On April 21st, 2022, President Joe Biden unveiled the latest program of the Department of Homeland Security, Uniting for Ukraine. Under this new program, Ukrainian refugees can receive a 2-year entry to the United States with a sponsor. This program is hoped to “deliver on President Biden’s commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russian aggression” which currently sits at roughly 15,000. According to the department of Homeland Security, the program will begin on April 25th, 2022, and will provide a “streamlined process” for refugees to enter the country faster (DHS 2022). This program comes largely in response to the ongoing interception of undocumented Ukrainian refugees entering the country through the southern boarder with Mexico. Already, US customs have processed thousands of refugees through the boarder, with numbers only increasing. While this program seems to deliver something on the promises made earlier this year by President Biden, it is receiving widely varied reception by the media, which is known for its endless conflict based around the major political parties. This disagreement stands largely in the face of the supposed Bipartisan support of the refugee crisis promised by the senate in February 2022. When Senators Menendez, Shaheen, and Portman announced on February 17th that the senate was supporting this cause despite partisan differences, it implied a united front on this matter as a whole (Pachon 2022). However, now that a program has been established, it seems the continuous pattern of partisan media conflicts have taken hold of the issue; likely heightened by the issue of Immigration and refugees.
The partisanship of “Us vs. Them” is strong, especially in the United States but “Us vs. Them” politics takes another form of intensity when it comes to immigration and refugees. As Dinas et. al examined in their article, “Waking Up the Golden Dawn: Does Exposure to the Refugee Crisis Increase Support for Extreme-Right Parties?” the presence of actual impact of a refugee crisis on islands in the Aegean Sea preceded a 2% jump in support for extreme far-right parties, representing a 40% increase. While that is not to say that refugees cause people to become far-right extremists, there is an obvious correlation between the two events. The much more reasonable explanation is that those who are anti-immigrant and might already support an extremist group were more motivated to do so when considering a refugee crisis (Dinas et. al 2019). This “Us vs. Them” conflict therefore seems to intensify around the presence of refugees, and it makes sense that the media portrayal of such an event in the US would follow suit. Therefore, a refugee crisis such as that in Ukraine, becomes problematic to achieving bipartisan goals. In February, Chairman Menendez stated the “unwavering, bipartisan support” of responding to Russian aggression in Ukraine and aiding those hurt and displaced by it, yet upon the reveal of the Uniting for Ukraine program, republican senators are openly disapproving, and news outlets are reporting this program very differently. On April 22nd, less than 24 hours after the announcement of the new refugee program, Senators Moran and Daines disapproved of the suspension of title 42 requirements for Uniting for Ukraine. This coming 2 days after their requests that the US embassy in Ukraine be reopened, despite the continued violence in the area (Mcfall 2022). As would be expected, news sources are reporting wildly differently on this new program. More democratic news outlets such as CBS, The Washington Post, and The New York Times are reporting general positives of the program, with titles such as “Biden Administration rolls out plan for Ukrainian refugees” and “U.S. unveils sponsorship program to resettle Ukrainian refugees, discourage travel to U.S.-Mexico Border”. However, more republican news source, Fox News is featuring two articles on its website, “Biden Administration to introduced streamlines parole program for Ukrainians, end title 42 exemption” and “GOP Senators demand Blinken reopen American Embassy in Ukraine” which are both much more focused on other political issues, rather than the program itself. So, despite an intended bipartisanship, the introduction of a refugee crisis has thrown the parties back into odds. In the Fox articles, the focus is directly on the “ending of title 42” which largely prohibits immigration to the United States based on COVID-19, despite the fact that the program is not ending, rather that refugees in the Uniting for Ukraine program are exempt from it (Shaw 2022). However, the more democratic news sources focused much more on the problem at the southern boarder and that this program could represent a solution to it (Montoya-Galvez 2022). The news articles being written about this program obviously do not represent the larger societal views about the refugee program, but they do influence them and do represent the projections of messages about it by the respective parties. So, what is happening in the media? Sources that have partisan approval of an action praise it and sources which disapprove ignore the majority of it and talk about something else? At the moment, yes. The trope of partisan differences constituting a mortal enemy has grown to the point that media outlets only focus on what their supported party wants to hear. By looking at them as a business this makes total sense, why spend resources making articles which will not receive support? But when the current state of the United States is considered, this may be problematic. Practices such as these are driving more and more Partisan polarization, where members of a political party are trapped in an echo-chamber of filtered, half-informative media, constantly influencing their opinions which partial or sometimes untrue information