Fox News is known for broadcasting stories that are critical of immigrants who are in the country illegally, but on Wednesday morning, the cable outlet appeared to go after immigrants who are in the country...legally.
The Fox & Friends segment amounted to a hit piece on an initiative called Naturalize Now, which helps immigrants eligible to apply for citizenship in the United States through the complicated legal process of becoming naturalized citizens. Those eligible include immigrants living in the U.S. as permanent residents (or Green Card holders) for at least five years. So not “illegal” immigrants.
On Wednesday’s broadcast, anchor Jillian Mele said the Naturalize Now campaign was rushing “the process of illegals pouring over our borders” as images of immigration agents arresting undocumented immigrants flashed across the screen.
But the segment never actually offered any proof that the initiative has assisted undocumented immigrants apply for citizenship, instead focusing on the fact that 21 cities have partnered with the campaign—some of those municipalities have “sanctuary” policies that ban local officers from enforcing federal immigration requests for custody transfers.
“This is of course in defiance of the Trump campaign, which is working to pass multiple bills cracking down on illegal immigrants,” Mele went on to say, leading viewers to believe that Naturalize Now is helping undocumented immigrants become citizens.
The organization behind the Naturalize Now campaign has denounced the segment and is demanding a retraction.
“Our campaign has worked for years to assist the 8.8 [million] eligible legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens,” Joshua Hoyt, executive director of National Partnership for New Americans, told Fusion by email. “To claim otherwise is a lie, and we demand a retraction from Fox News.”
Hoyt said “it is a beautiful thing when legal immigrants who are eligible chose to apply, pay a fee, go through a background check, study English and U.S. history and government, take a written and oral exam in English, and then raise their right hand and pledge allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. For Fox & Friends [to] imply anything else is a disgraceful piece of demagoguery.”
At least one viewer on Twitter corrected the network; others just fell for it and took it for truth.
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Still, it goes to show how little both reporters and the general population know about immigration policies.
Most commenters on the site and social media were under the impression undocumented immigrants are becoming U.S. citizens, a process that doesn’t exist without special circumstances and a long immigration process.