Fox & Friends edited a C-SPAN clip of an exchange between Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Matthew Albence during a July 31 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the efforts of immigration enforcement agencies and conditions within migrant detention centers.
“There was one senator, Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono, she was confused about the immigration laws, and she started asking this ICE official, Mr. Matthew Albence, she appeared to be losing her patience, then he lost his patience because she didn’t understand the law, and she was––just watch this,” said co-host Ainsley Earhardt.
The clip began from the moment Senator Hirono asked Albence if he would send one of his children to an FRC (the family residential centers Albence, earlier this week, likened to “summer camps.”)
“Again, I think we’re missing the point,” Albence replies. “These individuals are there because they have broken the law. There has to be a process…”
“They have broken the law only as deemed so by the president as deemed so by his––” Hirono says before Albence cuts her off.
No, ma’am,” Albence says, noting that individuals are jailed “for violation of Title VIII of the U.S. Nationality Act.”
It’s at that moment when the clip jumps to Albence saying, “They are in those FRCs pending the outcome of that civil immigration process. They have broken the law.”
The clip jumps again after that, to Albence saying: “They’re both––they’re criminal proceedings when the Border Patrol prosecutes them, but at the conclusion of the process, once the individual came into ICE custody, they would go through administrative proceedings.”
Hirono responds, “I’m confused.”
The footage stopped then, and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy declared that Hirono “didn’t understand that the parents were separated from the children because the parents had broken the law.”
“It’s just a fact, and she thought it was because of the president’s “zero tolerance” policy. In fact, it was a U.S. statute,” he added.
But the clip Fox & Friends presented to its viewers is deceptively edited and robbed of context. Although Doocy suggested that Hirono was confused about immigration legislation, Hirono was, in fact, correct in saying that the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” family separations policy mandates prosecuting anyone who crosses the border illegally.
The clip omits, for example, Hirono’s statement that, based on her understanding, the “zero tolerance” policy effectively renders civil proceedings criminal ones. To that, Albence, responded, “They’re both,” as noted above. Hirono then replies, “I’m confused.”
The clip also omits Hirono’s response to the rest of Albence’s statement, during which he says that individuals face criminal proceedings when prosecuted for “the criminal violation of improper entry.”
“That was the ‘zero tolerance’ policy, right, that everyone would be prosecuted in a criminal proceeding? Is that not right?” Hirono asks
To which Albence replies, “That is correct.”
You can watch the Fox & Friends clip below:
Democratic senator “confused” by how illegal immigrants break the law pic.twitter.com/r6CDHzRWV7
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) August 1, 2018
You can then compare it to footage from yesterday’s hearing, which Hill Reporter covered.
Fox & Friends has come under fire for deceptive reporting before but counts President Donald Trump as a regular viewer. The president has often praised the program for its favorable coverage of his presidency, and its purposely misleading coverage of the exchange between Hirono and Albence is just the kind of raw material the president would use to trumpet a victory for him and his supporters during one of the more contentious periods of his tenure to date.