Anti-immigrant roundup: 5/14/18

The following is a list of activities and events of anti-immigrant organizations and individuals. Organizations listed as anti-immigrant hate groups are designated with an asterisk.

National groups

Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) and NumbersUSA attended the biggest Earth Day event in the United States in Dallas, Texas on April 20. “Massive population growth forced by congressional immigration policies,” is the reason sustainability goals from the first Earth Day in 1970 haven’t been met, they claim. Population growth’s negative impact on the environment, specifically by way of immigration, is a trope often used by anti-immigrant groups. White nationalist John Tanton, responsible for a network of anti-immigrant groups including NumbersUSA, started his campaign against immigration under the guise of environmental concern. Anti-immigrant groups have attended the Earth Day event in Dallas for many years. Its founder, Texas real estate magnate Trammell S. Crow, has supported anti-immigrant causes in the past. In 2012, the Dallas Morning News revealed Crow had donated a whopping $500,000 to help cover the costs of legal fees to defend an anti-immigrant ordinance in the town of Farmers Branch, a suburb of Dallas.

Also on Earth Day, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)*, a group founded by Tanton, released its rating of environmental groups on immigration. Sounding the alarm of population growth and citing a Pew study, the report claims, “88 percent of population growth in the United States by 2065 will stem from immigrants and their descendants.” This has been true since the establishment of the United States.

In May, FAIR released a report titled, “Sanctuary Jurisdictions Nearly Double Since President Trump Promised to Enforce Our Immigration Laws.” Under methodology, the group says, “we have also included those that publicly eschew such classifications, but there sanctuary policies are actually being followed in practice.” FAIR and the other major organizations in the organized anti-immigrant movement have targeted sanctuary cities in the United States for a number of years, ramping up the campaign following the election of President Trump, who has made targeting cities with sanctuary polices a priority.

On April 13, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI)*, on behalf of FAIR*, sued U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), seeking information on employees and employers using the H1-B visa program. Anti-immigrant groups have been longtime critics of the H-1B visa program, claiming this is a way for employers to get cheaper labor and rob Americans of jobs. Dale Wilcox, executive director of IRLI*, released a statement, saying, “While H-1B employers are required to pay foreign workers at market value, the fact is that flooding the labor market serves to drive down wages and limit opportunities for American workers. There is no shortage of Americans who have technical skills or are currently acquiring them in U.S. schools. The H-1B visa program should not be exploited for business objectives while many qualified Americans are struggling to find employment.”

This myth has been debunked time and again. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs, the most petitioned job by H-1B employers, remain in surplus. There is both a deficiency in the number of people deciding to pursue STEM degrees in the U.S. as well as a discrepancy in those with STEM degrees going into STEM occupations. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that as of July 2014, 74 percent of those with STEM degrees are not employed in STEM occupations and find jobs in other industries. From the start of the H-1B program in 1990 to 2010, research shows H-1B driven increases in STEM workers led to substantial wage growth for U.S. born, college-educated workers in over 200 U.S. cities. Additionally, according to the Brookings Institution, wage growth has been much higher than the national average in the jobs that receive the most H-1B requests.

On April 16, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)* published an article attempting to downplay violence in Honduras, instead saying most Hondurans emigrate for economic reasons. CIS* wrote this article to falsely claim the caravan of refugees, mainly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador , are seeking asylum for economic reasons. “It is critical that U.S. policymakers understand the forces driving migration from Central America, so they can appropriately respond to developments like the recent caravan of Central American migrants (composed primarily of Honduran nationals) hoping to use claims of asylum as ameans of entering the United States,” CIS* concluded.

Tanton’s political action committee US Immigration Reform PAC has donated to just one federal candidate in the 2018 cycle, Mo Brooks (R-AL). Brooks has attended events at CIS* and FAIR*, regularly citing research by both anti-immigrant hate groups on the House floor. In 2014, Brooks said critiques of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ pitiful record on civil rights was part of a “ war on whites.” The PAC, which supported Brooks in 2014 and 2016, has donated to candidates such as Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and lawyer for the nativist movement, in the past.

On April 18, a federal judge found Kobach in contempt of court for violating a court order. In May 2016, the judge ordered Kobach to stop enforcing the proof-of-citizenship requirement, which went into effect in 2013. Kobach did not update his office’s website informing some new voter applicants that they were still eligible to vote. Kobach’s office also did not send postcards to these voters, who had not shown proof-of-citizenship documents when they registered, as he was ordered to do. Kobach has a long history of aggressively hunting for and prosecuting voter fraud where it doesn’t exist. He is also a front runner in the movement to suppress the votes of minorities .

