As immigration officers round up large numbers of people under President Trump’s stepped-up enforcement orders, communities of color across the country are gripped by growing uncertainty and fear.
In initiating the crackdown, President Trump is seeking to deliver on one of his most controversial campaign pledges at a time when many Americans are expressing concerns about what they see as an influx of illegal immigrants into the country.
But at the same time, President Trump and his team have employed noxious rhetoric that has stoked bigotry – but not only against immigrants. It has also harshly targeted women and other communities of color, to name but a few.
In this combustible atmosphere, many Trump supporters have been ratcheting up their rhetoric to encourage Trump, even as courts and average citizens raise strong objections to his policies, both on legal and moral grounds.
To be sure, the strain of bigotry and xenophobia that President Trump has tapped is nothing new in American politics. But in Mr. Trump’s case, his candidacy appears to have been fueled by a loose network of anti-immigration groups and some documented hate groups whose efforts have been coordinated and financed by forces that up to now have been largely hidden from public view.
To understand what could lie ahead, we must consider who and what helped to give rise to this network.
Specifically, the administration’s moves have been celebrated by groups like NumbersUSA, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) that have been reported by the Los Angeles Times to make up the network that lay the foundation for this vitriolic movement.
President Trump regularly cites statistics and written material from CIS in his speeches. And NumbersUSA President Roy Beck recently acknowledged the group’s role in shaping Trump Administration policy, saying: “We have been in the wilderness for 20 years under the Clinton, Bush, Obama Administrations. It doesn’t matter the party. And yes, now we are in the room.”
These anti-immigrant groups are actively monitored as extremist “hate groups” by watchdogs such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) because of their “virulent and false attacks on non-white immigrants”. Yet they surprisingly receive millions from Foundation for the Carolinas, a community foundation in North Carolina that describes itself as a “catalyst for charitable good” that seeks to provide for the “collective strength of communities.”
Foundation for the Carolinas is one of the most prominent and beloved philanthropic organizations in the South, with assets totaling $1.85 billion and a decades-long record of giving that includes money for college scholarships, church programs, museums, opera companies, homeless shelters and the like.
But there is reportedly a sinister side to the Foundation for the Carolinas that many in its hometown of Charlotte, N.C. simply have not seen. Even as the foundation continues to be ranked among the nation’s top community foundations with high-profile board members from Fortune 500 companies, it has quietly become a top financial backer of the groups fueling the acrimonious and highly combustible debate playing out nationally over immigration policy, particularly with the rise of Donald Trump.
Over the last decade, The Foundation has spent $15 million to fund this network of extreme anti-immigration groups. The foundation has also contributed $25 million to controversial population-control groups, according to a review of public documents and the organization’s tax records.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the source of funds is largely Fred Stanback Jr., a wealthy man from Salisbury, North Carolina who has been clear about barring people he considers unsavory from entering the United States on the grounds that he wants to protect America’s resources.
Though he claims to embrace a pathway to citizenship, he has said, “Numbers of people affect the environment…They want all the nice things that the rest of us have, but America can’t take all the poor people in the world.” At the same time, the foundation has supported the reputed hate groups and population control extremists in the country.
This connection between a little known community foundation, Fred Stanback and the most extreme supporters of President Trump’s base of supporters is troubling at best and raises serious questions that deserve further scrutiny. For the sake of all Americans, immigrants included, individuals cannot be allowed to mask their troubling intentions behind professions of altruism and charitable giving.