Stephen Colbert caught Fox News’ Chris Wallace in a lie about immigration last night. Wallace was a guest on the Late Show and the two were discussing President Trump, healthcare and immigration. Wallace tried to defend Trump’s immigration policies and it did not go well.
“Fear of the caravan is not good, but the idea that three, or five, or seven thousand people from another country can just walk up to our border, knock on the door, and say, ‘We want in! We want to take jobs here, we want to work here’—no!” Wallace told Colbert.
“A country does need to have borders and there does need to be some kind of system that determines whether people are allowed in the country or not. Seriously, do you believe in open borders?”
“No, we don’t have an open border!” Colbert responded. “Here is a system, and three to five thousand people will not make it here. This has happened many times before, and they never do, and you know that! And you know that there is a system in place, and there is a legal system, and we have laws that allow asylum. So I believe in the law. Do you believe in the law, Chris Wallace?”
Wallace acknowledged that he believed in the law but he wasn’t finished arguing the point.
“No, because of the fact that under the asylum rules now, if somebody comes in and they say, ‘We have credible fear of persecution,’ what happens? They are put out into the country, we don’t have enough places to put them, so we do have a catch-and-release program, and about 10 percent of the people that are caught and released return for their hearings. And only about 10 percent get legitimate asylum,” Wallace said.
“I’m not sure that that’s true. Those aren’t the facts that I’ve seen,” Colbert said. Colbert called on a researcher backstage to check Wallace’s claims, and Wallace immediately started to reverse course.
“I may be wrong… Only 10 percent of the people who seek asylum are granted asylum,” Wallace said. When pressed, he added: “I would be about 40 percent wrong.”
Later on in the broadcast, the researcher ran onstage with the fact-check from PolitiFact, pointing out that roughly 60-70% of non-detained immigrants show up for their court dates, causing Colbert to tell Wallace he was “50-60% wrong.”
And when it comes to asylum-seekers, per the Justice Department, roughly 90% of them return for their court dates after being released into the country.