I am writing in response to the New Yorker essay of February 17, in which you reported that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies as "hate groups." You offered no elaboration, no explanation. You provided no opportunity for response. I write now in defense of the Center for Immigration Studies, where I am a research fellow. I will let FAIR speak for itself.
The hate group smear is a cheap attempt at character assassination. Your reckless recitation of it in a prestigious magazine is journalistically unethical. Before you drew your readers' attention to the smear, it had been ignored in the world of reputable journalism. Reporters and editors must have recognized that printing it would make them complicit in the SPLC's dirty work. You may be proud that you assisted the SPLC's effort to denigrate CIS. I think the SPLC, who excesses are so blindly accepted by so many liberals, has induced you to debase the New Yorker.
The purpose of the SPLC attack on the Center for Immigration Studies is to delegitimize a widely respected organization that has become an important voice of dissent from the Manhattan consensus on immigration. That consensus defends the proposition that immigration – regardless of its legality, intensity, or effects on the lives of working-class Americans – is an undiluted good, questioned only by the narrow of mind and hateful of heart.
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