UPDATE: Networks Refuse to Report Obama Role in Humanitarian Border Crisis

UPDATE: On the June 10 Evening News, CBS’s Vicente Arenas reported: “The influx of children is being blamed on poverty and drug-related violence in Central America. It’s also thought some parents wrongly believe policy changes made by President Obama prohibit young, illegal immigrants from being deported.”

Late last week, detention centers along the U.S.-Mexican border were crushed with a new surge of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children, yet two of the Big Three networks have barely touched this new headache for the Obama administration. And not a single reporter or anchor on ABC, CBS or NBC have cited Barack Obama’s extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as cause for a humanitarian crisis that has led to children as young as 9-years-old illegally crossing the border without their parents.

From June 8 through the morning of June 10, the Big Three morning and evening news shows have devoted a total of 10 minutes and 9 seconds to the crisis. CBS represented 7 minutes and 48 seconds of that coverage. NBC has just done one story totally 2 minutes and 21 seconds. That was still far better than ABC which has yet to air a story on World News or Good Morning America. Only a 1 minute, 10 second discussion, sparked by a George Stephanopoulos question on the topic on the June 8 edition of This Week, kept the issue from totally being blacked out on ABC.
Even when the reporters did cover the story they refused to mention the Obama administration’s decision, earlier this month, to extend a program that would allow children to defer deportation.

As Fox News reported: “Among the policies that allegedly are creating a magnet for illegal immigrants is what's known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The unilateral policy in 2012 allowed some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to defer deportation -- among other criteria, they must have come to the U.S. before they were 16 years old, be younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, and have been in the country since at least June 15, 2007, and have no criminal history. The administration extended that program earlier this month, allowing the immigrants to apply for protection from deportation for another two years. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement that the extension and changes would ‘proactively invite fraud and abuse.’”

Fox News went on to report: “In December, a U.S. District Court judge in Texas also claimed that federal agents were intercepting human smugglers transporting children at the U.S.-Mexico border -- and then delivering those children to illegal immigrant parents in the U.S.”


NBC’s Ned Potter, in a June 8 Nightly News story, painted a stark picture of children leading other children across the border. However, he never mentioned Obama’s extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as a cause of this “humanitarian crisis.”

NED POTTER: The unaccompanied children are being bussed to the U.S. border patrol station in Nogales, Arizona, after overflowing detention facilities in south Texas. More than 700 children from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are housed together now in a converted warehouse where they are screened by authorities. With even more kids en route, federal officials are scrambling to provide enough portable toilets, cots, water  food and showers as the state supplies vaccines for children, some very young, who have been through a rough ordeal even after they were caught...Just this morning, this group from El Salvador, ages 9 to 18, was picked up by Texas police after crossing the Rio Grande in search of their parents already here. This girl saying of their journey, “We all took care of each other. The little ones we would send up front.” They’re part of a surge in Central American immigration that began a few years ago, as many fled the violence, poverty and drug gangs there... Last week President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis and ordered FEMA to care for the children.”

Over on CBS Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell invited Republican Senator Marco Rubio to discuss the topic on the June 10 edition of CBS This Morning, but neither one of the co-anchors asked the Florida senator if Obama’s extension of the (DACA) was even partly to blame. Rose, however, did find time to push Rubio on immigration reform, as he pressed: “You got into some political pushback on immigration reform. When will we see thorough immigration reform?” 

— Geoffrey Dickens is Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.