Right Opinion

Southern Poverty Loses Cash

Tony Perkins · Jun. 20, 2018

For the extremists at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), it’s been a record-shattering year. After limping through the last term of the Obama administration, hobbled by the connection to the shooting at FRC and a shunning by the FBI, U.S. Army, Justice Department, and media, the group’s fortunes started to change — quite literally — with the election of Donald Trump. Donations shot up 164 percent. By last October, total assets were close to the half-billion-dollar mark.

SPLC’s comeback, aided by the largesse of Apple, JP Morgan, and other donors, hit a pretty significant roadblock this week when it was forced to pay Maajid Nawaz a $3.3 million settlement for wrongly including him on a list of anti-Muslim extremists. Nawaz, whose Quilliam group became part of the organization’s infamous “hate” list, sued for defamation. “Placing my name on a list like this not only smears my name but also puts me in physical danger” — a fact FRC can vouch for after gunman Floyd Corkins used the SPLC’s map in his armed attack on our office almost six years ago.

Asked why he was fighting back, Nawaz said, “The Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, who made their money suing the KKK, was set up to defend people like me but now have become the monster they have claimed they wanted to defeat.” The pushback worked. SPLC had to cough up a significant amount of money and issued a public apology, which only weakens the group’s already shaky reputation. “After getting a deeper understanding of their views and after hearing from others for whom we have great respect,” SPLC admitted, “we realize that we were simply wrong to have included Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam in the Field Guide in the first place.” As for the multimillion-dollar settlement, the group said, “It was the right thing to do in light of our mistake and the right thing to do in light of the growing prejudice against the Muslim community on both sides of the Atlantic. We will look to our insurance carrier to cover the cost of the settlement.”

For now, any pretense of SPLC’s neutrality is gone — and no self-respecting media outlet will pretend otherwise. This settlement ought to leave the press and big business without excuse if they continue to use the SPLC as an objective, independent source. Already, some seem to recognize as much. Over at the New York Post, editors were glad to see SPLC finally called on the carpet. “The SPLC rakes in donations by claiming to fight hate, but its lists of hate groups routinely include not just truly vile outfits but also ones that simply don’t toe a politically correct line… It’s probably too much to hope for, but maybe the SPLC will start thinking twice before trying to ‘counter’ hate by spreading hate of its own.”

Over at The Weekly Standard, editors tell readers that SPLC can “surely afford” the $3.3 million dollar damage control. But, they insist, “We’ll take the SPLC seriously when it labels itself a hate group.” Don’t hold your breath. The organization has been through the PR ringer over the last decade and somehow “clung on to its halo,” as NRO put it, even after peddling hysteria and hoaxes that put its opponents’ lives at legitimate risk.

“It has consequences, this sinister and spendthrift game that the SPLC has been playing…” Douglas Murray warns. “As of today it seems possible that the SPLC’s position may finally be taken back down to the position it should have been reduced to years ago. Perhaps after today those donors who still give money to the SPLC will realize that they are backing a disgraced and disgraceful organization, if any were unaware of and unbothered about this before.”

Originally published here.

A Border Lines Solution for Immigration

Where was all of this outrage about family separation at the border four years ago? That’s the question mainstream reporter David Martosko is asking about the 24/7 news cycle on current U.S. immigration policy. Like a lot of people, he’s astounded by the firestorm over America’s law for dealing with illegal immigrants for one reason: It’s not new.

In this noisy back-and-forth between the Trump administration and mainstream press, it’s become tough to separate fact from fiction. We all see the pictures of the kids huddled in an old Walmart supercenter, and our minds immediately jump to the conclusions the media is hoping for. But, as Martosko chides his colleagues behind news desks, “Political journalism needs a bit of housecleaning on this child border crisis. I’ll start. It was going on during the Obama years in large numbers. I never wrote about it. [I] was completely unaware, in large part because few reporters were interested enough to create critical mass… Why didn’t those kids matter as much as these? Few of us chased those stories down with any vigor.”

What’s changed? The person in the Oval Office, for one. Barack Obama separated children from their families too. As Breitbart points out in its “13 Facts the Media Doesn’t Want You to Know,” people crossing the border illegally were put in the same criminal justice system. “Obama, of course, rarely prosecuted, even though the law calls for it. Neither Democrats nor the media cared about family separation then — which proves this manufactured and coordinated uproar is only about politics.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who’s just as unhappy with the current immigration system as the rest of us, joined me on “Washington Watch” to give us his unique perspective on the situation.

