Federation for American Immigration Reform

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For Pro-Immigration, see Fair Immigration Reform Movement.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a non-profit tax exempt organization in the United States that advocates changes in U.S. immigration policy that they believe would result in significant reductions in immigration, both legal and illegal. It claims to have more than 250,000 members and supporters,[1] and has been called to testify in front of the United States Congress on immigration bills.

FAIR is headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded on January 2, 1979, with seed money from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Its founding chairman was John Tanton, a founder of many anti-immigration and environmentalist groups,[2] and its first executive director was environmental lawyer Roger Conner. Other initial founders included Otis Graham, Sharon Barnes, and Sidney Swensrud.[3] Dan Stein has been president of FAIR since 1988.


FAIR seeks a moratorium on net immigration by anyone other than refugees and the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, until it can be shown that higher immigration levels are needed.[4]

FAIR describes itself as nonpartisan. Though its founders originally pledged to make it "centrist/liberal in political orientation,"[5] it is sometimes described as politically conservative.[6][7][8]

FAIR identifies itself as a "group whose membership runs the gamut from liberal to conservative. [Its] grassroots networks help concerned citizens use their voices to speak up for effective, sensible immigration policies that work for America’s best interests".[9] Its Board of Advisors has included individuals such as Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray and Democratic Governor Richard Lamm.

FAIR promotes policies to improve border security and stop illegal immigration, and to reduce legal immigration into the United States to around 300,000 people a year. FAIR's policy studies emphasize the environmental, economic, and social effects of mass immigration.

FAIR's President Dan Stein serves on the 61-member board of the Citizens' Debate Commission, a nonpartisan American organization formed in 2004, which was established to sponsor future general election presidential debates.[10]

FAIR is a member of the Coalition for the Future American Worker, which describes itself as "an umbrella organization of professional trade groups, population/environment organizations, and immigration reform groups. CFAW was formed to represent the interests of American workers and students in the formulation of immigration policy."[11]

Under John Tanton's leadership FAIR was criticized for taking funding for many years from the Pioneer Fund, an organization dedicated to "improving the character of the American people" by promoting the practice of eugenics, or selective breeding.[12] Tanton’s activities are documented in 17 file boxes of archives he donated to the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.[13] Other FAIR organization records are stored at the Special Collections Research Center at the George Washington University.[14]

FAIR supports legislation that would deny automatic citizenship to children born in the U.S. whose parents are in the country illegally.[15]


FAIR advocates "7 Principles of True Comprehensive Immigration Reform":

1. End Illegal Immigration
2. No Amnesty or Mass Guest-Worker Program
3. Protect Wages and Standards of Living
4. Major Upgrade in Interior Enforcement, Led by Strong Employers Penalties
5. Stop Special Interest Asylum Abuse
6. An Immigration Time Out
7. Equal Under the Law

The FAIR website contains a detailed explanation of each principle and why FAIR considers each one important.[16]

Positions on the issues[edit]

FAIR claims to enhance national security by enabling laws and technologies which would deny immigrants U.S. citizenship and workers' rights for foreigners. The group also seeks to "influence public policy through lobbying" and by appearing in court. [17]

Influence and work[edit]

According to Andrew Wroe, a lecturer in American Politics and author of The Republican Party and Immigration Politics,[18] FAIR is viewed by many as an extremist group.[19] Georgie Anne Geyer, author of Americans No More: The Death of Citizenship, describes FAIR as a "highly respected group".[20]

The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, Senate Bill 1070, Arizona’s newest and most controversial immigration law, was written with the help of Kris Kobach, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School, and currently the Kansas Secretary of State. Kobach states that the law is “perfect concurrent enforcement” meaning that Professor Kobach believes that the state law parallels federal law without conflict. The test will come soon as individuals and organizations are criticizing, President Barack Obama, and some have begun their lawsuits, American Civil Liberties Union.[21] Kris Kobach is the Immigration Reform Law Institute’s national expert on constitutional law. This Institute is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.[22][23]

Other Arizona interaction includes Proposition 200 in 2004 which was spearheaded by the group “Protect Arizona Now” which worked with the Federation for American Immigration Reform. It is similar to California’s Proposition 187 in which illegal aliens are restricted from public benefits and voting because they are most likely unable to provide the required proof of citizenship. It also made the crime of a public official not reporting illegal status a class 2 misdemeanor.[24]

Other groups created by FAIR[edit]

FAIR established the FAIR Congressional Task Force (FCTF) as a 501(c)(4) organization who believe that promoting public welfare requires drastic restrictions on legal immigration.[25]

FAIR established the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) which claims that the rights, privileges, and property of U.S. citizens are threatened by immigration.[26]

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) was spun off from FAIR in 1985.[5]


