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Rep. Escobar, Immigration Experts & Advocates Urge Congress to Not Legitimize Anti-Immigration Rhetoric

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A recording of the call is available here.


Earlier today, immigration experts gathered with Representative Veronica Escobar (TX-16) on a press call to condemn the annual Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) upcoming annual radio show, “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” (HTFTTF). During HTFTTF, FAIR’s anti-immigration rhetoric sets a dangerous precedent, ultimately igniting and empowering groups similar to join the negative crusade.

In times when white nationalism rallying cries hold deep influence, the radio show would only serve to divide America and unite anti-immigrant members of Congress, white nationalists, anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists, and activist law enforcement officers. 

Henry Fernandez, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress said,

FAIR has long been identified as a hate group, and an anti-immigrant group, normalized by the media. The language that flows from FAIR at the upcoming HTFTTF event is dangerous. In this environment, where people’s lives are being threatened, there is no reason for members of Congress to attend this event.

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) said,

El Paso has long been one of the safest cities in the U.S. and for decades, we’ve been telling the country that immigrant communities are a point of opportunity, not a point to be feared. Unfortunately, FAIR and the Trump administration continue to inflame the dangerous bigotry, racism and xenophobia that has been so deeply rooted in our country. This rhetoric places targets on the backs of vulnerable people and for communities like mine has become a matter of life and death.

Heidi Beirich, Intelligence Project Director at the Southern Poverty Law Center said,

FAIR is among the most insidious of hate groups, using a veneer of legitimacy to mask its ultimate mission of severely limiting non-white immigration to the United States. Founded on the racist principles of white nationalist John Tanton, FAIR’s position as a non-partisan public interest group has allowed its anti-immigrant ideals to be reflected in both immigration policy and presidential appointments.

Hassan Ahmad, Esquire at the HMA Law Firm said,

White nationalism is out in the open: El Paso and Charlottesville are but two examples. But there’s a camouflaged white nationalism baked into our policies and framing, too. On immigration, the late John Tanton was the racist mastermind behind this camouflaging operation, creating an entire language to push a white supermajority vision of America. His thought metastasized into organizations – FAIR, CIS, NumbersUSA, and others – that have infected our administration, and the results have been catastrophic. Tantonism must be exposed for the hate that it is. That’s what’s fueled my quest to unseal the Tanton Papers, because we cannot afford to ignore how this noxious ideology came to be the law of the land. That’s the first step in rooting out white nationalism wherever it may be hiding, and that’s something we all should be able to get behind.

Lindsay Schubiner, Momentum Program Director at the Western States Center said,

FAIR’s promotion of anti-immigrant bigotry has been a driver of the dangerous politics of hate that we’re seeing nationally. We can’t separate the group’s anti-immigrant bigotry and policies from their human consequences. That includes the indefinite detention of asylum seekers, family separation and bigoted violence, as we tragically saw in El Paso this summer.