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The Open Borders Lobby and the Nation's Security After 9/11 By: William Hawkins and Erin Anderson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Forward – by David Horowitz

There are few issues so important to the life of a nation as the integrity of its borders and the nature of its citizenship. These are issues that define its identity and shape its future. When a nation is at war, moreover, its ability to regulate and control its borders is a security matter of paramount importance.

The following text by William Hawkins and Erin Anderson describes how America’s borders have been under assault for forty years with consequences that are measurable and disturbing. The assault has been led by an open borders lobby that is sophisticated and powerful. Many of its components, moreover, have a history of antagonism to American purposes and a record of active support for America’s enemies. Its funders are multi-billion dollar entities, who are unaccountable and unscrutinized.  They have more discretionary incomes at their disposal to influence these issues than is possessed by either political party, or any business group, or even the federal government itself.

As Hawkins and Anderson show, the open borders campaign was already instrumental in damaging the nation’s ability to defend itself before 9/11. Yet not even this terrible event has caused its activists to have second thoughts, or tempered their reckless attacks. Instead, the open borders lobby has expanded its efforts to eliminate America’s border controls to include the active defense of terrorists and terrorist organizations and a continuing assault on the very policies the federal government has adopted to defend its citizens from terrorist attacks.

A Ford Foundation newsletter the authors cite features an interview with Georgetown law professor David Cole, a leading academic figure in the open borders campaign, who has written a book attacking America’s immigration laws and their protections against terrorist groups. In the interview, Cole denounces, “the criminalization of what the government calls material support for terrorist organizations. This is a practice that was introduced … through the immigration law, … It criminalizes any support of any blacklisted terrorist organization without regard to whether one’s support actually had any connection whatsoever to terrorist activity that the group undertakes.”

The Ford Foundation interview with Cole was published with hindsight in September 2003, ten years after the first World Trade Center bombing and two years after the September 11 attack. As Hawkins and Anderson point out, the anti-terrorist law which Professor Cole is denouncing was introduced as legislation and passed during the Clinton Administration in response to the first World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist plots. It was a bi-partisan effort to put a check on terrorist support groups that were using use the liberties afforded by the American legal system to aid and abet terrorist activities. Shortly after the interview with Cole appeared, it was revealed that the Ford Foundation had granted millions of tax-exempt dollars to terrorist support groups and other radical organizations in the Middle East.[1] 

The Ford Foundation’s sponsorship of Professor Cole in underwriting his book and promoting his conclusions is but a reflection of Ford’s larger role as the central funder of the open borders lobby, and the architect of many of its radical agendas. Elsewhere in their text Hawkins and Anderson describe how this $11 billion leviathan took a small civil rights group called the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund which was based in San Antonio Texas, poured more than $30 million into its treasury, revamped its political agendas, moved its offices to Washington and turned it into one of the largest and most powerful proponents of radical immigration change in the nation.

Forty years ago, as Hawkins and Anderson observe, the most prominent Hispanic civil rights organization – the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) – supported English as the common national language and assimilation as a citizenship goal. Membership in LULAC was limited to American citizens and its code stated: “Respect your citizenship; honor your country, maintain its traditions in the minds of your children; incorporate yourself in the culture and civilization.” Today, as a result in part of the huge financial investment Ford has made in the immigration lobby, no major Hispanic civil rights organization subscribes to these views.

Finally, Hawkins and Anderson show how thoroughly the Ford-funded open borders network is integrated with the traditional American left, including its factions from the old Communist movement. Most prominent among these organizations and a strategic player in the open borders network is the National Lawyers Guild, which began as a Soviet front and has continued its “revolutionary” allegiances since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today its most celebrated and admired member – as well as one of its chief causes – is attorney Lynne Stewart, who is under federal indictment for aiding and abetting the terrorist activities of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the leader of group that bombed the World Trade Center in 1993.

William Hawkins and Erin Anderson have performed an essential public service by tying together the threads of this network and putting its agendas into perspective. The picture they paint is as detailed as it is disturbing and should open a national debate and perhaps congressional hearings on the uses to which taxpayer funds are being directed as the nation faces its post-9/11 threats.

