I don’t often have the chance to mention FAIR’s many special friends, but now is a good time to mention a few. Late 2013 and early 2014 was a period of unusual loss for FAIR, as we saw so many close friends pass into the next world. A brief sweep of who they are – their talents, gifts, and varied interests – reveals just how special the constellation of FAIR supporters has been and continues to be. These are people who simply can never be replaced.
Max Thelen, Jr.: Max passed away earlier this year after many years of service both on FAIR’s Board of Directors and National Board of Advisors. I first met Max in San Francisco as a result of his life-long work in global and U.S. population policy research and activism. Max was a tireless advocate for responsible immigration policy solutions, applying a level-headed intellectual capacity with a thoughtful sense of what is fair. He was a sincere, caring, and deeply committed member of the environmental community who shared a passion for fairness and honesty in public policy solutions. As a successful practicing attorney and World War II veteran, Max cared deeply about our country and its historic support for the rule of law; while being engaged internationally as an active participant in the World Affairs Council. We will all miss him so very much.
Joyce Tarnow: I’m not sure I ever met anyone quite like Joyce Tarnow. Joyce was one of those rare individuals who carried her activism seamlessly from the most local of concerns to the broad national and global horizon. To know Joyce was to know a force of nature; a person flawlessly prepared to make supremely effective arguments with uncompromising force. A devoted and tireless member of FAIR’s National Advisory Board, Joyce rarely missed a meeting in twenty years. She was a Florida environmental activist who took her passion for women’s issues, conservation, responsible growth policies, water scarcity, development limits, and population stabilization with uncompromising directness and zeal. Joyce helped found Floridians for Sustainable Population and, later, Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (FLIMEN). She was the kind of fearless advocate that couldn’t help but accomplish great things. Joyce did those and so much more. We lost Joyce in early 2014.
Robert W. Wilson was a wonderful friend to FAIR for over 25 years, and many FAIR members will remember the “Robert Wilson Matching Grant” program we’ve had for the past six years. I had the pleasure of getting to know what I and many others have called a great man. Like many others who’ve supported FAIR over the years, Bob was intelligent, forward thinking, and courageous. Unafraid of candor or controversy, Bob understood that chance favors the mind willing to take a risk (his maverick investment style was characteristic of someone who, undeterred by losses, could always be counted on to make up the difference and a whole lot more). In our conversations, it was clear to me that Bob Wilson understood what makes a civilization succeed and what makes a nation successful. He knew that for the United States, a commitment to excellence could only be realized with an immigration policy that assured the nation would be competitive over time. Bob Wilson inspired many as he devoted countless hours and hundreds of millions of dollars to a wide range of causes including The Nature Conservancy, historic preservation, and the New York Public Library. Stewardship of our nation’s resources and investment in our children’s education are what defined this important FAIR supporter. I was privileged to get to know this man very well, and I can tell you he defined what is special about those who care about our cause.
These three supporters are emblematic of the great minds and souls that have stood behind FAIR and what we are trying to achieve. They join a growing list of distinguished Americans who have understood why the cause of true immigration management, limits, and controls is essential to all we seek to achieve for our posterity.