Nativism Watch

Rep. Lou Barletta Credits Nativist Think-Tank with Killing Immigration Reform


Imagine 2050 Staff • May 22, 2014

In an op-ed published by Roll Call this morning, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) hailed the release of a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) as “the day immigration reform died.”

The CIS report Barletta references makes misleading claims that ICE has released over 36,000 criminal aliens facing deportation charges. Barletta writes, “The occasion of the publication of that information could well come to be known as the day immigration reform died.”

Released just last week, CIS’s study has been lauded by far-Right legislators and media; however, mainstream outlets were less interested. The dearth of coverage is in no small part due to CIS’s established record of employing dubious methodologies in order to the reach conclusions its researchers desire. This recent report on criminal releases only further highlights the organization’s portfolio of disingenuous data.

Barletta’s lauding of the report is unsurprising given his own substantial ties to organized nativist groups. Before joining Congress, Barletta was mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, where he supported an unconstitutional anti-immigrant ordinance authored by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Barletta also sits on the advisory board of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), one of the three most influential nativist groups in the U.S.; Kobach just happens to work for FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI). In November, Barletta participated in a panel discussion organized by CIS, which was founded in 1985 as a project of FAIR.

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