The Obama-era Department of Justice reprimanded the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for accusing the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) of being racist during immigration court proceedings.
FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), released a letter Monday dated March 28, 2016 in which Jennifer J. Barnes, disciplinary counsel for the DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, scolded an SPLC attorney along with those from partner groups.
The Bureau of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has for decades asked IRLI to submit briefs in immigration cases and the SPLC and allies filed a request in 2015 with the BIA demanding its relationship with FAIR and IRLI be terminated. Lawyers for the SPLC and other liberal groups said that FAIR “is a discredited, extremist anti-immigrant organization espousing white supremacist, eugenicist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Catholic views.”
The DOJ’s disciplinary counsel said in her letter that the decisions of the lawyers to “engage in derogatory name-calling exhibited a lack of professionalism.” Barnes added that it “overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy.”
“None of this language was related or relevant to the underlying factual or legal matters,” Barnes wrote. “Such language is not appropriate in a filing before the Board (or any judicial tribunal) because it constitutes frivolous behavior and does not aid the administration of justice.”
The letter from the DOJ was meant to be confidential but due to the SPLC continuing to attack FAIR as a “hate group,” IRLI released the letter.
“The SPLC’s latest tactic in its never-ending witch-hunt and the federal government’s resulting reprimand should send the following message to the mainstream media: Stop using the SPLC as a legitimate ‘hate-watch source’ in your news coverage,” IRLI’s general counsel Dale Wilcox said in a statement.
The SPLC previously listed the most deadly Islamic terror attack since September 11 as a “right-wing” plot.