Right-wing media figures uncritically amplified a now-debunked New York Post story to demonize immigrants and attack Democratic lawmakers.

On May 13, the New York Post published a story alleging that a group of 20 homeless military veterans had been “evicted” from two upstate New York hotels to make room for immigrants who had settled in New York City. The Post claimed the supposed migrants were part of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ plans to secure temporary housing for immigrants entering the city.

After the Post published its story, the local outlet Mid Hudson News spoke with hotel management and service providers the Post claimed were involved in the removals. On May 18, the paper reported that not only had no homeless veterans been removed, but they were never there to begin with — one hotel manager “had never heard of” the veteran's group supposedly involved, while another said it “had not put any veterans in the hotel for ‘a long time.’”

The report also discredited a receipt presented by State Assemblyman Brian Maher as supposed evidence that the group representing the homeless veterans had paid for the rooms. The Post later reported that the group’s longtime advocate had lied to the newspaper about the entire situation, and on Friday the Mid Hudson News revealed that 15 homeless men were paid to pretend they were veterans who had been staying at the hotel.

By the time the story fell apart, right-wing media had already latched onto the now-debunked narrative and immediately weaponized the shoddily reported story as part of their ongoing fear campaign over a so-called “invasion” of migrants coming across the southern border.

  • Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt said it was “astonishing that some of these hotels are getting migrants” and having to cancel other reservations, adding, “There are two couples that booked rooms for their wedding … and 20 vets also were in that hotel, they all had to move out because these migrants moved in.”
  • Later on Fox & Friends, guest co-host Will Cain claimed that a “flood of illegal immigrants” are taking up hotel rooms and other resources in New York. Cain went on to remind viewers “about homeless veterans booted from a hotel so that rooms could be given to illegal immigrants,” with Earhardt adding that “Eric Adams says they’re gonna stay there for four months, so 20 veterans had to move to another hotel.”
  • Fox anchor Harris Faulkner claimed the story showed “the disgraceful treatment of our military veterans played out in Orange County, New York,” as the nonexistent group of “at least 20 homeless veterans, some reportedly suffering from PTSD, had to give up their hotel rooms for illegals.” Fox contributor Johnny “Joey” Jones added a jab at the Biden administration, stating, “A president that would leave Americans stranded in Afghanistan probably doesn't see the onus to take care of 20 veterans in a hotel. And I hate to say it, but that's just the absolute truth of it.”
  • Outnumbered co-hosts Emily Compagno and Kayleigh McEnany expressed outrage over the New York Post story, with Compagno claiming “America's heroes are now paying the price” for the “Southern border crisis.” McEnany lamented, “I can't help but notice the contrast when you have a 24-year-old — a veteran, had been in Afghanistan — kicked out of his hotel room as an Afghan national on the terror watch list is crossing the border in San Diego.”
  • Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum complained, “You’ve got the hotels in New York that are having to take folks in. You had one in Newburgh, New York, where they had to cancel a wedding and kick out some homeless veterans to make room for incoming migrants.”
  • Conservative moving company owner John Rourke appeared on One America News and ranted, “It just drives me nuts when we have veterans sleeping on the streets of this country and committing suicide in record numbers … and here we are filling up hotel rooms with illegal aliens, giving them cell phones, giving them medical attention, giving them food and water, and then putting them on planes.”
  • On Twitter, Donald Trump Jr. used the story to attack Democrats, stating, “Honestly, this is just infuriating! Homeless vets are being booted from New York hotels to make room for migrants. Fuck Democrats & their bullshit policies! America last isn’t hyperbole it’s their goal.”
  • Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier tweeted, “Unacceptable. Nearly two dozen struggling homeless vets have been booted from NY hotels… So illegal immigrants can have space. WHAT?!”
  • Conservative radio host Bo Snerdley tweeted, “This is about as ruthless, coldblooded, and incredibly heinous as anything Biden and Democrats have ever done. Kicking American veterans out of their lodging to make way for illegal immigrants? What country IS this?”
  • Newsmax contributor Tony Shaffer later tweeted, “This tells you everything you need to understand about the progressive left cult - they are out to expand political power and a permanent underclass that will vote for them even if it means sacrificing veterans.”
  • Fox News contributor and former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “What could be more backwards than putting illegal immigrants ahead of American veterans? An insult to American sovereignty.”
  • 2024 Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley tweeted a link to the New York Post’s story, adding, “Liberal insanity at work.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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Migrants S

