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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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This is actually very, very important news. As I noted in my piece on Huckabee's accepting the endorsement of the founder of the Minutemen, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a highly respected organization and one of the main groups monitoring neo-nazi groups around the US. The SPLC has taken the very important step today of adding the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to their list of hate groups operating in the US.  FAIR is one of the major anti-immigration groups operating in the US and has been the darling of Lou Dobbs and many members of Congress (they're representatives have testified 30 times in Congress including in the hearing in which I testified last month). No doubt anti-immigrants will attack SPLC for making this designation (probably calling it a liberal or anti-American group). But the organization has built up a reputation over the decades that will help it sustain the inevitable onslaught.


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  1. Another voice's Avatar
    I wonder if politicians will continue to accept endorsements and contributions from this group after this.
  2. EB's Avatar
    What a life..this one guy John Tanton (A DOCTOR!) has found so
    many groups/ organizations. A life truly dedicated to hatred one should say.

    Institutional Affiliations of John Tanton:

    NumbersUSA: Founder, 1996
    ProEnglish: Founder, Former Chairman, and Board, 1993-present
    Social Contract Press: Founder, Former Editor, and Publisher, 1990-present
    E Pluribus Unum: Co-organizer, 1992
    Emergency Committee on Puerto Rican Statehood and the Status of English in the United States: Co-organizer, 1990
    American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities: Co-founder, 1989
    Center for Immigration Studies: Founder, 1985
    U.S. English: Co-founder and Chairman, 1982-1988
    U.S. Inc.]]: Founder and Chairman, 1982-present
    Population-Environment Balance: Former board member, 1980-1990
    Federation for American Immigration Reform: Co-founder, Former Chairman and board member, 1979-present
    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Advisory Commission: Member, 1978-1980
    Zero Population Growth: National President, 1975-1977
    Zero Population Growth Immigration Study Committee: Chairman, 1973-1975
    Zero Population Growth National Executive Committee: Member, 1973-1978
  3. legal-forever-waiting-forever's Avatar

    Immigration Moves to Front and Center of G.O.P. Race

    watch them jump, weave, duck ...and could it be...flip flop!!!
  4. May's Avatar
    Seems like NYT has done some more research on the need for global perspective. Also, American companies with global footprint have been encouraging their employees to take a 2-5 year posting in another continent.

    "Seeking Leaders, U.S. Companies Think Globally"
  5. 's Avatar
    What constitutes a hate group according to the SPLC? I don't think that being an anti-immigration group makes a group a defacto hate group. What has FAIR done to justify hate group status?

    You must consider motivation. I am sure that some groups are opposed to immigration because they are racist. But then there are some groups are opposed to some forms of immigration for economic reasons. Many of these groups consider themselves pro-immigrant.

    I assume that the SPLC can connect the dots demonstrating that FAIR is a hate group. Can they? Would the SPLC classify anyone who wants to get tough on illegal immigration as hateful?
  6. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    >>What constitutes a hate group according to the SPLC?
  7. Sid's Avatar

    Survey Points to Tensions Among Chief Minorities
  8. Jack's Avatar
    The organization has a reputation all right. Judge the SPLC for yourself:

    "He's the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement," renowned anti- death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, "though I don't mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye."

    And NO, in case you're wondering, I am not a FReeper! They just happen to have the only complete text of 'The Church Of Morris Dees' article I could find. Supposedly they post offensive comments so don't blame me--I am giving advance notice and you can just read the Harper's Magazine article.
  9. USC's Avatar
    "The organization has a reputation all right. Judge the SPLC for yourself:"

    That's pretty pathetic, Jack. At the present time we are judging FAIR. You can't defend FAIR by attacking SPLC. Can you refute SPLC's investigative report?

    Oh, BTW, I did look at the links you provided, if that is the best you can come up with you have no case against SPLC!
  10. Middle Ground's Avatar
    I looked at the links.

    I would like to know how FAIR responds to these specific charges by the SPLC:

    "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, FAIR President Dan Stein sought "advice" from the leaders of a racist Belgian political party."

    These charges concern me - although I knew FAIR was in the anti-immigration camp I didn't know about these specific claims. I would argue that groups like La Raza (The Race) should also earn the scrutiny of the SPLC. Are they not just as extreme as FAIR?
  11. alex's Avatar
    Interesting, FAIR, NumbersUSA and Center for Immigration Studies are all founded or co-founded by the same person?
  12. 's Avatar
    Alex, link (or quote) please...
  13. JoeF's Avatar
    "Alex, link (or quote) please..."

