pushed the claim that "Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, remember, saying that it was very straightforward, that the President said he would hold border security hostage to so-called comprehensive immigration reform." Host Megyn Kelly had to correct Dobbs, by noting that Kyl "dialed that back later."
Burton: "The president didn't say that. Senator Kyl knows the president didn't say that." The Washington Post reported on June 21 that Kyl "said that President Obama personally told him the administration will not support stricter border enforcement until Republicans back broad immigration reform." The Post continued:
The White House strongly denied the claim.
At a town hall in Arizona on Friday, Kyl responded to a voter's question about immigration by detailing a one-on-one meeting he had with Obama. According to Kyl, "The president said the problem is if we secure the border, then you all won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform."
"In other words, they're holding it hostage," Kyl said at the event, a video of was circulated widely online on Monday, but not from Kyl's office. "They won't secure the border unless and until is it combined with comprehensive immigration reform."
Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, said, "The president didn't say that. Senator Kyl knows the president didn't say that."
"But what everybody knows because the President has made it perfectly clear is that what we need to do is everything that we can to bring about comprehensive immigration reform," he added. "And that includes not just securing the border, but doing a lot of other things."
Sen. Kyl had to walk back his own accusation. From a June 25 National Review Online post:
Kyl, of course, had a small spat with the White House last week over comments he made at a town-hall meeting. Kyl, responding to a voter's question, detailed a recent one-on-one conversation he had with the president. "They are holding [border security] hostage" over hopes for comprehensive immigration reform, Kyl said at the forum.
Kyl tells us that the comments were "taken a bit out of context," and that the "they" he was referring to was the Left, "the president's base," and not the administration. "I did not try to start a fight. This meeting happened a month ago and we were talking in the context of his political problems. He was talking about how they think that if we secure the border, you guys [Republicans] won't have the incentive to work on comprehensive immigration reform."
America Live regularly hosts Dobbs to mislead on immigration
Dobbs falsely claims Obama's border efforts are a "foundation" for "unconditional amnesty." On the August 9 edition of Fox News' America Live, Dobbs called the border security bill "a modest border security piece of legislation," and claimed "it would give [the Obama administration] the foundation to say, we did something about border security...and then move ahead and have their way on the issue of unconditional amnesty." Dobbs later claimed "we are not seeing a commitment to actual detention and apprehension."
In fact, the Obama administration has increased both border security and immigration enforcement. Contrary to Dobb's claims, the Obama administration "has outdone its predecessor on border enforcement spending and on deportations." The administration has increased Border Patrol agents, spending on immigration, employer audits, and illegal immigrant deportations. In addition, the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has declined, and, according to the Wall Street Journal, the "[t]he number of people caught illegally entering the U.S. dropped by more than 23% during the past year, continuing a longer trend, federal data shows."
Dobbs advances myth that DHS memo showed "this administration is trying to have unconditional amnesty." Later in the August 9 edition of America Live, Dobbs said "We've had citizenship and immigration services, national review online did a terrific public service and published a memo showing this administration is looking for ways to create de facto comprehensive immigration reform or unconditional amnesty." Kelly falsely replied "that's confirmed, just read the report."
In fact, the White House has made clear they do not "support amnesty" and do not plan on using "discretionary authority." White House press secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed that the administration "doesn't support amnesty" and was not planning on using "discretionary authority" to, in the words of Fox News host Steve Doocy, "allow people who are in the country illegally to stay in the country." Further, the Department of Homeland Security memo to which Dobbs refers specifically recommends against deferred action, which is defined as "an exercise of prosecutorial discretion not to pursue removal from the U.S. of a particular individual for a specific period of time." The memo states that "doing so would likely be controversial, not to mention expensive," so, "Rather than making deferred action widely available to hundreds of thousands and as a non-legislative version of 'amnesty,' [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] could tailor the use of this discretionary option for particular groups such as individuals who would be eligible for relief under the DREAM Act."
Dobbs has a long history of immigration misinformation, including falsely claiming immigrants spread leprosy
Dobbs has a long history of spreading immigration misinformation and conspiracy theories. He has routinely discussed the North American Union conspiracy theory, incorrectly claimed that undocumented immigrants drain social services and don't pay taxes, and repeatedly amplified the falsehood that undocumented immigrants are disproportionately violent. He has been an unrepentant purveyor of hateful attacks, fraudulently claiming, for example, that immigrants are spreading leprosy and seek to reconquer the southwestern United States. And in 2009, he legitimized the thoroughly debunked birther conspiracy theory concerning the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate.
Dobbs resigned from CNN under pressure for his anti-immigration views. According to The New York Times: "[T]he president of CNN/U.S., Jonathan Klein, offered a choice to Lou Dobbs ... [he] could vent his opinions on radio and anchor an objective newscast on television, or he could leave CNN." As a result of pressure put on CNN by Media Matters and other Hispanic groups to drop Dobbs, he announced his departure from CNN, citing a desire to "go beyond the role here at CNN, and to engage in constructive problem solving, as well as to contribute positively to a better understanding of the great issues of our day, and to continue to do so in the most honest, and direct language possible."
* This item has been edited from its original version.