Tag Archives: FAIR

FIRM Spotlight: Students in WI force Rep. Ryan to distance himself from FAIR

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been forced to rewrite his own history in the past few days. Ryan recently granted an interview to FAIR (the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform) during their “Hold their Feet to the Fire” event here in Washington, DC last month.

For those of you who are regular readers, you are familiar with FAIR. For those of you who aren’t, the rundown is this: they are a designated hate group by the SPLC and are a part of the John Tanton network that has extensive ties to the White Supremacist movement. In short, they are the force working against our pro-immigrant movement.

Students working with Voces de la Frontera, a FIRM partner, in Racine, WI organized a rally against Rep. Ryan for his involvement with FAIR. From local newspaper the Journal:

A group of about 50 people marched outside of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s Downtown Racine office at 216 Sixth St. on Tuesday, angered by the Janesville Republican’s decision to grant an interview during an event sponsored by an immigration reform organization in Washington, D.C.

Apparently, the students made a big impact: that same day Rep. Ryan released a statement distancing himself from FAIR and his name has since been pulled from their website as a “participant” in last month’s “Hold their Feet to the Fire” event.

It is so important for lawmakers and the media to recognize groups like FAIR for what they really are: extremists. Many of these groups (and especially FAIR) can all be traced to one central figure, John Tanton.

“He’s a central player in the organization. He’s not some ancillary guy. He’s got this terrible legacy,” Beirich said of Tanton, who ran the organization for a few decades and now serves on its board. “Frankly he’s an extremist. He’s funded white supremacist groups. He’s hung out with white supremacists.”

Congratulations to the student activists in Wisconsin for their victory yesterday.

Racine Voces de la Frontera coordinator Maria Morales also sees this as a victory.

“FAIR is a thinly veiled hate group that too often gets into the mainstream media as a legitimate counterpoint of view. When Representatives like Ryan disassociate themselves from FAIR it helps to discredit them,” she explains. “Now we need Ryan to do more. Many families in Racine are suffering because of a broken immigration system. We need him to work with us towards comprehensive immigration reform.”

Can you feel the momentum building? I can.

Groups Distance themselves from Shawna Forde, violence

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Since the news of the brutal murder of Brisenia Flores and her father Raul broke, groups like the Minutemen, ALIPAC and FAIR have been doing their best to distance themselves from Shawna Forde – the alleged ringleader in the murders.

Long Island Wins has a great piece up about their attempt to “re-write history”:

The arrest of three Minutemen for the murders of a Latino man and his 9 year old daughter has led to a rewriting of history on anti-immigrant sites around the country. All of a sudden, no one knew the three killers, even though one of them was a prominent figure in the movement.

Shawna Forde, who allegedly cooked up the deadly plot to raise money for political action had close ties to Jim Gilchrist, the one the two founders of the Minutemen. His website had defended her against criticism from other anti-immigrant activists as recently as January of this year. Yet, if you go to his site today, pages that Google says listed her have been scrubbed.

Same thing with VDARE, the homepage of educated racism. The site had an article criticizing a newspaper that had called Forde’s claims of having been abducted by aliens (Latino immigrants, not space monkeys) far-fetched. The page was scrubbed. It only exists as a Google cache and will soon disappear. Cowards. If you want to back up a woman her brother describes as a sociopathic liar you should at least leave your endorsement up when she is also shown to be a psychopathic murderer.

Chris Simcox is one of the founders of the Minuteman militias. His name is familiar to some Long Islanders because of his role in trying to create an armed anti-immigrant militia group here on Long Island at the behest of the now defunct Sachem Quality of Life organization, a one-time ally of Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. Simcox is now running for Senate against John McCain in the Republican primary in Arizona. I went to his web site and noticed that he stopped posting as soon as the three Minutemen were arrested for the Arizona murders.

A lot of Minuteman groups around the country are claiming they never heard of her and that she was not involved in their movement. Or, they are claiming that they did know her but didn’t really have anything to do with her. None of this seems to fit the known facts about her and her involvement with the top leadership of the organization, with men who have been frequent guests on FOX News and Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Jeff Schwilk, the leader of the San Diego Minutemen, in his denial of involvement with Shawna Forde gave the most damning statement about her and his own armed militia: “I’ve been concerned about her and her impact on our movement… Irrational people with assault rifles at the border is a recipe for disaster.”

Exactly what I’ve been saying since I first heard of the Minutemen.

H/T to Long Island Wins blog!

Sally Kohn: The Bloody Truth Behind Anti-immigrant Rhetoric

Check out this great post by my colleague Sally Kohn – originally up at The Huffington Post. As always, Sally provides a sharp analysis of the current anti-immigrant climate and its connection to violence.

briseniaA week after a white supremacist attacked the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, and on the day that three teenagers are being sentenced in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, for brutally beating and killing a Mexican immigrant, it’s time we confront the fact that behind violently anti-immigrant and supremacist rhetoric is a real urge and a real encouragement for actual violence.

