Immigration | Media Matters for America


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  • Trump says he will begin mass deportation as early as next week. White nationalists and conservative media have spent years calling for this.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    President Donald Trump tweeted on June 17 that “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” adding, “They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

    According to The Washington Post, “Trump and his senior immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, have been prodding Homeland Security officials to arrest and remove thousands of family members whose deportation orders were expedited by the Justice Department this year as part of a plan known as the ‘rocket docket.’” Supporters of the strategy have argued that this move “will send a message to families that are in defiance of deportation orders.” This plan is not new for Trump; during his presidential campaign in 2015, Trump called for a “deportation force” to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants.  

    White nationalists and some in conservative media have spent years calling for mass deportations -- for example, neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer argued in March 2018 that “plans to deport millions of immigrants” are “the only way to save White countries at this point.” These are just a few of the conservative figures and white nationalists who have called for mass deportations in recent years:


    On his Fox Business show, Lou Dobbs asked, “Why are we not seeing an energetic removal of those under deportation orders?” Fox contributor and former acting ICE Director Tom Homan agreed, arguing that “I know it works because I have done it.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 6/11/19]

    The night before, Dobbs called for the removal of “hundreds of thousands, millions of illegals” in the United States. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 6/10/19]

    On Fox & Friends Weekend, co-host Ed Henry asked acting ICE Director Mark Morgan if the agency is going to “increase deportations.” Morgan responded that “we’re at a point where we have no choice.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 6/9/19]

    On Fox & Friends, Homan called for “over 100,000 family units” to be found and deported “to their homeland.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/31/19]

    On her podcast, Fox host Laura Ingraham agreed with her guest that “Operation Wetback” -- a 1950s mass deportation effort -- should be re-created to deport immigrants. [PodcastOne, The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast, 2/6/19]


    Far-right site Breitbart pushed a study claiming “mass deportations effectively deter the violent El Salvadoran MS-13 gang from expanding across the United States.” [Breitbart, 12/21/18]

    On Fox News’ Hannity, talk radio host Larry Elder complained that “no one is talking about mass deportations.” “The president campaigned on getting rid of bad hombres,” he added, urging him to follow through. [Fox News, Hannity, 12/20/18]

    On Fox & Friends Weekend, guest Mark Krikorian, executive director of the anti-immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies, claimed that the problem with the government losing 1,500 migrant children is that “we're never going to find them to return them to their own countries.” He said media reports claiming the Trump administration lost migrant children are a “classic propaganda operation.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Weekend, 5/27/18]

    Neo-Nazi outlet The Daily Stormer argued that deporting “millions of immigrants” is “the only way to save White countries at this point.” The racist website went on to argue: “Anyone who ISN’T for mass deportation is by definition FOR the demographic replacement of Germans in Germany and Whites in most every country hit by mass immigration.” [The Daily Stormer, 3/28/18]

    On Twitter, far-right commentator Ann Coulter argued that “mass deportations” and an “immigration moratorium” would reduce mass shootings in the United States. [Twitter, 2/26/18]  


    One America News Network host Graham Ledger urged Trump to use the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals database to deport DACA recipients’ parents. He called on Trump to “take that list and use it as a road map to go after their parents.” [One America News Network, The Daily Ledger, 9/15/17]

    On CNN, president of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) praised threats of mass deportation as an effort to “reclaim our schools, our hospitals, and our communities once again for the American people.” He also said that undocumented immigrants “need to be thinking about going out and buying some luggage.” [CNN, New Day, 2/22/17]

    The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft complained that former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) said mass deportations are “not happening.” Hoft claimed “you can never trust” Ryan and criticized him for thinking “he is leading the party and country and it was him who won the historic November election — Not Trump.” [The Gateway Pundit, 1/13/17]


    On Hannity, Coulter said that Trump “made a mistake” by walking back campaign promises to conduct mass deportations of undocumented immigrants. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/25/16]

    On CNN, commentator Kayleigh McEnany justified Trump’s plan to conduct mass deportations by saying that “he never committed to not deporting 11 million people.” She added that Trump “likes immigrants, … but he does believe in the rule of law.” [CNN, Erin Burnett OutFront, 8/25/16]

    The Daily Stormer praised Newt Gingrich for calling for the “mass deportations of hajis.” The article acknowledged that Gingrich specified Muslims who believe in Sharia, but concluded that “believing in Sharia law is a required article of the Islamic faith, so it’s very close to a call to deport every ethnic Arab. It’s one step away.” The neo-Nazi outlet called Gingrich a “gross opportunist,” but asserted: “The fact that this has entered the mainstream discussion is simply glorious. It cannot be overstated how absolutely fantastic this is.” [The Daily Stormer, 7/15/16]

