NYT Reporter Does Hard Sell for 'Dreamers' to Keep Trump From Killing Obama Amnesty

August 28th, 2017 4:56 PM

Pushing amnesty for illegal immigrants is the New York Times’ long-term obsession, and the one where the media outlet’s liberal bias shows through the clearest. The lead national story on Monday, featured reporter Miriam Jordan on the paper’s immigration beat, selling an Obama-era initiative to keep illegal young "Dreamers" in the country: “Program That Lifted 800,000 Immigrant ‘Dreamers’ Is at Risk.

The story led the National section, crammed with sympathetic pictures and photo captions that strove to sell the readership on yet another sympathetic tale of striving illegal immigrants (er, “undocumented immigrants”) at risk of being deported if the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program is dismantled. Applicants who entered the United States before age 16 and have committed no serious crimes are protected from deportation and can acquire jobs and drivers licenses, though not official citizenship.

Jessica Rojas beat poverty to put herself through engineering college, where she collected accolades for academic achievement. After graduating last year, Ms. Rojas, who grew up in Chicago, was hired by a utility company to help modernize the city’s electrical grid.

(A photo caption sold the story hard: “Jessica Rojas says the elimination of DACA would put her career and her life in America in jeopardy.”)

But her life could soon be upended in a showdown over a five-year-old initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which has granted permission to stay and work to about 800,000 immigrants like Ms. Rojas who were brought illegally to the United States as children.

Since attacking DACA on the campaign trail, President Trump has pledged to keep the program alive, calling recipients, also known as Dreamers, “absolutely incredible kids” who deserve compassion. But in recent days, key players in his administration have advised Mr. Trump to wind down the program, and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has informed him he considers it unconstitutional and cannot defend it in court, according to people familiar with the discussions who insisted on anonymity to describe private deliberations....


The Justice Department would be responsible for defending DACA, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a fierce opponent of the program, has not said whether he would, and the president has not said whether he would order Mr. Sessions to do so.


DACA has changed the lives of many beneficiaries, enabling them to qualify for financial aid for college, secure better jobs and open bank accounts. These milestones on the road to self-sufficiency would be jeopardized if DACA is wiped out.

According to the New York Times, helping Mexican citizens achieve self-sufficiency is the job of the United States, not Mexico. Would Mexico provide the same hand to American citizens who can’t get to Canada but who still want to escape the horrors of President Trump?

The threat to the program has rekindled an activist spirit that was crucial to its creation. Hundreds of people turned out for the Washington rally, one of several held around the country that day, and more than two dozen people were arrested and accused of blocking sidewalks.

Starting around 2010, undocumented young adults campaigned with intensifying vigor, using marches, sit-ins and other methods, as hope faded that Congress would provide them with a path to lawful status. Their leaders ultimately secured meetings with Obama aides and argued that the executive branch could grant undocumented immigrants “deferred action,” a form of prosecutorial discretion that would shield them from deportation and allow them to work, although it would not confer legal residency or citizenship.

The Times certainly played up the tiny Dreamer protests cited above, involving as few as four or five people (while virtually ignoring massively larger Tea Party rallies).

Polls show that DACA enjoys overwhelming support among the public. But eliminating it would please many Trump supporters who favor a hard-line stance on illegal immigration and who regard the program as nothing short of an amnesty that the president has no power to grant.

Jordan explained the current state of play.

In 2015, Texas and 25 other states won a federal court ruling blocking the Obama administration from extending deferred action to an estimated five million undocumented parents of children who were citizens or legal residents, as well as to young immigrants who arrived between 2007 and 2010. The ruling was upheld on appeal, and last year, the Supreme Court split 4 to 4, leaving the lower court’s decision in place.

If the attorneys general have the same success challenging DACA, it would be up to Congress to give the Dreamers a way to stay in the country legally. Four bills with bipartisan sponsors have been filed that would provide relief to the Dreamers....

Somehow, the reporter only found a single person (Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was less than full-throated) to oppose DACA, while quoting multiple Democrats, Republicans, business people, college professors and of course beneficiaries of the program, eight in all.

With the program’s future in the balance, more than 100 law professors recently signed a letter to President Trump arguing that DACA is legal because the president has the power to decide whom to deport, given that the government does not have the resources to target all undocumented immigrants.


Support has also come from a group of Democratic attorneys general led by Xavier Becerra of California, who may try to intervene to defend DACA, as well as from some business leaders.

John Rowe, a former chief executive of the energy giant Exelon, who has mentored Ms. Rojas, the DACA recipient, at the Illinois Institute of Technology, said, “The program has been instrumental to advance talented people like Jessica.”

Now a co-chairman of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Mr. Rowe organized a letter to Mr. Trump supporting the program that was signed by 132 chief executives from across the country. “To cancel this program is bad economics, bad politics and un-American,” he said in an email.

For Ms. Rojas, who was brought to the United States from Mexico when she was 5 and was the first in her family to attend college, it could spell the end of her $65,000-a-year job working for a unit of Exelon and put her entire life in America in jeopardy. “It’s scary,” she said. “Because of DACA, I was able to come this far.”