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U of San Diego Professor & CIS Board Member “Teaching” CIS Materials

Catharine Debelle • Jan 30, 2012

Briggs, Nunez, and others have a vested interest in "Teaching Tanton"

Higher education has the duty to provide a fair environment for learning. As such, professors must provide their students with balanced presentations on subjects, especially those which focus on one of the most contentious political issues— immigration. At the University of San Diego, professor and former California Attorney General, Peter Nunez, is placing his students at a disadvantage by injecting a high volume of anti-immigrant material into his curricula.

In his fall 2011/2012 syllabus Peter Nunez included two required readings by Vernon Briggs, along with a recommendation to subscribe to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) email list.

Vernon Briggs, like Peter Nunez himself, is a board member of CIS. CIS is an anti-immigrant organization that, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, actively maintains ties to hate groups. CIS produces immigration “studies,” the results of which are widely disputed and seek only to highlight conflated negative effects of immigration. Playing its broader role, the group is a mainstay of the John Tanton Network of anti-immigrant groups.

Briggs has also contributed to John Tanton’s white nationalist journal, The Social Contract, which publishes the writings of many individuals associated with the reconstituted 1960s White Citizens’ Council that has since self-rebranded as the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC).

Peter Nunez’ ties to political extremism run deep, as well. Nunez is on the advisory board of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Alliance for a Sustainable USA. FAIR is the flagship organization for the Tanton Network, and has played a critical role in advancing controversial anti-immigrant bills in both Arizona and Alabama.

Nunez has also gone on record endorsing an initiative regarding the US born children of undocumented immigrants. This initiative would require two separate types of birth certificates, preventing undocumented children from access to public healthcare. Similar to California’s Proposition 187, which aimed to bar children of undocumented immigrants from public education, this initiative would have similar results.

In his syllabus, Nunez asks, “What special interest groups in society have attempted to influence the outcome of immigration?” It seems that we have our answer.

Educators and institutions need to make a choice. Either you support individuals with ties to political extremism and white nationalism, or you fight for student bodies that actively strive for inclusiveness. College institutions should be places of learning open to everyone; places where bigotry is not and never will be allowed to flourish.

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