NY Times Sunday Amnesty Overload Featured Rubio's Grandfather and Jorge Ramos

March 7th, 2016 4:36 PM

If you didn’t know the New York Times was in the tank for amnesty, Sunday’s selection of stories would prove it. Reporter Jeremy Peters laid on a family guilt trip by strongly hinting that Sen. Marco Rubio was a hypocrite on immigration because of something his grandfather did: “Rubio’s Policies Might Shut the Door to People Like His Grandfather.” The text box: “A mentor to a candidate once faced deportation.”

Marco Rubio’s grandfather was a man without a country.

Pedro Victor Garcia had left behind a home and a job with the government in communist Cuba, intent on never returning. But after his flight, Pan Am 2422 from Havana, touched down in Miami on Aug. 31, 1962, immigration officials stopped him.


“I always thought of being here in the United States as a resident, living permanently here,” the slight 62-year-old grandfather, speaking through an interpreter, said at a hearing five weeks later. He said that he had previously returned to Cuba because he did not want to be a burden on his family in the United States, but that the Cuban government had grown too oppressive and he feared what might happen if he stayed.

The immigration officer was unmoved. He did not see an exiled family man -- just someone who had no visa, worked for the Castro government and could pose a security risk.


That easily could have been the end of his American story. But someone in the immigration office on Biscayne Boulevard that day -- the paperwork does not make clear exactly who or why -- had a change of heart. Mr. Garcia was granted status as a parolee, a gray area of the law that meant he would not get a green card but could remain in the United States.

As he campaigns for president, Mr. Rubio, a Florida senator, says that the United States cannot accept refugees from Syria and Iraq because of the potential security risk. More broadly, he has called for a tightening of immigration law so that if the United States cannot identify with 100 percent certainty who immigrants are and why they want to enter, he says, “We’re not going to let you in.”

But under the stricter screening he now supports, his grandfather would most likely have been deported, depriving him of knowing the man he has called his mentor and closest boyhood friend. “I learned at his feet, relied on his counsel and craved his respect,” the senator wrote in his 2012 memoir, almost 30 years after Mr. Garcia died. “I still do.”


In an interview, Mr. Rubio acknowledged that some would see a conflict between the stricter immigration and refugee policies he supports and his grandfather’s experience. Immigration records also show that other members of Mr. Rubio’s family -- two aunts and an uncle -- were admitted as refugees.

“I recognize that’s a valid point,” the senator said, “But what you didn’t have was a widespread effort on behalf of Fidel Castro to infiltrate into the United States killers who were going to detonate weapons and kill people.”

“Times have changed,” he said. “Policies have to change. If there’s a conflict there, I think that’s just a reality.”

Turning to the New York Times Magazine, the 9,000-word cover story, “10 Shots Across the Border” by Mark Binelli, a contributing editor at the notorious Rolling Stone.  The online subhead: "The killing of a Mexican 16-year-old raises troubling questions about the United States Border Patrol." The print subhead was even more "out of control" with its language: “This Is The Wall Where A Mexican Teenagers Was Killed By A U.S. Agent Firing Through The Fence. Is the Border Patrol Out Of Control?” Gee, what do you think, New York Times?

Left out of that stinging sentence and addressed only reluctantly in the article: That rocks are regularly thrown at U.S. agents from the Mexican side to provide cover for smugglers.

Then turn to the back of the magazine, where Democratic activist Ana Marie Cox spoke to amnesty activist and Univision newscaster Jorge Ramos for the back of the magazine’s Talk page, as she does every Sunday.

Cox: I think white voters can’t really imagine what it’s like to be the target of the sort of language that Trump uses when talking about illegal immigrants. Do Latino voters feel it more personally?

Ramos: Yes. President Obama has deported more than two million undocumented immigrants in seven years, more than any other U.S. president. Trump is talking about deporting 11 million. Ted Cruz said he wants to deport 12 million. For us, immigration is not something abstract. It is personal. Very, very personal.


Cox: What about the 16 percent of Latino voters who support Donald Trump? Who do you think they are?

Ramos: I think these are Latinos who at some point in their lives decided to turn their backs on other immigrants. There used to be a tradition within the Hispanic community that regardless of your political party, you would support undocumented immigrants. That ended with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Cox may not have cared for Ramos’s anti-Castro answer about the Pope, after teeing Ramos up to make a laudatory comment.

You write about your disillusionment with the Catholic Church in your book ‘‘Take a Stand.’’ What do you think of Pope Francis’ efforts to make the church more accessible and personal?

I don’t know. In Cuba, he called Raúl Castro -- who’s a dictator -- the president. He refused to meet with dissidents there. He refused to meet with victims of sexual abuse in Mexico. He refused to talk to the families of the 43 students who disappeared in Ayotzinapa. It was a different pope from the one we saw here in the United States. When he goes to Latin America, he becomes shy and lacks the courage to criticize those in power.