Truthsquad on immigration
The success the Obama administration has had in reducing the flow of the illegal immigration to the United States is not due to his enforcement. It’s due to the recession.
Dick Morris, Fox News consultant on Obama and Immigration
Source: Fox News

Editor Findings

  • Truthsquadeditoricon_thumb
    Mostly False
    After spirited back-and-forth discussions, we concluded that Morris' statement is "Mostly False." The Pew Hispanic study of immigration patterns from Mexico suggests that economic factors drive immigration rates. We also learned that most immigration to the United States from Mexico is illegal, which was a surprising statistic. Both Pew and the Center for Immigration Studies agree that illegal immigration began to decline around the time of the Bush administration's last-minute push for increased enforcement and continued to fall as Obama implemented new policies. Downward economic trends coinciding with this period must have had an effect, but both studies point out that rates of legal immigration remained constant as illegal immigration dropped. Though illegal immigration comprises most of the traffic, and economics are clearly a factor, the constant rate of legal immigration suggests that some other factor makes it harder for people to enter the country illegally. We considered that legal immigration may be fixed at a constant rate because of federal quotas, but the Pew study used a range of measures to estimate the immigration "flow rate," which we feel would account for this problem. At the very least, we found no conclusive evidence to support Dick Morris's assertion that the reduction of illegal immigration "is not due to... enforcement." We encourage you to respond to this verdict in the comments below. Thank you all for participating in this community fact-checking experiment! -- Jon Mitchell, on behalf of the Truthsquad Editors

Community Findings

Mostly False (2.4)
  • Derek Hawkins
    Derek Hawkins
    I see no data in the related stories that explicitly links the decline of illegal immigration to the recession. While I'm sure the recession has contributed to the decline, enforcement appears to have played at least as great a role. Morris erred in saying President Obama's enforcement has not reduced the flow of illegal immigrants to the United States -- as usual, the reality is more complex than Fox News purports it to be.
  • Kaizar Campwala
    Kaizar Campwala
    Though I haven't seen any decisive data, the correlation between latino immigrant unemployment and decline in illegal immigration is pretty compelling. Of course there are a variety of factors that influence immigration from Mexico, but economic pressures are certainly among the primary drivers. Kelly's Pew Research piece shows that the decline began before Obama was in office, suggesting it wasn't a policy change, but rather some other factor that kicked off a reduction in immigration.
  • Kristin Gorski
    Kristin Gorski
    I originally chose false, then Jon Mitchell pointed me to the Pew Reports which have clearly explained that this is true. I'm leaving my original note below to show that I let my negative perception of Dick Morris keep me from looking at the truth further; apparently, he was right on this time. I'll keep this in mind when my initial reaction to a quotation is so strong -- I should still check it out to see if it's true or not, whatever the source is. ----------- Original vote: FALSE (Following is why I believed so)-- Dick Morris regularly speaks opinions which are not backed up by solid facts. He is very partisan. Upon reading something from him, my instinct is to automatically discount it. He is not a trustworthy source; Morris regularly says what conservatives bosses want him to say. So, I based my choice of "false" on a reputation he has created for himself by his consistent actions over a period of time.
  • Jon Mitchell
    Jon Mitchell
    I apologize for misleading Kristin, but I have now come full circle to answer "False," and I think this will be my final answer. Subbu helpfully pointed out to me that I had misread the Pew study, and it actually agrees with the CIS study that illegal immigration has dropped, while legal immigration has remained relatively constant. This strongly suggests that it's harder than it used to be for people to get into the United States illegally. The economic effects could clearly be a factor, but if legal immigration has stayed constant, that casts serious doubt on the fact that the equation is as definitive as Morris would have us believe.
  • Fabrice Florin
    Fabrice Florin
    This is a difficult quote to fact-check, because it's subject to interpretation. But I'm going to say it's false for now, because I could not find any conclusive data in the attached links to prove that the recession had MORE impact than law enforcement in curbing the flow of illegal immigration. Therefore, I think this statement is premature, because the true cause is still speculative.
  • Joey Baker
    Joey Baker
    It's impossible to say for certain what has caused illegal immigration to slide. Therefore, stating, with certainty that one factor is the cause is false.
  • Subramanya Sastry
    Subramanya Sastry
    Reading some of the links, it is clear that recession has had an effect, as well as enforcement by the federal government. I am not convinced however, that there is one definitive reason for the reduced flow. Secondly, there is some confusion between the reduction in inflow into the US vs. an increase in departures from the US. Some of the referenced articles refer to a decrease in population of illegal immigrants, but once again, both increased departures as well as reduced inflow can lead to that. Based on Beth's recent link, it also appears that failure of the amnesty bill might also have led to a drop in illegal immigrant population. So, it is fairly clear to me that the assertion that it is the economy that is the primary reason for drop in immigrant is false, especially considering that the motive in this case seems to be to score political points.
