The Trump administration announced that Julie Kirchner, former executive director of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is the new ombudsman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Kirchner previously served as an advisor to DHS before netting the ombudsman position. Before that, Kirchner worked at America’s most influential anti-immigrant organization for almost 10 years before leaving in 2015 to become an immigration advisor to the Trump campaign.
After Trump’s election, and certainly throughout his campaign, nativists have rejoiced with their newfound intimacy with the White House, and Kirchner’s appointment is only the latest announcement of extremists enjoying a direct line to federal power.
Since its founding in 1979, FAIR’s agenda has centered on a complete moratorium on immigration to the United States and included vicious attacks on non-white immigrants. Its founder was white nationalist John Tanton, an avowed eugenicist who created the modern anti-immigrant movement in the United States.
"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,” Tanton wrote in 1993.
Dan Stein, FAIR’s longtime president, has complained that today’s immigrants are engaged in “competitive breeding” to diminish the America’s white majority and campaigned to repeal a 1965 immigration law that ended racial quotas that restricted immigration to Europeans. He also served as editorial adviser for The Social Contract, a nativist hate journal Tanton publishes.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson in 1997, Stein stated, “Should we be subsidizing people with low IQs to have as many children as possible, and not subsidizing those with high ones?"
Kirchner was working at FAIR while Tanton served on FAIR’s board before the group quietly moved him to an advisory board position following a 2011 expose published by The New York Times that detailed Tanton’s racist views and associations.
Kirchner first started with FAIR in 2005 as deputy director of government relations, but rapidly claimed the ranks and was named FAIR’s executive director two years later. In 2006, she wrote a piece for FAIR’s newsletter lamenting the large pro-immigration marches that took place in March of that year, writing, “The sight of millions of illegal immigrants and U.S.-born citizen children marching under Mexican flags and asserting their identities as something other than American is very troubling and should be seen as a wake-up call to the political leadership of this country. The United States could well face a situation similar to what has been taking place in France and other parts of Europe, where the children of the last generation of immigrants not only do not identify with the societies in which they live, but are openly hostile to them.”
Kirchner’s new position is a very powerful one, which it makes it all the more disturbing considering her past work. The USCIS ombudsman engages with applicants for immigration status to fix problems. The ombudsman, and her office, help in cases such as when a petition has fallen through the cracks, or where the agency issues flawed analyses.