With the failure once again of the much heralded Hispanic Electoral Tsunami to remember which day was Election Day, let me remind you that I’ve been pointing out for years that pro-immigration movement is blatant Astroturf, with only the shallowest imaginable grass roots among Hispanic-American voters. Now, the New York Times has finally, sort of picked up on that. In 2011 I wrote in VDARE:
But a simple question is seldom asked: do these self-proclaimed prophets actually have many disciples? Or, are they less leaders than phone numbers in reporters’ electronic rolodexes?—speed-dial Solons always ready with a self-serving quick quote?You can see this in the “immigration reform” leaders widely quoted by the news media. For example, Frank Sharry, apparent Leader-for-Life of the National Immigration Forum, is half Irish and half Italian.
As it happens, a recent survey by the Pew Hispanic Center of 1,375 Latino adults (National Latino Leader? The Job Is Open (PDF)] by Paul Taylor and Mark Hugo Lopez) sheds some amusing light on this interesting question.
… The standard MSM approach: assume Latinos are the new blacks. Therefore, because blacks have an abundance of prominent and powerful leaders, so must Latinos.Except they don’t.
In the Pew survey, done in late summer 2010, random Hispanics were first asked an unprompted question: “In your opinion, who is the most important Hispanic / Latino leader in the country today?”
The landslide winner: “Don’t know”, with 64 percent.
The runner-up: “No one”, with ten percent
A few years ago, this giant national push finally came up with an articulate illegal alien Jose Antonio Vargas: of course, it turned out he wasn’t Mexican or Central American, he was Asian: a gay Filipino, no less.
From the NYT:
The Big Money Behind the Push for an Immigration Overhaul By JULIA PRESTONWhat, why can’t they mobilize the Tidal Wave of Hispanic Rage? Apparently, they are highly dependent upon a handful of (more or less) Dead White European Males like Henry Ford and Charles Feeney.
NOV. 14, 2014
The calls started shortly after President Obama’s news conference on the day after the midterm elections. He had said he would go ahead with action on immigration before year’s end, in spite of warnings from Republicans that he could wreck relations with the new Congress they will control. White House officials were calling immigrant advocates to talk strategy and shore up their support.
The officials wanted to reassure them, several activists said, that the president, after delaying twice this year, was ready to take the kind of broad measures they had demanded to shield immigrants here illegally from deportation.
The White House calls — and the president’s decision itself — reflected the clout the immigrant movement has built up in recent years, as it grew from a cluster of scattered Washington lobbying groups into a national force.
A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation’s wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the last decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The philanthropies helped the groups rebound after setbacks and financed the infrastructure of a network in constant motion, with marches, rallies, vigils, fasts, bus tours and voter drives. The donors maintained their support as the immigration issue became intensely partisan on Capitol Hill and the activists grew more militant, engaging in civil disobedience and brash confrontations with lawmakers and enforcement authorities.
Some opponents accuse the foundations of blatant partisanship.
“The whole apparatus has become the handmaiden of the Democratic Party,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, which opposes legalization for undocumented immigrants. “These foundations fund activist organizations designed to create ethnic identity enclaves and politically control them for partisan purposes.”“We want to protect the interests of immigrants,” said Stephen McConnell, director of United States programs for the Atlantic Philanthropies, which has given nearly $69 million in 72 immigration grants in the last decade. Echoing statements by other funders, he said, “Atlantic does not in any way support candidates or get involved in partisan politics.”
Mr. Stein’s group, FAIR, is funded by followers’ donations and some large contributions from conservative donors.
Most of the philanthropies’ funds have been tax-exempt charitable donations that cannot be used primarily to influence legislation. In 2013, when the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill and the House was weighing its options, several foundations also made multimillion dollar “social welfare” grants that can be used for lobbying. …
The philanthropies focused on a dozen regional immigrant rights groups that make up the armature of the movement. They also supported Latino service organizations like NCLR, also known as the National Council of La Raza, and legal groups like the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or Maldef, and the National Immigration Law Center.
