This is Part Two of a longer article describing how the Ford Foundation is funding organizations that advocate an "Open Borders" immigration policy. In Part One, the authors had just begun describing Ford Foundation grantees and their political agendas; we join this list "in progress." Click Here to read Part One of this article. -- The Editors.
American Bar Association Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono
Once a bulwark of social conservatism and the rule of law, the American Bar Association has been lurching leftward for many years. It currently supports a moratorium on the death penalty, gun control measures, the Legal Services Corporation and an International Criminal Court, so it is not surprising that it has taken the standard left-wing positions on immigration.
The ABA Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono consists of thirteen (13) individuals appointed by the ABA President. The Commission directs ABA efforts to ensure fair and unbiased treatment, and full due process rights, for immigrants and refugees within the United States. The Commission was formed in 2002 by the merger of two existing ABA entities: the Coordinating Committee on Immigration Law and the Advisory Committee to the Immigration Pro Bono Development and Bar activation Project. The Commission provides continuing education about trends and court decisions, and develops pro bono programs that encourage volunteer lawyers to provide “high quality, effective legal representation for individuals in immigration courts, with special emphasis on the needs of the most vulnerable immigrant and refugee populations.” The Commission also advocates changes in immigration laws and procedures.
According to the ABA’s 2003 Legislative and Governmental Priorities regarding immigration, one of the group’s top ten issues: “The ABA supports legal immigration based on family reunification and employment skills, due process safeguards in immigration and asylum adjudications, and judicial review of such decisions....the restoration of public benefits to legal immigrants and refugees, and improving the wages, working conditions and legal status of farm workers in the United States. The ABA opposes laws that require employers and persons providing education,
health care, or other social services to verify citizenship or immigration status.” Stated under a separate heading dealing with anti-terrorism, the “The ABA opposes the incommunicado detention of foreign nationals in undisclosed locations by the INS or the Department of Homeland Security. The ABA supports disclosure including the names of the detainees, the nature of the charges involved, and public removal hearings except in extraordinary circumstances.”
Immigration issues are also a concern of the ABA Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities (IRR) which publishes the quarterly journal Human Rights. Each issue of Human Rights focuses on a single topic. Immigration was the topic of the Winter 2001 issue and its theme was set out by section chair Michael S. Greco as “the deplorable condition of immigrants' rights in twenty-first century America and what needs to be done to correct it.” In his essay, Greco related how “in 1997, the ABA approved a statement of principle that federal, state, territorial, and local governments should permit the use of languages in addition to English to improve communication with government, promote understanding of duties and responsibilities under the law, and provide access to the justice system. Most recently, IRR joined with other ABA entities and national minority bars in opposing any diminution of legal permanent residents' rights to contribute to political campaigns in the same way that the law permits other citizens to contribute.” Of course, even “legal permanent residents” are not “other” citizens as they are not citizens at all. For them to play any role in selecting government officials or crafting legislation (and the two cannot be separated) should raise serious questions about whose interests national policy is to properly serve.
Greco also recounted how his IRR and the then Coordinating Committee on Immigration worked to defeat the 1996 immigration reform legislation because it sought “to create a special court to receive secret evidence against aliens in deportation proceedings, impose new and onerous financial obligations on immigrants' sponsors, and restrict legal immigrants' and refugees' access to public benefits.”
In his introduction to the Winter 2001 issue, Daniel Kanstroom, professor of law at Boston College Law School and director of the Boston College Immigration and Asylum Project, stated in regard to the 1996 reforms, “Fortunately, due to the efforts of many activists, scholars, lawyers, and politicians, some of the worst aspects of these laws have been ameliorated and others appear ripe for change. The articles in this special issue of Human Rights are wonderful examples of this work to which one can only hope the new administration and Congress will pay heed. They represent an eloquent and wide-ranging indictment of the current state of U.S. immigration policy.” He also thanked the Immigrants' Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union for helping to put together this issue of Human Rights which showed no diversity in viewpoint. Among the stranger essays was one by Atlanta immigration lawyer Scott Titshaw critical of the “indefensible” biases against gay and lesbians because U.S. immigration laws do not consider homosexual partners to be the legal equivalent of a married couple; and one by Phoenix attorney Kristen Rosati suggesting that U.S. implementation of the international Convention Against Torture could ameliorate some of the “harshness” of current immigration law enforcement.
American Friends Service Committee
The American Friends Service Committee claims on its website to be “a practical expression of the faith of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Committed to the principles of nonviolence and justice, it seeks in its work and witness to draw on the transforming power of love, human and divine.” Certainly, when one thinks of pacifism, the image of the pious Quaker comes readily to mind.
However, during the Cold War, and particularly during the Vietnam War, the AFSC embraced the New Left anti-war movement and started beating the drum against “U.S. imperialism.” It has carried this theme forward, and now sponsors events like “New England's Empire is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things” conference on October 10, 2003, the keynote address being devoted to the topic “The American Century as Imperial Enterprise” by Professor Zia Mian from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
When one clicks on the AFSC website (www.AFSC.org), the first “featured issue” listed is immigrants’ rights. It proudly claims that AFSC staff across the country participated in the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride. Held from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, 2003, this event saw nearly a thousand immigrants and their allies travel across the country which affirmed, “the contributions of immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, and exposed the many injustices caused by a broken immigration system.” This cross country ride, patterned after the “freedom rides” of the 1960s civil rights movement, was only the latest action in a campaign waged since 2001 to build momentum for a general amnesty for illegal aliens.
