Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Is This the Best They Can Do? Anti-Immigrant Group Rally Fizzles
FAIR Claims 200,000 Members; Only 50 People Show Up
Washington, DC - After a huge push to drive up turnout, and after organizers promised to storm Congress with anti-immigrant citizen lobbyists, just fifty people showed up for the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) annual “Hold their Feet to the Fire” event in Washington, DC yesterday.
Ironically, a prayer vigil organized by faith leaders in support of immigration reform – organized at the last minute – turned out the same number of people on the same day.
FAIR’s failure is emblematic of the anti-immigrant lobby’s long history of making noise and baring their teeth while failing to deliver on their threats with actual votes. For example, in 20 of 22 competitive elections in the 2008 cycle where immigration was a top issue, the hard-line anti-immigrant candidate lost to a candidate with a more expansive view of immigration reform.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund: “The anti-immigrant lobby is all bark and no bite. Their much ballyhooed event, entitled ‘Hold their Feet to the Fire’ should be renamed ‘Hold your Big Toe to the Fire.’ It’s time for our elected leaders to stop being intimidated by bullies who can’t land a punch and to move forward on real, common sense immigration reform.”
The Federation for American Immigration Reform has been designated a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and is part of a network of anti-immigrant organizations founded by John Tanton, someone with extensive ties to white nationalism. The network, whose leaders meet weekly to plan strategy, includes the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA.