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Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Fox’s Bill O’Reilly Fan the Flames of Baseless Immigrant Rumor

by Mahwish Khan on 06/27/2011 at 9:20am

Arpaio and bill o'reillyIt seems as if a little more Jon Stewart’s mockery is in order.

Despite Arizona Forest Service officials basically saying that Senator John McCain didn’t know what he was talking about when he said that undocumented immigrants start fires, a few other extreme personalities have decided to ignore the facts and are deciding to drive the right-wing narrative by blaming immigrants for everything.

Now Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Fox’s Bill O’Reilly are rubbing their heads together, fanning the flames of the “undocumented immigrants start fires” rumor.

The self-proclaimed “World’s Toughest Sheriff” has ordered his deputies to arrest and question undocumented immigrants about the Arizona wildfires. According to The Raw Story:

Deputies in Arizona’s Maricopa County arrested 20 immigrants making their way from Mexico to the U.S. last week, and detained them for questioning about the wildfires plaguing Arizona.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the infamously tough “Sheriff Joe,” released a statement about the arrests, which occurred near the border where the wildfires blazed.

“It’s a long shot I know,” Arpaio said. “But since we already gather information from them about their U.S. entry points and traveling routes and methods, this is simply one more area of intelligence to explore that may help us to determine the origins of these fires.“

It was only a matter of time before he jumped on the bandwagon. Whether he has an excuse or not, Sheriff Joe has made it clear that he will arrest undocumented immigrants, and he will question them baselessly about…well, pretty much everything. Remember — as Think Progress will remind us — this was the same man who crammed undocumented immigrants into “tent cities” which he likened to concentration camps. While he was at it, he paraded “prisoners” around in pink underwear.

Bill O’Reilly and his friends at Fox aren’t any better. Though the wildfires have been raging for almost a month now, O’Reilly decided to ditch whatever other non-factual news he was reporting to jump on the opportunity of demonizing immigrants. As News Hounds reports:

Unless they carefully watch the news crawl at the bottom of the screen or catch the brief news breaks at the bottom of the hour, nighttime Fox News viewers may have no idea that the largest wildfire in Arizona’s history has been burning for nearly a month, along with a slew of other wildfires in the area, as the southeast faces what a U.S. Forest Service spokesman describes as “an unprecedented amount of dryness.” Finally, The O’Reilly Factor took some notice Friday night (6/24/22). Why? Because O’Reilly – quaking in his Long Island mansion over Mexican immigrants thousands of miles away – decided to join Sen. John McCain’s scapegoating of illegal immigration as the cause.

There you have it, folks. These three — McCain, Arpaio, and O’Reilly –  are relentless. The three of them have made it their primary agenda to blame immigrants for everything, and let’s face it: it’s beyond annoying, and has us wondering what epidemic immigrants are going to be responsible for next.  On the list already is homegrown terrorism via “terror babies,” global warming, the health care crisis, and the demise of Wall Street. Now, when undocumented immigrants aren’t trying to give you leprosy or bird flu, they’re allegedly setting your trees on fire.

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