It seems that conservative commentator Tomi Lahren has a propensity to send out dismissive tweets without actually considering the facts behind them.
Case in point: Early on Monday morning, Lahren sent out a tweet on the topic of immigration, suggesting that undocumented immigrants reap the benefits of social programs designed for U.S. citizens.
“62% of households headed by illegal immigrants are receiving some type of federal assistance,” she wrote, pointing out that the rate was higher than the overall rate for citizens across the country.
62% of households headed by illegal immigrants are receiving some type of federal assistance. That’s more than 2x the percentage for households headed by native-born Americans. Does that hurt your feelings? Too bad. https://t.co/biFN6vgori— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) May 14, 2018
It’s not the first time Lahren has made a controversial (as well as errant) statement, and it likely won’t be the last time either.
At first glance, Lahren’s tweet from Monday morning may seem accurate to those eager to accept the premise of what she's saying. Perhaps not surprisingly, her followers ate it up, without actually considering what the statistic really meant.
But upon further examination, Lahren's tweet is confoundingly misleading. What’s up with the phrasing “households headed by [undocumented immigrants]” anyway? Lahren fails to mention in her commentary that those households are not made up solely of undocumented immigrants — they are “mixed status” families, or families where at least one member may be undocumented while others are actual citizens.
In these families, the head of the household to which Lahren is referring is not the individual receiving the benefits — instead, someone within that household, a United States citizen, is. In fact, except in special, rare circumstances, undocumented immigrants cannot receive any benefits from the U.S. government.
This is not mentioned at all in Lahren’s commentary, and the omission is a sleight of hand meant to purposely infuriate those who follow her. It’s also directly out of the same playbook as President Donald Trump, who made the exact same claim during the 2016 presidential campaign season.
The claim made by Lahren is just as false and misleading as it was back when Trump said it. Yet conservatives continue to regurgitate it, hoping that the confusing wording will promulgate their xenophobic message for years to come.
In reality, those who are receiving federal benefits are U.S. citizens who just happen to live in a home with an undocumented immigrant. They are entitled to the same privileges that any other citizen here can attain — and anyone who says they’re not, like Lahren, is mistaken.
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