Republicans who silently watched former President Donald Trump tear innocent children from their families because they were Hispanic immigrants now seem to be outraged at the current state of U.S. immigration policy, and it only took a Democratic president to inspire such disgust. "The border is getting wall-to-wall coverage on the Sunday news shows," journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted.
The NBC "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd was trending Sunday afternoon for his day-late, dollar-short attempt at balanced coverage of immigration. “It's fair to call the deteriorating situation at the US-Mexican border a crisis — even if the Biden administration refuses to use that word,” Todd said on the show. “But it's more than that: It's a political crisis for the new president, with no easy way out.” Journalist Soledad O’Brien tweeted in response: “Chuck todd continues to be terrible. And non-contextual.”
Historian Kevin Kruse attributed the renewed interest in immigration to an urgent GOP need to find fault in President Joe Biden‘s administration after Democrats successfully passed “a massive stimulus” and triggered an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations. “I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I watched one of the Sunday morning shows on the major networks,” Kruse said. “I mean, I can read Republican press releases all on my own. I don’t need Chuck Todd saying ‘we’ll leave it there’ at the end.’”
In a fitting example of how spot-on Kruse was, increased media coverage of immigration seemed to synch up perfectly with a news release Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent out on Friday. In the release, Abbott bragged that he "blasted" Biden‘s administration for the conditions of federally-run facilities for minors in Texas. “The Biden Administration has been an abject failure when it comes to ensuring the safety of unaccompanied minors who cross our border,” Abbott said. “The conditions unaccompanied minors face in these federally run facilities is unacceptable and inhumane. From a lack of safe drinking water in one location to a COVID-19 outbreak in another, the Biden Administration has no excuse for subjecting these children to these kinds of conditions.”
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, of Texas, asked simply in response to the governor’s news release: “You care about immigrants?”
“The day before a white supremacist killed 23 people in El Paso (claiming there was a ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas’) you mailed a letter urging Republicans to ‘DEFEND TEXAS NOW’ from immigrants & ‘take matters into our own hands,’” O’Rourke added.
Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro called out Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on similar hypocrisy. McCarthy tweeted on Monday: “What's happening at the border is more than a crisis. This is human heartbreak. And it was created by the policies of President Biden.” Castro responded: “In the last nine months of Trump’s presidency there was a 690% increase in unaccompanied minors encountered by CBP. There’s been a 61% increase under President Biden. How come we didn’t hear a peep from you until now?”
Sawyer Hackett, Castro's senior adviser, critiqued a Washington Post article describing Biden's more humane immigration policies as backtracking on “guardrails” to avoid winding up with “2 million people on our border.” Hackett condemned specifically the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a Trump-administration policy to return U.S. immigrants without "proper documentation" to Mexico or outside of the states.
“I respect every journalist on this byline. But this is pure hot garbage, beginning to end,” he tweeted. “Let’s start with the premise of Biden ‘tearing down the guardrails’ on immigration. MPP isn’t a guardrail, metering (or limiting the number of immigrants who can seek asylum) isn’t a guardrail, disallowing children to seek asylum isn’t a guardrail. Trump should be arraigned on human rights crimes for using Title 42 on children.”
Hackett continued in a thread of tweets:
Has Trump so fundamentally broken the media’s brains that restoring centuries of immigration law is considered radical? Is it considered smart politics to tell a 8 year old child they’re being deported back to gangs who threatened their lives?
Seriously, what’s a better outcome—children in overcrowded facilities or 10K children expelled to back cartels? To the media it seems it’s “out of sight out of mind” is the best policy. Where the fuck was the outrage when Trump deported 13K children last year?
The article fails to mention a 700% surge in unaccompanied minors in Trump’s last year, and a 360% surge in adults seeking asylum. It fails to seriously examine that the Trump admin refused to cooperate w/ the transition—which is the most important factor here in preparation.
The Democratic members of Congress quoted are playing politics. Their interviews critiquing the admin offer no solutions, and add fuel to the nativist, anti immigrant sentiments Trump created. They claim expertise and sound like fools. And it quotes Chad fucking Wolf.
The article names suspending wall construction, protections for Dreamers, and ending the Muslim ban as part of an “aggressive strategy” that contributed to a spike in CBP encounters. That makes zero sense.
The messaging critique here is an unwillingness to call the situation “a crisis”—a GOP and sympathetic media manufactured semantics debate that is pointless and irrelevant. It starts by telling readers Biden admin has been saying “don’t come,” but every quote claims otherwise.
This is an editor driven story designed to show the Washington Post is fair in its criticism of both sides. But it conveniently ignores what’s been happening at the border the last year—or what happened for 4 years under Trump.
Rep. Veronica Escobar similarly criticized immigration coverage of This Week ABC. “Welcome to El Paso @ThisWeekABC and @MarthaRaddatz,” she said in the tweet. “Parachuting in to use El Paso as a prop while excluding local voices & Democratic lawmakers keeps the focus off the solutions we need. I encourage shows that visit here to elevate the folks on the ground working on solutions.”
ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz responded on Sunday with a tweet of her own. "Rep Escobar- with all due respect—I have spent a tremendous amount of time along the border over the years and have been here the last 4 days on this trip so we could listen to local voices and see for ourselves. We do look forward to having you on the show in the future," she said.