Deception? CBS Omitted Clip of U.S. Attorney Pledging to Prosecute Employers of Illegals

On Wednesday, CBS Evening News and special contributor Maria Elena Salinas were up in arms because, so far, the Mississippi food processing plants raided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week were not being prosecuted. The report was largely designed to make it seem as though the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, Mike Hurst, was not serious about prosecuting them.

But on Thursday, CBS shared more from Salinas’s interview with Hurst. And it turns out, she deceptively omitted a clip of Hurst pledging to prosecute when they had enough evidence.

During the Wednesday report, Salinas highlighted a confrontation interaction she had with Hurst. Asking him:

Why are the employees immediately detained and put in jail and separated from their families, when you have these employers and managers who are home free with their families like the others are being detained?

After Hurst counted by accurately pointed out that it was the parents, who crossed in the country illegally, who put themselves and their children in that position, Salinas pushed back:

I understand. But you didn't answer the question. I'm asking you specifically about the last operation here, and why is it that you have hundreds of people in jail, and you have these employers, or managers who hired them, and broke the law, home with their families?

As CBS was wrapping up the segment, she told floundering anchor Norah O’Donnell that the investigation was ongoing. “But what's perplexing is that this investigation has been going on for six months,” she fretted. “Yet, he says they don't have enough evidence to prosecute these employers who hired undocumented workers and the undocumented workers are detained.”

 

 

As apparent evidence to worry about the food processing companies not getting prosecuted, Salinas recalled: “A study from Syracuse University shows that only 11 employers who have hired undocumented workers have been prosecuted nationwide.” As NewsBusters pointed out at the time, that statistic was also misleading.

Then, during the Thursday report, this one delivered by correspondent Manuel Bojorquez, CBS played more of the interview. This time it showed Salinas pressing Hurst on whether or not he was going to prosecute and he pledged to do so:

SALINAS: So, you can guarantee in the future, whether it takes weeks or months, that the employers who hired these particular workers will be prosecuted or be in jail?

HURST: I can guarantee we will investigate this case, and if we get evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, the employers and owners will be prosecuted.

And despite all of CBS’s fretting, their own reporting showed that the U.S. Attorney seemed to be gathering the evidence they needed to prosecute.

“The evidence against the five poultry companies includes instances of workers wearing electronic monitoring ankle bracelets, like those federal authorities place on immigrants without work permits. And another worker who used an assumed name who was told to ‘quit and reapply,’” Bojorquez reported.

As NewsBusters additionally pointed out on Wednesday, what the employers were most likely to face were fines and not necessarily jail time, as Salinas was pushing for. On Thursday, Bojorquez noted that “employers can be fined up to nearly $20,000 per undocumented worker.”

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CBS Evening News
August 15, 2019
6:41:08 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: We’ve got an update tonight on last week's ICE raids in Mississippi. Search warrants allege that the targeted companies knowingly hired undocumented immigrants. So why haven't the companies been charged? Manuel Bojorquez has the answer that was given to CBS News.

[Cuts to video]

MANUEL BOJORQUEZ: The evidence against the five poultry companies includes instances of workers wearing electronic monitoring ankle bracelets, like those federal authorities place on immigrants without work permits. And another worker who used an assumed name who was told to “quit and reapply”.

680 workers were detained in last week's raids. Employers can be fined up to nearly $20,000 per undocumented worker. It's unclear if that has happened. But CBS News has learned undocumented workers have started receiving fines, like this one, for nearly $500.

CBS News contributor Maria Elena Salinas sat down with Mike Hurst, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi.

MARIA ELENA SALINAS: So, you knew that these employers were hiring undocumented immigrants. Why haven’t any of them been prosecuted?

MIKE HURST: Well, in these types of investigations part of it is executing these criminal search warrants.

SALINAS: So, you can guarantee in the future, whether it takes weeks or months, that the employers who hired these particular workers will be prosecuted or be in jail?

HURST: I can guarantee we will investigate this case, and if we get evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, the employers and owners will be prosecuted.

[Cuts back to live]

BOJORQUEZ: Companies in Mississippi are required to use the e-verify federal database to screen new hires. But according to the affidavits, investigators say they found dozens of instance where's that did not happen. Norah.

O’DONNELL: Manuel Bojorquez, thank you.

NB Daily Immigration Bias by Omission Broadcast Television CBS CBS Evening News Video Manuel Bojorquez Maria Elena Salinas

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