Iowa Leaders Condemn Anti-immigrant Group's Talk Radio Plans for Christmas Week

DES MOINES, IOWA—Iowa leaders today condemned upcoming radio shows planned by the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and urged the nation instead to embrace American values of unity, equality, and opportunity.

FAIR, the group responsible for stirring up nativist sentiment across the country, will import twenty-two radio talk hosts into Des Moines from across the country December 27and 28 to conduct the radio shows, based out of the downtown Marriott.

“We will not stand quietly by as FAIR pushes its divisive and intolerant message from Iowa,” said Alicia Claypool, Chair of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.  “It is a dangerous message—one aimed at taking the immigration debate to the extreme in a manner that threatens our core American values.  FAIR’s approach to this issue is nothing less than poisonous.”

“There is bitter irony in this hateful message spread during Christmas week,” said Connie Ryan Terrell, Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa and Action Fund.  “Immigrants in this country work hard in often difficult conditions, and yet these anti-immigrant forces want to make them scapegoats for all that’s wrong.  To flood the airwaves with a fear-based message against immigrants is unacceptable and unwelcome in Iowa.”

Recently, thousands of Iowans, including many faith leaders, endorsed the Iowa Interfaith Immigration Coalition petition calling for immigrants to be treated with dignity during the debate on immigration.

“People of faith and goodwill from across Iowa are appalled with the hateful message from groups like FAIR and are speaking out against it” Ryan Terrell stated.

“This extremist group is notorious for coming into Iowa just prior to the caucuses to advance its harsh, anti-immigrant agenda,” said Walter Reed, Director of the Iowa Human Rights Department.  “In 2004 FAIR was part of a coalition that ran television ads that were pulled from the air by one station that described them as ‘borderline racist.’”

According to the Chicago-based Center for New Community and the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, FAIR has deep ties into the nation’s white supremacist movement.  The organization accepted over $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, routinely described as a white supremacist foundation.

According to Reverend David Ostendorf, Executive Director of the Center for New Community, “This denunciation of FAIR’s radio show plans reflects the values of the Campaign for a United America, made up of Americans from all walks of life who are standing up to defend the nation’s historic commitment to unity, equality and opportunity.”

“The Campaign,” Ostendorf said, “is working to promote a dialogue that respects the contributions of all community members including immigrants and explores a sensible, humane, and compassionate approach to life together in a diverse America.”

“We stand with the majority of Americans who find themselves alarmed by the increasingly scornful actions and hateful rhetoric of an anti-immigrant movement that aims to divide America in order to advance their far-reaching and intolerant agenda,” Ostendorf said.

The Center for New Community is a founding member of the Campaign for a United America.  The Center works across the nation to build community, justice, and equality.  Additional information about the Campaign can be found at Campaign for a United America

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  • thanks for posting this diary

    What a sad commentary on the political landscape today.

    I love the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, by the way. That’s a great organization for people to join.

    • help spread the word...

      Thanks! It’s a happy commentary that so many groups are willing to stand up against these nativist groups trying to exploit the caucuses.

      There’s a list of the radio shows coming to Iowa here – Feel free to contact these stations and let them know that they’re partnering with an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a “hate group.” I hear that a number of stations have already pulled out of the event.

      You can also let them know who really represents the people of Iowa!

      You’re right about the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. They’re doing great things and could use the support!

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