Fox eagerly repeats GOP talking points on DREAM Act

Greg Jarrett continued Fox News' distortion of the DREAM Act today on America Live -- one of Fox's "straight news" shows -- offering his own mischaracterizations and uncritically repeating GOP talking points.

After host Megyn Kelly introduced Jarrett, he began his segment by saying:

You know, for millions of illegals, the DREAM Act is a propitious title because it would fulfill their dream of jumping right to the front of the line and becoming U.S. citizens. Those who oppose it call it a veritable nightmare, granting amnesty right away to more than 2 million illegal immigrants, and in the end, maybe as many as 6 million or more illegals.

Jarrett is wrong that the DREAM Act would allow some immigrants to “jump right to the front of the line.” In a document addressing myths about the DREAM Act, the Immigration Policy Center stated:

DREAM Act students do not compete for visas with other applicants for legal permanent residence. Instead, DREAM Act creates a separate program for students that requires them to earn legal permanent residence by attending college or serving in the military for two years while in a temporary legal status. DREAM will not affect the number of visas available or the time it takes to get a visa for those entering through traditional legal immigration."

Jarrett also falsely suggested that the bill would grant immigrants immediate citizenship. In fact, the versions of the DREAM Act pending in the House and Senate both state that eligible unauthorized immigrants could have their status adjusted to “conditional permanent resident status,” which “shall be valid for a period of 6 years” and subject to termination should the immigrant cease to be eligible. Following the 6-year period, Dream Act immigrants would have to meet further requirements to gain permanent resident status and could only apply for citizenship (provided they meet further requirements) after they obtained such status.

Jarrett's lead-in also used language favored by opponents of immigration: He called undocumented immigrants “illegals” and described the period of conditional residency involved in the DREAM Act as “granting amnesty right away.” (The description of the bill as a “nightmare” for those “opposed” to the bill seems to be a Fox favorite. Bret Baier also used it last week on Special Report.)

So, Jarrett used falsehoods in characterizing the thoughts of the “illegals” who favor the DREAM Act, while adopting the preferred language of its opponents.

Then, Jarrett uncritically covered what he called an "opposition paper" by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), repeating six of Sessions' 10 talking points without giving any airtime for someone to counter those points. The talking points were displayed on screen under the headline “Dream Act Warning.”

Right after covering the memo, Jarrett uncritically repeated an assertion by the conservative Heritage Foundation that the DREAM Act would “only encourage people to come here to the United States illegally.” In fact, the House and Senate versions prevent those who enter the U.S. after the bill is enacted from gaining legal status from it.

Jarrett did not give proponents of the bill equal time to promote their views, only making the vague assertion that “backers of the bill, though, insist that it outlines a very rigorous process for legalization and that it is hardly amnesty.”

From the November 23 edition of Fox News' America Live: