The oldest and largest anti-immigration organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, formed in 1979 by John Tanton, has time and again formed affiliate groups to expand the anti-immigration constituency and attract new media attention to its cause.
These affiliates – criticized as “front groups” by such pro-immigration organizations as the Center for New Community – have included such groups as Coalition for a Secure Drivers License, 9-11 Families for a Secure America, United to Secure America Coalition, State Legislators for Legal Immigration, and Coalition for the Future American Worker.
In its 2006 annual report, FAIR described the creation of these two ethnic/racial groups:
“These two affiliate groups that FAIR helped form in 2006 will provide important voices in the immigration debate as it continues in the years to come. These organizations also provide strong evidence to refute the racially and ethnically charged accusations made by the open immigration lobby and provide evidence that the fight for immigration reform is supported by a not only the vast majority of Americans, but also encompasses a broad and diverse cross-section of our population.”The immigration debate continues as the immigration crackdown intensifies. But now that the issue is no longer prominent in the political debate or in Congress, the front groups established by FAIR in May 2006 have fallen silent. But it’s likely that as soon as the issue is raised by the new Congress and administration, these FAIR affiliates will once again start issuing media releases and organizing anti-immigration protests to attract media attention. You Don’t Speak for Me On May 1, 2006, the day millions of illegal immigrants and their supporters took to the streets to call for legalization, FAIR launched a new affiliate, You Don’t Speak for Me. As FAIR explained: “In the early months of 2006, as the illegal alien rights demonstrations spread across the nation, FAIR was increasingly approached by American Hispanics, who like most Americans were offended by what they saw in the streets, seeking some avenue to express their own opposition to the demands and tactics of the illegal alien rights lobby. Even more than other Americans, these Hispanic citizens felt the need to assert that the people in the streets did not speak for them.” YDSFM claims to be a “coalition of Americans of Hispanic descent who believe that this nation must enforce its immigration laws in order to protect the security and interest of all citizens.” It says it is “a group of concerned Americans of Hispanic/Latino heritage, some first or second generation, others recent legal immigrants, who believe illegal immigration harms America and a guest worker amnesty will do the same.” Although the organization does list a number of individuals who are members, including a few who are also associated with FAIR, it does not mention any other Hispanic organizations that are part of this “coalition.”
To establish the coalition, FAIR drew from its own associates. YDSFM’s chairman is Al Rodriquez, a retired army colonel is a member of FAIR’s advisory board. Another FAIR advisor Peter Nunez also identifies with YDSFM. According to the Anti-Defamation League, “In March 2008, FAIR blended the two organizations even more by announcing that Rosanna Pulido, Illinois YDSFM spokeswoman and former state director of the Illinois Minuteman Project, had become a Field Representative for FAIR.”
The last activity listed on its website was a rally in Newark, NJ featuring anti-immigration leader Cong. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), founder of the Immigration Reform Caucus. "All across the country, local officials have adopted policies that bar police from inquiring or acting on information about immigration status and innocent people are paying for this sort of political pandering with their lives," charged Al Rodriguez at the rally protesting sanctuary policies and police practices that did not check the immigration status of criminals.
At an anti-immigrant rally in Pennsylvania, YDSFM’s Vice Chairman Carmen Morales, said that she “can’t believe we’re still fighting the invasion.” Speaking on behalf of YDSFM, Morales explained that “we, do not, in any way or form, agree with the Mexican invasion…We are facing a political invasion from the country of Mexico, who [sic] claims that the entire Southwestern US belongs to Mexico, and they want to take it back without firing a shot, but by simply getting political clout in Washington.” YDSFM echoes the fear-mongering rhetoric favored by other factions of the anti-immigrant movement. In an ad placed in Roll Call and paid for by FAIR, it encouraged other Latinos to fight back against the illegal “invasion”: “Don’t let illegal aliens be rewarded for breaking our laws. America is a great country and it deserves to be respected. Let’s fight this invasion together today. Tomorrow may be too late.” Two months after the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill was defeated, YDSFM’s website became inactive, as has the organization. On its website, YDSFME gives no information about funding or sponsorship. However, the group lists Ira Mehlman as its contact person. Mehlman is the press director of FAIR.
(Next post: Analysis about FAIR’s “Choose Black America” – whatever that means!) See the TransBorder Profiles: NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies, Immigration Reform Caucus, and others.