Our VoiceImmigrationNews & Politics

Anti-immigrant group continues its homophobic trend


Jill Garvey • Mar 22, 2011

Mark Krikorian, CIS

In a recent article published on Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) website, fellow James R. Edwards Jr., warns readers that gay immigrants have begun “to agitate for spousal visas.”

Edwards links the Obama Administration’s refusal to continue supporting the Defense of Marriage Act to a forthcoming invasion of gay immigrants who will soon be flooding the nation. He characterizes it as Obama “pushing the envelope recently in the culture wars.”

Edwards’ arguments practically parrot those made previously by CIS executive director Mark Krikorian.

Krikorian has made a series of comments indicating that his xenophobia also manifests as homophobia. It’s almost as if an anti-gay stance has become company policy over at CIS.

Recently, Krikorian defended the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a group that spearheads national campaigns bashing gay and lesbians. Not long before, in a September post on National Review Online, Krikorian wrote, “So now McCain has two extreme Obama positions on immigration to attack: driver’s licenses for illegals and immigration for gay couples. Will McCain ever use them to criticize Obama?”

In a June 4 article in the Boston Globe, Mr. Krikorian strongly opposed the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to grant a temporary entry into the U.S. to Genesio Oliveira of Brazil. Mr. Oliveira was allowed to be reunited with his spouse, Tim Coco, for at least one year on humanitarian grounds. Although they were married in Massachusetts in 2005, Mr. Coco has been unable to sponsor his spouse for legal residency because their marriage is not recognized under federal law.

In the same article, Mr. Krikorian says, “It’s a side-door attempt at changing the Defense of Marriage Act…that’s the problem with our immigration laws; it’s just this vast collection of exceptions for people who get the attention of a particular bureaucrat or judge or politician.”

None of this should come as a surprise. After all, Center for Immigration Studies was founded by white nationalist John Tanton in 1985. And his ideas clearly still guide the organization’s focus. Krikorian himself has long enjoyed the support of Tanton.

In 1995 John Tanton wrote to Mark Krikorian congratulating him on his appointment to executive director of CIS and declared his continued commitment to fundraise for CIS. Tanton specifically mentioned that he had been assisting CIS for years. Tanton also encouraged Krikorian to write for his quarterly white nationalist journal, The Social Contract.

Krikorian took him up on the offer, contributing to the Journal until 2002. According to records obtained by the Center for New Community, Tanton also sent Krikorian letters of advisement at least until 1998.

James Edwards calls Obama’s decision to grant a foreign diplomat’s domestic partner a visa a “sly move.”  What’s really sly is CIS’ attempt to align its anti-immigrant agenda with that of homophobic audiences and whip up false immigration fears.

The real concern for groups like Center for Immigration Studies is who might fit into its narrow vision for America. Latino immigrants certainly don’t make the cut. And if this is any indication, gays and lesbians don’t either.

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