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Kobach and FAIR, the Muscle Behind Rep. Lou Barletta’s Cry for “Investigations”


Aaron Patrick Flanagan • Jul 10, 2012

PA Rep. Lou Barletta of Tanton Network's HIRC

Over the past week, some of the Tanton Network’s core muscle is flexing behind Rep. Lou Barletta’s call for hearings/investigations into the “Obama Amnesty decree.” It all certainly seems to be a play by Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Institute to Reform Legal Immigration (IRLI) via one of their Congressional representatives. Barletta sits on FAIR’s Advisory Board and is a member of the Tanton Network’s House Immigration Reform Caucus.

The former mayor of Hazelton, PA, Barletta, who garnered fame by asking Kris Kobach of IRLI to write a debt-magnet of an anti-immgrant law for his city, admitted to his home paper that the idea for the hearings has come directly from Kobach.

“Barletta, a former Hazleton mayor who introduced the controversial law as Hazleton’s mayor that would penalize businesses that knowingly hire, and landlords who knowingly rent to, people who are in the country illegally, said he learned of the 1996 law [Immigration Reform and Control Act] during recent discussions with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach is an attorney representing Hazleton in its ongoing court battles over the local immigration law.”

  • Here’s Barletta’s 1st PR regarding his hearings, which makes no mention of Kobach.
  • Here’s Barletta’s letter to Chairmen Rep. Peter King and Rep. Lamar Smith and Ranking Members Thompson and Conyers. Notice he even quotes Kobach’s NY Post op-ed (the line items that are listed in Kobach op-ed, e.g. “8 U.S.C. § 1225(a)(1),” etc) but cites Kobach nowhere.
  • FAIR is also housing the actual scan of Barletta’s letter on its own server, and not linking to it from an outside source.

The groundwork of support, it seems, was already laid by Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-HIRC), who wrote two letters to President Obama—demanding answers over the POTUS’s “breach of faith with the American people and our Constitution”— five days before Rep. Barletta wrote to Rep. Smith and others.

HIRC’s response from it’s leadership is still forthcoming at this point. They’ve not updated their site since 6/15, and Rep. Brian Bilbray (CA-HIRC & Co-Chair of FAIR’s Advisory Board)) is fairly entangled back in his home district with reelection business. That in mind, FAIR’s own recent “Legislative Update” seems to lay bare the chain of influence that Barletta alluded to in the piece from his hometown paper.

  • Here’s FAIR’s legislative update on Barletta’s request for hearings (listed 5th of 6 links). FAIR’s piece displays the deep extent to which one can reasonably speculate that FAIR assisted Barletta and will be backing him 100%. All the persuasive sources that are absent from Barletta’s letters are present in FAIR’s piece. It is also reasonable to speculate that Lamar Smith, a fellow HIRC member, and Peter King, who will see this as a chance to promote his own anti-Muslim hearings in but another Congressional setting, will respond warmly to this call from Barletta/FAIR/IRLI.
  • Finally, here’s Barletta’s most recent PR regarding the proposed hearings, from 07/02/12. If these hearings occur, expect witnesses from the Center for Immigration Studies to be heavily involved, and the usual dirty laundry list of Tanton Network stalwarts to converge on the beltway—as we’ve seen in the past with such “hearings” and “investigations.”

Expect State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of SLLI, who is pushing state level bills in PA similar to Barletta’s federal efforts, and Rep. Steve King (IA-HIRC), who is threatening to sue Obama, to piggy-back any successes that materialize from Barletta’s effort.

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