FAIR spokesperson Ira Mehlman was recently interviewed for a story airing in Tucson regarding an upcoming Supreme Court decision – set to be announced by June – on Deferred Action for Children of Aliens (DACA) and the impact of that decision on the local community and DACA recipients. DACA was an executive action made by former President Obama, which deferred deportations for roughly 800,000 illegal aliens who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. It also allows them to legally work in the U.S.
First, watch the video.
Next, I’m going to offer some commentary about the station’s overall handling of the topic and then will grade the objectivity and fairness of the newscast. Finally, I’ll ask readers to do the same
- The segment inaccurately points out that the ruling from the Supreme Court will be based on the constitutionality of DACA. In fact the Court will likely be ruling much more narrowly on whether the Trump administration has the authority to end DACA, which was implemented by nothing more than a policy memo issued by the previous administration. Unfortunately, they refer to DACA recipients as “young immigrants,” which blurs the central issue of their illegal status and their need for DACA protection in the first place (and the fact that some of them are approaching 40).
- First interviewed is Tucson attorney Mo Goldman, who argues that the decision should be delayed because of COVID-19. I don’t blame him for trying to wrap himself in the protective coating of the global pandemic, but this is a constitutional or procedural question (depending on how the court approaches the issue) and has nothing to do with other events taking place in the country. He ignores the fact that even if the decision comes down against DACA, the current administration has wide authority regarding when and if it chooses to remove DACA recipients.
- Astonishingly, Goldman also argues that thousands of DACA recipients are essential workers who could be laid off if this decision cuts against them. There are some 29,000 DACA medical professionals, but that’s a small portion of the 14.8 million health care professionals in the country. In fact, DACA medical professionals represent a mere 0.2 percent of these workers. Goldman also seems to ignore the reality that more than 33 million American workers – including more than 1.4 million in health care fields – have lost their jobs within the last six to eight weeks.
- He also argues that with the unemployment rate at 14 percent, laying off more people would be a bad idea. Once again, there’s a glaring flaw in logic here. If a DACA recipient is let go from a job and removed from the U.S., they wouldn’t be adding to the U.S. unemployed population.
- The second interview is with DACA recipient Jaime Tadeo, who argues that the case simply makes him “feel like a number.” Sadly, when parents make bad decisions – like choosing to come to the U.S. illegally instead of waiting their turn for legal admission – it’s not only them, but their families who are placed in difficult circumstances. For example, if an American couple decides to stop paying their mortgage, it’s the whole family that is evicted from the home and thrown out on the streets, not just the parents.
- FAIR spokesman Ira Mehlman correctly points out that this case has been dragged out long enough, and the key question – if one president has the authority to end an executive action (FAIR would say an illegal executive action) by a former president – needs to be decided.
- One key point that was completely omitted by the station and plays a big role in this story is the fact that President Trump has repeatedly said that he wants to cut a deal with the Democrats to protect DACA recipients. (For the record, FAIR opposes any form of amnesty.) That’s an important detail that needed to be added to this story.