In the spring of 2002, the AFSC and a handful of other U.S.-based immigrants’ rights organizations met in Monterey, Mexico and issued a joint declaration with Mexican organizations affirming the need for a “comprehensive legalization program for all nationalities of undocumented immigrants and their families that live in the United States” and “The legalization of future migratory flows.” The Monterrey declaration also called for protection of migrants’ rights and labor rights in national legal codes as well as international agreements. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights also signed the declaration, along with 26 other groups, mostly Mexican.
The AFSC links their concern for immigrants with their pacifist philosophy by emphasizing that border enforcement reflects a white racist society that creates tension, leading potentially to violence, in a society that is rapidly losing its white majority. The AFSC complains that the “mainstream media floods the airwaves with negative stereotypes and damaging images of immigrants as well as U.S.-born people of color...[and] whether in news or entertainment programming, the media rarely acknowledge white racism as a factor in community tensions.” The AFSC view of American society owes less to theology than to Marxism, as shown by this succinct paragraph from their section on ethnic tension:
“Low-income people must struggle to survive in a world that is hostile to their needs. As individuals and communities compete for scarce and inadequate resources, they are encouraged to see themselves as working against one another, rather than seeing injustice as the common root of their suffering. Mainstream “common sense” about how to succeed furthers this mentality of competition. Conventional images of “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps” and other notions of individual success promote the idea that anyone can succeed in the United States if only they try hard enough. While individuals who succeed “against the odds” are held up as models, the communities they come from remain poor — and the structures that maintain a grossly unjust distribution of wealth and resources do not change.”
There is a consistency in AFSC ideology, as its attitude on border issues is similar to the position it has held in foreign policy since at least the Korean War. Whenever the United States acts to defend its interests, whether from aggression by Communist regimes, rogue states or Islamic extremists, it is the side that the AFSC accuses of breaking the peace.
The AFSC talks about “class’ and “cultural” differences, “hate violence” and “anti-immigrant politics [that] have also given rise to an increase in vigilante activity, particularly in the U.S.-Mexico border region.” Thus the source of tension comes from those who favor upholding the law and the principle of sovereign borders, and not with those who illegally cross those borders and make demands on their unwilling hosts.
National Network for Immigration and Refugee Rights
National Network for Immigration and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) was founded in 1986 by activists involved in opposition to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). It is headquartered in Oakland, California. The focus of the NNIRR in the debate over the IRCA legislation was against the employer sanctions which prohibited businesses from hiring known illegal aliens. The NNIRR also claims “multiple roots stretching back to the 1960s movements for civil rights, racial justice, farm workers unions, student rights, and peace.” An example of this juxtaposition of immigration and antiwar (peace) activism appears on their website chronicle for the years 1990-91.
“The National Network, in collaboration with MALDEF [Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Foundation], organizes the California Delegation against Hate Violence to lead an investigation on human rights abuses and hate violence against migrants in the San Diego-Tijuana border area. The delegation meets with Mexican and U.S. counterparts, documenting deepening INS and private citizen violence against migrants crossing and migrant workers in the U.S. and calls for demilitarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and protections for migrants from hate groups and Border Patrol abuse.”
In August, the U.S. declares war on Iraq, to repel the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in dispute over control of oil fields; President George Bush calls for a “New World Order,” launching military mobilization to the Middle East and prepares attack on Iraq in September. Anti-war mobilizations begin calling for ‘No Blood for Oil.”
As U.S. bombing of Iraq begins on the birthday of renowned civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., the U.S. war on Iraq unleashes immigration related repression. The war in Iraq results in over five million migrant workers, Arabs, Palestinians, Kuwaitis, and Iraqis being forcibly displaced by the brutal military assault on Iraq. The National Network denounces the war and its debilitating impacts. The growing war-buildup results in threats of raids, actual raids, and other forms of intimidation unleashed against immigrant communities to quell any support for peace and justice as part of the Bush Administration’s efforts to build U.S. public support for his war drive.”
There is no mention in this section that the war was triggered by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, a border crossing just as illegal as that taking place on the San Diego-Tijuana border area, only much more violent. That many foreign workers in Kuwait (particularly Palestinians) supported the Iraqi invasion led to their expulsion after Kuwait was liberated and demonstrated graphically the threat posed by large immigrant communities which had no allegiance to the country in which they resided. NNIRR’s leanings, however, were entirely for Iraq and the aggressor regime of Saddam Hussein.
This opposition to any counterattack against foreign aggression was continued after the September 11 attacks on the United States. In its official response to the attacks issued three days later, NNIRR said “In past years, various acts of international aggression have provoked indiscriminate blame, sometimes resulting in retaliatory violence that has harmed innocent civilians, or which has particularly targeted immigrants and others based on their racial or ethnic backgrounds. We understand that the shock and anger produced by the unthinkable events of this past week also hold that awful potential – and in fact, certain groups, particularly in the Arab and Muslim communities, are already experiencing incidents of harassment or violence. Such retaliatory activity is clearly wrong and should not be tolerated.”
This theme was continued in regard to the Middle East. Without any explicit mention of the terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, NNIRR issued a press release “condemning the escalation of violence in the region, and in particular, the violation of human rights of the Palestinian people by Israeli military forces We urge the U.S. government to follow through on its support of the UN Security Council Resolution 1402, which demands that Israel withdraw its military troops from Palestinian-controlled areas.”
The lead editorial in the Fall-Winter 2002/2003 issue of the NNIRR newsletter argued that “the anti-war movement needs to see that immigrant rights and the [Iraq] war closely related. One of the main ways for the anti-war movement to draw more working class people, especially those of color, is to understand that linkage and act on it. Putting them together, we can become the mighty force needed to turn U.S. policy around.” After all, the editorial went on, “U.S. militarism is racism raised to an extreme. Look at the post-World War II history of U.S. ‘interventions’ – a diplomatic word for actions that range from helping overthrow legitimate governments to direct military attacks on governments that inconvenience U.S. interests – stretching from Latin America to the Pacific Island, Asia and Africa, all lands of color.” The guest editorial writer for this screed was Elizabeth Martinez, director of the Institute for MultiRacial Justice, a group founded in 1997 in the San Francisco Bay area “to strengthen the struggle against white supremacy.”
The interest of the NNIRR in foreign policy issues reflects those of its Executive Director, Catherine Tactaquin, who is also one of the group’s founders. Tactaquin also sits on the executive committee of Geneva-based Migrant Rights International. She frequently writes and speaks on the issue of migration in the era of globalization, including the illegitimacy of borders, the internationalization of labor, and “undocumented” migration. Migrant Rights International has received money from the Ford Foundation, including $225,000 to support the group’s activities related to the “migration and xenophobia issues” at the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism, which turned into an America and Israel-bashing session of such virulence that the United States withdrew from the conference altogether .
At the end of September, 2001, NNIRR returned to its standard domestic program and released its report From the Borderline to the Colorline: A Report on Anti-Immigrant Racism in the United States which called on the U.S. government to “affirm the right of workers to cross international borders” and “demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border to end law enforcement and human rights abuses.”
While many “open border” groups argue that immigrants are hard workers who make little use of welfare programs or social services, the NNIRR knows better and has tackled the issue head on, complaining that “The 1996 welfare legislation in the U.S. especially undermined the economic well-being of poor immigrant women and their families by eliminating or undercutting access to benefit programs for those in need.”
NNIRR claims “to promote a just immigration and refugee policy in the United States and to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status. The National Network bases its efforts in the principles of equality and justice, and seeks the enfranchisement of all immigrant and refugee communities in the United States through organizing and advocating for their full labor, environmental, civil and human rights.” In this campaign, the NNIRR draws no distinction between legal and illegal aliens. Indeed, it is working hard to legalize the status through a mass amnesty of all those who entered the United States illegally, and for those yet to come. Or as NNIRR puts it “to provide options for legalization for current undocumented immigrants, but which also takes into account future migration flows.”
Immigration Defense Project
Since 1997, New York State Defenders Association has operated the Criminal Defense Immigration Project (IDP) in New York City. The IDP provides immigration law backup support and counseling to New York defense attorneys and others who represent or assist immigrants in criminal justice and immigration systems, as well as to immigrants themselves.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the IDP like other left-wing groups adopted as their first priority the protection of illegal aliens. It embarked on its new Detainee Defense Initiative to provide or arrange legal assistance for immigrants detained or at risk of detention by the Department of Homeland Security (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service) and subject to deportation or removal from the United States. In 2002, the Immigrant Defense Project joined with other organizations to launch the Defending Immigrants Partnership, a national effort to ensure that immigrants in criminal proceedings nationwide are properly counseled regarding the immigration consequences of choices that they must make when accused of a crime. The partners include the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and the National Immigration Project of the pro-Communist National Lawyers Guild.
The IDP publishes a manual entitled Representing Non-citizen Criminal Defendants in New York State, the most recent edition coming out this year. According to the IDP’s description, the manual “offers detailed, practical, straightforward information for criminal defense attorneys about potential immigration consequences for non-citizen clients of specific New York dispositions, and about strategies to pursue to try to avoid these adverse consequences.” The main consequence to be avoided is deportation. It is unthinkable to groups like the IDP that a non-citizen should be expelled from the United States simply because they have been found guilty of committing aggravated felonies.
The Immigrant Defense Project is supported by grants from the New York Foundation, the Fund for New Citizens of the New York Community Trust, the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Institute, which is part of the network set up by the billionaire international financier George Soros.
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
In 1979 the Immigrant Legal Resource Center began as a group of volunteer attorneys and law students active in left-wing causes in the San Francisco Bay Area. Responding to the wave of refugees fleeing “war and repression” in Central America in the 1980s, the ILRC joined the sanctuary movement and sought to establish legal precedents in political asylum law. The ILRC claims to have helped make the immigration amnesty program work for three million people.