    White nationalist outlet VDare argued that “mass deportation would pay for itself.” [VDare, 5/28/16]

    Fox Business host Charles Payne suggested that Trump’s plan to conduct mass deportations of immigrant families “might be the only solution.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 3/10/16]


    The Daily Stormer on Trump saying he’ll “bypass courts for mass-deportation program”: “That’s what we want to hear.” [The Daily Stormer, 11/23/15]

    Conservative website LifeZette pointed to a racist “Mexican Repatriation” policy during the 1930s as a possible model for Trump’s mass deportation. [LifeZette, 11/19/15]

    Fox host Sean Hannity claimed that people impacted by “Operation Wetback,” the 1950s mass deportation program, “didn’t look like they were all that upset as they were walking back into Mexico” based on “some of the images in the paper today.” In reality, the program has been described as inhumane and ended in multiple deaths due to exposure to extreme conditions. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/12/15; Slate, 11/10/15]

    Former Fox News host Eric Bolling defended Trump’s “deportation force,” calling it “good for Latinos.” Co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle agreed that it would “secure the border.” [Fox News, The Five, 11/12/15]

    The Daily Stormer celebrated Trump’s announcement of a “deportation force,” claiming it would “remove invaders.” [The Daily Stormer, 11/12/15]

    Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum applauded Trump’s mass deportation plan and his comparisons to “Operation Wetback” at a GOP primary debate, calling it “one of the most thought-provoking exchanges of the evening.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 11/11/15]

    Coulter: “I'm warming to ‘mass deportation and a wall’!” [Twitter, 10/19/15]

    Hannity defended Trump’s plan for mass deportation, dismissing concerns as an “emotional argument.” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/17/15]


    Media Research Center editor Tim Graham: “Love how they always say mass deportation is ‘unrealistic.’ Imposing thousands of kids who don't speak English? The essence of realistic.” [Twitter, 11/20/14]

    Washington Times staff writer Stephen Dinan complained the Obama administration was deporting criminals instead of millions of “rank-and-file illegal immigrants who are living here, working here, holding jobs.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4/9/14]

    Conservative media websites The Daily Caller, National Review Online, and criticized President Barack Obama for focusing on deporting criminals instead of deporting all undocumented immigrants. [Media Matters, 3/27/14]


    Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked if America should emulate Greece in “rounding up thousands” of undocumented immigrants to deport them in an attempt to improve its economy. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/23/12]

    Bolling suggested deporting millions of undocumented immigrants to create economic demand for jobs. [Fox News, The Five, 6/14/12]


    Bolling said undocumented immigrants should be given “a one-way bus ticket back to where they came from.” [Fox News, The Five, 12/21/11]

    Asked if he would support rounding up undocumented immigrant children in public schools for deportation, Bolling said, “Sure.” [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 12/2/11]

    Bolling endorsed putting undocumented immigrants “on buses and sending them back.” [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 9/21/11]

  • After two trans migrant women died in ICE detention, Tucker Carlson says trans detainees are treated better than American citizens

    Carlson promoted ICE propaganda and said detention facilities for trans migrants are “worth it for the amenities alone” even though LGBTQ people are being abused and dying in ICE custody

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX PATERSON

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Fox News’ Tucker Carlson lied to his viewers about the conditions facing transgender migrants detained at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities, asserting: “Life for transgender illegal aliens is actually much better than it is for many American citizens.” In fact, LGBTQ migrants, including asylum seekers, face alarming rates of abuse, solitary confinement, and sexual assault in ICE facilities, and two trans migrants -- Johana Medina Leon and Roxana Hernandez -- have died while in ICE custody in just over a year.

    During the June 14 segment, Carlson discussed living conditions in ICE’s single dedicated housing unit for trans women at Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico. The agency recently touted the facility on social media, but many advocates have called ICE’s posts “propaganda” and noted dismal conditions for LGBTQ migrants detained by the agency. A May 2018 analysis by the Center for American Progress found that LGBTQ immigrants are “97 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other detainees,” and “1 in 8 transgender people detained in FY 2017 were placed in solitary confinement,” which “is considered a form of torture by the United Nations.”