  • Kelly McBride
    Kelly McBride
  • Steve Myers
    Steve Myers
    Not Sure
    I think it's fair to say the recession has reduced illegal immigration. However, I'd have to know more about the enforcement strategies (including how long they've been in effect) to know that they have not affected it as well.
  • Leslie Parsley
    Leslie Parsley
    I think Fox is deplorable but I believe this one is true. See below.
  • Randolph Selig
    Randolph Selig
    The big draw is jobs, whether it's border crossers or those who come on tourist or student visas and overstay. If no one's hiring or more subtly, there's less tolerance among the public for illegal alien labor, its the economy.
  • Beth Wellington
  • Mike LaBonte
    Mike LaBonte
    Not Sure
  • Jim Lang
    Jim Lang
    It's difficult to determine truth from the data but I believe that long term trends have shown that illegal immigration is driven by economics and difficult to stem with even handed enforcement. Even though enforcement and deportations are up, it is easy for me to believe that the economic decline has had the greater effect.
  • Michael Bugeja
    Michael Bugeja
  • Sirajul Islam
    Sirajul Islam
    There's no question it is a poor reporting not substantiated by facts that gleaned through research. Both might be true or false, or partially correct or incorrect, particularly at this time. The question is whether a media man should educate people in this way, whether a media should broadcast or print it. Creative minds do have latitude to push the boundaries, it seems to me, and their contributions can both entertain or cause discomfort. For the media, there are certainly some limitations, and they can’t, or I should say, shouldn’t say anything without necessary research. Media is guided by best practice because they’re not guided by regulations. Media is self-regulated, and it should certainly be, because it is the only arrangement for media accountability that is in line with the fundamental right to media freedom. Media need to look closely at themselves. It is not at all clear that the full extent of factors contributed to the plummeting of the immigrant entry has been revealed by him. It would also be good to have a clearer sense of the extent to which the political reporting was compromised or not. One needs to look closely at the structures of accountability, at codes and practices, to make sure they are clear on these issues. To this point I think this statement is false.
  • Gary Clark
    Gary Clark
  • Neil R. Anderson
    Neil R. Anderson
  • Mike Carlson
    Mike Carlson
    The recession has hit Mexico also ... harder than here. The reason for those coming across the southern border has become more ... not less ... of a motivator.
  • Lynn Caporale
    Lynn Caporale
    Part of the decline likely is due to the recession, part likely is due to the increased personnel at the borders (and part probably due to deaths as immigrants are forced into more dangerous routes, as described here: But it's clear that the intention of Morris is NOT to research the relative contribution, but, as a PR specialist and political operative, to play down the importance of anything the Obama administration did, even if the recession further decreased border crossings. It is important to distinguish between people who set out to report a story, and people who start out with a political goal and then package information to fit their agenda.
  • Carlos R. Candelaria
    Carlos R. Candelaria
  • Douglas Hord
    Douglas Hord
  • Margaret McGowan
    Margaret McGowan
    The recession is probably a major factor, as the Arizona Republic article points out. But several sources point to stepped up enforcement and support the notion that this has contributed to reducing the flow.
  • Jerry Best
    Jerry Best
  • Tony Russomanno
    Tony Russomanno
  • Irene Radke
    Irene Radke
  • Steve Souza
    Steve Souza
  • Peter Maresca
    Peter Maresca
  • Ron Claridge
    Ron Claridge
  • Myra Mendible
    Myra Mendible
    First, I agree with those who note Morris' role as FOX mothpiece for the Right. But most critical is the fact that undocumented immigrants do not take the kinds of jobs most affected by the recession; they work behind the scenes in low paying servioce and domestic jobs that are least impacted in a recession. While professional and managerial jobs are severely reduced during recessions, dishwashers, migrant labor, and other unskilled trades are available. These are the "unseen" and unacknowledged engines of our economy.
  • Helen Pinto
    Helen Pinto
  • Melva Hackney
    Melva Hackney
  • Paul Belle-Isle
    Paul Belle-Isle
    Not Sure
  • Randy Benson
    Randy Benson
  • Joseph W Kalb
    Joseph W Kalb
  • Morton Kurzweil
    Morton Kurzweil
  • Robin Osborne McMullen
    Robin Osborne McMullen
  • Barbara K. Iverson
    Barbara K. Iverson
    Not Sure
    The effects of the recession and of legislation are difficult to separate.
  • Nancy S. Lovejoy
    Nancy S. Lovejoy
  • Jill Geisler
    Jill Geisler
  • Christina Baker
    Christina Baker
  • Jack Dinkmeyer
    Jack Dinkmeyer
    Anything coming from the mouth of this person should be suspect if for no other reason he's a Fox Spews regular and engages in outrageousness on a daily basis.
