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August 17, 2012 1

Progressives for Immigration Reform Announces Conference and New Project

The pres­i­dent of Pro­gres­sives for Immi­gra­tion Reform, Phil Cafaro

The anti-immigrant group Pro­gres­sives for Immi­gra­tion Reform (PFIR) has announced its third annual con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. sched­uled for Octo­ber 2012. In addi­tion, the group is pro­mot­ing their new project–a state­ment on the envi­ron­men­tal impact of U.S. immi­gra­tion policy.

PFIR was founded in 2009 claim­ing to “edu­cate the pub­lic about the unin­tended con­se­quences of mass migra­tion.” In real­ity, PFIR is made up of a host of anti-immigrant fig­ures, many of whom approach the issue of immi­gra­tion from an envi­ron­men­tal stand­point. PFIR’s use of the term “pro­gres­sives” is an attempt to attract envi­ron­men­tal­ists and to coax them to view immi­gra­tion as the cause of envi­ron­men­tal problems.

Though the group has not yet announced the speak­ers at this year’s event, speak­ers in the past have included a host of fig­ures from anti-immigrant groups , includ­ing Roy Beck from Num­ber­sUSA and Steven Camarota from the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS). Also in atten­dance last year was Mike Heth­mon from the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR).

The aim of PFIR’s new project is to deter­mine the num­ber of immi­grants Con­gress should allow into the United States. For years, anti-immigrant groups have argued that not only should all undoc­u­mented immi­gra­tion be pre­vented but that Con­gress should also dra­mat­i­cally decrease the num­ber of legal immi­grants enter­ing the coun­try each year. Extreme anti-immigrant groups such as FAIR have gone as far as to call for a tem­po­rary mora­to­rium on all immi­gra­tion to the United States.

The two prin­ci­pal inves­ti­ga­tors of PFIR’s new project are PFIR pres­i­dent Phil Cafaro and advi­sory board mem­ber Leon Kolankiewicz. Both have ties to other anti-immigrant groups.

Kolankiewicz has writ­ten reports for CIS pri­mar­ily address­ing the alleged envi­ron­men­tal impact of immi­gra­tion. He also co-authored a report with Beck, which blamed immi­grants for America’s envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems. Kolankiewicz is a senior writ­ing fel­low for the California-based anti-immigrant group Cal­i­for­ni­ans for Pop­u­la­tion Sta­bi­liza­tion (CAPS).  In addi­tion, he has writ­ten over a half dozen arti­cles for The Social Con­tract, an anti-immigrant jour­nal pub­lished by racist John Tan­ton.

Cafaro was for­merly a fel­low at CIS and wrote a num­ber of reports for the orga­ni­za­tion that attempted to blame immi­grants for envi­ron­men­tal degradation.

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