Immigration is the issue where the New York Times' liberal slant is most obvious, and the paper's heavy coverage Friday and Saturday held true to form, after President Obama's prime-time Thursday announcement that he would bypass Congress and grant amnesty by executive order to five million illegal immigrants. Obama even used the same "out of the shadows" phrase liberals -- and the Times -- employs so often, while the Times insisted Republican resistance was futile.
Michael Shear's front-page report on Friday set the table while dancing around the accurate phrase "illegal immigrants": "Obama Moves Ahead on Immigration."
President Obama chose confrontation over conciliation on Thursday as he asserted the powers of the Oval Office to reshape the nation’s immigration system and all but dared members of next year’s Republican-controlled Congress to reverse his actions on behalf of millions of immigrants.
In a 15-minute address from the East Room of the White House that sought to appeal to a nation’s compassion, Mr. Obama told Americans that deporting millions is “not who we are” and cited Scripture, saying, “We shall not oppress a stranger for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.”
The prime-time speech reflected Mr. Obama’s years of frustration with congressional gridlock and his desire to frame the last years of his presidency with far-reaching executive actions. His directive will shield up to five million people from deportation and allow many to work legally, although it offers no path to citizenship.
"Out of the shadows" could have come straight from the New York Times' news pages.
Shear at least mentioned the unpopularity of Obama's action:
But accusations of a presidential abuse of power appear to have gained traction in recent days, as a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found just 38 percent support for Mr. Obama’s executive actions even as there was broad support for a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. In the poll, 48 percent said they opposed Mr. Obama’s actions. Even a few Democrats have expressed concern about the propriety of the president’s actions.
Some photo editor surely thought they would get a great "gotcha" against conservatives by putting a picture of President Ronald Reagan, signing an amnesty law in 1986, inside Julie Hirschfeld Davis's Friday report, "Obama Takes an Action That Has Its Precedents but May Set a New One." Davis admitted that "Mr. Obama’s action is also a far more extensive reshaping of the nation’s immigration system....The breadth of Mr. Obama’s decision is already raising serious legal and constitutional questions, fueling Republican charges of imperial overreach and worries among some Democrats of future fallout."
Julia Preston wrote on how left-wing amnesty activists are pressuring Obama to hurry up and get on with the social justice agenda, "Undocumented Immigrants Tune in to See President Fulfill Long-Delayed Pledges," a headline that implied that people who broke the law to come to A,erica are somehow now entitled to something.
She was not going to believe it until she saw it with her own eyes: President Obama speaking on the big television screen, saying he would give protection from deportation to millions of immigrants in the country illegally.
Madai Ledezma Domínguez, 32, came to the United States from Mexico almost a decade ago. She heard Mr. Obama promise to help immigrants when he was first elected in 2008 and when he won again in 2012, and this year, he made promises to do something and broke them twice. She was fed up with him.
But the president did speak, on the screen set up in a room packed with more than 100 people at CASA de Maryland, an immigrant advocacy group that had organized so many protests in front of the White House to demand relief from deportations that Ms. Ledezma had lost count.
The watching party here was one of more than 100 similar events across the country where immigrants who had grown doubtful of Mr. Obama’s intentions realized he was finally doing something that would make a significant difference in their lives.
Many families came to the party with their children: the young American citizens who had become their guarantee of legal documents, especially permits to work legally in the United States for the first time.
There was a feeling of satisfaction that many protests and petition drives had finally paid off, vindicating what Gustavo Torres, the executive director of the organization, had told them about American politics. He had said that tenacity pays off eventually.
The Times made sure to portray the immigrants as patriots:
In New York City, a mural of doormen and postal workers watched over the crowd assembled at the New York Immigration Coalition’s viewing party for the speech.
Signs lined the wall, blaring rallying cries and expressions of thanks: “Ready 4 #Immigration,” “#gobigobama” and “Gracias, Señor Presidente.”
Children sat on their mothers’ laps, eating pizza. Their parents clutched at American flags.
Jackie Calmes filed her usual Republicans-are-doomed criticism in Friday's "Some Republicans Fear That Their Hard-Liners Will Alienate Hispanics."
