The Washington Post has turned to emotional personal stories to enflame the immigration debate over the past few weeks.
“Separated and deported: A father’s story,” read the headline on a story in the Sunday edition of the Post. “Nevada draws a Trump gamble; Immigration Takes Center Stage; President uses issue to stump for GOP senator,” read another on the same page.
“‘Zero tolerance’ meets desperation,” read another on the front of the Saturday Post. It included a subhead: “Two powerful forces have collided at the border. Migrants and officials alike are feeling the jolt.”
That was right across from “Trump boosts border rhetoric,” with subheads that read: “Portrays Migrants as Criminals; Tweet says legislative efforts now are fruitless.”
On Friday, the top headline read: “Shift in border policy leaves officials scrambling” with subheads that read: “Patrol halting criminal referrals” and “But DOJ says ‘zero tolerance’ still in effect.”
On the same page, there were headlines that read: “’I will kiss their boo-boos’: Foster families provide small comforts” and “Lawyers searching for migrants’ children encounter ‘a total labyrinth.’”
On Monday, the main headline of the paper read, “Trump opposes trials for migrants” with subheads that read: “GOP lawmakers ready narrow bill” and “Tweets: Send back illegal immigrants immediately.’”
“Separated families feel terror of the unknown,” another headline read. “More than 2,000 migrant children have been dispersed across U.S.”
This is a press-abetted gambit to try to press emotional buttons to push change in immigration policy.
The story begins with the sad fate of the children.
“The children have been through hell,” it states. “They are babies who were carried across rivers and toddlers who rode for hours in trucks and buses and older kids who were told that a better place was just beyond the horizon.
“And now they live and wait in unfamiliar places: big American suburban houses where no one speaks their language; a locked shelter on a dusty road where they spend little time outside; a converted Walmart where each morning they are required to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, in English, to the country that holds them apart from their parents.”
Some of the mugshots authorities take of the children for identification purposes “show children in tears,” the Post wrote, quoting immigration lawyers.
The Post wrote of the children that “All around them, and all around the country, people are doing things for them. Caseworkers, lawyers and volunteers work the phones, searching for parents and other relatives.”
It discusses the low pay of many of these workers, that most of the kids were not accompanied by adults even before they were arrested and the fact most arrive with nothing because, as one immigrant advocate put it, “It was never anticipated that they were going to be totally on their own.”
But mostly, “from the children’s perspective, people do things to them,” such as administer vaccines, treat their physical ailments and attempt to “instruct the kids in English, colors letters, numbers.”
That part of the story – the vaccines, education and treatment that marks America’s humane, if somewhat chaotic, immigration system – is 20 paragraphs from the top.