Update: Feere joined DHS' U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as a senior adviser in January 2017.
Policy analyst Jon Feere, who is reportedly “in line” to join the Trump administration, has promoted the work of the white nationalist website VDare.com and given an interview about immigration to an anti-Semitic newspaper that promotes claims that the Holocaust is a “hoax.”
The Washington Post reported that Feere “is in line to join the Trump administration in an immigration-related position at the Department of Homeland Security, according to two former U.S. officials informed of transition changes by department personnel.” The paper noted that Feere is a “prominent advocate of ending U.S. birthright citizenship” and has worked as a legal policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).
CIS is an anti-immigrant group founded by John Tanton, a white nationalist who has claimed that “a European-American majority” is required to maintain American culture. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has heavily criticized the nativist group for releasing shoddy research and pushing misinformation about immigrants.
Feere wrote on Twitter that the “reality is that many pro-illegal immigration people simply hate Americans and believe that foreigners are superior in every way.”
Feere has also promoted the work of the white nationalist anti-immigrant site VDare on his Twitter account. He linked to an article on the site in an April 9, 2016, tweet:
— Jon Feere (@JonFeere) April 9, 2016
(Feere added on Twitter that he linked to VDare because it's “simply the most link-filled account of the killing, allowing people to read other Boston newspapers via one link.”)
The VDare article claimed that it’s “deeply disturbing the lengths to which honest citizens must go to convince the government to do its basic job of protecting us from violent foreigners -- from killer jihadists to all-too-common drunk-driving illegal aliens.” VDare added that “citizens are expected to accept lesser status than that of illegal aliens, who are favored by leftists as friendly to oversized government and comfortable with gangster-style politics.”
Civil rights groups have heavily criticized VDare.com. SPLC wrote that it is a white nationalist website that “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.” The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) described VDare.com as a “racist, anti-immigrant site.”
When a Twitter user criticized Feere for linking to the white nationalist website, Feere replied: “It's simply the most link-filled account of the killing, allowing people to read other Boston newspapers via one link.”
Feere also discussed immigration in a May 2012 interview with the anti-Semitic publication American Free Press. The May 28, 2012, piece is headlined “‘Big Ag’ Favors Illegal Immigration,” and it notes that Feere spoke with American Free Press:
In an attempt to dissuade other states from following suit, Big Ag has embarked upon a ruthless media campaign, insisting that the recently enacted legislation has crippled the growth of the fruit and vegetable industry and left farmers with no qualified pickers to harvest their crops.
“These businesses make claims that they have produce rotting on the vines, but there’s very little evidence of it,” said Jon Feere, a legal policy analyst with the Center for Immigration Studies, who recently spoke with AFP. “If there’s produce to be pulled, they’re going to find a way to do it. That means paying a better wage that attracts a legal workforce. In many of these states, unemployment is at an all-time high. So to suggest there are no willing workers is just silly.”
Contrary to an oft-recited cliché, said Feere: “There is no job that Americans can’t do. What these businesses are really saying is that they can’t find willing workers to pull produce at the wages they’re willing to offer.”
Feere goes on to say that even if farms did have trouble finding workers, other options are still available. “Most industries can be mechanized so that fewer humans are needed for harvesting,” he said. “However, there are some upfront costs to mechanization, and businesses have been unwilling to invest in the needed technology because they assume there will be a continuous supply of cheap, exploitable labor.”
Concerns that a higher wage will drive up food prices are unfounded. According to Feere: “We’ve learned that the average labor cost for a piece of produce is somewhere around three cents to a dollar. These businesses could actually double the wages they were offering and you really wouldn’t see more than a few pennies tacked on.”
After the article ran, the ADL criticized Feere and CIS for associating “with anti-Semites,” writing that American Free Press is a “conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic newspaper run by long-time anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, Willis Carto.” SPLC also criticized Feere for granting “an interview to the anti-Semitic newspaper.”
American Free Press promotes Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. On March 21, 2012, it promoted the book The Holocaust Hoax Exposed: Debunking the 20th Century’s Biggest Lie. The website praised the book for purportedly ripping “apart, in lay language, the veil-thin arguments used to prove the Jewish ‘Holocaust,’ which is then used by global Zionists to justify the creation and continued existence of the state of Israel and as a tool to silence all critics.”
*This post was updated with additional information.