Introduction: Open Borders in a Time of Terror

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which killed 3,000 Americans, have brought the question of border security to the forefront of the nation’s agenda. Even among Hispanics, a U.S. subgroup thought to favor liberal immigration policies, a majority of 56% wanted “tougher immigration [controls] in light of security concerns,” according to a national poll commissioned by a Hispanic business magazine in late 2003.[2]

All the terrorists who flew the hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had come into the United States from the other side of the world with the intent of carrying out their premeditated plot. America’s natural barriers – the great oceans which traditionally have protected America from foreign attacks – failed to provide security in this case because the enemy did use ballistic missiles or a naval armada. The traditional safety afforded to the United States by the vast oceans separating the country from foreign powers and foreign strife was not breached by ballistic missiles or an invading armada. Our enemies used normal commercial methods of transportation and exploited America’s laxity about possible threats from strangers in its midst. The terrorists’ visa applications had been rubber-stamped by U.S. consular officials despite flagrant errors and suspicious answers to security-inspired questions.[3] On arrival, the terrorists simply blended in the general population – which already accommodates more than 8 million illegal immigrants -- and went about their business of planning mass murder. Half of the 19 hijackers made their deadly 9/11 airline reservations on an Internet travel site.

Since the first World Trade Center bombing by Arab-Muslim fanatics in 1993, forty-eight foreign-born Islamic radicals have been charged, convicted, pled guilty or admitted involvement in terrorism within the United States since 1993. According to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies, 16 of the 48 terrorists were on temporary visas (primarily tourists); 17 were legal permanent residents or naturalized U.S. citizens; 12 were illegal aliens; and 3 had applications for asylum pending (including Ramzi Yousef, the Iraqi mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center Attack).[4] In addition to the dozen who had entered the country illegally, ten of those who had entered by legal means had subsequently violated the terms of their admission by overstaying their visas. All the 9/11 hijackers entered the U.S. on temporary visas, except Ali Mohammed, a leading member of al Qaeda, who was a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The United States has at sea the largest navy in the world and is developing a national missile defense system to frustrate overt military attacks on the country. But the day-to-day security of its borders is a broken system that has been unable to stop small groups of terrorists, let alone a mass migration that outnumbers the largest armies of history. It is estimated that 700,000 illegal immigrants simply walked across the U.S.-Mexican border last year and moved inland without interception by the thinly deployed Border Patrol.[5] The demographic shifts caused by unregulated mass immigration can have adverse impacts on national stability that rival or surpass the effects of war.

Despite these widely known and universally accepted facts, every major reform of the immigration laws over the last forty years has served to systematically undermine existing protections and controls, to open America’s borders wider and to call forth a larger flow of legal and illegal migration.[6]

The most notable changes came in 1965 and 1986. In the first instance, quotas for people from South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia were lifted, radically altering the composition and rate of legal and illegal immigration, the latter in part because of the geographical proximity of South America to the United States. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted a general amnesty for millions of illegal aliens who had entered the United States prior to 1982. Rather than establish controls over immigration – something considered routine by every other nation in the world -- these reforms stimulated a new massive migration and created a vast underground network of illegal aliens and institutional supports for them.

The United States has also experienced explosive growth in the number of foreigners admitted to the country on a “temporarily” basis using “non-immigrant” visas — from seven million admitted in 1980 to nearly 33 million in 2001. There is no set limit to the number of non-immigrant visas that can be issued; it is purely a demand-driven system. Most of these visas go to tourists, visiting relatives or business travelers who do return home. However, many of these temporary immigrants overstay their visas and join the illegal alien population. Like the September 11 terrorists, about 40 percent of the 8-12 million illegal aliens in the United States entered by this initially legal method.

Since the 2001 attacks, there has been a concerted effort to perform better background checks on those applying for visas and to track the movement of foreigners in and out of the country. But as in the case of other reasonable concerns about the porous nature of American borders, there has also been a steady barrage of criticism against reasonable new screening and monitoring programs from well-funded and powerful political interests who promote the idea of “open borders,” and other forms internationalism. These radicals dismiss domestic political or security considerations in favor of an alleged higher “human right” to untrammeled migration and the fulfillment of individual agendas over community concerns.

