There are politically motivated hearings every day on Capitol Hill. So why did the New York Times single out one in particular for coverage? Likely because it was led by liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer and exploting the Times' favorite cause, the defense of illegal immigrants.
Immigration-beat reporter Julia Preston, one of the paper's most reliably pro-amnesty reporters, authored Wednesday's "Fierce Debate on Arizona Immigration Law on Eve of Supreme Court Hearing."
A day before the Supreme Court was to hear arguments on an Arizona statute that expanded the immigration enforcement powers of local police, the author of the law defended it in a Senate hearing under sharp questioning from Democrats, saying it “removes the political handcuffs from state and local law enforcement.”
Russell Pearce, a Republican who is the former president of the Arizona Senate, ventured into hostile terrain in a hearing called by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration. Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, also a Republican, turned down Mr. Schumer’s invitation to advocate for the law at the hearing.
As it appears increasingly possible that the court will uphold at least some of the disputed provisions, Mr. Schumer called the hearing as a showcase for the Democrats’ opposition to the law, which has been intensely unpopular among Latinos nationwide. He announced that if the Supreme Court upheld part or all of Arizona’s statute in its ruling, which is expected in June, he would introduce a bill to expressly prevent states from enacting their own immigration enforcement laws.
Senate staff members said that proposal would have little chance of passage, but it could serve as a rallying point for Democrats to appeal to Latino voters during the summer as the presidential race is fully under way.
Preston doesn't mention that the measure is broadly popular among all Americans. A new Quinnipiac poll noted: "The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn the 2010 health care law, voters say 49 -38 percent. And voters say 62-27 percent the Supreme Court should uphold Arizona's immigration law." Yet Preston continued to portray the popular bill as divisive:
Mr. Pearce, a fierce opponent of illegal immigration, wrote the statute, which passed in 2010. Caught in the uproar the law provoked among some voters, especially Latinos, he lost his Senate seat in a recall election last November.
Persistent questioning from Mr. Schumer put Mr. Pearce on the defensive at times, as the senator bore down on sections of the bill he said could lead the Arizona police to engage in racial profiling. The senator pointed to a training manual showing that the police were instructed to consider how a person was dressed and whether his vehicle was “heavily loaded” in developing a “reasonable suspicion” that he was an illegal immigrant.
The bitterness that the bill has provoked was on display. Dennis DeConcini, who was a Democratic United States senator from Arizona from 1977 to 1995, issued an apology to Latinos for the “harm” of the law. “I am embarrassed for my state,” he said.
Preston fails to label supporters of illegal immigrants as liberal organizations:
Around the country, immigrant advocate organizations were gearing up for protests and vigils. Immigrant groups in Los Angeles held a small rally on Tuesday in front of a federal court building downtown.
In a letter released Tuesday afternoon, religious leaders from a number of faiths called on President Obama to “reassert your authority” to stop states from enacting a patchwork of immigration laws, by working with Congress to pass a broad federal overhaul of the immigration system. Among those signing were Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.