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Immigration

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  • Fox’s Kilmeade pushes Trump administration’s false claim that 9 in 10 ICE arrests are of criminals

    About one-third of immigrants ICE is arresting under Trump have no criminal record

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox & Friends is once again carrying water for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by fudging the agency’s record on arresting immigrants with criminal records and denying that a pizza delivery driver was arrested while doing his job.

    On the August 10 edition of the show, co-host Brian Kilmeade repeatedly claimed that “nine out of every 10” immigrants that ICE arrests “have criminal records.” When asked where he got that statistic from, he cited former ICE acting director Tom Homan.

    But that statistic from the Trump administration is misleading, as CNN explained in March. CNN reported that the administration was conflating immigrants with deportation orders with those who have actual criminal records to come up with the number Kilmeade cited:

    The Trump administration has subtly blurred the distinction between criminals and those with final orders of removal, which is a civil, not criminal charge.

    ICE has combined "ICE fugitives" -- people who have been ordered to leave the country but haven't yet -- with convicted criminals who have pending criminal charges and reinstated final orders of removal, allowing the agency to say 92% of those arrested under Trump had criminal convictions or one of the other factors -- when the number with criminal records is closer to 70%.

    As a May USA Today report showed, it was in the last two years of the Obama administration that almost nine out of 10 (87 percent) undocumented immigrants arrested had actual criminal records. But under Trump, nearly one-third of ICE arrests are of immigrants with no criminal record:

    Kilmeade also mocked Fox correspondent  Geraldo Rivera for saying that ICE officials get tempted “to go for the low-hanging fruit” and “they sweep up the poultry processing people, the meat-packing people, the pizza delivery guys.” Kilmeade scoffed at Rivera’s comment, saying, “We don't call Domino’s and then arrest the delivery guy. It’s nine out of 10 have a criminal record.” But ICE did arrest a pizza delivery person in June while he was on the job. And Fox News covered it.

    GERALDO RIVERA (FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE): ICE is at least two agencies. I have spoken about this before in a limited way. But there are the ICE investigators. They are the guys that bust the cartels. They go after the transnational gangs. They go after MS-13, they go after the racketeers and the drug smugglers. And then there’s the enforcement and removal side of ICE. Those are the far more unpopular group. That’s the one who smash in the doors, and there’s Diego, he’s been here 20 years, and they take him out and deport him.

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Nine out of every 10 have criminal records.

    RIVERA: I don't know where you get that statistic.

    KILMEADE: [Former acting ICE Director] Tom Homan.

    RIVERA: Well, I want to see an objective review of that. I do not believe that. I think that the -- too often there is a temptation to go for the low-hanging fruit. That’s when they sweep up the poultry processing people, the meat-packing people --

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): The pizza guy.

    RIVERA: -- the pizza delivery guys.

    KILMEADE: We don't call Domino’s and then arrest the delivery guy. It’s nine out of 10 have a criminal record.

  • NRATV deceptively edits Nancy Pelosi speech to claim she praised MS-13 gang members

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    NRATV host Grant Stinchfield aired a deceptively edited video of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to claim she defended MS-13 when she supposedly criticized President Donald Trump for not respecting “the dignity and worth of” the gang members. Stinchfield went on to accuse Pelosi of “Trump derangement syndrome.” From the August 3 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): What about MS-13, a gang whose motto is “torture, rape, kill”? President Trump called them animals. Why? Because they are and everyone knows it. Still the response from the Democrats was to defend MS-13.    

    [BEGIN CLIP]

    NANCY PELOSI: We’re all God’s children. There’s a spark of divinity in every person on earth and that we all have to recognize that as we respect the dignity and worth of every person.

    [END CLIP]

    STINCHFIElD: Dignity and worth? They’re killing people. Clearly Trump derangement syndrome must be real. These leaders of the Democratic Party have gone nuts.

    NRATV cut Pelosi off and didn't air her full remarks. Pelosi made these comments during her weekly press conference on May 17 and she was clearly referring to “undocumented immigrants”:

    We believe, some of us who are attracted to the political arena, to government and public service, that we’re all God’s children, there’s a spark of divinity in every person on Earth, and that we all have to recognize that as we respect the dignity and worth of every person and as we recognize our responsibilities with that spark of divinity within us.

    And so, when the President of the United States says about undocumented immigrants, ‘These aren’t people, these are animals,’ you have to wonder does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person? These are not people. These are animals. The President of the United States.

    NRATV previously aired video footage of members of antifa -- the far-left-leaning militant group that resists neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations and other events -- causing property damage in Washington, D.C., on inauguration day, falsely claiming that the footage was from the Women’s March that took place the next day. The outlet has broadcast other blatant falsehoods, such as lying about a "direct quote" from FBI Director James Comey in defense of Trump and referring to a satire article clearly labeled “fiction” as if it were serious on Election Day in 2016 in order to urge viewers not to vote for Hillary Clinton.

