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Friday, July 9, 2010

Immigration Reform Caucus Elevates Anti-Immigrant Paranoia

Originally posted at Imagine 2050. Imagine 2050 is a project which includes activists, immigrants, artists and students who are invested in a future nation that embraces multiculturalism and tolerance.

Immigration Reform Caucus Elevates Anti-Immigrant Paranoia

By Stephen Piggott

Over the past few weeks, the anti-immigrant movement has been on high alert after rumors surfaced that President Obama may be planning to use his executive powers to fast track a pathway to citizenship for America’s undocumented immigrants. One player in the anti-immigrant movement, the House Immigration Reform Caucus, sent a letter to Obama on July 1, voicing its opposition to Obama’s supposed plan. In total, thirty-nine members of the Caucus signed on to the letter.

The relationship between the Immigration Reform Caucus and FAIR is clear and irrefutable. Former IRC Chair Tom Tancredo was supported throughout his congressional tenure by FAIR and the John Tanton Network. After Tancredo launched his ill-fated presidential campaign in 2007, a former FAIR lobbyist, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA), took over as IRC’s chairman. Bilbray was first elected to California House District 49 in 1994 and was defeated in 2000.

After his defeat, Bilbray pushed through Washington’s infamous revolving door, cashing in on his state congressional service to become a lobbyist for FAIR. FAIR paid Bilbray almost $300,000 for lobbying between May 2002 and July 2005, according to a March 6, 2006 article by the Copley News Service. When Bilbray took over the Caucus in 2007, he announced plans to work closely with groups like FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies, a FAIR spin-off, to “seek their input on the legislative proposals.” FAIR has also “handled” IRC’s public relations for a press conference and organized a meeting with IRC members during its annual lobbying event in 2005.

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