Our VoiceCulture

The Center for Immigration Studies: Bigotry that Knows no Borders

Guest Blogger • Aug 19, 2011

by Michael Dranove

Refugees from the torn country of Haiti who fled to the United States in 2010 following a disastrous earthquake often entered with nothing but the shirts on their backs.  However, none of this seems to impress the hardened commentators at the anti-immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

No, the years of torture and anguish that the Haitian people have had to endure is of no concern to CIS because the only question they’re interested in is did they emigrate here legally? For those who did not, CIS humanely suggests that the refugees be rounded up and deported.

In an August 7 blog post, David North of CIS writes that ICE raids targeting Haitians “in the right parts of Boston, Brooklyn, and Miami [….] should take place immediately.”  The reason?  Haitian refugees are not paying the hundreds of dollars of registration fees needed in order to receive Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The executive director of CIS, Mark Krikorian, angrily wrote in February of 2010 that Haitians who were being granted TPS by the US government might one day be legally allowed to permanently settle here. This prospect prompted Kirkorian to quip, “Like the motto of the immigration bar says: It ain’t over til the alien wins.”

Of course no discussion of CIS’s shameful writings on Haiti would be complete without discussing one Krikorian article which was completely beyond the pale.  Following the 2010 earthquake, Mark Krikorian wrote:

“my guess is that Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough” (those are his italics).

The article goes on to claim that the length of their period of colonization has led to a “progress-resistant culture.” This is understandably of little concern to someone like Krikorian who rakes in six figures every year, someone who would have no trouble at all dropping $400 on a TPS application. The victims of colonization never seem to be consulted when such noble statements are made by such well respected commentators who enjoy the privilege of writing op-eds for the nation’s major newspapers.

So why the callous disregard for human suffering?  Why the need to attack people who have endured such hardship? A look at CIS’s history provides answers.

CIS was formed as the faux think tank of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization founded by white nationalist and advocate of eugenics John Tanton. Tanton himself, who is on record as questioning the “educability” of Latinos, not to mention the ability of “minorities” to “run an advanced society,” advocated for the creation of “an independent and more academic effort that would be removed from the daily fray” while initially conceptualizing CIS’s role in the broader Tanton Network.

And with this vision in mind, Tanton helped to create CIS in 1985.

And given this lineage – one so long steeped in bigotry – is it any surprise that CIS feels comfortable enough to make such comments.


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