As one of our state’s premier newspapers, I honestly have to say we were expecting something more from the News & Observer. Because of glaring omissions and a general failure to grasp the facts, we have to worry even more about people like penniless_taxpayer seeking out the tents at night.

First things first—“illegal immigrants” is a term that a newspaper shouldn’t use. It’s misleading. Immigration is complicated and it’s easy to fall out of compliance. Overstays are the most common but a rejected request for a change in the type of visa can also make someone suddenly paperless. “Illegal Immigrant” implies they came here illegally, which does nothing more than fuel stereotypes. An editor should be so discerning.

“All three women freely admit they are living in the country illegally and are angry and frustrated at the barriers in the U.S. immigration laws that leave them with slim chances of going on to college or getting jobs other [sic] under-the-table work.”

I hope they fix the typos before this goes to print. Check out “came country” in the first paragraph. But besides that, the article clings to that magic word, “illegal,” which lets you avoid the trouble of thinking anything through.

“The federal legislation, which has floated around Congress for years, would give children who came to the U.S. illegally a chance to get permanent resident status if they attend college or join the military. It would also open up chances to take out federal student loans and enable them to pay in-state tuition for their home states.”

It’s unfortunate that  the N & O seems to think that the story here isn’t that three women who came here as young children are now fighting for a chance to stay, but rather what kinds of visa they came on. The DREAM Act does not issue a directive to states about in-state tuition; it allows states to decide that for themselves. This article suggests that the DREAM Act does that by itself.

While the article does mention that undocumented youth might get a “chance” at legal residence, it might have been helpful to explain that there is currently no path for the children of undocumented immigrants. Without that little bit of context, the News & Observer feeds grist to the idiot comment mill:

One of these “useless” immigrants graduated from UNC with a degree in biology, but the News & Observer didn’t consider that worth including, either. Come to think of it, by reading this you would have never thought that a reporter interviewed these three women for an hour and a half. But besides that, none of these women are asking for help from anyone to change their status. They are simply looking for a way to do it themselves.

But that story doesn’t sell newspapers.

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