The Open-Borders Network - Philanthropic foundations fund immigrant ethnic lobbies

By Kevin Lamb
Volume 18, Number 4 (Summer 2008)
Issue theme: "Illegal alien voters"

The following article is reprinted from The Open Borders Network: How a Web of Alien Activists, Journalists, Corporations, Politicians, and Civil Rights Lawyers Undermine U.S. Border Security and National Sovereignty by Kevin Lamb, with permission from the publisher, Representative Government Press (Lexington, Virginia).

In a less than perfect world, the allocation of rights based on territory must be defended if a ruinous breeding race is to be avoided. It is unlikely that civilization and dignity can survive everywhere; but better in a few places than in none. Fortunate minorities act as the trustees of a civilization that is threatened by uninformed good intentions.

Garrett Hardin1

When it comes to advancing goals, objectives, and agendas, groups that are well organized, and consequently well funded, will eventually triumph over the unorganized, underrepresented, and underfunded. This is the overall truism that emerges from examining the organizational structure and effectiveness of successful interest groups. The same can be said of the organizations that comprise the open-borders network. No matter how actively engaged grassroots, patriotic Middle Americans are in trying to individually register their views by writing their congressman or publishing letters to the editor of their local newspaper or simply casting a vote, in a pluralistic representative democracy such activities are no match for the well-organized, open-borders network and ethnic-immigrant lobbies. Those who remain unorganized will eventually find themselves outmatched and politically outmaneuvered by well- organized adversaries.

In a pluralistic political system such as the two-party democratic republic in the U.S. or the multi-party system of European parliamentary democracies, organized interest groups can influence public policy by pressuring political and societal elites. Immigrant organizations, such as the National Council of La Raza, promote the interests of their ethnic constituency. Ethnicity, in the words of sociologist Robert Nisbet, “is, and has been throughout history, one of the most dominant criteria of status.” Nisbet argued that “[e]thnicity—broadly defined—is most likely to be the basis of caste in contrast to class in society. Even in relatively equalitarian ages, when ethnic militance and political law combine to reduce the extremer manifestations of status inequality, especially in the larger spheres of political and economic society, ethnicity continues to matter.”2 Nisbet’s observation underscores the rise and influence of ethnic-immigrant interest groups in America’s political system: Egalitarianism—the eradication of economic, social, and political inequalities—is the driving force behind the political activism of ethnic lobbies in the U.S. The central aim of immigrant-ethnic activism is to strip out all barriers, distinctions, and obstacles to achieve full equality.

As the population of the U.S. becomes ethnically more diverse, notably in the wake of the immigration reforms of the mid-1960s, ethnic-based immigrant activists have mobilized their constituency to network with other organized interest groups on the radical Left to influence policy decisions in the U.S. and other Western democracies. Even though ethnic-immigrant groups constitute one fraction of the greater orbit of organized lobbies (whether civic, religious, political, social, or cultural), these groups network across the social, cultural, and political divide in shoring up mutual interests (business, corporate, and labor) to advance their agenda of a world without borders.

William Hawkins and Erin Anderson, authors of The Open Borders Lobby, identify the ideological agenda behind the push for open borders: “The concept of ‘open borders’ has long been an agenda of the ideological left. Since the 1960s, a vast network including hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of grassroots activists, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars from leftwing foundations, has waged a sustained campaign to open America’s borders to a mass migration from the Third World. Though these groups talk in terms of ‘human rights,’ the rights they demand are not the restrictions on government enshrined in the American Bill of Rights, but the claims on society for ‘equity’ and ‘welfare’ and special treatment for designated groups that are the familiar menu of the left and would, if enacted, amount to a revolution in America’s existing social order.”3

Immigrant-ethnic lobbies serve as the radical Left’s cultural beachhead. Multiculturalists—working via ethnic-immigrant advocacy groups—actively undermine America’s national sovereignty and thwart the process of assimilation by breaking down traditional cultural barriers. An open-borders agenda advances the goals and objectives of ethnic-immigrant and indigenous cultures to “diversify” America’s European-based heritage. The conventional idea of assimilation (adopting the values, tradition, customs, and folkways of the host nation) is now one of cultural accommodation, weaving the tapestry of the immigrant-ethnic culture into America’s national fabric.Consider the transformation over the years that has taken place in accommodating the “diversity” of languages with the widespread voice-bank message of a caller’s frustration when hearing, “press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish,” or going to an ATM and having to “press 1 for English” before proceeding with a transaction. That America has undergone and continues to undergo an unprecedented demographic transition (four states now have minority-majority populations) is uncontested. What this change represents in terms of America’s national interests, notably the preservation of America’s national sovereignty and the nation’s deeply rooted European cultural traditions, is a major focus of this book.

This article highlights some of the largest, most prominent ethnic-immigrant organizations pushing for open-borders and the sources of their funding.

Organized Ethnic Lobbies

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

LULAC dates back to the 1920s. The first LULAC convention was held in May 1929. According to LULAC’s website,

LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic Organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide. The organization involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups.

Historically, LULAC has focused heavily on education, civil rights, and employment for Hispanics. LULAC councils provide more than a million dollars in scholarships to Hispanic students each year, conduct citizenship and voter registration drives, develop low income housing units, conduct youth leadership training programs, and seek to empower the Hispanic community at the local, state and national level.

In addition, the LULAC National Educational Service Centers, LULAC’s educational arm, provides counseling services to more than 18,000 Hispanic students per year at sixteen regional centers. SER Jobs for Progress, LULAC’s employment arm, provides job skills and literacy training to the Hispanic community through more than forty-eight employment training centers located throughout the United States. The LULAC Corporate Alliance, an advisory board of Fortune 500 companies, fosters stronger partnerships between Corporate America and the Hispanic community.”

LULAC’s success in attaining major funding for its various projects is evident in this abstract of an article from The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education:

The AT&T Foundation, philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) have unveiled 32 locations that will house new community technology centers in low-income Hispanic communities through LULAC’s Empower Hispanic America with Technology initiative. The centers are being supported by a $1.5 million grant that builds on the success of the foundation’s $1 million grant to LULAC in 2004. “In addition to creating 32 new technology centers, the funds will also enable us to maintain 23 current locations established under the previous grant,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “More than 55,000 Latinos received access and instruction on computer technology through AT&T’s support in 2004. And we expect this new grant to more than double the number of people we can help.” The grant to LULAC is part of AT&T AccessAII, a three-year $100 million philanthropic initiative to provide technology access to underserved communities. It will provide each new facility with computer equipment, personnel support, high-speed Internet service, and videoconferencing.

LULAC recently announced a “partnership” with Tyson Foods (a company once indicted on charges of smuggling illegal alien workers into the U.S.) to assist “the hungry in the Latino community” by setting up a food bank network in San Antonio, Texas. Tyson’s latest donations of 15 tons of protein to the San Antonio Food Bank bring the total in-kind donations (since 2000) to over 50-million pounds or 200-million meals.

Comcast recently partnered with LULAC to launch “Our Time to Vote,” a year-long effort to campaign for voter education and registration in Hispanic communities. This $5 million “multicultural outreach” campaign is part of Comcast’s overall commitment to “diversity” in four key areas: “attracting and retaining a multicultural workforce, developing a diverse supplier group, offering a wide selection of multicultural programming and pledging significant community investments.”

“‘Our Time to Vote’ is designed to bring a wide range of diverse Americans into the voting process,” explained Susan Gonzales, corporate senior director of federal and external affairs and vice president of the Comcast Foundation.

National Council of La Raza

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), founded in 1968, is a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. La Raza (or “the race”) maintains a network of 300 affiliate “community-based organizations” throughout the United States. The Ford Foundation has provided substantial funding over the years that was instrumental to La Raza’s founding and growth. Other recent corporate “partners” include, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, PepsiCo, Inc., Citi, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., State Farm Insurance Companies, Comcast Communications, and Verizon.

Raul Humberto Yzaguirre, born in San Juan, Texas in 1939, served as president of La Raza from 1974 to 2004 and now works with several nonprofit organizations as an advocate for creating a political union between Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Yzaguirre is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and served on the Independent Task Force on North America, which published Building a North America Community and called for greater cooperation in the free movement of commerce, capital, and people in a North American union. La Raza’s headquarter building in Washington, D.C. is named after Yzaguirre. summarizes the activities, goals, and objectives of the NCLR. (Note that according to, NCLR “advocates on behalf of Hispanics” and informs “policy-makers about how proposed or existing legislation affects the Latino community.”)

NCLR works on a variety of different issues affecting the Latino community in the U.S. such as health, housing, education, workforce development, and youth leadership. NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health works to reduce the incidence, burden, and impact of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. The NCLR Homeownership Network operates in 20 states and provides counseling on purchasing a home and managing the investment after purchase. NCLR also has both early childhood and secondary education programs which stress literacy, college preparation, and parent involvement. The organization’s education programs also address the needs of Latino and English language learner students through a network of community-based charter schools. In addition, NCLR works to increase employment opportunities for Latino youth through its Escalera program. Youth leadership is also stressed in the Líderes initiative that links youth development organizations around the country into one national network. Through all these programs, NCLR provides technical assistance to its network of community-based organizations around the country working on the same issues.

NCLR’s policy team also works on a range of similar issues including civic engagement, criminal and juvenile justice, wealth-building, housing, education, health, and that for which they are most well-known, immigration. The organization advocates on behalf of Hispanics in the United States by conducting research and informing policy-makers about how proposed or existing legislation affects the Latino community.4

Moreover, the NCLR website describes its mission, namely to conduct “applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas — assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.”

National Latino Congreso (NLC)

The National Latino Congreso is an affiliate of the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI). The Velasquez Institute works “to conduct research into improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities.” NLC serves as an umbrella support group coordinating and consolidating the heads of the major organizations representing ethnic-immigrant causes. The purpose of the National Latino Congreso was to coordinate the activities of leading Latino organizations in stopping “anti-immigration” efforts (translation: tougher border security, protecting America’s national sovereignty, preserving America’s European cultural traditions, and deporting illegal aliens). The following organizations comprise the National Latino Congreso:

* Hispanic Federation (HF),

* Labor Council for Latin American

* Advancement (LCLAA),

* League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC),

* Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF),

* National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC),

* National Day Laborer Organizing Network(NDLON),

* National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC),

* Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP),

* William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI),

Previous sponsors (providing financial support or goods and services) of NLC include:

* Southwest Airlines

* General Motors

* Starbucks

* Sierra Club

* Levi StraussFoundation

* Wells Fargo

* Whole Foods

* Union Bank of California

* Charles R. Drew University of Medicineand Science

* The Nature Conservancy

* Oxfam America

* Titan

* Nielsen

* Sempra Energy

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)

Another major ethnic-immigrant advocacy organization is the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Founded in 1968 in San Antonio, Texas, it is the “leading Latino litigation, advocacy, and educational outreach institution in the U.S.” The primary mission of MALDEF is to “foster sound public policies, laws, and programs to safeguard the civil rights of the 45 million Latinos living in the United States and to empower the Latino community to fully participate in our society.” MALDEF, with the financial support of a $2.2 million grant from the Ford Foundation, maintains several regional offices and a staff of 50 employees and 22 attorneys. The 25-member board of directors comprises leaders from the public and private sector, government, and law firms. Headquartered in Los Angeles, MALDEF has won several significant legal victories for Mexican Americans in lawsuits over voting rights, employment discrimination, and educational funding, and has defended the children of illegal aliens from being excluded from public education.

Corporate sponsors who have contributed over $100,000 include:

* Anheuser-Busch companies

* Ford Foundation

* Rockefeller Foundation

* Soros Foundation

* Washington Mutual Bank

National Immigrant Solidarity Network

The National Immigrant Solidarity Network (NISN) is “a coalition of immigrant rights, labor, human rights, religious, and student activist organizations from across the country.” The network serves as a coalition of leading immigrant rights, student and labor groups. In solidarity with their campaigns, the NISN assists in organizing community immigrant rights education campaigns.

From legislative letter-writing campaigns to speaker bureaus and educational materials, they organize critical immigrant-worker campaigns that are moving toward justice for all immigrants!

Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA)

MEChA is a self-described “Chicano” student organization and wraps itself in the language of “liberation,” “self-determination,” and “struggle” of “Indigenous people.” The MEChA website explains the orientation, background, and objectives of the Chicano student organization:

Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) is a student organization that promotes higher education, cultura, and historia. MEChA was founded on the principles of self-determination for the liberation of our people. We believe that political involvement and education is the avenue for change in our society.

Each word in MEChA symbolizes a great concept in terms of la causa. Movimiento means that the organization is dedicated to the movement to gain self-determination for our people. Estudiantil, identifies the organization as a student group for we are part of our Raza’s future. At the heart of the name is the use of the identity: Chicano. At first seen as a negative word, now taken for a badge of honor. In adopting their new identity, the students committed themselves to return to the barrios, colonias, or campos and together, struggle against the forces that oppress our gente. Lastly, the affirmation that we are Indigenous people to this land by placing our movement in Aztlan, the homeland of all peoples from Anahuak.

On campuses across Aztlan, MEChA and Mechistas are often the only groups on campus Raza and non-Raza alike that seek to open the doors of higher education para nuestras comunidades and strive for a society free of imperialism, racism, sexism, and homophobia. An inspirational statement in El Plan Santa Barbara that speaks to this notes:

MEChA must bring to the mind of every young Chicana and Chicano that the liberation of her/his people from prejudice and oppression is in her/his hands and this responsibility is greater than personal achievement and more meaningful than degrees, especially if they are earned at the expense of her/his identity and cultural integrity. MEChA, then, is more than a name; it is a spirit of unity, of sisterhood and brotherhood, and a resolve to undertake a struggle for liberation in society where justice is but a word. MEChA is a means to an end (El Plan de Santa Barbara).

Historical Foundation

In March of 1969, at Denver, Colorado the Crusade for Justice organized the first National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference that drafted the basic premises for the Chicana/Chicano Movement in El Plan de Aztlán.

The following month, in April of 1969, over 100 Chicanas/Chicanos came together at University of California, Santa Barbara to formulate a plan for higher education: El Plan de Santa Barbara. With this document they were successful in the development of two very important contributions to the Chicano Movement: Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) and Chicano Studies.

The adoption of the name Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan signaled a new level of political consciousness among student activists. It was the final stage in the transformation of what had been loosely organized, local student groups, into a single structure and a unified student movement.

Adamant rejection of the label “Mexican-American” meant rejection of the assimilation and accommodationist melting pot ideology that had guided earlier generations of activists. Chicanismo involves a crucial distinction in a political consciousness between a Mexican-American (Hispanic) and a Chicana/o mentality. El Plan de Santa Barbara speaks to such issues of identity politics by asserting:

The Mexican-American (Hispanic) is a person who lacks respect for his/her cultural and ethnic heritage. Unsure of her/himself, she/he seeks assimilation as a way out of her/his “degraded” social status. Consequently, she/he remains politically ineffective. In contrast, Chicanismo reflects self-respect and pride on one’s ethnic and cultural background. Thus, the Chicana/o acts with confidence and with a range of alternatives in the political world. She/he is capable of developing an effective ideology through action (El Plan de Santa Barbara).

MEChA played an important role in the creation and implementation of Chicana/o Studies and support services programs on campus. Chicana/o Studies programs would be a relevant alternative to established curricula. Most important, the Chicana/o Studies program would be the foundation of MEChA’s political power base. Today many Chicana/os Studies Programs would have difficulty operating if it were not for the enthusiasm and dedication of Mechistas to Chicana/o Studies.

One of the more radical operations pushing for open-borders is a consortium of militant-Left activists working to advance “direct democracy” and “direct action” as well as championing “indigenous struggles” and “immigrant rights,” is,

According to its website, is an online community with the goal of nurturing a global network of movements against borders. We began the project in 2005. Sensing the tremendous potential energy and having seen the existence of many networks around the world like and No One Is Illegal in Canada, we sought to use the latest technology to provide a site which would make international connections and act as a hub of resistance and emergence.... is designed to be a place for information sharing through the use of open posting, news feed collection, media galleries, blogs and forums. We are currently in the midst of the largest migration in human history. The intense processes of neoliberal enclosure continue on despite unprecedented levels of resistance across the world. Thus, migration continues, from South to North, from colonized to colonizer. Most recently, under the guise of the war on terror, States are retaliating against this migration with repressive measures and elaborate systems of control and exploitation that function much like in-country colonization.

Against this murderous violence, movements have sprung up to work in conjunction and solidarity with migrant people. Our site seeks to aid the growth of these movements by providing information about borders and resistance to borders, but also by providing support for organizers including forums, hosting for data sharing and event calendars.

Our site currently offers visitors the option to see the site’s interface elements such as menus and buttons in English, Spanish or French. It also allows visitors to post translations for their stories. We frequently have posts in each of these languages as the posts often originate in the US, Canada, Mexico and Spain. Our contexts are some of the most contentious and violent borderlands of the world.

The project was begun, and is maintained by the o.r.g.a.n.i.c. collective and the borderlands hacklab in San Diego, California. The content of is contributed by numerous organizers, hackers and bloggers in the US, Canada and Mexico. Stories are regularly posted by members of o.r.g.a.n.i.c, by organizers with No One Is Illegal in Canada and by net activists such as Ricardo Dominguez. Moving forward, the o.r.g.a.n.i.c collective and the borderlands Hacklab is working on a more formalized North American Network For Freedom of Movement. The administration of the site therefore will soon include members of various groups around the country, including the Bay Area Coalition to Fight the Minutemen.

Within the last month our site traffic has doubled as the largest mobilizations ever seen in many cities across the US have taken place, including self-organized spontaneous walkouts by tens of thousands of students.

Philanthropic Support: Foundations Funding the Open-Borders Network

The Ford Foundation

Over the years, large private foundations have bankrolled organizations, such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Chief among the foundations funding MALDEF and other ethnic-immigrant groups is the Ford Foundation.

The Ford Foundation was chartered in 1936 by Michigan philanthropist Edsel Bryant Ford, the son of Henry Ford, and a former president of Ford Motor Company. The Ford Foundation is an independent philanthropic organization with no present direct affiliation with the Ford Motor Company (Henry Ford II resigned from the Ford Foundation board of directors in 1976). Originally the foundation was established to fund Henry Ford’s philanthropic vision.

The Ford Foundation is listed as the fourth largest charitable foundation in the U.S., coming in behind the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. With an endowment of $13.7 billion, the Ford Foundation is a major financial supporter of “those on the margins of social, economic and political life.” The Ford Foundation website describes their mission:

As citizens, we each have a central role to play in fulfilling the promises of peace and social justice in our societies. We support civic groups because we believe they provide a key platform enabling people to share in charting the future of their communities and defending against the abuse of public or private power.

Our work in this area expands opportunities for people around the world to build and sustain civic life in ways that promote peaceful and just communities. We concentrate on strengthening the organizations, networks and movements through which people exercise citizenship. We also encourage voluntary associations to hold themselves and their governments accountable for their actions.

Key Strategies

Our grant making focuses on:

Helping grassroots groups, nonprofits and membership organizations articulate common goals, strengthen their capacities and accountability, and build alliances with government and business

Strengthening philanthropy that gives voice to those on the margins of social, economic and political life

Promoting greater civic engagement in the institutions of global governance

We believe that a healthy civil society relies on a critical mass of people and organizations working in a variety of ways on common challenges.

The Open Society Institute

The mission of the Open Society Institute (OSI), a private operating and grant-making foundation established by billionaire George Soros (see next page), “aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal,
and social reform. On a local level, OSI implements a range of initiatives to support the rule of law, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, OSI works to build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption and rights abuses.”

OSI has launched some 33 global and local initiatives that span the full range of anti-poverty, “human rights,” health, cultural, women’s rights, and social justice issues in the context of a borderless world.5

Between 1996 and 2000, OSI sponsored the Emma Lazarus Fund, which “focused on combating the unfair treatment of immigrants in the United States. In its final year, it was the lead funder of the Los Angeles Immigrant Funders’ Collaborative....”6

An Investor’s Business Daily editorial in September 2007 raised the irony of the lack of “transparency” in which OSI funded various public projects, noting

Didn’t the mainstream media report that 2006’s vast immigration rallies across the country began as a spontaneous uprising of 2 million angry Mexican-flag waving illegal immigrants demanding U.S. citizenship in Los Angeles, egged on only by a local Spanish-language radio announcer?

[W]hat looked like a wildfire grassroots movement really was a manipulation from OSI’s glassy Manhattan offices. The public had no way of knowing until the release of OSI’s 2006 annual report…. Soros’ “shaping public policies,” as OSI calls it, is not illegal. But it’s a problem for democracy because it drives issues with cash and then only lets the public know about it after it’s old news.

That means the public makes decisions about issues without understanding the special agendas of groups behind them.

Without more transparency, it amounts to political manipulation. This leads to cynicism. As word of these short-term covert ops gets out, the public grows to distrust what it hears and tunes out.

The irony here is that Soros claims to be an advocate of an “open society.” His OSI does just the legal minimum to disclose its activities. The public shouldn’t have to wait until an annual report is out before the light is flipped on about the Open Society’s political action.7

The organizations listed in this article represent well-organized ethnic-immigrant lobbies and advocacy groups, which are actively working to transform the U.S. into a borderless society. Wealthy radical ideologues, such as Soros, fund a platform to impose their vision on American society — to the detriment of the national interest. ■


1. Garrett Hardin, Stalking the Wild Taboo, 2nd ed. (Los Altos, CA: William Kaufmann, Inc., 1978: 206).

2. Robert A. Nisbet, The Social Bond: An Introduction to the Study of Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970: 193).

3. William Hawkins and Erin Anderson, The Open Borders Lobby and the Nation’s Security After 9/11 (Los Angeles, CA: Center for the Study of Popular Culture, 2004: 11).




7. “The Soros Threat to Democracy,” Investor’s Business Daily, September 25, 2007: A12.

About the author

Kevin Lamb is the managing editor of The Social Contract and a freelance writer living in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.