“The credit for our movement goes to immigrant leaders who had the courage to step out of the shadows,” said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, a core organization in the coalition. “But the growth and speed of the movement was significantly aided by a small number of visionary philanthropies.”
The donors’ strategy arose in 2007, when immigrant groups were nursing wounds from a rout after a bill pushed by President George W. Bush failed in Congress.
“For all our vaunted work we were basically a fractious coalition that just got our butts kicked,” said Frank Sharry, a longtime advocate who is now executive director of America’s Voice, another core group.
Atlantic and several other philanthropies funded a series of soul-searching retreats. Days and nights of arguments produced a plan that came to be known as the four pillars. The groups agreed to redouble their local community organizing; to expand their work into mobilizing voters; to create policy research to underpin their pro-immigrant message; and to “turbocharge” their media communications, as Mr. Sharry put it, a task that fell to him.
“The good news was that the funders really got the idea of building up a movement that could press for change at all levels,” Mr. Sharry said. “We were really talking about a movement that could win the grand prize, legislation that puts 11 million people on a path to citizenship.”The Ford Foundation already had a decades-long track record of funding nonprofit organizations aiding immigrants. In 2003 Ford and Carnegie joined with several other donors to create an unusual collaborative fund to augment support for local groups. Since then, Carnegie has given about $100 million for immigration initiatives, all in conventional charitable donations, including millions to help legal immigrants become American citizens.
The Open Society Foundations of Mr. Soros, an immigrant born in Hungary, have invested about $76 million in the last decade under the rubric of immigrant rights, according to Archana Sahgal, a program officer.The Atlantic Philanthropies were founded by Charles Feeney, a billionaire who built his fortune with a chain of duty-free shops, and who is Irish-American. About half of Atlantic’s grants were made in donations that allow lobbying.
After setting their course in 2008, the advocacy groups expanded rapidly, amplifying their street actions with news conferences, Twitter feeds and texting lists.
A rally on the National Mall in March 2010 drew many tens of thousands of protesters from around the country. But internecine bickering weakened the push for the Dream Act, a bill with a path to citizenship for young immigrants who came when they were children. It failed in a Senate vote in late 2010.
One organization, the National Immigration Forum, branched out beyond the main funders, and shifted its focus to recruiting conservatives, including evangelical Christians and leaders from business and law enforcement.
Young immigrants, who call themselves Dreamers, agitated for faster change. With little more than pocket money, students staged protests in 2012 that prodded Mr. Obama to take his first major executive action on immigration, a program that has given reprieves from deportation to more than 580,000 Dreamers.
“We did it with nothing and we won,” said Cristina Jimenez, managing director of United We Dream, one group that led that crusade. “It was a powerful feeling.”
In 2013, Ford gave $2.3 million to the group for a national effort to help young immigrants sign up for the reprieves.
In the heat of the debate in Congress last year, the policy advocacy wing of Open Society gave $6.2 million to several groups in donations allowing lobbying.
“We have enormous faith in the groups with which we have had longstanding relationships, and we wanted to give them resources to pursue the best possible legislative fix for the problems in our immigration system,” said Caroline Chambers, deputy director of the Open Society Policy Center.
The advocates backed the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate last year. But the Republican majority in the House rejected it. In August, the House approved a bill to cancel the Dreamer reprieve program, an early warning to Mr. Obama that Republicans were ready to challenge any new unilateral action.
Foundation leaders said they have not had misgivings, even as Republican resistance to their beneficiaries’ agenda intensified. “Name me something in the American political debate that isn’t partisan right now,” said Mr. McConnell of Atlantic. “It’s just the nature of the beast.”
This year foundation funding waned by at least 50 percent, activists said, leaving them scrounging. Atlantic, a mainstay, is winding down its operation, following Mr. Feeney’s instructions to give away his assets during his lifetime. Atlantic will make its last donations in 2016.
Immigrant and Latino groups carried on limited voter mobilization efforts for the midterms. They no longer have funds for showy rallies.