NY Times States’ Rights Hypocrisy Shines in Gushing Illegal Immigration Coverage

December 28th, 2016 4:11 PM

The New York Times has two standards when it comes to defying the rule of federal law – it’s great when it comes to left-wing causes like amnesty for illegals and sanctuary cities, awful when it comes to opposition to gay marriage. And while the Times is adamantly opposed to churches who dare to act on their opposition to gay marriage, churches can gain Strange New Respect from the paper for acting as sanctuary for illegal immigrants. And two other recent pieces underlined the double standard.

Religion reporter Laurie Goodstein in Philadelphia made the top slot in Wednesday’s National section with “In Trump Era, Offering a Place Of Both Faith And Sanctuary.” The jump-page text box: “Houses of worship offer shelter and aid to undocumented immigrants.” No “illegal immigrants” in Times-land.

Goodstein followed an illegal immigrant, Javier Flores Garcia, cooped up in a church.

Mr. Flores, an arborist, longs for the open air, but does not dare set foot outside. He was supposed to report to the immigration authorities last month to be deported to his homeland, Mexico, but one day before his report date, he took refuge in the church.


This downtown church is one of 450 houses of worship in the United States that have offered to provide sanctuary or other assistance to undocumented immigrants, according to leaders of the Sanctuary Movement. (Few congregations have the space and fortitude to risk harboring immigrants indefinitely, so others are lining up to contribute money, legal aid, food, child care or transportation.) The congregations joining this network have more than doubled since the election of Donald J. Trump -- a rapid rebuttal to Mr. Trump’s postelection promise to deport two million to three million unauthorized immigrants who he said have been convicted of crimes.

Protecting immigrants is shaping up to be a priority of the religious left, an amorphous collection of people and groups reflecting many faiths and ethnicities. It has been jolted into action by Mr. Trump’s victory and his selection of an attorney general nominee who supports a crackdown on immigrants.

The Times briefly explained why Flores needed sanctuary -- he's a felon.

The federal immigration authorities say Mr. Flores has a long history of violations: He was apprehended nine times between 1997 and 2002 trying to cross the border. He re-entered and was ordered removed by a judge in 2007. He re-entered twice in 2014 and served prison sentences for illegal re-entry, a criminal felony conviction.


The movement was revived in 2006 and grew during President Obama’s two terms, said the Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. At least 2.5 million people were deported during Mr. Obama’s time in office, earning him the nickname “deporter in chief.”

Goodstein granted a single paragraph to an opposing view from the Center for Immigration Studies, then returned to promotion.

Churches, schools and hospitals are considered “sensitive locations,” according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Immigration officers are supposed to avoid those locations, unless they have advance approval from a supervisor or face “exigent circumstances” that require immediate action, said Jennifer Elzea, an agency spokeswoman.

Religious leaders are preparing for the possibility that this could change under President Trump. Auburn Seminary in New York City, which trains religious leaders on the left, convened a postelection “Long Game Faith Summit” this month, and invited the Rev. Alison Harrington from Tucson to give workshops on sanctuary.

The rhetoric went over the top, with comparisons to slavery and “dangerous regions,” where apparently they actually enforce the law.

Sanctuary workers in the ’80s organized a sort of “underground railroad” to move immigrants from dangerous regions to safer ones, and that may have to be reactivated, she told her workshop.

Earlier this month the paper, which considers states’ rights a racist conservative trope when raised by the GOP, righteously opined on how California would defy federal law in “California Prepares to Resist Mr. Trump.”

Nobody knows yet what Donald Trump is going to do to immigration enforcement. Only a month has passed since the election, and the president-elect is no different from the candidate: erratic, self-contradictory, hazy on principles and policies.

But states and cities that value immigrants, including the undocumented, do not have the luxury of waiting and hoping for the best. They are girding for a confrontation, building defenses to protect families and workers from the next administration.

Being “unauthorized” is by definition criminal. The Times, perhaps bracing for criticism of its turnaround on states rights, included this ridiculous, defensive paragraph saying it wasn't actually making a localism argument but in fact upholding random parts of the Bill of Rights.

Nothing in the bill would obstruct the federal government. This is not a nullification of federal laws or a rebellion against the Constitution. It’s upholding the Fourth Amendment, preventing unreasonable search and seizure, so mothers and fathers can go to work and children go to school without fear of losing one another. It’s upholding the First Amendment, so day laborers can solicit work on a sidewalk...

Reporters Jennifer Medina and Jess Bidgood went along in a November 27 story, “Cities Vow to Fight Trump on Immigration, Even at a Steep Cost – In Aiming to Be a Bulwark Against Deportations, Municipal Officials Risk Losing Millions in Federal Aid.”

Across the nation, officials in sanctuary cities are gearing up to oppose President-elect Donald J. Trump if he follows through on a campaign promise to deport millions of illegal immigrants. They are promising to maintain their policies of limiting local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents.

That story also featured strange new respect for religion, when it comes from the pro-amnesty religious left.

Members of churches and synagogues are again offering their houses of worship as sanctuaries for undocumented people fearing deportation, according to groups that work with immigrants and refugees. A faith-based network known as the “sanctuary movement” was revived in the past few years to take in those at risk of deportation by the Obama administration.