Though the sanctuary movement has faded from public memory it is still very much alive in left-wing mythology. The sanctuary movement attempted to reverse the political dynamics of the Cold War which the left saw as being heavily influenced by an influx of refugees fleeing Communist tyranny from Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and Eastern Europe. The sanctuary movement opened the door in the 1980s to an influx of refugees from the failed Communist movements in Central America, in particular from El Salvador and Guatemala. The sanctuary movement was closely tied to leftist support for the communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
The movement faded away after Violeta Barrios de Chamorro's victory over the Sandinista dictatorship in the Nicaraguan elections of February 1990. The elections were forced on the Sandinista junta by U.S. diplomatic pressure and the anti-communist Contra guerrilla movement. The collapse of the Soviet Union also removed vital economic and military support for communist insurgency and radical regimes in Central America, leading to their collapse as they lacked an adequate domestic base. Yet, American leftists still cherish their part in the struggle to bring communism to Central America, and to bring a flock of refugees into the United States to help transform American politics and foreign policy.
ILRC still pursues this issue, working under the 1997 Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act for which it had lobbied. The problem as ILRC sees it is that “tens of thousands of Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees applied for asylum in the U.S. but, because of bias against them at the time, very few of those petitions were granted. This situation has resulted in a continuing problem: a large number of refugees from these countries reside in the U.S. to this day without permission to remain permanently.” ILRC wants to fully legalize and enfranchise these left-overs from the civil wars of 20 years ago. The logic is the same as James D. Cockcroft’s – it will enlarge the recruitment pool for the political left.
The end of the Cold War did not change the worldview of any of the ILRC’s staff. On the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, executive director Susan B. Lyndon issued a statement that is still the first thing a visitor to the ILRC’s website sees. “Twelve months after terrorism struck on U.S. soil, I’m sobered to find myself living in a country that feels less than American to me,” complained Lyndon. Among the evils she saw being enacted in the name of national security “Proposed rules that would require immigrants (from Muslim countries only) to check themselves into police stations. An initiative to proactively hunt down people (once again from Muslim countries only) with outstanding deportation orders for immigration violations. Even a proposal to enlist citizen spies as informers against neighbors they suspect to be terrorists. From my standpoint as a civil rights advocate, these measures are unconstitutional.”
ILRC staff attorneys provide on-site and telephone consultation, training workshops and seminars, and educational curricula on immigration issues to pro-bono attorneys and nonprofit agencies serving immigrants from all Third World backgrounds throughout the United States. “
They also offer litigation support in select cases, including representing clients, filing amicus briefs, serving as expert witnesses, and providing analysis of rules and laws, both proposed and enacted. One focus is to ensure that indigent noncitizens who are accused of crimes receive due process and adequate representation in their court hearings and protection from “immigration consequences” – meaning deportation – from convictions.
The Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards, established in 1989, is an annual celebration of leaders in the field of immigrant rights, an event that highlights the interconnections between left-wing groups and a fund raiser for the ILRC. The award is named after Democratic U.S. Representative Phillip Burton who was one of the most influential and powerful leftists in the House. He was a skillful broker of coalitions that successfully passed liberal legislation dealing with civil rights, the environment, public welfare, and immigration. It is thus fitting that the Phillip Burton Federal Building in what had been his home district of San Francisco became the first of its type in the country to accept Mexican Consulate identification cards. The building began accepting the cards on January 8, 2003, as part of a trial program. The Mexican Consulate cards were created to serve illegal immigrants who are ineligible for U.S. identification cards. Mexico has issued around two million of the cards, known as the “matricula consular” to its nationals, whether they are in the United States legally or illegally, in the past two years. The bilingual document lists the owner’s U.S. address as his official residence. Guatemala began offering a similar card last year and other Latin American governments are expected to follow suit.
Mexico’s strategy is to win acceptance for the matricula through a grassroots lobbying campaign at the local and state level, an effort greatly abetted by the support of the left-wing network of lawyers and community activists. In June, Mexico announced that the matricula is now accepted by 402 localities, 32 counties, 122 financial institutions and 908 law enforcement offices. The ultimate aim is to use the matricula to gain a state driver’s license, which as the most widely accepted identity document in America becomes the method of completely blurring one’s illegal alien status.
In 2001, the NLRC had revenues of: $1,394,470, expenses of $1,630,664 and assets worth $1,917,147.
Migration Policy Institute
While most of the “open borders” immigration groups got their start a generation ago, as an outgrowth of the radicalism of the 1960s or the battle over immigration reform in the 1980s, the Migration Policy Institute is a “new” organization established in 2001 when the International Migration Policy Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace became an independent entity.
The Carnegie IMPP conducted migration policy briefings, policy roundtables, luncheon seminars, and study advisory groups aimed at influencing policy-makers and program officials in Washington. Among its areas of interest were: self-governance at the border,” meaning letting communities that straddle a national border manage their own affairs rather than letting policy be set “exclusively in national capitals;” “U.S. refugee admissions and resettlement policy, where the concern is that “the United States is a much less hospitable country for refugees and asylum seekers” than it used to be; immigrants and social welfare, with a focus on how access to public programs affect “the life-chances of poor immigrants residing in the United States;” and managing the US-Mexico migration relationship to make it a “true partnership.”
