Five Long Island men have been indicted for firing a July 4th rocket through
the window of a house in Farmingville, a lower-middle-class town near here.
The house, which was burned out, was occupied by Sergio Perez (33), his
girlfriend Maria Garcia (23), and their two children (5, 1). Mr. Perez
comes from Hidalgo, Mexico. The perpetrators of the crime seem to have been
motivated by anger at the large Mexican presence in the town, most of it
made up of illegal immigrants. The local newspaper, Long Island Newsday, has a small database of current and past stories
on the incident.
I have been reading about this story since it came up, over the July 4th
weekend. It is a pretty awful story–I mean, nobody, least of all helpless
little tots, should be burned out of their home in the middle of the night.
However, there is a small point about the reporting of the story that vexes
me: So far I have not seen Mr. Perez’s immigration status noted. Is he an
illegal immigrant? None of the several Newsday stories gives any clue.
They seem not to be interested in the point at all–which is not very
surprising, as Newsday has a hard-left editorial line, and is strongly
sympathetic to illegal immigrants. It actually prints the phrase “illegal
immigrant” in quotes, on the very rare occasions it prints it at all. (By
far the more usual formula is “day laborer” or, when they feel they really
cannot avoid referring to a person’s immigration status, “undocumented
Newsday has a left-extremist columnist named Paul Vitello, much given to
weepy reminiscences of his own immigrant (Italian) grandfather… though
whether the grandfather entered this country legally or not, is a thing Mr.
Vitello has not yet vouchsafed to us. Referring to a previous anti-Mexican
incident in Farmingville, Vitello wrote (on August 3): “This was the second
time that so-called illegal Mexican immigrants living in Farmingville could
say that [i.e. 'they tried to kill us'] about their so-called legal American
neighbors.” We seem to have a mindset here where there is no such thing a
legality or illegality in the sphere of immigration control, only
“so-called” legality and “so-called” illegality.
I repeat, if the facts are as reported, this was a horrible crime that
deserves harsh punishment. I am only observing that some elements in the
local reporting of it are… rather peculiar.