Immigration Reform

Issues ››› Immigration Reform
  • How nativist groups are taking down DACA

    Conservative and mainstream media have facilitated nativist groups’ influence in the immigration debate

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    The “nativist lobby,” which consists of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and NumbersUSA, has consistently opposed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allows undocumented immigrants to live, work, and go to school in the United States without fear of deportation and it has used both right-wing and mainstream media outlets to rally support for its message. The Trump administration’s lack of support for the program and a threat by 10 Republican states’ officials to sue the federal government if it doesn’t rescind DACA by September has now aligned with the nativists' demands, meaning protection for over 800,000 undocumented immigrants could soon come to an end. 

  • Media Fall For And Reinforce Trump’s Spin On “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Multiple media outlets and figures uncritically reported on President Donald Trump’s planned executive order promoting policies that encourage the federal government to “buy American” and “hire American” wherever possible. These outlets and figures did not note that the executive order only calls for a review of current policy, and does not meaningfully change it, and some other outlets buried those crucial details in their reporting.

  • How Trump Manipulates Media Coverage Of His Immigration Policies

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Leading up to his joint address to Congress, media outlets helped President Donald Trump misleadingly cast himself as sympathetic to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, known as “Dreamers,” and other immigrants. Trump’s manipulation tactics became evident again when media outlets uncritically parroted his claim that he was open to comprehensive immigration reform hours before he gave his address, which demonized immigrants as criminals and falsely claimed that they are a drain on the economy. As the Trump White House once again steps up its efforts to misrepresent its immigration stance, it is important media not be spun again.

  • Tucker Carlson Hosted Anti-Muslim Columnist Who Has Called For Gunships To Stop Refugees

    Trump Has Praised Katie Hopkins’ Columns

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY & BOBBY LEWIS

    Fox News’ Tucker Carlson hosted UK Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins who wrote a column allegedly detailing the many women in Sweden who fear being assaulted by immigrants. Hopkins’ writing and tweets exemplify hate-mongering anti-Muslim bigotry and in the past she has called for the murder of refugees and referred to them as “cockroaches.”

  • On CNN, Hate Group Leader Praises Efforts To “Reclaim Our Schools” With Mass Deportations

    FAIR President: “If You Enforce These Laws, We Can Reclaim Our Schools, Our Hospitals, And Our Communities”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    CNN’s New Day hosted Dan Stein, president of the anti-immigrant hate group the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR), to discuss President Donald Trump’s planned mass deportations, which he characterized as a move to “reclaim our schools, our hospitals, and our communities once again for the American people.” Co-host Alisyn Camerota introduced Stein simply as “the president of the Federation for Immigration Reform” and as someone who supports Mr. Trump’s moves on immigration,” without mentioning FAIR’s track record of nativist bigotry. 

    FAIR, which helped influence Trump’s approach to immigration, including his planned mass deportations and Muslim registry, has ties to white supremacy through its founder, who also founded the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). FAIR has been described as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its “ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists.” FAIR uses a veneer of impartiality to inject absurd myths into the immigration debate, assisted in large part by the media outlets that regularly cite them without mentioning their extremism. In the Trump era, it is more important than ever for media to properly label these hate groups and not afford them presumed respectability. From the February 22 edition of CNN’s New Day, which also featured Andre Segura of the American Civil Liberties Union:

    ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): What is your biggest concern about the new guidelines as Mr. Trump has laid them out?

    ANDRE SEGURA: Where do we start? This is bringing to life President Trump's worst and most divisive campaign rhetoric. Like I’ve said before on this program, we have to take the president at his word, and he's going to bring these things to life. 10,000 new ICE agents throughout the interior. I think people have a misconception that this is not going to affect them in their daily lives. But when you have more ICE agents throughout the country, when you have more state and local officers doing immigration enforcement, you're going to see an uptick in racial profiling. Communities are going to become less safe. 

    CAMEROTA: Dan, what do you like about it? 

    DAN STEIN: Look, people come here illegally, that doesn't mean they just have the right to stay. You take a look at all of these orders, if you're here illegally, you need to be thinking about going out and buying some luggage. Because as Spicer made it clear, Trump administration says if you're here illegally you remain deportable with the exception of the so-called DACA group, and that's a dramatic change. Look, nobody ever decided in this country that immigration was unlimited, that you can break the immigration law and then demand to stay. That you could jump in front of the line, in front of millions of people who respect our laws all over the world and just come in and say, “OK, I'm here, I don't have to go.” If we -- if you enforce these laws, we can reclaim our schools, our hospitals, and our communities once again for the American people. 

