I don't know about anyone else, but if I'm going to watch a debate about what members of the House and Senate are considering on immigration reform, someone who is a member of an organization with ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists is the last person I'd like to see have a seat at that table. But that's exactly who CNN thought was worth bringing on to discuss the topic during this segment on The Situation Room this Monday.
Lou Dobbs may be gone, but it seems his tradition of inviting extremists on the air to discuss immigration policy remains.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has more on Stein and his group here: Federation for American Immigration Reform:
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a group with one mission: to severely limit immigration into the United States. Although FAIR maintains a veneer of legitimacy that has allowed its principals to testify in Congress and lobby the federal government, this veneer hides much ugliness. FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements. Its advertisements have been rejected because of racist content. FAIR’s founder, John Tanton, has expressed his wish that America remain a majority-white population: a goal to be achieved, presumably, by limiting the number of nonwhites who enter the country. One of the group’s main goals is upending the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended a decades-long, racist quota system that limited immigration mostly to northern Europeans. FAIR President Dan Stein has called the Act a "mistake." [...]
Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR received around $1.2 million in grants from the Pioneer Fund. The Pioneer Fund is a eugenicist organization that was started in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who wanted to pursue "race betterment" by promoting the genetic lines of American whites. Now led by race scientist J. Philippe Rushton, the fund continues to back studies intended to reveal the inferiority of minorities to whites.
FAIR stopped receiving Pioneer Fund grants in 1994 due to bad publicity it received when the grants were made public. At the time, FAIR was backing California's punishing anti-immigrant Proposition 187, which would have denied education and health care to the children of undocumented immigrants in that state if it had not died as the result of court challenges. Stein and Tanton had led FAIR's efforts to win funding from Pioneer, and Stein said in 1993, before Pioneer's extremism was made public, that his "job [was] to get every dime of Pioneer's money."
There's lots more there in their full report, so go read the rest.
Full transcript below the fold.
BLITZER: President Obama lays out his second-term vision for comprehensive immigration reform tomorrow.
BOLDUAN: But the senators who unveiled a new reform blueprint today say they are not stealing his thunder. In fact, they say the president cheered them on.
The bipartisan Senate plan includes a path to citizenship. But illegal immigrants would have to undergo a background check and pay a fine and back taxes before gaining legal status. All that is contingent on improvements in securing America's borders. To accomplish that, the Senate proposal calls for increased use of drones, more personnel, and improved infrastructure. It also would create an employment verification system that would hold employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers.
BLITZER: Our guests have very different views about comprehensive immigration reform and that blueprint that was unveiled on the Senate today. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is joining us from her home state of California. Here in D.C. Daniel Stein is president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Thanks to both of you for coming in.
Congresswoman, let me start off with you. A pathway to citizenship for, let's say, 11 million or 12 million illegal immigrants here in the United States. Isn't that a form of amnesty, as the critics like to say?
REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, first of all, we're going to have regulations, I believe, about what the qualifications that they need to meet.
They are going to need to speak English, for example. They are going to have to pay a fine for having probably gone around the system in being here. Of course if they have anything criminal in their background, they are not going to be eligible. So I think there's going to be a high bar for these people to meet, and it's also going to be a time of residency that they're going to be required before they even have a chance at citizenship here.
But I do believe that they're already here. We've already realized in the Congress and even the Republican side has realized that you can't ask them to self deport. You can't deport them all. You can't incarcerate them all. And that it's important for our country to move forward for homeland security reasons, from a family values standpoint and from the economy in our interests.
So all in all, I hope that this bipartisanship that has been shown in the Senate will come up with details that will be acceptable to a majority of the people in the House also.
BLITZER: Dan Stein, it's not just liberal Democrats who favor this and a lot of conservatives. Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, they were all out there saying the time has come to deal with this in a comprehensive way.
DAN STEIN, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: Look, we've heard all this before. I mean, I've got video of Chuck Schumer in 1986 saying this will be the last amnesty. We won't do it again. Take a look at the debates in 2006. This is the only time. Ted Kennedy said that. I think you had some footage earlier today.
Look, Marco Rubio said he wasn't going to support a path to citizenship. The AFL said they're not going to support a big guest worker program. We've got a slack labor market, and we certainly have job displacement. We have flat wages. We see an awful lot of Americans who were struggling. How is this bill, by giving a big amnesty and setting off a tidal wave of more foreign labor, going to help the average American get his kid to college, get a job, get better wages and improved working conditions. How is it going to help our fiscal situation in the states?
