Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Fair (Federation for American Immigration Reform) Anti Immigrants Group. What part of justice do they practice? What kind of rule or reform they want Implemented to any Immigrants rather than demonized them? Do we really want neo-Nazi groups helping shape our federal public policy on immigration? The Federation for American Immigration Reform has ties to racists and a long record of bigotry.
Remembrances of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. give us good reason to celebrate.
But in Arizona, King's message often is lost as hate crimes increase and unvarnished hatred toward Mexicans and other Latinos - whether U.S. citizens or illegal immigrants - has grown more and more malignant in recent years.
Arizonans' attitudes and behaviors have become nearly as hideous as the crimes against black people that were so common during King's lifetime, especially in the deep South.
Granted, we've come a long way since King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. But we have not come far enough.
The federal government's failure to reform immigration policy has created a vacuum that neo-Nazi and other hate groups have been happy to fill Racist groups, violence climbing.
The number of hate groups in the U.S. has increased by 40 percent since 2000, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported Dec. 7. FBI statistics show a 35 percent rise in hate crimes against Latinos since 2003.
And for anti-immigrant zeal, Arizona is ground zero, says Heidi Beirich of the SPLC Intelligence Project.
"Multiple vigilante factions are operating on the border, plus you've got politicians like (Maricopa County Sheriff) Joe Arpaio who want to unleash the dogs," she says. " . . . You've got a very active neo-Nazi scene, some of whom have been showing up at (anti-immigrant) protests armed."
Hate groups shaping our policy.
The movement has spread like a prairie fire, with xenophobic groups and the Lou Dobbs types in American culture fanning the flames with false information
And then there's FAIR - which isn't.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform has ties to racists and a long record of bigotry, yet its members are regularly asked to testify before Congress and to comment for the media, SPLC reports.
Having been lent an undeserved aura of legitimacy, FAIR was a key force in scuttling the promising immigration reform package last June that President Bush supported.
Consider that FAIR's founder runs a racist publishing company and has compared immigrants to "bacteria"; has employed white supremacists in key positions; promoted racist conspiracy theories; and accepted more than $1 million from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation devoted to eugenics and proving a link between race and IQ, SPLC research shows.
Do we really want neo-Nazi groups helping shape our federal public policy on immigration?
Or do we want to uphold the basic American values of fairness and justice for all?
Salvage basic human decency
Today is a good time to remember King's philosophy that human rights denied to one person is human rights denied to all.
"These people aren't objects," Beirich says. "They're human beings - whether coming across the desert or fellow citizens under suspicion because they have dark skin."
Decent Americans must look beyond the hysteria-inducing babble to the facts, including the economic, social and cultural contributions that immigrants have made to our nation.
Any ire among U.S. citizens, illegal immigrants or both should be directed at the federal government's massive policy failure.
But until that is corrected, the only way we can stop the tide of racial hatred is by standing up against the xenophobia, the ill-founded fears and the Machiavellian maneuvers by the groups that foster divisiveness.
That is the required work of all decent Americans.