  • The Breitbart Clauses In Trump’s Executive Orders

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Two executive orders signed by President Donald Trump last week include clauses that seem designed to provide Breitbart.com and other xenophobic right-wing media outlets with fearmongering content about the supposed criminality and dangerousness of immigrants, particularly Muslim ones.

    The orders create a feedback loop between the Trump administration and the right-wing media: Both want to crack down on immigration and immigrants, so the administration is providing its media allies with fuel to inflame their audience, building support among Trump’s base for those policy shifts.

    A little-noticed clause in Trump’s executive order temporarily banning nationals from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and barring admission of refugees, signed Friday, states that in order to “be more transparent with the American people,” the federal government will release biannual reports detailing terrorism-related offenses and gender-based violence and honor killings committed in the U.S. by foreign nationals.

    Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement likewise included a clause calling for the weekly publication of “a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens” in jurisdictions that don’t honor federal requests to hold arrestees in jail due to their immigration status (so-called “sanctuary cities”).

    Critics note that the data does not support the implication that “large numbers of foreigners are coming to the United States and committing acts of terrorism here.” Likewise, studies show immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

    But the purpose of these orders is not to provide the American people with accurate information in proper context. It’s to scare the hell out of them -- particularly Trump’s base -- by taking advantage of a network of right-wing outlets that have spent years driving their audiences into a frenzy with horror stories of crimes committed by foreign nationals.

    Steve Bannon is the nexus point for this strategy. As Trump’s chief strategist, he reportedly helped draft the Muslim ban. And before joining the Trump campaign, he helped turn Breitbart, where he served as chairman, into the “platform for the alt-right,” in part by driving these xenophobic storylines.

    The website infamously has a tag devoted to “Black Crime” that aggregated stories of offenses committed by African-Americans. They’ve used similar practices to dehumanize undocumented immigrants and Muslims living in the United States and abroad.

    Breitbart aggregates reports of Muslim “honor killings” from around the globe. As with “black crime,” they have an entire tag devoted to the subject. They have a similar tag for stories about child marriage in Muslim countries. And one detailing instances of “female genital mutilation.” They also regularly suggest that American Muslims are secret operatives of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Breitbart’s reports often portray Muslim refugees as disease-carrying criminals who are a danger to the countries in which they seek asylum, and specifically to those countries’ women. As they have sought to expand their presence in Europe, the website has frequently attacked Muslim communities in European nations and highlighted friction between those communities and white Europeans.

    Here are some headlines Breitbart has published about Islam, Muslims, and refugees:

    Likewise, Breitbart regularly aggregates reporting on crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. Their singular focus creates the false impression that such crimes are far more prevalent than the data show. Here are some Breitbart headlines on undocumented immigrants:

    Thanks to Bannon and Trump, Breitbart’s efforts to stoke fears about refugees, Muslims, and immigrants will have the official aid and imprimatur of the federal government.

    The actual numbers of cases the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department will report will likely end up being relatively low. But because they will come in a steady stream, on a weekly or semi-annual basis, the reports will generate a regular set of fresh news hooks for right-wing media to stoke outrage.

    This creates a synergy between the right-wing media and the Trump administration. The Trump administration wants excuses to limit immigration and crack down on undocumented immigrants, so they need an inflamed base focused on those issues.

    Outlets like Breitbart want to be able to report horror stories about refugees, American Muslims, and undocumented immigrants, both for ideological reasons, and presumably because such stories get good traffic with Trump’s base.

    By making the information available, Trump and Bannon help those outlets, and thus gain momentum to push even harsher anti-immigrant policies.

  • Univision Lifts Up Nativist Center For Immigration Studies As Credible Source

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Univision’s daily email brief cited the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), an anti-immigrant nativist group that often peddles in misinformation, continuing the leading Spanish-language media outlet’s pattern of promoting anti-immigrant groups and failing to label them as such.

    The December 5 edition of Univision’s Daily Brief claimed, “New government data by the Center for Immigration Studies shows more than three million new documented and undocumented immigrants settled in the United States in 2014 and 2015 — a 39 percent increase over the prior two years.”

    CIS is one of three anti-immigrant groups, all spearheaded by retired ophthalmologist John Tanton, that use the veneer of impartiality to inundate media outlets with false statistics and misinformation about immigrants. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated CIS -- along with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA, both also founded by Tanton -- as anti-immigrant white nativist groups for their ties to racist extremists. CIS’ Jessica Vaughan, a right-wing media regular, has used her media platform to misinform about sanctuary cities and peddle lies about undocumented immigrants voting and being released to commit violent crimes.

