Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress misleads about Joe the Plumber immigration comments at tea party

The Houston tea party featured an appearance by Joe the Plumber, who said the following:

I believe in making sure our country is safe first. I believe we need to spend a little more on illegal immigrants. Get them the hell out of our damn country and close the borders down. We can do it. We’ve got the greatest military in the world and you’re telling me we can’t close our borders? - That’s just ridiculous.

There isn't really anything that terribly wrong with his statement, it's just that he obviously doesn't know much about this issue and doesn't know how to say things in a defensible way. Instead of having him speak about this issue, they could have done a public service by having someone who knows what they're talking about speak. But, what does anyone expect from the tea parties?

Partly because JTP doesn't really know what he's talking about, that made it easier for Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress to write the misleading blog post "Joe The Plumber Says Immigrants Should Get 'The Hell Out Of Our Damn Country'" [1]. Here are some of the ways she's misleading her readers:

1. The title is misleading, if not an outright lie. It's also an attempt to smear not just JTP but the entire GOP as well. He was referring to illegal aliens, not immigrants.

2. Nill falsely states: "[JTP] stated that American taxpayer dollars would be best spent on the mass deportation of 12 million undocumented immigrants". He didn't specify exactly how he wants them to leave, and nothing in his quote forecloses the possibility that he's supporting attrition. Whether he actually has a plan isn't known, but he certainly didn't explicitly support mass deportations as Nill falsely claims.

3. Nill reiterates her false claim with "he completely supports spending approximately $206 billion over five years, or $41.2 billion annually, to hunt down and deport all the undocumented immigrants living in the US." That refers to an incredibly misleading study from the Center for American Progress. And, of course, she's referring to law enforcement by ICE as "hunt[ing]".

4. Nill states: "Joe probably doesn’t realize that such a policy would also mean a loss of $1.8 trillion in annual spending and $651.5 billion in annual output." That links to [2], and, whether their figures are correct or not it puts CAP in the position of promoting profiting from illegal activity. What other forms of illegal activity would CAP promote profiting from?

5. She refers to "[JTP's] demented view on immigration and government spending". Needless to say, there are millions of people who agree with him on both, and the great majority of Americans oppose illegal immigration. Large numbers of people aren't aware of attrition due to the mainstream media and politicians continually refusing to discuss that plan, and if they were aware of it millions might support it.

6. She smears FAIR, and not just by calling them an "anti-immigrant hate group":

Jack Martin, Special Projects Director of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) was a featured speaker at Virginia’s Prince William County American Freedom Day Tea Party. The Anti-Defamation League warned that white supremacists and neo-Nazi hate groups were planning to take advantage of the tea parties to disseminate their anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant views and recruit new members.

That is truly reprehensible, but what would anyone expect from someone who can barely write a sentence without misleading her readers?

[2] She links to April 2008's "An Essential Resource: An Analysis of the Economic Impact of Undocumented Workers on Business Activity in the US with Estimated Effects by State and by Industry" (, which says: "For the US as a whole, the immediate negative effect of eliminating the undocumented workforce would include an estimated * $1.757 trillion in annual lost spending, * $651.511 billion in annual lost output, and * 8.1 million lost jobs." Obviously, they're using a strawman argument: even under mass deportations not all illegal aliens would leave the U.S. at once, and businesses would be able to adjust over time. And, of course, use of such figures is misleading unless the all the costs of illegal immigration are also taken into account, both financial and non-financial. The study was written by the Perryman Group and sponsored by Americans for Immigration Reform. The latter organization is run by the Greater Houston Partnership, a chamber of commerce-style group.

Comments's just that he obviously doesn't know much about this issue..._ You don't need to know all that much to realize something's gotta be done and that it's more lack of will than capability that's the problem. And a little disgust reflected in hard words is understandable at this point.

We our in a fight that can only end in two ways freedom or total terrorists control of you! the main goal of this criminal government is total enslavement of all people by a foreign oligarch. the system is not about freedom and human rights but about total control and mass murder. It will sale your lands it will sale you and your children it will do all evil to you in this end game. It is not complex to understand what it is, it is about total dismantling of you and the rape of your children by evil people inside a evil government, "the only way out is the old way".

'Large numbers of people aren't aware of attrition due to the mainstream media and politicians continually refusing to discuss that plan, and if they were aware of it millions might support it.' When the attrition strategy is explained in opinion polls (which is rare), it gets high approval and eats significantly into the supposedly high support for amnesty (which is inflated due to a) usually being the only alternative offered to mass deportation, and 2) explained in a pro-amnesty biased manner with a plethora of conditions which sound appealing but would, in practice, be an empty sham, e.g., 'learn English').

Anonymous the Reds got high approval in moscow in 1917.

I'm not aware that JtP was at the Houston Tea Party. I was there, and I saw a lot (click my link), but I did not see _him_. My understanding is that JtP was at the _San Antonio_ shindig.

JTP was at the North Houston Tea Party in Conroe on Thursday night. I was chasing my kids around the arena, so I don't know if he made the referenced remarks in the speech he gave. The speech is below. He did make something very similar to them in an interview he gave to some guy with a camera just after his speech. Dunno where that video is. And, regardless of what you think of the referenced, sound-bitey statements, you really should hold off on declaiming about how much someone knows about a subject when you haven't discussed it with him directly.