During Thursday’s episode of Fox News Channel’s “The Five,” panelist Jesse Watters urged Americans to “have more babies” instead of bringing in “foreigners to have the babies we won’t have.”
His xenophobic comment, shared in a video posted by Mediaite, came in response to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s call to grant a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million documented immigrants in the country partly to help increase the dwindling birth rate. “Now more than ever, we’re short of workers, we have a population that is not reproducing on its own with the same level that it used to. The only way we’re going to have a future in America is if we welcome and embrace immigrants,” the New York Democrat told media Wednesday night.
“If Americans aren’t having babies, why can’t we just have more babies?” Watters said on Thursday. “Why do we have to bring in foreigners to have the babies we won’t have? Maybe we just get off our iPhones and dim the lights?”
Co-panelist Jeanine Pirro started the discussion by asking about the timing of Schumer’s remarks: “[The Democrats] had both chambers under Barack Obama. They had both chambers under Joe Biden. Why didn’t they do immigration reform then? The minute Republicans take the House – then they want to do amnesty? What does that tell you? It tells you they don’t want to solve the problem. They want to campaign on the problem and they want to paint Republicans as anti-Hispanic.”
Watters’ anti-foreigner rhetoric is in keeping with comments by fellow Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, who complained in 2019 that African immigrants crossing into Texas would bring high birthrates and would soon “overwhelm our country and change it completely and forever.”
It’s all part and parcel of the Great Replacement conspiracy theory that’s been touted by far-right extremists and white supremacists, which stokes fears that white people are being replaced, both demographically and culturally, by non-white people who have higher birth rates. The racist and antisemitic theory was cited by shooter Payton Gendron as his motivation for killing 10 people at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York on May 14.
In April, The New York Times reported that, in more than 400 episodes of his Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Today,” the Fox News anchor had “amplified the idea that Democratic politicians and others want to force demographic change through immigration.”
“Mr. Carlson is the highest transmitter of the very ‘replacement theory’ bigotry he feigns not knowing,” Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, told Politifact earlier this year.