Multiple Fox News personalities — spanning a purported “straight news” correspondent, news anchors, and a former Trump administration staffer-turned-Outnumbered co-host — falsely claimed Wednesday that undocumented migrants would refuse en masse to show up for court dates, despite years of available studies showing that most of them actually do.
After then-Vice President Mike Pence falsely claimed in 2019 that “the overwhelming majority, plus-90 percent, don’t show up” to immigration hearings, The Washington Post examined the claim and found that the real numbers were much lower — to the extent they can be determined.
The Post noted that immigration court records are secret,” and “the picture can be blurry” because a single case can involve multiple hearings over several years. One official estimate from the Department of Justice put the no-show rate at 44%. But by other measurements, as many as 81% of families attended all their hearings, with the rate reaching 99% for families with legal representation.
On Wednesday’s edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, co-host Morgan Ortagus asserted that migrants would simply cut off any monitoring equipment and then never show up for court dates.
“They know that they can get through. They know for example, typically, DHS would use ankle bracelets, you know, to monitor people. It’s easy to cut those off,” said Ortagus, a former State Department spokesperson who joined the Trump administration after previously working at Fox News. “Who knows what the surge of migrants at the border — if they’ve even been able to use all of those people — why would you keep the ankle bracelet on, for example, if you know you’re going to just end up in court and be deported? Why even show up to court at all?
Soon afterward, Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Border Patrol officials had released migrants found at an encampment in Del Rio, Texas, under notices to report back to immigration officials later — something Melugin suggested would never actually happen.
“When those migrants never show up to immigration/court dates, there is no more law enforcement interaction, no way to track them,” Melugin wrote. “They are gone into the shadows in the US.”
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, pointed out that Melugin’s claim was “either badly ignorant or a deliberate lie.”
This faulty narrative continued, however, on Fox’s America Reports, in a conversation between co-anchor John Roberts and guest co-anchor Shannon Bream, who asserted that “people will acknowledge on all sides of this conversation” that the notices to report are not honored. (In fact, people will not “acknowledge” that on all sides.)
Of course, people can hardly expect Fox’s purported “news side” personalities to sound any different from an Outnumbered co-host who worked for the Trump administration. This is a network that has claimed across its programming that migrants are a biological attack against the United States and part of a conspiracy to replace American citizens.