The concept of “open borders” has long been an agenda of the ideological left. Since the 1960s, a vast network -- including hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of grassroots activists, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars from leftwing foundations -- has waged a sustained campaign to open America’s borders to a mass migration from the Third World. Though these groups talk in terms of “human rights,” the rights they demand are not the restrictions on government enshrined in the American Bill of Rights, but the claims on society for “equity” and “welfare” and special treatment for designated groups that are the familiar menu of the left and would, if enacted, amount to a revolution in America’s existing social order. Which is precisely their intent.

The “open borders” movement emerged from the radicalism of the 1960s and matured in the fight over amnesty for illegal aliens in the 1980s. It gained a certain mainstream status in the 1990s as the “globalization” and “multilateralism” fads of the decade encouraged talk of a “world without borders” and the decline (even the demise) of the nation-state. At the center of the movement was the Ford Foundation – the largest tax-exempt foundation in the world, and one increasingly guided by the political left.

Under the leadership of McGeorge Bundy (1966-1979), a dissident liberal who broke with President Lyndon Johnson over the war in Vietnam, the Ford Foundation embraced aspects of the New Left assault on American society, for example on the issue of race, funding a radical secession from the New York City School system. Ford bankrolled the creation of new groups like the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the National Council of La Raza, expanded the role of established leftwing groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and promoted radical Marxist organizations – overtly hostile to American values and purposes -- like the National Lawyers Guild. It also was the prime funder of “multiculturalism” in college and university programs, whose effect was to undermine the concept of a national identity, as Arthur Schlesinger pointed out in a celebrated essay, The Disuniting of America: Reflections On A Multicultural Society.[7]

In the radical perspective, America is an oppressor nation, which significantly depreciates any value that American citizenship might have and justifies a less than solicitous view towards the preservation of American culture and America’s borders. One of the more prolific academics promoting the radical viewpoint is has been James D. Cockcroft, a New Left radical who has received much of the funding for his work from the Ford Foundation. A characteristic Cockcroft work is Outlaws in the Promised Land: Mexican Immigrant Workers and America's Future.[8] This is a frontal attack on American society, in which Cockcroft argues, “the U.S. working class can realistically strengthen its position only when it adds to its fight‑back strategy a commitment to the defense of the unorganized and the undocumented.”[9] This Ford-sponsored effort also claims that, “since Vietnam, this [U.S.] society has displayed a deepening ‘anti-communist,’ racist, nativist, and class-biased character in its treatment of immigrants and in its immigration policy....it has also experienced a wave of legislative, administrative, and court decisions that may curtail the basic civil rights of not only immigrants but of all U.S. citizens.”[10]

The campaign to radically change American values and culture through mass immigration and the political mobilization of the alienated presents a danger to the American that parallels the anti-American agendas of the Islamic jihad. Moreover, politically engineered demographic shifts and terrorism are not unrelated. The same communities of recently arrived immigrants (whether legal or not) help create networks used by illegal aliens that provide jobs, housing, and routes of entry into America for other illegals, including criminals and terrorists. Immigrants from strife-torn lands often provide funds for movements engaged in conflict in their homelands, while factions competing for power overseas frequently have their struggles mirrored within immigrant communities here.

The concerted leftist attempt to radicalize immigrant communities runs the risk that at the periphery a home-grown terrorist cells will form that will work in conjunction with foreign movements while finding a base of support within the United States. At which time, it will be too late to close the borders. There is already a growing problem with ethnic criminal gangs fighting for turf in major U.S. cities, a form of low-level conflict that could escalate into a form of insurgency as it has in so many other countries. 


The Ford Foundation, which has assets of more than $11 billion, has focused on immigrants and refugees as a priority since the 1950’s. The two groups that have figured most prominently in Ford’s strategy to create a large, active pro-open borders movement are the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Virtually all the funding for MALDEF in its first three decades has come from the Ford Foundation, which has shaped its leadership and its agendas. Far from being the grassroots organization it pretends to be, it is more like a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford.

