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AttackWatch misleads about Obama's immigration amnesty (Adam Serwer, Politifact)

The latest "Internet laughing stock" (link) is the new Democratic Party site attackwatch.com at which concerned citizens can report rumors and supposed lies about Barack Obama.

Rather than laughing, I'll briefly discuss Attack Watch itself trying to mislead people about Obama's mini-amnesty for up to 300,000 illegal aliens.

Under "Immigration Reform Inaccuracies" AttackWatch claims "Republican media figures have accused President Obama of refusing to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants" (attackwatch.com/attack-files-entry/aw-immigration). The only media figures named are Rush Limbaugh and Mark Steyn, and they don't provide any quotes from either, so it's not clear whether they said that exactly or whether AttackWatch is putting words in their mouths.

While Obama hasn't come right out and said that he's not going to deport hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, one would have to be a fool to think that something other than that is the goal of his mini-amnesty. He will probably deport some of the 300,000, but he certainly won't deport most of them. And, the Obama administration has repeatedly sent the message that illegal aliens who don't commit crimes stand little chance of being deported (see Obama immigration, Janet Napolitano, and Department of Homeland Security). In some past cases, the Obama administration has even given work permits to known illegal aliens. They're going to continue that and give work permits to some of those who'll be released under the new mini-amnesty. So, clearly, the Obama administration is going to turn a blind eye to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who could be deported.

Or, to look at it another way, if Obama "refusing to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants" were false, then Obama would be stringently enforcing the laws across the board in order to deport all the illegal aliens the DHS could find. Yet, they aren't doing that: they are deporting large numbers of illegal aliens, but they aren't appearing before Congress day after day demanding more funding and allocating their current resources to a 24/7 deportation program.

So, it all boils down to how you define "refusing". If you need Obama to pledge on a stack of 100 Bibles "I refuse", then Attack Watch is right. However, if you define refusing in anything less than that, then Attack Watch is misleading.

Note also that AttackWatch misleads by referring to "undocumented immigrants" when the legally-correct term is illegal aliens.

They also claim that Obama's "policy changes... will help make our immigration system smart and fair". That too depends on how you define those terms. Fair to whom? Certainly not to the hundreds of thousands or millions of unemployed Americans who could be doing jobs that illegal aliens are doing. From one perspective, it's smart politics: the mini-amnesty might help Obama's popularity with illegal aliens, American citizens related to them, and far-left racial power groups. But, it's also not so smart: at the same time, it will lower his popularity with the many Americans who oppose illegal immigration. It will also increase unemployment, when from a political and a patriotic standpoint he should be going in the other direction. From an objective public policy perspective, it's hardly smart: Obama's mini-amnesty will encourage more illegal immigration now or in the future and will also help illegal immigration profiteers like crooked banks, businesses, and politicians.

And, they claim the new policy will "suspend certain cases for immigrants who pose no threat to the nation". Which also depends on how you define things. Illegal aliens and illegal immigration present clear threats to the U.S. as discussed in the post about Adam Serwer spinning immigration for Obama.

On their page, Attack Watch uses two not-fully-administration sources to buttress their claims: Serwer and Robert Farley of Politifact. While Robert Farley of Politifact has misled before, he doesn't appear to have done so in this case. Their use of Serwer is in the following:

In the Washington Post, the American Prospect's Adam Serwer says President Obama’s immigration plan "is not amnesty."

Do see the link in the paragraph above which discusses the post where Serwer said that, then evaluate his claim that AttackWatch is repeating.

Then, every time you see something, say something: send the link to this post to @AttackWatch and use the hashtag #AttackWatch.

Other tags: pres2012

Wed, 09/14/2011 - 16:25 · Importance: 4