Fox News invited a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety who spread unreliable and false information about the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, to fearmonger about migrants approaching the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday.
The official, Lt. Chris Olivarez, gave an interview near the border with Fox News’ Griff Jenkins about the migrants his agency had targeted that morning. “These are not your asylum seekers,” Olivarez said, without offering proof or evidence. “These are your single adults who are trying to get away and avoid apprehension.”
Olivarez added that there was “no telling how many more individuals are coming across and how many more of those individuals are criminals.”
Fox News spent Monday morning warning that a so-called migrant “caravan” moving through Mexico is “the largest caravan ever.” The network has a long history of sowing panic about groups of people migrating together, and often repeats these xenophobic lies in the run-up to midterm and general elections.
Olivarez was a key source of misinformation in the aftermath of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, also on Fox News. “There was a Uvalde school resource officer that was on scene prior to the gunman going into the school. There was an encounter between the school resource officer as well as the shooter,” Olivarez said on May 25, which was not true.
Olivarez’s story presented this actually absent officer as a hero, manufacturing a counterweight to the emerging (and correct) information that the police response was late, disorganized, and disgraceful. “Because of those efforts and because of the encounter from that school resource officer, that gunman dropped a bag, a backpack full of ammunition prior to going into that school,” Olivarez said, incorrectly.
In fact, the school’s officer was not on campus at the time of the shooting. When he did arrive shortly after hearing a “911 call about a man with a gun,” he drove past the shooter, who was hunkered behind a parked car at the time, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw. The officer then mistook a teacher for the shooter.
Olivarez incorrectly stated that the shooter “was wearing some type of body armor” in an interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight. He was actually wearing a “plate carrier vest that did not have ballistic plates inside of it,” Axios reported.
Olivarez also falsely claimed that responding officers put themselves between the shooter and the children. “There was multiple law enforcement officers that responded to the scene. All of those officers are heroes. They put their lives on the line between the shooter and these children to prevent any further loss of life,” Olivarez said on Fox’s America’s Newsroom. In reality, the shooter had already barricaded himself into two adjoining classrooms filled with students by the time the officers arrived.
The police, including the Texas Department of Safety, repeatedly lied to the public after the shooting in Uvalde. There’s every reason to believe the department is doing the same now when it comes to migrants. But Fox News relies on sensationalist reporting about the border, almost always sourced from cops, to provide a foundation for their racist programming.