Coverage of May Day Immigration Rally Less Slanted, But Times Still Found "Fear"

Coverage of illegal immigration rallies, more balanced but still slanted: "...a cloud of fear has settled over immigrants who were worried that the rallies would lead to more sweeps."

Friday the Times reported from scattered "May Day" rallies across the nation in support of illegal immigration. Perhaps sobered by the deflating attendance figures, the latest report was significantly more balanced than ones from previous May Day rallies. The Times even admitted the left-wing nature of this year's May Day marches, noting that immigration was often just one of many causes crammed under an umbrella of socialist advocacy and "Sept. 11 conspiracy theories."

However, Randal Archibold's story, "In Smaller Numbers, Marchers Seek Immigrants' Rights" did hit some of the foreboding notes of previous coverage.

Thousands of immigrants and their supporters marched in several cities on Thursday to demand civil rights at a time when crackdowns against illegal immigrants are rising.

The May Day demonstrations were significantly smaller than in previous years, and gone were calls for a nationwide boycott of businesses and work, as protest leaders had urged last year. The Spanish-language D.J.'s who had heavily promoted previous marches stuck largely to their regular programming. And disagreements among advocates over the best approach to winning legal status for illegal immigrants had diminished organizing firepower, with many groups turning their attention to voter registration and citizenship drives.

In many cities, including New York, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles, crowds were a small fraction of those in previous years, with few people outside protest areas even aware that marches were under way.

Some supporters said they had lost a rallying cry in the stalled effort in Congress to revamp immigration law. At the same time, with the government stepping up border and immigration enforcement, a cloud of fear has settled over immigrants who were worried that the rallies would lead to more sweeps.