Steve Decosta of the Standard-Times (South Coast Massachusetts) offers "Year in review: Bianco raid put SouthCoast at center of immigration debate" about the immigration raid of Michael Bianco Inc. in New Bedford. Most people admit that that factory was a sweatshop and that's not only been printed in previous reports by that paper but Decosta includes it in paragraph 21 of his "report".
However, what goes before then could have equally been used to promote child labor back in the day. It also contains photos designed to provoke an emotional response, including the same picture of a crying child featured in the Urban Institute/NCLR report on "victims" of immigration enforcement; not only does Decosta mention their report, but the photo was taken by Peter Pereira from his paper.
Before the 21st paragraph where the conditions at the plant are partly described, we get things like this:
It was truly a trying year for America's tired, its poor, its huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
Even as the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants were squarely in the crosshairs of law enforcement agencies and radio talk-show callers, lawmakers essentially turned their backs on their plight.
SouthCoast became the focal point of the immigrant debate — some would say debacle — after federal authorities raided a South End military contractor's factory, ripping 361 undocumented workers away from their sewing machines and from their families.
If SouthCoastToday and the rest want to highlight their plight in their home countries, that might get a lot more support than their current tack of supporting massive illegal activity and what appears to have amounted to worker abuse.
Decosta goes on to quote someone who left a comment on one of their articles using the handle "Mexifornian"; that person started off making some sense but then refered to the children affected by the raid as "collateral damage". In effect, Decosta is trying to portray the people who would put a stop to sweatshops and massive illegal activity as cold-hearted, as opposed to the warm-hearted folks who support massive government corruption and abusive workplaces. "Mexifornian" is the only person in the whole article who gives a clue that we shouldn't be supporting people coming here illegally, and it's presented only as a choice between being "sympathetic" and not.
The article also quotes "Carly Burton, a policy associate with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition", "Rev. Marc Fallon, a caseworker for Catholic Social Services", and "Rev. Richard Wilson, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish at St. James Church". Fallon appears to be quite a bit of work, saying:
"Every time you listen to WBSM, the vitriolic statements you hear there, there is no distinction between them and what was being said in Germany during the 1930s."
I'm not familiar with that radio station, but I tend to think there's a significant distinction. Their was a relationship between the newspaper and the station, but the paper broke it off in August after they got tired of being slammed on the air (link). In March the editor of the paper, Bob Unger, defended them against charges that (as with the current piece) they were pulling at people's heartstrings in order to support illegal immigration, refering to "WBSM's on-air jihad against illegal immigrants since the raid" (link). One of the "jihadis", host Ken Pittman, organized an "America First" rally in May (link), and he certainly doesn't sound like a "jihadi" to me (link):
I have been calling for people to help feed these people while we figure out how to reunite the families but I am calling for deportation of ALL who have broken our laws. The local newspaper, The New Bedford Standard Times has decided to overwhelmingly favor the catch and release policy and let all " deserving," aliens continue to take from the taxpayer resources with equal access to Americans.
The O'Reilly Factor of Fox News contacted me and asked me to look into the now infamous op/ed of the NY Times newspaper suggesting that the ICE raid was responsible for babies of illegal aliens being sent to area hospitals as a result of the incarcerations of their mothers (here against the law). I was able to determine from a Hospital spokeswoman and from the very woman who carried one of the two babies in question, that these poor babes were indeed dehydrated..as a result of pneumonia, something the New York Times mentioned nothing of. It didn’t end there. I was also able to learn that one of the mothers of these two actually lied about having children when the federal officials interviewed her. This kept the two separated much longer than was necessary...
He may have subsequently appeared on O'Reilly's show, but the post doesn't describe what happened. He also alludes to possible funny business involved in granting the federal contract to Michael Bianco Inc.; perhaps SouthCoastToday should concentrate on that instead.
Reports like this illustrate once again the impact that discrediting religious leaders who support illegal immigration could have on this debate. Publicly asking them tough questions wouldn't give hacks like Decosta as great a chance to hide behind false compassion to support illegal immigration.
1/18/07 UPDATE: John Kerry pushed for and now welcomes an investigation into the raid (link). He's interested in how they could have gotten a DOJ contract while under investigation by ICE. But, he's mainly interested in the raid's side-effects, such as sending detainees to Texas. Of especial note, he's not so interested in the fact that almost everyone agrees it was a sweatshop. If he came out in strong support of enforcement but wanted to do it the right way, that would be one thing. However, the bottom line is that he's trying to block enforcement, whether he explicitly says that or not.