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August 17, 2012

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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August 3, 2012

New Documentary Portrays Negative View of Immigration in the U.S.

Dennis Lynch

A new documentary, “They Come to America,” written and directed by Dennis Lynch, a former entrepreneur turned filmmaker, has caused quite a stir in anti-immigrant circles over the past couple of months. In the documentary, Lynch travels the country interviewing people about undocumented immigration. Lynch talks to figures from anti-immigrant groups such as NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Lynch also interviews Glenn Spencer of the anti-Hispanic hate group American Border Patrol.

Lynch attempts to portray both sides of the immigration debate by interviewing people on the “pro-immigrant” side of the spectrum, as well as undocumented immigrants, but the film’s conclusions are clear: undocumented immigration has no positive impact on the United States. In subsequent interviews, Lynch furthers his argument by claiming that the United States needs to lower the amount of legal immigrants it admits per year – a position taken by many anti-immigrant groups.

Lynch spends a lot of time on camera with Roy Beck, founder of the anti-immigrant group, NumbersUSA. Beck previously worked as the Washington Editor of The Social Contract, an anti-immigrant journal published by racist John Tanton. Beck also spoke at the 1996 national conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist organization. Jack Martin from FAIR is also interviewed at length. FAIR, which promotes extreme anti-immigration views, was founded by Tanton.

In the film, Lynch also speaks with Michael Cutler, a former fellow for the anti-immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), another group that Tanton helped to create. Cutler currently is a Senior Writing Fellow for the anti-immigrant group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS).

Lynch has begun a tour to screen the film. Not unexpectedly, local anti-immigrant organizations are hosting the screenings. On July 17, two groups that FAIR lists as local affiliates, Texans for Immigration Reduction and Enforcement (TFIRE) and Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas (IRCOT), along with Stop the Magnet, a Houston-based group dedicated to getting anti-immigrant measures on the ballot in Houston, screened Lynch’s film.

On July 12, Lynch was on “The Ruthie Report,” a radio show hosted by Ruthie Hendrycks who runs the anti-immigrant group, Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform (MINNSIR). MINNSIR is also listed on FAIR’s website as a local affiliate for Minnesota.

In Maryland, Lynch’s film will be jointly hosted on August 8 by the anti-immigrant group Help Save Maryland (HSM). HSM is listed on FAIR’s Web site as a local affiliate for Maryland. HSM has also worked closely with FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI).

On August 10, the film will be shown at an anti-immigrant conference in North Carolina.

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