2008 Eugene Katz Award For Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration

Read the panel discussion transcript

The past several years have seen immigration policy become a top-shelf political issue. Two sessions of Congress engaged in vigorous, high-profile debate over the issue, culminating in the repudiation last June by the Senate of the Bush-McCain-Kennedy amnesty legislation. Following that defeat, the White House grudgingly gave the green light to immigration authorities to start actually enforcing the law, resulting in sustained focus on the issue in all parts of the country.

All this activity has drawn significant public attention, with hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens delving for the first time into the Byzantine workings of our immigration system and making their voices heard in the policymaking process.

Heather Mac Donald’s reporting can help them make sense of this complicated issue. It is for this reason that Mac Donald, a John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor to City Journal, has been selected as the 2008 recipient of the Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration. In fact, one might say that Mac Donald’s early academic training at Yale and Cambridge in deconstructionism – the idea that words don’t really mean what they appear to mean – was ideal preparation for writing about immigration policy, where “temporary” is really permanent, where numerical “caps” are “pierceable,” and where people ordered deported never leave.

Though she writes for City Journal and other opinion magazines and editorial pages, Mac Donald doesn’t simply express her views. A Stanford-trained lawyer, she has become an intrepid investigative reporter, writing on subjects ranging from policing to education to welfare. On immigration, she has explored family breakdown among immigrants, immigrant gangs, the role of local police in immigration enforcement, the Mexican foreign ministry’s involvement in domestic American policymaking, and other matters badly in need of the sort of in-depth treatment she has become known for. Last year, some of her immigration reporting was incorporated into The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan than Today’s, a book exploring the current state of immigration policy and offering suggestions for reform.

New York Times Columnist David Brooks has said that “If there were any justice in the world, Mac Donald would be knee-deep in Pulitzer Prizes and National Magazine Awards for her pioneering work.” Regrettably, that day has not yet come, but when it does, it will have been anticipated by the 2008 Katz Award.

This award is named in memory of Eugene Katz, a native New Yorker who started his career, after Dartmouth and Oxford, as a reporter for the Daily Oklahoman. In 1928, he joined the family business, working as an advertising salesman for the Katz Agency, and in 1952 became president of Katz Communications, a half-billion-dollar firm which not only dealt in radio and television advertising but also owned and managed a number of radio stations. Mr. Katz was a member of the Center for Immigration Studies board until shortly after his 90th birthday in 1997. He passed away in 2000.

More information on the Katz Award, including previous winners, is available at http://www.cis.org/KatzAward

The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-profit, non-partisan research institute which examines and critiques the impact of immigration on the United States. It is animated by a pro-immigrant/low-immigration vision, but offers the Katz Award not to promote any point of view but rather to foster informed decision-making on an issue so central to America’s future.

Mark Krikorian
Executive Director
Center for Immigration Studies
May 30, 2008