NYT: Coldhearted House Republicans See Illegal Immigrants as "Lawbreakers"

March 29th, 2006 12:40 PM

Rachel Swarns is a bit harshly reductive in her take on anti-illegal immigrant House Republicans in her Wednesday reflection billed as a “news analysis,” “Split Over Immigration Reflects Nation’s Struggle.”

“It is almost as if they are looking at two different Americas.

“The Senate Republicans who voted on Monday to legalize the nation's illegal immigrants look at the waves of immigration reshaping this country and see a powerful work force, millions of potential voters and future Americans.

“The House Republicans who backed tough border security legislation in December look at the same group of people and see a flood of invaders and lawbreakers who threaten national security and American jobs and culture.”

Illegal immigrants are of course by definition lawbreakers, whether House Republicans “see” them that way or not.

Like Nina Bernstein did yesterday, Swarns portrays this as a political problem exclusively for Republicans:

“But both wings of the deeply divided Republican Party are responding to the same phenomenon: the demographic shift driven by immigration in recent decades, a wave that is quietly transforming small towns and cities across the country and underscoring pressures on many parts of the economy.”

Swarns sets up a congressman leading the fight against illegal immigration as stonehearted in the face of touching rallies by illegal immigrants:

“But to Representative Tom Tancredo, the Colorado Republican who helped spearhead the border security bill in the House, illegal immigrants are far from welcome or essential to this country. He was not moved when he saw the tens of thousands of immigrants, some illegal, and their supporters rallying against his bill. He said he was outraged that people he viewed as lawbreakers felt comfortable enough to stand without fear in front of the television cameras.

 “Mr. Tancredo's view of the illegal immigrant as an unwanted outsider, an encroacher, is far from uncommon.”

To help bolster the pro-illegal immigrant case, the Times gives some strange new respect for conservative activist and pro-immigrant Grover Norquist, usually a liberal foe:

“But some Republicans are warning now that tough anti-immigrant legislation may fuel a backlash and threaten the party's hard-won gains with Hispanics, whose numbers have surged in recent years. Foreign-born Hispanics voted for President Bush in 2004 at a 40 percent greater rate than Hispanics born in the United States. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and a strategist close to the White House, warned that Republicans could squander what the party had gained if lawmakers did not embrace a more welcoming vision of America.”

For more New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.