The Department of Homeland Security has recently appointed anti-immigrant writer and legislative adviser Colton R. Overcash to senior positions at the agency. Overcash is one of several people who have worked for both the Trump administration and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-immigrant group founded by a white nationalist.
Overcash works at DHS as a senior adviser for strategy and policy and the director of strategic engagement and communications, according to his LinkedIn profile. His profile states that he joined the department as a director in September last year and also became a senior adviser in January. Overcash worked as a legislative adviser for FAIR in 2018 and 2019 before joining the Trump administration. Prior to that, he was a Republican congressional aide.
DHS earlier this month touted his appointment and others to pro-Trump Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard, who briefly noted his FAIR employment but not the group’s anti-immigrant history.
Overcash wrote numerous pieces for FAIR in which he attacked undocumented immigrants. In one piece, for instance, he claimed that “in recent decades our government has treated aliens and U.S. citizens as equals. At other times, the federal government and especially state and local governments have afforded special privileges to aliens, including illegal ones, at the expense of the American taxpayer.” In another, he complained that churches and religious leaders have been helping undocumented immigrants, including by supporting santuary cities. Overcash also frequently wrote pieces which referred to undocumented immigrants with the dehumanizing term “illegal alien.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has designated FAIR as a hate group, writing: “One of the group’s main goals is upending the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended a decades-long, racist quota system that limited immigration mostly to northern Europeans.” White nationalist John Tanton, who died in July last year, founded FAIR and other nativist organizations. White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, a white nationalist who is virulently anti-immigrant, has been an ally of Tanton’s network in crafting the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
Overcash is one of several FAIR alumni who have worked at DHS under the Trump administration. Robert Law, a former FAIR lobbying director, is now the chief for the Office of Policy and Strategy at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is housed under DHS. Elizabeth Jacobs, a former FAIR lobbyist, reportedly works as a USCIS senior adviser. And former FAIR leader Julie Kirchner, who previously worked as the USCIS ombudsman before resigning last year, is reportedly overseeing the set-up of a DHS office “created by Congress to oversee complaints of civil rights violations in detention centers and help those affected by misconduct.”
Ian M. Smith, a writer who worked with the FAIR-affiliated legal organization Immigration Reform Law Institute, resigned from DHS last year after The Atlantic published emails showing that he “had in the past been in contact with a group that included known white nationalists.”