By Seth Freed Wessler

May 4, 2010

The growing number of immigration-enforcement bills in state legislatures around the country are not merely following Arizona's lead. Rather, the bills—which legislators have discussed or introduced in at least 11 states—are the fruits of a concerted political strategy seeded by the far-right group Federation for American Immigration Reform, which has taken money from a eugenics foundation and was created by a man who warned of a “Latin onslaught.”

State lawmakers pushing a new crop of immigration-enforcement bills are overwhelmingly affiliated with a network tied to eugenics and anti-Latino fear-mongering. In a majority of the states where legislation has been proposed or discussed, the leading lawmakers behind the bills are associated with FAIR’s legislative arm, a group called State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) that operates in at least 35 states. FAIR was founded over 30 years ago by John Tanton, who is widely credited with spurring the contemporary anti-immigrant movement. Over the past three decades Tanton has expanded FAIR’s reach by cultivating a network of associated organizations, each of which plays a distinct role in the anti-immigrant movement’s infrastructure.  ...