Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

FAIR and its legal arm, Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), have been busy. FAIR and IRLI have been hopping state-to-state helping local governments craft anti-immigration ordinances, like  Arizona’s infamous SB 1070. Arizona’s legal fees have already exceeded $1 million.

Desperately needed tax payer funds are being used by local governments to fight legal challenges to the ordinances drafted with the assistance of IRLI.

By the time the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled its ordinance unconstitutional, Hazelton, PA had spend $2.4 million in legal fees. Riverside NJ owes $82,000 in legal fees even after rescinding their ordinance. Farmers Branch TX is looking at a $5 million legal bill to appeal an injunction issued by the district court. Fremont, NE is raising taxes to pay for the expected $750,000 bill to cover its legal expenses.

In each of the jurisdictions that have been sued, they’ve hired IRLI attorneys to defend the ordinances. What a racket. You get the local idiots to pass ordinances and then bleed the tax payers to defend it. It’s a no-lose scheme for IRLI. Even if the ordinance is invalidated, IRLI still gets its fees. It’s brilliant, in a perverse way.

The next target is Utah, where IRLI is providing assistance for Rep. Stephen Sandstrom’s enforcement-only Arizona-style immigration bill. However, the Mormon Church is supporting an alternative to Sandstrom’s proposal, so IRLI shouldn’t count on any fees from Utah.

FAIR has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) based on the writings and quotes of its founder and board member John Tanton. The Anti-Defamation League, in a report on FAIR, said:

Unfortunately, however, there are today, as in the past, some individuals and organizations whose anti-immigration position is marked by mean-spirited distortions, nativist bias, anti-foreigner fear-mongering, and even overt racism. These groups foment an atmosphere chilling to the notion of an open, tolerant America that respects all persons, regardless of origin.

H/T: SPLC, The Salt Lake Tribune, ADL (pdf).

29 thoughts on “Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)”

  1. Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate
    you finding the time and energy to put this information together.
    I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and
    leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  2. A N

    This is how I approach everything. If I think an author, like Silverstein, has an agenda my bs antennae goes up. He’s written for some publications I think are usually factual, but let’s face it – almost everybody has an agenda or hobby horse and if I get that feeling, I become somewhat skeptical.

    Silverstein could be right, but, like most reputable newspapers, I want more than one source. There’s too much Breitbart type journalism right now.

    As the comments on the charitynavigator express, SPLC has to spend a lot of money for security and attorneys, like Dees, are expensive to use, though necessary, in fending off lawsuits.

  3. Sarg Kovacs wrote:

    “…the idea seems to be to smear people enough to marginalize them and maybe intimidate others into shunning them.”


    Interesting discussion… and Sarg Kovacs makes an excellent point, especially in light of the stories about the Family Reseach Council’s alleged plan to “go after” the SPLC. (It’s also a tactic that’s being successfully employed in other arenas these days.)

    The truth is often intentionally obscured, unfortunately.

    (Appreciate your careful, studied approach, Buckeye.)

  4. S K

    I don’t get their newsletters anymore (had to give them up when I moved to northern Michigan 😉 ) so I don’t know what groups they may be erroneously calling a “hate” group. Do you have any specific information?

    It’s possible, as you say, that they are resting on their laurels from the bad old days, but any time I’ve happened to see a representative on TV, I tend to think they’ve got it right.

    I could be wrong; it wouldn’t be the first time.

  5. And exactly who would be here today if these type of BS laws were in place then that they want now….

  6. Buckeye — Right, calling it a “hate site” is not really the point. I would say SPLC looks just all-around devious based on the Harper’s article. Devious in exploiting the donors to get lots of money for the staff. And also politically devious, in using its ancient reputation from the civil rights era as a mechanism to label as “hate groups” people who are engaged in civilized political debate but with whom the SPLC staff happen to disagree.

    Of course, this kind of labeling goes on on both sides of the political spectrum. E.g., Glenn Beck & co. label anyone a “socialist” who favors tax policies, medical systems, etc that are designed to reduce income inequality.

    In both cases the idea seems to be to smear people enough to marginalize them and maybe intimidate others into shunning them.

  7. Sarg Kovacs

    Thanks for the links. The article makes SPLC sound like a direct mail money machine and it may be.

    On the other hand while right wing flacks like Brietbart rail against it, and the comments on the charitynavigator site explain why people continue to donate, I can’t see any reasonable criteria for calling it a “hate” site.

  8. J. Brian Harris, Ph.D., P.E.,

    Yep … territorial is our name … borders are our game.

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