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NPR Strains to Attribute ‘False’ Beliefs to Border Hawks

Record-breaking border apprehensions have NPR concerned — about the “false and misleading” beliefs that Republicans supposedly hold on immigration. {snip}

The problem is that none of the three claims it highlights are clearly false. {snip} The first: “Immigrants are more likely to commit crimes or be incarcerated than the U.S.-born population.” NPR has in mind here rates of imprisonment, but a survey respondent could focus on the first part of the statement and reason that illegal immigrants (about one quarter of the foreign-born population) are by definition in violation of the law. Answering “true” is defensible.

The second: “Most of the fentanyl entering the U.S. is smuggled in by unauthorized migrants crossing the border illegally.” NPR calls this false because most fentanyl is transported on trucks that receive clearance to cross the border. But a survey respondent may reason that no migrant is “authorized” to import illegal drugs, and smuggling may count as “crossing the border illegally” even if an oblivious border official gives the go-ahead. Again, answering “true” is defensible.

The third: “Immigrants are more likely to use public assistance benefits than the U.S.-born population.” Answering “true” here is more than just defensible — it’s the correct response. In a recent analysis, 49 percent of immigrant-headed households received at least one means-tested benefit, compared with 32 percent of native-headed households. {snip}