Bill Hemmer sure was excited to get to greet Lou Dobbs to the Fox News network yesterday: "What in the world took you so long, man? We've been waiting for ya!" And you could see why, immediately.
Because Hemmer had already given intentionally false information to his viewers about the DREAM Act, which was the segment's real subject: He claimed that it "grants citizenship" to students whose parents brought them here as children.
This is, of course, a lie:
In fact, the versions of the DREAM Act pending in the House and Senate both state that eligible unauthorized immigrants could have their status adjusted to "conditional permanent resident status," which "shall be valid for a period of 6 years" and subject to termination should the immigrant cease to be eligible. Following the 6-year period, Dream Act immigrants would have to meet further requirements to gain permanent resident status and could only apply for citizenship (provided they meet further requirements) after they obtained such status.
Fox anchors, as MM notes, have also been claiming that the DREAM Act would allow some immigrants to "jump right to the front of the line." This too is a lie.
And you see that chryon in the screen grab? The one that describes the DREAM Act as an "immigration overhaul"? Absurdly false: The DREAM Act is only a very narrowly tailored bit of immigration legislation designed to resolve a small sliver of the issue -- a far, far stretch from an "immigration overhaul" as in comprehensive immigration reform.
But none of this bothers Lou Dobbs, who you may recall was vowing to reform his Latino-bashing ways while still between contracts. That was good until he got the Fox gig.
Now he not only is happy to let Hemmer's blatant misrepresentations of the DREAM Act stand, he's happy to regurgitate them and then blame Democrats for even daring to bring the issue up.
Dobbs openly admits he's reading almost directly from the phony talking points being distributed by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-
KKKMississippi. But as Jackie Mahendra at America's Voice explains, these talking points are lies mounted upon falsehoods with some distortion thrown in for good measure:
The controversy comes after his office circulated a white paper that is currently reverberating throughout the conservative echo chamber, in which Sessions mixes anti-immigrant fear-mongering (see: “criminal aliens”) with factually inaccurate assertions about the legislation and its implications.
Session's spokesman Stephen Miller told Fox News:
"The scope of this proposal is enormous, extending amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants including a number who have committed serious crimes, incentivizing further illegality.”
In truth, the DREAM Act is a narrowly-tailored and traditionally bipartisan piece of legislation that ensures that only those with strong moral character qualify. As such, it would strengthen the military, bolster future economic competitiveness, and offer American taxpayers a return on their investment in hard-working immigrant kids who want to give back to the nation they love and call home.
There is a wide gulf between extremists like Sessions and sensible Americans who recognize the importance of DREAM. In fact, 70% of the American people support the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act's many champions include Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representatives Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Howard Berman (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) has a piece today in Politico, in which he asks:
If you knew that passing legislation to allow 2.1 million American students to pursue higher education or military service, our government could collect $3.6 trillion over the next 40 years, would you do it?
According to The Economist:
The DREAM Act sends the message that although American immigration law in effect tries to make water run uphill, we are not monsters. It says that we will not hobble the prospects of young people raised and schooled in America just because we were so perverse to demand that their parents wait in a line before a door that never opens. It signals that we were once a nation of immigrants, and even if we have become too fearful and small to properly honour that noble legacy, America in some small way remains a land of opportunity.
It's a smart piece of legislation, and we're 100 percent behind its passage. Of course, its smartness is a virtual guarantee that Republicans like those at Fox -- and especially Lou Dobbs -- will oppose it.