Hispanic political activity escalated in the turbulent 1960s as it did for blacks and college students. MALDEF, formed in 1967, was among the many new groups. The organization was the idea of attorney Peter Tijerina, an official with the League of United Latin American Citizens chapter in San Antonio. LULAC was a middle class organization of Hispanic professionals and businessman interested in civil rights within the context of American society.  Membership was limited to American citizens and English was its official language, though LULAC's code encouraged the retention of Spanish as one of “the two most essential languages.” The LULAC code also stated: “Respect your citizenship; honor your country, maintain its traditions in the minds of your children; incorporate yourself in the culture and civilization.”[11]   

Looking for a more radical direction, Tijerina sent a member of LULAC to the Chicago convention of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund (NAACP-LDF) in 1966. Jack Greenberg, head of the NAACP-LDF, set up a meeting for Tijerina with the Ford Foundation. In February, 1968 Tijerina announced he was asking Ford for one million dollars. Ford doubled the request, giving MALDEF $2.2 million over a five year period to fund civil rights legal services for Mexican Americans.[12]

Peter Tijerina became Executive Director of MALDEF, headquartered in San Antonio. Recent law school graduates and VISTA volunteers joined the staff and a small office was opened in Los Angeles. A network of corresponding attorneys filed suits in MALDEF's name (usually without compensation) and had grown to number approximately 150 by the middle of 1969. Cases across the spectrum from job discrimination to police brutality, school desegregation to voting rights were channeled to MALDEF. MALDEF worked to protect dissidents from legal action, loss of jobs or expulsion from school. The Los Angeles office gave legal advice to hundreds of Chicanos arrested during anti-war marches. MALDEF also worked on draft counseling and on placing Hispanics on local draft boards. By 1973, many Texas cities had draft boards that were half Hispanic.

Flexing its monetary muscle, the Ford Foundation pressured MALDEF to move out of San Antonio and to a city like Washington so it could function as a national force.[13] In 1970, it made San Francisco its headquarters, and opened a Washington office three years later. MALDEF had already acquired a militant image and had begun advocating bilingual education as a “right” due the Hispanic community. The battle over bilingual education (which has become multilingual as other minority groups joined the fray) has been part of the larger struggle over whether the goal the schools were to support was one of helping minorities and immigrants assimilate into American society or helping them live outside the mainstream American society in their own enclaves. MALDEF’s many legal efforts to preserve the monolingual use of Spanish in housing, business and community makes its agenda clear.   

At about the same time as MALDEF was relocating its headquarters under Ford pressure, the Foundation was also working to raise the profile of the illegal alien issue within the ACLU. Fair treatment for legal aliens and concern over the deportation process of illegal aliens had always been among the ACLU’s concerns. The organization claims that when it was founded in 1920 “civil liberties were in a sorry state and activists were languishing in jail for distributing anti-war literature. Foreign-born people suspected of political radicalism were subject to summary deportation.”[14] However, as time went on these concerns assumed a lower priority and the ACLU did not come out against the use of employer sanctions for the hiring of illegal immigrants until 1977.

Ford Foundation Trustee and political leftist, Harriet Schaffer Rabb, had served on the Board of the New York Civil Liberties Union from 1972 to 1983.  Rabb later joined the board of another of Ford’s favorite immigration groups, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Rabb had cut her eye teeth as an apprentice to radical attorney William Kunstler, famous for his defense of the Chicago 8 and other violent New Left radicals during the Vietnam War era) and the equally leftist Arthur Kinoy at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Rabb then became an assistant dean at the Columbia Law School where she ran the immigration law center. Ford's first grant to protect the civil liberties of illegal aliens went to the New York Civil Liberties Union in 1982.[15] The National Office of the ACLU was then persuaded by Ford to undertake an Immigration and Alien Rights Project in 1983 with a grant of $300,000.[16]

