10/25/07

Hall of Shame: Ira Mehlman - FAIR's smooth-talking face of tribal hate


Ira Mehlman doesn’t publicly ridicule Mexican culture like many anti-immigrant radio hosts or patrol the border “locked and loaded” like the Minutemen. As the media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Mehlman is constantly giving interviews to the largest mainstream media outlets, so he needs to appear civilized, logical and even friendly. Although the ideology of FAIR hasn’t changed much since its days of being funded by white nationalist organizations, Mehlman’s savvy smooth-talking has helped make this vicious mentality sound much more benign.

For example, Mehlman’s demand that “(Americans) have to create conditions that encourage people to deport themselves” might not sound too inhumane at first glance, but Mehlman has proven willing to carry this argument to its deadly conclusion. In 2005, Mehlman strongly advocated a federal bill that would have made it a felony to offer support to undocumented immigrants - even if they were dying of thirst in the middle of the desert. Unfortunately, this isn’t a hypothetical scenario: two college students who were volunteering for the No More Deaths organization were prosecuted in Arizona under a similar law for rescuing three sun-stroked migrants from a brutal fate. Even after the prosecutions, Mehlman still denied that the law would be enforced in such cases.

Mehlman rarely lets facts get in the way of his analysis: He blames immigrants for the health care crisis, “destroying middle class jobs” and is always quick to claim that most Americans share his point of view. His sweeping, distorted accusations against immigrants serve FAIR’s agenda of demonizing immigrants and his widely publicized opinions are clearly meant to increase animosity.

Mehlman’s fear-mongering “expertise” still gets plenty of media coverage, but his deceitful attempts to help fabricate a diverse coalition of anti-immigrant front groups to follow FAIR’s monochromatic leadership have proven to be an embarrassing flop. Although Choose Black America, You Don’t Speak for Me! and Coalition for the Future of the American Worker posed as groups representing African-American, Latino and labor communities, respectively, their flimsy cover was blown when it was discovered that all shared the same spokesperson - Ira Mehlman. Undeterred, Mehlman continues to spread his message of intolerance.

Via Campaign for a United America and their Voices of Intolerance series.
Post a Comment