  • The big problem with the term “catch and release”

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Over the past few months, as President Donald Trump’s administration works to dismantle protections for asylum-seeking immigrants, the use of the term “catch and release” -- a dehumanizing phrase that describes U.S. policies meant to provide certain rights to vulnerable immigrants -- has skyrocketed on cable news networks.

    “Catch and release” is generally used to refer to any policy that allows immigrants to be released from detention while their cases are being processed. These so-called “catch and release” policies recognize the basic humanitarian rights of unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, and families with children. One such policy prohibits the detention of families for more than 20 days and enforces other standards for detention; another bars the U.S. government from deporting people back to places where they could be harmed or killed; and a third awards “more cautious asylum hearing proceedings for [unaccompanied children], because it is thought that they are more likely to be victims of human trafficking.” Experts have noted that rolling back these protections would lead to severe trauma for immigrants (and benefits for the private prison industry.)

    Many observers have pointed out that the term “catch and release” evokes imagery of a fish or other animal being hunted and then released. The book Governing Immigration Through Crime: A Reader explains the disparaging effect of the term:

    Although the term catch and release appears benign, it actually serves to dehumanize immigrants. The term comes from sport fishing, where it refers to the practice of catching fish and then throwing them back into the water. Using such a term in the context of immigration policing essentially reduces the apprehension and incarceration of human beings to a sport.

    But as the Trump administration continues to pick away at these protections, cable news outlets have ramped up their use of the phrase, with Fox News leading the way. An analysis of use of the term “catch and release” on cable news by the GDELT Project using data from the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive demonstrates a huge spike in the term’s prevalence throughout 2018 compared to previous years. Notably, on June 25, use of the term “catch and release” was the highest it has been since at least 2009 across MSNBC, Fox, and CNN:

    Fox and other right-wing outlets have weaponized the phrase to fearmonger about a foreign invasion at the southern border, spreading misinformation about the policy and its effects.

    The Trump administration’s policies to curtail immigrant protections have not deterred immigrants from making the journey to the southern border, as the administration had claimed. In fact, the number of apprehensions of unaccompanied minors at the border jumped 50 percent in May, shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared an end to so-called catch and release policies. Even so, Fox has argued that the policies encourage unbridled immigration to the U.S.

    Alleged smugglers reportedly make up only .61 percent of the total number of family units apprehended at the border. Nevertheless, Breitbart.com and Fox have pushed the administration’s misleading claim that protections for immigrants enable human smuggling.

    Asylum seekers face a rigorous vetting process to prove their claims and, all too often, those with genuine fear of return are denied asylum. Yet Laura Ingraham argues that immigrants are taking advantage of the policies to falsely claim asylum with the expectation that they will be released and be able to disappear into the system.

    In 2017, 60,000 immigrants attended their court hearings after they were released from custody at the border, compared to 40,000 who did not, and only 25 percent of cases were decided without a defendant in 2016. Yet, right-wing media have perpetuated the myth that the majority of immigrants do not show up for their court dates.

    Like the terms “illegal immigrant” and “chain migration,” “catch and release” is just another tool that nativists use to dehumanize immigrants. And at a time when the president of the United States has painted immigrants as “animals” and immigration as an infestation, mainstream media should avoid using language that might serve to legitimize this deceptive narrative.

  • Pro-Trump media fabricate Chuck Schumer quote on child separation

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN

    Social media figures who support President Donald Trump are spreading a fabricated quote that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told Senate Democrats to oppose legislation that would end Trump’s child separation policy for political reasons.

    In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the federal government would pursue a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, resulting in the arrest of immigrants who tried to enter the United States and the separation and detainment of their children. The Trump administration has come under withering criticism for the policy, and Trump on June 20 signed an executive order allegedly reversing it.

    Hours before Trump signed the executive order, Josh Cornett, a pro-Trump Twitter user, tweeted, “BREAKING: Senator Schumer has instructed fellow Democrats not to pass any legislation that could possibly help the children at the border, stating that ‘It will help voter turnout in the midterms’ and that CNN had agreed to help the Democrats with the storyline’... Developing.”

    There is no evidence that Schumer said he opposed legislation to help midterm “voter turnout” or that CNN made any such agreement. Schumer has actually co-sponsored -- along with every other Senate Democrat -- a bill from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would reverse the child separation policy. Schumer had also demanded that Trump reverse the policy on his own.

    Nonetheless, the fake quote has been retweeted thousands of times, and other Twitter accounts have shared it, some of them attaching it in a reply to Schumer’s criticism of Trump or in reply to CNN. Another pro-Trump account added MSNBC to the fake story on June 21, and many accounts have run with that version.

    The fabricated claim has also made its way to Facebook. Multiple pro-Trump pages have pushed a meme using Cornett’s same language. The meme, whose spread was helped by some pages connected to the hyperpartisan sites America’s Freedom Fighters and Mad World News, has been shared more than 76,000 times, including in multiple pro-Trump Facebook groups. Users have also tweeted the meme to Schumer’s Twitter account.