Sotomayor’s “Immigrant” Parents

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) released a statement about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on May 26:

The nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit appears to have caused some confusion among members of the media and news consumers.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists would encourage news organizations to avoid any confusion over Judge Sotomayor’s ethnic background. Her Puerto Rican parents are not immigrants, as some journalists have reported, since island-born residents are U.S. citizens, conferred by an act of Congress in 1917. People who move to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico are no more immigrants than those who move from Nebraska to New York.

Sotomayor’s nomination to replace Justice David H. Souter represents the possibility of the first Latino sitting on the nation’s highest court. As the debate over her qualifications develops, NAHJ would encourage the highest form of discourse.

The “confusion” NAHJ refers to spread to numerous publications, including The New York Times. I found the following correction from them:

Correction: May 16, 2009
An article on Friday about Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a possible candidate for nomination to the Supreme Court, referred incorrectly to her parents. As people who moved to New York from Puerto Rico, they were United States citizens. They were not “immigrants.”

The corrections didn’t end there, as with this one I found from NPR:

Correction: The article originally stated that Sotomayor is a “first generation American, born of immigrant parents.” Her parents are in fact from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

The cat is out of the bag with this factual inaccuracy, as this Google search indicates. However, I applaud NAHJ for at least making an attempt to correct this situation.

When NLGJA encounters a similar situation, I expect us to respond accordingly.

For an LGBT perspective on Sotomayor, check out “Slim on LGBT Cases, Sotomayor Wins Gay Praise” by Duncan Osborne in Gay City News.

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