On this last point, the IMPP urged the incoming administrations of U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vincente Fox to negotiate an agreement that would move beyond “absolute notions of sovereignty” so as to recognize “a clear convergence in the labor markets of both countries....the grand bargain calls for the re-conceptualization of the common border and the border region as a line of convergence rather than separation.” The IMPP set out its long term visions as “a North America with gradually disappearing border controls...with permanent migration remaining at moderate levels.”
The MPI has continued this same theme, issuing a paper in April 2002 by Co-Director Demetrios Papademetriou detailing “the grand bargain” that should be made between the U.S. and Mexico to include 1) a registration program for unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. followed by an earned regularization (or legalization) program for those who register. The earned regularization program should include a “Mexicans-first” clause but make the option available to other nationalities in phases; 2) A broad U.S. temporary worker program for new Mexican workers; and 3) expedited family reunification to bring immediate family members of “unauthorized” immigrants from Mexico to the United States with all the legal protections and worker rights as legal residents. This program is set in the context of an agreement with Mexico, putting Mexico (and Canada) in a special North American system outside the normal immigration control system. The current system is called a “unilateral” approach by the U.S. at border enforcement which should be replaced by a bilateral or multilateral system. The “grand bargain” does not, however, seem to impose on Mexico any new obligations. Mexico would be free to encourage migration northward just as it does today.
Dr. Papademetriou was the Director for Immigration Policy and Research at the U.S. Department of Labor in the Clinton Administration and headed the IMPP when it became the MPI. His work is presented as having been influential in moving the Bush Administration in the direction of “the grand bargain” prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The Carnegie connection explains how the MPI was able to assemble such a prominent collection of funders, a list which includes:
Bevölkerung, Migration und Umwelt (BMU ) Foundation
Carnegie Corporation of New York
The Center for Global Development
Chicago Council on Foreign Relations
The Ford Foundation
European Union Delegation to the United States
The Fannie Mae Foundation
Fundacao Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento
The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Government of Italy
Government of Mexico
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
The J.M. Kaplan Fund
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
National Council of State Legislatures
Open Society Institute/Soros Foundation
South East Asian Resource Action Center
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement
Among the grants awarded to the MPI was $150,000 to support policy development work on “striking the proper balance between national security concerns and civil liberties/civil rights” by George Soros’ Open Society Institute as part of its special 2002 program to meet “new challenges to civil rights and liberties that have emerged since September 11.”
The connection with other, older “open borders” groups is evident from the MPI’s programs. For example, on October 2, 2003, the MPI sponsored a talk by Wayne Cornelius, Gildred Professor of Political Science and U.S. Mexican Relations and Director, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, at the University of California, San Diego to speak on “U.S. Border Enforcement Strategy.” The Center for Comparative Immigration Studies is a 1999 spin-off from the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies which Cornelius founded in 1979. Shortly after the Center's founding in 1980, Cornelius published his views on the immigration issue, asserting that “the problem' is not the migrant himself, but his illegal status in the U.S.” Therefore, Cornelius argued, the way to reduce illegal immigration is “To transform as many as possible of today's ‑‑-and tomorrow's ‑‑-illegal aliens into legal immigrants, whether they are here as permanent settlers or just temporary workers who cannot or do not want to spend the rest of their lives in the United States.” With this outlook, the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies received Ford Foundation grants of $448,000 in 1984, and $550,000 in 1987.
Since then, the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies has become one of the most active U.S. publishers of research on Mexico and on cross-borders relations, with publications adopted for classroom use at 208 colleges and universities in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Great Britain, and Japan. The Center’ core programs also feature a Visiting Fellows Program, a Summer Seminar in U.S. Studies, and a Research Seminar on Mexico and U.S.-Mexican Relations, all of which focus primarily on that set of policies and attitudes on both sides of the border will best help the development of Mexico.
This emphasis on how U.S. policy affects others is shown by MPI’s response to post- 9/11 security measures. Like other left-wing groups, the MPI’s saw its role as that of critic. It’s report “America’s Challenge: Domestic Security, Civil Liberties and National Unity After September 11” claims “The U.S. government’s harsh measures against immigrants since September 11 have failed to make us safer, have violated our fundamental civil liberties, and have undermined national unity.....Rather than relying on individualized suspicion or intelligence-driven criteria, the government has used national origin as a proxy for evidence of dangerousness. By targeting specific ethnic groups with its new measures, the government has violated another core principle of American justice, the Fifth Amendment right to equal treatment.” The MPI concluded that The U.S. government has imposed some immigration measures more commonly associated with totalitarian regimes.”
It is never mentioned that all of the 9/11 terrorists belonged to a specific ethnic group. It is overlooked that out of several million members of that ethnic group residing in the United States, only a few thousand were interviewed by the authorities and fewer still were detained for immigration violations. These numbers belie the notion of a massive sweep and are much more indicative of “individualized suspicion or intelligence-driven criteria” playing a role in determining who the authorities approached. The claim that these measures have proven ineffective cannot be more than an insolent assertion at this time, since there have been no terrorist attacks for more than two years following the 2001 assaults.
