You know there's something afoot when the New York Times portrays former President George W. Bush as a fount of wisdom. Julia Preston, the paper's most slanted-immigration reporter, reported from D.C. on Wednesday, "Praising Immigrants, Bush Leads Conservative Appeal for G.O.P. to Soften Tone."
Preston, who is unabashedly pro-amnesty, doesn't actually name these "conservatives" supporting amnesty, though the ever-reliable Richard Land makes his usual appearance in this standard-issue Times article, as a stand in for all "religious conservatives breaking away from the GOP on amnesty."
The next day Preston reported again, with absolute sympathy (and no objectivity), from a "congress" of illegals in Kansas City and gushed "To judge from the display they put on here, young immigrants will come to that fight [over immigration overhaul] with distinctive resolve and esprit de corps."
From Wednesday's D.C.-based piece:
Looking for new footing on immigration before a debate on the volatile issue in Congress next year, Republicans and conservative leaders spoke out this week, raising arguments that immigration is good for the ailing economy and consistent with family values.
Former President George W. Bush weighed back in to the discussion on Tuesday by calling on policy makers in Washington to revamp the law “with a benevolent spirit” that recognized the contribution of those who moved here from other countries.
His tone contrasted sharply with the prevailing views and language of Republicans during the presidential campaign, when Mitt Romney said he favored policies that would force illegal immigrants to “self-deport.”
In Washington, leaders of a coalition that unites conservative law enforcement officials and clergy with business leaders -- they described themselves as “Bibles, badges and business” -- held a strategy session Tuesday on how to push for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws, which would include “a road to lawful status and citizenship” for 11 million illegal immigrants.
While several of the conservatives meeting here had expressed their support for legalization measures, they sought to enhance their influence in the coming debate by joining forces.
But Richard Land, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said Tuesday at a news conference here that immigration was a “moral issue.” He warned Republicans that “if they want to be a contender for national leadership, they are going to have to change their ways on immigration reform.”
That piece from D.C. was sandwiched between two pieces by Preston from a gathering of illegals in Kansas City. The first celebrated illegal immigrant "Dreamers" emerging once again "from the shadows." The second, in Thursday's edition, was a "Reporter's Notebook" in which Preston dropped all pretense of objectivity to identify completely and sympathetically with the alleged victims of America's immigration policy: "Young Immigrants Want 'Dream Warrior' Army."
The movement of young immigrants in the country without legal papers, who call themselves Dreamers, is held together by more than a commitment to push Congress for a pathway to citizenship.
More than 600 leaders of United We Dream, the largest national network of those young people, came together for their congress here last weekend to celebrate and reinforce a common culture, based on their experience living with hidden identities and with a low-grade but constant fear of deportation.
Their goal, they said, is to build an army of Dream warriors. They had Dream warrior T-shirts, Dream warrior chants and the prayer of the “four Tezkatlipokas,” an amalgam of wisdom drawn from gods of the ancient Aztecs of Mexico, the birth country of many of the young people. The sometimes exuberant, sometimes tearful, consistently cathartic three-day gathering was framed by rituals defining what it means to be one of those warriors.
“If you could not go to your abuelita’s funeral, stand up and tell me you are a Dream warrior!” Daniel Rodriguez, 26, a leader of the movement from Arizona, said from the stage in the big hall in the convention center in Kansas City.
“I am a Dream warrior!” shouted many of the young people, rising to their feet, recalling that they had missed visiting a grandmother before she died in the country where they were born. Without legal documents, they cannot return if they leave the United States.
But this year they saw gains. President Obama granted them temporary reprieves from deportation and work permits, although no legal immigration status. California passed laws expanding their access to college. In November, Maryland adopted a ballot measure allowing them to pay in-state resident tuition for college.
Mr. Obama has pledged to start a debate early next year on a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration laws, including the Dream Act. To judge from the display they put on here, young immigrants will come to that fight with distinctive resolve and esprit de corps.