It’s not hard to see how the media portrays nonwhite people and nonwhite communities in the news. It’s a bit of an institution to demonize marginalized groups and spread false narratives about them. Thus, creating stereotypes and implicit biases. So it comes with little surprise that the recent narratives about migrants and immigration have simply adopted the age-old practice of creating panic in white communities.

There is no better example than “apprehension” and “encounter” data as reported by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and how news media reports it. As I so often tell colleagues, “Never trust what police say without scrutinizing them.” This is such a case. As we heard constant reports about 2 million migrants being apprehended at the southwest border, what you didn’t hear about is that those numbers include apprehensions AND expulsions under Title 42.

Allow me to explain.

CBP’s data shows that of the 2 million “apprehensions” at the border, 549,771 of those were removals under Title 42. This means that actual apprehensions totaled 1,496,067. Of those nearly 1.5 million, nearly 550,000 were removed, expelled, or returned to their home countries by CBP. In addition, both CBP and news media reports ignore that the Office of Field Operations (OFO) also removed an additional 429,831 migrants in 2023.

Highlighting key data points left out of the conversation about immigration

Based on this data, roughly 514,465 migrants entered the US last year via the southwest border at an average rate of about 42,872 per month. That’s hardly the chaos or crisis the public has been led to believe. Instead, what it shows is a system with an extensive vetting process that highlights how difficult it is for migrants to qualify for asylum. But listening to the media you’d think 2 million people just walked into the country last year when that is simply not the case.

The real number is about 25% of that.

I’ve been examining tons of data to debunk far-right pundits like the human skin tags Steve Bannon and Tucker Carlson along with media outlets like Fox News, OAN, and more. In the process of doing that I discovered how mainstream media is also spreading what could technically be described as misinformation based on lies by omission. The “crisis” narrative also feeds into far-right “invasion” conspiracy theories that have people riddled with fear.

Even worse, supposed allies of the immigrant community have also bought into the narrative that there is a “crisis” at the border. The language used in media has even brought the country to a place where bipartisan policies like Biden’s Border Bill – riddled with far-right policies attacking migrant rights – have been accepted by liberals more so than far-right shitheels.

A real-life example of how the media impacts people’s thoughts about immigration

Commentary in the news media leads people to justify creating a convoy of armed extremists to head to the border claiming to be “God’s Army”. It leads to neo-Nazis like Active Club targeting Latinos they suspect of being “illegals”. It leads to murder, death, and destruction as we have seen so often before in various ethnic communities at the hands of racist white men. Because, when language like this becomes acceptable, no one is safe (except white people, of course).

When supposed trusted news outlets foment ideas of a crisis while Greg Abbott intentionally funnels migrants through Eagle Pass for cameras, they bolster far-right ideas of military-age men crossing the border to harm the US while ignoring the rising number of families desperately seeking asylum. Today, we find ourselves at a point where assumptions about the number of people crossing the border are a part of normal discourse instead of fact-based conversations.

Far too many people have fallen for the terrorists are coming narrative despite my debunking this multiple times as no intelligence agency nor can any Senators confirm it to be true. No one with access to any classified intelligence can unequivocally say, “Yes, terrorists have entered the country”. To put it simply, there is no evidence to support the claim. Meanwhile, conservatives are in an all-out panic about being attacked by imaginary foreign fighters.

Yes, the hysteria about the border is overblown.

Calling out CBS News for out-of-context reporting on immigration (again)

The news media must do better to educate the public. Otherwise, they are manufacturing consent to adopt inhumane policies toward innocent migrants who would otherwise not have left their home countries had the US never intervened in them. Remember, migrants aren’t our enemy. The people who create the environments that force migrants to flee their home countries are.

Driving wedges among minority groups keeps us fighting each other while the elites who create those divisions continue taking advantage of all of us and hoarding wealth. We must do better. If not, we will only end up with more families being torn apart like the Martinez family was last year along with so many more before that murder and since.

This nonsense has to stop.

Read the CBP Data cited in this article

The Antagonist Magazine is a project made up of journalists, activists, and writers focused on amplifying the stories of marginalized communities. The goal is to educate the public by sharing narratives focused on independent voices. Born of an online community in 2019, our platform operates independently; free of corporate influence. Please consider supporting the work of dozens of writers from various communities.

Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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