Our VoiceImmigration

Anti-Immigrant Efforts to Woo African Americans Find a New Home


Charlotte Williams • Aug 05, 2011

This weekend the California based group Blacks for Equal Rights Coalition (BFERC) will hold an Outreach Summit on the Impact of Immigration on the Black Community. Sadly, the event is sponsored by the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Topics to be discussed include jobs, economy, civil liberties, education, housing, social issues, laws and regulations, and more. The real question, though, is what can FAIR, a group founded by a white nationalist breeder of bigotry, offer to such a gathering?

Answer: Nothing, except for coded bigotry.

BFERC is recognized for its mission to “work vigorously to maintain our Civil and Human Rights that our forefathers fought so diligently for,” as it seeks equal rights for Blacks in this country.  However, FAIR is probably not the best sponsor for honest, progressive discussions about immigration issues that impact the African American community.

Providing “sponsorship” of this type of gathering isn’t the first time FAIR and the John Tanton Network organizations have acted on their “interest” in the African American community.  FAIR set up a front group called Choose Black America, which folded a few years ago, in an effort to establish itself as the supposed voice of the African American community within immigration spheres of debate.

FAIR was founded in 1979 by John Tanton, a white nationalist and eugenics proponent, and is part of the intricate John Tanton Network of anti-immigrant organizations. In addition to FAIR, other Tanton Network groups such as Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and their state contacts, like Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), collectively blame immigrants for economic, population, and environmental problems here in the US.

Their extreme views and negative messaging fuel misinformed fears and pit communities of color against one another, all while driving a wedge between these communities and their respective leadership.  CAPS has regularly published articles that refer to the children of undocumented immigrants as “anchor babies” – a dehumanizing term that portrays children born to undocumented parents as little more than objects for securing citizenship.

Their attempts to ground immigration legislation in exclusionary practices undermine broad swaths of civil rights for all, especially their attacks on the 14th Amendment.  The Which Way Forward network continues to expose these tactics for what they are―divisive and bigoted. The Which Way Forward Network continues to prioritize revealing the impacts of anti-immigrant activity and anti-immigrant supported public policy on the African American community, as well as on the United States as a whole.

Which Way Forward also supports dialogue, understanding, and common themes among African Americans, African immigrants, and refugees while these communities continue to identify their interests within the immigration debate. Communities of color have historically – and will continue – to stand together against injustice and any attempts to dismantle the successes of the civil rights movement.

The genuine voices of communities of resistance don’t need the racist groups of the Tanton Network to speak on their collective behalf.

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