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February 22, 2016 4

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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August 21, 2012 5

Anti-Immigrant Movement Dealt Blow by U.S. Appeals Court

On August 20, the U.S. 11th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals handed down a mixed rul­ing for recent anti-immigrant laws passed in Alabama and Geor­gia. For both laws, HB 56 and HB 87, the court fol­lowed the deci­sion of the U.S.  Supreme Court ear­lier this sum­mer regard­ing a sim­i­lar Ari­zona law (Ari­zona et al v. United States). The appeals court thus upheld pro­vi­sions in the two state laws that allowed police to check the immi­gra­tion sta­tus of peo­ple sus­pected of com­mit­ting a crime.

Mike Heth­mon

The court, how­ever, struck down other pro­vi­sions of both states’ laws, includ­ing one of the major fea­tures of the Alabama law, a pro­vi­sion that required pub­lic schools to check the cit­i­zen­ship sta­tus of new stu­dents. This is a major blow to the anti-immigrant move­ment, which saw the pro­vi­sion as a sig­nif­i­cant step towards over­turn­ing the Supreme Court’s land­mark 1982 Plyler v. Doe deci­sion, which ruled that all chil­dren, regard­less of their immi­gra­tion sta­tus, are per­mit­ted to attend K-12 pub­lic schools in the United States.

Over­turn­ing Plyler v. Doe has been one of the anti-immigrant movement’s key long-term goals; many major anti-immigrant groups have spo­ken openly about over­turn­ing the deci­sion. In Novem­ber 2011, for exam­ple, the anti-immigrant group Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR) wrote hope­fully about what Alabama’s HB 56 might accom­plish: “Thus, the col­lec­tion of immi­gra­tion data regard­ing K-12 stu­dents in Alabama (and indeed in other states) could pro­vide con­crete evi­dence needed to revise the Supreme Court’s hold­ing in Plyler v. Doe.” FAIR’s legal arm, the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), actu­ally helped draft HB 56. In a 2011 inter­view with the New York Times, Mike Heth­mon of IRLI said that the even­tual goal was to chal­lenge Plyler v. Doe.

Sim­i­larly, the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies, a major anti-immigration think tank, pub­lished a report in 2005 by Mark Levin that claimed that the Pyler v. Doe deci­sion “is per­haps the most egre­gious of the Court’s immi­gra­tion rul­ings.” For­mer Ari­zona State Sen­a­tor Rus­sell Pearce, for many years the lead­ing anti-immigrant voice in Ari­zona, also floated the idea of forc­ing undoc­u­mented chil­dren to pay tuition to attend pub­lic schools in his state. This, of course, would have been in direct vio­la­tion of the Plyler v. Doe ruling.

The court’s deci­sion on the school pro­vi­sion is thus not only a sig­nif­i­cant civil rights deci­sion that pro­tects chil­dren.  It also thwarts one of the key planks of the anti-immigrant movement’s agenda.

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