Immigration Newsletter

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"FAIR and the Unbalanced"

There is more at work in America’s immigration policy debate than the simple logic of law enforcement. There is a coordinated attempt to blame immigrants for most, if not all, of society’s ills and to dehumanize them and make them objects of hatred and derision. I don’t just mean the talk radio and television pundits. Their constant drumbeat of negative stereotyping, name calling and scapegoating is an important part of driving any rational debate into the ditch. However, there is another more insidious factor at play.

You might remember hearing about how the cigarette companies used to commission their own studies from their own laboratories staffed by scientists and doctors on the company payroll. What a surprise it was that they concluded that cigarettes were safe and nicotine was not addictive. It’s kind of the same with anti-immigrant research. When Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchanan or Sean Hannity needs an anti-immigrant study, report or poll to quote they can turn to several organizations for back up such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies, or NumbersUSA.

The problem is (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center) all of these organizations owe their existence to one very rich and very racist man named John Tanton. Check this SPLC link to find out more about Tanton and his organizations.

It took a long time to get past the propaganda machine that cigarette money built. I hope it doesn’t take as long for people to realize that much of the complaining and pot stirring about illegal immigration is being bought and paid for by a small number of wealthy cranks. Here’s another name to be aware of - Frosty Wooldridge (notice who he is talking up in his online article?):

Unfortunately, when people with power, money and a media platform start broadcasting messages of fear and hate it can have some really horrible effects downstream when the not so rich and powerful take up the cause in violent ways. Scott Roeder’s “alleged” murder of abortion providing physician George Tiller and James Von Brunn’s “alleged” recent murder of security guard Stephen T. Johns at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC are the most publicized episodes of right wing domestic terrorism by mentally unbalanced individuals.

Here are links to some stories that discuss, if not acts of domestic terrorism, certainly crimes motivated by hate and fear of immigrants. These appear to be crimes committed to send the message that immigrants (and Latinos in particular) are not welcome in the United States. The seed of that message germinates in groups like John Tanton’s; it is spread on a cultivated field by hate spouting media and it flowers in acts of violence.

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