  • Preston Watts
    Preston Watts
  • Eric Yendall
    Eric Yendall
    Not Sure
    There are two questions mixed together here. First, has the recession reduced the flow of illegal migrants? I would assume this to be the case since illegal immigration is governed by the economic laws of supply and demand, and demand has fallen in the US. The Administration can't do much about the economy. Second, has enforcement increased/improved as measured by deportations? The numbers I have seen suggest this is the case. So Morris's comment adds nothing to informed discussion of this complex issue.
  • Beverly Stiles
    Beverly Stiles
    Not Sure
  • George Horen
    George Horen
  • Shellie Lyon
    Shellie Lyon
    Would anyone believe Dick Morris about anything?
  • Liz Scott
    Liz Scott
    If it was said on Fox, it's false.
  • TC Reg
    TC Reg
    Not Sure
    It's impossible to say for sure as no scientifically valid studies have been conducted on the subject. There are lots of anecdotes and opinions, but very few facts. Even if it were possible to conduct the studies--you'd have to survey a broad sample of citizens of other countries as to why they did not illegally enter the U.S.--I'm not sure either side is willing to have the facts published. Opinions and agendas are so much easier to argue than facts.
  • Scott Edward Steiner
    Scott Edward Steiner
  • Al Harris
    Al Harris
  • Felice Kincannon
    Felice Kincannon
  • Armand G Fontaine
    Armand G Fontaine
    The Obama administration has deported more immigrants than the Bush Jr. administration according to numerous sources. Yes, the recession has had some effect on illegal entry into the United States but the administration enforcement of immigrant laws has had a more lasting effect.
  • George Lowry
    George Lowry
    Have to go with the Pew report that Ms. McBride points out.
  • Bruce David
    Bruce David
    Seems logical and ties into other news which has suggested the same plus it ties into personal observation over the past two years while living in AZ,,,
  • Donald Searcy
    Donald Searcy
    Not Sure
  • Bill Burns
    Bill Burns
  • Robin Johnson-Perkins
    Robin Johnson-Perkins
    Immigration is down because of many factors the recession being one of them. Enforcements is up going by government reports. The negative hype has also a lot to do with Mexicans not wishing to enter USA. Mexico economy has improved more jobs in the home land etc. Many factors are involved and Fox news is negative to the Obama administration.
  • Les Aasheim
    Les Aasheim
  • jillian frati
    jillian frati
    Not Sure
  • daniel joseph cano
    daniel joseph cano
  • Debi Perry
    Debi Perry
  • Irene Closson
    Irene Closson
  • LOU
  • Tommy Whitman
    Tommy Whitman
  • jim rubish
    jim rubish
  • Jerry Rand
    Jerry Rand
    Whatever Obama has done to control illegal immigration is just window dressing to satisfy those who want something to be done about the problem. He does not want to control Illegal immigration as he is trying to give amnesty to those illegals already here.
  • Rosie Racine
    Rosie Racine
  • James Kiser
    James Kiser
    The Obama Administration has not and will not enforce any of the immigration laws due to his his background. My family can be traced to 1642 in America, can he? In addition, I live in in southern California in an area where the illegals have displaced the legals, Outside of Home Depot, they all complain of "No Work".
  • Allan Gardner Miles
    Allan Gardner Miles
    If you are American don't look for work in America. If alien you might get a job or food stamps and welfare
  • Arthur Roshon
    Arthur Roshon
  • Christina Romeo
    Christina Romeo
    I feel that Dick Morris made a good point. I feel that if it weren't for the recession, immigration would not be being receiving as much focus as it has been. The reason being, with insufficient funds, as well as people believing that undocumented immigrants are taking away jobs and funding for U.S. citizens, it will be fought harder and resolved quicker.
  • Ara Gregorian
    Ara Gregorian
    The reasons for the decline of immigration to the US, whether legal or illegal, are numerous. In my opinion, the supply of work available to aliens has been in constant decline since about 5 years ago, mainly due to the current recession and declining supply of available jobs. Hence the lower number of immigrants reflect this economic reality. Other factors include less porous border areas, which may be the result of better enforcement, and also the resurgent racist attitude demonstrated by some states and groups may have also contributed to the slowdown of the immigrant influx.
  • The Thomas
    The Thomas
    All you have to do is read the source to know it's an unfounded statement. If FOX is correct, it is by sheer, dumb luck.