The ACLU's opening position on immigration is set forth in an essay by Steven R. Shapiro of the New York Civil Liberties Union and Wade Henderson of the ACLU’s D.C. office entitled “Justice for Aliens.” According to this document, the desire to limit immigration can only be attributed to “hostility, motivated by nativism, racism and red‑scare.” The authors argue “use of the word ‘alien’ is both precise and powerful. In almost a primitive sense, it draws a line between members of the community and those on the outside . . . . they can be treated unequally . . . . the Supreme Court has concluded that certain classes of aliens may not even claim the right to constitutional protection . . . illegal aliens are not entitled to government benefits . . . . The rationale for this limitation is not an economic one . . . . the refusal to grant these often life‑sustaining benefits can be explained only by a desire to punish illegal aliens for breaking the law.[17]

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the ACLU has redoubled its efforts to blur any distinction between citizens and non-citizens, and between legal and illegal immigrants. In Rhode Island, the ACLU protested the decision by the state government not to accept Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs) in place of Social Security Numbers when applying for a driver’s license. Anyone can get an ITIN, but only citizens have a Social Security card. The ACLU argument ran “As long as there is a substantial population of undocumented immigrants in the state, it makes little sense to deprive them of a license solely because of their immigration status.”[18] There is no mention that a state driver’s license is the most widely accepted identity document in America, and once gained becomes the method for completely blurring one’s alien status.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has urged officials to enact an ordinance opposing a Justice Department initiative that would give local and state police the power to enforce immigration laws. “While we expect local police to cooperate with federal authorities in apprehending anyone, including non-citizens, who is suspected of criminal activity,” said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida, “local police should not be in the business of detaining or arresting law-abiding aliens based on their immigration status.”[19] Apparently entering the United States illegally is not breaking a law that the ACLU cares about, as an alien can still be considered “law abiding” having done so.

The ACLU has opposed any Department of Justice plan to fingerprint and track immigrants and foreign visitors to the United States. “The ACLU has long opposed immigrant registration laws, saying that they treat immigrant populations as a separate and quasi-criminal element of society and that they create an easy avenue for surveillance of those who may hold unpopular beliefs,” read a press release, “The fingerprinting and tracking proposal is only the latest Bush Administration action targeted at Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent since September 11. Other discriminatory measures have included round-ups, dragnet questioning, the detention of more than a thousand young men and the targeting of Middle Eastern communities for heightened enforcement of minor immigration law violations.”[20] The ACLU also opposes the use of immigration law violations as the means for holding or deporting suspects with ties to terrorism, and the use of secret or classified evidence in deportation hearings.  

Headquartered in New York City, the ACLU has 53 staffed affiliates in major cities, more than 300 chapters nationwide, and a legislative office in Washington, D.C. The ACLU Foundation (ACLUF) is the national tax-deductible, 501(c)(3) arm of the ACLU. Its combined annual budget is approximately $45 million. The bulk of the annual budget is raised by contributions from individual members -- 275,000 strong -- plus grants from foundations. Eighty percent of the budget directly supports litigation, legislation and public education programs.

In 1999, the ACLU set up an endowment fund with an initial target of $25 million. A Ford Foundation grant of $7 million put the ACLU over the top in this fund-raising endeavor. “The ACLU has had no better partner and friend than the Ford Foundation,” said Ira Glasser, Executive Director of the national ACLU at the time, “It is fitting that the largest single gift to this effort, and in fact the largest gift ever to the ACLU, should come from Ford."[21]

For the second anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Ford’s newsletter chose to highlight a new book by Georgetown University Law Professor David Cole, Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism. The book was written with a Ford grant meant to “safeguard human rights and civil liberties of non-U.S. citizens and to inform policy makers and the public about these issues.”[22]

The Ford-published review of the book warns that “Cole’s fight has taken on new urgency, as the government has detained thousands of Arab-American and Muslim men, held hundreds of ‘enemy combatants’ without trial, charges or access to legal representation, and endorsed racial profiling in terrorism cases. In the interview with Cole accompanying the review, he denounces “the criminalization of what the government calls material support for terrorist organizations. This is a practice that was introduced, again through the immigration law, against foreign nationals, but has now become part of the criminal law, and applies to both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. It criminalizes any support of any blacklisted terrorist organization without regard to whether ones support actually had any connection whatsoever to terrorist activity that the group undertakes.”

