There’s a baby formula shortage in the United States. Republican lawmakers and conservative media members are taking frustration out on immigrants.
Fox News hosts have spent the past 24 hours raising hell over immigrant babies at the U.S.-Mexico border receiving formula, arguing that it should instead be distributed to Americans first. “[For] American families there’s a shortage, but if you’re a migrant, don’t worry because Uncle Sam has a stash of that,” Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy said Friday morning.
The subject became fodder for right-wing xenophobia earlier this week, with Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) on Wednesday tweeting a picture of what she said was “shelves and pallets packed with baby formula” at the Ursula Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. She contrasted that with a picture of a bare store shelf, writing, “This is what America last looks like.”
A day later, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in a preview of what would follow on Fox airwaves later that night, released a statement along with National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd accusing Biden of “turn[ing] a blind eye to parents across America” by “giv[ing] critical supplies to illegal immigrants before the very people he took an oath to serve.”
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The care of infants in U.S. detention centers, unsurprisingly, is the responsibility of U.S. officials, and immigrants can’t just leave to try to find formula themselves. Yet Abbott’s fellow “pro-life” Republicans — including Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop and Texas Rep. Troy Nehls — are essentially suggesting that the government let the infants of immigrants starve to death.
The hosts of each of Fox’s four primetime shows each took a similar stance on Thursday night. “Why are we feeding illegal babies ahead of American babies?” Jesse Watters asked, and which Sean Hannity also wondered later. “These are not people that respected our borders, our laws, and our sovereignty,” Hannity said. “Why wouldn’t all of the pallets go to American families first?”
Tucker Carlson riled up his viewers by asking, “How much more of this are people going to take, you wonder. It’s too humiliating.” Laura Ingraham, meanwhile, asserted that formula being distributed at the border is “something that will infuriate you,” but “Democrats just don’t care.”
The shortage of baby formula stems from the February closing of a production facility in Michigan and a voluntary recall in light of a Food and Drug Administration investigation into bacterial infections linked to powdered formula. In a news release on Tuesday, the FDA noted that “supply chain issues associated with the pandemic” are also a factor. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that the hoarding of formula is “an enormous problem” as the public becomes more aware of the shortage. The House Oversight Committee has opened an investigation into the matter, ABC News reported Friday.
Psaki responded to the attacks from conservatives on Friday, noting that Customs and Border Protection is simply following the law. “We also think it’s morally the right thing to do,” she added.
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