In recent months, the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has increasingly attempted to minimize and deflect criticism of its disingenuous, biased work.
Imagine 2050 has long reported on CIS’s outsized role in toxifying immigration policy debates. Recently, we published a case study further challenging the think tank’s credibility due to its malicious use of misinformation in pursuit of nativist goals. But despite the expansive dossier on the group’s anti-immigrant agenda, CIS leadership still tries to shake off criticism stacked against them.
Read More: Sanctuary cities, spurious claims: Misinformation from the Center for Immigration Studies
Another issue CIS has attempted to downplay recently is how frequently it has distributed the work of white nationalists via its weekly “Immigration Opinions” newsletter. In an op-ed published by The Washington Post in March, CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian brushed aside that criticism, writing that the newsletter only “occasionally included pieces by writers who turned out to be cranks.”
The Center for New Community (CNC) assisted the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in a study of CIS’s newsletter to quantify how many times exactly CIS distributed content from white nationalist writers and outlets.
The SPLC published our findings today. CIS distributed the work of white nationalists at least 2,012 separate times-hardly the occasional crank as Krikorian would have the public believe.
From SPLC’s Hatewatch blog:
Our findings reveal that on far more than a few occasions CIS has circulated materials from white nationalists and anti-Semites, prominent racist thinkers whose “crank” status is well known (in many cases for decades). Rather than reflecting an interest in a range of debatable viewpoints, as Krikorian also likes to point out that CIS circulates New York Times articles, CIS’ newsletter reveals an organization with a sophisticated grasp of the nativist extremist and white nationalist movement. The evidence, from the ideology of CIS’ founder to its publishing of [Jason] Richwine, shows that this fluency is because the group is cut from the same cloth.
Imagine 2050 first reported on CIS publishing disgraced policy analyst Jason Richwine in March 2016: CIS publishes Jason Richwine, author of racist dissertation and discredited Heritage report.
In May 2013, Imagine 2050 also reported that white nationalist Jared Taylor came to the defense of Richwine after he was fired by The Heritage Foundation. SPLC notes that Taylor’s writing has also been featured in CIS’s newsletter:
CIS also circulated three articles from the white nationalist website American Renaissance, headed by Jared Taylor, one of the most prominent white nationalists of the past quarter century, and one Taylor article published at VDARE. Taylor organizes a yearly conference, which is among the most well attended white nationalist gatherings.
Taylor attended a CIS panel discussion in October 2015. As Imagine 2050 reported in CIS engages white nationalist Jared Taylor at immigration event, Taylor asked the panel about reinstating racist immigration quotas. Taylor later wrote that he asked the question to “plant the idea that whites have legitimate rights, too.”
In addition to white nationalists, SPLC and CNC’s investigation also reveals the organization has distributed work from American Free Press, a vehemently anti-Semitic newspaper:
Our study further found that CIS shared material with its readers written by anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers and published on some of the most prominent anti-Semitic websites. CIS circulated two articles from the American Free Press (AFP), which carries stories on Zionism, secret “New World Order” conspiracies, and thinly veiled vilification of American Jews and Israel.
Imagine 2050 detailed CIS Fellow David North’s appearance on AFP contributor John Friend’s radio show in the January 2014 piece Center for Immigration Studies Fellow Goes on Anti-Semitic Radio Show, While CIS Analyst Claims CIR Will Cause “Unmaking of America”.
These are a just a few of more than 2,000 instances SPLC and CNC uncovered of CIS distributing the work of known white nationalists that Krikorian merely dismisses as “cranks.” Given this information, we think Krikorian needs to revisit the definition of the word “occasionally.”