The law to which Cole is objecting was not enacted by the Bush Administration after September 11, 2001, but during the Clinton administration in 1996. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 came in the wake of the deadly 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a second plot later that year to bomb New York City landmarks, a 1995 conspiracy to blow American airliners out of the sky and the Oklahoma City bombing of a the Murtha Federal building. The case Cole was working on involved financial supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) operating in Sir Lanka and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) operating in Turkey, both formally designated foreign terrorist organizations. The PKK is responsible for some 22,000 deaths, primarily through bombing civilian targets in support of an independent Kurdistan.[23]

Ford’s lack of interest in safeguarding America’s national security stems from its distrust in the idea of the nation itself. In 1998, the Ford Foundation made a six-year, $25 million commitment to a project called “Crossing Borders: Revitalizing Area Studies” which focused on supporting international programs at major universities. In announcing the new initiative, Ford emphasized, “the theme of interconnections rather than fixed identities underlies many Crossing Borders projects.”[24]

In a speech to the Federation for Community Planning’s Human Services Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 2002, Ford Foundation President Susan V. Berresford noted how  “we soon turned our attention to the 9/11-related national and international problems best suited to Ford’s grant making operations....Immediately after the events, Ford and its grantees felt it was important for multiple perspectives to be heard through the media.....It was important to help experts explore the issues behind the headlines and broaden understanding about the countries from which the attacks came.” According to Berresford “with other large foundations, notably MacArthur and Hewlett, Ford began to ask how we could help improve public understanding in the US about foreign affairs.”[25] The resulting programs conformed to the standard left-wing response to the attacks, which was that Americans shouldn’t overreact, as they had only themselves to blame.

As part of the Ford Foundation response to 9/11, the radical Center for Constitutional Rights was given $150,000 in 2002, “for racial justice litigation, advocacy, and educational outreach activities related to the detention and racial profiling of Arab Americans and Muslims following the World Trade Center attack.” The CCR was a prominent force at the UN’s “Anti-Racism” conference in Durban which demanded reparations for slavery from America and Britain – but not the Sudan or any Arab state involved in the slave trade – and which was boycotted by the United for its anti-American and anti-Israel agendas. The Center has filed seven suits against various anti-terrorist measures, including the detention of captured terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The CCR also opposed the invasion of Iraq, arguing “Blood for Oil is not a reasonable or equitable equation for the majority of Americans. Nor is Bush’s quest for world domination an acceptable ambition.”[26]

Another $100,000 was given to the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers' Guild as “core support for activities to ensure the human rights of noncitizens detained in the United States in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.” At the center of left-wing activism for decades, the National Lawyers’ Guild has spear-headed attacks on the Patriot Act and American security measures affecting immigration since 9/11.  In 2003 the Guild honored its celebrated member Lynne Stewart who has been indicted by the federal government for aiding terrorists and who toasted her “modern heroes…Ho and Mao, and Lenin” an approving audience at its National Convention.[27]

The left’s long-running effort to transform American society from below through an influx of what is hoped will be unassimilated immigrants from dissimilar cultures has since 9/11 become closely entwined with protests against homeland security measures and the global war on terrorism. As the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was coming up, the radical teachers group Rethinking Schools put out a special report, “War, Terrorism, and America's Classroom,” which offered the views of scholars, journalists, poets, and activists opposed to American actions. It also offered teaching suggestions, writing topics and role-playing exercises to promote the leftist interpretation of events. The Ford Foundation paid to have 30,000 copies of the Rethinking Schools report sent to middle school and high school teachers across the country. The report was favorably reviewed in a Fall 2002 “Ford Foundation Report” by Neil F. Carlson, editor for the National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy which seeks to set the agenda for funding political causes. Carlson found the Rethinking Schools report important because of its “disposition to question the official story, to view with skepticism the stark us-against-them (or us good, them bad) portrait of the world.”[28]


MALDEF today boasts it is the leading Hispanic civil rights organization with regional offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., with a satellite office in Sacramento and program offices in Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Houston. MALDEF has a budget of $6.2 million annually and a staff of 75 employees which includes 22 attorneys. MALDEF has been headed by Antonia Hernández since 1985. She came to the group after serving on the Democratic staff of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She is a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation and sits on the Senior Advisory Committee of the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University, the Pacific Council for International Policy, and the Commission on Presidential Debates.

