In the final count down to the upcoming election on 8 November 2016, Fox News host Neil Cavuto expressed disbelief over what he claimed to be remarks by President Barack Obama that encouraged undocumented immigrants to vote illegally. Other conservative outlets soon followed suit, with the Gateway Pundit calling the comments “criminal”:
Barack Obama openly called on illegal aliens to vote in Tuesday’s election.
This whole administration is lawless!
They lie at every turn.
They lied to get Obamacare passed.
They lied about Benghazi.
They lied about Hillary’s private server and emails.
And now they are calling on illegal aliens to vote.
The claim originates from an interview with Obama published on 3 November 2016, in which millennial actress Gina Rodriguez asked the president about a number of issues facing young Latinos. Many of the outrage posts were written around a video in which the majority of the president’s response was edited out to give the misleading impression that Obama was urging undocumented immigrants to vote illegally:
In the full interview, it’s clear Obama is urging Latino citizens to vote in order to give voice to members of their community who are precluded from doing so by lack of citizenship, not urging non-citizens to vote illegally. Rodriguez’s question seems to be addressing a fear that voting will result in scrutiny on one’s family which could result in deportation of undocumented relatives:
RODRIGUEZ: Many of the millennials, Dreamers, undocumented citizens — and I call them citizens because they contribute to this country — are fearful of voting. So if I vote, will immigration know where I live? Will they come for my family and deport us?
OBAMA: Not true. And the reason is, first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself. And there is not a situation where the voting rolls somehow are transferred over and people start investigating, et cetera. The sanctity of the vote is strictly confidential in terms of who you voted for. If you have a family member who maybe is undocumented, then you have an even greater reason to vote.
RODRIGUEZ: This has been a huge fear presented especially during this election.
OBAMA: And the reason that fear is promoted is because they don’t want people voting. People are discouraged from voting and part of what is important for Latino citizens is to make your voice heard, because you’re not just speaking for yourself. You’re speaking for family members, friends, classmates of yours in school…
RODRIGUEZ: Your entire community.
OBAMA: … who may not have a voice. Who can’t legally vote. But they’re counting on you to make sure that you have the courage to make your voice heard.
The unedited video, posted by mitú, a media network geared toward young Latinos, can be viewed here: