Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, testifies on Capitol Hill in 2013. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Mark Krikorian’s well-written March 19 op-ed, “The poison of the blacklist,” argued that his organization, the Center for Immigration Studies, should not be on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of “hate groups.”

Mr. Krikorian did not explain what the philosophy of the Center for Immigration Studies is; one can only infer it from his calling the SPLC “part of the immigration-expansion coalition.” Further investigation reveals that the CIS is a conservative, anti-immigration organization.  

And in his second sentence, Mr. Krikorian justified his stance by saying that his views regarding immigration are “held by a large share of the American public.” So? At one time a “large share” of the American public thought slavery was okay. Today, a large share of Americans believe white people are superior to others and that any religion besides Christianity is evil. Just because a large share of people believe something doesn’t make it right or moral.

Maybe the Center for Immigration Studies doesn’t belong on the SPLC’s blacklist as a hate group, but it certainly isn’t an organization of love and acceptance.

Melissa Yorks, Gaithersburg

It’s understandable that Mark Krikorian would object to our recent designation of the Center for Immigration Studies as a hate group. But the CIS earned it, and not only because of statements by Mr. Krikorian, such as his suggestion after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that the country is “so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”

The CIS is part of a network of closely related anti-immigrant groups founded by John Tanton, who spent decades at the heart of the white nationalist movement and ran a publishing house, the Social Compact Press, that published numerous racist tracts. The fear-mongering of these groups has been responsible for much of the hysteria about immigrants that dominates conservative politics.

In recent years, the CIS has promoted the writings of prominent white nationalist figures, such as Jared Taylor of American Renaissance and Kevin MacDonald, the anti-Semitic editor of Occidental Quarterly. Mr. Taylor wrote, “When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.” Mr. MacDonald produced a series of books positing that Jews destabilize host societies and engage in a “group evolutionary strategy” to enhance their ability to outcompete non-Jews for resources.

Mr. Krikorian argued that our hate-group list is intended to shut down debate about issues such as immigration. Not true. Our purpose is to help the public understand who is doing the talking.

Heidi Beirich, Montgomery, Ala.

The writer is director of the Intelligence Project
at the Southern Poverty Law Center.