Our VoiceImmigrationNews & Politics

Immigration Reform Caucus Elevates Anti-Immigrant Paranoia

Stephen Piggott • Jul 09, 2010
IRC Chairman Brian Bilbray

IRC Chairman Brian Bilbray

Over the past few weeks, the anti-immigrant movement has been on high alert after rumors surfaced that President Obama may be planning to use his executive powers to fast track a pathway to citizenship for America’s undocumented immigrants. One player in the anti-immigrant movement, the House Immigration Reform Caucus, sent a letter to Obama on July 1, voicing its opposition to Obama’s supposed plan. In total, thirty-nine members of the Caucus signed on to the letter.

The relationship between the Immigration Reform Caucus and FAIR is clear and irrefutable. Former IRC Chair Tom Tancredo was supported throughout his congressional tenure by FAIR and the John Tanton Network. After Tancredo launched his ill-fated presidential campaign in 2007, a former FAIR lobbyist, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA), took over as IRC’s chairman. Bilbray was first elected to California House District 49 in 1994 and was defeated in 2000.

After his defeat, Bilbray pushed through Washington’s infamous revolving door, cashing in on his state congressional service to become a lobbyist for FAIR. FAIR paid Bilbray almost $300,000 for lobbying between May 2002 and July 2005, according to a March 6, 2006 article by the Copley News Service. When Bilbray took over the Caucus in 2007, he announced plans to work closely with groups like FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies, a FAIR spin-off, to “seek their input on the legislative proposals.” FAIR has also “handled” IRC’s public relations for a press conference and organized a meeting with IRC members during its annual lobbying event in 2005.

The Caucus is home to the nation’s most notorious anti-immigrant politicians such as Iowa’s Steve King. King was once quoted as stating,

“I asked the question: how many Americans died at the hands of those who did get across the border? And I can tell you that the number is in the multiples of the victims of September 11th…We have a slow motion holocaust on our hands, and we’re fixated on Iraq and we can’t talk about this because it’s not politically correct.”

For more information on Steve King, click here.

As for Obama using his executive powers to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, it remains nothing more than a rumor. Regardless of the level of truth behind it, one can bet that the groups in the anti-immigrant movement like NumbersUSA and ALIPAC are using it as a fundraising tool.

To see if your congressperson is a member of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, click here.

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