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The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is an immigration restriction organization that insists that it does not “discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, or creed.” But many have questioned that claim since revelations that FAIR’s legal arm essentially wrote the highly controversial Arizona law that critics say is certain to lead to racial profiling of Latinos.
Now comes another clue to the true nature of the organization behind the Arizona statute, which requires law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of people they come into contact with if there is reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally. Critics, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, have pointed out the law will lead to Latinos, including U.S. citizens, being repeatedly questioned by police and forced to continually prove their status.
FAIR files archived in the Gelman Library at George Washington University include a Jan. 9, 1990, note from Sidney Rawitz, then a board member of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), FAIR’s legal arm. Rawitz, who once served as counsel to the government’s Immigration and Naturalization Service, was reacting angrily to an apparently overly favorable news story discussing the Cubans who came to Miami in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift. Rawitz was writing to Richard “Dick” Higgins, who was then IRLI’s executive director.
“What infuriates me most about this article is the use of Marielitos as examples of beneficial immigration,” Rawitz wrote to the IRLI leader. “There are facts and statistics galore about the criminals, homosexuals and defectives whom Castro visited upon this country when he opened up Mariel. Prisons, hospitals, and welfare rolls are heavily burdened by this influx — as you well know.”
Quite apart from Rawitz’s eyebrow-raising description of “criminals, homosexuals and defectives” — a phrase eerily reminiscent of the Nazis’ descriptions of their own enemies — the note revealed a high level of ignorance on the IRLI board member’s part a full decade after the boatlift. Although there was much publicity during the boatlift suggesting that the Marielitos were serious criminals being dumped in the United States by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the reality is that only about 2%, or some 2,746, of the 125,000 refugees were ultimately determined to be serious or violent criminals. Large numbers, in fact, were simply people who disagreed with aspects of the Castro regime. Economist David Carr also found that the boatlift entailed no negative effect on wages for any groups in Miami. ( continue to full post… )
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One of two brothers indicted this week in connection with the bombing of a Scottsdale, Ariz., diversity office was a former Klansman and leading skinhead recruiter with a predilection for explosives.
As part of a sweeping undercover investigation that led to the indictment, federal agents also raided the Indiana home of longtime white separatist Tom Metzger on Thursday, removing computers and other items, but not arresting him.
In another related move, a man described as a white supremacist with expertise in weapons and the making of napalm was arrested on his rural property in Missouri and charged with being a felon in possession of firearms.
Dennis Mahon, 58, and his twin brother, Daniel, were arrested Thursday following the search of a home in Davis Junction, Ill. A federal grand jury indictment in Arizona charges them with conspiring to damage and destroy buildings and property. “The object of the conspiracy was to promote racial discord on behalf of the ‘White Aryan Resistance,’” the indictment states. WAR is a white supremacist organization founded by Metzger more than a quarter century ago. ( continue to full post… )
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Shortly after the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on immigration law enforcement got under way this morning, a letter from the civil rights groups Center for New Community and the Southern Poverty Law Center (publisher of this blog) was made a part of the official record. The letter, which objected to the committee’s invitation to nativist lawyer Kris Kobach to testify, has already sparked controversy, according to a Phoenix New Times blog report. Here is the text of the letter:
Dear Chairman Conyers:
It has come to our attention that Kris Kobach has been invited to participate as a panel witness for the Joint Hearing on the Local Enforcement of Immigration Laws scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, April 2, in the Rayburn Building, Room 2141, in Washington D.C. We respectfully request that the committee reconsider the invitation.
While Mr. Kobach is listed as a law professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, School of Law, we believe members also should be aware that he is the senior counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). To date, FAIR and IRLI have paid Mr. Kobach $125,000 to serve as IRLI legal counsel.
FAIR is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes annual listings of such organizations. Among the reasons are its acceptance of $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, a group founded to promote the genes of white colonials that funds studies of race, intelligence and genetics. FAIR has hired as key officials men who also joined white supremacist groups. It has board members who write regularly for hate publications. It promotes racist conspiracy theories about Latino immigrants. It has produced television programming featuring white nationalists. And John Tanton, the man who founded the group in 1979, has a long personal history of associating with white nationalists. In a 1993 letter to Garret Hardin, a committed eugenicist who promoted pseudo-scientific ideas of racial purity, Tanton wrote candidly: “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” ( continue to full post… )
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A coalition of hate groups, nativist extremists, the California American Legion, Christian Right organizations and prominent members of Congress, including the head of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, have endorsed a punishing anti-immigrant ballot initiative now gathering signatures for California’s June 2010 ballot, according to the website of Taxpayer Revolution.
The initiative aims to “bring an END to ‘birth tourism’” by requiring an “illegal alien birth mother to apply in person for a ‘Birth to Foreign Parent’ document, pay an additional fee, submit full identity [and] means of support [information] with photographs and fingerprints, all of which is transmitted to the United States Department of Homeland Security.” It would also create an entirely new “California Birth Certificate” for all other births. The group claims that ending the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States, which it considers “a feudalistic, uncivilized practice rooted in Medieval England,” is “critical toward reducing the crime problem.” (This claim ignores numerous studies that show that immigrants are, in fact, significantly less criminal than native Americans.)
Called the California Taxpayer Protection Act, the initiative would end pre-natal and non-emergency care and child welfare checks “deposited into illegal aliens’ bank accounts for the anchor babies” (meaning children born in the United States and who are therefore American citizens). “It is time to stop the proliferation of the Third World in the United States,” Taxpayer Revolution concludes.
The initiative appears to be the handiwork of Ted J. Hilton, who claims on Taxpayer Revolution’s website to have held “the first daytime demonstrations along the border … beginning in 1990” and to have spent 17 years studying “14th Amendment’s original intent.” Hilton says he has “worked closely” with the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) to prepare the initiative’s text. IRLI is the “public interest law affiliate” of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a hard-line nativist group that has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center since 2007. FAIR is listed because of the racist and eugenicist views of its founder and principals, along with a number of other reasons. ( continue to full post… )