ABC & CBS Tout ‘Outrage’ Over Trump’s ‘Hardline Immigration Rule’

On Tuesday, both ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning decried the Trump administration enforcing legislation passed over two decades ago that allows the government to take into account how much legal immigrants to the United States rely on public welfare programs when considering granting them citizenship. The network broadcasts immediately channeled liberal “outrage” over the supposedly “hardline” policy.

“We’re gonna turn now to the battle over immigration escalating overnight,” fill-in co-host and World News Tonight anchor David Muir announced on GMA before he turned to correspondent Cecilia Vega to discuss “a lot of anger over what some say the administration is really trying to do here.” The reporter concurred: “A lot of anger, and now, a lot of lawsuit threats as well.”

 

 

The headline on screen blared: “Immigration Crackdown Outrage; New White House Rule Aims to Reduce Number of Poor Immigrants.” As the taped portion of the report began, a soundbite was featured of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro ranting: “It’s one consistent show of a president who is a racist and basically wants a whiter, wealthier nation.”

Vega followed with more DNC talking points:

Democrats denouncing new rules that make it tougher for legal immigrants to stay in the country permanently if they’ve used public assistance like Medicaid or food stamps. Other 2020 rivals like Senator Kamala Harris calling the move indefensible, and Beto O’Rourke tweeting, “If you’re an immigrant, President Trump believes you have no place in this country.”

“The Trump administration says it doesn’t want low-income immigrants to become a burden on society, even though they pay taxes and, according to an Associated Press analysis, use significantly less public benefits than low-income native-born adults,” the reporter complained.

She then snidely attacked U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli: “Asked if the policy means that famous plaque on the Statue of Liberty inviting the tired, poor, and huddled masses should come down, the President’s immigration chief said this.” A clip ran of Cuccinelli having to respond to the ridiculous question during a press conference on Monday: “I’m certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty.”

Aside from the famous Emma Lazarus poem etched on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty not actually being a statement of U.S. immigration policy, Vega seemed to forget that none of the modern public assistance programs being considered as factors by the Trump administration even existed when that poem was written. At that time, all legal immigrants were expected to have a job already lined up and received little or no welfare benefits.

On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King fretted: “The Trump administration’s newest immigration policy will affect hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants.” Though, unlike her ABC colleagues, she at least provided some important context: “The Public Charge Rule will make it more difficult for low-income immigrants to become permanent U.S. residents. The administration says it is only implementing a law that Congress passed 23 years ago.”

Correspondent Weijia Jiang worried about the “hardline” policy:

You know, President Trump has already enforced a lot of aggressive steps against illegal immigration, but these new rules bolster his longstanding belief that legal immigrants should be merit based. And hardliners in his administration, like Stephen Miller, who have crafted much of the immigration policy, have long pushed for these changes that target poorer immigrants.

The headline on screen emphasized: “Hardline Immigration Rule; Trump Admin. to Deny Green Cards to Some Low-Income Immigrants.”

Jiang later pointed out: “Despite the administration’s claim that large numbers of non-citizen immigrants ‘have taken advantage of our generous public benefits,’ recent statistics show that they make up only 6.5% of Medicaid participants and 8.8% of those who receive food stamps.” Of course if those statistics are accurate, then the vast majority of legal immigrants would not have to worry about their citizenship status being in jeopardy.

In contrast to ABC and CBS, NBC’s Today show only offered a straightforward news brief on the immigration policy change, no full report condemning the move.

Here is a full transcript of the August 13 report on ABC’s GMA:

7:05 AM ET

DAVID MUIR: We’re gonna turn now to the battle over immigration escalating overnight. A new move by the Trump administration would change the rules on who gets to stay in the U.S. And they’ll be looking at whether they have ever used public assistance or might use it in the future. So let’s get right to our Cecilia Vega, she’s live at the White House this morning with much more. And Cecilia, as you know, a lot of anger over what some say the administration is really trying to do here.

CECILIA VEGA: Yeah, David, good morning. A lot of anger, and now, a lot of lawsuit threats as well. We are not talking about people in this country illegally, we’re not talking about undocumented immigrants. These are people who are trying to obtain permanent status in the United States, and if they are struggling financially, these new rules will make it much harder for them to stay.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Immigration Crackdown Outrage; New White House Rule Aims to Reduce Number of Poor Immigrants]

This morning, outrage over President Trump’s latest immigration crackdown.

