Tucker Carlson, the bow tie clad, belligerent heir apparent to the Fox News talking head ratings empire gleefully Tweeted out an extra-large pile of BS today.
The organization behind this report has the audacity to put something like this out there and still name itself FAIR. I suppose it is just par for the course in a year where Donald Trump and the GOP have effectively killed irony.
The report, if you can call it that, alleges that illegal immigrants are costing the government a massive $135B per year, even when you take taxes paid by that group into account they claim the cost is still near $118B. This is a big, scary number. Any time anyone comes out with a study that’s too good to be true to illustrate their point, you should want to dig into it a bit.
Future studies should allow for a comparative examination of the economic effects of President Trump’s aggressive approach to immigration enforcement versus President Obama’s ‘alien rights first’ approach.
In this case, it doesn’t take long at all to find that this report is an extra-large serving of nonsense, even for Fox News. The group of people FAIR used to calculate their inflated number includes over 4 million US citizens who were born in the US to illegal immigrants.
The web page at the root of all this comes with plenty of tweetable, facebook-shareable laughably nonsensical infographics. The replies to Tucker’s tweet contain a solid stream of people screaming about immigrants and all the free stuff they’re getting from the government and invariably some other social program the money would be better used on – and mind you, none of the respondents seem to appreciate the circular reasoning of hating everyone who asks for free stuff from the government while still wanting free stuff from the government.
Against my better judgment, I wanted to see where they got their numbers, so I downloaded the full report. It’s 72 pages long, and if I’m going to dedicate that much energy to reading fiction, I at least want to have dragons or robots or something involved.
I did spin through the pdf, and at a glance I can say that there is a large amount of red flags. The citations at the back skew heavily to right-wing think tanks. There is loaded language throughout, including a portion of their explanation on their fact finding that says, “Future studies should allow for a comparative examination of the economic effects of President Trump’s aggressive approach to immigration enforcement versus President Obama’s ‘alien rights first’ approach.”
Any study that has that kind of language in the section intended to explain how even-handed and fair their methodology is should do nothing more for you than line the bottom of your bird cage. Double your skepticism if you agree with the motivated premise of the report you’re reading.