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Get Ready for Smith, Gallegly, and King's "Experts"

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In First Hearing, Subcommittee Calls Two Witnesses from the Same Anti-Immigrant Group

Washington, DC – New Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and Vice Chairman Steve King (R-IA) will hold their inaugural immigration hearing on Wednesday, January 26, 2010.  They have called two people from the same anti-immigrant group as their witnesses, demonstrating their deep commitment to being told what they want to hear.

The two are Mark Krikorian, the Executive Director of Center for Immigration Studies, and Michael Cutler, a Fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies.  Evidently, this was a cost-cutting measure that saves taxpayers the expense of having congressional staff scour the land for “experts” from more than one organization.  Perhaps their main qualification is that they agree with Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) view that forcing 11 million immigrants out of the country, offending Latino voters, raising the deficit, and decimating the U.S. agriculture industry is good politics and good policy.

The hearing, entitled “ICE Worksite Enforcement – Up to the Job?” is the first in a series of hearings to build support for Smith, Gallegly, and King’s mass deportation strategy.  In the Smith view, blocking comprehensive immigration reform and spending billions more tax dollars to crack down on immigrants will eventually drive 11 million people out of the country.  But since the only people buying this are hard-core immigrant-bashers, Chairman Smith and his crew have decided to re-brand their radicalism as….drum roll, please….a jobs program!  The argument goes something like this: if we could expel those farm workers from California, then unemployed auto workers from Michigan would have jobs.

Too bad Smith, Gallegly, and King have already proven that they are more interested in expelling immigrants than protecting American workers.  They have each earned an F grade from the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME and other unions for consistently voting against pro-worker policies, while earning perfect marks from the anti-immigrant organization FAIR.

Their immigration policies would only make a bad situation worse, costing American taxpayers nearly $300 billion to implement and blowing a $2.6 trillion hole in our nation’s economy.  The only responsible approach combines a requirement that undocumented immigrants get legal and pay their fair taxes with vigorous enforcement of labor laws—a plan that would add $5 billion in new revenue to our nation’s tax coffers and boost the overall economy by $1.5 trillion.  Legalizing the workforce would put all workers on a level playing field and take away the tools that bad employers use to undermine their law-abiding competitors and all workers.  That is why both the AFL-CIO and Change to Win support comprehensive immigration reform.

As the panel gets underway tomorrow, here are some key questions we would like to ask Chairman Smith and his crew:

  • Does it disturb you that your “expert” witnesses represent an organization that was founded by a man with known ties to white nationalism?  The Center for Immigration Studies serves as the “intellectual backbone” of the anti-immigrant blogosphere and organizations, talk radio programs, and now the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.  CIS was founded by white nationalist John Tanton in 1985 as a project of FAIR – the anti-immigrant organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  It is now an independent organization led by Mark Krikorian.  Michael Cutler is listed as a CIS Fellow on the organization’s website.  Chairman Smith, were you aware of CIS’ connections to a hate group when you called these two to testify? 
  • Do you agree with Mr. Krikorian’s “expert” views on linguistics and assimilation?  Expressing his view that it was difficult to pronounce the last name of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Krikorian wrote, “So, are we supposed to use the Spanish pronunciation, so-toe-my-OR, or the natural English pronunciation, SO-tuh-my-er, like Niedermeyer?”  He went on to write, “This may seem like carping but it’s not … the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there’s a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.”  Chairman Smith, do you agree that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor should change how she pronounces her name so she can “fit in” better?
  • Do you agree with Mr. Krikorian’s “expert” views on Haiti?  Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which mobilized the world to help the suffering, Krikorian wrote, “My guess is that Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough [his emphasis].”  Chairman Smith, do you think that Haiti would have been better served if it had not become the first free black nation in the world?
  • Do you agree with Mr. Krikorian’s “expert” view that immigrants are to blame for global warming?  Do you even believe in global warming?  The Center for Immigration Studies has published written reports alleging that immigrants are the cause of global warming, among a variety of other problems today.  This argument does not even pass the laugh test among experts on climate change, but perhaps CIS’ “expertise” is in front of the curve.  Chairman Smith, do you believe that immigrants cause global warming? 

With “experts” like these and a Judiciary Committee like this, we look forward to a series of “illuminating” hearings – hearings that will undoubtedly highlight that House Republican hardliners have no viable plan to fix the problem of illegal immigration, no plan to help the Republican Party reach out to Latino voters, and no plan to call real experts who could help them figure it out.

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.