Immigration reformers wondering why their reforms are getting nowhere may wish to drop in at the Mayflower hotel tomorrow. The National Immigration Forum (NIF) will be holding its annual conference at the luxury hotel in downtown Washington D.C. this Wednesday through Friday.
Annual conferences at even the most prominent immigration reform organizations barely bring in 100 individuals, most of whom take time off from regular jobs to attend meetings at modest hotels in the D.C. suburbs. Almost never do politicians attend immigration reform meetings, though Sen. Eugene McCarthy – yes, Eugene McCarthy, was seen at one recent event.
By contrast, the most recent immigration enthusiast event brought in 1,500, most of them employed in the immigration business or in government.
The NIF conference this week will be a smaller affair. But for $735.00, lodging not included, conferees will be able to attend media workshops ("How to fool most of the media most of the time"?), go to a power breakfast with Washington insiders and attend panel discussions. Among the panelists are correspondents from major newspapers and officers of groups ranging from the Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Tax Reform to such groups as La Raza, MALDEF, the ACLU and various lawyers' associations.
According to NIF staffers the main speakers at this week's events are Sen. Kennedy and James Ziglar, the Bush appointed head of the INS. Other high-level Bush Administration personnel and congressional members and staffers will be there also.
Amazingly, this event is brought to you by Freddie Mac – a public/private mortgage lending bank created by Congress in 1970, whose web page banner reads, "We open doors for millions all across America." [VDARE.COM note: Including for resident aliens. Freddie Mac can be contacted here.] Some attendees are paying for the event with Government Purchase Order numbers. I wonder what Americans for Tax Reform will have to say about that? [To ask, click here.]
If you decide to visit the Mayflower this week, you won't be able to officially attend any part of the conference. This is a members-only affair.
At least one registrant, who was assured he could attend and who had already paid (not with a government P.O. number) had his money returned and was told he would be barred from attending - apparently on the basis of thought and opinion alone. Some opinions are too diverse - even for a celebration of diversity.
So even though your Congressional representative might be there, and despite the fact that, at least partly, your tax dollars are supporting the event, you can only watch from the outside.
But, after lurking around the back of conference halls and listening in on breakout sessions I guarantee you won't have any more questions about who's financing the immigration lobby: you are.
January 29, 2002