In December 2007, FAIR was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). In its declaration, the SPLC gave a detailed accounting of its determination.[27] FAIR has responded to this charge by claiming that there is no factual basis for the accusation;[28] that FAIR has compiled a long record of mainstream credibility and respect on immigration issues and has always opposed discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion; and that the accusation is an "act of desperation, resulting from the SPLC’s failure to convince the American people of their viewpoint."[29] FAIR president Dan Stein said of the SPLC, "They've decided to engage in unsubstantiated, invidious name-calling, smearing millions of people in this movement who simply want to see the law enforced and, frankly, lower levels of immigration"[30]

FAIR has also been criticized for accepting contributions from the Pioneer Fund. Between 1982 and 1994, FAIR received $1.2 million from the foundation.[31] The Pioneer Fund focuses on projects it perceives will not be easily funded because of controversial, racial, or pro-eugenics subject matter.[12] It was described by the Sunday Telegraph as a "neo-Nazi organization closely integrated with the far right in American politics" in 1989.[32] FAIR has responded to this criticism by asserting that the Fund clearly states that it supports equal opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, religion, national origin, or ethnicity; that other major institutions, including universities and medical facilities in the United States and other countries, have also accepted grants from the Fund;[33] and that the Fund's contributions to FAIR were used only for the general operation of the organization.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Federation for American Immigration Reform: About FAIR
  2. ^ n.n. (2002). "John Tanton is the Mastermind Behind the Organized Anti-Immigration Movement". Intelligence Report (Southern Poverty Law Center) 2002 (106). 
  3. ^ Connor, Roger (1980-03-02). "U.S.A. Must Stop the Illegal Tide". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. 2.F. 
  4. ^ Federation for American Immigration Reform: Why America Needs an Immigration Time-Out
  5. ^ a b DeParle, J. (2011-04-17). "The Anti-Immigration Crusader". New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Partisan Heat Shows No Signs of Letting Up". CBS. September 16, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ Jordan, M. (2004-11-04). "The Bush Victory Limits Arizona's Illegal Immigrants' Access to Benefits". Wall Street Journal. p. A.4. 
  8. ^ Feldmann, L. (1992-01-30). "Salvadoran Immigrants Feel Tense - Uncertainty About Future Status". The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA). 
  9. ^ FAIR: : About FAIR
  10. ^ Citizens' Debate Commission: Advisory Board[dead link]
  11. ^ What is the Coalition for the Future American Worker
  12. ^ a b Potok, Mark (2004). "Racist Skinheads, Klan Groups Up in 2002". Intelligence Report (Southern Poverty Law Center) 2004 (113): 59–63. 
  13. ^ Beirich, Heidi (2008). "The Tanton Files". Intelligence Report (Southern Poverty Law Center) 2008 (132). 
  14. ^ Preliminary Guide to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Records, 1867-2006, Special Collections Research Center, Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University.
  15. ^ "Congressman Seeks to End Birthright Citizenship for Children of Illegal Aliens". fairus.org. June 1, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2011. [dead link]
  16. ^ Federation for American Immigration Reform: 7 Principles of True Comprehensive Immigration Reform
  17. ^ About FAIR | Federation for American Immigration Reform
  18. ^ "Andrew Wroe". Macmillan. Retrieved April 14, 2010. 
  19. ^ Wroe, Andrew (2008). The Republican party and immigration politics. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230-60053-9. 
  20. ^ Geyer, Georgie Anne (2009-08-10). "WE SHOULD BE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION". www.uexpress.com. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  21. ^ Schwartz, J.; Archibold, R. C. (2010-04-27). "A Law Facing a Tough Road Through the Courts". New York Times. 
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^ Beirich, H. (2010-03-20). "Guest Commentary: Don't poison immigration debate". Gadsden Times. 
  24. ^ Wilson, T. D. (2008). "Research Note: Issues of Production vs. Reproduction/Maintenance Revisited: Towards an Understanding of Arizona’s Immigration Policies". Anthropological Quarterly 81 (3): 713–718. doi:10.1353/anq.0.0026. 
  25. ^ FAIR Congressional Task Force
  26. ^ Immigration Reform Law Institute
  27. ^ FAIR: Crossing the Rubicon of Hate Hatewatch, Southern Poverty Law Center, December 11, 2007
  28. ^ Beware the Politicized "Hate Group" Designations by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
  29. ^ a b Federation for American Immigration Reform: Response to the Southern Poverty Law Center
  30. ^ Hsu, S. S. (2009-09-15). "Immigration, Health Debates Cross Paths". The Washington Post. 
  31. ^ "The New Nativism" Leonard Zeskind, November 10, 2005, The American Prospect
  32. ^ "Fascism Resurgent"
  33. ^ ISAR

External links[edit]