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SPLC: Center for Immigration Studies Is Definitely a Hate Group, Not Mainstream

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Every year, the Southern Poverty Law Center releases its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report, which this year found 917 hate groups operating in the United States. For the first time, included on that list was the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the “think tank” arm of the anti-immigrant movement that puts out misleading research and provides credibility for those wanting to make outrageous claims against immigrants.

CIS’ Executive Director, Mark Krikorian, took issue with that designation this week, claiming (among other things) that CIS is a frequently cited source and that its associates have testified before Congress more than a hundred times.

The Southern Poverty Law Center replied, pointing out that in the era of Trump, hate is not limited to KKK hoods and overtly racist skinheads. Instead:

Hate has gone mainstream. Today, the purveyors of hate don’t always burn crosses or use racial slurs. They might wear suits and ties. They might have sophisticated public relations operations. They might even testify before Congress.

They’re also more likely to be animated by a nativist or white nationalist ideology that sees the “white race” as being under siege by immigrants of color across the Western world. Reflecting this trend, our annual list of hate groups has evolved to include more groups closely linked to white nationalism.

Or, as Gabe Ortiz at Daily Kos put it, when you’ve been accused of being a white nationalist, your counterargument can’t just be, “Hey, we don’t wear sheets!”

Both SPLC’s rejoinder and Gabe’s Daily Kos piece go over the reasons why CIS’ is definitely a hate group, namely:

  • CIS’ ties to John Tanton, the so-called “grandfather of the anti-immigrant movement”, who believed in lovely things like white supremacy, eugenics programs in order to keep control of the colored masses, and how American culture could only be preserved given a white majority.
  • The history of Krikorian himself, who once said that we shouldn’t bother pronouncing Sonia Sotomayor‘s name correctly (“There ought to be limits” to “deferring to people’s own pronunciation of their names”; Sotomayor’s is an “unnatural pronunciation” “we shouldn’t be giving in to”), once said that Haiti has problems because it “wasn’t colonized long enough”, and once called Univision anchor Jorge Ramos (a recipient of this year’s Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence) an “ethnic hustler”.
  • The nature of CIS’ “research”, which — as the New Republic recently put it — “twist the numbers to show immigrants pushing Western civilization to the brink of disaster. One 2008 report blames immigrants for America’s “burgeoning street gang problem.” Another, published two years later, argues that immigrants are using up the water in the American Southwest, making them the true threat to the environment. Yet another study, published in 2015, asserts that a whopping 51 percent of immigrant households are leeching off welfare—even though undocumented immigrants have been banned from receiving welfare since 1996. CIS’s research methodology is so flimsy that even hard-core conservative organizations have condemned it.”
  • CIS’ association with white nationalists, including anti-Semites and Holocaust-deniers, one of whom called Jewish people “truly subversive,” “manipulative,” and “evil.” They also hired Jason Richwine, who was forced to resign from the *Heritage Foundation* (not exactly a moderate group) after a national outcry over a thesis in which he argued that blacks and Hispanics have lower IQs.
By the way, if the Center for Immigration Studies is peeved at being labeled a hate group, apparently the white nationalist group VDARE is peeved that CIS is peeved at being called a hate group. In the Southern Poverty Law Center’s original post with us, association with VDARE was one of the reasons CIS was labeled in the first place. Now that CIS is trying to argue that it’s mainstream, VDARE is complaining about CIS’ efforts to triangulate against it. In a post that we won’t link to, but was comical to the point of satire, VDARE whined that “I’m not sure why we’re less mainstream than CIS–could it be because we’re less well funded?” and describes CIS’ distance from it as a case of “paying the crocodiles to eat you last.” It then criticizes Krikorian for accepting “SPLC’s premise that some patriots were too extreme to associate with.” Looks like CIS is stuck between a rock and a bunch of racists.