Immigrant haters get their 15 minutes in Concord

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The U.S. media has gotten into the lazy habit of giving right-wing gripers more coverage than their numbers merit. It happened locally over the weekend when the Mexican Consulate, based in Raleigh, came to Concord High School Saturday to register Mexican citizens for Mexican passports and IDs. (When Mexican nationals return home, they need passports to get back into Mexico; they need valid Mexican ID to enroll kids in school or get a tax ID number from the IRS in order to pay U.S. income tax.) When the “immigration enforcement” group NCFIRE announced beforehand that they’d be out in force at the high school to tell those Mexicans a thing or two, local media reports jumped to attention and played up the group’s announcement, giving the impression of an impending showdown.

So what happened Saturday? Four hundred or so Mexican nationals showed up to apply for new passports and ID, and 30 measly picketers walked around with sour looks on their faces. And that was it. Nonetheless, the story was plastered all over the front of the Observer’s front page Sunday, as if something had actually happened to warrant such blanket coverage. It was reminiscent of what happened in March during the health care reform vote. The national media that day focused on (rather, obsessed over) a few hundred Tea Party reform foes outside the House of Representatives, while only a few blocks away, more than 100,000 people marched in favor of granting legal status to undocumented immigrants, but were largely ignored by reporters, and denied much live coverage.

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