The Federation for American Immigration Reform (“FAIR”) continues to be treated by the mainstream media as if it were a legitimate and reliable source of information. Eristic Ragemail has previously posted articles where the media will quote FAIR without elaborating on its extremist elements and more importantly on its web of lies, distortion and outright fabrications. If one has the stomach to peruse FAIR’s website, one will see a panoply of claims, all of which lack hard empirical proof or are outright fabrications of the nativist imagination.
Take for example the claim, prominently posted on all of FAIR’s web pages, that the “Census Bureau’s Projection of U.S. population in 2050 because of today’s mass immigration: 420 million.” (emphasis added) One is led to believe that the growth in U.S. population, currently at 300 million, is the result of “mass illegal immigration.” This canard is in no way supported by the Census Bureau. While it is true that the demographics of the country will continue to change, this is due in large measure to the graying of the baby boomer generation. According to the Census Bureau, the population of the U.S. will increase to 419.9 million in 2050. At that rate we would still not reach the current European Union population of 494 million (which is half our size geographically) and we would remain one of the least densely populated countries in the world.
Similarly, the FAIR website asserts, contrary to most scholarly estimates, that the current population of undocumented immigrants numbers 13 million. The well-respected Pew Research Center flatly controverts FAIR’s numbers.
As previously reported, the Center’s analysis of the March 2005 CPS shows that there were an estimated 11.1 million unauthorized migrants in the United States a year ago. Based on analysis of other data sources that offer indications of the pace of growth in the foreign-born population, the Center developed an estimate of 11.5 to 12 million for the unauthorized population as of March 2006. A full report on the estimates including a description of the methodology can be found in: Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S.: Estimates Based on the March 2005
Current Population Survey (http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=61 ). As well, they blame immigrants for overcrowding schools, clogging roads, swallowing up open space, taxing the environment, and raising the cost of living for all. Never mind that the United States consumes vastly more resources than any other country in the world and has been doing so long before the current wave of nativists started looking for scapegoats. In any event, blaming sprawl and congestion on immigrants is simply ludicrous.
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.
The Washington D.C.-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) founded in 1979, claims to work to “improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest.” Possibly due to its large size (it claims over 250,000 members and supporters), D.C. location, and exposure, elected officials look to the organization for input. To that end, FAIR boasts that it “has been called to testify on immigration bills before Congress more than any organization in America.” FAIR is more nuanced in its use of language than other anti-immigrant groups and it has been used as a resource by officials, the media and within anti-immigration policy circles. However, a close look reveals a pattern of extremist affiliations and a strategy of founding and empowering smaller groups that promote xenophobia.
Prominent in all of FAIR’s postings are click and send faxes to the media and to elected representatives. Hyperbolic and alarmist language foments their readers to save our nation. Needless to say, the pro-migrant web has not employed such measures.
More critically, why do such alarmist messages resonate with a portion of the American public? I believe, as I have stated in previous posts, that the current nativist trend is actually thinly veiled animus animus against the Latino population.
ADL's new online report, Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream documents the rhetoric employed by groups that routinely position themselves as legitimate, mainstream advocates against illegal immigration in America.
A closer look at the public record reveals that many ostensibly mainstream anti-illegal immigration organizations – including those who testified before Congress or frequently appeared on news programs – promote virulent anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Some groups have fostered links with extremist groups.
The real victims in this are Hispanic-Americans and other immigrants who are being unfairly targeted, demeaned and stereotyped."
The report cites several key tactics used by anti-immigrant groups, including:
- Describing immigrants as "third world invaders," who come to America to destroy our heritage, "colonize" the country and attack our "way of life." This charge is used against Hispanics, Asians and other people of color.
- Using terminology that describes immigrants as part of "hordes" that "swarm" over the border. This dehumanizing language has become common.
- Portraying immigrants as carriers of diseases like leprosy, tuberculosis, Chagas disease (a potentially fatal parasitic disease), dengue fever, polio, malaria.
- Depicting immigrants as criminals, murderers, rapists, terrorists, and a danger to children and families.
- Propagating conspiracy theories about an alleged secret "reconquista" plot by Mexican immigrants to create a "greater Mexico" by seizing seven states in the American Southwest that once belonged to Mexico.
What groups like FAIR are really concerned about is the growth of the Latino population in this country, no matter how legitimate that population may be. This is borne out by their history of of racism and extremist associations. For example, the current posting on the extremist website, VDare is an anti-immigrant posting by FAIR board member and extremist activist, Daniel A. Collins.
