Friday, July 06, 2007

Fact checking Brent Castillo on immigration

Brent Castillo is the Wichita Eagle's designated right-wing Christian columnist. He can be counted on to regurgitate the talking points, snipe at liberals, and distort the facts.

Take his latest column "it's not anti-immigrant to want to secure the border."

Here are some pronouncement by Castillo and the facts as shown by polls which can be found here.

CASTILLO: President Bush and a handful of Republican senators joined the Democrats in pushing for the failed legislation. But an outpouring of negative response from their constituents persuaded many who were waffling, such as our own Sen. Sam Brownback, to vote it down.

It was the right thing to do.

FACT: Castillo apparently is unable or unwilling to distinguish between the number of phone calls generated by a rapid anti-immigrant minority and the views of the majority.

A June 22-24 CNN poll asked "Do you oppose the Senate immigration bill MOSTLY because you think it goes too far toward helping illegal immigrants, or MOSTLY because it does not go far enough toward helping illegal immigrants?"

They found that only 28 percent opposed the bill because it went to far. In contrast, 30 percent supported the bill and 15 percent opposed it because it didn't go far enough.

CASTILLO: The majority of Americans want to see our southern border under control before they're willing to talk about roads to legalization.

FACT: LA Times/Bloomberg poll "When it comes to dealing with illegal immigration, do you favor an approach that focuses only on tougher enforcement of immigration laws, or an approach that includes both tougher enforcement of immigration laws and also creates a guest worker program that allows undocumented workers to work legally in the U.S. on temporary visas." Only Tougher Enforcement 40 percent; Guest worker program too 55 percent

CASTILLO:A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll from June asked: "Compared to other problems facing the country, how big a problem is illegal immigration?"

Eighty-six percent said illegal immigration was one of the most important problems facing our country.

FACT: Only 31 percent said that illegal immigration is one of the most important problems facing the country.

CASTILLO: A Quinnipiac University poll from late last year asked if, in regard to a border fence and increased security, "additional measures are needed from Congress to deal with illegal immigrants entering the country, or do you think this is enough for now?

FACT: The same poll showed that 65 percent favored a guest worker "would allow illegal immigrants to register for temporary legal status and employment." 69 percent were in favor of allow[ing] illegal immigrants to register into a guest worker program, should that program offer them the ability to work toward citizenship over a period of several years.

CASTILLO: The majority of Americans want to see our southern border under control before they're willing to talk about roads to legalization.

FACT: This is a right-wing anti-immigrant talking point. I couldn't find a poll question that asked anything of the sort.

A May CNN poll asked people whether they would favor a number of measures dealing with immigration.

Building a 700 mile fence 45 percent favored, 53 percent opposed.

Creating a program that would allow illegal immigrants already living in the United States for a number of years to stay in this country and apply for U.S. citizenship if they had a job and paid back taxes 80 percent favored, 19 percent opposed.

CASTILLO: "our border crisis goes unresolved even though a majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, want the problem addressed."

FACT: It is not only a border crisis. It is a crisis of 10-12 million undocumented and exploited workers in the United States. It is a crisis in which major sectors of the American economy are complicit. It is a crisis of exploitation and poverty in Mexico and Central America.

CASTILLO: We need to have an open and honest discussion about what's best for our country.

FACT: Consistently misrepresenting what the polls show about American opinion on immigration is no way to begin an honest discussion. Starting your column with dishonest swipes at the Democratic leadership in the Congress, while ignoring the obstructionist tactics of the Republicans does not show a desire for dialogue.

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