We are a generous nation on issues of immigration, as you know. We put more than one million people a year on the pathway to citizenship, but there are so many holes in the system that it’s like Swiss cheese … and those who break in line are getting ahead and placing children at risk. We need legislative reform, and we need to do a better job of carrying out the laws we have… I can’t imagine many people saying they want the illegality to continue.

Like me, he’s hopeful that all of the attention the media is giving this issue might actually be an opportunity to get something done. Maybe, we agreed, this controversy will bring all sides together to come up with what’s really needed in this country: comprehensive reform. But, he explains, there’s also a side to the story that the liberal press isn’t reporting.

What we’ve seen in recent years is more and more families were [crossing the border illegally], and the reason we discovered that was happening was that we weren’t prosecuting adults with children. They were getting into the country, they were apprehended … and then they were released and asked to come back to court. And some came back to court, and some don’t come back to court. So they’re basically in the country and never returned home… In 2013, we had 14,000 like that. In 2017, we had 75,000. It became well known that if you came with a child, you weren’t going to be deported or prosecuted. And this created a massive loophole for us, and we have to try to close that loophole.

Like Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tried to counter the liberties people are taking with the truth. In doing so, she made a key point: 10,000 of the 11,000 children in detention centers have been unaccompanied minors. In other words, a vast majority of kids in those photos making the social media rounds arrived alone and were already separated from their families. And, as Sessions pointed out in our interview, U.S. officials can’t assume these children are actually related to the adults who bring them across the border. Sometimes, they’re being trafficked or exploited by people posing as their parents in hopes that they’ll get preferential treatment.

Just as importantly, these children (and their parents) aren’t being mistreated. As Sessions himself pointed out, Americans spend close to a billion dollars a year caring for these kids. “We have high standards,” Nielsen told reporters. “We give them meals, and we give them education, and we give them medical care. There are videos, there are TVs. I visited the detention centers myself.” And, in most cases, the children don’t stay. “In the last fiscal year, 90 percent of apprehended children were released to a sponsor who was either a parent or close relative.”

Some of Trump’s opponents claim that this situation is different than how we deal with domestic lawbreakers. Richard Mack, founder and president of Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, joined me on radio to suggest otherwise.

If moms and dads have committed crimes, the children will be removed to foster care. Sometimes, they’ll be removed to other relatives … but the children are definitely separated from their mom and dad when their mom and dad commit crimes… This is the normal, routine policy and procedure in dealing with parents who have committed a crime… It is no different than what is happening with border crimes committed every day by illegal immigrants. That everybody tries to dump this on Trump somehow I find totally astonishing.

That said, as Sessions insisted, “We do not want to separate children from their parents. We do not want adults to bring children into this country unlawfully, placing them at risk.” That was a fact he emphasized to a group of evangelical leaders — including me — at a meeting in Washington, DC, yesterday. He said he’s been talking with House and Senate members to find a solution: immigration policies that are just, fair, and enforceable.

The administration knows the system is broken — but that doesn’t mean the president is going to turn his back on the current law while Congress fixes it. If the president’s critics are so incensed by the current situation, then it’s time for them to come to the table and negotiate a solution.

Originally published here.

Trump’s Approval Hits High-Water Mark

If the liberal media was hoping this immigration crisis would make people think twice about Donald Trump, they’ll have to try harder. The president’s approval ratings are getting a good bump — and so is the country he’s leading.

Not since 2005 have more people been happier with the way things are going in the United States. Today, 38 percent say they’re satisfied with the state of America, the highest since a 39-percent peak 13 years ago. “A supermajority of Republicans and a healthy slice of Independents are pleased with where the country is moving,” pollsters point out. Only Democrats seem stubbornly opposed to the growth of the economy, diplomatic success, and job numbers.

“The rise in satisfaction over the past two months comes amid a spate of positive economic news — including the shrinking of the unemployment rate to levels last seen in 2000, and the continuation of economic expansion that is now the second longest on record,” Townhall’s Matt Vespa points out.

Meanwhile, the numbers for the leader overseeing the shift aren’t shabby either. On Monday, Gallup also announced that President Trump tied the highest approval rating of his presidency — 45 percent, matched only by its highest mark the week after his inauguration. So when the extremists start jabbering away about all the people who don’t support what the White House is doing, just know: It’s more fake news.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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