Three Washington, D.C.-based immigration-restriction organizations stand at the nexus of the American nativist movement: the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and NumbersUSA. Although on the surface they appear quite different — the first, the country’s best-known anti-immigrant lobbying group; the second, an “independent” think tank; and the third, a powerful grassroots organizer — they are fruits of the same poisonous tree. (Beirich, Heidi. “The Nativist Lobby”)
Thus begins the Southern Poverty Law Center’s February report about these three nativist organizations. The investigative article goes into the story behind the common founder John Tanton, a man who said that to preserve America “a European-American majority” must be maintained. FAIR has long been listed as a hate group by SLPC, for its close ties with white supremacists and anti-Semitic organizations as well as its promulgation of Latino conspiracy theories. CIS parades itself as an independent think-tank, but as the report shows, it has never mentioned a single positive aspect of immigration. NumbersUSA also seeks to establish itself as a legitimate lobbying group, but this is belied by its connections to nativist and racist groups. (Beirich, Heidi. “The Nativist Lobby”)
I applaud SLPC for their continued work to counter hate groups in the United States. These three “mainstream” organizations were partially responsible for the derailing of the 2007 comprehensive immigration legislation which most thought destined to pass. (Garvey, Jill) As our nation seeks to move forward and address our pressing border issues and immigration reforms, it is vital that these three organizations are unmasked in the public eye. Only when the truth is known can the truth set us free – if we are going to be able to work toward reconciliation and integration in America, SLPC’s report goes a good way to establishing that first step. The rest is up to us.