Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Fact-checking attacks on the immigration bill

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., criticizes the immigration bill pending in the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., criticizes the immigration bill pending in the U.S. Senate.

As the U.S. Senate moves forward on an immigration bill, critics of the legislation have charged the bill won't stop illegal immigration while rewarding people who came to the United States without proper permission. 

Sometimes in making their case, though, they've distorted what's actually in the bill. Here, then, is a summary of some of our recent fact-checks. (We'll be adding to this list as we find new distortions.)

"Obama cars." Bloggers and the website Breitbart have promoted the absurd notion that teenagers will get free cars under the immigration law. In reality, the Senate bill includes a provision for a youth jobs program that includes transportation services. Typically, that means bus passes. Given the program's many safeguards and regulations, the idea that free cars would be given away is laughable. We rated this statement Pants on Fire.

Optional fence building. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., criticized a recent amendment that mandates a certain amount of fencing for the border. Sessions said the bill "has a specific provision that says that Secretary Napolitano does not have to build any fence if she chooses not to." Actually, that provision gives Napolitano discretion about where to build 700 miles of fence along the nearly 2,000-mile border. It doesn't give her the discretion not to build at all. We rated Sessions statement False.

Border security timetable. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, warned that the bill "has immediate legalization ... and the border security is sometime in the future, and just like in 1986, it's designed never to come into being." Cruz is right that people will soon qualify for a provisional legal status, though they'll have to wait for permanent legal status. But he's not correct that the border security will never come into being. In fact, significant spending for border security is in included in the bill. We rated his statement Mostly False

When legalization occurs. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., has accused Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., of saying one thing to English language media and another to Spanish language media. Rubio "all along has been saying, 'We have to have border security first,’ "  Rohrabacher told conservative WND Radio. "And then, he, you know, when he gets on Spanish TV, he ends up saying, 'No, no. That will never get in the way' or, 'Legalization status isn't contingent on border control.' Well, this is outrageous, and no one should believe him." We looked closely at Rubio's remarks and found he made distinctions between provisional legal status and permanent legal status, in both English and Spanish. We rated Rohrabacher's statement Mostly False.

Want more? Read all our fact-checks on immigration.