    Some media outlets, like The Daily Beast, have reported on this “shady network” of anti-immigrant groups that bolster right-wing media talking points and routinely creep into mainstream media, noting that their problematic studies are often characterized by a lack of context. Univision’s propensity to cite CIS and FAIR contributes to this dangerous media pattern and threatens the integrity of immigration information.

  • NY Times Cites Anti-Immigrant Groups, Doesn't Mention Their Ties To White Supremacists

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A New York Times article cited anti-immigrant groups Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and ignored their ties to nativists while reporting on sanctuary cities’ efforts to combat costly federal immigration proposals.

    The November 27 Times report cited FAIR president Dan Stein and Center for Immigration Studies director of policy Jessica Vaughan. Both took the opportunity to advocate for President-elect Donald Trump’s proposal to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities unless they enforce immigration policy, a role that historically falls under the responsibility of the federal government. The article identified FAIR as a group that “opposes legalization for unauthorized immigrants” and said the Center for Immigration Studies “supports reduced immigration.”

    FAIR, which has already influenced Trump’s immigration proposals, has ties to white supremacists and was labeled an anti-immigrant hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The founder of FAIR also helped launch the Center for Immigration Studies, which, like FAIR, uses the veneer of impartiality to inject lies about immigration into mainstream media. By including commentary from nativist groups while failing to properly identify them, the Times is recycling misinformation and robbing its audience of essential context. From the November 27 New York Times report:

    Across the nation, officials in sanctuary cities are gearing up to oppose President-elect Donald J. Trump if he follows through on a campaign promise to deport millions of illegal immigrants. They are promising to maintain their policies of limiting local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents.

    [...]

    Supporters of tougher immigration policies, however, expect a swift response. Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which opposes legalization for unauthorized immigrants, predicted “a very aggressive, no-holds-barred support for using the full power of the federal government to discourage this kind of interference.”

    “These local politicians take it upon themselves to allow people who have been here for a long time to stay here and receive services,” Mr. Stein said. “The Trump administration is basically saying, ‘If you want to accommodate, don’t expect the rest of us to pay for your services.’”

    Some believe Mr. Trump could go further than simply pulling federal funding, perhaps fighting such policies in court or even prosecuting city leaders.

    “This is uncharted territory in some ways, to see if they’re just playing chicken, or see if they will relent,” said Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports reduced immigration.

    Cities have “gotten away with this for a long time because the federal government has never attempted to crack down on them,” Ms. Vaughan said. [The New York Times, 11/27/16]

  • Media Should Not Sanitize Trump Immigration Adviser Kris Kobach’s Extremism, Ties To White Supremacists

    Kobach “Wrote The Book” On Muslim Registry And Was Behind Anti-Immigrant SB 1070

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    A reported architect behind President-elect Donald Trump’s extreme immigration proposals, radio host and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has received significant media attention following the announcement that he was joining Trump’s transition team. However, media outlets are failing to note his ties to hate groups and nativist organizations and his attacks on immigrants and LGBTQ people.

  • 17 Of The Worst Attacks Potential Trump Press Secretary Laura Ingraham Has Made On Latinos, Civil Rights Groups, And Others

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Laura Ingraham

    Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is reportedly under “serious consideration” to be White House press secretary in the upcoming Donald Trump White House.

    In an appearance on Fox News, where she is also a contributor, Ingraham said she is “honored” to be among the contenders for the position. She added, “I'm at the point where, if my country needs me, and if I can do something to actually, you know, advance the Trump agenda, which is stuff I have written about now for 15 years, with trade, immigration and just renewing America, then I obviously have to seriously consider that.”

    Throughout her career in conservative media, Ingraham has repeatedly used her platform to attack ethnic minorities (especially Latinos), civil rights organizations, and progressive leaders in a crude and often racist fashion. Here are 17 of her worst moments:

    Ingraham: Minority Voters Picked Obama “Because He Was … Half-Black.” Ingraham said, “There are a lot of minorities who just voted for him because he was, you know, half-black, and that was a historical milestone.”

    Ingraham: Mexicans “Have Come Here To Murder And Rape Our People.” Discussing Mexican immigrants, Ingraham said, “They have come here to murder and rape our people. We know that. That doesn't mean everybody has, doesn't mean everyone who comes across the border is a nasty, horrible person, but they have violated our laws.”