The way the bill -- see, what we've got right now is a skeletal draft. And these guys go into it holding arm and arm like they're going in the tunnel of love. By the time they get through the immigration debate, it's like they've been in the lions' den.
Because ultimately, when you get down to the details, what you see is all the enforcement provisions are things that we've essentially had on the books anyway. If the president would enforce the law, most of that stuff would be gotten done anyhow. So ultimately, it's a big amnesty bill with a prospect of illusory enforcement with which, with this administration's track record, is really illusory.
BOLDUAN: And Dan, this is a bipartisan push, at least, you know, at this point it is. And Senator John McCain, a strong Republican, he said today at least part of the reason behind this push has to do with elections and the fact that elections matter. Listen -- listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Elections. Elections. The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens. And we realize that there are many issues in which we think we are in agreement with our Hispanic citizens. But this is a preeminent issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So if this is the reality, you know, the political reality and simply the reality, what can you do? I mean, if you're against the Senate bill, what's the other option?
STEIN: This is a watershed for the Republican Party, because ultimately, what they have is a problem with low-income voters, 50,000 and under, single women. And because immigration is dramatically increasing the population of people working with less skill, less education, they're having trouble reaching that -- that population with an effective message.
Now the business groups want to continue to increase that population dramatically over time. Even though that's a population voting for the politician who wants bigger spending.
BOLDUAN: What's the alternative, then, if you don't support what they're saying?
STEIN: Well, Obama himself, with McCain -- remember, McCain was Mr. Amnesty in 2008. He didn't do that well with Latino voters. Both Obama and McCain said, "We've got to support Border Patrol, get credibility to the system the way Barbara Jordan (ph) did." And now ultimately we're at the same place. Where's the credible enforcement that would be a condition for moving forward?
BLITZER: Let's let the congresswoman respond.
SANCHEZ: Let's talk about -- let's talk about enforcement. Because I've sat on the board of security committee of homeland security since its inception. I've actually been the chairwoman of that.
We now see Candice Miller, Republican, who represents Michigan. We have increased our Border Patrol from about 5,000 people to now 22,000 people in that agency. So we've seen an increase in agents and the majority have gone on the southern border.
I've got to tell you, terrorists who have come across have actually come from the northern border. We have problems with our coastlines.
So, you know, everybody always points to the Latino community, but the reality is that we want enforcement to ensure that we know who's coming in and out of our country. We -- one of the stipulations that the Senate has put in this is that we cover the overstaying of visas. I think that's an in important to do.
Certainly, the U.S. visa program, which was a visit program that both the Bush and the Obama administration put in place. They only did "let's check the visas when people come in." They didn't do the "let's check them when they go out." We need to get that, because we need understand that, for example, the 9/11 hijackers were actually on overstayed visas.
We have done a lot of enforcement. This president has deported more people than President Bush did. We've done a lot of enforcement and we'll do some more, but we need to give status to the people who are part of our community already. BLITZER: It looks, Dan Stein, like you may be on the losing side of this debate, given the political atmosphere right now after this election.
STEIN: Well, keep in mind that if Obama really wants to get something done, he'd go with a piecemeal approach the way Rubio says.
STEIN: If it's omnibus, it's ominous, because there's always stuff you can find.
BLITZER: Jeb Bush wants comprehensive immigration reform. The former Florida -- you read his article in the "Wall Street Journal."
STEIN: Well, it's a Bush family fallacy that Latino voters will vote Republican if you just give them amnesty. It doesn't work.
BLITZER: He got 44 percent of the vote in 2004.
STEIN: Our job -- our job at FAIR is to make sure that reform means that we fix the problems that brought us to where we are today so we don't have to do this every 10 years. What we have right now is the beginning of a dialogue but we're a long way from the finish line.
BOLDUAN: There's one thing that you would need to see in a comprehensive bill.
STEIN: Mandatory e-verify, mandatory e-verify. Repeal the ban on warrantless open-field searches. We're not going down the path of a big agricultural guest worker program unless we repeal the ban on warrantless open-field searches.
Also, the Jordan Commission and the Hentzberg (ph) Commission over 30 years of saying you've got to eliminate the merit (ph) adults, sons and daughters references and the brothers and sisters, because you have chain migration. And no rational reform can work if you don't get it done.
BLITZER: Dan Stein is the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
BOLDUAN: Got a lot to go with this debate.
BLITZER: Loretta Sanchez is the United States congresswoman from California, a Democrat. This debate, obviously, only just beginning, again.