Amnesty for illegals failed, the Dream Act had a rude awakening, yet the Times just keeps pushing sympathetic stories about illegal immigrants and portraying border-enforcers as out of touch, despite having the support of most Americans.
The front of Wednesday's Times told the heart-rending story from the Arizona border, of a pregnant woman being deported who "had tried to waddle north" for a better life: Marc Lacey's "Birthright Citizenship Looms as Next Immigration Battle."
Of the 50 or so women bused to this border town on a recent morning to be deported back to Mexico, Inez Vasquez stood out. Eight months pregnant, she had tried to waddle north, even carrying scissors with her in case she gave birth in the desert and had to cut the umbilical cord.
"All I want is a better life," she said after the Border Patrol discovered her hiding in the bushes on the Arizona side of the border with her husband, her young son and her very pronounced abdomen.
The next big immigration battle looming on the horizon centers on illegal immigrants' offspring, who are granted automatic citizenship if born on American soil. Arguing for an end to the policy, long rooted in the Constitution's 14th Amendment, immigration hard-liners describe a wave of migrants like Ms. Vasquez stepping across the border in the advanced stages of pregnancy to drop what are dismissively called "anchor babies."
The Times won't admit that those "hard-liners" have a point, so Lacey blurred the issue as "complex" and emphasized that Inez Vasquez was both a sympathetic figure and a rare exception (so why make her the focus of a story on immigration?).
The reality at this stretch of the border is more complex, with hospitals reporting some immigrants arriving to give birth in America but many of them with valid visas who have crossed the border legally to take advantage of better medical care. Some are even attracted by an electronic billboard on the Mexican side that advertises the services of an American doctor and says bluntly: "Do you want to have your baby in the U.S.?"
As for women like Ms. Vasquez, who was preparing for a desert delivery, they are rare.
Still, Arizona - whose tough law granting the police the power to detain illegal immigrants is tied up in the courts - may again take the lead in what is essentially an attempt to redefine what it means to be an American. This time, though, Arizona lawmakers intend to join with legislators from several other states to force the issue before the Supreme Court.
Lacey used opinionated language to argue against the conservative position and minimize the threat posed by anchor babies.
Most Constitutional scholars consider the states' effort to restrict birth certificates patently unconstitutional. "This is political theater, not a serious effort to create a legal test," said Gabriel J. Chin, a law professor at the University of Arizona whose grandfather immigrated to the United States from China at a time when ethnic Chinese were excluded from the country. "It strikes me as unwise, un-American and unconstitutional."
Despite being called "anchor babies," the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States cannot actually prevent their parents from being deported. It is not until they reach the age of 21 that the children are able to file paperwork to sponsor their parents for citizenship. The parents remain vulnerable until that point.
Lacey left out that Mexican women who have babies here do get taxpayer assistance, as the liberal fact-checking blog PolitiFact admitted in a story criticizing Sen. Lindsey Graham for bringing the birthright issue up: "Pregnant women and nursing mothers could be eligible for certain benefits under the Women-Infants-Children (WIC) program, which provides food and nutrition vouchers, and their children could enroll in Medicaid, although the undocumented parents could not."
In October 2010, reporter Lacey wrote a starkly slanted sentence about a married couple divided over Arizona's crack down on illegal immigration, portraying Efrain Sotelo, the law's defender, as a right-wing cliche "law-and-order type," while Shayne Sotelo was described as a "compassionate" person who sees how "hard-edged policies affect real people."