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The Open Borders Lobby and the Nation's Security After 9/11, Part Two, Con't By: William Hawkins and Erin Anderson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, January 23, 2004

The Movement at the Grassroots

The profiles above cover only some of the larger, better-funded "open borders" groups advancing left-wing political agendas in legislation, politics and the courts. There are hundreds of other smaller grass roots organizations spread across the country working with these larger groups and in local coalitions in pursuit of the same ends. A study by Joseph E. Fallon for the American Immigration Control Foundation, a group that favors stronger border enforcement, discovered 171 nonprofit organizations concerned with immigration that were large enough to have filed with the Internal Revenue Service.[51] There are numerous other major groups which do not have non-profit status, or which are volunteer, grass roots groups.

The left has always been more active in creating larger numbers of organizations to create a perception of mass support and generate a chorus of voices that can shout down any opposition.

One example of this strategy is the Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants in New York City. The Coalition was formed in October 1997 in response to an increase in workplace raids by the INS in the New York area following passage of the 1996 immigration law reforms. It’s core membership consists of the Center for Immigrant Families (CIF), Centro de Educación de Trabajadores Comité Guatemalteco Tecún-Umán, National Employment Law Project (NELP) Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York, NY Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (NY-CISPES) and UNITE Garment Workers Justice Center. As can be deduced from this list, the Coalition still has strong roots in the 1980s Sanctuary movement and Central American civil wars. It has built on this past focus by embracing the causes of Palestinian, Pakistani and other Muslims detained in the aftermath of September 11.

The Coalition also works in support of organizing campaigns coordinated by the National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights, of which it is a member. A primary focus has been on helping "undocumented immigrants" defend their labor rights, including the right to organize in unions. The Coalition organizes protests and demonstrations, and distributes leaflets. It is not sufficiently organized to receive tax- deductible contributions, but does receive funding through its sponsor, the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute[52] The Muste institute is devoted to "radical pacifist philosophy" and social change involving "liberation struggles, racism, sexism, and labor organizing." Muste awarded grants totaling just over $417,000 in 2002, primarily in small amounts to groups opposing war, "colonialism" and the death penalty. The Coalition received $1,500 from Muste in 2002.[53]

There are groups which work to coordinate left-wing grant-makers to help them find grassroots organizations. For example, the National Network of Grant-makers were founded in 1980 with "the goal of increasing resources, financial and otherwise, to organizations working for social change. Our members are individual donors, foundation staff, board, and grant-making committee members." [54] The NNG held its 21st conference October 12-15, 2003 in Tucson, Arizona under the heading "Building Power for Social Justice." The conference was an exercise in "strategy-focused workshops, interactive plenaries, 'Workshops on the Road' that will take us into Tucson communities and across the US/Mexico border." The keynote speaker was Amy Goodman, host of Pacifica Radio’s "Democracy Now" program carried on many National Public Radio stations.

Among the events was a Border Mobilization held on the first day. The Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (based in Albuquerque, New Mexico) brought together affiliates, associates and allied organizations to march and demonstrate for "social, cultural and economic justice on the US/Mexico border" at six major border crossing points. SNEEJ claims 50 grass roots organizations as members. The purpose of the demonstration was to "physically represent the unity between two cultures and collapse an imaginary division" and "to imagine that a different world is possible."[55] The group’s "Border Manifesto" called for a "Free Border....that permits the free movement of people and not just goods and capital" and "amnesty for all of the illegal migrant workers." October 12 was chosen because it has been designated "International Indigenous Peoples' Day" to protest "the racism, greed, violence, genocide and environmental destruction that Columbus Day represents."[56]


When President Bush and others from the conservative end of the political spectrum talk about adopting many of the same immigration reforms that have been at the center of left-wing agitation for decades—as reflected in the president’s proposal of January 7, 2003 to give an "earned" legal status to working illegal aliens—the motive is the narrow one of placating pressure from business interests. "No one can deny that the more than 8 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are an integral part of the economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan credited this vast labor pool with helping to power growth while keeping down inflation during the 1990s." writes Business Week’s Mexico bureau chief Geri Smith, "U.S. businesses, from five-star hotels in Manhattan to carpet mills in North Carolina, yearn for a bigger pool of low-wage workers."[57]

Chairman Greenspan is known for ascribing inflation to rising wages, but is the importing of an impoverished alien proletariat really in the long-term national interest of most Americans, or even the business class? One does not have to go to the t dreams of Lenin wannabes to find plenty of activists who are betting on the influx of Third World immigrants to change the direction of American politics.

The AFL-CIO has changed its position on immigration for political reasons. It once opposed mass immigration as a threat to high wages. But as manufacturing employment has declined in traditional industrial sectors, so has union membership. The AFL-CIO now sees immigrant labor as a source of new members in expanding service sectors, so has come out in favor of reform. "The AFL-CIO believes that such legislative reform must include, at a minimum: (1) legalization, including the right of immigrant workers in the United States to live and work in this country and become its citizens; and (2) the right of immigrant workers to unite their families in the United States if they wish."[58] The 1.6 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) endorsed former Vermont Governor Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination on November 12, 2003. Dean was widely considered the most left candidate in the race and was a strong opponent of the war in Iraq. Dean also endorsed the concept of "earned amnesty" for illegal aliens that has been the centerpiece of "open borders" groups. The SEIU is the largest union of health care workers in North America and the largest and fastest growing union in the AFL-CIO. It also proudly claims to be the largest union of immigrant workers and one of the most ethnically diverse unions in the nation.[59] Its leaders participated in the anti-globalization riots and have supported leftwing causes generally.

In sum, a well-funded network of foundations, lawyers and grassroots activists has been created to push the leftist vision of a transformed American society. The existence, composition and agenda of this network of groups advocating "open" borders must be taken into account by anyone proposing to either reform the immigration laws or improve their enforcement

Click Here to return to the first part of this article.

Click Here to read Part One of this series.


William Hawkins, the author of Importing Revolution: Open Borders and the Radical Agenda, is Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the USBIC Education Foundation, where he specializes in international economics and national defense issues.

Erin Anderson is a consultant and senior analyst for national security issues. Her family owns land close to the Mexican border in Arizona, where she has witnessed personally the devastating effects of thousands of illegals coming across the borders every day.


[1] Legislative and Governmental Advocacy: The ABA's Legislative and Governmental Priorities, ABA website.

[2] Michael S. Greco, "From the Chair" Human Rights, Winter 2001.

[3] Daniel Kanstroom, "Introduction" Ibid.

[4] Scott C. Titshaw, "U.S. Immigration Law: Denying the Value of Gay & Lesbian Families" and Kristen B. Rosati, "International Human Rights Treaties Can Make a Difference," Ibid.

[5] "Stories from the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride" American Friends Service Committee,

[6] "On borders, migratory agreements, and the rights of migrants," March 21 and 22, 2002.

[7] "Immigrants and Racial/Ethnic Tensions." American Friends Service Committee.

[8] "Episodes from the Struggle for Justice, Equality, & Dignity: A Brief History of the Last 15 Years National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights."

[9] "Statement by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights on the Attacks of September 11." September 14, 2001.

[10] "A Statement in Support of Peace in the Middle East." April 9, 2002.

[11] Elizabeth Martinez "Immigrant Rights and the Fight for Peace." Network News, Fall-Winter 2002/2003, p. 3.

[12] Stated on the opening page of the Institute for MultiRacial Justice website.

[13] "U.S. Immigrant Rights Delegation Denounces Rising Anti-Immigrant Racism in United States."

[14] Hands that Shape the World: Report on the Conditions of Immigrant Women Five Years After the Beijing Conference Executive Summary.

[15] "Legalization Campaign."

[16] This and other information on the Immigration Defense Project can be found on the organization’s website / immigrant_defense_project.html.

[17] "About ILRC" on the organization’s website.

[18] Alan Elsner, "Latin American States Give Aliens ID Cards in U.S." The Washington Post, November 13, 2003.

[19] Marti Dinerstein, "The Issuance, Acceptance and Reliability Of Consular Identification Cards" Testimony prepared for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the JudiciarySubcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims, June 19, 2003.

[20] "Immigration Legal Resource Center" Philanthropic Research, Inc.

[21] International Migration Policy Program Project Description, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace website.

[22] "Mexico-U.S. Migration: A Shared Responsibility: Summary of Recommendations." February 14, 2001, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace website.

