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Press ReleaseDiscrimination/Racism/Bigotry
ADL: Immigration Control Groups Must Steer Clear of Racist Innuendo

New York, N.Y., October 5, 2000… Responding to an advertising campaign blaming immigrants for urban-sprawl and overcrowding, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today released a background report on a leading proponent of immigration control, and one of the ad sponsors, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). While the ads focus strictly on immigration as a societal burden, the ADL report, Is FAIR Unfair? offers a glimpse
into how anti-immigration opponents like FAIR may cross the line from legitimate advocacy toward manipulation of racist innuendo. ADL notes that, in recent years, FAIR has:

  • Defended an op-ed by FAIR founder and board member John Tanton that compared immigrants to bacteria.

  • Embraced funding from the Pioneer Fund, established for the express purpose of promoting research into eugenics, which also sponsors projects based on the notion that Black people are genetically less intelligent than white people.

  • Espoused anti-Hispanic, anti-Catholic stereotypes, when FAIR Executive Director Dan Stein told an interviewer: "Certainly we would encourage people in other countries to have small families. Otherwise they’ll all be coming here, because there’s no room at the Vatican… Many [immigrants] hate America, hate everything the United States stands for. Talk to some of these Central Americans."

  • Ran an ad criticizing U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham’s position on immigration—juxtaposing a photo of the Senator, who is of Lebanese ancestry, with one of a notorious Middle Eastern terrorist. The ad suggested that the Senator’s position would cause Americans to be "needlessly exposed to the threat of terrorism." The Detroit Free Press described FAIR’s ads as "hysterical rhetoric … disingenuous and nativistic."

The ADL report noted that while America has a rich history as a refuge for persecuted immigrants, nativism and scapegoating of foreigners also have roots here. "This situation bears watching. The growing but still vulnerable immigrant population deserves protection from baseless accusations, stereotyping and discrimination."

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.

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