At the press conference introducing their bill, the Gang of Eight evoked the spirit of Ted Kennedy. But the 24 pages of the 844-page bill (pages 370–94) dealing with “immigrant integration” stand as a rousing tribute to Saul Alinsky. If this bill becomes law, you can be sure, as night follows day, that federal dollars will pour into radical left-wing activist groups to promote “immigrant integration.”
On the surface, the bill’s provisions to “integrate” newcomers appear reasonable enough. Various projects are established to foster the “linguistic, economic, and civic integration of immigrants.” A public-private partnership is created; a pilot project is launched to provide funds to states, localities, and nonprofit organizations; and grants are awarded for the purpose of assisting “aliens who are preparing an initial application for registered provisional immigrant status” (i.e., legalization) and “legal permanent residents seeking to become naturalized United States Citizens.”
How will the “immigrant integration” section of the Schumer-Rubio bill work in practice? Let us examine how “immigrant integration” currently works in two states: Illinois and Maryland.
The State of Illinois established a Governor’s Office of New Americans (GONA) in 2006. The director of GONA declared, “Immigrant integration in the State of Illinois is made possible through our Strategic partnerships with community based organizations, local governments,” and various state agencies. GONA’s website specifically highlighted that its “strategic partnership” with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) receives “national recognition.” The ICIRR will undoubtedly become a major beneficiary of the Schumer-Rubio proposal.
The major figure behind the ICIRR is longtime radical activist Joshua Hoyt. Stanley Kurtz in his powerful exposé Radical-in-Chief noted that Hoyt collaborated with Barak Obama and former terrorist Bill Ayers on issues related to the Woods Fund of Chicago, as it dispensed funds to radical groups such as ACORN. Hoyt was associated with the original Saul Alinsky front group, the Industrial Areas Foundation. Under Hoyt’s leadership, the ICIRR led successful campaigns to gain state support for illegal immigrants’ access to in-state college tuition, preschool, and health benefits, and secured recognition for foreign-consular (matricula consular) identity cards. Hoyt and ICIRR also supported Islamic groups that were resisting law-enforcement examinations of suspicious Muslim charities, and they worked with others to pass an Illinois law mandating that detainees for immigration violations have access to “religious counseling” (often from radical imams.)
On July 8, 2012, the ICIRR hosted “Electoral Organizing training designed for people who are planning to run electoral or issue campaigns in 2012.” Participating in the ICIRR’s electoral training was a close ally (listed on the ICIRR letterhead as an affiliated organization): the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC). This group works closely with the Islamist (and Muslim Brotherhood–aligned) Islamic Council of North America. The CIOGC, along with the ICIRR, as well as the radical Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which is another official “strategic partner” of the Governor’s Office of New Americans, will clearly play important roles in any “immigrant integration” in Illinois.
At the center of immigrant integration is CASA de Maryland (originally Central American Solidarity Association) and its executive director, Gustavo Torres. CASA has tremendous influence in state politics both with the legislature and with Governor Martin O’Malley. Torres was co-chair of O’Malley’s transition team. He is a key member of the Maryland Council for New Americans, which advises O’Malley, and he chairs its working group on citizenship issues.
Torres left his native Colombia to support the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua in the 1980s. According to the Washington Post, he was a Sandinista journalist who met his first wife, an American Sandinista sympathizer and “advocate for reproductive health,” in Nicaragua. The Sandinistas, it is worth remembering, were officially Marxist-Leninists — that is to say, Communists. In other words, during the Cold War struggle against Communism, Gustavo Torres of CASA de Maryland was not on the side of the free world, and he continues to this day to be a critic of Reagan’s anti-Communist policies.
Torres became executive director of CASA in 1993 and a U.S. citizen in 1995. In 2007 he spoke at a Chávez-funded conference in Venezuela on “revolution” in Latin America. Shortly thereafter, from 2008 to 2010, CASA received $1.5 million in funding from the Chávez regime. Besides Chávez, CASA’s funders include the Maryland state government, the U.S. government, the Ford Foundation, and George Soros’s Open Society Institute.
CASA’s major activities consist of opposing federal, state, and local enforcement of immigration laws. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.) has charged CASA with “aiding and abetting criminal activity” by teaching illegal immigrants “how to circumvent the law.” On May Day in 2008, CASA organized a demonstration that included contingents from the American Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party. Not surprisingly, CASA and Torres are strong supporters of the “Cuban Five,” five Castro spies convicted by the American government, whose cause has become trendy for the international Left.
We can be sure that “immigrant integration” will work in the Senate bill the same way it currently works in the states. The left-wing groups that will benefit from the “Alinsky” section of the Schumer-Rubio bill include the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Service Employees International Union, La Raza, the Asian Law Caucus, the National Immigration Law Center, CASA, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, and various organizations supported by Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood. National Review readers have been alerted to the activities of these groups particularly through the writings of Stanley Kurtz, as well as David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin, co-authors of The New Leviathan.
As Lenin used to say, Cui bono? Who benefits? So who benefits from pages 370–94 of the Schumer-Rubio bill? Schumer knows. Does Rubio?
— John Fonte, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, is the author of Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or Be Ruled by Others?