The New York Times, Twists Facts to Create Martyrs Out of Immigration Violators

The New York Times recently published an article titled, “ICE Came for a Tennessee Town’s Immigrants. The Town Fought Back.” The piece describes a supposedly ominous worksite enforcement action by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the allegedly valiant efforts of Morristown, Tenn., residents to push back against President Trump’s immigration policies. The desired image is clearly one of a small town with morals that transcend American laws, gallantly reaching out to global neighbors “who just need work.” Except that the whole story is an open-borders fantasy ginned up by the Times.

Attempting to build drama, the piece begins by describing “dozens of panicked workers” at Southeastern Provision, a local meatpacking plant, who fled from ICE agents by “wedging themselves between beef carcasses or crouching under bloody butcher tables.” But reality rapidly intrudes on the Grey Lady’s narrative of victimization. You see, even the Times couldn’t avoid the fact that ICE was arresting people who were, in fact, unlawfully present in the United States, and who had no authorization to accept employment here.

According to the Times, Southeastern Provision offered a “major advantage” for illegal aliens – it knowingly hired them and paid them cash. Alma, a Mexican illegal alien interviewed by the Times, said the meatpacking plant was a place where illegal aliens could get work using their real names.

Then it turns out that ICE began investigating the business because the Internal Revenue Service had evidence that it was withdrawing millions in cash to pay illegal workers under the table. And an informant working at the plant, “told investigators that workers felt they couldn’t complain about poor working conditions because of their immigration status.” The informant also observed workers being forced to work unpaid overtime and handle hazardous materials without proper protective equipment.

To make a long story short, the Times is criticizing ICE for enforcing federal immigration laws against a large group of people who conspired to engage in criminal activity: Illegal aliens who had no right to be here, or work here, and an employer that was willing to increase its profits by forcing those illegal aliens to work in dangerous conditions, sometimes without pay. (The nerve of those ICE agents, engaging in congressionally sanctioned enforcement of laws against fraud and abuse!)

So, how exactly did the people of Morristown “fight back against ICE”? Well, the truth is that they didn’t. The local Catholic church seems to have become a gathering place for friends and family of the individuals arrested in the raid. Apparently, in the eyes of the nation’s “paper of record,” handing out pizza and tamales during presentations from legal aid groups constitutes a stunning blow for the underdog – even if the underdog is clearly breaking the law.

Oh yeah, and a week later, approximately 300 people marched through downtown Morristown protesting ICE’s action. If that strikes you as a particularly small protest, that’s because it is. Morristown has a population of roughly 30,000 people. That means barely one percent of the local population turned out to fight the power. With that stunning level of righteous indignation, is it possible that any local ICE employees aren’t quaking in their boots?

It seems that the editors of the New York Times have either had a complete break with reality  – or maybe they’re just scraping the very bottom of the barrel in their fruitless search to portray ICE as a band of heartless thugs that targets the “innocent.” Meanwhile, maybe the U.S. citizens, and legal immigrants, living in Morristown can expect local employers to start offering market wages and safer working conditions.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats.He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    From the book “Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire” by Simon Baker

    Chapter VI- FALL

    –“The Roman empire collapsed staccato style; it did so not inevitably, but under the impact of key, spectacular shock waves in its last hundred years; and the people who created those crises were barbarian invaders.”

    –“Perhaps the greatest of these forces was the motivation of the barbarians. Their invasions came down to a single belief-that the Roman empire was an El Dorado that offered a chance for a better life. They came not to destroy Rome, but to become part of it. However, in trying to win acceptance within the empire, to win peace terms and a slice of that prosperity, destroying the empire is exactly what would happen.”

    Breaching the Empire

    –“AD 376. The Roman empire had for over a decade been unofficially divided into two halves….What the empire was not prepared for, however, was a dramatic chain of events taking place on its border in the northeast. On the river Danube, at some point between modern Bulgaria and Romania, the Roman empire was about to witness the greatest refugee crisis of the ancient word. It would also find itself fatally exposed.

    Facing the rushing expanse of the Danube, perhaps as many as 200,000 Goths had gathered on Rome’s northern frontier. They were not an invading army, but a nation of Gothic families-men, women and children seeking asylum en masse. They had come in their wagons, with their livestock, ploughs and whatever possessions they could carry….On reaching the border, they had camped out on the northern bank of the broad river, and their leadership had sent an envoy humbly asking permission from the emperor Valens to cross the frontier and live in his dominions. They had come because they had been forced to: life outside the empire’s northern borders had become too dangerous.”

