Q: Given that immigration reform is a politically heated topic, is there anything I should avoid saying or citing?
For those of you that have not heard of the December 2013 topic, it is Resolved: Immigration reform should include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
This is a great question. I will first refer you to my post yesterday (November 7) for a discussion of the correct terminology to use in this debate.
With the topic of immigration, there are some definite sources you NEVER SHOULD CITE.
The following information on these sources comes from Sourcewatch.org, a great cite for checking the credibility of your sources. For immigration specifically, you want to avoid nativist groups that are racist and highly political (over factual) agendas. I’ve included three organizations you’re bound to find in your internet searching and in your debate rounds. Also be careful – many other, less biased sources cite research done by these organizations. Always know (and ask your opponents) for the original source of the data or information.
CIS – The Center For Immigration Studies – “Low-immigrant, Pro-immigrant”
CIS claims to be an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization. However, this center is actually a think tank directly connected to the anti-immigration advocacy group FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) and is aligned with the conservative magazine National Review. “CIS has also been critiqued as being part of a network of anti-immigrant groups that cater to a white supremacist constituency by right-wing economic libertarians who believe in the benefits of mass and unfettered immigration.” (Sourcewatch.org)
In 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center branded FAIR a hate group, stating that:
“The founder, chief ideologue and long-time funder of FAIR [John Tanton] is a racist. Key staff members have ties to white supremacist groups, some are members, and some have spoken at hate group functions. FAIR has accepted more than $1 million from a racist foundation devoted to studies of race and IQ, and to eugenics – the pseudo-science of breeding a better human race that was utterly discredited by the Nazi euthanasia program. It spreads racist conspiracy theories like the Jews faked the Holocaust for sympathy. (Sourcewatch.org)
Various groups including the Center for International Policy and the Southern Poverty Law Center have criticized NumbersUSA for maintaining close ties to more traditional immigration reduction groups including the Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR. (Sourcewatch.org)
“Numbers USA and two closely aligned groups — the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, and the Center for Immigration Studies — have spent $103 million to promote the cause of reducing immigration, both legal and illegal, since 2002, according to a NBC News review of public records and tax returns. The biggest single contributor – with about $36 million in donations — was the Colcom Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based “conservationist” group that states on its websiteit was created to explore the “causes and consequences of overpopulation and its impact on environmental sustainability.” (The foundation was started by the late Cordelia Scaife May, niece of former Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon and the sister of Richard Mellon Scaife, a major funder of conservative causes. )” from NBC