Thursday, November 8, 2007

Consider the Source

I'm a relative newcomer to the immigration issue, in the sense of appreciating its boggling complexity and in the sense of seeing how the country has been systematically led into the analytical equivalent of a sheep pen by the likes of Pat Buchanan and Lou Dobbs. But I'm learning.

Immigration is one of a handful of phenomena that will define the terms of life in the western hemisphere for us and our children. That's why I'm disappointed in myself and in other bloggers on the Left for not giving it the same degree of attention we've given so readily to the war or to environmental concerns.

But I'm changing. I'm making up for lost time. I understand better today why we haven't paid attention. It's more than that we're beseiged, or there's not enough time, or we don't know where to find the truth about the immigration issue.

It's worse than that. It's because most of us aren't even aware that we lack the facts. That's how good a job the Right has done of herding us into its sheep pens.

It's not easy. Mega-bloggers like Kos are simply not addressing it in a top-level way. Until that changes, we're in effect giving over our own progressives and moderates to the meme fictions generated and pumped out by the Right.

Trying to address those fictions feels like trying to shut off a firehose, but it's gotta be done.

Happily, a few diligent and ethical folk have been doing the heavy shoveling for quite some time.

It seems to me it's now time for the rest of us to do our part, by disseminating what they're finding.

Here's a start. Thanks to Duke1676, of Migra Matters, for resurrecting in comments on an important Kos diary by economist Alfredo Martin Bravo de Rueda Espejo this critical piece of dot-connecting from Southern Poverty Law Center:

The organized anti-immigration "movement" is almost entirely the handiwork of one man, Michigan activist John H. Tanton. Here is a list of 13 groups in the loose-knit Tanton network, followed by acronyms if the groups use them, founding dates, and Tanton's role in the groups. Those organizations designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center are marked with an asterisk (*).
In this list, "founded" means a group was founded or co-founded by John Tanton. "Funded" means that U.S. Inc., the funding conduit created and still headed by Tanton, has made grants to the group.

1. American Immigration Control Foundation* AICF, 1983, funded
2. American Patrol/Voice of Citizens Together* 1992, funded
3. California Coalition for Immigration Reform CCIR, 1994, funded
4. Californians for Population Stabilization 1996, funded (founded separately in 1986)
5. Center for Immigration Studies
6. Federation for American Immigration Reform FAIR, 1979, founded and funded
7. NumbersUSA 1996, founded and funded
8. Population-Environment Balance 1973, joined board in 1980
9. Pro English 1994, founded and funded
10. ProjectUSA 1999, funded
11. The Social Contract Press* 1990, founded and funded
12. U.S. English 1983, founded and funded
13. U.S. Inc. 1982, founded and funded
SPLC Intelligence Report
Summer 2002

The information we get is only as good as its source. From now on, when you hear the crime, jobs, wages, drugs, reconquest, disease memes that, thanks to Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan and Tancredo and Hunter and the rest of the racist Right, have governed the immigration "debate" so far, consider the source.


Anonymous said...

This is Alfredo. Hi. Actually I quote LatinoDem about the connection about those 13 groups and I trace it to the SPLC, from whose page I also quote other findings. I also have found Roy Beck's articles repeatedly published in David Duke's Web page (The links are in the entry). Roy Beck is founder and executive director of NumbersUSA, the brand for liberals of the same old xenophobic and racist Right.
About immigration, the issue is simpler that it seems. What happens is that the xenophobic Right has spread misinformation for decades and Hispanic leaders have not been willing to correct this and use the tools that get results in Washington. 2007 is the best example of that. We need another Dr. Hector Perez Garcia so much!!!
I sent you an e-mail. I hope to hear from you.