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CBS Continues Hyping $46 Billion 'Surge' Legislation 'Flooding The Border'

CBS kept up its slanted reporting about the proposed border security amendment to the Gang of Eight's immigration bill on Saturday and Monday's CBS This Morning. Nancy Cordes trumpeted how "the plan, worked out by Senate Republicans, devotes even more resources to border security than conservatives were calling for." Cordes also spotlighted how "some Democrats called it overkill."

The correspondent later pointed out that "some are calling [the amendment] a border surge", which would end up "flooding the border with infrared cameras, radar equipment, and drones."

Cordes detailed in her Saturday report that the amendment would include "20,000 new border control agents [and] $3.2 billion worth of border surveillance equipment, including infrared cameras and drones." She underlined her "overkill" line with a clip of liberal Senator Patrick Leahy making a hyperbolic claim about the border security measure: "It is going to militarize hundreds of American communities in the Southwest."

On Monday, the CBS journalist echoed Tamron Hall's description of the legislation from Friday's Today on NBC:

NANCY CORDES: Tonight's vote is on an amendment to strengthen border security – doubling the number of border patrol agents and completing 700 miles of new fencing, while flooding the border with infrared cameras, radar equipment, and drones. The $46 billion plan – that some are calling a border surge – was designed to appeal to Republicans, who felt there was too little emphasis in the original bill on preventing illegal border crossings.

Earlier, Cordes led the segment by noting that the amendment " would send unprecedented resources to the southern border, in exchange for some Republican backing for the larger bill."

The full transcripts of Nancy Cordes' reports from Saturday and Monday's CBS This Morning:

06/22/2013
08:11 pm EDT
CBS This Morning

VINITA NAIR: A huge compromise immigration reform bill is inching toward a vote in the U.S. Senate. It would double the number of federal agents on the U.S.-Mexico border, and open a path to U.S. citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.

Chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes has the latest.

[CBS News Graphic: "Battle On Our Borders: Senate Works To Pass Immigration Reform"]

NANCY CORDES (voice-over): The plan, worked out by Senate Republicans, devotes even more resources to border security than conservatives were calling for: 20,000 new border control agents; $3.2 billion worth of border surveillance equipment, including infrared cameras and drones.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA (from speech on Senate floor): I can tell you this: it's money well-spent, because it makes the border more secure, which helps us with our sovereignty.

CORDES: Some Democrats called it overkill.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT (from speech on Senate floor): Because it is going to militarize hundreds of American communities in the Southwest.

CORDES: But they said it was a price worth paying to win support from about ten to fifteen Republicans for the larger immigration reform bill working its way through the Senate.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK (from speech on Senate floor): We've always known there would be large numbers of Democrats to support final passage of this bill in the Senate. But this amendment gives us the real chance of getting a very significant number of our Republican colleagues.

CORDES: The bill gives eleven million illegal immigrants the chance to eventually seek citizenship, if they pay fines and pass background checks. Senate leaders are hoping to hold a vote on the bill by the end of the week, before lawmakers leave for July 4 recess. But even if the bill passes easily, the biggest obstacle lies across the Capitol in the House of Representatives. Leaders there favor a scaled-back approach to immigration reform that does not involve the pathway to citizenship that is so central to Democrats. For 'CBS This Morning Saturday', Nancy Cordes in Washington.


06/24/2013
07:13 am EDT
CBS This Morning

NORAH O'DONNELL:  We're on the verge of a crucial moment in the fight for immigration reform. The Senate hopes to start voting this evening. A new poll finds just under half of Americans want to allow immigrants to gain legal status while border security is being improved. Forty-three percent say the legal status shouldn't happen until after the border is secured.

Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill. Nancy, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Immigrants Can Obtain Legal Status...: While border security is improved, 49%; Only after border is secured, 43%; Source: USA Today/Pew Research Center Poll: Margin of Error: +/-2.9% Pts."]

NANCY CORDES: Good morning, Norah. Well, this is a critical vote tonight. It's on a piece of the immigration bill – a compromise that was worked out last week that would send unprecedented resources to the southern border, in exchange for some Republican backing for the larger bill, which would give the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants the chance to seek citizenship.

[CBS News Graphic: "Immigration Reform: Senate Vote Today On Boosting Border Security"]

CORDES (voice-over): After winning over about a dozen Republicans, the authors of the immigration bill said it's bound to pass the Senate easily.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D), NEW YORK (from interview on CNN's "State of the Union"): We're about at two-thirds of the Senate right now. Our momentum is growing.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA (from interview on Fox's "Fox News Sunday"): This a great solution for our economy and our national security, and I'm very proud of this bill.

CORDES: Tonight's vote is on an amendment to strengthen border security – doubling the number of border patrol agents and completing 700 miles of new fencing, while flooding the border with infrared cameras, radar equipment, and drones. The $46 billion plan – that some are calling a border surge – was designed to appeal to Republicans, who felt there was too little emphasis in the original bill on preventing illegal border crossings.

SEN. BOB CORKER, (R), TENNESSEE (from interview on CBS's "Face the Nation"): I think what this amendment that we worked on together – and it's been vetted by many – it certainly should put to rest any issue regarding border security – doubling – 20,000 new border patrol agents.

CORDES: President Obama gave his endorsement over the weekend.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's consistent with the principles that I and others have laid out for common-sense reform.

CORDES: Even if it passes the Senate, the bill will face opposition in the House, where Republicans say a pathway to citizenship is not a priority.

REP. MIKE KELLY, (R), PENNSYLVANIA (from interview on ABC's "This Week"): This is a serious, serious issue. We talk about a sovereign nation and its ability to protect its borders. That's number one.

CORDES (on-camera): Over in the House, leaders are less interested in a big, huge, massive immigration reform bill. They'd like to pass reform piece by piece, a very different approach, which means we could see this debate taking all summer and lasting into the fall. Norah and Charlie?

CHARLIE ROSE: Nancy, thank you.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.