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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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