    –“With the bulk of the Roman army on the eastern frontier, the troops in the west were spread very thinly along its northern borders. The shortage of soldiers meant that far from being in control of the situation, the Romans were in no position whatsoever to police the refugee crisis. Nonetheless, Valens gave permission for one of the Gothic tribes to cross the Danube. Transported in Roman ships day and night, the Tervingi tribe was ferried across the dangerous rapids of the river, and poured over the frontier like ‘lava from mount Etna’. Meanwhile, the Roman forces available patrolled the river, keeping out the Greuthungi tribe. To those who made it over the border, however, it would quickly become apparent just how unprepared the Romans were for their arrival.”

    • avatar

      And now there’s George Soros, who insists that governments do not have the right to block migrants from anywhere from coming and he has put billions behind that idea both here and in Europe. He funds anti-Brexit organizations in Britain when that country clearly voted to leave the European Union because they had no control of their own borders.

      Naturally Soros is a big favorite of both Hillary and Obama. The left chooses to overlook the fact that much of Soros’ money comes from currency manipulation, particularly against Britain and Thailand and it cost those countries central banks billions. Asked about that in a 1998 Sixty Minutes interview he basically said if I didn’t do it someone else would.

      Hillary has several times criticized the Brexit vote, doing her Brit version of deplorables, casting pro Brexit voters as provincial rubes who fail to see things the way the elites like her do. She recently pronounced herself the modern day version of Churchill. Except he told Germany you are not going to rule Europe, while Hillary and Obama lavish praise all over Angela Merkel, who told migrants to come to Germany without limit and then told other countries they need to accept their “share”. In response the Polish president told Merkel that one German invasion was enough.

      • avatar

        The media is still giving a lot of attention to “the children” of illegal aliens at the border. Why don’t they give an equal amount of air time to children of US citizens in foster care or who are separated from US citizen parents who are convicted of crimes? But of course we already know the answer to that question.

    • avatar
      The American on

      Well we have a lot to match them……they were a power much longer than we have so far…

      I thought the downfall of Rome was the intrusion of uneducated people in the Senate…..n corruption……

  2. avatar
    J. R. Alexander on

    Hopefully sooner rather than later Americans will wake up and realize the damage to our Nation’s sovereignty these Illegal Alien INVADERS are doing to us. These same Americans should also buy a dictionary; learn how to read and understand the word “ILLEGAL” isn’t restricted to murder, double parking or running red lights; but also includes those who intentionally INVADE our Nation at the insistence of the pro-open borders, pro-amnesty crowd of Socialists. Since an unworkable Socialism has taken its’ place in the dustbin of history alongside Communism, Stalinism, Marxism, perhaps these Socialist wannabes are the reincarnation of Nazism.

  3. avatar

    There are really no reporters any more. The real ones took buyout packages long ago to be replaced by young people with journalism degrees from decidedly liberal colleges. The meatpacking industry was one of the first to break the unions in their effort to replace what were once highly paid workers with low paid ones. The NY Times need look no further than their own stories from 20 years ago for proof of that.

    Some companies paid for advertising in Mexico to spread the word to come to the Midwest and they would be hired. And clearly this company was not just guilty of knowingly hiring illegals, but paying them cash off the books. Are there ANY laws the left and the media think should be obeyed when it comes to illegals?

    Look at how quickly they moved on, without a trace of explanation or retraction, from that story about the 2 year old girl who was not separated from her mother, in spite of the TIME reporter who wrote she was. And the mother was not fleeing violence but according to her husband back home was coming here for a job.

    We are about to go through another round of one of the biggest media frauds of the last several years. Paramount is releasing a “documentary” about Trayvon Martin and it will apparently repeat all the false talking points, including the constant use of pictures of him as a 12 year old, instead of the 6 foot 160 lb. 17 year old who sucker punched G. Zimmerman and was bashing his head against concrete. The media never mentions that he was on suspension for the 3rd time in a little over half a year, something almost impossible to do for a minority in the South Florida school districts who bend over backwards to avoid such suspensions. Nor is it mentioned that he had a dozen pieces of women’s jewelry in his backpack that was suspected to be taken in a house robbery. But no agenda by the media. No way.

  4. avatar
    VivaLaMigra on

    Numerous violations of tax laws, occupational safety regulations, and Fair Wage and Labor Standards Act requirements? Sounds like the stuff of a corrupt banana republic, brought to you by illegal aliens, scofflaw employers, and “professional do-gooders!” Any of you Catholics still dumb enough to drop your hard-earned money in that collection basket? If so, you’re underwriting a corrupt racket.

  5. avatar

    Am a rationale Catholic and I do NOT like what these priests are doing. That’s not compassion to me but rather a traitorous cooperation with an enemy and that to me is a huge, huge. huge sin!

  6. avatar

    Am a rationale Catholic and I do NOT like what these priests are doing. That’s not compassion to me rather a traitorous cooperation with an enemy and that to me is a huge, huge. huge sin.

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