According Hatewatch Intelligence Report, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Collins has a history of racism:
Donald Collins, a member of both FAIR's board of directors and its board of advisers, has his own ties to white supremacy. Collins posts frequently to a hate website called Vdare.com, which is named after Virginia Dare (said to be the first white child born in the New World) and publishes the work of white supremacists and anti-Semites. Collins also has been published in The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, a periodical run by longtime academic racist Roger Pearson. (Pearson founded the Eugenics Society in 1963 and worked with at least one former SS officer in England. He is also the recipient of several Pioneer Fund grants.)
Collins is by no means the only bad apple of the FAIR enterprise. FAIR was founded by people who admired the eugenics practiced by the Nazis and who have well-cemented ties to white supremacist organizations.
At the center of the Tanton web is the nonprofit Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the most important organization fueling the backlash against immigration. Founded by Tanton in 1979, FAIR has long been marked by anti-Latino and anti-Catholic attitudes. It has mixed this bigotry with a fondness for eugenics, the idea of breeding better humans discredited by its Nazi associations. It has accepted $1.2 million from an infamous, racist eugenics foundation. It has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups. Recently, it has promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest and an alternative theory alleging secret plans to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada. Just last February, a senior FAIR official sought "advice" from the leaders of a racist Belgian political party.
It's no surprise that Tanton employs people with similar views. His long-time deputy, for example, is Wayne Lutton, who works out of Tanton's Petoskey offices and edits the journal, The Social Contract, published by Tanton's press. Lutton is not just linked to white supremacist ideas, many of which he publishes in his journal — he has actually held leadership positions in four white nationalist hate groups: the Council of Conservative Citizens, the National Policy Institute, and The Occidental Quarterly and American Renaissance, both racist publications. Lutton has written for the Journal of Historical Review, which specializes in Holocaust denial. Early on, Lutton and Tanton collaborated on The Immigration Invasion, a nativist screed that has been seized by Canadian border officials as hateful contraband.
FAIR's current media director, Ira Mehlman, was an adviser in 2001 and 2002, and his essay, "Grand Delusions: Open Borders Will Destroy Society," was published in the journal's pages. Today, FAIR still advertises The Social Contract on its website, saying the journal "offers in-depth studies on immigration, population, language, assimilation, environment, national unity and balance of individual rights and civil responsibilities."
[FAIR organizer, Joe] Turner made one of his more controversial remarks, amounting to a defense of white separatism. "I can make the argument that just because one believes in white separatism that that does not make them a racist," Turner wrote in 2005. "I can make the argument that someone who proclaims to be a white nationalist isn't necessarily a white supremacist. I don't think that standing up for your ‘kind' or ‘your race' makes you a bad person." The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed Save Our State as a hate group since it appeared in 2005.
Turner's predecessor in the FAIR organizing post, Rick Oltman, was cut from the same cloth. Oltman has been described as a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) in the publications of that hate group, which is directly descended from the segregationist White Citizens Councils and has described blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity." He has spoken at at least one of the CCC's conferences and has taken part in one of its rallies. And he wasn't alone.
You can also watch this You Tube video put out by SPLC.
So the issue remains, with overwhelming evidence of racism, extremism and hate, why does the media continue to turn to FAIR as if it were a legitimate organization instead of a product of the David Duke mindset? This is a question that should be answered by the media and in the spirit of fair play I invite readers to fax, mail and phone these very media representatives with that question. Contact information is listed below.
Contact the Media
See that your opinion matters too!!!
Mr. Jim Walton
President CNN Worldwide
1 CNN Center
Atlanta, GA 30303
Mr. Jonathan Klein
President CNN U.S.
1 Time Warner Center 5th Floor
New York, NY 10019
Mr. Richard Davis
Executive Vice President of News Standards and Practices
1 CNN Center
Atlanta, GA 30303
Viewer Response Line/Comments
Call 212-275-7800 ask for Viewer Response Line
Mr. Roger Ailes
Chairman and CEO
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Mr. Bill Shine
Senior Vice President Programming
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Mr. Brian Lewis
Executive Vice President Corporate Communications
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Mr. Phil Griffin
Senior Vice President of News
30 Rockefeller Plaza 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10112
In addition to founding FAIR, John Tanton has also opened up the following front organizations to give his extremist views a respectable veneer.
AICF, 1983, funded
*American Patrol/Voice of Citizens Together
California Coalition for Immigration Reform
CCIR, 1994, funded
Californians for Population Stabilization
1996, funded (founded separately in 1986)
Center for Immigration Studies
CIS, 1985, founded and funded
Federation for American Immigration Reform
FAIR, 1979, founded and funded
1996, founded and funded
1973, joined board in 1980
1994, founded and funded
*The Social Contract Press
1990, founded and funded
1983, founded and funded
1982, founded and funded