[23] Demetrios G. Papademetriou, "A Grand Bargain: Balancing National Security, Economic, and Immigration Interests of the U.S. and Mexico," Migration Policy Institute, April, 2002.

[24] "OSI Announces Post 9/11 Grants: Focus on Civil Liberties, Immigrant Rights, Anti-profiling." Open Society Institute press release, April 15, 2002.

[25] Wayne Cornelius, "Solution to the Immigration Problem: Make the Illegals Legal," San Diego Union, May 25, 1980.

[26] Ford Foundation Annual Report: 1985, p. 65; Ford Foundation, Letter, April, 1985; Ford Foundation Annual Report: 1987, p. 74.

[27] Summary, "America’s Challenge: Domestic Security, Civil Liberties and National Unity After September 11" Migration Policy Institute, 2003.

[28] "Migration Policy Institute" Philanthropic Research, Inc.

[29] "About The National Council of La Raza," NCLA website.

[30] "National Council of La Raza FF Grants," Ford Foundation website.

[31] Neil Hrab, "A Look at the MacArthur Foundation" Foundation Watch (Capital Research Center, August 2003) p. 4.

[32] "National Council of La Raza" Philanthropic Research, Inc.

[33] Michele Waslin, "Counterterrorism and the Latino Community Since September 11," NCLR Issue Brief #10, June 2003. p. 1.

[34] Ibid, p. 6.

[35] Ibid, p. 7.

[36] Michele Waslin, "Safe Roads, Safe Communities: Immigrants and State Driver’s License Requirements" NCLR Issue Brief #6, May 2002.

[37] Waslin, "Counterterrorism" p. 10.

[38] "Overview of NILC Advocacy and Services," on the NILC website.

[39] "National Immigrant Law Center," Grant Recipients, Rockefeller Foundation website.

[40] Open Society Institute, U.S. Programs 2002, Annual Report, pp. 5, 17.

[41] "OSI Announces Post 9/11 Grants: Focus on Civil Liberties, Immigrant Rights, Ant-profiling" Open Society Institute press release, April 15, 2002.

[42] "Open Society Institute" The Left Guide, edited by Derk Arend Wilcox (Economics America, 2001) p. 392.

[43] Transcript: David Brancaccio interviews George Soros, "Now with Bill Moyers" (PBS televison), September 12, 2003.

[44] Neil Hrab, "George Soros’ Social Agenda for America: Drug Legalization, Euthanasia, Immigrant Entitlements and Feminism" Capital Research Center Foundation Watch, April 2003. The OSI has supported the Prison Moratorium Project, to help launch "It’s Bigger than Hip-Hop" project, "a pop culture project that engages young people with political activism and community organizing to generate change around the issue of mass incarceration." see "OSI Awards 2003 Soros Justice Fellowships

[45] See the group's website.

[46] "Dismantling Bigotry, Valuing Diversity"

[47] "Planet Tolerance: Explore Images in Action."

[48] See for example, Bob Moser, "Rough Ride: Anti-immigration activists confront a pro-migrant freedom ride — joined by some of America's leading neo-Nazi groups" SPLC website, .

[49] Evelyn Nieves, "Civil Rights Charges Dog Citizen Patrols on Border" The Washington Post, December 15, 2003; p. A03. See also "Leiva v. Ranch Rescue" on the SPLC website.

[50] "Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc." Guidestar: The National Database of Nonprofit Organizations.

[51] Joseph E. Fallon, The Improper Use of Public Funda: Grants, Special Interests and Immigration (American Immigration Control Foundation, 2002), p. 3.

[52] Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants website.

[53] A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, 2002 Roster of Grants.

[54] National Network of Grantmakers website.

[55] "Thousands Scheduled to Protest in 6 Border Cities, Demand Human Right" Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice press release, October 3, 2003.

[56] Event description, National Network of Grantmakers.

[57] Geri Smith, "How to Deal with Immigrant Labor" Business Week, November 3, 2003.

[58] "The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride: On The Road to Citizenship," AFL-CIO Executive Council statement, August 7, 2002.

[59] "Nation’s Largest Health Care Union Endorses Howard Dean for President," Dean for President Campaign press release, November 12, 2003.

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