No, 'half' of taxes on families are not being used to fund 'free college' for immigrants

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Fox New's Ainsley Earhardt claimed families earning '$50,000' have to pay '50%' in taxes to fund education for undocumented immigrants, which isn't true by a long shot.

"Fox & Friends" co-host Ainsley Earhardt on Tuesday suggested falsely that middle-class families are being taxed at a rate of nearly 50% to fund "free college" for undocumented immigrants.

Earhardt's comments came during a discussion of the Biden administration's immigration policies. Referring to a typical family that "makes maybe $50,000 a year," Earhardt said, "Half of their paycheck, maybe a little less, maybe whatever depending on what your salary is, is going back to the government to pay for free college for illegal immigrants."

She reiterated that families are "asked to take half of your money and pay for someone else to go to school for free."

Earhardt did not offer any evidence to support the claim about how much money goes to support college costs for undocumented immigrants. A fact check published in 2019 from FactCheck.org rated allegations that migrants are simply getting "free college" as "false."

There are no income brackets in the United States where either individuals or households are federally taxed at a 50% rate. In the 2020 tax year, at the highest level of income — individuals making over $518,401 or married couples earning above $622,051 — the tax rate is 37%.

Tax rates are even lower for the income level Earhardt referred to. For individuals earning $50,000, the tax rate is 22%, while couples at that level are taxed 12%.

Several states completely bar undocumented immigrants from accessing in-state tuition for college. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia allow immigrants to pay in-state rates, but only 11 of those states give undocumented immigrants access to financial aid.

Only 6 states of the 11 cover the full cost of tuition or pay for the gaps between what families can afford and the complete cost of tuition. Those states also require students to meet several other standards including a minimum grade point average, a certain length of residency, and a specified income level.

Even for those who meet all the requirements, the funds provided do not automatically lead to a free college experience. Tuition and fees account for 20% of the budget for community college students, while those costs are 40% of the budget for in-state students who live on campus at public 4-year schools.

The misleading claim about the government financing "free" college education for migrants is in step with Fox's long history of attacking immigrants.

A July report from Media Matters for America noted that in a 12-week period the network fearmongered about migrants and the immigration system in at least 693 segments airing on the network.

Fox promoted reports that cast migrants as a threat to America, alleging that they are an economic drain on America while elevating racist conspiracy theories about migrants.

The network's most highly rated primetime host, Tucker Carlson, has espoused the racist "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, which falsely alleges immigrants are being brought into the country to replace white people.

The theory has now become a commonly used talking point for Republicans in Congress.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.