DC mayor Muriel Bowser is creating a legal defense fund for immigrants who may be targeted for deportation during the Trump administration. Bill O'Reilly and a guest recently railed against the plan, saying a number of untrue things in the process. Bowser's office put out this video setting the record straight.
As one of many "sanctuary cities," the District’s law enforcement does not participate in federal efforts to deport undocumented workers – which total to around 25,000 according to government figures. Earlier this month, Bowser announced a plan to set aside grant money for defending illegal immigrants in danger of being deported.
In their discussion of the matter, O’Reilly and guest Jeanine Pirro stumble over the facts. And in each instance of them doing so, Bowser staffers add in an on-screen correction or clarification.
For instance, when O'Reilly sums up the fund by saying that Bowser will get a half million dollars to use however she wants in DC, and that the fund will "pay lawyers to challenge any deportations the federal government may make," neither of which are true, the corrections pile up.
Although immigration issues such as this have been politically contentious, one of the most concerning points of this discussion is the sheer lack of knowledge concerning DC government and finance. O’Reilly, for instance, says that tax money in Washington comes from the federal government, meaning all US taxpayers would be paying into DC's fund. That isn't true-- the District of Columbia raises money through taxes to pay for the fund, just as any other local government would.
O’Reilly and Pirro also accuse the District of having misplaced priorities, saying the city should instead focus on homelessness and violent crime While both of these are undeniably serious issues affecting the city, the Bowser administration has made affordable housing one of its key issues, and violent crime in the District is well below its 1990s peak.
The legal defense fund for immigrants is not unique either; the District has numerous progressive policies on law and order, ranging from providing tenants free legal representation in civil suits to providing bail to people who cannot afford it.
Although O’Reilly and Pirro were not right to talk about this issue without better educating themselves first, they are certainly not the only people to not understand the strange political status of DC. How do you think that we can better educate people about District civics?