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The Daily Beast profiled “the shady network” of nativist groups whose work and data Donald Trump cited during the anti-immigration sections of his Republican National Convention acceptance speech, noting that the groups Trump cited are “omnipresent in efforts to demonize immigrants.”
Trump’s acceptance speech -- which the campaign made available -- includes 282 footnotes containing the sources for the candidate’s claims, with the work of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) being cited multiple times. FAIR has been classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric as well as its “ties to white supremacist groups, and eugenicists.” CIS, which FAIR’s founder John Tanton also helped found, has been repeatedly criticized for its shoddy research work and is labeled an “anti-immigrant nativist” organization by SPLC.
As The Daily Beast points out, “CIS and FAIR provide the intellectual and organizational firepower for the immigration restrictionist movement” and their work always appears in efforts to “demonize immigrants.” The article continued, explaining that at one point anti-immigrant groups like CIS and FAIR were “pushed to the margins of the conservative conversation on immigration” but were kept relevant “thanks in part to powerful devotees in the talk-radio world and immigration-restrictionist stalwarts like Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert.” From The Daily Beast’s July 22 report:
Trump’s team blasted out links to Trump’s remarks, including detailed footnotes showing the sources for his factual claims. And, unsurprisingly, many of Trump’s arguments are based on data from organizations funded by radical population control environmentalist activists. For instance, he cited a report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) to undergird his argument that the federal government enables crime by not deporting more undocumented immigrants.
FAIR was founded by John Tanton, a virulently anti-immigrant nativist who has associated with white supremacists and dabbled in eugenics. He and his allies also fear that human population growth—particularly in the First World—jeopardizes the environment. Thus, they also back pro-abortion groups. This fact has left many on the right deeply concerned about citing their research or affiliating with their leaders. But not Trump.
Trump’s speech also cited the Center for Immigration Studies—another group Tanton founded and helps fund. His team cited three different reports from CIS to support his assertions that immigration hurts American workers and that the federal government isn’t deporting enough undocumented immigrants.
Along with NumbersUSA, CIS and FAIR provide the intellectual and organizational firepower for the immigration restrictionist movement. Their data and scholars are omnipresent in efforts to demonize immigrants, and they were all major presences during the 2013 Gang of 8 comprehensive immigration reform debate. Tanton and his funding link the three together.
In the pre-Trump era, these groups found themselves pushed to the margins of the conservative conversation on immigration. They never fully lost traction—thanks in part to powerful devotees in the talk-radio world and immigration-restrictionist stalwarts like Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert—but they had trouble. For several years, CPAC declined to give them airtime.
In the meantime, the Republican National Committee made an explicit effort to change the party’s rhetoric on immigration.
That dream is dead. Instead, Trump characterized immigrants as murderous, dangerous, and barbaric.
In his America, migrants are would-be rapists and definite job-thieves.
It is, in the literal sense, a story of xenophobia—a view of the world predicated on the notion that anyone from a foreign country should be feared.