Twelve more Republicans learned last week that promising to support an anti-immigrant agenda does not help you win elections.
In April, the Federation for American Immigration Reform asked mid-term candidates, “Will you promise to protect American workers?” Keep reading and you’ll learn that what FAIR is really asking is whether candidates oppose “(1) amnesty; (2) increasing the number of guest workers; and (3) increasing the overall level of immigration.”
On Thursday, six candidates who signed FAIR’s pledge competed in five races. All of them lost. Two days earlier, in the eight primaries that featured pledge signers, six lost.
It is possible that FAIR is trying to see the bright side of last week’s results. In Washington’s 4th District, Tea Party-baked former NFL player Clint Didier won a “top two” primary and will face fellow Republican Dan Newhouse – who did not sign the pledge – in November.
But FAIR-aligned victors Danny Page in Tennessee – who just signed on last week – and Allen Hardwick in Michigan are in tougher races in the general election. Page is running as an independent against Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and, according to the latest FEC filings, has raised only $2,000 to Alexander’s $2 million. Hardwick, a Republican, is up against Rep. Dan Kildee whose district is a Democratic stronghold.
This primary season has been a rough one for FAIR. Of the 94 candidates who are running for federal office (in 75 races) and have signed FAIR’s pledge:
- 14 candidates have won their respective primaries and/or runoffs. This includes five incumbents and three others who ran unopposed.
- 68 candidates have lost or dropped out of primary races.
It’s worth noting that a tiny percentage of candidates for federal office signed the pledge. Only about 4 percent did. Candidates who may otherwise align with FAIR’s anti-immigrant agenda know that publicly aligning with a group so closely linked to nativist extremism carries political risks. Most of the candidates who did sign on had little hope of winning in the first place.
FAIR is one of the three most influential anti-immigrant organizations in the United States. They are part of a network – known collectively at Imagine 2050 and the Center for New Community as the “Beltway Big Three” – that includes the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA. Each of the groups have their roots in the “population control movement” and can all be traced back to the same controversial figure, John Tanton.
FAIR’s Congressional Task Force and its lobbyists are close to important members of the House Judiciary Committee and the agenda they are trying to push with the help of Reps. Steve King and Lamar Smith are major factors in the House’s failure to pass humane – or any – immigration reform measures.
Some politicians may know better than to publicly align with a group like FAIR, especially during primary season. But this November, we may get a better glimpse at who is willing to uphold and advance its agenda.
Imagine 2050 Staff contributed to this report. Kalia Abiade is the advocacy director at the Center for New Community.