A Media Matters review of Fox from July 5 through July 7 found 20 claims on the network that Texas was facing an “invasion” of migrants. Fox & Friends and its early-morning edition, Fox & Friends First, each aired 4 such claims — more than any other show. Anchors of the network’s so-called “news” shows allowed 7 such claims from Republican politicians and Art Del Cueto — vice president and spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council and who has worked closely with former President Donald Trump — to go unchallenged. Between charitable, softball interviews with conservative politicians and through hosts themselves, Fox News has spread this false narrative that Texas is facing an “invasion” of migrants.
However, this is not a new narrative for the network; Fox News has worked hard to frame migrants crossing the border as an invasion for some time. In 2018, Fox contributor Charlie Hurt called for “tanks on the border” to stop an “invasion.” In 2019, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade tried to argue that it was a “fact” that it was an invasion. More recently, Fox host Will Cain repeatedly called the migrant crisis an “invasion” to push governors of border states to take action. In March, prime-time star Tucker Carlson compared migrants crossing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, claiming, “Our military could seal the border with Mexico in days. That would save American lives, it would restore order and it would end the invasion.”
Similar rhetoric about an “invasion” of migrants at the border inspired a man who is charged with murdering 22 people, most of whom were Hispanic, at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019. In a screed the alleged killer posted online, he declared his attack was “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for the term “Texas” within close proximity of any variation of either of the terms “invasion” or “invader” from July 5, 2022, through July 7, 2022.
We included any claims in segments about migrants at the Texas-Mexico border, which we defined as instances when the migrants at the border were the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of migrants at the border. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed the migrants with one another. We also included claims made in passing mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker mentioned the migrants in a segment on another topic without another speaker engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promoted a segment about the migrants scheduled to air later in the broadcast.
We defined a claim as a block of uninterrupted speech by a single speaker that explicitly called immigration at the Texas-Mexico border an “invasion” or the migrants “invaders.” We did not include statements that merely suggested that others, states, or courts have, should, or will declare(d) the migrants an invasion or invaders or that merely discussed the language of Article 4 of the U.S. Constitution. For host monologues, we defined a claim as the speech between played clips or read quotes. We did not include the speech within played clips or read quotes unless a speaker in the segment positively affirmed the speech either directly before or after the clip was played or the quote was read.