After its Ford-induced transformation into a radical vanguard, MALDEF no longer draws a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants. Its Immigrant's Rights Program lists as its greatest success the agreement with then Governor Gray Davis in which California officially agreed in 1999 to drop its appeal of the U.S. District 9th Circuit Court decision which struck down virtually every section of Proposition 187.[29] This measure, which was passed in 1994 with the support of 59% of voters, would have denied government-funded education, health care and social services to illegal immigrants. It was immediately challenged in the courts and the results of the election were overturned by judicial fiat and liberal politics. The Ford-transformed MALDEF’s commitment to “basic human and civil rights” is not constrained by borders or citizenship.

Another example of MALDEF’s effort to drain American citizenship of its meaning is its campaign in Georgia “to expand access to driver’s licenses without regard to immigration status.” [30] MALDEF temporarily got what it wanted on this issue in California, thanks again to Governor Davis who, just before he was removed from office in a recall election, signed into law a bill to allow illegals (or as MALDEF termed them “residents whose immigration status is in flux”) to obtain licenses and thus “lawfully participate in society.”[31] This measure was rescinded by incoming Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A driver’s license does more than enable an illegal alien to operate a vehicle; it is also the widely accepted identity document for Americans. Granting illegals the right to a driver’s license is thus an effective method of blurring one’s illegal alien status. Seven of the 19 airline hijackers who committed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks held Virginia drivers licenses. In 2003, the Republican legislature in Virginia enacted the Legal Presence Law to prevent illegal aliens from again obtaining driver’s licenses which could then be used as identification documents.

MALDEF is also part of the campaign to gain official U.S. acceptance of ID cards issued by the Mexican government - consular cards or “matrículas” – which are frequently used by illegal immigrants as a substitute for American identification documents. MALDEF was able to issue a press release in late September, 2003 saying that it was “extremely pleased with the Treasury Department’s announcement that it will not change the rules about the acceptance of matrículas by banks.”[32] Matrículas are also used in the process of applying for American documents, including driver’s licenses. Having a valid driver’s license gives an illegal immigrant a much better chance of getting a job or a ballot.

In fact, putting more ballots in the hands of immigrants is MALDEF’s top public policy priority. “The overall objective of the political access program is to enhance Latino influence in the political process by ensuring meaningful participation.” says MALDEF. This program encompasses ease of access to voter registration, the methods for electing governing bodies and the counting of populations for reapportionment. Though MALDEF couches its position in terms of protecting the Hispanic vote from being diluted, the actual result of their work with the Census Bureau has been to leverage the concentration of illegal aliens in certain states to magnify their political clout.

The apportionment of U.S. House seats by the Census is based on each state’s total population — including illegal aliens and other non-citizens — relative to the rest of the country. Almost seven million illegal aliens were counted in the 2000 Census. California, a state in which one in seven residents is a non-citizen, gained six House seats. New York, Texas, and Florida also each gained a seat due to non-citizen residents. These nine seats came at the expense of Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Utah.[33]  Since the electoral votes which determine the winner in national presidential elections are based on the number of House and Senate seats each state has, the use of illegal aliens and other non-citizens in apportionment can also affect who occupies the White House.

The basis for counting non-citizens and illegals in the Census is that they are simply people living in a particular place and thus should have the same status as anyone else, questions of assimilation and allegiance are irrelevant. The same argument is being made in regard to allowing non-citizens to vote. One complicating factor in maximizing Latino political power is that so many are not U.S. citizens. “In some districts, you have a 65 percent Latino population but less than 35 percent with citizenship who are of voting age,” says Denise Hulett, a redistricting specialist at MALDEF.[34]

The obvious answer for MALDEF and its allies is to allow non-citizens to vote. American University law professor Jamin Raskin has proclaimed “non-citizen voting is the suffrage movement of the decade” citing agitation for the granting of such rights by immigrants and their lobbyists in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.[35]  In September, 2002, Washington mayor Anthony Williams said that non-citizens in the nation’s capital should be allowed to vote in local elections, explaining, “I'm committed to expanding the franchise.”[36] In September 2003, Michele Wucker, a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute (which has received grant money from the Ford Foundation), advocated letting non-citizens vote in New York as a way to “update our democracy for global times.”[37] The same result can be reached without public debate or legislative change simply by lax enforcement of voter registration and the acceptance of false identification by political activists and politicians who feel they will benefit from expanding the franchise in this manner.

