ABC Conflates Legal and Illegal Immigration, Tags Protesters 'Anti-Immigrant'

On Friday's World News on ABC, correspondent David Wright filed a report in which he portrayed opponents of illegal immigration in Murrieta, California, as "anti-immigrant," with the ABC correspondent blurring together the issues of legal and illegal immigration.

The report provocatively included a soundbite of an unidentified activist complaining that the people of Murrieta look "xenophobic" and "racist": "People probably believe that this is a xenophobic, racist group of folks down here."

Wright, who never used any form of the word 'illegal" throughout his report, referred to protesters as "anti-immigrant" as he began the piece:

A different sort of fireworks today in Murrieta, California. ...This week, protesters here blocked several busloads of undocumented immigrants. They hoped to do so again today, but the anti-immigrant protesters were outnumbered three to one, and, so far, the buses haven't come.

Ironically, at the same moment that he uttered the words "anti-immigrant protesters," a clip was shown of a pair of demonstrators who were clearly singling out illegal immigration as they each held up a sign which read, "Immigrate Legally!"

Then came a clip of another protester, this time holding a sign which read, "Stop illegal immigration," with the protester also chanting the same words.

After several clips of those protesting illegal immigration were shown, then came the soundbite accusing them of xenophobia before Wright then recounted the arrival of another group of protesters who came to defend illegal immigration as part of a "backlash."

The ABC correspondent ended up shifting to President Barack Obama presiding over the annual July 4 naturalization ceremony at the White House and used a soundbite of the President speaking generically about "welcoming immigrants" as a foil to suggest that the protesters in Murrieta, California, are opposed to immigration generally:

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to our shores is central to our way of life. It is in our DNA.

DAVID WRIGHT; But it sure doesn't look that way in Murrieta. David Wright, ABC News, Los Angeles.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Friday, July 4, World News on ABC, with Elizabeth Vargas substitute hosting:

ELIZABETH VARGAS: Now, to the firestorm brewing along America's border where every year on this day, thousands of immigrants become U.S. citizens. A city in Southern California has become the new flashpoint against the influx of undocumented immigrants. Tonight, more buses are coming, and protesters on both sides are ready and waiting. Here's ABC's David Wright.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PROTESTER #1: Stop the buses, stop the buses!

DAVID WRIGHT: A different sort of fireworks today in Murrieta, California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTER #1: I hate that all of our country is being invaded.

WRIGHT: This week, protesters here blocked several busloads of undocumented immigrants. They hoped to do so again today, but the anti-immigrant protesters were outnumbered three to one, and, so far, the buses haven't come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE PROTESTERS #2, HOLDING A SIGN WITH THE WORDS "STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION": Stop illegal immigration.

WRIGHT: Many Murrieta residents loudly object to their community being dragged into the border debate.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN AT TOWN HALL: This is an invasion.Why is the National Guard not out there?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: People probably believe that this is a xenophobic, racist group of folks down here.

WRIGHT: But today brought a backlash from others sympathetic to the plight of the immigrants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PROTESTER #2: I'm here to support the children. I feel really bad they came a really long ways, and all of this hatred is directed towards them. It's not their fault.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN AT PODIUM: Please raise your right hand.

WRIGHT: Today, at a ceremony for new citizens in Washington, D.C., the President made no mention of the anger across the Southwest.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to our shores is central to our way of life. It is in our DNA.

WRIGHT; But it sure doesn't look that way in Murrieta. David Wright, ABC News, Los Angeles.