Nowhere is America’s gut reaction to world events clearer than on talk radio. And no issue generates a more visceral response than illegal immigration. Not all illegal immigration, but Latino immigration specifically. The supposedly leaky southwest border is blamed for everything from non-existent epidemics of rape and murder, to non-existent infiltration by al-Qaida terrorists to the non-existent spread of the Ebola and Enterovirus D-68.
While the immigrants are considered the source of all evil, the real evil is in the mealy mouths of those actively promoting falsehoods. And in the legion of liars about undocumented immigrants, there is a new champion. He is Rep. Duncan Hunter, the 37-year old Republican congressman representing Riverside California.
The fact that none of these allegations concerning the supposedly porous southwest border have ever been substantiated is irrelevant. If you tell a lie loud enough, often enough, passionately enough, and the person asking the question never asks you to provide proof of your allegations, then the allegations become fact in the minds of the audience.
Isn’t everybody against terrorists or disease-riddled foreigners sneaking across the southwest border? With promoters of these fake issues shamelessly flogging them on talk radio and slightly less egregiously, on cable news, they take on an air of respectability. They become true. There is so much crap out there about Latino immigrants crossing the southwest border they become scapegoats for whatever ails us. It is a big reason why so many Americans feel so negatively about undocumented immigrants.
While the immigrants are considered the source of all evil, the real evil is in the mealy mouths of those actively promoting falsehoods. And in the legion of liars about undocumented immigrants, there is a new champion. He is Rep. Duncan Hunter, the 37-year-old Republican congressman representing Riverside, California.
Thursday evening Duncan told my friend and colleague Greta Van Susteren that, “If you really want to protect Americans from ISIS, you secure the southern border, it’s that simple." When Greta thankfully asked him for proof, he delivered this whopper about how we caught those sneaky terrorist in the act of sneaking across the Mexican line:
"They caught them at the border therefore we know that ISIS is coming across the border. If they catch five or ten of them then you know there’s going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol,"
They haven’t caught five or ten ISIS terrorists. They haven’t even caught a single one. Duncan made up the whole thing, especially that part about the “five or ten” ISIS caught by the Border Patrol. The Department of Homeland Security calls his claim “categorically false.” Later a spokesperson told a reporter that DHS continues “to have no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border."
We could dismiss Duncan’s baloney if it wasn’t for the fact that liars like him make just, necessary, overdue immigration reform unattainable.