National Review Columnist Spreads Lies About Immigration
In his National Review Online blog post today, Mark Krikorian said that attacks on his and other anti-immigrant organizations are "no longer about immigration. It's about freedom." Since his post is pretty Euro-centric, let me just say, "Donnez-moi un break."
He may have a new gig as a National Review columnist, but he is still the same old Krikorian, spouting trash-talk under the guise of high-mindedness. At the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), for 20 years he's trashed immigrants in "research reports" in which he has yet to find one positive thing to say about immigrants. Really? Nothing good has ever come from immigration?
Now in his post, he smears pro-immigrant and civil rights organizations, wrapping his divisiveness in the cloak of freedom of speech. Krikorian makes certain to conflate the efforts of these organizations to fight hate in the immigration debate with Islamic extremists in Europe and Canada, not bothering to explain just what in the devil the link might be between religious extremism and protecting civil rights.
Krikorian also disparages the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and its laudable work in fighting extremism and racism in this country. He claims that SPLC's groundbreaking exposés of the anti-immigrant movement are motivated by a pro-immigrant agenda. The only problem is that SPLC has no such agenda and no stake in the current immigration debate. It has never expounded on comprehensive immigration reform -- and never will.
SPLC does, however, investigate and uncover hate and extremism. And it has not escaped its notice that there is a troubling amount of overlap between White supremacist and anti-immigrant organizations, a concern Krikorian never addresses or debunks. He even hilariously downplays the role of CIS, FAIR, Numbers USA, and U.S. Inc. founder John Tanton, dismissing him as some guy who is a "retired eye doctor in Michigan." That's like referring to Bernie Madoff as a small business owner from the Upper East Side of New York -- accurate but staggeringly disingenuous.
In fact, Tanton has been and continues to be at the center of the anti-immigrant movement and has been referred to as the "puppeteer." And Krikorian never tackles Tanton's decades of bigoted commentary nor his interactions and friendships with a number of White supremacists, anti-Semites, and eugenics aficionados, as documented extensively by SPLC.
And he even accuses my organization of trying to stifle speech, a patently false, absurd, and deliberate mischaracterization of what the National Council of La Raza and others are trying to do. The Wave of Hope campaign and WeCanStopTheHate.org are based on the fundamental premise that the only cure for hate speech is more speech. We want people to know and talk about what is going on in the immigration debate -- that some people on TV who are purporting to be immigration experts are actually members of anti-immigrant extremist organizations, that an atmosphere of hate taken to new levels by talk radio and cable news has led to the brutal beatings and deaths of immigrants throughout the country, and that the way some in the anti-immigrant movement talk about Latinos and immigrants is just the latest variant of how new arrivals have been demonized and dehumanized throughout our country's history.
We want the facts and the truth out there -- that this is not about immigration at all. In fact, there is nothing about 287g or legalization on the WeCanStopTheHate website; that's for the policy debate we want and intend to have.
I believe that Krikorian knows this, but when you can't argue on the facts, when you can't acknowledge the truth, and when you can't refute the legitimate concerns raised about your movement and its ties, your only recourse is to claim that your First Amendment rights are being violated. Funny how he's able to do that on a website and in a magazine, as well as on radio and TV.