ICE Routinely Obscures Truth in Raid Reports
ICE Reports Should be Received with Skepticism
HARLINGEN, TX—With Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) releasing information on a new round of raids targeting Central and South Texas, the public should know that ICE routinely obscures the truth about who the agency targets with its enforcement activities. Evidence shows that ICE officials go out of their way to highlight egregious cases of immigrants they target, despite dozens and sometimes majorities having no criminal background at all.
In an October 2017 investigative piece, The Intercept details how during February 2017 raids in and around Austin, ICE agents were instructed to find the worst cases to highlight for the media in an attempt to distract from the dozens of low-level and non-criminal cases picked up in the raids. The report further details how agents struggled to find such cases, frustrating their superiors.
In a timely piece out last week, WNYC explains how ICE presents misleading information in its press releases about the immigrants it targets in raids, counting on media to report directly from its press releases, rather than doing independent reporting.
While media is charged with helping the public distinguish fact from propaganda, when journalists report directly from ICE press releases they fail to give the context and perspective that demonstrate the reality that immigrants commit fewer crimes than non-immigrants. In fact, a range of studies support the claim that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than US Citizens, as PolitiFact California details.
The WNYC piece offers recommendations for news media wishing to provide a well-rounded look at ICE enforcement activity, including requesting a break down of the crimes committed and reaching out to immigrant rights organizations for additional perspective.