    Ingraham Suggested Deported Immigrants Attempting To Re-Enter The Country Should Be Shot. Discussing undocumented immigrants potentially being deported after being released from prison, Ingraham said, “[Governor Jerry] Brown is releasing all these criminals, because they're spending too much money in the jails. By the way, the jails are what, 27 percent illegal immigrants? Why don't we ship them back home and say you come again, and you'll be shot crossing the border? Why don't we ship them out of this country, why are we paying for these horrific individuals? They do their time, get out of the country, never coming back. Never coming back. You come back, you'll be shot. I'm sorry, this is now -- so now you have a ten day waiting period? Well, you better hope nothing happens in ten days, I guess. That's a long wait, I thought four minutes was long, now you have ten days to wait.”

    Ingraham Played Audio Of A Gunshot While Discussing The March On Washington And Civil Rights Leaders. While discussing the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and remarks from civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Ingraham played audio of a gunshot.

    Ingraham: NAACP Is “A Push Organization For Racist Sentiments.” Ingraham said the NAACP, one of the oldest civil rights organizations in America, “has become a push organization for racist sentiments in many ways.”

    Ingraham Compared Same-Sex Marriage To Incest And Polygamy. Ingraham compared the legal right to same-sex marriage to state-sanctioned incest and polygamy.

    Ingraham Said People Should Wear Diapers Instead Of Sharing Bathrooms With Transgender People. Discussing how people will react to transgender people being allowed to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, Ingraham said, “I think a lot of people are going to be walking around with just Depends on from now on. They're just not going to use the bathroom. Adult diapers, diapers for everybody. No one's going to be going to the bathroom. You have little kids, there's going to be no bathrooms. We're just going to all wear Depends. Everyone will just be happy. Then you'll be in your own bathroom. Everyone's bathroom is just their own clothes, OK? So this is what we're going to go to.”

    Ingraham Played “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” Sound Clip To Mock Migrant Children Fleeing Violence. While discussing the plight of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America, Ingraham played a sound clip from a Taco Bell commercial and said, “I bet there are a lot of American kids who would like free food before they go to bed at night.”

    Ingraham: U.S. Should Accept Only Those Refugees Who “We Can Verifiably Say Are Christians,” And Muslims Should “Stay In The Middle East.” Discussing the Syrian refugee crisis, Ingraham said, “The Christians who we can verifiably say are Christians, who are in the threat of being slaughtered, I'm happy to bring in some of them. I think most people would. But all these other people, they've got to stay in the Middle East. We cannot be the warehouse of all these, you know, Muslim people coming from these far-flung lands.”

    Ingraham: “I Don’t Think Of Jewish People As Minorities Because They’re So Successful. Ingraham said that she didn’t view Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as a minority because he is Jewish.

    Ingraham Mocked Latino TV Anchor For Translating For A Guest. Ingraham attacked MSNBC anchor Jose Diaz-Balart for translating for a guest speaking in Spanish.

    Ingraham: Registering Voters Is “The Politics Of Division.” Ingraham described efforts to register voters in Ferguson, MO, as “the politics of division.”

    Ingraham Mocked A Protester For Speaking Accented English. Ingraham complained that she couldn’t understand a protester’s accent, noting, “Wait, what did she say at the end? I can't -- I need a translator. I speak Spanish too. I'd rather have her just speak Spanish, at least I'd understand that.” Ingraham then went on to mock her accent.

    Ingraham: “A Very Compelling Case Could Be Made That [The Women’s Movement] Has Set Women Back.” Ingraham argued, “I think a very compelling case could be made that this has set women back. The most powerful thing a woman can do is give birth, that is it. That is your power, really your power. And you can do a lot of things in your life, but that's what makes you unique, and now it becomes just kind of commodified in today's society.“

    Ingraham Called Spanish-Language Media Outlets “Toxic,” Said They “Revile The American Experience.” Ingraham described Spanish-language media outlets Univision and Telemundo as “toxic.” She also said, “These are Hispanic-centric networks that I think in many ways, and we've talked about this before, revile the American experience, and I think even encourage the understanding that we're living on stolen land.”

    Ingraham Said Multilingualism In Schools Makes “You Think You’re In A Foreign Country.”  Discussing dual immersion classes, Ingraham said, “The money this all costs is staggering. And, hence, I think that a lot of people are noticing this, have noticed it. People speaking broken language who work at various retail establishments. Language is terrible. They can't understand you, and you can't understand them. Sometimes you think you're in a foreign country.”

    Ingraham Called Planned Parenthood Employees “Heinous, Hitlerian Freaks.” Ingraham was one of many in the conservative media to attack Planned Parenthood after a series of deceptively edited videos were released targeting the organization.