Daily Sentinel provided no balance to Allard's criticism of immigration reform provision

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction reported on U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard's (R-CO) proposed amendment to remove from an immigration reform bill a provision that would allow illegal immigrants to work in the United States before beginning the naturalization process. The Daily Sentinel, however, did not include any comments from supporters of the provision.

A June 5 Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction article by Gary Harmon reported on U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard's (R-CO) planned amendment to eliminate the so-called "Z visa" provision from proposed immigration reform legislation, Senate Bill 1348, but it failed to provide any comments or views from lawmakers who support the provision. While the article noted that, regarding the overall reform legislation, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) "defended the measure last weekend on the CBS Sunday morning show, 'Face the Nation,' " the Daily Sentinel did not include any comment from Salazar or any other supporters regarding Allard's proposed elimination of the Z visa, which would allow an illegal immigrant to work in the United States in advance of beginning naturalization procedures.

According to the Daily Sentinel, Allard offered an amendment "to eliminate a provision in the immigration bill that critics have said gives preference to illegal immigrants over others waiting in line for citizenship in a merit-based visa system." The article further noted:

Allard said the provision, which would create "Z" visas for illegal immigrants, unfairly gives preference to people breaking the law.

"My amendment simply strikes the special schedule that makes people who have violated our immigration laws eligible for 50 percent more points than anyone else," Allard said.

[...]

Allard is among perceived skeptics of the comprehensive immigration bill sponsored by Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. Allard's office said reaction noted among his constituents has centered on opposition to its amnesty provisions.

Allard has taken no official position on the bill.

He has, however, offered other amendments to the bill, including a requirement that the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security be able to share information and a requirement that applicants for citizenship disclose any past names or Social Security numbers they have used.

Allard isn't alone in hearing from opponents of the measure, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, S.1348. About 60 percent of people calling Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., are opposed, according to his Washington, D.C., office.

Salazar defended the measure last weekend on the CBS Sunday morning show, "Face the Nation."

While noting Salazar's defense of the overall bill on Face The Nation, Harmon included no comment from Salazar or any other supporter of the Z visa provision. Similarly, in reporting that "60 percent of people calling" Salazar's office "are opposed" to the proposed legislation, the Daily Sentinel also failed to note, as The New York Times did, that the bill -- and specific provisions granting legal status to illegal immigrants -- enjoys broad support among Americans. As the Times reported in a May 25 article, "Point by point, large majorities expressed support for measures in the legislation that has been under debate since Monday in the Senate." Furthermore, referring to the Z visa provision Allard wants to eliminate, the Times reported, "Two-thirds of those polled said illegal immigrants who had a good employment history and no criminal record should gain legal status as the bill proposes, which is by paying at least $5,000 in fines and fees and receiving a renewable four-year visa."

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