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May 21, 2014 2

Anti-Immigrant Activist Creates Front Group Focusing On Biometric Security

janice-kephart

Jan­ice Kephart

In recent months, Jan­ice Kephart, a cur­rent fel­low and for­mer staffer at the anti-immigrant think tank Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS), estab­lished a new front group, the Secure Iden­tity and Bio­met­rics Asso­ci­a­tion (SIBA). The anti-immigrant move­ment often uses the tac­tic of estab­lish­ing front groups in order to reach a broader base. In this case, it is try­ing to appeal to the bio­met­ric and iden­tity tech­nol­ogy community.

Like other front groups estab­lished with the help of the anti-immigrant move­ment, SIBA is made up of anti-immigrant activists who pro­mote the movement’s agenda. Kephart’s rela­tion­ship with CIS dates back almost ten years. She first appeared on var­i­ous CIS pan­els before act­ing as CIS’s direc­tor of secu­rity pol­icy. Kephart began work­ing as a spe­cial coun­cil for the Sen­ate Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee dur­ing the push to pass an immi­gra­tion reform bill in the Sen­ate in 2013. Kephart is now listed as a “national secu­rity fel­low” for CIS.

Michael Dougherty, one of sev­eral SIBA board mem­bers announced a few weeks ago, also has ties to the anti-immigrant move­ment. In 2010, Dougherty par­tic­i­pated in a CIS panel titled, “The Pol­i­tics and Prac­ti­cal­i­ties of a US EXIT Program.”

The “key issue areas” sec­tion of SIBA web­site con­tains a num­ber of top­ics impor­tant to the anti-immigrant cause. The anti-immigrant move­ment claims many undoc­u­mented immi­grants are using fraud­u­lent forms of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in order to receive ben­e­fits and work in the United States. SIBA sup­ports the REAL ID Act, claim­ing it will improve national secu­rity and catch crim­i­nals. The orga­ni­za­tion is also in favor of E-Verify, a flawed fed­eral pilot pro­gram that allows employ­ers to ver­ify the eli­gi­bil­ity of newly-hired employ­ees. Mak­ing E-Verify manda­tory is another major long-term goal of the anti-immigrant movement.

As the push for immi­gra­tion reform con­tin­ues, the anti-immigrant move­ment con­tin­ues to woo sup­port­ers from dif­fer­ent move­ments and back­grounds in an attempt to argue that Amer­i­cans are not in favor of reform. The cre­ation of SIBA is the lat­est in a long line of groups founded by lead­ers in the move­ment to fur­ther this goal.

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