(Assuming my post at Pith ever makes it up, consider this a companion piece that would flesh out what I’ve learned in the hours since my Pith post was written).
So, Kyle Swenson is reporting that Sheriff Hall was scheduled to speak at a conference held by the Center for Immigration Studies, which has more than just a “long history of association with the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR).” It was, in fact, dreamed up by FAIR founded John Tanton in order to give FAIR a way to mainstream its ideas by putting them under a glossy coat of academic language. Saying it has a “long history of association with FAIR” would be like saying I have a long history of association with the Butcher. They are siblings, working together, to promote the vision of Tanton, who, coincidentally, Hall may have heard of, since his group gave most of the money to Crafton’s “English Only” campaign. (It would be interesting to know if that’s how Hall came to Tanton’s attention.)
This marks the second time that Hall was scheduled to speak to white supremacist groups (the first being his lovely trip to the CCC). This time the national douchebags he was scheduled to speak with put out a press release, so local immigrant rights activists were able to alert him to CIS’s ties to FAIR and “English Only,” since, apparently, no one in Hall’s office can Google this shit for themselves, and he pulled out of the event.
But let’s bear in mind that, if he had not been called on it, our sheriff was ready to fly to Washington D.C. and speak about 287(g) on a panel in which he was the only non-CIS participant (Steven Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies, and Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, Center for Immigration Studies, were scheduled to be the other two panelists and Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies was to moderate). His participation gave that panel legitimacy and a hook that would have brought the media. And he would have been sitting there talking about the wonders of 287(g) while Camarota and Vaughan were prepared to speak about how studies may show that there’s less criminal behavior among immigrants than there is the general population, but really, immigrants (of all stripes) “have relatively high rates of criminality.” (Quote directly from the press release touting Hall’s appearance.)
That’s right. Not just the illegal immigrants, but ALL immigrants must be studied for their “high rates of criminality.”
That old stereotype set off NO warning bells in the Sheriff’s office?
This is exactly how CIS is designed to work–to mainstream noxious ideas.
If you said, “Oh, well, you know most of those immigrants are just criminals who shouldn’t even be here. And why can’t they learn to speak English?” people would know you for the bigot that you are. But if you have FAIR spouting this crap to the group receptive to it and then you also give money to Eric Crafton to spout one part that seems reasonable to many people–“Let’s make everyone speak English”–and CIS to put a polish on your beliefs about immigrants and criminality by framing it as an academic discussion with tales from the frontlines provided by the Davidson County Sheriff.
Much like Crafton was a way of laundering these ideas from their noxious roots, so was Hall.
How does this keep happening? How many times does a man “accidentally” wind up on the speakers’ lists for bigotted douchebags?
Sheriff Hall is not a stupid man.
So, I find it hard to believe that he’s just easily played by white supremacists.
He owes the city an explanation for why he would give legitimacy with his participation to these kinds of groups.
Is someone in his office not doing her job? Is the council that oversees the 287(g) program not empowered to actually tell Hall when he’s doing something wonky? Does he not get how appealing 287(g) is to racists?
Or is it something more?
Really, how many times can a man get on the speaking schedule of racist anti-immigrant groups before it’s not an accident?
Edited to add: The Pith post is posted.