    Carlson's use of ICE propaganda to complain that some trans detainees have access to their basic needs was a blatant attempt to whitewash ICE’s violation of human and civil rights. Carlson painted a false picture of life for queer and trans migrants detaineed in ICE facilities to stoke resentment against them, continuing his efforts to scapegoat immigrants for supposed national crises.

    From the June 14 edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight:

    TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): In real life, there’s nothing right wing about this administration's social policy -- maybe unfortunately. For example, did you know that ICE, right now, maintains a special housing unit for transgender illegal aliens? Hard to believe, but it's true. We know it's true because ICE has been bragging about it recently. The agency even sponsors classes to help transgender migrants appear more feminine. 

    Giving fashion tips to men who dress like women who snuck into our country illegally is a priority for the federal bureaucracy. They are happy to spend your money -- a lot of your money -- doing it. Meanwhile, for American citizens, things get steadily worse: Life expectancy declines, half a million people sleep on the streets every night, heroin addicts line the sidewalks of our once-great cities. But at least the federal government can pay for a specialized detention center for transgender migrants in New Mexico. And that's not all. Thirty million Americans don't have health insurance, and millions more pay way more than they can afford for health insurance. But transgender migrants don't have to worry about that at all. According to ICE’s latest press release, they get all the free health care they want. That includes mental health services and dental. Can you afford dental insurance? If not, you might want to seek asylum. It could be worth it for the amenities alone. Transgender migrants in New Mexico have televisions and microwaves. There’s an indoor basketball court and a library. In their free time, they sing opera. For real.

    Life for transgender illegal aliens is actually much better than it is for many American citizens. It’s not really surprising. You can you tell who our government really cares about, and it's not you.

    Carlson failed to note any of the potentially lethal abuse, harassment, and denial of health care that LGBTQ migrants -- particularly trans women -- face while detained in ICE facilities, or the deaths of two trans women in ICE custody.

    Roxana Hernandez died in May 2018 after reportedly spending five days of detention in an “ice box” -- “facilities notorious for their freezing temperatures,” according to The Guardian. Other detainees said that Hernandez received “no medical evaluation or treatment, until she was gravely ill” despite having a preexisting medical condition. The Transgender Law Center has filed a wrongful death claim against the Cibola County Correctional center -- the same facility which Carlson decried -- maintaining that she “did not receive necessary medical care and medication” while being held there.

    On June 1, after falling ill at New Mexico’s Otero County Processing Center, Johana Medina Leon also died in ICE custody. According to The Washington Post, another trans woman at the same facility reported being sick and not receiving “adequate medical attention,” and an advocate “said he learned that Leon was not feeling well and that others had requested that she be given intravenous fluids but that staff said they couldn’t administer that kind of treatment.” Medina Leon was one of three migrants to die while in ICE detention in the span of three days. In March, the ACLU called for an investigation into Otero County Processing Center’s detention conditions after 12 gay and transgender detainees reported “sexual harassment, withheld medications and dehumanizing treatment by guards.”

    Moreover, the alarming rates of abuse and death LGBTQ migrants face while in ICE custody reflect the anti-LGBTQ agenda of newly appointed acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli has campaigned for the criminalization of sodomy and said that the “homosexual agenda … brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul.”

  • A Fox News anchor lied about immigrants during the town hall with Julian Castro

    Martha MacCallum echoed the false claim made by Trump 'border czar' pick and Fox contributor Tom Homan

    Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    During Fox News’ town hall with 2020 Democratic candidate Julian Castro, co-moderator Martha MacCallum falsely claimed that 90% of immigrants who are detained and then released “do not ever show up for their court date.” MacCallum’s comment echoed a stat also used by Fox opinion contributor Tom Homan, whom President Donald Trump recently named as his border czar.

    On the May 10 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Homan referenced congressional testimony that acting Executive Associate ICE Director Nathalie Asher gave two days earlier to comment that “almost nine out of 10” undocumented or asylum-seeking families “aren’t making it to court” for their hearings. However, the figure was only related to a Trump administration pilot program launched in late 2018 to expedite asylum cases; in contrast, per Asher’s testimony, the traditional program for these families “is effective in ensuring that its vetted participants show up to specified hearings” -- with just 27.4% of families failing to appear for their court dates. Multiple studies have also shown that over 90% of asylum-seekers in several categories actually do appear for their court hearings.