JULIAN CASTRO: It’s one consistent show of a president who is a racist and basically wants a whiter, wealthier nation.

VEGA: Democrats denouncing new rules that make it tougher for legal immigrants to stay in the country permanently if they’ve used public assistance like Medicaid or food stamps. Other 2020 rivals like Senator Kamala Harris calling the move indefensible, and Beto O’Rourke tweeting, “If you’re an immigrant, President Trump believes you have no place in this country.”

About half a million immigrants apply for Green Cards each year. Under these new rules, the vast majority could be at risk of being denied permanent legal status. Not affected, people who already have Green Cards, pregnant women and children, and refugees and asylum seekers.

KEN CUCCINELLI [ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION SERVICES]: We certainly expect people of any income to be able to stand on their own two feet.

VEGA: The Trump administration says it doesn’t want low-income immigrants to become a burden on society, even though they pay taxes and, according to an Associated Press analysis, use significantly less public benefits than low-income native-born adults. Asked if the policy means that famous plaque on the Statue of Liberty inviting the tired, poor, and huddled masses should come down, the President’s immigration chief said this.

CUCCINELLI: I’m certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty.

VEGA: So immigrants’ rights groups say that people will end up refusing public assistance, help, fearing that this will jeopardize their chances of staying in this country permanently. Robin, no doubt this one is going to end up in the courts.

ROBERTS: It sure will. Alright, Cecilia, thank you.

Here is a full transcript of the report on CBS This Morning:

7:15 AM ET

GAYLE KING: The Trump administration’s newest immigration policy will affect hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants. The Public Charge Rule will make it more difficult for low-income immigrants to become permanent U.S. residents. The administration says it is only implementing a law that Congress passed 23 years ago. Weijia Jiang is near the President’s New Jersey golf club where he’s on vacation. So, Weijia, what’s the goal of this policy?

WEIJIA JIANG: Well, good morning, Gayle. You know, President Trump has already enforced a lot of aggressive steps against illegal immigration, but these new rules bolster his longstanding belief that legal immigrants should be merit based. And hardliners in his administration, like Stephen Miller, who have crafted much of the immigration policy, have long pushed for these changes that target poorer immigrants.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Hardline Immigration Rule; Trump Admin. to Deny Green Cards to Some Low-Income Immigrants]

KEN CUCCINELLI [U.S. CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION SERVICES ACTING DIR.]: Throughout our history, self-reliance has been a core principle in America.  

WEIJIA JIANG: Acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli announced it will be harder for legal immigrants to become permanent residents if they are likely to use a public benefit, such as Medicaid, food stamps, and subsidized housing.

CUCCINELLI: To ensure that our immigration system is bringing people to join us as American citizens, as legal permanent residents first, who can stand on their own two feet.

JIANG: The administration argues that whether someone will be primarily dependent on the government for support is already a factor in their status. But the new rules will put more of an emphasis on a person’s financial well-being. About 382,000 people will be subject to the public charge test every year.

MARIELENA HINCAPIE [NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER EXEC. DIR.]: You basically have to choose between ensuring that their families are healthy, that they have the nutrition that they need and just overall well-being, or be separated and potentially be denied the ability to remain permanently here.

JIANG: Marielena Hincapie is the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

HINCAPIE: Out of all of the immigration policies, this is actually the one that will have the most deepest, widest, and longest term impact, probably for decades to come.

JIANG: Despite the administration’s claim that large numbers of non-citizen immigrants “have taken advantage of our generous public benefits,” recent statistics show that they make up only 6.5% of Medicaid participants and 8.8% of those who receive food stamps.

The new rules are set to go into effect on October 15th, but they will likely face plenty of legal challenges and end up in court. And there are exceptions for people who already have Green Cards, refugees, asylum seekers, pregnant women and children, and some members of the military. Tony?

TONY DOKOUPIL: Alright, Weijia, thank you very much.

NB Daily Immigration Conservatives & Republicans ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning Video Cecilia Vega Weijia Jiang

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