Fox & Friends misleadingly claims that most undocumented immigrants detained by ICE are criminals

Fox hosts praise the GOP House for passing an anti-immigrant bill that was first proposed by former Fox host Bill O'Reilly

On Fox & Friends, co-hosts Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocy, along with guest co-host Pete Hesgeth, defended the anti-immigrant “Kate's Law,” which passed the House on Thursday. Earhardt claimed that the Republican-backed policy is “not about racism,” and shortly thereafter alleged that the “majority” of undocumented immigrants detained by ICE are criminals. Despite Earhardt's claims, the number of noncriminals detained by ICE has doubled under the Trump administration, and while a number of dangerous criminals have been detained and deported, an alarming number of innocent, hardworking people taken into ICE custody have had no convictions or minor violations. The Trump administration is also reopening immigration cases that were resolved under the Obama administration and has expanded a program that lets it expedite deportations without due process, even for those without serious criminal convictions. Under the Trump administration, immigrants with no criminal backgrounds have been aggressively targeted by ICE, with arrests of non-criminals doubling in the first several weeks after Trump became president.

“Kate’s Law,” which was originally proposed by Bill O’Reilly when he was a Fox News host, is yet another example of right-wing hostility toward immigrants. As The Daily Beast pointed out with O’Reilly’s original proposal, Kate’s Law “could sizably increase the prison population by forcing nonviolent offenders to spend years in prison—and, conservative criminal justice experts say, without having a sizable impact on how many deported immigrants unlawfully return to the United States.” From the June 30 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

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REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: The Republican Party has had Mexican fever. Russia investigation not going well for the dear leader at the White House? Hey, let's whip out that Mexican thing, as Vice President Pence said. Maybe it will keep our voters happy and distracted. Health not going well? Let's just hate some Mexicans today! This policy is about going after all of us, whether we are citizens or not, of the United States of America. These bills are nothing new and they are not really about fighting crime. They are about racial profiling and putting Latinos quote-unquote “in their place.” 

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): The president says that's not at all true -- that he is not trying to separate families. It is not about racism, it is about keeping America safe. And, if you look at the stats, already, ICE has arrested 66,000 illegals this year. Guess how many of those are criminals? 48,000. The majority of them are criminals. 

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Sure. With all due respect to the congressman, he is absolutely wrong. Clearly this is simply about enacting the laws of the land that were passed by Congress. 

PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): It's about the rule of law. Enforcing it -- simply. So, I ask this congressman, are you pro-illegal activity then? Because ultimately, that's what it feels like.