Arizona SB1070, Russell Pearce, Kris Kobach, and FAIR; Understanding and Identifying the Source Of Institutionalized Racism

Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce at the “P...

Former Arizona Senate President, Russell Pearce, Image via Wikipedia

“Every American who ever lived, with the exception of one group, was either an immigrant himself or a descendant of immigrants”

John F. Kennedy

Former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce was the major sponsor and legislative force behind a bill which was to become synonymous with institutionalized racism: Arizona SB 1070. Pearce had for many years been Arizona’s most vocal enemy of undocumented immigrants. He, personally, had successfully forced several pieces of harsh legislation against people he termed “invaders on the American sovereignty”, prior to the passage of the infamous bill. However, Pearce is not the author of the bill, only the sponsor. The bill was actually written by one Kris Kobach, a professor of law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law. He is also the Secretary of State of Kansas.

Kris Kobach earned an A.B. in Government, summa cum laude, from Harvard,  and was subsequently awarded a Marshall Scholarship allowing him to earn an M.A. and PhD in politics from Oxford. He attended Yale Law School, earning a Juris Doctorate in 1995, where he served as editor to the prestigious Yale Law Journal. Kobach published two books: The Referendum: Direct Democracy in Switzerland, and Political Capital: The Motives, Tactics, and Goals of Politicized Businesses in South Africa. Kris Kobach has taught constitutional and immigration law since 2003 at the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law, and has come under attack for anti-immigrant bias. In January 2007, fliers appeared on the university campus accusing Kobach of embellishing his credentials and crafting bad law. In the classroom, he uses as a text, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity, by deceased Harvard political science professor Samuel Huntington, which argues that large scale Latino immigration will “divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, two languages.” Professor Huntington used mathematical equations to formulate his theses. Mathematician Neal Koblitz accused Huntington of misusing mathematics and engaging in pseudo-science. Professor Serge Lang, a Yale University mathematician, said of Huntington, he uses “a type of language which gives the illusion of science without any of its substance.” Other critics have concluded that Huntington used a methodology which was not valid. These criticisms call to question Kobach’s using Huntington’s work as a text.

Although he is an Anglican, Kobach is a far-right Christian fundamentalist. During his 2004 campaign for Congress in the 3rd District in Kansas, he accused his opponent of associating with groups supporting “homosexual pedophilia,” referring to the Human Rights Campaign, a mainstream gay rights organization which has never even resembled embracing pedophilia. In spite of his years of advanced education, Kris Kobach clings to a very narrow, homophobic religious experience, and endorses what is generally considered spurious academic work.

Kobach has long been associated with the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization which advocates changes in U.S. immigration policy, that would significantly reduce immigration in the U.S.

FAIR was founded by John Tanton, a retired ophthalmologist, who also started two other groups with a similar goal: the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank, and NumbersUSA, a lobbying group. Tanton is a leader in the movement to make English the official language of government in the United States. He co-founded and chaired U.S. English and ProEnglish, but Tanton is the direct product of immigrants. His father was John Fitzgerald Tanton, born in Ontario, Canada, who in 1928 immigrated to the United States. His great grandparents, Martin Johann and Carolina Koch, were born in Germany. Ironically, John Tanton is widely recognized as the leading figure in the anti-immigration and ‘official English’ movements in the United States.

Dan Stein is the current president of FAIR, having held that position since 1988. Prior to his association with FAIR, he was the executive director of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a law firm dedicated to controlling ‘illegal immigration’ and reducing ‘legal immigration’ to “levels consistent with the national interest of the United States”. He has testified in Congress on behalf of FAIR and spoken on immigration reform across the country. Stein received a Baccalaureate from Indiana University and received a Juris Doctorate  from Catholic University.

Andrew Wroe, author of The Republican Party and Immigration Politics, calls FAIR an extremist group. FAIR advocates 7 Principles of True Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

1. Reduce the flow of immigrants

2. No legalization

3. No Guest-Worker Program

4. Protect Wages and Standards of Living

5. More Enforcement

6. No Asylum

7. Immigration Time Out (Very strict immigration only for ‘a narrowly focused refugee resettlement program’)

Fair declares its mission is “to examine immigration trends and effects, to educate the American people on the impacts of sustained high-volume immigration, and to discern, put forward, and advocate immigration policies that will best serve American environmental, societal, and economic interests today and into the future.” It states, “Today the United States is receiving more immigrants than at any time in our history.” This is a highly debatable statistic. Fair continues, “Immigration has become an important issue because it affects virtually every aspect of life in America. With more than a million legal and illegal immigrants settling in the United States each year, immigration has an impact on education, health care, government budgets, employment, the environment, crime and countless other areas of American life. It is evident to most Americans that large scale immigration is not serving the needs and interests of the country.” Again, this is highly debatable. In a country with open borders to the north and south, with the free passage of people on a daily basis, how can it be said, “People enter the US illegally?” Anyone, irrespective of citizenship, may cross either the Mexican/US border or the Canadian/US border, at any time and in any direction, without prejudice. What is the basis for FAIR’s immigration statistics? The remaining claims are fallacious, and intended as scare tactics. If an undocumented immigrant is employed, he or she pays taxes. Taxes pay for services. Any increase in population will “impact education, health care, government budgets, employment, the environment, and crime.” While we demonize immigration, we should also consider ceasing the advancement of medicine, so as not to allow for population growth. The jury is still out as to whether a national increase in crime is, indeed, occurring or not, and again, the source of any crime is highly debatable. FAIR uses the immigrant as a scapegoat.