On May 30, 2009, a group of armed men and women killed 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in Arivaca, AZ. The vigilantes were Minutemen, members of a “civilian defense corps” that polices the US-Mexico border for undocumented immigrants. When Jason Bush, 34, Shawna Forde, 41, and Albert Gaxiola, 42, allegedly busted down the front door of the Flores home and murdered Raul Junior Flores and his daughter and seriously injured Flores’ wife, the armed gang was supposedly looking for drugs and cash to fund their anti-immigrant organization.

Arizona police allege
Shawna Forde was the ringleader. Shawna Forde was the Executive Director of Minuteman American Defense (M.A.D.) and a spokesperson for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), often touted as a “mainstream” voice opposing immigration. But if Forde was indeed involved, the bloody acts in Arivaca reveal the true hatred and contempt behind anti-immigrant organizations in our country. Many well-meaning, average Americans who have understandable concerns about our economy and how they’re going to support their families have been convinced that anti-immigrant organizations are on their side and feel their pain. But the reality is, organizations like the Minutemen and FAIR are only co-opting our economic insecurity (an insecurity that’s actually shared by immigrants and citizens alike) to mask their real agenda, motivated purely by hatred for those who are different.

It was the same thing in Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler started by talking about how Jews were threatening the German economy and should all be expelled from the country. And then he killed six million.

Are we really so naïve as a nation to think that the anti-immigrant fervor, from Lou Dobbs to the Minutemen, is anything about our economy or our well-being or our way of life? After all, our nation was built by immigrants, our strongest economic times in recent years have been driven by high rates of immigration and even now, our economy actively lures low-wage worker from across the border to get back on firm footing. Do we really think we’d be reacting as negatively if the immigrants coming here had light skin and spoke French?

Jason Bush, one of the other Minutemen charged in the Arizona murder, was charged in another slaying in 1997 in Washington State. He allegedly bragged to a police informant about “killing a Mexican.” The man Bush killed was a 29-year-old homeless man who had been sleeping under a blanket near a parking lot when Bush stabbed him several times with a knife.

Regarding the Arizona murders, the Minutemen American Defense group has placed the following statement on its website:

MAD does not endorse or condone any events that are outside of the normal boundaries of any normal private citizen who is concerned about the current conditions of the opened border condition and we do work totally within the boundaries and with the total cooperation and knowledge of all appropriate Law enforcement agencies in our areas of operation.

While revealing how ironic it is that groups like M.A.D. criticize new immigrants for not speaking English, the statement does anything but condemn violence against immigrants. It’s worth noting here that Forde and her gang allegedly entered the Flores home wearing law enforcement attire. Groups like the Minutemen are pretending to uphold laws that they flagrantly violate. Who are the real law breakers? Immigrants who come to the United States without legal permission but every single economic invitation, to work for companies that actively recruit them in order to support their desperate families back home? Or the vigilantes who prowl our southern border with assault rifles and camouflage and raid innocent families’ homes and slaughter 9-year-old children?

“This was a planned home invasion where the plan was to kill all the people inside this trailer so there would be no witnesses,” said Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Arizona. “To just kill a 9-year-old girl because she might be a potential witness to me is just one of the most despicable acts that I have heard of.”

I actually feel badly for Shawna Forde. She was fed a load of crap about how her economic troubles and sense that the 21st century was passing her by were the fault not of something vague like the public education system or American trade policies or Reaganomics but something specific, something dark-skinned, something that fit perfectly into the us-versus-them scary story that readily embraces misplaced blame: immigrants. Never mind that we were all in the same boat, sinking fast, immigrants and citizens alike — and never mind that shaking her fist at foreigners and patrolling the US-Mexico border was distracting Shawna from taking action that would have brought about real change, like making our economy more democratic, changing tax policy to help working families, easing the burden of health care costs and gas. No, Shawna believed the hate mongerers on CNN and the internet and stuck to her guns. Literally. But if the allegations against her are true, Shawna can really only be blamed for taking to extremes the garbage that so many Americans believe is true, the lies we swallow to make the bigger pill of America’s real, shared problems seemingly dissolve but in truth get stuck in our collective throat as we’re looking the other way.

The alleged acts of Shawna Forde and her gang are inhumane. Our outdated immigration policies are inhumane. We can and must reform our immigration laws to make America work better for all of us, immigrants and citizens alike. That is the only pro-America side of this debate. Everything else must be unmasked for what it is — a façade for an anti-immigrant bloodbath. On which side will you stand?

