The Racist Hate Group Behind Arizona's New Immigration LawS

The Immigration Law Reform Institute (ILRI) helped draft SB-1070 — the draconian law that means police must stop anyone brown-looking and demand their papers. ILRI is the legal arm of a racist hate group. And it's not stopping at Arizona.

Frank Rich today linked to a Think Progress report that reveals IRLI's general counsel, Michael Hethmon, helped draft the language of the bill. CNN report Hethmon saying that four other states, which he would not name, have approached him "for advice on how they can do the same thing where they live." We presume those states are among the 11 listed here as considering similarly draconian measures.

IRLI's website says it fights to protect the "legal rights, privileges, and property of U.S. citizens and their communities from injuries and damages caused by unlawful immigration." It is affiliated with a group called the Federation for American Immigration Immigration Reform (FAIR). Advocacy group The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks domestic hate groups, is unambiguous in labelling FAIR racist and dangerous. An investigation in 2007 revealed that:

The founder, chief ideologue and long-time funder of FAIR [John Tanton] is a racist. Key staff members have ties to white supremacist groups, some are members, and some have spoken at hate group functions. FAIR has accepted more than $1 million from a racist foundation devoted to studies of race and IQ, and to eugenics - the pseudo-science of breeding a better human race that was utterly discredited by the Nazi euthanasia program. It spreads racist conspiracy theories.

The group has also consulted with Vlaams Belang, a racist Belgian political party that used to be called Vlaams Bloc. Until the Belgian Supreme court banned it under that name for xenophobia. Which might explain why, according to Think Progress again, FAIR's legal arm, IRLI, has been behind some of the most racist-seeming pieces of legislation on the books. It charges $300 per hour to train Sheriff Joe Arpaio's men, who make sweeps for illegal immigrants, on immigration law. It has tried to stop the children of illegal immigrants attending school, and aligned itself with a measure to curtail their medical treatment and child welfare too.

Of course, while it's non-profit, IRLI doesn't work for free. So it stands to benefit handsomely for the cause if a bunch of controversial anti-immigration laws move slowly through statehouses across America.