Know Your Immigration Debate Figures: FAIR and Dan Stein

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, is often cited in stories about immigration policy, and Dan Stein, its President, regularly makes the rounds in mainstream media, so it’s a good organization to get to know something about.

On their website, they certainly make an effort at emphasizing their non-partisan nature, their commitment to policy that does not racially discriminate, and its all very calm and reasonable-looking.

But their president does endorse, well, deporting 12 million immigrants. Wow. That’s not exactly a middle of the road viewpoint these days.

Two interesting interviews to watch:

CNN’s Rick Sanchez (of whom I am no fan it must be said) and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow both interviewed Dan Stein.

Sanchez, who, as I said, is not my fave by a long shot, was taken to task by some blogs for referring to FAIR as “respectable” in his interview, an unnecessary characterization at best, a biased one at worst. But, to be fair (pun intended) he did try to force Stein to come clean on his positions.

[video linked here via crooksandliars.com]

Sanchez corrects himself for using the word “eliminate” to describe what Stein wants to do with undocumented immigrants, but presses him on the question, to which Stein responds [entire transcript here]:

The Obama administration is taking credit for deporting 400,000 criminal aliens in the last, whatever, 12 months. If you can deport 400,000, then you can deport 12 million in about five or six years. I don’t understand why this is such a big deal.

Ok, so he doesn’t see anything big in deporting 12 million people. Like that won’t effect anything. Sure.

Later on with Rachel Maddow, I think they don’t delve as much into actual policy issues (a comparison to Rick Sanchez I never thought I’d make). Mainly Maddow tried to address suspicious ties of FAIR to people with known racist views. Now, normally I don’t like guilt-by-association, and I don’t think that any one member of a group is somehow responsible for all the views of any other member. But it must be said he doesn’t come off very well. If he felt the ties were illegitimate, he could calmly explain that, instead he defensively flies off the handle.

[video here, also via crooksandliars.com]

It’s an interesting group to look at because they seem very media savvy. They make a great effort to appear moderate, reasonable, based on research, building non-partisan solutions, etc… But at the end of the day they advocate policies that are anything but moderate. They support SB 1070, the deportation of millions, and a radical reinterpretation of the 14th amendment to preclude “anchor babies” – a term so ugly I can’t believe they use it in public.

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