Once Again We Were Attacked by The SPLC

Recently we found ourselves once again attacked and maligned by the hobgoblins at the Southern Policy Law Center (SPLC). The funny thing is the last time they attacked us and devoted a page on their website to PFIR and our programs, they insinuated our then and long- serving Executive Director, Leah Durant, was a racist. After taking a little bit of time to bask in the SPLC’s attention, Ms. Durant sent them an email informing them she was a black American and had over the course of her life experienced real racism as opposed to the synthetic kind conjured up by the SPLC and its minions. Although they did not issue an apology, they did pull from their website all references to PFIR.

Having been involved in this movement for some time, I can tell you I used to find it strange the kind of organizations that have come together to stymie our good efforts. They include diverse groups such as George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, the National Association of Software and Services Companies, The Business Roundtable, fwd.us and the SPLC to name a few.

Strange as it may appear at first glance, upon closer examination they all share the common guiding principal of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism has nothing to do with classical liberalism in much the same way neoconservatism has nothing to do with being conservative. Neoliberalism is the belief that money and people should be able to move unfettered across borders with the goal of maximizing profits.

Last week, the SPLC attacked us in an article posted to their website with the title, Workers Organization Shares Staff, Cash With Anti-Immigrant Groups. The “workers organization” they were referring to is our U.S. Tech Workers, a project of PFIR. In 2018, we created U.S. Tech Workers to help us better focus on the impact employment visa abuse has on the nation’s skilled workers. In the poorly researched and reasoned article, they made note of my being the Executive Director of Progressives for Immigration Reform which they view as an anti-immigrant group.

As the son of an immigrant, I always found it peculiar that the SPLC would view my organization as anti-immigrant. But anyone looking to restrict immigration so that it works in the interests of the citizens is, in the plank-filled eyes of the SPLC, anti-immigrant. In addition, they deviously color the object of their scorn using the “association” propaganda technique. They use it by projecting negative qualities (blame) of a person, entity, object or value onto another to discredit them. This technique evokes an emotional response, which stimulates the target audience to identify with any authority type figure or organization.

For instance, they use it to attack PFIR by saying that Colcom Foundation, an organization that has been very generous to us over the years, has an association with John Tanton. So, it is more than just association. It is an association, with an association that is associated with…. Or rather, degrees of association.

They also attacked me in the article because I was on a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) panel with someone they regarded as a “hater” and for praising the research of CIS. Well, let me tell you, we should all be singing the praises of CIS. Below are just a few of the scholarly products they have created to inform the public and lawmakers on how employment visa abuse is hurting tech workers:

In fairness, I was contacted by an “investigative” reporter for an organization I did not recognize, with an SPLC email address. I chose not to respond for several reasons. First, the SPLC is biased against us in the extreme, with an agenda, and nothing I could say would in any way change what they would eventually print. Second, I want nothing to do with an organization that was founded and run by Morris Dees.

Morris Dees, along with SPLC’s COO and inhouse counsel, stepped down for unspecified reasons last year. Based on the writings of actual investigative reporters, Dees had a reputation for hitting on the young ladies in his organization and for not living up to the values the group espoused when it came to workplace diversity. Since 2008, I have had numerous conversations with people who have been maligned by the organization and others who were at one time card-carrying members and donors to the SPLC. I learned from them Morris Dees was a scumbag. If you believe that the leader of an organization is its psychic center and the leader’s thoughts are the most important in that respect, it easy to see why the SPLC has been conducting itself in such a shameful and deceptive manner. How’s that for “association?”

Perhaps Bob Mosher, an author and journalist who wrote an article in The New Yorker about Dees’ firing, stated it best:

“The firing of Dees has flushed up all the uncomfortable questions again. Were we complicit, by taking our paychecks and staying silent, in ripping off donors on behalf of an organization that never lived up to the values it espoused? Did we enable racial discrimination and sexual harassment by failing to speak out? ‘Of course we did,’ a former colleague told me, as we parsed the news over the phone. ‘It’s shameful, but when you’re there you kind of end up accepting things. I never even considered speaking out when things happened to me! It doesn’t feel good to recognize that. I was so into the work, and so motivated by it, I kind of shrugged off what was going on.’ A couple of days later, she texted me: ‘I’m having SPLC nightmares.’ Aren’t we all, I thought.”

It would appear that those still at the SPLC continue to carry the same tainted water and partake in ripping off donors on behalf of an organization that could care less about the working men and women of America. I understand the organization has a new Executive Director, a Margaret Huang. Let’s hope she is prepared to begin the task of reforming this dung heap of an organization.

I am unfazed by the shoddy hit piece because for an organization that claims to have hundreds of thousands of donors as the SPLC does, our PFIR and U.S. Tech Workers websites experienced no spike in visitors. You would think that someone reading their article might have googled us. It would have probably helped if the hyperlinks in the article actually took them to the PFIR and USTW websites. But no, the reader was taken to a page on the SPLC website where they characterized and painted us with their ugly bias. Imagine the horror if one their  followers would actually go to our websites and had the opportunity to take in a well-reasoned argument. But a megalomaniacal organization such as the SPLC insists on being seen as the sole authority and fears a dissenting opinion.

Despite that, what is up are the number of people following us on the U.S. Tech Workers’ Twitter page, as well as donations. So, thank you for that SPLC!

In closing, I think it is safe to say that everyone who follows us understands at a fundamental level that the numbers matter when it comes to preserving the ecosystems on which we rely for our survival and how supply and demand when it comes to labor impacts wages, job security and social mobility. We can control the numbers with immigration policy. In the end, we are not calling for anything radical. What we are calling for is enforcement of existing laws and policies that put the interests of the citizenry over those of corporations and ethnic lobbies. Again, we are undeterred and unfazed by attacks from organizations such as the SPLC. Moreover, I would welcome a debate with their new executive director in immigration policy.