Saturday, November 8, 2008

FAIR's Many Faces

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has founded or has been a founding partner in an array of national coalitions, state or local restrictionist groups, or national groups that have achieved independent identities.
Critics like the Center for New Community calls many of these affiliated organizations “front groups” while FAIR terms them affiliates.
One recent example of a coalition in which FAIR played a leading role is the anti-immigration environmental coalition which calls itself America’s Leadership Team for Long Range population-Immigration-Resource Planning. Other members include NumbersUSA, Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), and Social Contract. This coalition placed ads in the New York Times and The Nation that purported to show the direct link between immigration and environmental destruction and urban sprawl.
Other similar coalitions include such groups as Coalition for a Secure Drivers License, 9-11 Families for a Secure America, United to Secure America Coalition, and Coalition for the Future American Worker. FAIR also played a role in sparking the creation of State Legislators for Legal Immigration, a Pennsylvania-based grouping of state legislators vehemently opposed to the “invasion” of illegal immigrants. This group promotes the anti-immigration legislative initiatives shaped by FAIR’s Immigration Reform Legal Institute.
While based in Washington, FAIR has a national reach. Whether it’s a campaign to introduce an anti-immigration law at the state level or a local effort to crack down on illegal immigrants, it’s likely that FAIR is involved at some level – ranging from providing financial and logistical support to assisting in the drafting of bills and in filing court cases. With funding and logistical support, FAIR has sparked the creation of numerous grassroots organizations. In its 2006 annual report, FAIR provides the example of MFIRE as a typical local effort supported by FAIR. MFIRE, says FAIR, is a “grassroots group FAIR helped launch in Mississippi collected thousands of signatures throughout the state on a petition which calls the Mississippi legislature to adopt state legislation that will stop benefits to illegal aliens.”
Similarly,”IFIRE, a grassroots immigration reform group FAIR helped launch in Indiana made provided several legislators in the state the model legislation produced by IRLI.” Other local groups launched with FAIR’s support include Protect Arizona Now, Texans for FAIR Immigration, Mayors and County Executives for Immigration Reform, and Citizens of Dade United. Through its paid and volunteer field staff, FAIR plays a key role in organizing local efforts to pass anti-immigration laws at the local and state levels. It sponsors anti-immigration conferences, such as the Impacts of Illegal Immigration on State and Local Governments conference in March 2006 in Kansas City, Missouri. The same year it sponsored the Southern Regional Immigration Reform Summit in Nashville, Tennessee. FAIR says it “maintains three full-time field coordinators who blanket the entire nation, supporting and educating with activists, incubating new local organizations and working with them to address issue as they arise in their communities and states.” The Georgia legislature approved a comprehensive set of state laws aimed at discouraging illegal immigrants from settling and working in that state. During the effort to enact this law, FAIR field and legislative staff worked closely with key members of the legislature to craft effective policies, and with local immigration reform activist groups to generate public support and to blunt organized efforts by the pro-illegal alien lobby to derail the effort.” “By the end of 2006 FAIR had established volunteer state coordinators in nearly every state. These on-the-ground eyes and ears tracked local developments, helping FAIR’s field staff allocate their time and budgets as effectively as possible. The state coordinators have also afforded FAIR the ability to reach key activists in every corner of the country whenever local immigration issues arise,” boasts FAIR.

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