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The Musings of Mark Krikorian: Microcosms of Bigotry

Guest Blogger • Jun 14, 2011

by Michael Dranove

In a June 1st blog post, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) Mark Krikorian questioned U.S. immigration policies in regards to Iraqi refugees.

With this recent post, Krikorian continues what is an ever-present pattern within his particular strain of bigoted logic so oft evidenced on his blog—stretching and straining any and all news into paper drones he aims and deploys at denigrating all-things “immigrant.” In a real sense, this post is a concrete microcosm of his anti-immigrant, Islamaphobic body of work.

In the post, he discussed the recent arrest of two Iraqi refugees for allegedly planning to send money and arms to Iraqi insurgents, using the case as an argument against current US refugee immigration policy. For Krikorian the question is not, “how did these jokers get in?” but rather, “why are we taking refugees from Iraq at all?”

Krikorian’s insensitivity should come as no surprise as Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) was formed as the faux think tank of the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization founded by white nationalist and advocate of eugenics John Tanton.

Tanton, who is on record as questioning the “educability” of Latinos, not to mention the ability of “minorities” to “run an advanced society,” advocated for the creation of “an independent and more academic effort that would be removed from the daily fray.”

And with this vision in mind, Tanton helped to create CIS in 1985.

Given this lineage of belief and influence, is it any surprise that Krikorian feels comfortable enough to make comments?

After all, Krikorian himself has a long history of such comments. Following the Haitian earthquake in 2008, he felt it necessary to argue “that Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”  In addition, Krikorian believed that Haitian refugees who fled to the US following the earthquake in 2008 should have been sent back after “a few months” when things would “sort of get back to normal.” Another CIS staffer, Jessica Vaughan, argued that the temporary protection status for refugees has contributed to “the burgeoning street gang problem in the United States.”

On top of such statements, the li­­­­­st of infractions by Krikorian extends to the events he attends in an “expert” capacity.  In 2007 Krikorian spoke at a Michigan State University Chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, a group which “had been widely covered in the media for a series of nasty stunts, like attempting to stage a Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day, holding a Koran Desecration competition, as well as posting Gays Spread AIDS fliers across MSU campus. Krikorian was also a part of the same speakers series that included Nick Griffin, a Holocaust denier who heads the racist British National Party (BNP), and Jared Taylor, who says blacks are incapable of civilization and uses his own group, American Renaissance, to peddle such bigotry.

With all Krikorian’s misdeeds in mind, it’s impossible to understand how or why CIS continues boast that it is a “non-partisan pro-immigrant think tank.”

Which is why it’s even harder to grasp why publications such as the Boston Globe and other mainstream media outlets still publish op-eds by CIS staffers.

CIS, plainly put, depends on engendering xenophobic attitudes in Americans. Without such attitudes, they would have no reason for existing. Their arguments should be recognized and denounced for what they are: hate speech that has no place in the immigration debate.

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