Our VoiceImmigration

FAIR Promotes, Co-Headlines Event w/ “Poster Sheriff” Coordinated by Minutemen Activist


Imagine 2050 Staff • Aug 28, 2014

On August 30, nativists with ties to the extremist Minutemen movement will hold a townhall-style event in Ottawa, Illinois. The event is being promoted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – the flagship organization of the modern day anti-immigrant movement – with the group’s national field director, Susan Tully, listed as a featured speaker.

Tully’s presence marks the second time in recent months that FAIR has formally associated with Illinois-based anti-immigrant activists with established records of bigotry.

Based on recent posts on social media and far-right message boards, Rosanna Pulido appears to be one of the event’s organizers. Pulido is a founder of the virulently nativist Illinois Minuteman Project and a longtime anti-immigrant activist with extensive ties to FAIR. At one point, Pulido worked under Susan Tully’s supervision as a regional field coordinator for the group and also served as a spokesperson for the FAIR-founded anti-immigrant front group You Don’t Speak for Me, which sought to sway Latinos and Hispanics in favor of its policies and messages.

History of Violence, Connections to FAIR

The Minutemen movement has been responsible for horrific anti-immigrant violence. Two of its most infamous members have been Shawna Forde and JT Ready. Forde is former a border vigilante currently on death row for murdering a nine year-old girl and her father in their Arizona home. Ready was a neo-Nazi border vigilante and suspected weapons trafficker who committed suicide after murdering his girlfriend’s family and infant daughter.

After a few years of apparent inactivity, Pulido (left, at microphone) and the Illinois Minuteman Project resurfaced in April to organize a “Save the American Worker Rally” in downtown Chicago. FAIR also promoted that event. Susan Tully (right, with flag) was photographed in attendance. After the group of around twenty protesters left, Tully and Pulido were observed getting lunch together at a nearby restaurant.

In addition to resurrecting her Minutemen group, Pulido is involved in other far-right causes that include attending local chapter meetings of the anti-Muslim group ACT! for America and joining up with homophobic activists when the Illinois state legislature debated – and eventually passed – a marriage equality measure last October.

Speaking alongside Tully at the Ottawa event will be Tony Childress (pictured above), Sheriff-elect of Illinois’s Livingston County. In July, Childress joined Tully and seven other sheriffs from across the country on a “fact-finding mission” to McAllen, Texas that was organized and funded by FAIR.

Tully and Childress will discuss the trip at Saturday’s event, and according to FAIR’s promotional email, explain “what is really happening and how you can make a difference.”

FAIR’s Law Enforcement Allies Maintain Poor Track Record

FAIR has long attempted to cultivate lasting ties with law enforcement officials. Sheriff-elect Childress is among latest to be recruited to their cause. Before he further aligns himself with the anti-immigrant movement, Childress should ponder some of FAIR’s other friends in law enforcement: Sheriff Terry Johnson of North Carolina’s Alamance County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County, for instance.

Both sheriffs have been embroiled in legal challenges rooted in the anti-immigrant and racially insensitive enforcement practices of their departments—standards that FAIR and other anti-immigrant organizations have, in part, inspired or at least tacitly approved. A lawsuit alleging racial profiling brought against Johnson’s department has already cost taxpayers nearly $500,000. Thanks to Arpaio, some Arizona taxpayers will have to pay approximately $21 million. Clearly, supporting the anti-immigrant movement is costly.

Compounding such shamefulness, bigoted enforcement practices wreak emotional and physical havoc on immigrant families.

By actively participating in events organized by extremists, FAIR continues to demonstrate that it’s not a credible organization, certainly one that has no positive role to play in local law enforcement.

FAIR’s promotion of and presence at Pulido’s upcoming event only reaffirms that organization’s continued commitment to supporting the efforts of fringe populists. From that, Sheriff-elect Childress should answer publicly for his involvement with such groups, as other FAIR-connected sheriffs have.

Image Sources: stlouistoday.com and Center for New Community Archives

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