LAT Calls Arellano an 'Immigration Activist'

August 20th, 2007 5:19 PM

Here's another file for the Elvira Arellano bias folder. The Los Angeles Times joined its Windy City sister publication the Chicago Tribune in describing the fugitive illegal immigration as an activist in an August 20 article, "Immigration activist deported to Mexico."

As in the Tribune write-up, Arellano's conviction for Social Security fraud was buried deep into the article (paragraph 11).

After giving Joseph Turner of the Federation for American Immigration Reform some token space to applaud the arrest and deportation, reporters Sonia Nazario and David Pierson devoted the rest of the article to a dispute amongst illegal immigration advocates about how far they should go in challenging federal authorities:

Arellano was part of a fledgling movement of churches in New York, Chicago, San Diego and Los Angeles that had recently offered sanctuary to illegal immigrants.

But her cause was not widely embraced by immigrant rights activists, some of whom believed the idea of religious organizations willfully flouting the law to shelter an illegal immigrant with final deportation orders was too confrontational and feared that her tactics would only fuel anti-immigrant forces in the U.S.

Many Americans feel torn about cases such as Arellano's, said Grace Dyrness, who is studying the sanctuary movement at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC.

"People are struggling: Where do I land? Do I side with the law, without compassion? Or with compassion, and then I don't have regard for our laws?" she said.

"People wonder: What is the law, and what does my heart say and how do we bring those two together?" Dyrness said.

Update: You can leave your opinion on the Arellano arrest and deportation (and on the paper's bias) at the LA Times Web site here.