ACTION: Anti-Immigrant Lobby Exposed, Help us Fight the Hate

FAIR (the Federation for American Immigration Reform), the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA.  I have mentioned these anti-immigrant groups before – they purport to be “think tanks” or “grass roots orgs” and have a “common sense” approach to immigration policy, but are really espousing the type of hateful and inhumane immigration policies that have been responsible for the last 8 years of rising hate crimes and enforcement-only tactics.

For more information, check out my previous posts on these guys: here, here and here.

Some have dubbed these guys the “anti-immigrant lobby”, seeing as how they can turn every single issue in American politics into a soapbox for their xenophobic and radical anti-immigrant beliefs. Just recently they tried to deny immigrant children healthcare and burden businesses with mandatory use of the fatally flawed E-verify program. Last summer, they went as far as blaming immigrants for Global Warming. No, really.

Well now, more than ever, these guys are being exposed for what they really are “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. last week, the New York Times featured an editorial on these extremists groups – here’s an excerpt:

The relentlessly harsh Republican campaign against immigrants has always hidden a streak of racialist extremism. Now after several high-water years, the Republican tide has gone out, leaving exposed the nativism of fringe right-wingers clinging to what they hope will be a wedge issue.

Today, the Southern Povery Law Center released a report that proves undoubtedly just how extreme these groups really are. And America’s Voice has built a website where people can take action to help stop the hate in the immigration debate.

Click here to visit the site and vote on the “Top Anti-Immigrant Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”. You can also download the full report from the SPLC.

We know that organizations like the Center for Immigration Studies, Numbers USA, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) are not mainstream voices on immigration, but our politicians and media need to know it, too. Visit America’s Voice to take action against the extreme in the mainstream.

When the Extreme Becomes Mainstream

Last week, I mentioned a recent Pew Hispanic Center Study which found that 1 in 10 Latinos has been stopped and asked about their immigration status by police or other authorities.

While this is certainly the most shocking statistic to come out of the study, it is only the tip of the iceberg for Latinos living in this country.

From the Huffington post:

One in seven Latinos are reporting ethnic discrimination in finding or keeping a job and 10% said the same thing about housing. But the most stunning finding is that nearly one-in-ten Hispanic adults–native-born US citizens and immigrants alike–report that, in the past year, the police or other authorities have stopped them and asked them about their immigration status. One in ten Latinos were stopped and asked for “papers.” What can that statistic represent other than a gross abuse of power by federal and local authorities?

Vicious public denunciations of undocumented, brown-skinned immigrants — once limited to hard-core white supremacists and a handful of border-state extremists — are increasingly common among supposedly mainstream anti-immigration activists, media pundits, and politicians and are surely fueling the problems that Latinos are facing.

While their dehumanizing rhetoric typically stops short of openly sanctioning bloodshed, much of it implicitly encourages or even endorses violence by characterizing immigrants from Mexico and Central America as ‘invaders,’ ‘criminal aliens,’ and ‘cockroaches.’

The hate speech that is fueling the current anti-migrant fervor has somehow left the area of “hard core” or “extremist” thought and trickled into the mainstream, becoming pervasive on shows like Lou Dobbs Tonight or Bill O’Reilly and pushed by hate groups like FAIR.

We must stand up to the powers that want to dehumanize and entire portion of the population.

Living in fear of deportation and discrimination and worrying about your livelihood and safety is no way to live and it’s certainly not how Americans expect to live. In fact, it’s the sort of life that our forefathers sought to protect us from. Debate, discussion, and disagreement around the pressing immigration issue are natural, legitimate, and necessary. Hate, fear and vitriol rhetoric are not.

UPDATE: FAIR Founder’s Racism Exposed

Almost two weeks ago I posted on the exposure of the Hate Group FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform). The group was upset about an ad that ran in various political magazines and showed the group’s racist ties and roots. FAIR claims that they are victims of a “smear campaign” and deny any racism in their anti-immigration message.

Well, thanks to the folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center and their continued research into this topic, there has been even more evidence uncovered that proves FAIR’s racist roots. From the SPLC blog:

…the papers of John Tanton, the retired Michigan opthamologist who has been the most important figure in the modern American anti-immigration movement for three decades. The papers, which include more than 20 years of letters from the founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and a batch of other nativist groups, contain explosive material about Tanton’s beliefs. They also show that FAIR, where Tanton still serves as a member of the board, has been well aware of Tanton’s views and activities for years.

Tanton has long claimed that he is no racist — that, in fact, he came to his immigration restrictionism through progressive concerns for population control and the environment, not disdain for the foreign born. He characterizes himself as a “fair person,” and on his website he condemns the “unsavory characters whose views can easily be characterized as anti-American, anti-Semitic and outright racist.”

Fair enough. But what do Tanton’s letters have to say?

As it turns out, quite a lot.

What follows is example after example of John Tanton’s tendencies towards eugenics, white supremacy and racially motivated stances on immigration.

I believe the post speaks for itself – you should all read it.

