Fox News and Fox News Latino hosts treated Donald Trump's demand that Mexico build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in drastically different ways. Fox News host Brian Kilmeade defended Trump's idea by hyping crime statistics, while Fox Latino host Rick Sanchez pointed out that Trump's “atrocious” comments go “against what's really happening right now in this country.”
During his presidential campaign announcement June 16, Donald Trump railed against immigration from Mexico, characterizing immigrants as criminals and “rapists”:
TRUMP: The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems.
When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you, they are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people.
Trump advocated for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying, “I would build a great wall. And nobody builds walls better than me, believe me. And I'll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I'll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
Fox News' hosts of Fox & Friends praised Trump for his suggestion that Mexico build a wall on its border with the U.S., and Kilmeade defended Trump's idea on June 18 by promoting the fabricated link between immigrants and crime. Kilmeade hyped crime statistics to push the myth that immigrants commit more crimes than native-born citizens, adding that these crimes “all link to illegals here. People see that, and they see especially what happened last year with families flooding across, and they think, how do we stop this?”
Kilmeade's rhetoric stands in stark contrast to comments from Fox News Latino's Rick Sanchez, who called Trump's comments “atrocious” and pointed out that Trump's characterization of immigration as a drain on the U.S. is inconsistent with the facts. Sanchez noted, “that kind of language just goes against what's really happening right now in this country,” while listing the positive impacts immigration has had:
SANCHEZ: The Hispanic labor participation rate in the United States is 65 percent, that's higher than any other demographic sector. If you look at some of the other numbers like self-employment, it's higher than any other sector. Last year, according to The Wall Street Journal, just two weeks ago, Latinos in the United States, Latino businesses created more jobs than any other demographic group in the United Sates. I mean, you can go down the list and see these wonderful things that are happening in this country, which are good for the United States, good for our economy.
In contrast to Kilmeade's defense, studies consistently show that immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than the native-born population. According to the Center for American Progress, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or to be incarcerated than native-born Americans:
A 2007 study by the Immigration Policy Center found that the incarceration rate for immigrant men ages 18 to 39 in 2000 was 0.7 percent, while the incarceration rate for native-born men of the same age group was 3.5 percent. While the foreign-born share of the U.S. population grew from 8 percent to 13 percent between 1990 and 2010, FBI data indicate that violent crime rates across the country fell by about 45 percent, while property crime rates fell by 42 percent.
Furthermore, experts agree that a border fence would not be an effective solution to any perceived immigration problem.