The following week, ProEnglish* released findings on a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports and ProEnglish* that showed 81 percent of the country believes English should be the official language of the United States. The poll surveyed just 1,000 Americans. Rasmussen polls have been “much friendlier to Trump – and less so to Obama – than most other pollsters,” according to the Washington Post. ProEnglish*, a group that has met with White House Officials multiple times this year to discuss “ official English legislation,” said they “will be sharing these overwhelmingly pro-official English poll results with both Congress and the White House in the coming days in an effort to accelerate the passage of the English Language Unity Act and the signing of a new Executive Order by President Trump in order to repeal former President Clinton’s onerous Executive Order 13166…” Executive Order 13166, also known as “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,” fundamentally ensures that federal programs and activities are accessible to LEP persons and do not discriminate on the basis of national origin.

The Social Contract Press, a white nationalist hate group founded by Tanton, released a new anti-immigrant booklet titled, “ IMMIGRATION FRAUD LIES THAT KILL.” The booklet was written by Michael Cutler, a former senior special agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) turned anti-immigrant activist. Cutler has written for national anti-immigrant groups such as Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS)*, an anti-immigrant group within Tanton’s network.

CAPS*, like FAIR*, has received funding from the Pioneer Fund, and has hired on a new executive director. The Pioneer Fund was created to fund studies on eugenics and race and intelligence. New executive director Ric Oberlink has contributed two articles to Tanton’s Social Contract Press and been a guest on the radio show of anti-immigrant group American Border Patrol. CAPS* has been in turmoil recently, with a number of staff changes, including hiring and firing a neo-Nazi and dropping two longtime writing fellows after SPLC pointed out their racist views.

On April 28 and May 4 respectively, Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary for DHS, announced the end of protection for immigrants from Honduras and Nepal. On May 4, FAIR* released a statement saying the announcement was “ long overdue.” Mark Krikorian, head of CIS*, celebrated the decision, saying, “Honduras long ago reverted to its regular messed-up state, not the special post-hurricane messed-up state required by the TPS statute. There can be no honest basis for an extension.” Since the 1990 Immigration Act, the United States has allowed immigrants from countries affected by armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary conditions to reside and work legally in the U.S. until it is safe for them to return to their home country under the temporary protected status (TPS). Immigrants from 10 countries have found safety in the United States thanks to this program. In January, the Trump administration ended this protection for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador.

Local groups

On April 14, Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR)* had a meeting to discuss Initiative Petition #22 to repeal Oregon’s sanctuary statute. Dan Laschober, candidate for House District 26, also attended.

Legislation

Seven states are suing the Trump administration to end DACA: Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led the suit. Several anti-immigrant hate groups, including CIS* and FAIR*, have repeatedly called for the end of DACA. “The aim of the law is to encourage adherence to, and discourage violations of, the law,” a CIS* post from August 2017 claimed.

On May 2, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced 35 judges would be added to the southern border to prosecute “illegal entries.” He says this is “about a 50 percent increase in immigration judges handling asylum cases.” When asked if this poses a humanitarian concern he said, “Well, we treat them wonderfully, particularly children, and we fly them back home.” Several reports have come out detailing mistreatment in immigrant detention centers, particularly affecting youth. Just this past November, the ACLU sued the government for its detention and abuse of Rosa Maria, a child with cerebral palsy. Andrew Arthur, a fellow at CIS*, wrote an article in support of this announcement, quoting his own testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s National Security Subcommittee from April 12, 2018. “An increase in detention will make it less likely the aliens will enter the United States illegally and make it more likely that aliens without meritorious claims for relief who entered illegally will take orders of removal or voluntary departure and go home,” he said in part. This is an iteration of CIS*’s longtime policy of attrition through enforcement.

Just four days later, Sessions visited the border in San Diego with acting ICE Director Homan. “If you cross the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you - it's that simple. If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, we will prosecute you. And that child will be separated from you, as required by law," he said.

In their own words

On April 18, Trump tweeted, “There is a Revolution going on in California. Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept. Jerry Brown is trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border, but the people of the State are not happy. Want Security & Safety NOW!”

Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) attacked Rep. Brian Sims (D), the state’s first openly gay elected state legislator, in a Facebook post in April, calling him a “ lying homosexual.” In 2007, Metcalfe formed the coalition, State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI). SLLI, which works closely with FAIR*, undertook a national campaign to end the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship for all children born in the United States.

Kirkorian, head of CIS*, retweeted a video from NASA with the message, “THIS is what we should be spending our money on, not playing nursemaid to goatherds.”

In an interview with Breitbart News Daily, Stephen Guschov, executive director of ProEnglish *, a group that seeks to make English the national language, said he’s met with the White House five times about repealing accommodations for non-English speakers at polling places, public hospitals and schools. “We don’t want to see America become a new Tower of Babel,” he said.

In a recent blog, FAIR* wrote, "The bias of the news media prevents them from seeing that without real immigration reform the day is not long before our country is invaded by more than a few hundred in a caravan."

Upcoming Events

Texans for Immigration Reduction and Enforcement (TFIRE)* is hosting Philip Haney, author of “See Something, Say Nothing,” on May 15. TFIRE* claims the Obama administration ordered Haney to “scrub and delete” all of the information he had collected on terrorists. This information, they further claim, led to DHS offficials removing “over 800 records of jihadis and jihadi organizations,” before the department “went after Haney.”