Fox & Friends parrots opaque DHS stats to fearmonger about “criminals” in caravan

Fox & Friends is continuing to fearmonger about the caravan of migrants and asylum-seekers seeking to gain entry into the United States, uncritically parroting questionable statistics from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) despite the department’s track record of presenting misleading numbers under the Trump administration.

Proceeding with a more than month-long drumbeat of fearmongering about the individuals in the caravan, Fox & Friends has now taken to repeating opaque DHS statistics, asserting that “90 percent” of individuals in the caravan “are not eligible for asylum” and that “600 of the 10,000 people that are in these caravans are convicted criminals.” Neither Fox News nor DHS has provided details on how they obtained those numbers.

The Trump administration’s DHS has previously presented limited and misleading statistics regarding immigration. Moreover, DHS has suggested, without presenting evidence, that “criminals” are present in the caravan, issuing a strange press release attempting to support its claims with vague statements from Mexican officials. But according to The Washington Post’s fact-checker, “The language in this release is highly suspect,” and, based on statistics from previous years, “Since DHS will not break out a list of crimes, we suspect most of these people with ‘criminal histories’ are not actually violent” but instead have most likely been “convicted of immigration crimes, such as illegal entry.” The fact check also noted, “Mexican officials on the route have told Post reporters that they haven’t seen any serious criminals.”

From the November 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

GRIFF JENKINS (FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT): We learned, of course, the stunning number, which is that 600 of them believed to have had criminal histories. But we’ve also learned another figure that is very interesting, and that is 90 percent, they believe, are not eligible for asylum, which is, of course, the main reason why they’re fleeing the Central American countries.


JEDEDIAH BILA (CO-HOST): It's really crazy, I mean, if you think about this. Like, what is the solution going to be? I mean, what are they actually going to do to remedy this? Trump is saying, you know, “I’ll shut down the border.” It seems like he doesn't have the authority to actually do that, that he would need congressional approval to do that. So, what's going to happen here?

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Well, we know one thing: Ninety-eight people involved in Sunday's raids were sent out by Mexico. They have no shot at asylum. Their names have been taken and they’ve been tossed. If you want to send a message to these migrants and if you want to send a message to Mexico, since this is their problem as well as our problem, maybe they’ll get tougher on their southern border and won't be so permissive sending buses, in some cases, to expedite their trip up to our border. We might be on the same page right now because of scenes that you’re looking at.

KILMEADE: Remember, the president was talking about this caravan because he wanted to do the best he can to keep the House and expand his lead -- the Republican lead -- in the Senate. So, that looks like the president -- since the midterms, I believe, are virtually over, with one Senate race to go and a handful of House races, I don’t really see a political advantage to the president doing this two years away from his re-election. But I do see some real legitimate danger for our border authority. Kevin McAleenan -- he’s the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection -- he told reporters yesterday that there were dozens of assaults committed against his agents. They were hit with projectiles, four had to have medical tending to, protective gear prevented some serious injuries. And, again, they’re getting hit by things by people who are storming the border, trying to create havoc there in order to get into our country. But, for some reason, we seem to be making the border guards the enemy.

BILA: I think there’s a high expectation that President Trump -- you talked about why he’s talking about this, it’s far from his election. Remember, this is an issue that he ran on. Arguably, this the reason why he won. He put this front and center; he talked about border security. People are deeply concerned when you have people from DHS coming out and saying that 600 of the 10,000 people that are in these caravans are convicted criminals. This is an issue dear to people's hearts, they need to protect their families, and they want the security of the nation to be a top priority. So, I think that's why he’s out, front and center, making this a key issue regardless how far his own election is from it.

KILMEADE: But he’s actually not making an issue; I think he’s addressing an emergency. If this wasn't his issue, if any president in office right now, this would be their issue.