Laura Ingraham criticizing the Senate border bill negotiations

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Right-wing media display their utter hypocrisy by flip-flopping on the Senate immigration deal

Conservative media are displaying their unabashed hypocrisy by now opposing a deal they previously supported which ties wartime assistance to Ukraine to immigration policy changes that Republicans have clamored for. Former president and current Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has attempted to derail the deal, seemingly so that he can campaign on immigration issues, and right-wing media have dutifully followed suit, turning on the deal in spite of their previous calls for this type of legislation and the policies it reportedly contains.

Some right-wing media figures are even now arguing that President Joe Biden needs no new legislation and can simply take action through his executive powers, which they have previously decried as unconstitutional under former President Barack Obama.

  • Republicans previously demanded immigration policy concessions in exchange for Ukraine aid, but now oppose the compromise on Trump’s orders

    • Last fall, Republicans demanded increased border security as a condition of passing assistance to Ukraine, then blocked the bill even though it contained $14 billion in funding for the border. The Associated Press reported in late November that “Republicans in both chambers of Congress have made clear that they will not support additional aid for Ukraine unless it is paired with border security measures to help manage the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.” Even though the president’s funding request for Ukraine included “$14 billion to bolster the immigration system and border security” which “would go toward hiring more border patrol agents, immigration judges and asylum officers,” Senate Republicans voted down this initial deal in December, demanding that it “includes changes to U.S. border policy.” [The Associated Press, 11/26/23, 12/6/23]
    • The Biden administration attempted to compromise on some elements of immigration policy by focusing on deterrence — even drawing criticism from immigration advocates — but Republicans, who separately also promote deterrence, continued to stonewall and block Biden’s proposals. [The Hill, 12/12/23; NBC, 12/22/23; The Hill, 1/8/24]
    • Trump recently spoke out against the newest deal on his Truth Social account, and has been urging Republicans to “kill” the deal so he can campaign on immigration issues. [Media Matters, 1/25/24]
    • The Senate immigration deal reportedly includes provisions to temporarily suspend asylum under certain conditions, raises the standard for asylum claims, and creates new expulsion authority similar to Title 42. The New York Times explained that all of these changes, which conservative media have demanded, would “reduce parole numbers,” which conservatives derisively refer to as “catch and release.” [CBS News, 1/28/24; The Washington Post, 1/28/24; Reuters, 1/26/24; The New York Times, 1/22/24]
  • Conservative media are now opposing the deal, even though they demanded similar policies and previously supported such a move

    • Fox News contributor and former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan attacked Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) negotiating on border policy, even though he recently called to reduce immigrant parole. Homan said that Lankford negotiating with Democrats was like “talking to an arsonist how to put out a fire.” But a month earlier, Homan said parole changes are needed: “As long as you keep releasing people, they are going to keep coming. They don't care what the president says or the secretary says, don't come. As long as they see thousands of people being released every day, they are going to keep coming.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 1/8/24; Fox & Friends, 12/7/23]
    • Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk threatened to “primary and remove anyone remotely associated” with Lankford’s Senate bill negotiations due to his “open border betrayal,” but previously complained about the expiration of Title 42. On January 17, Kirk wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter) that “we will have no choice but do a series of events and rallies across Oklahoma” against Lankford. But in May, Kirk wrote: “As Title 42 expires tonight and million of illegals prepare to swarm our border, disregarding our laws and our sovereignty, remember this: If elected, Trump has promised to secure the border within 90 days and he'll empower ICE to conduct mass deportations.” [Twitter/X, 1/17/24, 5/11/23]
    • Fox host Laura Ingraham objected to the bill by claiming that “Biden's parole power will be unchanged,” but in May lamented the end of Title 42, saying, “This is a tragic day for Americans.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/29/24, 5/11/23]
    • Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon claimed the Senate bill “is a total codification of the invasion of the United States of America,” after earlier falsely complaining that the initial deal had “not one penny for quote-unquote border security.” Bannon added that Republicans supporting the deal are “traitors” and “enemies of this republic.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 1/31/24; Media Matters, 10/23/23]
    • Fox host Jesse Watters recently claimed Biden “doesn’t need any new powers … from Congress,” but in December he supported Republicans demanding changes to asylum laws in exchange for Ukraine funding. On January 30, Watters said: “It's Biden, Dana. He doesn't need any new powers. And why would he need new powers to shut the border down if it's secure? … They don't need any new powers from Congress.” However, on December 12, he said: “What's the problem with the Republican border ask? They just want to change the asylum laws that have been abused for the last three years.” [Fox News, The Five, 1/30/24, 12/12/23]
    • Fox host Sean Hannity said “the possible Senate border deal would be a disaster for the country” and urged Republicans to vote against it, but previously claimed asylum vetting isn’t stringent enough. Earlier in January, Hannity claimed that “Biden has been watering down the vetting process” for some asylum seekers. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/29/24; Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 1/8/24]
    • Hannity also declared that Biden “doesn’t need Congress” to change immigration policy, even though he previously attacked former President Barack Obama for imposing immigration changes “by executive fiat” to “ignore the power that is constitutionally given to the United States Congress.” On January 30, Hannity said that Biden “doesn't need Congress to do what Trump did, to give him and hand off to him the most secure border ever.” But when Obama issued an executive action on immigration, Hannity ranted that it was unconstitutional: “Remember, we have a Constitution. We have a procedure. We have laws of the land. And what the president has decided here is that he is going to pick and choose and basically rule by executive fiat, ignore the power that is constitutionally given to the United States Congress, and do an end-round around these guys, and basically dictate what is going to happen here.” [Fox News, Hannity, 1/30/24; Media Matters, 6/15/12]
    • Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade denied that Biden needs congressional action, after previously supporting the “massive deal” that Democrats should accept if they “had any sense about them.” On January 29, Kilmeade provided excuses for Republicans to oppose the Senate bill by claiming that Biden would never enforce it and that “you do not need this bill yet.” But in December and November, Kilmeade demanded that it is Democrats who should negotiate “a massive deal at the border,” which he also claimed, “If the Democrats had any sense about them, they would sign onto this.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/29/24, 12/18/23, 11/29/23]
    • The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro claimed Senate Republicans “have negotiated a truly bad piece of legislation” to trade border policies for Ukraine aid, but previously he complained that Biden was refusing to negotiate “border provisions that would solidify the border even to get through their Ukraine funding.” [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 1/26/24, 12/20/23]