COMMENTS: Human Nature

All three networks followed up on yesterday's Story of the Day, the plan to change immigration laws. Each chose a different angle. NBC's George Lewis surveyed the reaction of the immigrant community itself, where many citizen children are being raised by parents who are vulnerable to deportation: "For those living in the shadows it is hope mixed with fear." The enforcement angle was selected by CBS' Bob Orr, who had Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff explain why his department supports the bill. Chertoff complained that his agents are now "spending a lot of their time chasing housekeepers and landscapers" when he wants them to focus on "the dope dealers, the gangbangers, the terrorists." ABC looked at the politics of the bill. Martha Raddatz suggested that passage "would mean a rare victory for the President" but found him "stuck in the middle:" many Republicans find the provision of legal residence upon payment of a $5,000 fine "simply a non-starter;" as for the Democrats, the prospect of 400,000 guestworkers being allowed to stay for two years as temporary workers is a "key concern" because "labor unions fear it would take jobs away."

CBS' Assignment America feature leaves it to viewers to pick the topic for Steve Hartman to profile a week in advance. So it was a coincidence that in the immigration-heavy week, Hartman's assignment was a profile of Alfredo Quinones, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University. The 39-year-old Mexican-born physician arrived in California's San Joaquin Valley 20 years ago as an illegal immigrant. Hartman traced his career path: migrant farmworker, tractor driver, welder, community college student, UC Berkeley, Harvard Medical School, brain surgery. Knowing what he knows now would he enter illegally all over again? "I am sure I would," the naturalized US citizen asserted. "It is human nature to try to find better ways to survive."


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