The report’s conclusions were as expected. The panel writing the report included Ishmael Ahmed, Executive Director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services; Charles Kamasaki, Senior Vice President of the National Council of La Raza; Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union; Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum; and James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute. Heading the study were MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner, who was the Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Clinton Administration and MPI Senior Analyst Muzaffer A. Chishti, a former chair of the board of directors of the National Immigration Forum; and a current member of the board of directors of the National Immigration Law Center.
In 2002, MPI had revenues of $2,191,885, expenses of $1,950,534 and held assets worth : $1,442,984.
National Council of La Raza
The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is the largest national Hispanic organization, serving all Hispanic nationality groups in all regions of the country. Founded in 1968, the NCLR evolved from the Southwest Council of La Raza (SWCLR) in Arizona. A group first brought together by a research project funded by the Ford Foundation, today the NCLR has over 270 formal affiliates who together serve 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia — and a broader network of more than 30,000 groups and individuals nationwide — reaching more than three and a half million Hispanics annually. NCLR’s Policy Analysis Center is the preeminent Hispanic “think tank” serving as a voice for Hispanic Americans in Washington, D.C. with a broad based agenda running from immigration and education, to free trade, affordable housing, health policy, and tax reform. Its president, Raul Yzaguirre, has led the organization for more than 25 years, during which the organization has tried to become a mainstream group working to “reduce poverty and discrimination, and improve life opportunities for Hispanic Americans.”
NCLR claims a broad base of financial support. It has a Corporate Board of Advisors, which includes senior executives from 25 major corporations and their liaison staff, who provide ongoing consultation and assistance on a variety of efforts, including fund-raising. The organization receives more than two-thirds of its funding from corporations and foundations, and the remaining from government sources as NCLR acts as a gateway to the Hispanic community.
The Ford Foundation currently lists nine grants to NCLR for the 2001-2003 period totaling $9,830,000, including a single grant of $8,050,000 in “support for a capital depletion fund to underwrite the general operating expenses of a leading Latino organization.” This is almost half of the $17 million raised for the capital fund by the end of 2002. There are two grants of $400,000 each in 2001 and 2003 earmarked specifically as core support for civil rights and immigration projects.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded Cecilia Munoz, a La Raza vice president, a Genius Grant in 2000 worth $500,000 payable over five years. The foundation also gave NCLR $120,000 in 2002.
NCLR’s 2002 annual report lists revenues of $42,860,948, expenses of $23,905,947 and assets worth $37,983,653. Of its revenues, just over $5.4 million came from government grants.
A June 2003 issue brief funded by the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation gives an extensive overview of NCLR’s view of border issues under the heading “Counter terrorism and the Latino Community Since September 11.” Because “40% of the Latino population is foreign-born” in the United States, NCLR is concerned that “immigration and national security have become intermingled in the U.S. in unprecedented ways.” according to the paper’s author, NCLR staffer Michele Waslin. By abolishing the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and incorporating immigration services and enforcement into the new Department of Homeland Security, immigration has been put in a new context. “Placing the immigration agency within a new mega-national security agency jeopardizes our country’s rich immigration tradition and threatens to make the already poor treatment of immigrants by the federal bureaucracy even worse” claims the NCLR paper.
The NCLR is particularly concerned about the use of local and State police to enforce the immigration laws. Its argument is that State and local police are not trained in the complexities of the immigration laws, that they will harass legal immigrants on the suspicion that they may be illegal and that illegal aliens or members of households that contain illegal aliens will he afraid to approach the authorities to report crimes or on any matter for fear of being turned in and deported. Obviously, surviving as an illegal immigrant is much easier if one only needs to fear detection by a very thinly spread force of Federal agents.
Yet, the real world example the NCLR includes in its issue brief does not support any of its concerns, but rather demonstrates how well the new system of local enforcement works: “On August 14, 2002, nine Latino day laborer activists from Chicago were driving through Mercer County Pennsylvania on their way to a regional day labor conference in New York when the van they were driving got a flat tire. As they were changing the tire, a Pennsylvania State Police officer arrived and demanded immigration documents from all of the passengers. The driver showed his driver’s license, but the officer insisted that he needed to see all of the passengers’ “green cards.” The group included four U.S. citizens, several legal permanent residents, and several undocumented immigrants. The police officer brought the entire group to the police station where the undocumented immigrants were eventually detained by the INS and the others were released. One of the detainees was released (with her three U.S. citizen children), one was eventually released on bond, and one signed a voluntary departure form. As of this writing, two still await their court dates.”
The attempt to use driver’s licenses initially in lieu of immigration documents in the above example leads to the NCLR’s desire to facilitate access to driver’s licenses by otherwise “undocumented” immigrants in the hope that they will be accepted as proof that a person rightfully belongs in the United States. The paper states: “Without a driver’s license, individuals are often unable to open a bank account, rent an apartment, establish service for utilities, or participate in many other facets of daily life.” In an earlier issue brief, Waslin argued against a requirement that Social Security numbers be required to apply for a license, because illegal immigrants don’t have such numbers.
