WaPo Presents Readers with Plight of Immigrant Who Escaped Federal Raid on Workplace

While its March 22 front page was exulting over House Democrats "scor[ing] a historic victory in the century-long battle to reform the nation's health-care system," the Washington Post's Style section ginned up a human interest story for another cause dear to many liberals: immigration "reform."

 "Caught up in hope, but snared in a raid," blared staffer David Montgomery's headline. "Rally for immigration reform falls under shadow of arrests," the subheader for the 72-paragraph article lamented.

Arrests like those of Oved Vigil, Edwin Mazariegos and Esvin Blanco, who, Montgomery informed viewers in his lead paragraph, were VIPs at yesterday's March for America rally. The Post added its own VIP touch with a large photograph of the trio on page C9 (shown above at right), where the three young men stand posed with an American flag draped over their shoulders. The accompanying caption titled the photo "SHOWING THEIR COLORS" and quoted a rally speaker insisting, "We are not criminals.... We are workers here to push this country forward!"

Montgomery later went on to describe one immigrant who escaped detection at a workplace raid by hiding at the restaurant's walk-in refrigerator. The Post staffer closed the story by presenting the unnamed individual, still on the lam, as a decent guy in search of an honest living:

He was wearing a green rugby shirt and standing outside a discount appliance store in suburban Baltimore: The immigrant who got away.

After warming himself by the stove the day of the raid, he made it to a friend's house. At 41 years old, he has devoted nearly half of his life to working in the United States, mostly at Timbuktu.

"The truth is, I feel as though I became a part of this country," he said, blinking back tears. "The only thing I don't have is legal papers. My dream is to have a house, form a business and move ahead. I paid taxes because I wanted to have everything be clean.

"Now all that's finished."

He knows it was a violation for him to arrive and stay without authorization. But he considers himself honorable. For all the raid's destiny-altering consequences, for him it was above all a humiliation.

"Because we are not criminals," he said.

After Sunday's march, he planned to find another state to live in. Start all over, still in the shadows.

I wouldn't expect the Post to keep the push for immigration amnesty "in the shadows" in the future. Of course, if Montgomery's story is the template we're going to see, don't expect the paper to shed light on all sides of the issue.

Photo by Evy Mages for the Washington Post.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters