TARGET 8 Fact Check: Ad claims McCaskill is weak on immigration

1 year 9 months 2 weeks ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 4:00:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
By: Emma Claybrook, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Border security and immigration continue to be huge issues for Missouri's November senate race between Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, and Missouri attorney general Josh Hawley, R-Missouri. 

A new attack ad funded by the Senate Leadership Fund claims McCaskill is weak when it comes to immigration. The fund pulled its information from a 2006 Missouri Senate Debate and from the senator's voting records once she was elected to Congress. 

KOMU 8 News found it is true that McCaskill has changed her stance on immigration, but when we dug deeper into the voting records, we found the bills the ad used need more context. 

To add to all of this, a counterpoint ad in which the Border Patrol Council endorses McCaskill and President Donald Trump was released. 

Claim: Claire McCaskill said she was against amnesty for illegal immigrants. 

This claim was pulled from the senator's remarks in a 2006 Missouri Senate Debate. 

An audience member asked the candidates what plans or bills they would introduce to "fix the obvious problem we have now with illegal immigration". 

Former Sen. Jim Talent, R-Missouri, attacked McCaskill's stance on immigration, saying she is for amnesty and against fencing at the border. 

Result: We find this claim to be true. 

McCaskill responded to the question in the debate saying, "It’s like fingernails on a blackboard to have to sit and hear your positions misrepresented and it’s frankly not the way we campaign in Missouri. I have never said I was for amnesty, ever."

The senator goes on to say she is anxious to enforce the law against immigrants and their employers.

"I’m a prosecutor, I believe in enforcing the law. I do not believe amnesty is the right way to go on immigration. I also believe we must secure the borders," she said. 

Claim: McCaskill "joined the liberals" to give amnesty to 11 million immigrants. 

This claim is pulled from McCaskill's vote on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act

The bill aimed to "establish a coherent and just system for integrating those who seek to join American society". It also established a Southern Border Security Commission to make border security policy recommendations. 

Result: We found this claim needs context. 

McCaskill did vote yes to pass this bill, but we found her vote was not a vote for amnesty, but rather a vote for larger immigration reform and increased border security. 

Claim: McCaskill voted for amnesty when there weren't border protections in place. 

The ad pulls voting records from several bills and amendments.

According to the Congressional Quarterly Press Library, McCaskill voted against amendments that would allow for border fencing and biometric security for immigrants. 

She also voted to table amendments that would increase border security. 

Result: We found this claim needs context. 

While McCaskill did vote against border control previously, it seems as if her position has changed. 

McCaskill for Missouri released an ad in which the Border Patrol Council endorses the senator. 

The BPC claims McCaskill voted for $600,000,000 for border security. The ad quotes a St. Louis Post Dispatch article that said, "McCaskill has been among those unwilling to go along with other Democrats amid efforts during the Obama administration to attempt the broader fix."

Claim: McCaskill repeatedly "sided with liberals" to protect sanctuary cities. 

This ad and another ad funded by another conservative PAC, One Nation, claim the senator supported sanctuary cities by opposing de-funding. 

It cites another string of McCaskill's votes on bills. 

Result: We found this claim is false. 

First, McCaskill did vote against ending a debate about sanctuary cities. KOMU 8 News cannot say this vote against the debate was a vote for sanctuary cities. 

The ad approved by McCaskill claims, "She was one of only four democrats to vote in ending sanctuary cities." According to another article by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, this is true. McCaskill did vote yes to de-fund sanctuary cities. 

In the article, she referenced the death of Randy Nordman, a New Florence man who was killed by a person who was in the country illegally. 

"While there are arguments to be made on both sides of this issue, my experience learning the details surrounding the death of a Missourian at the hands of an undocumented immigrant pushed me to the side of trying to force as much cooperation as possible between state, local, and federal law enforcement authorities in this space," said McCaskill. 

McCaskill's campaign team responded to the ad with its own fact check saying the ad is "extremely misleading". 

The campaign of McCaskill's opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, released a statement saying, "Claire McCaskill will do anything to hold on to power, even lie to Missourians about her record on immigration."

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