All but drowned out by Republicans’ clamorous opposition to President Obama’s executive action on immigration are some leaders who worry that their party could alienate the fastest-growing group of voters, for 2016 and beyond, if its hottest heads become its face.
They cite the Republican Party’s official analysis of what went wrong in 2012, the presidential-election year in which nominee Mitt Romney urged Latinos here illegally to “self-deport.”
“If Hispanics think that we do not want them here,” the report said, “they will close their ears to our policies.”
“Both the president and the Republican Party confront risks here,” said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster. While the danger for Mr. Obama is “being perceived as overstepping his boundaries,” Mr. McInturff said, “the Republicans’ risk is opposing his action without an appropriate tenor, and thereby alienating the Latino community.”
How the two parties manage their respective risks as they battle for public opinion is likely to define the final two years of Mr. Obama’s presidency as well as the emerging race to pick his successor.
But some Republicans say their party has the greater challenge – as the White House is betting – in framing their opposition in a way that does not antagonize Latinos and other minority groups like Asian-Americans, much as Republicans lost African-Americans’ support in the civil-rights era.
Most emboldened by Republican victories in this month’s midterm elections were its hard-line conservatives, who say the results vindicated their defiant actions, including last year’s government shutdown. Their numbers in Congress will grow in January with newly elected conservatives, significantly increasing the ranks of House Republicans who have publicly said they would consider impeaching Mr. Obama.
As for immigration, many candidates took stands against “amnesty” for those here illegally with little fear of political penalty because few close contests were in places with significant Latino populations.
Among them is Representative Steve King of Iowa, once a fringe figure against immigration and now a voice of rising prominence, to many leaders’ chagrin. Congressional leaders were privately relieved that many Republicans had left Washington for the Thanksgiving holiday before Mr. Obama announced plans for his address, reducing the availability of anti-immigration conservatives for cable-television bookers seeking reactions.
Calmes, a reliable Democratic mouthpiece, feigned concern for the political future of the GOP (just as the Times "feared" that Congress's ailure to pass amnesty would cost them in the 2014 elections):
A few Republicans went public with their concerns that party colleagues would go too far.
“If you overreact, it becomes about us, not President Obama,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who was a sponsor of the bipartisan immigration bill that was passed in the Senate in 2013 but died in the House.
Calmes spun the same polling that her colleague did, but in a more pro-amnesty direction.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday found that a plurality of Americans, 48 percent, disapproved of Mr. Obama’s decision to act unilaterally; 38 percent approved. But 57 percent supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and support jumped to 74 percent for a path that required would-be citizens to pay fines and any back taxes and pass background checks – just as the Senate-passed bill would mandate.
Matt A. Barreto, a founder of Latino Decisions, a public opinion research firm that focuses on Latinos, said the risk for Republicans was real.
Calmes ended with two paragraphs of anti-Republican ranting from Barreto.
“Can the Republicans honestly face Latino voters and say, ‘We want the federal government to continue deporting parents who have young children?’ That is about the least family-values message I can think of and a sure way to write off the Latino vote in 2016 and beyond.”
Saturday's front-page report by Julia Preston, "Migrants’ Joy at New Rules Is Tempered," while proving some are never pleased, furthered the politically correct terminology of "undocumented," as if these workers just misplaced some papers and are not in fact here illegally:
For 14 years, José Alberto Piña, a Mexican immigrant without legal papers, worked on the same landscaping crew at a Maryland golf course. It was outdoor work, running sprinklers, mowing and trimming. He liked it, Mr. Piña said, and his boss liked him....He is one of millions of undocumented immigrants who began on Friday to make big new plans for their lives, free of the threat of deportation, after President Obama’s national broadcast announcing that he would offer them reprieves and work permits. Mr. Piña and many others across the country were up late celebrating.
And reporter Richard Fausset went racial: "In Alabama Town, Obama Immigration Move Brings Hope and Sneers."
But many whites said they felt stung by what they see as an audacious and unconstitutional move by a president that they never much cared for in the first place. Some worried that the action would trigger a new wave of illegal immigrants.