Last week, the Minutemen came to town to protest illegal immigration, but The Washington Post shunned them to the inside of the Metro section, to page B-3. Their crowd was estimated at just 150. On Wednesday, the pro-illegal immigration advocates came to Capitol Hill again, and the Post estimated the gathering at about 400. That's also what you might call an inside-the-Metro-section crowd.
Think again. The rally itself made page A-13 today, complete with yet another color photo of American flags in the sun. The story by Karin Brulliard and Krissah Williams was headlined "Immigrant Advocates Take Their Case to Capitol Hill: Activists Lobby Members of Congress, Aides on Legislation." But its most prominent placement was the dominant story on the top of the front page of the Style section by the very protester-friendly David Montgomery. It was titled "An Up-the-Hill Battle: Even Without Citizenship, Immigrants Embrace a Chance to Become Activists," but should have said "Illegal Immigrants" were the lobbyists celebrated.
Neither one of these stories used the word "liberal" to describe anyone in the story, either the amnesty lobbyists or the sympathetic Democrats who received them. They were merely "activists." The A-section piece reported "Washington area advocates met in person with five members of Congress from Maryland -- all Democrats considered sympathetic to the immigrant rights campaign, including [ahem, ultraliberal] Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes." A liberal could reply that in that piece, Sen. George Allen's staff conducted an off-the-record chat with the lobbyists, and Allen wasn't singled out as conservative.
The Style section story by Montgomery very sympathetically recounted the liberal publicist's painted face of the pro-illegal immigrant campaign, a Baltimore woman named Alicia Villalva:
Villalva has just finished telling four of his senior staffers her story, words in Spanish and English, tears spilling down her cheeks. How she left home at 15 because her family was starving. Survived the desert to "help my dad," whom she didn't see again for nine years. Now, married, she has three children, who are Americans.
"The only thing we want to do is work and build the country," says Villalva, and the Hill staffers watch her, riveted...
As an undocumented worker with a fictional taxpayer ID number, does she get a voice? Should she, like hundreds of other immigrants who walked the waxed halls of Congress yesterday, have a chance to petition the government?
"I pay taxes," says Villalva. This is American.
* * *
"We Are America," say the blue-and-white stickers on the lapels of the earnest petitioners in the long, echoing corridors on the day the Senate votes yes to an amendment for a big border fence. You could say, Well of course! Immigrants have a personal stake in the debate unfolding in Congress over immigration reform. People are always animated to become Super Citizens when the usual blah-blah-blah of lawmaking suddenly touches their lives. They end up stalking the Hill with sheaves of talking points, congressional face books and thumbnail sketches of key legislators.
Which is what the immigrants had yesterday.
Still, it was something new -- almost alien, for a group of people frequently dismissed as such -- to approach and be received as fully vested Americans. If one had to complete a practicum for the naturalization test, this could be it.
Earth to the Post: no the proper naturalization test is -- the naturalization process, which the illegal aliens arrogantly break the law and skip. Nowhere in the Montgomery piece, other than brief literary flourishes of objectionable people who "frequently dismiss" illegal aliens --who themselves are frequently dismissed in the Washington Post -- is there anyone with an opposing view.
The Post seems utterly untouched by the concept that it is odd to demand your rights (and government subsidies) from a government you have refused to acknowledge or obey, or consider that it often seems, on a national scale, like someone breaking into your house and eating our of your pantry, and then complaining about the food.
PS: It would additionally annoy the Minuteman crowd that these people weren't even lobbying in English: "For us, no law is better than a bad law," Jaime Contreras, chairman of the National Capital Immigration Coalition, said in Spanish to Alejandro Perez, an aide to Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.)..."