Originally Published: February 7, 2008 7:20 p.m.
Perhaps your reporter had to leave the M.L. King Jr. Day celebration at Yavapai College early to meet your deadline, but his Feb. 22 article left out the most important part of speaker Heidi Beirich's presentation, the part about FAIR.
Beirich works for the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, which has traced 844 hate groups in the U.S. FAIR (the Federation for American Immigration Reform) has joined the roster of hate groups.
Founded in 1979 by John Tanton, FAIR promotes such conspiracies as Mexico's desire to take over the American Southwest. The center's Winter 2007 Intelligence Report calls FAIR "The Teflon Nativists," Teflon because it has managed to get 500 quotes in mainstream media and testified on immigration before Congress at least 30 times without noting its anti-Latino and anti-Catholic bigotry and fondness for eugenics.
Lou Dobbs and others in the media have disseminated FAIR's lies and distorted "facts," such as the groundless rumor citing 30,000 cases of leprosy that illegals have brought across the border in three years. It was 30 years, not three, and no way exists to tell if legal or illegal immigrants brought them in or from what country.
Leprosy responds to antibiotics and therefore is not the scourge of Biblical times.
Fortunately, 60 Minutes exposed that lie, and Kevin Colbert punctured Dobbs' credibility.
Beirich said Arizona has only 10 hate groups, one of them in Cottonwood. Still, we need to know about the venomous materials these groups distribute.
We should base any new laws to solve illegal immigration problems on factual information - not exaggerated fears and hate.
Northern Arizona Interfaith Council