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Cross-Post: Duke removes four anti-immigration groups from Fred Stanback Internship Program

Imagine 2050 Staff • Apr 13, 2013

By Lisa Sorg

More than a mile high at its peak, Grandfather Mountain presents one of the most breathtaking vistas east of the Mississippi. Known worldwide for its ecological diversity, it is the centerpiece of the state’s park system and a destination for 250,000 tourists each year.

Fred and Alice Stanback

In 1996, Fred Stanback and his family donated more than $3 million to save part of Grandfather Mountain. An heir to the Stanback headache-powder fortune, the Salisbury native is the state’s leading environmental donor. He has given tens of millions of dollars to environmental groups to preserve other pristine areas in North Carolina, including parts of Chimney Rock and the Uwharrie National Forest.

Stanback, who is an alumnus of Duke and was the best man at Warren Buffett’s wedding, sits on boards of major environmental groups. Widely respected, he has funded environmental programs at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Catawba College, as well as an internship program at Duke University that bears his name. And in 2008, then-Gov. Mike Easley presented Stanback and his wife, Alice, with the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor, for public service.

But the environment isn’t Stanback’s only cause. For the past 30 years, he has financially supported some of the nation’s most powerful anti-immigration groups. These include the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR)—which have a similar agenda: reducing the number of immigrants into the U.S.

Being tough on immigration and pro-environment may seem politically incompatible. However, anti-immigration groups have targeted immigrants as responsible for a litany of environmental woes: overpopulation, excessive energy consumption, pollution, traffic and sprawl.

There is nothing wrong with holding positions that cut across ideological lines. But INDY Week has learned that for 15 years, Stanback was funding an internship program at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment that was placing interns not just in environmental programs but also at some of the leading anti-immigration organizations in the country—organizations that have a clear political agenda.

For more on this story, click here.

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