Bad Facts at the Heart of O'Reilly's Support for Immigration Bill

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Immigration Bill

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly endorsed the "Gang of Eight" immigration bill on Thursday night, despite the fact it legalizes illegal aliens before securing America’s borders. More interesting, though, is that O’Reilly’s endorsement was apparently based on bad facts, which were based either on an incorrect statement made to him by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), or on O’Reilly’s own misunderstanding of the immigration bill.

“Sen. Rubio told me on the phone today that it would be at least 13 years--thirteen--before people in the country illegally right now could gain full legal working status and even longer to achieve citizenship,” O’Reilly said, explaining the reason he was endorsing the bill.

That statement about the Gang of Eight bill is doubly inaccurate. Firstly, the Gang of Eight bill would immediately allow every illegal alien in the country to “gain full legal working status.” It would not take 13 years for that to happen. Rubio himself has even admitted that. On Univision recently, Rubio told the Spanish-speaking audience that “the following will happen: first comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence.”

The second claim in O’Reilly’s statement is also factually incorrect. It will not take “even longer” than 13 years for America’s at least 11 million illegal aliens to “achieve citizenship.” For those who do not fall into special categories with fast-track citizenship paths that the Gang of Eight bill would create, it would take only 13 years to obtain citizenship. But, as Breitbart News has detailed many times, agriculture workers and "dreamers" have special fast-track provisions that could mean several million people will gain citizenship within five years.

As Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) detailed months ago, at the end of April, the Gang of Eight bill “provides a five-year pathway to citizenship for 2–3 million illegal immigrants--of any age, including those previously deported--who claim DREAM eligibility. These illegal immigrants will be eligible for all federal assistance--and will be able to bring in an unlimited number of parents, spouses, and children in just five years. Illegal ag workers will get green cards in five years and will be able to apply for citizenship in 10. The families of illegal immigrants (including elderly parents) now living outside the country will be eligible for federal benefits as soon as 10 years from the passage of the bill.”

The only question here is whether O’Reilly’s bad conclusion is his fault, or Rubio’s. Did Rubio make an incorrent statement to O’Reilly during their phone call on Thursday? Or did O’Reilly misconstrue what Rubio told him?

Heritage Action’s Dan Holler is working to find that out. He asked Rubio spokesman Alex Conant the question in a Tweet on Thursday evening, but Conant has not responded.

Nonetheless, Rubio’s senatorial office is touting the endorsement as a victory of sorts. His staff issued a press release, and published a video of O’Reilly's endorsement on the Senator’s YouTube page. 

Later on the O’Reilly Factor, radio host Laura Ingraham challenged O’Reilly’s support of the bill, saying she was “uproariously laughing” during O’Reilly’s segment. “Not because it was funny,” Ingraham said. “It was like ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’”


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