In her counterterrorism brief, she argues against the Social Security Administration’s practice of comparing submitted employee SS numbers with the SSA data base to weed out people who have submitted numbers to their employers that do not match their names. Employers are then informed that “no match” has been found, leading the employer to make further inquiries which often unmask illegal aliens who have been using fake or stolen SS numbers. “No Match letters have been incredibly disruptive to immigrant communities and to employers who are faced with losing valued workers and who must deal with a rapidly changing workforce.....Important sectors of the labor market are increasingly dependent on undocumented workers” complains Waslin. That individuals might use fake or stolen SS numbers to obtain a valid drivers license which would then be used to hide not only the person’s immigration status but their true identity she does not consider a problem.
NCLR opposes the Aviation Transportation and Security Act (ATSA) which required that all baggage screeners be U.S. citizens. Many noncitizen Hispanics were employed as airport screeners. “Tying together citizenship and security – without any evidence that the two are linked – sets a new and dangerous precedent in the United States” writes Waslin. She notes that after September 11, there was a surge of “thousands of longtime permanent residents...toward U.S. citizenship out of a renewed sense of pride and patriotism.” but is distressed that “many are applying for citizenship out of a sense of fear; they feel that they must become citizens as their only protection from abuse at the hands of various law enforcement agencies.” NCLR advocates immigration reform based on a grant of “earned” amnesty for illegal aliens that would give them legal status.
National Immigration Law Center
Since 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) has been dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of low income immigrants with a focus on gaining them unrestricted access to welfare programs and other government-funded social programs on the same basis as legal U.S. citizens. The NILC is headquartered in Los Angeles but also maintains offices in Oakland, California and Washington, DC. It has doubled its staff in the wake of what it believes are the “draconian restrictions on immigrants' rights imposed by the 1996 welfare and immigration laws.”
NILC claims that thousands of immigrants have received prenatal care, cancer treatment, and other critical health services as a result of NILC litigation, often done in cooperation with other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. NILC has also established formal collaborative relationships with local immigrant advocacy organizations in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, and Washington. Together, these states account for almost three-quarters of the immigrant population in the U.S. A survey conducted for the Ford Foundation reported that major media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, regularly call on NILC to explain the latest policy developments affecting immigrants and refugees. NILC conducts more than 80 training and conference presentations annually throughout the country to educate local attorneys and advocates about how laws and policies affect their immigrant clients.
Among the successful initiatives NILC lists on its website are restoring $12 billion in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and more than $800 million in food stamps for legal immigrants targeted by the 1996 Welfare Reform legislation. NILC also obtained a clarification from the INS ensuring that immigrants can receive health care, nutrition, job training, and other non-cash public services without jeopardizing their immigration status. Josh Bernstein, who directs NILC's Washington DC office, was formerly director of Californians for a Fair Share, a coalition formed to oppose welfare cuts, and as a welfare advocate for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.
The NILC also likes to harken back to its role in the sanctuary movement helping Central American refugees during the 1980s find asylum and jobs in the United States. Linton Joaquin, NILC’s Director of Litigation in Los Angeles, cut his teeth on this issue as executive director for the Central American Refugee Center in Los Angeles.
NILC's work is supported by foundation and government grants as well as publications and training revenue, attorney fees, and individual donations. Among the foundations to which NILC acknowledges financial support are:
The California Endowment
California Wellness Foundation
Annie E. Casey Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Emma Lazarus Fund – Open Society Institute
Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Rosenberg Foundation San Diego Foundation
State Bar of California – Legal Services Trust Fund Program
U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Special Counsel
The Rockefeller Foundation gave the NILC $200,000 in 2002 “to coordinate and service the Low Wage Immigrant Worker Coalition and conduct policy analysis aimed at strengthening protections for workers vulnerable because of their citizenship/immigration status and expanding workforce development programs that improve their earnings.”
On April 15, 2002, The Open Society Institute U.S. Programs office announced grants to 29 “frontline organizations” across the country “to meet the new challenges to civil rights and liberties that have emerged since September 11.” The Open Society Institute’s 2002 Annual Report on programs in the United States termed the response to the September 11 terror attacks as “xenophobic” and stated “the civil liberties crises we face are daunting—vastly increased government surveillance and detention powers, secret legal proceedings, and institutionalized discrimination against noncitizens. But the array of non-governmental organizations speaking out against these abuses, and fighting them in the courts and in the media, is stronger than it has ever been. And—in contrast to earlier periods of great strain for civil liberties, such as the World Wars and the McCarthy era—these organizations have been unflinching in their principled advocacy. OSI has been proud to support this work and will continue to do so.”
The grants totaled $2,520,000 and were focused on civil liberties, immigrant rights, detention and racial-profiling issues. The NLIC’s grant was for $75,000 to support policy analysis, litigation and advocacy work. In 1997, the Open Society Institute had given NLIC $525,000.
The Open Society Institute
The Ford Foundation has been the main “strategic funder” of left-wing movements, that is, a foundation that sets an agenda then finds or creates groups to carry it out. Coming on strong, however, is The Open Society Institute founded by billionaire currency trader George Soros. The Soros foundations network is headed by Aryeh Neier, founder of Human Rights Watch, formerly national director of the Civil Liberties Union and a regular columnist for The Nation. Soros came to America from Hungary via England, and though he is now a naturalized American citizen and has little use for the concept of nationality.
