Time to Listen to Both Sides on Immigration

Many critics have noted that government agencies often have a tendency to pay attention to interest groups on just one side of a particular issue. Nowhere has that problem been more evident than in the context of immigration.

For decades, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and then its successor agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), maintained an enormous “community relations” apparatus. But it was completely dedicated to listening to complaints from aliens seeking immigration benefits and the groups that represent those aliens. And these groups included overtly race-based groups like the National Council of La Raza (now known as UnidosUS), the Legal Union of Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

These groups represent the interests of non-citizens who want to influence American immigration policy in ways that ensure their constituents will be admitted to the U.S. and allowed to remain here. Notably absent from any of these “community engagement” and “stakeholder” activities were any groups representing the interests of the American people. Simply put, neither INS nor DHS was interested in what U.S. citizens had to say about immigration policy.

That all changed when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. And U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency responsible for reviewing and adjudicating applications for immigration benefits, suddenly showed a previously uncharacteristic willingness to hear the concerns of groups like the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Numbers USA.

Keep in mind, USCIS hasn’t closed its doors to groups like La Raza or LULAC. USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna has simply decided that his agency should solicit opinions from both sides of the immigration debate. After all, it wouldn’t make sense for a department of the U.S. government to listen to the concerns of non-citizens while completely discounting the views of citizens with the right to vote.

But now the alien grievance groups are fuming mad. They no longer have a monopoly on attempting to influence immigration policy decisions. The overtly left-leaning websites, The Daily Beast and The Week have both published a scare pieces criticizing Director Cissna for speaking at an allegedly “anti-immigrant” event hosted by a “hate group.”

The group in question is CIS. Both The Daily Beast and The Week smear it as a “hate group,” based solely on the assertions of the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center, despite the fact that CIS describes itself as neither liberal nor conservative, and doesn’t mention race in its materials.

For the last 30 years, however, there’s been nary a peep from any media outlets as INS and USCIS held a busy schedule of meetings with groups like LULAC which describes itself as an organization that serves “all Hispanic nationality groups” and the National Council of La Raza – whose name translates literally to National Council of “the Race.” Of course, that may be because any time anyone has attempted to point out just how racist organizations like LULAC and La Raza can be, they’re shouted down as “racists.”

Hopefully, the Trump administration will refuse to succumb to pressure from the open-borders lobby and continue listening to all Americans’ concerns about our dysfunctional immigration policies.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Its all about Money .. Anyone can be Bought …The American Dream is gone for many…The next generation will suffer….Suicides will become the Normal…

  2. avatar

    I have often wondered why our country allows organizations like CAIR and LaRAZA’s to operate here. CAIR has been deemed by other nations as a terrorist organization, and their only purpose is to push the agendas of muslims here. And LaRAZA’s exists only for the purpose of pushing the agenda of Mexico and its citizens in our country. But both organizations have been allowed by our government to accrue enormous political power. I find it offensive that my government allows, to operate here, an organization that pushes, in every way, the best interests of Mexican citizens in our country illegally. And our liberal courts and judges help them be so successful at it. LaRaza is always right there to take it to court and win for the illegal, no matter what the issue, whether forcing a business to hire the person though he is an illegal alien or forcing a hospital to treat the illegal needing an organ transplant at the expense of the American taxpayers. The muslims and Mexicans always win these lawsuits. Why is our country so weak and foolish? Why are our citizens forcing open borders/let everyone in and totally support them, so foolish and blind to the results of what they are doing? Nothing good for America, our citizens, or our nation’s future can come from any of this.

  3. avatar

    The media cries a river over how misunderstood they are, but they do this lazy propaganda con job of whenever they want to label some person or group they don’t like, there’s the Southern Poverty Law Center at the ready to stick a label on them. There are many liberals and publications, one being Harpers, who have pointed out that SPLC is far too quick to label people. Exactly who made them, BESIDES THE MEDIA, the be-all end-all of who is dispensing “hate”?

    FAIR is also a hate group according to them, but apparently no one told the federal government because FAIR is one of the groups listed as part of the Combined Federal Campaign to which federal workers can contribute by paycheck deductions.

    SPLC is a cash cow, sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars which they refuse to spend on projects that could use the money. They were sued by Maajid Nawaz for listing him in their Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. He won a 3.3 million dollar settlement and an apology. Something to consider for people who find themselves a target of the REAL hate group which is SPLC. Class action suit against them and the media sounds about right.