FAIR Angry about Exposure: Help Stop the Hate!

Yesterday, the Sleuth blog at the Washington Post was the first to report that a full page ad exposing the truth about the anti-migrant group FAIR was run in political newspapers on the Hill.

A coalition of pro-immigration groups is running a full-page ad today in the Capitol Hill newspapers Roll Call and Politico to protest a lobbying blitz this week by the anti-immigration group FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The ad, paid for by America’s Voice and the Service Employees International Union, among others, asks, “When Did Extreme Become Mainstream?” And it notes FAIR has been “designated as a HATE GROUP by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Since the story broke, FAIR (which has been designated as a HATE GROUP by the Southern Poverty Law Center) has responded to the ad. The group has officially responded with a statement that FAIR is the victim of a “smear” campaign. And also claimed that:

“this coalition of special interest groups uses inflammatory language and stock photos of individuals who have no association with FAIR to incite hatred against anyone who has the audacity to oppose their views on immigration policy.”

To see proof of the association between FAIR and the hate groups featured in the ad, check out Duke’s post at The Sanctuary.

But, as Dave Neiwert at FireDogLake notes: “It isn’t a “smear” by definition if everything that’s said is true.” He also had this to say of FAIR’s official response to the ad (which is included in the post):

Notice what’s missing: Any mention of the actual facts in the article. The only thing that’s “ugly” is the very real quotes from FAIR leaders and officials. Moreover, its listing as a hate group by the SPLC — which is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a “radical organization” — goes utterly unmentioned.  

Below is a video from America’s Voice exposing FAIR for what it really is…

Take action: Stop the Hate! Go to America’s Voice online for how to help.

Traffic Jam? Blame Immigrants!

From AlterNet:

By César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

Since the rampant anti-Chinese xenophobia of the late 1800s that led to our modern immigration laws, debate about immigration has been a wellspring of racism. Last month an advertisement in the New York Times (also printed in The Nation magazine) linking high gas prices, population control, and immigration proved that immigration restrictionists have not forgotten the tired arguments of the past.

The ad, paid for by “America’s Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning,” shows a traffic-clogged highway above the caption “One of America’s Most Popular Pastimes.” It argues that traffic jams will only get worse as the nation’s population grows and that 82 percent of growth between 2005 and 2050 will result from immigration. “[Q]uality of life for future generations will be gone unless we take action today,” the ad urges, leaving the unmistakable impression that the answer to our traffic problems–and to the “stress with our schools, our emergency rooms, our public infrastructure, even our water resources”–is to be found in ending, or at least seriously curtailing, immigration.

The ad is plagued by two fatal misrepresentations. First, the study it cites, the Pew Hispanic Center’s latest population projections report, notes that almost half the immigration-related population growth will consist of children born in this country to immigrant parents, and not from newcomers. These children are automatically entitled to citizenship because the Constitution says so. The Fourteenth Amendment couldn’t be any clearer: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States . . . are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” Sure, there is legal precedent for declaring certain groups of people as not “persons” — the infamous Dred Scott, for example, or the line of cases that limited citizenship to “white” people and then set out to carefully mark the contours of that label — but do we really want to go there yet again?

Keep reading below…

Continue reading

Eugenics and Nativism: Joined at the Hip

From Eristic Ragemail comes another post revealing the racist undercurrent of the nativist movement.

Racism and Xenophobia

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (‘”FAIR”) received a good deal of negative publicity after it was disclosed that it had received most of its start-up money from nonprofit Pioneer Fund foundation. The Pioneer Fund has a long history of promoting eugenics and giving funding to researchers who champion white supremacist causes. As well, the Pioneer Fund has provided money to a variety of anti-immigrant causes. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have both condemned FAIR and the Pioneer Fund as promoting racist hate views. Most critically for the present discussion is the role of eugenics and immigration.

Read full article here.

The Lies, Distortions and Fabrications of F.A.I.R.

Today, there is a great post on Eristic Ragemail discussing the many unfounded claims of FAIR (the Federation for American Immigration Reform). The group, which was listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, continues to be quoted consistently by mainstream media, with no regard to their extremist tendencies or funding sources.

A perennial canard of the nativists, and of FAIR, is the wholly untrue claim that immigrants overload the welfare system (such as it is). Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for welfare no matter how poor they may be. In fact, undocumented workers, contribute more in taxes and social security payments that they will ever see. Rather than being a burden, undocumented workers actually subsidize the Social Security fund and other social programs.

One can dissect almost every issue raised by FAIR and demonstrate its falsity or distortion. So why does FAIR continue to be trusted as a source of reliable information when so much of what they put out is patently untrue? The answer lies partly in the nativist network that FAIR and other nativist groups such as NumbersUSA have built.

There are many people who continue to buy into immigration myths propagated by the nativist network – they should know the truth.

Click here to read the full post.