ADL Urges Candidates To Keep Debate On Immigration Policy "Respectful"
New York, NY, December 17, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), increasingly troubled by the deeply polarizing rhetoric of the immigration debate and the routine demonizing of illegal immigrants, today called on all of the major party presidential candidates to "set an example of how immigrant policy can be debated respectfully" and to "forcefully speak out against intolerant and dehumanizing rhetoric."
In a letter to the major party presidential candidates, ADL urged each to refrain from hateful rhetoric that demonizes minorities, particularly Hispanics, when discussing immigration on the campaign trail and in the debates.
"While there are many legitimate and sincere perspectives in the national conversation about illegal immigration and immigration in general, we are deeply troubled by some of the rhetoric accompanying this debate," said Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
"In our view, demonizing illegal immigrants has the effect of demonizing many minorities, particularly Hispanics, regardless of their citizenship status. It is contrary to the high ideals upon which our nation – a nation of immigrants – was founded."
The League shared with the candidates a summary of its recent report, Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream, which documents how anti-immigrant propaganda, once the domain of hate groups, is routinely used by anti-immigrant advocacy organizations and some media figures to generate fear and hatred of immigrants.
"In the coming months, we hope the candidates will set an example of how immigration policy can be debated respectfully," said Mr. Lewy and Mr. Foxman. "We believe the candidates should forcefully speak out against intolerant and dehumanizing rhetoric at every opportunity."
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, ADL neither supports nor opposes any candidate for political office.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.