Politics
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police officers on Capitol Hill during a immigration rally in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

New York Times reporter calls amnesty for illegal immigrants a ‘civil right’

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

The campaign to win amnesty for illegal immigrants is “a very substantial civil rights movement,” according to New York Times reporter Julia Preston, who, along with other progressive journalists, spoke about the issue to a Washington, D.C. audience on Friday.

Preston is the New York Times’ primary immigration reporter — and the paper is cheering the push by progressives and employers to grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants during an extended recession. The Gray Lady also backs the simultaneous campaign to double legal immigration, which would bring in 22 million additional immigrant workers and consumers by 2023.

But, warned Preston, a “popular resistance out in the country” has sprung up to oppose amnesty.

A major part of her job is exposing and tracking the resistance, she said.

“I have to write about… Where is the resistance? How strong is it? Is a popular resistance in this cycle or is it more of a political/ideological resistance?” she said.

The resistance has critically weakened chances for an amnesty this year, several other journalists complained during the event.

The push-back “frankly, has killed it for this year, [but] I hate to be pessimistic,” said Ryan Lizza, a reporter for The New Yorker who wrote a revealing behind-the-scenes account of the Senate’s immigration debate in June.

“I”m pretty pessimistic, unfortunately, about immigration reform,” added Beth Reinhard, a Florida reporter who now works for National Journal.

Americans’ resistance to progressives’ immigration policy preferences is rallied by immigration reform groups, such as Numbers USA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. These reform groups say they do not want to halt immigration, but want to reduce the inflow to help average Americans, rather than company owners and shareholders, or government officials and government-funded groups.

The push for amnesty is supported by various progressive groups — such as La Raza, unions and environmental groups — that favor government-imposed cultural variety, which is also called diversity. Increased diversity gives university-educated professionals more opportunities to arbitrage the resulting cultural and economic conflict for power, profit and status. For example, immigration creates more disagreement and conflict, giving journalists more raw material for their media products, and more opportunities for politicians to offer fixes to conflicts they helped create.

Immigration works for progressives, because most immigrants tend to back Democrat who are willing to shift laws, culture and funding to aid the immigrants.

Despite the reporters’ declarations of pessimism, the immigration push is not dead in 2013. GOP leaders say they’d like to push a major immigration rewrite through Congress this year, despite public opposition.