    Until Homan rejoins the Trump administration -- as the president announced during a June 14 Fox & Friends interview -- he is a Fox News contributor, a part of the “opinion” division that executives claim is separate from the “news” division. However, MacCallum, a Fox “news”-side anchor, repeated the same false claim during the town hall, noting that 90% of the people detained at the border “do not ever show up for their court date once they’ve been apprehended and released.” Castro said he wanted to “dispute” the figure and mentioned the Obama-era Family Case Management Program, which he said saw a “more than a 98% return rate” for immigrants going to court. MacCallum’s responded, “It doesn’t sound like there’s anyone that you wouldn’t let in. I mean, is there anyone you wouldn’t let in?”

    As with earlier Fox News Democratic town halls, Fox & Friends quickly used Castro’s appearance to attack him as a radical leftist, this time on immigration. Co-host Brian Kilmeade denounced Castro’s plan for what he called “wide-open borders” and mocked him for “going back in time to 1929” for mentioning that the U.S. traditionally didn’t criminalize people for crossing the border illegally but treated such acts as civil violations. And the clip reel the show assembled consistently cut Castro off mid-sentence, denying the audience his policy explanations and allowing the hosts to tear down a leftist caricature.

    Fox has been using its Democratic town halls to both attack liberals and keep the network financially sound amid controversy about its prime-time lineup pushing dangerous conspiracy theories and unabashed white supremacy. A Democratic town hall featuring a false anti-immigrant talking point from Fox News’ go-to immigration misinformer -- who is also a former and possibly returning Trump border official -- should be a red flag for any non-conservative considering appearing on the network.

  • Trump announced he is bringing Fox's Tom Homan back to the administration as a "border czar." Here's what you need to know about him.

    Meet Tom Homan, the source of Fox News’ bogus immigration talking points

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Update (6/14/19): President Trump announced in a June 14 interview on Fox & Friends that he was hiring Tom Homan back into his administration as a “border czar.” This piece has also been updated with additional information.

    Tom Homan, once President Donald Trump’s acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has become a major source of misinformation on Fox News about immigration. Homan associated himself with anti-immigrant bigotry during and after his tenure in government, left a legacy of cruel actions against immigrants, and continued espousing anti-immigrant rhetoric after joining Fox News as a contributor in August 2018.

    Homan is a major source of immigration misinformation at Fox

    Homan began appearing exclusively on Fox News in the latter months of his leadership of ICE and joined Fox as a contributor after he retired in June 2018. But even before his retreat to Fox, Homan spread and inspired misinformation in conservative media sphere.

    • In October 2017, Homan falsely suggested that an undocumented immigrant may have been responsible for the devastating wildfires in California, a claim that was repeated by right-wing websites. Local law enforcement officials were forced to debunk, what they called, Homan’s "inaccurate," "inflammatory," and "damaging" statement.

    • During February 2018, Homan went on Fox & Friends and falsely blamed the mayor of Oakland, CA, for the agency’s failure to arrest hundreds of immigrants it was seeking. Multiple Fox News shows parroted Homan’s claim after this Fox appearance. The claim also appeared in an official statement by the agency. An ICE spokesperson later resigned in protest over Homan’s lie.

    • Under Homan’s tenure at ICE, the agency often wrongly accused immigrants of being gang members as a pretext to arrest them. Fox hosts and guests also repeatedly mentioned gangs in the context of immigration. In August, Homan pushed other falsehoods about MS-13 and immigration.

    • In June 2018, Homan appeared on America’s Newsroom and used a misleading statistic about fake families at the border to justify Trump’s policy of taking children away from their parents in detention.

    • According to an April 2018 HuffPost profile of Homan, he repeatedly mislead about the risks of violence ICE officers faced. The narrative eventually reached Fox as host Trish Regan recently claimed that ICE officers are “risking their lives in many cases” while performing their duties, even though not a single ICE officer has been killed by an immigrant, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

    • In August 2018, weeks after Homan stepped down from ICE, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade credited him as the source of a misleading statistic about ICE arrests of immigrants under the Trump administration, falsely claiming that “nine out of every 10” immigrants that ICE arrests “have criminal records.”

    • Also in August 2018, Homan pushed the false smear on Fox & Friends that Democrats want “open borders,” which Fox figures often claim when discussing Democrats’ views on immigration. In November, he acknowledged that “with the help of Fox News,” he and Trump are getting the message across that some Democrats’ call for “abolishing ICE equals open borders.”

    • In January, Homan supported the Trump administration’s false claim that thousands of terrorists attempted to cross the southern border by insisting that “terrorists do come across that southern border” and that we should shift the focus away from “how many terrorists have been arrested entering the country illegally” to “how many did Border Patrol not catch.”

