Republicans invited Center for Immigration Studies Fellow, Andrew Arthur, and Border Patrol union president, Brandon Judd to testify at an Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability Subcommittee hearing
House Republicans are continuing a disturbing pattern of using their slim majority to provide a validating platform to individuals associated with hate groups and have promoted the white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory that has inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks. Republican members of the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability invited Andrew R. Arthur, who is a Resident Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and Brandon Judd, the President of the National Border Patrol Council. This House hearing will be the ninth in nine weeks as they pursue this seemingly endless dangerous political theater to drive their nativist narrative in right-wing media.
Arthur has worked for the hate group CIS since 2017, advocating that the cruelty and chaos of the Trump administration’s immigration agenda did not go far enough. Meanwhile, Judd is the hard-right leader of the Border Patrol union who has repeatedly promoted the white nationalist “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy, palled around with hate groups, and participated in a political ad that suggested political violence towards top Democrats.
CIS was founded by white nationalist John Tanton and has not strayed from its roots even as it strives to add the thin veneer of respectability to an extreme nativist agenda and promoting the ideas of white nationalists. CIS has circulated white nationalist material over 2,000 times. Arthur’s boss, Mark Krikorian, attempted to defend the group’s circulation of content from the white nationalist website VDare by calling it an “important source of immigration news” and comparing it to the New York Times. VDare is neither. In 2008, CIS circulated an article by the infamous white nationalist Richard Spencer. After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 that killed thousands of people, Krikorian wrote, “My guess is that Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.” The mass murderer who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011 cited CIS’s data in his racist screed. Krikorian also said the mass murder, who killed 23 people in El Paso, had a manifesto that was “remarkably well-written for a 21-year-old loner,” when interviewed by the Washington Post’s David Nakamura about the similarities in their xenophobic content.
One of Arthur’s co-workers at CIS is Jason Richwine, who promotes scientific racism. Richwine has argued the racist idea that Hispanics have lower IQs than whites. He wrote:
No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against. From the perspective of Americans alive today, the low average IQ of Hispanics is effectively permanent.
For his part Arthur, has expressed support for Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s dangerous “invasion” declaration, writing: “Desperate times call for desperate measures, and things are desperate at the Southwest border in Texas.”
This language of invasion refers to the white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory. It was chanted in the streets of Charlottesville in 2017, posted online before a man murdered 11 in Pittsburgh in 2018, shared in racist screeds before the murder in Poway and the murder of 23 in El Paso in 2019, believed by those who attacked the Capitol in 2021 and copied by the gunman who killed ten people in Buffalo in May in 2022. Dr. Heidi Beirich, the co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, draws a direct connection between the rhetoric and the violence, saying, “When migrants are described as invaders, that leads to violence,” she said. “Because how else does one stop an invasion?”
Arthur has also previously argued that the Trump administration’s family separation policy was “absolutely crucial” and that “there really is no other choice” than to tear thousands of children from their families at the U.S./Mexico border. He argued against creating popular new pathways to citizenship for our undocumented neighbors who have been calling the U.S. home for a decade, leaving mass deportation or permanent second-class status as the only options.
He has argued that the disastrous Title 42 policy did not go far enough, arguing for broader statutes that would unilaterally expel asylum-seeking migrants leading to a complete asylum ban in all but name. He supportively wrote about Rep. Chip Roy’s asylum ban. In a New York Post op-ed, Arthur championed the cruel and dangerous MPP (or “remain in Mexico”) policy, writing, “MPP worked: Migrants with bogus asylum claims stopped coming and went home once they realized those claims no longer constituted a “free ticket” into this country.” He added, “Complaints that migrant detention isn’t ‘humane’ are uninformed”. And Arthur has taken credit for the misleading nativist fearmongering around the pernicious lie about an association between the fentanyl crisis and migration.
Prior to joining CIS, Arthur served as a federal immigration judge from 2006 to 2011 where his asylum denial rate was 90.9%— the 7th highest denial rate in the United States during that period.
In previous hearings that Republicans have invited Arthur to, Democrats have sought to unmask CIS’s connections to white nationalists. In March 2019, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), challenged Arthur’s credentials. And in September 2019, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) similarly pushed back.
Brandon Judd is also a repeat witness with extreme views and connections with hate groups. In September 2022, Judd joined dozens of elected Republican officials and right-wing talk radio shows for an annual event organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). A Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated hate group, FAIR was also founded by eugenicist and white nationalist John Tanton. Earlier in the year, Judd was a featured speaker at a FAIR conference in Las Vegas. In December 2021, Judd also sat for an interview with the CIS podcast. Judd and his union cut ads for and endorsed several Republican candidates who campaigned on the white nationalist “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy. But in one egregious example, Judd guest starred in a Jim Lamon Arizona Republican Senate primary western shootout-style ad in February ‘22, where the candidate shoots at actors portraying President Biden, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Mark Kelly. As a reminder, Sen. Kelly’s wife was shot in a horrific act of political violence in 2011, and Speaker Pelosi’s husband was also horrifically attacked in his home later in 2022 as a domestic terrorist sought out the then-Speaker. In April 2022, Judd used a Fox News appearance to promote the baseless conspiracy theory that there is a plot to replace white Americans with immigrants. Judd has also repeatedly pushed the racist fiction that migrants seeking asylum and safety at the border constitute a literal “invasion” of the U.S.
As USA Today extremism reporter Will Carless noted in a Twitter thread about Judd’s last appearance:
“As I explained in this piece last year, Judd & others try to explain away their statements by arguing that the US population is changing. It is. But that’s not what he & others have been promoting for years. That’s not what the Great Replacement is. That CBP are ok with the top union official espousing a white supremacist talking point is remarkable itself. That the same man is appearing before Congress is a whole new level of questionable. That it’s happening the same day as [convicted Buffalo mass murderer] Gendron’s sentencing is wild.”Unfortunately, the Republicans on the committee have a similar problem of amplifying the deadly white nationalist conspiracy theories. Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), and most of the Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee have parroted the great replacement conspiracy theory.
Meanwhile, the FBI, Attorney General, and Secretary of Homeland Security have all testified that the threat from violent domestic extremists is a leading terrorist concern. In November 2022 and again in December 2022, DHS issued memos warning about threats to people and infrastructure at the southern border in response to anti-immigrant-related concerns.
Neither Judd nor Arthur are coming to congress to advance the much-needed reforms to our decades-out-of-date immigration system, but to cosign the false GOP nativist narrative. Meanwhile, the Republicans on the committee are exacerbating the threat of white nationalist violence by giving these men the validation and megaphone of a congressional hearing. This latest hearing is more of the same dangerous political theater that undermines the solutions the American people need while putting our public safety at risk.