In the early-1980s debate leading up to the last big amnesty, the New York Times editorial page took a liberal stance, to be sure, but a constructive one, acknowledging the real problems created by large-scale illegal immigration. One editorial, for instance, noted:
Uncounted millions cross our porous borders in search of a better life. Like prior immigrants, many enrich our land with industry. But their numbers are so great that they also strain community resources and threaten the jobs and well-being of those who preceded them.
Not anymore. In a new paper, my colleague Jerry Kammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, describes how under publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. the paper’s editorial voice reflexively condemns any skepticism about amnesty or continued high levels of immigration as beyond the pale. In the process, Kammer writes “its editorials have poisoned the national discussion of a complex and emotional issue.”
You may figure you don’t need to read 7,000 words to learn something you already know, but Kammer’s deeply researched piece sheds needed light on how and why the Times descended into the “racism is everything” school of editorializing on immigration. Given the Times’ continuing status as the newspaper of record, and the brewing amnesty debate, it’s important to give context to the flood of sanctimony on immigration sure to emanate from the editorial page over the next six months or so.