On December 11, 2003, Joaquin Avila, a former MALDEF president and chief counsel, published an issue paper under the auspices of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Institute calling for granting the right to vote to non-citizen immigrants.[38] Avila argued “the main reason to support non-citizen voting is self-preservation. A society’s interests are not furthered when a substantial number of its inhabitants are excluded from the body politic and have no meaningful way to petition for a redress of grievances through the electoral process.” He set forth the standard leftist program for advancing this idea. “Conferences and symposiums should be convened to formulate strategies for empowering this politically excluded community” and then activists should go to court to challenge the constitutionality of current law. “Perhaps the right to petition for grievances incorporates a right to vote. For assistance, legal scholars can review the historical transition from the separate but equal doctrine formulated by the United States Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson to its abandonment in Brown v. Board of Education. Such a transition can serve as a model for the development of legal strategies seeking to remove the citizenship requirement as a qualification for voting.” Avila also likes to use the term “non-citizen disenfranchisement” to imply a prior right that has been taken away.

Avila is teaching at the UCLA School of Law during the 2003-2004 academic year and is a fellow of the John D. and Catherine R. MacArthur Foundation

MALDEF strongly favors any proposal that would grant amnesty to those who are in the United States illegally. A major legislative initiative for which MALDEF has worked is S. 1645, a bill introduced by Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig with 46 bipartisan co-sponsors (its House version, H.R. 3142, was introduced by Utah Republican Rep. Chris Cannon with 76 co-sponsors). This act would apply to anyone currently in agricultural employment who had worked 575 hours or 100 work days during any 12 consecutive months in the 18 months preceding August 31, 2003. About 500,000 – 900,000 currently “undocumented” agricultural workers could apply for a permanent visa if they commit to continue working in agriculture for three of the next six years. Having been converted from illegal alien to legal immigrant instantly by this bill, they would gain the right to bring their immediate family members into the United States to join them, thus swelling the number of immigrants by millions.

MALDEF’s transformation into a force for radicalism in the Hispanic community has pulled other groups to the left as well. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the transformation of LULAC. Once a constructive movement for integrating Hispanics into American society, a new generation of militant leaders has turned LULAC 180-degrees away from assimilation.

During the 1980s when the Reagan Administration was striving to combat the spread of communism from Cuba and Nicaragua into other parts of Central America, LULAC questioned whether American soldiers of Hispanic descent could remain loyal if ordered to fight in the region. As one LULAC official declared, “We cannot assimilate. We will not assimilate.”[39] Yet, LULAC has continued to receive funding during its journey to the far left from major corporations including Bristol-Meyers Squib, Chemical Bank, Chevron, Chrysler, General Motors, Ford Motor, General Electric, Lockheed, Rockwell, Southwestern Bell and Quaker Oats. The LULAC Institute, a non-profit organization based in Washington, oversees community-based programs operating at 700 councils nationwide. In 2002, it reported revenues of $1,568,315, expenses of $1,440,315 and held assets worth $994,561.[40]

MALDEF still relies heavily on the Ford Foundation for funding. The current Ford Foundation website lists eight separate grants to MALDEF totaling $11,085,000. When the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the University of Michigan Law School's “affirmative action” racial preference admissions system, Ford was quick to claim credit because of the support it had given to two of the litigants, MALDEF and the NAACP-LDF.[41]

MALDEF has also received funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Joyce Foundation, the Rosenberg Foundation, the Joyce Metz-Gilmore Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the North Star Fund.[42] About half of MALDEF’s budget is devoted to litigation, the rest to political activism.

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