Rachel takes the President of FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) to the woodshed in this interview over his organization's motivations for supporting Arizona's new "show me your papers" law and his group's racist history. He attacked Maddow and the Southern Poverty Law Center and claimed they were just trying to smear him.
The SPLC has more here -- Answering Our Critics: SPLC ‘Smear’ Dissected:
The suggestion that the SPLC worked surreptitiously with La Raza and others to designate FAIR a hate group is false; the decision to list the organization was made by the SPLC alone, based on almost a decade of SPLC research. We make no apologies for sharing that research with others in the human rights community, including La Raza, which we consider an important ally.
FAIR, an organization that has been dominated for much of its life by its racist founder John Tanton, has probably done more to inject fear and bigotry into the national immigration debate than any other modern organization. Its demonizing propaganda, aimed primarily at Latinos, comes at a time when the number of hate groups continues a decade-long rise, fueled by anti-Latino hatred. At the same time, the FBI reported a 40% rise in anti-Latino hate crimes between 2003 and 2007. Those crimes decreased slightly in 2008, the latest year for which statistics are available.
On the show tonight, Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, denied giving money to Protect Arizona Now, which was pushing the Prop 200 immigration initiative in 2004. One of PAN's top leaders was Virginia Abernethy, a self-proclaimed "ethnic separatist."
"We never gave that organization dime," Stein told us. "And secondly, even if we were going to give them a dime, we wouldn't have given them a dime with Virginia Abernethy associated with it."
The SPLC has more here on the new law FAIR helped draft -- Hate Group Lawyer Drafted Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law:
Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law was written by a lawyer at the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed as an anti-immigrant hate group since 2007. The law, a recipe for racial profiling, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. (See statement by SPLC Legal Director Mary Bauer.)
Kris Kobach, the author of the Arizona law and a lawyer at FAIR’s Immigration Reform Law Institute, has been the prime mover behind numerous ordinances that seek to punish those who aid and abet “illegal aliens,” including laws adopted in Farmer’s Branch, Texas, and Hazelton, Pa.
The laws have not done well and have cost some localities immense sums of money to defend. Recently, the city of Albertville, Ala., refused to work with Kobach on just such an ordinance, reportedly because of the high legal costs incurred by these other communities.
Before joining FAIR, Kobach served as U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s top immigration adviser. He then moved on to take charge of Department of Justice efforts to tighten border security after the 9/11 attacks. There, he developed a program — the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System — that called for close monitoring of men from Arab and Muslim nations, even legal U.S. residents. The program collapsed due to complaints of racial profiling and discrimination. Given Kobach’s history with racial profiling, it is particularly alarming that he was tapped by Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio in February to train his officers. A federal grand jury investigation is under way amid a slew of complaints that Arpaio used racial profiling techniques to round up suspected undocumented immigrants. The grand jury is also reportedly looking at whether Arpaio used his office to target political opponents. Read on...
Heaven forbid Rachel suggested their motivations might be racist given the group's background.