Immigrants living in the country illegally have been blamed for everything from the financial crisis to siphoning money out of the federal stimulus package by Conservative media figures who have turned them into scapegoats, according to a report issued Tuesday.
Those are the conclusions of advocacy group Media Matters, a liberal not-for-profit that monitors what it calls “conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”
Another favorite target of such criticism, according to the report, is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an advocacy group for low-income people, also known as ACORN, which is active in Orlando.
“At best, these scapegoats are tenuously connected to the issues those figures are discussing; at worst, they are entirely unrelated. In some instances, the media linked their scapegoats to major news stories using misleading claims, and in others, they advanced outright falsehoods,” the report said.
Some examples in the report:
The financial crisis has been attributed to excessive lending to undocumented immigrants and to ACORN “bullying” banks into lending to minorities. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development has denied that illegal immigrants held the bad mortgages and the lending program for minorities was smaller than suggested.
Some of the opposition to the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP, centered on claims that the bill would provide health benefits to illegal immigrants. The report says the bill language’s specified that its benefits were for people lawfully residing in the U.S.
Some media reports stated that undocumented immigrants would get tax credits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but the bill’s benefits were limited to people with Social Security numbers.
Erikka Knuti, a spokeswoman with Media Matters, said commentators blame immigrants because they can.
“It’s about pointing to those who are disenfranchised as being the villains in these issues,” Knuti said. “It’s a cheap shot.”