    How about the second comment??? Or is it too much to actually read the comments???
  14. paskal's Avatar

    picked by DailyKos
  15. 's Avatar
    FAIR responds:

    After closer analysis, this appears to be a politically motivated smear. SPLC has damaged themselves here - wrongfully pulling the hate card.
  16. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    >>After closer analysis, this appears to be a politically motivated smear. SPLC has damaged themselves here - wrongfully pulling the hate card.
  17. Jack's Avatar

    Here's some more from The Nation (saw it on the Kos link):

    What is the Southern Poverty Law Center doing instead? Mostly making money. I would never have suggested that it "devote[s] all [its] resources to the fight against white supremacist organizations," because the center doesn't devote all of its resources to any kind of fight. In 1999 it spent $2.4 million on litigation and $5.7 million on fundraising, meanwhile taking in more than $44 million--$27 million from fundraising, the rest from investments. A few years ago the American Institute of Philanthropy gave the SPLC an F for "excessive" reserves. On the subject of "hate groups," though, Cohen is almost comically disingenuous. No one has been more assiduous in inflating the profile of such groups than the center's millionaire huckster Morris Dees, who in 1999 began a begging letter, "Dear Friend, The danger presented by the Klan is greater now than at any time in the past ten years." Hate sells; poor people don't, which is why readers who go to the center's website will find only a handful of cases on such unlucrative causes as fair housing, worker safety or healthcare, many of those from the 1970s and '80s. Why the organization continues to keep "Poverty" (or even "Law") in its name can be ascribed only to nostalgia or a cynical understanding of the marketing possibilities in class guilt. It barely even handles death penalty cases anymore, and lawyers struggling in the South to save the lives of people, mostly poor, on Death Row, will never forget that it was Morris Dees who smoothed the way to a federal judgeship for Ed Carnes, author of Alabama's death penalty statute and a notorious hanging judge.

    USC, I did not defend FAIR. Just as FAIR reports need to be viewed with a skeptical eye due to their anti-immigration bias, the SPLC deserves similar treatment.

    When it comes to immigration, is it possible the SPLC is motivated to discredit FAIR because they disagree with their political goals? Aside from politics, SPLC's biggest bias is sensationalism in order to raise more money. They have a financial interest in making their targets sound as sinister as possible. Also consider integrity: besides their questionable raising and handling of funds, SPLC has a penchant for dubious tactics, e.g., insinuation and guilt by association.

  18. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Jack is textbook of how to respond to an allegation of this nature. Don't bother refuting the charges. Just attack the person making the charge and say they're biased. Then you don't have to actually address the arguments.

    Notice that those criticizing the SPLC for being "TOO" successful in generating donations don't actually ever say that SPLC has engaged in improprieties as far as spending money and no one has been able to attack the integrity of the organization's findings. I serve on the boards of several non-profits and WANT the organizations for which I volunteer my time to sock as much money away as possible for a rainy day. But how much money the SPLC center puts in its endowment versus how much it spends on operations is between its donors, its board of directors and the SPLC.

    By the way, they're so successful raising money because they're so respected as an organization. Nice try to take an organization's strength and making a ninja move to turn it in to a weakness. Of course, that's a lot easier than actually addressing what the SPLC had to say.
  19. Jack's Avatar
    Come on, you know I have no way of refuting such a laundry list--the targets can respond for themselves. I just pointed out some SPLC criticisms (all my sources were from left leaning publications by the way) which go to their credibility. People can decide for themselves how much weight to give that. I don't think people should just swallow whole any source and the SPLC has financial incentive to sensationalize, do they not? Their fund raising letters have done that, have they not? It's ironic that they go on a lot about right wing conspiracy theories all the while building up Tanton to be this invisible but all-powerful David Rockefeller-like 'puppeteer' (their title of an earlier article). The Pioneer Group is like their version of the Trilateral Commission.

    They referred to North American Union theory as a racist conspiracy theory as part of their hate group charge against FAIR. There's only one little problem with that--NAU theory is not inherently racist or hateful. It's fallacious argument.
    If some racists are into that and you also happen to be, that fact doesn't make you a racist.

    Everything bad is always 'spreading like wildfire'. That's really sober 'reporting'! I consider shoddy the practice of citing short quotations without any context whatsoever but framed with a little editorializing. Be skeptical. Ask yourself why the SPLC is so singularly obsessed with Tanton. Why do they write article after article portraying him as controlling of the entire anti-immigration movement? Is such a feat even possible? Why do they insist that the movement is 'astroturf' and not at all grass roots even after NumbersUSA's membership swelled and that group was even credited by the NYT as playing a big role in defeating S. 2611? The answer appears obvious and the tactic is actually quite clever, albeit sleazy. If you make the movement the man, if you can then discredit or taint that individual you've effectively discredited and tainted the entire movement.

  20. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    >>Ask yourself why the SPLC is so singularly obsessed with Tanton.
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