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September 28, 2012

Numbers USA donates $100,000 to help defend anti-immigrant ordinance in Famers Branch, Texas

The anti-immigrant group, NumbersUSA, recently donated $100,000 to the Farmers Branch legal defense fund in an effort to help an anti-immigrant ordinance in the Texas town pass its latest round of legal challenges.

If upheld, the ordinance would ban all undocumented immigrants from renting properties in the town.  Banning undocumented immigrants from renting properties is a small part of the “attrition through enforcement” platform created by the anti-immigrant movement. The platform’s goal is to make life so difficult for immigrants that they will “self deport” back to their country of origin.

According to financial records, NumbersUSA donated $10,000 to the Farmers Branch Legal Defense Fund in 2009, so this most recent contribution of $100,000 is a ten-fold increase. Last week the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the case. If the Fifth Circuit upholds the law, a key piece of the anti-immigrant movement’s “attrition through enforcement” policy would be given the green light and similar ordinances may spring up in towns across the country.

Another anti-immigrant group, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), is also heavily involved in the Farmers Branch case. IRLI drafted the ordinance and is also defending the case in court. The IRLI lawyer in the case is Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas and author of some of the harshest anti-immigrant legislation passed in the country, including Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56.

Kobach and NumbersUSA have worked together previously. Just last month, Kobach filed a lawsuit on behalf of ten disgruntled Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents against ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, stating that the directives both organizations received from the Obama administration’s new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy violates federal law.  The policy allows some eligible children of undocumented workers who were not born in the U.S. to apply for temporary work authorizations, and calls for ICE agents to refrain from detaining them. After the case was filed, NumbersUSA announced that it will be funding the lawsuit.

IRLI and NumbersUSA’s connections run even deeper than just collaborating on court cases. IRLI is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), founded by racist John Tanton in 1979. It was under Tanton’s leadership that IRLI formed a few years later. Tanton also worked closely with NumbersUSA founder, Roy Beck for many years. Beck served as the Washington editor for Tanton’s anti-immigrant journal, The Social Contract, for a decade and internal memos from Tanton indicate that he thought of Beck as his “heir apparent.”

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