Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Balancing Act

Steve Levy - a "fiscal conservative" who serves as County Executive of Suffolk County, New York - has noticed something a little odd about the "border security" group with which he'd allied himself.

Levy said he is reassessing his association with the Federation for American Immigration Reform after reviewing a report about it by a Chicago-based civil rights group.

"There are some very disturbing allegations against the group contained in the Center for New Community report that if true would require some serious explanation and could ultimately lead to our complete disassociation with their organization," Levy said.
I should hope so. Levy's talking about the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has ties to the Pioneer Fund, and the Council of Conservative Citizens. They've also funded Glenn Spencer's Aztlán-obsessed hate group American Patrol to the tune of $11,000.

FAIR's run by John Tanton, a longtime anti-immigrant activist who has a leering fascination with nonwhite sexuality, and fears that the ratlike fertility of immigrants will doom white America. As he noted in a memo, "[T]his is the first instance in which those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down!"

Some commentators have said that illegal immigration is going to be the GOP's big issue in 2006. I'd say don't bet on it. Whatever the legitimate issues may be in the debate over immigration, you don't have to dig very deep to find white-power groups and nouveau eugenicists in the anti-immigrant movement. Add to this the fact that the expropriation of labor is good for big business, and you have an issue on which the GOP will find it hard to win. Their aim is to pay lip service to populist xenophobia while rolling out the red carpet for transnational corporatist amorality, and that balancing act isn't going to get any easier in years to come.

Levy's scramble to disassociate himself from Tanton and FAIR is a time-honored maneuver - one that conservatives like Alan Simpson and Linda Chavez made before him- and it's typical of the impasse at which the GOP finds itself: it can't attack racism and vigilantism without alienating the "social conservatives" who are most fanatical about stopping illegal immigration; and it can't form partnerships with grassroots activist groups without bringing some very unsavory connections into the spotlight.


Anonymous said...

Levy is a Democrat.

Phila said...

I didn't say he wasn't. I'm using him as an example of what's likely to happen when you try to use immigration as an issue, while trying not to come across as either a racist or a dupe. It's applicable to people on both sides of the aisle, but particularly to the GOP, which has chosen to make this one of their big issues.

If it seemed as though I was calling him a Republican, I apologize for my sloppy writing. It wasn't my intention. But I think the point remains the same.