On Monday, all three network evening newscasts touted liberal protesters flooding into the streets around the Supreme Court to demand that the justices uphold President Obama’s unilateral executive action granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
Leading off NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt proclaimed: “Immigration furor: The fate of millions now hanging in the balance. What happens if there is a tie?” In the report that followed minutes later, correspondent Pete Williams set the scene: “Hundreds of demonstrators came from around the country, jamming the sidewalks, dramatizing what's at stake. The court's decision will affect the future for people here illegally nationwide...”
On ABC’s World News Tonight, fill-in anchor George Stephanopoulos announced: “And we go to Washington tonight, where there was a showdown at the Supreme Court over immigration. And President Obama's executive action shielding millions from deportation....Hundreds of Obama supporters there, too, asking the court to keep their families together.”
Correspondent Jim Avila dramatically declared: “Immigration, the flashpoint dividing the nation. Tonight, on the doorstep of the Supreme Court, in perhaps its biggest case of the term.”
He worried: “With the death of Justice Scalia, the court now appears divided, 4-4, along conservative and liberal lines.” After explaining that such a tie would lead to a lower court ruling rejecting Obama’s action being upheld, Avila warned: “That would be a big setback for President Obama, his immigration policies, and the court itself. Concerned about appearing ineffective and partisan.”
On CBS Evening News, correspondent Jan Crawford uttered: “They came to the court by the hundreds, carrying posters and stories of struggle.” She proceeded to highlight one family’s story:
Marlene and Peter Uribe came to the United States illegally 20 years ago. Their daughter, Stephanie, was born here, a U.S. citizen....Under President Obama's plan, as parents of a U.S. citizen or lawful resident, they, like four million others, would be shielded from deportation and be able to work and get some government benefits.
During the NBC report, Williams talked to the same couple:
The Court's decision will affect the future for people here illegally nationwide, including Peter and Marlene Uribe of Maryland, who came to the U.S. two decades ago from Chile. He's a construction worker, she's a nanny. Their visas expired long ago, but they're hoping they can stay to support their children. One was born here....President Obama wants to let millions of adults like them stay if their children are American citizens.
Here is a full transcript of Avila’s April 18 report on World News Tonight:
6:40 PM ET
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And we go to Washington tonight, where there was a showdown at the Supreme Court over immigration. And President Obama's executive action shielding millions from deportation. Texas officials there to argue against the presidential order. Hundreds of Obama supporters there, too, asking the court to keep their families together. ABC's Jim Avila on the arguments inside that courtroom.
JIM AVILA: Immigration, the flashpoint dividing the nation. Tonight, on the doorstep of the Supreme Court, in perhaps its biggest case of the term. Texas leads 25 other states, claiming President Obama has gone too far with executive actions, granting millions of otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants the right to stay and work in the U.S.
KEN PAXTON: One person doesn’t have the unilateral authority to change the law or make new laws.
AVILA: But today, Texas admitted under tough questioning from Supreme Court justices that congress has not given the president enough money to deport all 11 million immigrants here illegally. So Obama does have the legal right to make decisions about who gets to stay. With the death of Justice Scalia, the court now appears divided, 4-4, along conservative and liberal lines.
Because we don't have Scalia, what does 4-4 mean? The government loses if it’s 4-4, right?
KATE SHAW: So, if it’s 4-4 the federal government loses. The lower court opinion, which found against the program stays in effect.
AVILA: That would be a big setback for President Obama, his immigration policies, and the court itself. Concerned about appearing ineffective and partisan. George?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks Jim.