According to the Anti Defamation League, FAIR received grants totaling $600,000.00 from the Pioneer Fund, an organization which is frequently described as racist and “white supremacist”, and which has been described by the New York Times as having been established specifically for supporting research into eugenics. Eugenics was a cornerstone of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The Pioneer Fund maintains that Blacks are genetically less intelligent than Whites. This agrees with Rushdoony’s theological assumptions defending slavery. The Southern Poverty Law Center classified the Pioneer Fund as a hate group. FAIR supported an anti-immigration op-ed by John Tanton, in which immigrants were compared to bacteria. Linda Chavez, formerly an official with the US Civil Rights Commission, called Tanton’s views “anti Hispanic, anti Catholic and not excusable.” FAIR demonstrated hostility towards Hispanics and the Roman Catholic Church when its president and executive director, Dan Stein, told an interviewer, “Certainly we would encourage people in other countries to have small families. Otherwise, they’ll be coming here, because there’s no more room at the Vatican. Many immigrants hate America; hate everything the United States stands for. Talk to some of these Central Americans.” Clearly, Stein foments hatred for Latinos and Roman Catholics. One should be moved to question why a population which hates America and hates everything the United States stands for should be so motivated to come here.

Not limiting its vitriol to Latin Americans, FAIR sponsored a newspaper ad which was highly critical of US Senator Spencer Abraham’s position on immigration legislation. At least FAIR can be shown to spread its hatred equally among all ethnicities. A photograph of the senator, who is of Lebanese ancestry, was juxtaposed with one of Osama bin Laden. The ad suggested the senator’s position would cause Americans to be “needlessly exposed to the threat of terrorism.” Abraham had defeated Tanton in the Michigan Republican primaries. FAIR’s advertising campaign against Senator Abraham produced such a controversy that staunch conservative, Senator Alan Simpson, quit his association with FAIR in protest. The Detroit Free Press described FAIR’s ad campaign regarding Senator Abraham as “hysterical rhetoric…disingenuous and nativistic. It comes perilously close to a smear.” It is ironic that the product of a retired ophthalmologist should be so myopic!

Fair endorsed China’s forced abortion policy as an “international family planning program,” and provided a link on its internet web site to the California based Voice of Citizens Together (VCT), a virulent anti-immigration group. Again, FAIR shows incongruence in focus. FAIR’s principles are white supremacist, mirrored by and balustraded by fundamentalist Christian principles. Christian fundamentalism abhors Planned Parenthood. Aborting fetuses must be permissible so long as the fetuses are not White. VCT’s web site has referred to “Mexico’s invasion of the United States” on numerous occasions. It predicts, “California will be taken over by Third World forces, led by Mexico, who have an axe to grind against European Americans.” This is hate speech, determined to stir and magnify intolerance among the non-Latino population. Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel said, “The trash that this crowd puts out is just beyond terrible.”

In Texas, the Coalition for the Future of the American Worker, a FAIR front group pretending to represent labor interests, produced ads focused on images of dark-skinned men loitering on corners and fleeing police cars, an obvious reference to Latino casual loborers. One of the ad’s prime targets, Rep. Martin Frost, condemned the ads as racist. Pete Sessions, the Republican challenger, found the ads so disgusting he joined Frost in calling for them to be pulled off the air in their district.

The litany of FAIR’s racism continues, and Kris Kobach continues his association with them. Kobach mixes religious intolerance and xenophobia with a misunderstanding of United States history, when he endorses the theory that America was founded as a Christian nation. Apparently he has never read the writings of Thomas Jefferson, nor is he familiar with the Treaty of Tripoli. To avoid the pogroms of Tudor England, the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution determinably created a secular, rather than Christian nation. The United States was founded on principles of the Enlightenment, not upon the principles of any religion. Despite an education at some of the world’s most prestigious universities, Kobach maintains a very narrow, exclusive religious faith, misinterprets his nation’s history, and deploys spurious academics in his university teachings. He associates with an organization which still believes in the debunked theory of eugenics, the basis of the Nazi Uebermensch. One must question the efficacy of his training Maricopa County Sheriff’s personnel in immigration law, especially at a $300.00 per hour price tag. Kobach’s racism became manifest in legislation he has authored throughout the United States, including Arizona SB 1070. Former Arizona Senator Russell Pearce, himself an overt racist and anti-Semite connected to the National Alliance and associated with notorious Arizona neo-Nazi, J.T. Ready, was but an effective tool of Kobach and FAIR. In his position as President of the Arizona Senate, Pearce would prove quite adept in facilitating FAIR’s agenda. Pearce’s race hatred was augmented and exacerbated by greed, when he realized an SB 1070 would supply fodder for his interest in the Corrections Corporation of America, supplier of private prison systems. If an entire population could be declared ‘illegal’ the sky would be the limit, and the money would pour in. SB 1070 was never about securing America’s borders or Pearce’s famous ‘rule of law’. It was merely about deep seated, institutionalized race hatred and greed.



About Stefan Jacke

MagicRobert presented me with a vellum document, composed in an insane script. We were in a well secured vault in the Michener Library. His face exploded into a broad smile, as he saw me recognize the words, "That government governs best which governs least." It was a copy of "On Civil Disobedience" in the author's own hand. The experience called to mind a conversation Henry David Thoreau had with Ralph Waldo Emerson, as Thoreau sat in a jail cell, incarcerated for protesting the Mexican War. Emerson asked, "David, what are you doing in there?" Thoreau responded, "The point is, Ralph, what are you doing out there?" Once, long ago, I jumped off of big red trucks, lifted weights, and cleaned toilets for a living. Then I wrestled drunks, ran around in circles, and got splattered with blood and all manner of body fluids for a living. Now I enjoy the stillness of early morning in my rocking chair on the porch, with a hot cup of coffee, trying in vain to forget the past. Thank you, Robert!
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