A report by Sinclair Broadcast Group national correspondent Kristine Frazao pushed President Donald Trump’s misplaced blame on Congress for not passing comprehensive immigration reforms and failed to present important context about “his signature campaign promise” to build a border wall. Trump himself sabotaged multiple attempts by Congress to pass immigration reform bills, a fact which went unmentioned in Frazao’s report.
On June 23, Frazao reported on Trump’s renewed focus on immigration in his most recent campaigning. Her report framed his promotion of the border wall as “returning to his roots” and “one of his signature campaign promises.” She also uncritically repeated the Trump administration’s framing of its extended ban on visas for most foreign workers through the end of the year, presenting it as the fault of Congress for not passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation. According to a transcript search of the Kinetiq video database, Frazao’s report was broadcast on at least 47 Sinclair-owned or -operated stations in 40 states, including the border states of California, New Mexico, and Texas.
What Frazao failed to mention is that Trump himself is largely to blame for the absence of any comprehensive immigration reform during his administration.
In September 2017, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were reportedly close to reaching a deal with Trump on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which extends immigration protections to people who came to the U.S. as children. But Trump scuttled the deal weeks later when he tied it to drastic restrictions on legal immigration and border wall funding, which reportedly went against the original agreement. Trump also rejected a January 2018 deal with Schumer for $25 billion in border wall funding in exchange for a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. And when a bill in the Senate to protect DACA recipients came up for a vote in February 2018, the Trump administration orchestrated what the Chicago Tribune called an “extraordinary 11th-hour strategy to sabotage the bill.” Trump’s later offers for an immigration deal were less generous than the ones he had originally agreed to, which led Democrats to reject them.
By simply repeating the administration’s claim that Congress is to blame for the lack of immigration reform without including these facts about Trump’s own responsibility, Frazao misled her audience.
Frazao’s report also left out some critical details regarding Trump’s promise on the border wall and what he has actually delivered -- which is basically nothing. As The Washington Post reported in late May, “only 16 miles of the 194 miles that have been constructed were built in places where fencing didn’t already exist. Of the 170 miles of primary wall that have been built, three miles are in places where no barrier existed before.” And the other main part of Trump’s irresponsible promise, forcing Mexico to pay for the wall, hasn’t happened either.