Templates, patterns, and selling massive illegal immigration

You read enough newspaper reports about immigration, and you start noticing certain patterns.

For instance, I've read several articles that have all or most of the following characteristics:

  • They're all designed to make massive illegal immigration acceptable.

  • They're all based on one or two sympathetic illegal aliens.
  • Those aliens are only identified by first name, because the illegal aliens state in the article that they're afraid of being deported.
  • The very first sentence of the article mentions the name of the illegal alien and includes some reference to their plight.
  • The phrase "American dream" is used somewhere.
  • Other lies, platitudes and the like are sprinkled throughout: we're a nation of immigrants, illegal aliens take the jobs Americans don't want, etc. etc.
  • The general weepy tone of the article would make even Sally Struthers ashamed of having written it.

Having seen several articles like this, I get the feeling that it's more than just a coincidence. Unfortunately, we can't count on the non-liberal media to investigate these type of stories, since the media are the ones perpetrating them.

Maybe it's the AILA or a similar organization feeding these stories to the media, or maybe the reporters just read each others' advocacy pieces and - rather than thinking - decide to churn out something along the same lines.

Here's the latest example, from today's Duluth News Tribune:

As Maria watched her children play along the beaches of Moose Lake on Independence Day, she recounted how she nearly made the ultimate sacrifice for their freedom...

Now, compare that article to the one I discussed just a few days ago:

College shouldn't be difficult for Joaquin, who mastered Advanced Placement classes in a language he learned only four years ago and recently graduated 12th in his high school class...

I'll search my archives and the web for other articles that fit this template. Stay tuned for the Grand Unifying Theory of mass-illegal immigration advocacy.


This is indeed a typical pattern. It is aimed at the emotions, seeking to bypass rationality. It tries to defeat generalizations by going to a mindlessly concrete level of consideration. It tries to individualize the issues, as if no moral principles applying to large groups could apply against transgressors of a misleadingly sympathetic type. It allows for complete fictionalization of the stories. There is rampant moral skepticism in such reports; the events are presented as if moral choices are impossible. The journalistic mentality dislikes and fears universal absolutes; you are right to point out that there are some important items missing from these stories.