G.K. Chesterton, a gifted English writer who died in 1936 observed, “We do not need to get good laws to restrain bad people. We need to get good people to restrain us from bad laws.” Chesterton’s statement is at least partially true of today’s debate over immigration reform. While I would contend that laws to protect us from criminals and felons are necessary, I think it is also true that this is the time for good people (of all political persuasions) to take a close look at the bad laws and policies that comprise our current broken immigration system.
Until recently this was easier said than done. Chesterton also quipped “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.” We seem to be at a crossroads where progressives and conservatives agree that we can’t go on making mistakes, nor can wait much longer to correct the mistakes of our past when it comes to immigration.
While it is encouraging to see that immigration reform is becoming an area where people from both sides of the aisle are working together, the task is made harder by extremist groups with hidden agendas who are intentionally inducing fear with campaigns of misinformation and thinly veiled racism.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is one such group. FAIR is closely aligned with other likeminded groups like the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA. While these three organizations may look like independent entities, all three are either founded or funded by John Tanton, whose posture as a conservative conceals an agenda that is both radical and dangerous.
Tanton, who is obsessed with extreme environmentalism and population control, said this of China’s one child policy of forced abortions and suspected infanticide; “I think the Chinese have developed one of the most humane and rational population policies in the world.” He suggested that China’s one child policy should be the “international family planning program.”
Some of Tanton’s associates are much more generous for American families. The organization Negative Population Growth, formerly led by the wife of FAIR’s Executive Director, Dan Stein, suggests that in America couples should be allowed to have two children.
That is, unless they aren’t too bright. In a 1996 letter to fellow eugenicist Robert K. Graham, Tanton wondered “Do we leave it to individuals to decide that they are the intelligent ones who should have more kids…What about the less intelligent, who logically should have less?” While the threat of allowing less intelligent Americans to have children was clear to Tanton, he did recognize the challenge of imposing a solution. He worried, “Who is going to break the bad news [to less intelligent individuals], and how will it be implemented?”
Labeling FAIR a Hate Group, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted, “Although FAIR maintains a veneer of legitimacy that has allowed its principals to testify in Congress and lobby the federal government [on immigration], this veneer hides much ugliness. FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements.”
FAIR President Dan Stein called the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 “a mistake” because it ended a racial quota system that limited immigration mostly to northern Europeans. Tanton worried, “As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?” He seemed to favor the explosion.
In an earlier letter to Garrett Hardin, a eugenicist and ecology professor, Tanton wrote “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist [it will] require a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” Fair President Dan Stein agreed, noting, “…Immigration was a great way to retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance.” He blamed the problem on Ted Kennedy.
Back to G.K Chesterton. Chesterton wrote, “Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; [but] they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.” Fortunately, an increasing number of Americans are agreeing that our current approach is inexcusable. A recent (February, 2013) Gallup poll found that 85% of Americans favor immigration reform that includes a pathway to legal residency or citizenship. At a time when Americans remain divided over so many issues, we can’t let groups like FAIR, CIS, and NumbersUSA distract us from bipartisan solutions that advance our economy and bless our soul as a nation.