New York Times Washington correspondent Carl Hulse has been writing versions of the same story for years -- Republicans on the defensive. On Tuesday, he paired his standard trope with the issue the NYT is most liberal on -- amnesty for illegal immigrants -- to starkly slanted effect for his "On Washington" column, “Are ‘Dreamers’ Next? G.O.P. Fears Backlash.”
The powerful and poignant images and stories of refugees and international travelers caught at airports over the weekend by President Trump’s immigration order provoked sympathy and outrage around the world.
Now think of those moving personal tales and pictures multiplied exponentially to encompass thousands of young immigrants living in the United States -- many more culturally American than foreign -- and being forcibly removed from their homes, schools and jobs.
Some Republicans have contemplated those potentially searing depictions and worry they could provoke an outcry that would dwarf this weekend’s response to the new restrictions. It is a chief reason they are anxious about precipitately moving forward with any effort to undo the Obama administration’s program to grant relief to the so-called Dreamers: tens of thousands of younger unauthorized immigrants who participate in a program that allows them to remain in the United States, attend school, receive driver’s licenses and hold jobs without the threat of deportation.
The weekend tumult was over a few hundred people who were being denied entry as refugees from violence across the Middle East, as well as over some legal residents who were being barred from returning. Any Trump administration effort to overturn the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative and then deport participants could ensnare almost 800,000 people who are deeply enmeshed in communities, churches and campuses across the nation.
Did it ever occur to the Times that if there were a "GOP backlash" on immigration, we might have seen it in the 2016 election? And yet, Hulse handed the mic over for a “pro-immigration” spokesman to deliver a sunny commercial for DACA:
“After this weekend, if they go after Dreamers, they are going to be going after the best-known, most popular and most beloved immigrants in America,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration group.
“They are well known,” he said. “They go to our kids’ high schools; they attend universities. They are lawyers, doctors, chemists and construction workers, teachers’ aides and health care providers. They are leading extraordinary lives. They are American in all but paperwork.”
Media tip: One can be “pro-immigration” without supporting illegal immigration.
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Some Republican hard-liners and anti-immigration groups are already clamoring for Mr. Trump to follow through on his DACA commitment.
After a cursory attempt at balance, Hulse returned to Sharry for more uninterrupted pro-amnesty propaganda.
And most Republicans in Congress seemed to back the president despite widespread outrage from Democrats and some stiff dissent from Republican senators.
“I think most Americans support these common-sense measures,” Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, said in a typical statement.
Still, Republican loyalty could be tested by an aggressive move against the Dreamer program. Mr. Sharry, the immigration activist, predicted an outpouring of public resistance should the administration move ahead.
“The first time a Dreamer gets put in a detention center and readied for a deportation bus, those crowds you see at the airports, you are going to see crowds at least as big surrounding the outside of detention centers,” he said. “What you are seeing at the airports this weekend will be multiplied by the hundreds and perhaps thousands.”
And for some Republicans, those images would be a nightmare.