In response to a Time magazine cover story by journalist Jose Antonio Vargas about how life changes after he and others revealed his or her status as an undocumented immigrant, Fox News hosted a member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Vargas, who has previously been the subject of Fox's scorn after he wrote an article last year revealing himself as an undocumented immigrant, wrote an article updating his status in a newly published issue of Time. The article details current struggles by people in Vargas' same situation -- where there is no available path to legal documentation. Vargas also details that “the long-stalled Dream Act is the best hope” for young people to gain a path to U.S. citizenship.
Rather than host a measured discussion on the issues Vargas brought up, Fox & Friends turned to FAIR for a “fair and balanced” debate with immigration attorney Francisco Hernandez. According to the SPLC, “FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements. Its advertisements have been rejected because of racist content.” FAIR has even promoted people who make violent threats and vicious smears against immigrants.
Today, FAIR media director Ira Mehlman kicked off the debate by saying “I think we've seen this in-your-face attitude before. Back in 2005 and 2006, you had hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets of every major city in the United States demanding to be rewarded as a result of having broken the law.” Attacks on undocumented immigrants such as these were a staple of the 2006 right-wing campaign against immigration reform.
Mehlman also suggested that undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children should not be complaining about U.S. law; rather they should be blaming their parents:
MEHLMAN: I think the American public recognizes who the true victims of illegal immigration are, and it's us. It's the American people. It's millions of Americans who have lost jobs, who have lost wages, who have paid countless billions in tax dollars to support illegal immigration. They are the ones the government ought to be addressing and redressing. We understand the situation that some of these people who were brought here as children are in. But, you know, the complaint is with their -- to their parents, not to the American people, not with our laws. It is their parents who consciously put them in this position when they made the decision to break the law.
Furthermore, Mehlman pushed the fallacy that immigration reform would harm the economy, suggesting that “people in every sector of the labor market are being harmed” by undocumented immigrants.
Sadly, this is nothing new for Fox, which selected a question from FAIR to ask an immigration question to participants in its September 2011 Fox/Google Republican presidential debate. And the network has regularly turned to FAIR to comment on immigration questions.