  • Bruce Whitham
    Bruce Whitham
  • Darcy White
    Darcy White
    Not Sure
  • Jane Peirce Wood
    Jane Peirce Wood
    Not Sure
  • Jasper Cordero
    Jasper Cordero
  • Paul Barkowitz
    Paul Barkowitz
  • Miguel Rodríguez Gorman
    Miguel Rodríguez Gorman
    Not Sure
  • Jess Henryes
    Jess Henryes
  • tdeleon
  • Sally Dunford
    Sally Dunford
    Not Sure
  • Philip Spencer
    Philip Spencer
  • Nick Cooper
    Nick Cooper
  • Matthew Levine
    Matthew Levine
    Not Sure
    If you wish to emmigrate to another country, here’s how it’s done Step 1 … call the embassy of the country you wish to emmigrate to and discover the proper procedure to do so. Step 2 … follow the procedure to the letter. One technicality gets you sent home. PERIOD!!! Step 3 … always keep your papers on your person. It saves time and reduces confusion. HOW THE HECK HARD IS THAT !!! Also, it helps if you learn the basics of the language of the country you are emmigrating to BEFORE YOU EVEN START THE PROCESS!!! I am so ill and fatigued at dealing with multilingual sinage and Mc Donalds window attendants that do not speak or comprehend ENGLISH!!! “I’d like a “Big Mac, please” … “HUH”??? I’ve heard a radio talk show host share this on many times!!! The Feds set the law. BUT, the states have the right to use that as a baseline and establish STRICKTER LAWS!!! Go go Arizona. Go to DC and kick BUTT!!! Gov. Brewer, take no prisoners! As far as I am concerned, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a hero, and a, rightfully so, stubborn and bullheaded one. Obama and his administration need to stand down on this issue. These illegals steal OUR jobs and OUR govt services without paying taxes AND committing crimes such as FALSE ID, FALSE SOCIAL SECURITY CARDS, AND, PERHAPS, FALSE IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS, and, here in Portland, the murder of a 15 year old girl (Dani Countryman…look it up) visiting her sister, from Texas(yep, the suspect was proven to be illegal). These people need to be incarcerated, sent home, and NEVER allowed to cross our border again for ANY reason!!! I am very sick and tired of people like Obama, our former mayor and previously, police chief(sworn to uphold the law without discretion) crying about this whole illegal flap!!! ILLEGAL MEANS “IN VIOLATION OF A LAW”, Period!!! Matt Levine, Portland, Oregon Home of a major ICE sting!!! 150+ “victims” fired, cuffed, stuffed, jailed, deported. Oh, the temp agency that they all were hired through…SHUT DOWN!!! And all of those jobs were filled by LEGALS within 2 days. Jobs WE don’t want to do??? What’s that???
  • Adeyemo Sodipo
    Adeyemo Sodipo
  • David P. Miller
    David P. Miller
  • jennifer bogut
    jennifer bogut
  • Michael Mcc
    Michael Mcc
  • Patrck F Fitzgerald
    Patrck F Fitzgerald
    ok whats the answer?????is it true or false
  • stefan mattlage
    stefan mattlage
  • Jerome Freehill
    Jerome Freehill
  • Jan McGirk
    Jan McGirk
  • jonathan mahaffy
    jonathan mahaffy
    Not Sure
  • Bill Harrison
    Bill Harrison
  • Jim Goff
    Jim Goff
  • Charles H. Patterson
    Charles H. Patterson
  • Susan Galbraith
    Susan Galbraith
    Not Sure
  • Robert Bellows
    Robert Bellows
  • Jerry Hayes
    Jerry Hayes
  • diego galli
    diego galli
    Not Sure
  • Nancy Woolley
    Nancy Woolley
  • Joshua Cooper
    Joshua Cooper
  • Dorothy L Preston
    Dorothy L Preston
  • Albert Reichelt
    Albert Reichelt
  • Michael Scurek
    Michael Scurek
  • Jo Hallmark
    Jo Hallmark
    Obama has been deporting illegals at a higher rate than any President. He has allocated more border patrol dollars, than any other President.
  • William Davis
    William Davis
    Not Sure
  • Cynthia Motley
    Cynthia Motley
  • Don Hilston
    Don Hilston
  • Larry Crawford
    Larry Crawford
  • Scott Ross
    Scott Ross
  • wayne leon sanford
    wayne leon sanford
  • Helen J. Wa;;ace
    Helen J. Wa;;ace
  • fpitz
  • Josh Brown
    Josh Brown
    Not Sure
  • Roy Eno
    Roy Eno
  • Denise Hochman
    Denise Hochman
    It sounds like an excuse
  • Drew DeCaro
    Drew DeCaro
    Dick Morris has proven over the years to be a lying, two-faced sack of crap. Check out the nifty CountyFair blog entry for June 18th from Eric Hananoki for a clear example of Dick Morris lying. Why do people even give this guy a forum anymore? Oh, right, fair and balanced...
  • William J Murdock
    William J Murdock
  • Don Williams
    Don Williams
  • Tamie Baggett
    Tamie Baggett
  • Patrick Tyrrell
    Patrick Tyrrell
  • Eric Cade Schoenborn
    Eric Cade Schoenborn
    Not Sure
  • Pat Tumlin
    Pat Tumlin

COMMENTS (15) Help