PFIR's Leah Durant (!) Latest Victim Of "White Nationalist" Smear

Pretty soon we will need a scorecard to keep track of all the charges of "racism" against Americans who dare favor patriotic immigration reform rather than amnesty.

As a Democrat, I have favored a rational debate on immigration reform for many years. I was outraged when Arizona's SB1070 law was challenged by the US Justice Department—on the narrow technical of "preemption", namely that Federal law always trumps state statutes. But I thought a serious debate might be the silver lining.

It may still be. On Friday, the Washington Post put on its front page some questioning by the Federal judge in Phoenix as to the merits of the Feds' case"

"A federal judge pushed back Thursday against a contention by the Obama Justice Department that a tough new Arizona immigration law set to take effect next week would cause "irreparable harm" and intrude into federal immigration enforcement.

"'Why can't Arizona be as inhospitable as they wish to people who have entered or remained in the United States?' U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton asked in a pointed exchange with Deputy Solicitor General Edwin S. Kneedler. Her comment came during a rare federal court hearing in the Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer (R).

"Bolton, a Democratic appointee, also questioned a core part of the Justice Department's argument that she should declare the law unconstitutional: that it is 'preempted' by federal law because immigration enforcement is an exclusive federal prerogative.

""How is there a preemption issue?' the judge asked. 'I understand there may be other issues, but you're arguing preemption. Where is the preemption if everybody who is arrested for some crime has their immigration status checked?' [Hearing on Arizona immigration law begins, By Jerry Markon, July 23, 2010

The judge said she is taking the case "under advisement". The law is supposed to take effect July 29.

But of course the real motif of the attacks on Arizona's law from the Administration and others in Congress and the MainStream Media was its alleged "racism".

And the level of these "racism" charges has not reduced down one whit. Apparently, anyone who believes that we should have less immigration, legal (one million work visas were given out to foreign workers this past 12 months, during our current deep recession) and illegal (how does this condition favor the alleged job creation priority of the Administration?), is going to end up the victim of racism charges—either publically or silently, by suppression!

I have just learned of one example of this silent suppression from Leah Durant, Executive Director of Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR).

As its website (http://www.progressivesforimmigrationreform.org) makes clear, PFIR's four main principles are legitimate main stream concerns which most Americans share. I quote:

1. Due to unsustainable growth and high consumption rates, the US must consider the impact that over population has on the environment,

2. Concern that current policies which flood the market with low-wage workers create unfair competition and reduce wages for all workers,

3. To date the US has become the 3rd most populous nation in the world and has the fastest growth rate of any industrial nation;

4, Because the US is growing at an unsustainable rate, US population growth and over consumption have enormous implication for worldwide sustain ability.

Gee, these seem to be issues which deserve careful consideration and urgent action, don't they? The world's population has grown from just over 1 billion a hundred years ago to almost 7 billion today, and may go over 10 billion by 2100—if the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse don't intervene.

Since its founding, PFIR has pursued its goals by publishing materials on these issues. But these thoughtful intellectual forays immediately attracted charges of racism.

By simply going to Goggle, one quickly finds two articles attacking PFIR from several well known voices, who are against any reasoned discussion of the immigration reform issue.

(It is worth mentioning that PFIR has no connection whatever with the Federation for American Immigration Reform [FAIR]—except that it and all other entities favoring patriotic immigration reform have been dubbed racists by vigilante gangs like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC—$PLC to VDARE.COM. )The SPLC's record has been recently well documented in The Social Contract magazine's Spring 2010 Special Issue "The Southern Poverty Law Center - A Special Report") .

On Friday, PFIR's Executive Director wrote Stuart Whatley, the Associate Blog Editor of The Huffington Post, a letter which bears reproducing, as it reveals the dangerous institutionalized soft totalitarianism which has crept into this immigration debate:

"7/23/10

To: Mr. Stuart Whatley, or whomever it may concern:

My name is Leah Durant. I am the Executive Director of Progressives for Immigration Reform, a Washington-based non-profit organization.

A little over a month ago, Huffington Post began publishing guest blog pieces written by me and our staff twice per week. Our pieces were widely accepted, and the comments following our posts indicated that readers were genuinely eager to discuss the issues being raised.

About a week ago, our staff was confronted with a piece by Stephen Piggott, a writer at Imagine 2050. The piece announced that PFIR's postings on Huffington had been "pulled" due to PFIR's alleged "connections to white nationalists".  Although after several successful and immediate posts, we noticed that Huffington had discontinued publishing our blogs, the Imagine 2050 article was the first we learned of Huffington's decision to "cancel" our featured blog spot.

In my opinion, if this is in fact the case, it is not only unethical for Huffington Post to pull our commentary based on the accusations of a single interest group like Imagine 2050, it is also highly disappointing that no one at the Huffington Post had the decency to inform us that our commentary would be pulled, or to provide us with an explanation.

We also regret not having an opportunity to respond to the false and slanderous allegations made by Image 2050. Although Imagine 2050 is diametrically opposed to the goals of PFIR, progressives, liberals and people from all political persuasions can have legitimate and thoughtful disagreements on the nation's immigration policy, without harboring racist motives.

As an African American, (and clearly not a "white nationalist"), I am highly offended by the tendency of some media outlets to assume that anyone concerned with limiting immigration is racist, while presenting no evidence to that effect.

The late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, a liberal Democrat and the first African American woman elected to Congress from Texas, led an entire Congressional Commission calling for reducing immigration to the US. Would this logic dictate then, that Barbara Jordan be labeled as racist too?

As for Imagine 2050's central allegation of PFIR's having ties to white nationalists, not only are these charges patently false, they are almost certainly actionable. Imagine 2050 has its own agenda concerning illegal immigration, one which stands in stark contrast to Progressives for Immigration Reform's. This provides no basis, however, for anyone's willingness to silence a legitimate view point within the liberal community.

If Huffington can find anything in our previous posts that indicates PFIR's alleged racist or white nationalist motives, I would be happy to discuss this with you. I can assure you there will be no such references. I ask that Huffington staff reconsider the pulling of PFIR's posts.

Leah Durant

Leah V. Durant
Executive Director
Progressives for Immigration Reform
888 16th Street NW, Suite 800
Washington DC, 20006
Telephone: 202-543-5325
1-866-331-PFIR (7347)

How disappointing that Huffington's editorial staff apparently did not look carefully into PFIR's legitimate role, but just accepted its opponent's claims—despite (or because of?) the popularity of its blog posts.

Did they buckle to calls from some on the other side to cut out even moderate voices?

Are we talking about another Shirley Sherrod debacle—only this time one which is sub rosa, harder to argue against as it is sotto voce, possibly repeated against many others (such as VDARE.COM)? 

Does true racism exist? Of course. And it is not pretty. But when we are discussing policy issues, legal issues, constitutional issues, looking for the best way to benefit our nation, we must focus on facts, fairness, basic integrity—none of which are served by overt or covert charges of racism.

As we have seen so often lately. the racist card is easy to play and has enormous power to intimidate, particularly when backed by huge political power.

I have watched the level of these ad hominem attacks escalate for years. But I know the basic fairness of American people will in the end prevail. Those who use this dangerous weapon indiscriminately will in the end be unmasked for the thugs they are.

Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.