The Senate began a debate on immigration reform today, and that seemed to be the focus on "The Early Show" on CBS this morning. Co-host Harry Smith interviewed New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Republican strategist Bay Buchanan. Smith chose to frame the debate as a "crackdown on undocumented workers" and ignored the fact that these "undocumented workers" are in fact in America illegally.
This morning’s program opened with a tease from Harry Smith:
Harry Smith: "A huge battle is brewing in Washington after a weekend of massive rallies over immigration. Hundreds of thousands protested a proposed crackdown on undocumented workers."
Smith then proceeded to open his interview segment in a similar fashion:
Harry Smith: "The Senate begins debate today on a new immigration policy. Some people say it should call for a crackdown on undocumented workers and a tightening of American borders."
The fact that Smith refused to acknowledge that "undocumented workers" are here illegally demonstrates where he stands on the issue, but his questions were even more telling. He played the race card on Bay Buchanan:
Harry Smith: "Yeah, It's feeling more and more like a wedge. Bay Buchanan, is this about race? Is this about national security, or is this about rule of law? Bay?"
Then, ironically, Smith, in a question to Governor Richardson, complained that businesses depend on cheap labor and insinuated that businesses would suffer if legislation cracking down on "undocumented workers" were passed.
Harry Smith: "Governor Richardson, what happens to all of these businesses and there are many businesses, big and small, across the country whose lifeblood is cheap labor. What happens to these businesses when they don't have anybody to work there anymore?"
I always thought liberals were against cheap labor, but I guess they’ll use any argument to prevent Congress from securing our borders and enforcing our laws.
The interview segment was telling for another reason as well. While CBS booked a high profile Democratic Governor to argue for "humane" immigration policies, to argue the other side, they brought in a low profile Republican strategist in Bay Buchanan. I’m sure if CBS would have looked, they could have found a higher profile Republican, such as Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) to offer opinions in support of the House passed legislation and balance the debate.