The network funds a variety of left-wing causes both in the United States and around the world in the amount of $500 million per year. The Emma Lazarus Fund of the Open Society Institute was established with a $50 million endowment in 1996. Named after the author of the poem whose verse is associated with the Statue of Liberty, it committed $43 million the following year to organizations committed to fighting “the unfair treatment of and discrimination against immigrants who are lawfully present in the United States.” The Fund was a direct response to the 1996 welfare reform law which limited immigrants’ access to welfare entitlements. Its mission was to counter the “intensifying anti-immigrant rhetoric” that welfare reform purportedly encouraged and to help integrate newcomers into the American mainstream.
Open immigration is not the only radical cause Soros funds. He has set up several programs that have given lavishly to groups working to legalize narcotics [The Lindesmith Center], to promote abortion [The Reproductive Rights Program] and euthanasia [The Program on Death in America], and to reduce the role of punishment in the criminal justice system [The Center on Crimes, Communities and Culture]. February 3, 2003" OSI website, http://www.soros.org/initiatives/justice/news/justicefellowships_20030203. See also The Left Guide, p. 392. Recently, Soros donated $5 million to MoveOn.org, a group originally created to defend President Bill Clinton during his sex scandal and impeachment, but which has now become a major part of the antiwar movement. MoveOn’s position is that the United States should immediately withdraw all troops from Iraq and turn the country over to the United Nations.
Southern Poverty Law Center
Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin, Jr. formally incorporated the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in 1971, with civil rights activist Julian Bond as its first president. The SPLC is located in Montgomery, Alabama, the home state of both Dees and Levin. Dees had been a successful attorney and publisher who sold his company to Times Mirror, the parent company of the Los Angeles Times, in 1969. He had become involved in controversial civil rights cases and turned his attention full time to their pursuit. He attracted the attention of fellow attorney Levin. The SPLC history claims the organization has “achieved significant legal victories, including landmark Supreme Court decisions and crushing jury verdicts against hate groups.”
Both SPLC founders have been involved in Democratic Party politics. In 1972, Dees was presidential nominee George McGovern's finance director and in 1976, Levin left the Center to supervise President-elect Jimmy Carter's Justice Department transition team. He went on to serve as Special Assistant to Attorney General Griffin B. Bell.
Trial Lawyers for Public Justice named Dees the Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1987, and the National Education Association awarded him the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award in 1990 and its Friend of Education Award in 2001.
SPLC established Teaching Tolerance in 1991, an educational program to help K-12 teachers combat bigotry and promote diversity in their communities. It distributes a free magazine twice a year to more than 500,000 educators, and provides multimedia kits to thousands of schools and community groups. In 2001, SPLC launched its Tolerance.org website to counter “the backlash against Arab Americans following the events of 9.11.”  From the Tolerance.org site one can go to a section aimed at children called “Planet Tolerance.” Here one finds a comparison between Santa Claus and an image similar to Osama Bin Laden. Both images feature what are presented as identical beards. “But change one little thing — transform the jaunty red cap into a turban — and very different emotions may be invoked....Does one image feel different, emotionally, than the other?” asks the caption. This comparison of “images” is meant “to create a powerful lesson about the impact of stereotypes.”
The SPLC prefers its own brand of stereotypes, routinely referring to all opponents of open borders and illegal immigration as “neo-Nazis” “racists” or “hate groups.” Its standard tactic is to lump everyone from the Ku Klux Klan to the Center for Immigration Studies together as a single conspiratorial white supremacist” movement. Rather than extol the virtues of immigrants and the contributions they make to American society as do other open borders groups, the SPLC concentrates on attacking the motives of those who want to halt illegal immigration and place more emphasis on the assimilation of a more manageable number of legal immigrants.
Due to the deteriorating situation along the U.S.-Mexico border, people living on the American side are finding their situation becoming more and more intolerable. This is especially true along a 261-mile stretch of Arizona ranch and desert territory which has become the main crossing point for large, organized and armed gangs who smuggle drugs as well as aliens into the United States. They steal anything they can carry away, vandalize buildings, and kill livestock and pets. Vehicles are a prime target and car jacking is a constant danger. Residents are afraid to travel alone or unarmed, and ranch houses have become to look like the fortified dwellings of the frontier days of the 19th century.
But even the defense of private property against criminal activity is being challenged by “open border” groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center, along with other groups such as the Border Action Network, have launched legal actions against local citizens for allegedly interfering with the civil rights of illegal immigrants by detaining those who trespass on their land and turning them over to the Border Patrol.
During the 1980s and 1990s, SPLC attorneys developed strategies to hold white supremacist leaders accountable for their followers' violence. Suing for monetary damages against the United Klans of America, the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations and the White Patriot Party in North Carolina effectively put those organizations out of business. Few could dispute the good ends of such suits, but now the SPLC is turning those same tactics against common citizens who are trying to do nothing more than defend their own rights and property against depredation by acknowledged law-breakers. Given the financial and legal resources possessed by the SPLC and other left-wing groups, they can bankrupt any private individuals who oppose them with lengthy and expensive court proceedings regardless of the merits of the cases themselves.
SPLC is a 501(c)(03) public charity. In fiscal year 2002 it showed revenues of $31,527,142, expenses of $21,549,595 and net assets greater than $110 million.
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