As hearings for the first of several legal challenges to Arizona’s new immigration law SB 1070 got underway in a federal courthouse in Phoenix yesterday, additional information has come to light about just who is bankrolling the defense of the law. Not surprisingly, hate groups rank among the fiscal backers of the bill. In particular, as reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the white supremacist political party American Third Position (A3P) donated Arizona’s Border Security and Immigration Legal Defense Fund,” established by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, to advance the interests of “White Americans.”
A3P proudly backs the bill, going so far as to challenge the Governor’s basic argument that the measure does not encourage racial profiling or the targeting of Latinos. According to its own E-mail alert, SB 1070 is in reality a tool for the reinstatement of white political control. According to A3P, it is a measure they have every reason to support. “We support all constructive endeavors by private citizens, businesses, local governments- or in this case a sovereign state- to stem and reverse the browning of America.”
The group goes even further, calling SB 1070 the “best current opportunity to reduce [brown-skinned] immigration.
It would be one thing if A3P were the only hate group openly backing the measure and funding its defense. But its not. Gov. Brewer’s defense fund is also backed by Stormfront.org, the oldest and largest white nationalist forum on the Internet with open calls for donations from its members.
Of course the legislation’s ties to hate groups is well known, even if those links are not being widely broadcast by Gov. Brewer or the other supporters of the measure. The law was written by Kris Kobach, a lawyer at the Federal for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigrant hate group. FAIR has a blemished history including employing key staffers who are among the ranks of white supremacist groups, retaining board members who frequently contribute to hate publications, and pushing rhetoric accusing immigrants of engaging in “competitive breeding” aimed specifically at diminishing white power.
Kobach also has a history of advancing racial profiling measures, both as an immigration advisor under former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and later in the Department of Justice after the 9/11 attacks. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio tapped Kobach to train his officers to “spot” undocumented immigrants, creating a problematic partnership since Arpaio is currently under federal grand jury investigation for charges of racial profiling.
The extent to which these groups are successful in pursuing their agenda of hate on a mainstream stage remains to be seen as the courts sift through the various legal challenges, including one by the Department of Justice set for hearing next week. Regardless of the outcome of those suits though it is becoming harder and harder to support the argument that this is a piece of legislation born short of anything other than hate.
photo courtesy of Matheas Sanchez via Flickr