NYTimes Tries to Make News on Immigration 'Reform' in Sunday Front-Page Lead Slot

January 15th, 2013 6:24 AM

Sunday's New York Times lead story on immigration by Julia Preston,"Obama Will Seek Citizenship path In One Fast Push," seemed a strange choice -- unless you remembered how the Times has long been pushing for immigration "reform" that would include amnesty for illegal immigrants and a path to citizenship.

Notice this is not breaking news; it's something "senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week." By contrast, the Washington Post hasn't run an immigration story this past week, much less in the lead slot, which suggests the Times is trying to make news instead of breaking it.

President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.

Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces -- separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners -- which might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.

The president and Democrats will also oppose measures that do not allow immigrants who gain legal status to become American citizens one day, the officials said.

As always, the Times portrayed Republicans on the defensive, while sensing a "mandate" for the liberal approach.

Memories of the results of the November election are still fresh here. Latinos, the nation’s fastest-growing electorate, turned out in record numbers and cast 71 percent of their ballots for Mr. Obama. Many Latinos said they were put off by Republicans’ harsh language and policies against illegal immigrants.

After the election, a host of Republicans, starting with Speaker John A. Boehner, said it was time for the party to find a more positive, practical approach to immigration. Many party leaders say electoral demographics are compelling them to move beyond policies based only on tough enforcement.

Supporters of comprehensive changes say that the elections were nothing less than a mandate in their favor, and that they are still optimistic that Mr. Obama is prepared to lead the fight.