On the October 21 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly baselessly claimed that Dallas Morning News columnist Macarena Hernandez “and her ilk want open borders.”
O'Reilly first took aim at Hernandez in response to her October 15 column (registration required), which cited a specific example from O'Reilly's radio show to illustrate how “the anchor and the callers constantly point to the southern border as the birth of all America's ills.” Media Matters for America documented O'Reilly's initial attempts to take the Hernandez column out of context and, later, his false denials of her allegations.
Now O'Reilly has targeted beliefs that it appears Hernandez has never espoused. Neither Hernandez's initial column nor her October 21 column responding to the controversy advocate or even mention open borders. Spurred by the recent killings of several immigrants in Georgia and rising levels of anti-immigrant violence nationwide, Hernandez's complaint with O'Reilly focused on how the immigration debate is rhetorically framed, regardless of the substantive dispute over whether or not one should limit the flow of illegal immigration. As Hernandez wrote on October 15: “It is one thing to want to secure the borders and another to preach hate, to talk of human beings as ailments.”
A Media Matters review of Hernandez's Dallas Morning News columns has found no instance of advocacy for repealing controls of the border. Although a far cry from advocating a policy of open borders, Hernandez did write in her October 21 column that “Much of our anti-immigrant sentiment starts with people who don't know the border or understand Latin American poverty. They don't realize that a geographical boundary will never keep out the hungry and the desperate.”
From the October 21 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: All of this is done -- it's not hard to do, if you impose discipline on the system. But Ms. Hernandez and her ilk want open borders. Anybody comes, anybody does what they want. That's what this movement is all about. And that is just insane.
O'REILLY: Now, as far as the border is concerned, you get a lot of people who feel very sorry for the poor people of Latin America, including Mexico. They're very sorry for them. And this Hernandez is one of them. She's a Latina, and she identifies with the poverty in Mexico, feels very bad for them. And they say that we as a rich nation should open our borders so that all the poor people can come here and have better lives.
O'REILLY: OK, but it's a moral issue in the sense that if you exploit an illegal alien, you're doing a bad thing. I agree with that. Anybody who harms an illegal alien is harming a human being, and they should be held accountable for that harm. But it isn't a moral issue on the sense that we have a moral obligation to take in all the world's poor and suffering, which is what Macarena Hernandez and her crew believe.