“I was routinely mocked in a Spanish accent.” On “several occasions, racial slurs were used against me or I was made fun of for being Hispanic,” said Joe Gomez this week of his tenure being the only Latino employee at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
The Southern Poverty Law Center has long listed FAIR as an anti-immigrant hate group. But Gomez, who joined FAIR in 2017, told friends that the hate group label was unfounded and anticipated the organization would be fair on the subject of immigration. After working for FAIR, Gomez has changed his mind.
Gomez, who filed a complaint with the Office of Human Rights, alleged that FAIR staffers from president Dan Stein on down engaged in racial slurs and other disturbing conduct. One senior staffer, Gomez claimed, pretended she was an undocumented immigrant by smearing herself in mud.
Many, of course, won’t be surprised that this kind of behavior is found at a hate group. And it’s not the first time. Founded in the 1970s by white nationalist John Tanton, FAIR was the first in a network of anti-immigrant organizations Tanton helped create. Two other anti-immigrant organizations he founded are NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), both of which also have a history of promoting hate.
In 1988, Linda Chavez, who was then the executive director of another Tanton organization, U.S. English, resigned after publicly-released memos revealed Tanton’s racist ideas about white supremacy and supporting eugenics. She said his memos were “repugnant and not excusable” and were “anti-Catholic and anti-Hispanic.” These days, Mark Krikorian, the executive director of CIS, is regularly called out for being a racist, such as the time he tried to tell U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor how to say her own name.
Unfortunately, FAIR and its sibling groups aren’t content to be racist toward their own employees — they’re racist toward all Americans of color, and terrifyingly, they have the clout within the Trump Administration to take action on their beliefs. As Joe Gomez’s experience shows, FAIR and its sibling groups undeniably exist to promote hate. And they are who Trump is listening to when it comes to immigration policy.