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February 22, 2016

Anti-Immigrant Groups Ratchet Up TV Ad Campaigns

Two anti-immigrant groups, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA, have been running television ads during the current presidential debates and primaries attacking immigration policies. Both organizations want to impose limits on legal immigration and halt undocumented immigration.

FAIR’s new ad, which began running in February in South Carolina where a primary was held on February 20, blames undocumented immigrants for taking away jobs and college placements from American citizens. The ad also claims that undocumented immigrants are using resources like healthcare and welfare benefits “at American taxpayer expense.” In addition, the ad alleges that undocumented immigrants are committing crimes against Americans due to “broken borders.”

Dan Stein, president of FAIR

Dan Stein, president of FAIR

Undocumented immigrants, many of whom have resided in the U.S. for decades, live in the shadows of American society as they are afraid that revealing their status may result in deportation. In the ad, Dan Stein, the president of FAIR co-opts the idea that undocumented immigrants live in the shadows by claiming that American citizens are the ones that need to come out of the shadows and speak out against undocumented immigration.

The NumbersUSA ad is more explicit in attacking both legal and undocumented immigration. The ad features the late Barbara Jordan, a former Texas representative, and the chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform in the mid-1990s. Jordan has become a much touted hero of the anti-immigrant movement for her stance on limiting legal immigration and stopping undocumented immigration when she was on the commission.

In the ad, while Jordan speaks about the alleged impact of immigration on job prospects for American workers, NumbersUSA suggests that legal immigration should be cut drastically. It also suggests that undocumented immigration is causing widespread unemployment.

FAIR and NumbersUSA are two of the most active anti-immigrant groups in the nation. Both have ties to racist John Tanton, the architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement. Tanton founded FAIR in 1979 and had a hand in creating NumbersUSA, as well.

Roy Beck, who founded NumbersUSA in the mid-90s, worked closely with Tanton and NumbersUSA was under the umbrella of Tanton’s organization, U.S. Inc, until 2002. Beck was the Washington editor of Tanton’s anti-immigrant journal, The Social Contract during the 1990s. During Beck’s tenure as editor, white supremacists such as Jared Taylor and Sam Francis published articles in the journal. Beck himself addressed the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens in 1997.

Both FAIR and NumbersUSA are trying to use immigration to drive a wedge between voters who support immigration reform and those who do not and tend to blame immigrants for a variety of societal problems.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit orga­ni­za­tion, the Anti-Defamation League does not sup­port or oppose can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office.

(more…)

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November 18, 2015

Anti-Refugee Sentiment Reaches New High After Paris Attacks

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the country has witnessed anti-refugee sentiment coming from various corners, including state governments and the anti-immigrant movement. Over 30 governors across the country have said they will not accept Syrian refugees and have asked President Obama to halt or suspend the country’s refugee program.

Many of the governors appealed to fear in the wake of the terrorist attacks, asserting that they could not protect the residents of their states from potential terrorists. Later, some Congressional leaders also drove home this fear by advocating for the suspension of the U.S. government’s refugee program.

Ann Corcoran

Ann Corcoran

The notion that terrorists can enter the United States through U.S. refugee programs is not new. In October of this year, a number of presidential candidates said they would not allow Syrian refugees into the country and would send back those who have been allowed to settle in the U.S.

But the events in Paris have ratcheted up the anti-refugee rhetoric, equating refugees with terrorists and questioning their ability to assimilate into “Western culture.” Anti-immigrant organizations such as the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA have all released articles or statements declaring that the U.S. government should suspend its refugee program.

Dan Stein, the president of FAIR, wrote a column on November 16 extolling the program established by the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s to deport thousands of Mexican immigrants. After talking about the alleged merits of the program, Stein turned his attention to Muslim immigrants in the wake of the Paris attacks. He wrote, “A dulling orthodoxy within certain Muslim communities has degenerated [sic] a fanatical strain that promises an epicurean paradise for mass murder on earth.”

In a column for National Review, Mark Krikorian, head of CIS wrote, “Relocating refugees from the Middle East to the U.S. is morally wrong.” He goes on to say that the U.S. should assist refugees by caring for them in their “native region”—despite the terror and war that refugees are experiencing. NumbersUSA released a similar statements saying that the U.S. should help refugees in their home region rather than allowing them to come to the U.S.

Ann Corcoran, who runs Refugee Resettlement Watch, writes daily about the alleged dangers of letting refugees into this country by appealing to anti-Muslim sentiment. On November 17, she wrote, “All the vetting in the world isn’t going to save us from the toddlers coming in with Mom and Dad from Africa and the Middle East who thumb their noses at the ‘good life’ and become radicalized 20 years down the road.  The only true solution is a complete moratorium on Muslim immigration.”

The fear-mongering appears to be having an influence. The media reported on November 18 that two refugee families from Syria that had been approved and scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis have been told that they are no longer welcome in the state.

 

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November 9, 2012

Key Coalition of Anti-Immigrant State Lawmakers Declines by 30% after Election

State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), a coalition of lawmakers working to introduce and pass anti-immigrant legislation at the state level, will lose members when the new legislatures convene in January. Starting in 2013, the coalition will officially drop from 68 members to 49, a decline of more than 30%. The coalition not only loses size but scope, with representation dropping from 40 states to 33.

The coalition, started by Pennsylvania Representative Daryl Metcalfe, is very closely tied to the anti-immigrant movement in the United States. The coalition’s website currently boasts 68 members from 40 states. While these numbers are slightly exaggerated because they include some members who are no longer elected representatives (Russell Pearce, for example, the former Arizona State Senator was recalled in 2011), the additional loss of 19 members will result in a far smaller coalition.

In the 2012 elections, many SLLI members did not run for reasons ranging from term limit restrictions, to running for another public sector position or choosing retirement. The decline in SLLI membership is a blow to the anti-immigrant movement, which partially relies on SLLI members to push anti-immigrant legislation.

Just a few months after SLLI’s founding in 2007, Daryl Metcalfe was joined by Dan Stein, president of the largest anti-immigrant group in the United States, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Mike Hethmon of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), FAIR’s legal arm, at a press conference. At the press conference, SLLI announced that it had “entered into a working partnership” with IRLI. Essentially, IRLI works with SLLI members to draft anti-immigrant legislation which the SLLI member then introduces in his/her state legislature. This partnership has been effective, most notably in Arizona where then-SLLI member Russell Pearce worked with IRLI to draft the harshest anti-immigrant bill at the time, SB 1070.

Unfortunately, the decline in SLLI membership will likely not spell a decline in the amount of anti-immigrant legislation introduced at the state level. The anti-immigrant movement does not rely solely on SLLI to introduce legislation that it drafts. In Alabama, for example, IRLI drafted HB 56, a law even harsher than Arizona’s SB 1070, but did not court a SLLI member to introduce the bill.

It remains to be seen whether Metcalfe will attempt to recruit new members for his coalition post-election. Regardless, the anti-immigrant movement, and more specifically IRLI, will continue to draft anti-immigrant legislation based on its “attrition through enforcement” (self-deportation) model and seek out lawmakers in states around the country willing to introduce it.

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