- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2000


Recently, Sen. Spencer Abraham found his high tech agenda under fire from an unlikely source. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has taken exception to Mr. Abraham's leadership on H1-B visas. These visas make it easier for high technology companies to fill open jobs with foreign workers instead of Americans. This legislation is critical to the continued growth of our nation's economy.
The Houston Chronicle reported last week that Majority Whip Tom Delay was under fire from FAIR. Intent on pushing their racist agenda, this extremist, anti-immigrant group has begun a series of attack ads against Mr. Delay. True conservatives should be horrified that the Chronicle identified this extremist group with the conservative movement.
FAIR was founded in 1979 by a Michigan ophthalmologist named John Tanton. Mr. Tanton believed that the key to population control was ending immigration. He explained in the Detroit Free Press that unless America's borders are sealed, the country would be overrun with people "defecating and creating garbage and looking for jobs."
Garrett Hardin, a biologist at the University of California and current board member emeritus of FAIR, has some ideas about population control as well. He has publicly argued against reducing infant mortality rates in undeveloped nations. "Sending food to Ethiopia does more harm than good," he noted in a 1992 article. It will only "encourage population growth." He went on to say that China's policy of coercive population control was not strict enough, and that a "fetus is of so little value, there's no point in worrying about it."
Allowing poor children to starve to death and killing unborn children only accomplishes part of Mr. Hardin's agenda. Mr. Hardin told the Wall Street Journal that "The quickest, easiest and most effective form of population control in the U.S. that I support wholeheartedly, is to end immigration." One wonders what other forms of population control he would support.
Like wealthy mediamogul Ted Turner, FAIR argues that the population explosion threatens the subsistence of all humans. Mr. Turner gained notoriety recently when he promised to raise a billion dollars for the United Nations to pay for "population control" overseas. Mr. Turner and FAIR's concern over population growth is nothing new. In the mid-18th century, clergyman Thomas Malthus predicted that the world's food supply would soon fail to keep pace with its rising population. And like Malthus, FAIR and Mr. Turner will be largely discredited.
They are people with a zero-sum view of the world that manifests itself in an irrational dislike of the foreign-born and a hatred of the economic growth, dynamism and openness that has made America great. When the San Francisco Examiner investigated FAIR in 1993, it found that the group had "accepted annual donations from the Pioneer Fund which also paid for research that claimed that blacks and Latinos are inherently inferior to whites and Asians." In all, FAIR received about $1 million dollars in contributions.
Dan Stein, current executive director of FAIR and lead spokesperson for the group, does not mince words either. Asked on a Detroit radio station on Feb. 2, 1996, whether he supports a U.S. population of 150 million, he responded, "That's a good long term target." Then asked what would happen to the other 150 million of us, he remarked, "It's a long term target."
His crusade to topple Mr. Abraham in Michigan has drawn widespread criticism from religious groups and immigration groups. Paul Long, vice president for public policy of the Michigan Catholic Conference, said that the ads are "shameful and filled with hate."
These H1-B visa bills in Congress help keep our economy growing with innovative personnel and provide more scholarships for U.S. students to enter high tech fields, which are crucial to the future of our high tech economy. Those advertising against these bills are not conservatives. Nor are they really liberals. FAIR should not and cannot be allowed to speak for conservatives, or about conservatives.
True conservatives will recognize that these hate-filled extremists are nothing more than Ted Turner population- control wanna-bes.

Damon B. Ansell is vice president for policy at Americans for Tax Reform.

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