The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is almost certainly the most-quoted immigration restriction organization in America. In just the last few weeks, its leaders have enlightened cable viewers with their views on such topics as “American ‘Intifada’ in Our Future?” “Driving While Illegal,” “Should ALL Illegal Aliens Be Deported?” and “Economic Impact of Migration.” In the past six years, FAIR officials have testified at least 30 times to Congress. Day in and day out, FAIR is taken seriously as a mainstream commentator on the immigration debate.
It shouldn’t be. The founder, chief ideologue and long-time funder of FAIR is a racist. Key staff members have ties to white supremacist groups, some are members, and some have spoken at hate group functions. FAIR has accepted more than $1 million from a racist foundation devoted to studies of race and IQ, and to eugenics — the pseudo-science of breeding a better human race that was utterly discredited by the Nazi euthanasia program. It spreads racist conspiracy theories. Its political ads have caused numerous politicians, Democratic and Republican, to denounce it.
Much of this has been known for years. But last February, underlining the way that FAIR does business, its leaders met with the leaders of Vlaams Belang — a hastily renamed Belgian party that under a prior appellation, Vlaams Blok, was officially banned by the Belgian Supreme Court as a racist and xenophobic group. It was, for some, a final straw — the Rubicon of hate, as it were. When FAIR officials met with Vlaams Belang leaders to seek their “advice” on immigration, we decided to take another look at FAIR. When our work was done, it was obvious that FAIR qualified as a hate group. Early next year, when the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual hate group list is published, FAIR will be on the list.
The results of our investigation are contained in an article being published today in SPLC’s Intelligence Report and on the Web. In addition to this evidence, the Report in 2002 published a major investigation of John Tanton, who founded FAIR and remains a key player on its board today. A 2001 Report article also included brief profiles of immigration restrictionist groups, including FAIR.
The identification of FAIR as a bona fide hate group is important. FAIR is the hub of the American nativist movement, the group that more than any other has contributed to the rancid turn the national immigration discussion has taken. With FAIR fanning the flames of xenophobic intolerance, hate groups, hate crimes and hate speech directed at foreigners and Latinos continue to rise in America.