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ inhumane and depraved stunt keeps getting worse as more facts emerge. On Wednesday, DeSantis loaded 48 migrants—who are asylum-seekers mostly from Venezuela—onto planes in in San Antonio, Texas. They then flew to Florida, then eventually on to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, where there are no refugee services. Officials there had no warning, but the community rallied in support of the incomers -- to the point where officials received so many donations and volunteers that they had to turn them away.

That’s the heartwarming part of the story. The part that makes this so much worse than we even knew before is emerging as the story comes from the migrants themselves through the immigration attorneys who have mobilized to help them. That includes the allegation that U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents assisted DeSantis in this stunt.

Here’s immigration attorney Rachel Self relating what she heard from her new clients.

According to the migrants, DHS agents met the migrants as they were boarding the plane. The agents gave them false addresses of homeless shelters from all over the country—from Tacoma, Washington, to Florida—and told them to use those locations as their contact addresses. “According to the paperwork provided to them, the migrants are required to check in with the ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] office nearest to the fake address chosen for them by DHS, or be permanently removed from the United States,” Self said. Some are required to check in as early as Monday morning.

“It could not be clearer that this is an attempt to have these people ordered to be removed even if they try as hard as they can to comply with the instructions provided to them,” Self told a group of reporters.

“Their biggest concern today is that many of them have dates to appear in San Antonio Monday morning. Tacoma, Washington Monday morning. Washington, D.C. Monday morning,” Self said. “Their biggest concern is compliance.” Tallahassee immigration attorney Elizabeth Ricci told the Orlando Sentinel on Friday that DHS and ICE had to be involved. “ICE likely conspired with the governor’s office to pull off the stunt,” Ricci said. “It couldn’t have been done without their direct involvement.”

DHS officials haven’t responded to the allegation yet.

The migrants were lured onto the planes thinking they were getting jobs and housing. Emmanuel, a 20-year-old Venezuelan migrant, told the San Antonio Report that he had been paid $200 in cash by a woman who identified herself as “Perla” to recruit fellow migrants to board the flights. He said Perla told him the migrants would be sent to “sanctuary states” where the government would help.

She told him an “anonymous benefactor” was funding the operation, including his payment. “Perla informed me that in those sanctuary states, the state has the benefits to help migrants,” Emmanuel told the Report. “I’ve just been the mediator because I like to help people.”

“A lot of people really come without plans, they want to come and just work and they have a hand that’ll provide them shelter,” he said. “I just saw it in that way, like a sweet way, doing it for good.”

Lawyers for Civil Rights, which is based in Boston, is providing free legal services to the migrants. The group also says that it is investigating claims by migrants that they were tricked or sent against their will into taking the flights by DeSantis, making it a possible violation of human trafficking laws.

DeSantis remains belligerent and promises this outrage will continue. He says he has people in Texas who are intercepting Venezuelans seeking refuge in Florida, where they likely have family they want to rejoin. “What we’re trying to do is profile, ‘OK, who do you think is trying to get to Florida?’ You’re trying to identify who’s most likely to come.” Are DeSantis’ “people” in Texas the DHS agents who allegedly helped him essentially kidnap these 48 people, including families with children?

The Department of Justice needs to be investigating this now. That was true before the allegations emerged that federal employees—agents of the DHS—were complicit in DeSantis’ monstrous stunt. Those allegations make a federal investigation imperative, and urgent.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.