May 25, 2023
By Brian Lonergan
To explain the startling number of hate crime hoaxes in America today, it has often been said that the demand for racism in the country exceeds the supply. When it comes to America’s ongoing problem with illegal immigration, there is no need to manufacture tales about the crisis. The truth is bad enough.
The issue of false immigration stories came to light recently when a story originating in the upstate New York town of Newburgh emerged that a group of homeless veterans were evicted from a hotel to make room for the arrival of migrants who illegally entered through our southern border. The story was covered extensively—including in this column—as an example of misplaced priorities by government officials.
Within days of the initial coverage, reports began to surface that cast doubt on the local nonprofit purportedly arranging the housing for the veterans at the hotel. State Assemblyman Brian Maher, who had been supporting the veterans in media interviews and in the New York State Legislature, said he was “devastated and disheartened” after a discussion with the CEO of the nonprofit revealed the story wasn’t true.
This was manna from heaven for anti-borders activists, who pounced on the story as an opportunity to discredit those who have been sounding the alarm on the threat to the nation from irresponsible and destructive immigration policies.
While the migrants-over-veterans story in Newburgh added a sensational element to the news cycle, the revelation that it was a hoax does nothing to change a number of undeniable facts. As New York City Mayor Eric Adams has often said, his city has been overwhelmed by the number of migrants who have arrived there. The surge is costing the city billions of dollars and is causing a “fiscal emergency.” Available spaces to house the arrivals are at full capacity, and city leaders are scrambling to find additional housing options including elementary school gyms.
Homeless shelters were some of the first facilities repurposed to facilitate newly-arrived migrants. It is almost certain that homeless people in the city—including veterans—have been denied shelter housing or moved out early to accommodate migrants. That veterans may not have been displaced in Newburgh does not change the reality that it is happening elsewhere.
It is also true that many other American citizens have had their lives turned upside down from the Biden White House-engineered border crisis. Deanna Mifsud and Gary Moretti planned to use the same Newburgh hotel to host their wedding party on June 24. They were unceremoniously informed their reservation for a block of 30 rooms was canceled to create space for migrants.
Meanwhile, the government-media illegal immigration cabal regularly pushes hoaxes to advance their own agenda and never recant, even when proven wrong. One of the most shameful moments of the Biden presidency—a designation with many candidates—came in September 2021 when his administration fanned the flames on the allegation that mounted border agents whipped Haitian migrants near Del Rio, Texas.
The controversy was largely based on a single still photograph that, when viewed without knowledge of the facts by someone wanting desperately to believe the worst, might look like an agent assaulting a migrant. Without any facts, due process, or investigation, Biden went before the press and accused the agents of “strapping” migrants and vowed that the agents would “pay.” The man who took the photograph said no such whipping incident occurred, and a subsequent internal affairs investigation cleared the agents of the whipping charge. To this day, neither Biden nor anyone in this administration has apologized for tarnishing the agents’ reputations or admitted there was a rush to judgment.
In 2018 a photo that appeared to be a little boy crying in a cage received heavy exposure on social media. Critics blasted the Trump Administration for border policies that allegedly resulted in “kids in cages.”
There was just one problem: the photo was not what it appeared to be and was taken completely out of context. It was not taken at the border but in connection to a protest staged at Dallas City Hall. The cage was a prop for the protest. The activist who took the photo later said the boy cried because he was confused about how to get out of the cage and was in it for about 30 seconds. Apologies and retractions were in scarce supply afterwards.
Such fabrications are commonplace in the anti-borders movement, as the demand for stories of jack-booted immigration enforcement agents victimizing migrant families vastly exceeds the supply. In contrast, stories of pandering sanctuary mayors placing the needs of illegal aliens over their lawful constituents are plentiful. Hoaxes are not necessary to document the sabotage of our borders, our communities and our national sovereignty. The truth tells the story.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.
Also published at American Greatness, May 25, 2023.
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