Our VoiceImmigration

Progressives for Immigration Reform: Blogs of Bigotry


Guest Blogger • Jun 28, 2011

by Nina Masters

Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) has published an increasingly prevalent amount of spiteful blogs on its website in recent weeks. PFIR, for those who don’t know, is part of the John Tanton Network, a conglomerate of anti-immigrant groups whose namesake is undoubtedly the figurehead of the contemporary anti-immigrant movement.

These blogs are reaching the public after William Ryerson reportedly severed ties with the group. Ryerson was PFIR’s president. Leah Durant, the group’s executive director and a former Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) legal analyst, is surely now working hard to inure its new president, Philip Cafaro, in the ways of faux progressive-ism.

PFIR’s connection to the anti-immigrant movement is clear, with Reyerson’s exit making them even less progressive in the eyes of many critics.

Regardless of leadership changes, groups like PFIR will continue attempting to inject their rhetoric into mainstream political discourse, but if one is being honest, there is simply nothing mainstream about the group’s understanding of immigration.

For example, in the past week alone, a variety of bloggers on its site have been uniformly outlining the need for their version of a comprehensive immigration plan in the United States. For example, one blogger writes:

“The legal battle brewing in Georgia only underscores the need for a federal immigration overhaul [….] The United States will only be able to effectively take on the issue of illegal immigration with a unified national plan.”

In a blog written by Tyler Seuc, the author uses the environmental movement’s concept of sustainability in an attempt to funnel readers into agreeing with a hard-line immigration-reductionist stance:

“With immigration accounting for 63% of our population growth and immigrants quickly embracing American standards of consumption, the impact of immigration on the environment is enormous.”

Is anyone actually able to take that seriously? The jump from population growth statistics to consumption levels without any sign of evidence is pure folly. Also, shouldn’t we be working to correct those patterns of hyper-consumption rather than blaming immigrants for the exacerbation of problems we ourselves created?

Some bloggers are even trying to frame immigration, though not explicitly, as a main factor perpetuating the current economic struggles that have led to the unemployment of many Americans:

“As of now, it is highly debatable about whether or not the U.S. economy is recovering at a rapid enough pace to get out of the economic hole we are in. Hopefully with help from our leaders, new public policies that deal with the question of both immigration and the economy will aid our country in regaining its financial footing.”

When it comes to PFIR, it is important to recognize its work as a wadding of politically-biased blogs thinly coded as “leftist” amateur journalism. Point blank, though, the group’s name is the only place where one can locate anything “progressive” in PFIR’s work, and the word doesn’t even rightfully belong there.

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