I'm not a headline writer, but I sure could have done better than the Washington Post's caption on its March 22nd story entitled, "Raids throw shadow over immigration reform rally". [By David Montgomery, March 22, 2010]
How about "Illegal Alien Demands Throw Shadow Over US Rule Of Law"?
There, on Sunday, March 21, 2010 in front of our country's most cherished symbol of the Rule of Law, the Capitol of the United States of America, American citizens were confronted by several thousand law breakers, frequently called by the MSM "undocumented immigrants". At least that term not used in this Post piece—but then neither is the correct term, "illegal aliens".
I'm a Democrat, but I find this appalling.
And, of course, the usual sob-sister rhetoric comes right at the article's start and dominates the piece throughout:
"In the VIP section behind the big stage with a majestic view of the U.S. Capitol, Esvin Blanco, Oved Vigil and Edwin Mazariegos showed the ankle bracelets they must wear beneath their baggy jeans so U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can keep track of them before they face possible deportation in coming weeks.
"Onstage a few yards away, Carlos Luna wore an American flag as a cape in support of his brother, Mauricio, caught in the same series of raids 11 days ago. And Cesar Guanoquiza took the microphone to make his public speaking debut, in honor of a nephew, a brother and a cousin who were detained.
" 'We are not criminals," Guanoquiza declared. "We are workers here to push this country forward!' "
Sorry, Mr. Guanoquiza, you are a law-breaker and if that concept escapes you, in this all too rare case of proper enforcement, apparently it does not escape ICE. (Of course David Montgomery's article does not say why these two speakers are being deported—it could be for non-immigration reasons.)
The vast majority of Americans, mired in the worst recession in decades, agree with CIS' Mark Krikorian, who commented,
"'I understand why they use people like this as props,' as word spread before the march that newly released detainees would be featured in the program.
"'We've made immigration policy for too long on these wrenching anecdotes,' said Krikorian, who favors tighter restrictions on immigration."
Then of course, the standard trumpet flourish of gushing sympathy which characterizes all the WaPo articles on immigration:
"Victim, criminal, hard-working breadwinner— the illegal immigrant is the ambiguous symbol at the heart of the debate. And raids, in which immigration agents burst into workplaces and arrest suspected illegal immigrants, are the point at which the debate ceases to be abstract. Lines are drawn, sympathy must take sides.
"The recent raids at two popular Maryland restaurants and other locations have created human and economic ripple effects that have washed over immigrant and American families from the Washington region to Central and South America. The implications even reached the Obama administration, where officials scrambled to explain the timing of the actions taking place on the home turf of pro-immigration activists, who were in the midst of planning the march.
"One of the themes they had settled upon: 'Stop the raids.'"
The Center for Immigration Studies in February 2010 issued the results of a Zogby poll which showed the majority of US minorities thought immigration levels were too high (e.g. Hispanics 56%, Asian Americans 57%, African Americans 68%).
""The three immigrants wearing ankle bracelets couldn't stay for the whole march. The bracelets' batteries were running low. If they didn't recharge them, immigration agents would be after them again."
There is absolutely NOTHING ambiguous about this issue. These folks are here illegally and they are breaking the law and too often our government has opted not to enforce the law.
My idea about the proper government action on this march and for any in the future is simple. Why didn't the ICE surround the marchers and establish via proper IDs that they were here legally—and if not, then impound them and finish the deportation process.
This absurdity obviously makes a strong case for a national ID card, something most civilized nations now require.
Too harsh? Betcha the majority of tax of US taxpayer citizens agree. We have waited too long in vain to see our government begin to think of our best interests—not those of the corporations, who pay big money to elect the members of Congress.
None of this, by the way, was mentioned in Montgomery's Post article. Guess it just doesn't fit the standard sob story template.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.