As the name of a think tank, the Center for Immigration Studies may sound innocuous enough. But don’t let the name fool you: it’s an anti-immigrant hate group that has become “the go-to think tank for the anti-immigrant movement with its reports and staffers often cited by media and anti-immigrant politicians,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s reports have been debunked and its ties to connections to Trump Administration adviser Stephen Miller, a man who in college collaborated with white nationalist Richard Spencer to bring another white nationalist, Peter Brimelow, onto campus for a debate on immigration, are well documented.
So one question: Why would the Boston Globe let one of its members pen an op-ed in response to the question “Should a citizenship question be included in the US Census?”
Meet Jessica Vaughan
The author was Jessica Vaughan, who the Globe described as a Franklin resident and a director of policy studies at CIS. The Globe only described CIS as a “Washington-based think tank that favors less immigration.” Her op/ed took the “yes” position against the “no” position op/ed by State Rep. Tackey Chan.
“Sadly, those who disagree with President Donald Trump’s policies have so politicized the issue that they are stoking fear that wasn’t there before, thus undermining the effectiveness of those outreach efforts. They seem willing to blow up the Census to make a political point,” she wrote. “This is wrong. The citizenship question is not a threat to our democracy, but stifling the collection of important information is.”
Her commentary was mostly bland, but it’s that blandness that has allowed CIS to mainstream so many of its hate-backed views. The Globe should have disclosed the group’s background more thoroughly to readers.
“Their research is always questionable because they torture the data to make it arrive at the conclusion they desire, which is that immigrants are criminals and a burden on the U.S. and our economy. It is the worst kind of deception, but politicians, the conservative media and some Americans eat it up because it always looks somewhat legitimate at first glance,” Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez noted in a 2017 interview with Univision.
Voice Of Reason?
As for Vaughan herself, SPLC notes she has:
- disparaged the humanitarian Temporary Protected Status program for supposedly contributing to “the burgeoning street gang problem in the United States.”
- praised anti-immigrant sheriff Thomas Hodgson’s bigoted proposal to send inmates in his Massachusetts prison to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist in constructing Trump’s border wall. “If any of the inmates working on the wall are criminal aliens from south of the border, they’ll be that much closer for deportation,” Vaughan said. “Not only that, they can use their new skills to support themselves in their home country.”
- discussed her work with The American Free Press, a virulently antisemitic newspaper founded by Willis Carto, a Holocaust denier who was active on the radical right for over five decades before his death in 2015.
- been a featured speaker at multiple extremist events including white nationalist publisher The Social Contract Press’s annual Writer’s Workshop and the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s Sheriff Border Summit. At the Writer’s Workshop, white nationalist Peter Brimelow of the racist website VDARE also spoke.
- appeared on an episode of “Borderline” in 1996, a show produced by FAIR, alongside Chilton Williamson, a longtime editor of Chronicles magazine, a publication with strong neo-Confederate ties that caters to the more intellectual wing of the white nationalist movement.