Fox News pushes misleading DOJ statistics about non-citizen arrests
Fox News is going full bore in pushing a new report from the Department of Justice, declaring that noncitizens make up 64% of federal arrests and that this figure has increased at a staggering pace. (Noncitizens make up only 7% of the overall population.)
The catch: The increase is being driven not by violent crimes — but by the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigration.
NBC News’ Pete Williams explained the issue in a Thursday analysis:
Prosecutions for violating immigration laws have flooded the nation's federal courts, especially in border states. Nationwide, arrests of noncitizens for immigration offenses rose 440 percent in the two decades from 1998 to 2018 — from 19,556 a year to 105,748. By contrast, the number of noncitizens arrested for other crimes rose about 8 percent.
Compared to 20 years ago, 95 percent of the increase in total federal arrests was due to immigration offenses.
Fox News figures and Trump officials are using the report to give the administration further rhetorical ammunition to overturn the 1997 Flores court agreement, which placed time limits on family migrant detention.
This effort to advance these mass immigration arrests as an illustration of noncitizens launching a supposed crime wave in America is like the classic tale of the man who murders his parents and then pleads for the court’s mercy — on the grounds that he is an orphan.
On the August 22 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs claimed that the report “highlights the rise of crimes by non-U.S. citizens in this country.”
Dobbs also hosted Mark Morgan, acting director of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, who declared that the figures represent “a national security crisis.”
And today on Fox & Friends, the morning crew and Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins explicitly connected these misleading statistics to the push against the Flores agreement.