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FAIR founder John Tanton

Screenshot from Southern Poverty Law Center

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

An anti-immigration group with long-standing ties to white nationalism has spent the last week amplifying harsh Republican rhetoric on immigration, some of which was created by the group itself.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, which goes by the acronym FAIR, has used its social media accounts, which are followed by millions of people, to promote the Republican Party's attacks on Democratic President Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, the group hosted a video stream of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers seeking to push Republican leadership to the right, on its Facebook page as House Republicans held a press event in front of the Capitol on "Biden Border Crisis." FAIR has over 2.3 million followers on Facebook, and another 413,000-plus more on Twitter, where it also promoted the stream.

The event's slogan, which has been on the lips of multiple Republicans for the last few weeks, took hold after FAIR issued a press release on Jan. 21, the day after Biden was sworn into office, accusing Biden of "inducing an immigration and border crisis."

The Biden administration's Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, has said the challenges at the border are largely due to inheriting an immigration system he described as having been "gutted" by the Trump team.

FAIR and its Republican allies have continued their attacks nonetheless.

In just one week on Twitter, FAIR has promoted several immigration-related tweets from Republicans in Congress. They have retweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), and shared Rep. Dan Bishop's (R-NC) comments twice.

Additionally, FAIR tweeted out stories reporting on Republicans pushing FAIR's message on immigration, including remarks from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also a Republican.

FAIR has also shared immigration tweets from the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in Congress, and the official account for Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee. The tweet from the Judiciary Committee minority was a request to get FAIR's language in the hashtag "#BidenBorderCrisis" to trend on Twitter.

FAIR has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and has longstanding ties to white nationalism.

The organization's founder and board member John Tanton wrote in 1986 that " whites see their power and control over their lives declining," and said, "for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority."

Tanton ran the Social Contract Press, a publishing company that republished the anti-immigrant novel The Camp of Saints, which describes "swarthy hordes" of Indian immigrants overrunning France and calls immigrants "monsters." The book is reportedly a favorite of former Trump White House official Stephen Miller.

Additionally, for nearly 10 years FAIR took over $1.2 million in grants from the Pioneer Fund, which advocated for eugenics.

But the group's past has not prevented Republicans from repeatedly hosting representatives from FAIR to give Congressional testimony, and now both find themselves pushing the same anti-immigrant rhetoric once again.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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Photo by The White House

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