    • In March, Homan blamed California’s sanctuary law for the death of a police officer he referred to as “Singh.” A December 2018 Reason article about the killing of California police officer Ronil Singh by an immigrant named Gustavo Perez Arriaga explained that ICE never requested that Arriaga be held for deportation after his previous arrests -- meaning sanctuary policies had no role in the suspect’s presence in the country.

    • In June, Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt said families who are applying for asylum are “not showing up in court” for their hearings -- echoing a lie from Homan in May that “almost nine out of 10 families, aren't making it to court.”

    Not only has Homan appeared on the network nearly 150 times since August 2017, but Fox hosts also frequently cite him in their discussions on immigration, in interviews with other people, and even base entire segments on his words, marking him as perhaps Fox’s most prominent misinformer on immigration.

    Homan has also associated himself with anti-immigrant bigotry

    • In April 2017, several months after Homan took charge of ICE, he hired an analyst from an anti-immigrant hate group the Center for Immigration Studies as an adviser. Just days before he retired in June 2018, Homan also sat down for an interview at an event CIS hosted, where he dubiously linked sanctuary city policies to the increased security risk for immigration officers and called for changing asylum law to make it harder for asylum-seekers to obtain it.

    • During his time in government service, Homan reportedly used a slur in his work that glorified violence against immigrants, according to HuffPost.

    • In September 2018, following his retirement from ICE and the start of his employment at Fox News, Homan attended as a special honoree a conference organized by the anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America.

    Homan left a reproachful legacy at ICE by spreading fear among and about immigrants and defending Trump’s inhumane policies which led to immigrant deaths in detention

    • In June 2017, Homan said in congressional testimony all undocumented immigrants “should be afraid” of actions by the Trump administration.

    • In January 2018, Homan called for criminal charges against local government leaders of so-called sanctuary cities.

    • In June 2018, Homan defended Trump’s inhumane family separation policy and said “you’d have to put the blame on the parents” for immigration officials taking their children away.

    • Deportation of immigrants with no criminal convictions nearly tripled under Homan’s first year as acting ICE director, doubling the proportion of noncriminals that made up immigration arrests from 13% in 2016 to 26%.

    • ICE arrested for deportation several immigration activists, journalists, and ICE critics under Homan’s leadership, spurring accusations of improper politicization of immigration law enforcement.

    • Homan advocated for detention of migrants past current legal time limit, including for pregnant women.

    • Under Homan’s leadership, ICE stopped delaying deportations of individuals named in private congressional bills that would give them legal status.

    • The inspector general office at Department of Homeland Security started inspections of four ICE detention facilities when Homan was still leading ICE and found “immediate risks or egregious violations of detention standards” including “nooses in detainee cells, overly restrictive segregation, inadequate medical care, unreported security incidents, and significant food safety issues.”

    • ICE reportedly committed numerous other abusive actions against immigrants under Homan’s leadership, including sexually abusing detainees, arresting immigrants who report domestic abuse, and allowing several immigrants to die in detention.

    Homan’s extreme anti-immigrant tendencies and defenses of Trump have continued since he joined Fox News

    • In August 2018, Homan joined other conservative media in politicizing the murder of a college student.

    • Also in August, Homan called for laws to “criminalize those who overstay a visa,” which is currently a civil violation.

    • In October 2018, Homan praised Trump for “pushing for the rule of law” and working to “enforce the laws on the book” amid reporting on intricate and fraudulent tax-dodging schemes used by the Trump family to pass along undertaxed inheritance.

    • Also in October, Homan laid the blame for a migrant caravan from Central America “at the feet of the Democratic Party up on the Hill” and accused Democrats of not caring about public safety.

    • In November 2018, Homan said “there should be fear in the immigrant community” of the Trump administration.

    • The same month, Homan expressed support for detaining asylum seekers in tent cities.

    • In late November, Homan criticized news organizations for showing migrant families being tear gassed by Border Patrol agents.

    • In December 2018, Homan was among the many right-wing media figures who urged Trump to veto spending bills that don’t fund a border wall and trigger a government shutdown.

    • In January, Homan repeatedly blamed the deaths of children in Department of Homeland Security custody on the absence of a full border wall, and later in May, he blamed additional detainees’ deaths on House Democrats.

    • In February, Homan openly became yet another Fox-based Trump sycophant, claiming he “is going to be recognized as one of the greatest presidents of our generation, if not the greatest” due to his harsh actions to curb immigration.

    • Also in February, Homan said Democrats are helping Mexican criminal organizations and cartels.

