Fox & Friends misled on a Department of Homeland Security memo on immigration reform, falsely claiming it “appears to show the White House has an amnesty plan,” which they plan to implement by “going around Congress.” The hosts continued to mislead even after White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed that the administration “doesn't support amnesty” and intended to deal with immigration “through Congress”; Fox & Friends also failed to mention that the DHS memo itself recommended against deferred action, saying it would be “controversial, not to mention expensive.”
Gibbs informs Fox & Friends that the White House does not support amnesty
Camerota introduces Gibbs by claiming the White House “appears to have...an amnesty plan”; Doocy asks if WH plans to “get around Congress by using discretionary authority.” On the July 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest host Alisyn Camerota introduced White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs by claiming, “There's a new memo out this morning that appears to show the White House has an amnesty plan.” Camerota said to Gibbs: “There's a new poll out this week by the Arizona Republic that shows 62% of Arizonians actually believe in letting illegal immigrants stay in the state if they have a job and no criminal record. Is that the type of amnesty that the White House supports?” Co-host Steve Doocy asked Gibbs if the Obama administration “is exploring the way to get around congress by using discretionary authority to allow people who are in the country illegally to stay in the country.”
Gibbs confirms that the administration “doesn't support amnesty.” During the interview, Gibbs stated “The White House doesn't support amnesty.” From Fox & Friends:
GIBBS: The White House doesn't support amnesty and I think people who support comprehensive immigration reform don't support amnesty either. What we need to do is again, figure out how we're going to secure our borders. Deal with those that are here. But do it in a comprehensive way and do it at a federal level because as frustrated as Arizonians are and we understand that, we can't have a patchwork of immigration laws throughout each of the 50 states.
Gibbs: “This administration believes that the only way to deal with immigration is to do it comprehensively,” not by using “discretionary authority.” During the interview, Gibbs confirmed that Obama was not planning on using “discretionary authority,” saying the “administration believes that the only way to deal with immigration is to do it comprehensively,” and “with Democrats and Republicans working together.” From Fox & Friends:
GIBBS: This administration believes that the only way to deal with immigration is to do it comprehensively. To do it through congress with Democrats and Republicans working together. We've done it before with members like John McCain. Members like Lindsey Graham, working with Democrats like Barack Obama when he was in the U.S. Senate. We can do that again. We can solve this problem once and for all. We can deal with securing our borders as the president has talked about moving 1,200 national guardsmen to secure the borders and I think we can deal with this comprehensively if we'll all just take a step back to deal with the problem.
Undaunted, Fox & Friends continued to mislead about “a back door amnesty plan” following Gibbs' interview
Briggs: The memo “appears to show the White House has a back door amnesty plan.” Later in the show, guest host Dave Briggs again misled on the administration's position, claiming, “There is a new memo out this morning that appears to show the White House has a back door amnesty plan.”
Doocy ignores Gibbs' response to continue claiming the White House could “do an end around congress.” After airing Gibbs' response that “the White House doesn't support amnesty,” Doocy continued to speculate that they “could effectively do an end around congress. Because if they're going to go through Congress for some sort of amnesty or, Robert Gibbs would not use the word amnesty, or some sort of a track to citizenship for the 10, 11, 12, 25 million illegals in this country, that would be an end around from Congress.”
Briggs: “The right is saying this is a way to buy off the votes to get the Hispanics and illegals voting in these midterm elections.” Briggs continued to speculate that the administration is considering amnesty, claiming, “Nobody wants to use the word amnesty. Nobody on either side of the aisle and the right is saying this is a way to buy off those votes to get the Hispanics and get even some illegals voting in these midterm elections in November. So that's the political spin.”
Fox's chyrons go from noting “WH 'doesn't support amnesty'” to discussing “administration's amnesty plan” in a matter of seconds. During the segment on the “Administration's amnesty plan,” Fox & Friends ran the following contradictory on-screen graphics:
Fox & Friends ignores that the DHS memo recommends against deferred action
DHS memo: Deferred action “would likely be controversial, not to mention expensive.” In the Department of Homeland Security memo that Fox is referencing, deferred action, 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,” is recommended against. The memo states:
While it is theoretically possible to grant deferred action to an unrestricted number of unlawfully present individuals, doing so would likely be controversial, not to mention expensive.
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.