CIS sues SDPLC demanding they stop referring to them as a 'hate group'

One of the most respected conservative immigration think tanks, the Center for Immigration Studies, is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center in an effort to stop the organization from labeling them a "hate group."

CIS says that SPLC is running an illegal effort to silence those they don't agree with by saying they are "racist" and "anti immigrant," thus costing them financial support.

Washington Times:

The center brought its challenge to U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by filing a civil complaint under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act against SPLC President Richard Cohen and Heidi Beirich, who runs the group’s Hatewatch blog.

Mark Krikorian, the Center for Immigration Studies executive director, says his organization doesn’t meet the SPLC’s definition of a hate group and the Alabama-based watchdog knows it but persists anyway — which he said was evidence of the racket.

SPLC and its leaders have every right to oppose our work on immigration, but they do not have the right to label us a hate group and suggest we are racists,” he said. “The Center for Immigration Studies is fighting back against the SPLC smear campaign and its attempt to stifle debate through intimidation and name-calling.”

This is exactly the way to go after this sort of libel. SPLC's calculated efforts to destroy organizations and individuals they disagree with must be challenged in court and the extremist, partisan group be forced to pay for their efforts.

The Center for Immigration Studies is not the only group to protest the SPLC’s profligate use of the hate tag, but it appears to be the first to mount a challenge under RICO, a law that is usually associated with the FBI’s anti-mob efforts.

The center says the SPLC defines hate groups as organizations whose official statements or activities “attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

Mr. Krikorian said that doesn’t define his group, whose motto is “pro immigrant, low immigration.” In practice, he said, that means the center makes the case for “fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted.”

The center says it doesn’t think its work amounts to attacks on people but rather attempts to raise policy questions.

Beyond that, Mr. Krikorian said, the Supreme Court has held that being an immigrant is not an immutable characteristic, so maligning migrants wouldn’t qualify as hate anyway.

The center’s work is widely cited in the press, including in The Washington Times. It issues awards for press coverage of immigration, including, in the past, to The Times. Its analysts are regularly called to testify before Congress and have been invited to meet with top security officials in the Obama and Trump administrations.

The center’s work also is used by independent fact-checkers such as PolitiFact.com, which in 2017 fact-checked the SPLC’s hate designation. PolitiFact concluded that most of the evidence was guilt by association.

The SPLC has already been forced to pay $3.3 million in damages and apologize for calling Muslim leader Maajid Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist.”  Nawaz is a fierce critic of political Islam and terrorism and hardly "anti-Muslim." 

As for CIS, SPLC says that the center promotes "anti-immigrant" hate by supporting universal E-Verify.

Among other evidence, the SPLC lists in its 8,000-word write-up the center’s support for mandatory E-Verify, the federal government’s voluntary program to let businesses check the legal status of potential hires.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, spoke glowingly of E-Verify this month, but the SPLCcast the program in a more nefarious light, saying it was a linchpin of the “anti-immigrant movement.”

Most intruiging about the use of the RICO statute, because the SPLC uses the term "hate group" online, it constitutes wire fraud and conspiracy. Those concepts will almost certainly be tested in court, but if successful, it opens a whole new line of attack against SPLC.

In recent months, SPLC has lost some of its credibility with independent groups, but the media still sees them as the primary arbiters of which groups are "racist" and which aren't.

A few more wins in court and even the press may be forced to change.

One of the most respected conservative immigration think tanks, the Center for Immigration Studies, is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center in an effort to stop the organization from labeling them a "hate group."

CIS says that SPLC is running an illegal effort to silence those they don't agree with by saying they are "racist" and "anti immigrant," thus costing them financial support.

Washington Times:

The center brought its challenge to U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by filing a civil complaint under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act against SPLC President Richard Cohen and Heidi Beirich, who runs the group’s Hatewatch blog.

Mark Krikorian, the Center for Immigration Studies executive director, says his organization doesn’t meet the SPLC’s definition of a hate group and the Alabama-based watchdog knows it but persists anyway — which he said was evidence of the racket.

SPLC and its leaders have every right to oppose our work on immigration, but they do not have the right to label us a hate group and suggest we are racists,” he said. “The Center for Immigration Studies is fighting back against the SPLC smear campaign and its attempt to stifle debate through intimidation and name-calling.”

This is exactly the way to go after this sort of libel. SPLC's calculated efforts to destroy organizations and individuals they disagree with must be challenged in court and the extremist, partisan group be forced to pay for their efforts.

The Center for Immigration Studies is not the only group to protest the SPLC’s profligate use of the hate tag, but it appears to be the first to mount a challenge under RICO, a law that is usually associated with the FBI’s anti-mob efforts.

The center says the SPLC defines hate groups as organizations whose official statements or activities “attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

Mr. Krikorian said that doesn’t define his group, whose motto is “pro immigrant, low immigration.” In practice, he said, that means the center makes the case for “fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted.”

The center says it doesn’t think its work amounts to attacks on people but rather attempts to raise policy questions.

Beyond that, Mr. Krikorian said, the Supreme Court has held that being an immigrant is not an immutable characteristic, so maligning migrants wouldn’t qualify as hate anyway.

The center’s work is widely cited in the press, including in The Washington Times. It issues awards for press coverage of immigration, including, in the past, to The Times. Its analysts are regularly called to testify before Congress and have been invited to meet with top security officials in the Obama and Trump administrations.

The center’s work also is used by independent fact-checkers such as PolitiFact.com, which in 2017 fact-checked the SPLC’s hate designation. PolitiFact concluded that most of the evidence was guilt by association.

The SPLC has already been forced to pay $3.3 million in damages and apologize for calling Muslim leader Maajid Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist.”  Nawaz is a fierce critic of political Islam and terrorism and hardly "anti-Muslim." 

As for CIS, SPLC says that the center promotes "anti-immigrant" hate by supporting universal E-Verify.

Among other evidence, the SPLC lists in its 8,000-word write-up the center’s support for mandatory E-Verify, the federal government’s voluntary program to let businesses check the legal status of potential hires.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, spoke glowingly of E-Verify this month, but the SPLCcast the program in a more nefarious light, saying it was a linchpin of the “anti-immigrant movement.”

Most intruiging about the use of the RICO statute, because the SPLC uses the term "hate group" online, it constitutes wire fraud and conspiracy. Those concepts will almost certainly be tested in court, but if successful, it opens a whole new line of attack against SPLC.

In recent months, SPLC has lost some of its credibility with independent groups, but the media still sees them as the primary arbiters of which groups are "racist" and which aren't.

A few more wins in court and even the press may be forced to change.