    • Later in February, Homan suggested Democrats don’t care if undocumented immigrants kill Americans.

    • At the beginning of March, Homan became yet another Fox personality to claim “we’re being invaded” by migrants.

    • In early March, Homan denied migrant children were being kept in cages, saying they are “chain-link dividers [that] go all the way up to the high ceiling.”

    • Later in March, Homan invoked the 9/11 terror attacks to bash New York City’s “sanctuary city” policy.

    • Homan repeatedly disparaged Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for highlighting ICE abuses of immigrant detainees.

    • In early April, Homan encouraged Trump to close the southern border.

    • He praised Trump’s threat to forcibly relocate detained immigrants to so-called sanctuary jurisdictions as “ingenious.” According to The Washington Post, ICE’s legal department had “rejected the idea as inappropriate.”

    • In May, Homan fearmongered that America “will lose the border” unless individual adults seeking asylum are locked up.

    • Homan also called for 100,000 immigrant families to be rounded up and deported.

    • In early June, Homan complained that Democrats prevented ICE from arresting undocumented immigrants willing to serve as sponsor parents of unaccompanied children.

    • Later in June, Homan supported Trump’s threat to levy tariffs on all Mexican goods unless it halts all people going through its territory on their way to the United States, even though he acknowledged the tariffs will harm the American economy.

    • Homan said Democrats “should be ashamed of themselves” for extending health coverage to some undocumented immigrants in California.

    This post was originally published June 12.

  • Officials debunked far-right rumors of Ebola among refugees. Laura Ingraham fearmongered about it the night before.

    Blog ››› ››› JASON CAMPBELL

    On the June 10 edition of Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham claimed that newly arrived migrants from the Congo may be carrying the Ebola virus. Ingraham read a response from San Antonio officials explaining why the claim would be impossible, but then went on to ask, “Why would we even put that to chance?”

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Now, did you know that in the month of May, Border Patrol arrested more than 132,000 people trying to crash our border? And in the first two weeks of June, more than 500 Africans have been arrested trying to sneak into the country as well. That's kind of new.

    Now, hundreds of illegals from the Congo apparently are applying for asylum and being deposited in San Antonio.

    Now, this could clearly be a public health concern. Why? Well, according to Reuters, the number of cases of Ebola in eastern Congo has passed 2,000, government figures showed, as the rate of new cases tripled and containment efforts faltered in the remote, unstable region.

    Now, the city of San Antonio got back to The Ingraham Angle tonight and said, for them, Ebola they don't believe is a concern. Why?

    Well, they say the incubation period is 21 days for that disease, and that they believe these folks have been outside their country for six to seven months -- but, I don't know, why would we even put that to chance?

    I'm not sure we're really tracking the travel patterns of everybody coming into the country, but they're telling us, "Don't worry tonight. It's OK."

    On Tuesday, Texas health officials formally rebuked the claims, with Colleen Bridger, the interim assistant city manager and director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, calling it “patently false.”

    Buzzfeed News reported that officials moved to act after the debunked rumor was spread by far-right conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones' Infowars and Gateway Pundit. Similar to Ingraham, an Infowars employee made patently false suggestions about the incubation period of Ebola:

    An Infowars reporter also went to a temporary immigrant shelter set up in San Antonio to follow up on rumors about the virus. The reporter turned on their camera inside the shelter, against a request of those running the center, and was removed after getting into a "kerfuffle," Bridger said.

    The Infowars reporter questioned Bridger on camera and suggested that immigrants could carry the Ebola virus for months on their person without becoming infected themselves or displaying any signs of the disease, which she explained was not possible.

    The incubation period for the virus is 21 days, Bridger said, and most of the people traveling from Central Africa have been traveling for months through South America after leaving Africa.

    "Someone with the virus would develop symptoms of that disease within 21 days of that exposure," she said in the press conference. "So if you do the math and think of the fact that they left their country many, many months ago, there's no possibility that these individuals are bringing Ebola into our country."

    Brian Kolfage, who is leading an effort to crowdfund a private wall on the Mexican border and who has previously been on Ingraham's show, recently spread the rumor as well, before DHS debunked it.

    This is not the first time Ingraham has spread disinformation regarding the health of migrants entering the United States, previously speculating that migrant caravans posed a health risk and were carrying disease. This nativist fearmongering is not limited to the opinion side of Fox either: In May, Fox correspondent Griff Jenkins talked on air about "rumors" of Ebola among migrants, earning plaudits from Fox host Steve Doocy.