Utah immigration foe sees no racism in law

Dec. 19, 2010 at 7:52 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A group some consider extremist helped a Utah legislator draft an immigration crackdown bill, the lawmaker confirms.

Rep. Stephen Sandstrom told The Salt Lake Tribune he had met with Michael Hethmon, general counsel of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

FAIR was branded as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of quotes from its founder, John Tanton.

Sandstrom said he had never heard of Tanton and never heard any racist words from Hethmon.

"I have to look at my own personal motivations, and I think they're good and sound and they're based on rule of law. They're not in any way racist in any way shape or form," Sandstrom said. "Anything that is based on hate or exclusionary issues for Hispanic people I would absolutely denounce."

He did say he was "troubled" by past Tanton statements such as, "for American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority and a clear one at that."

Tanton also once asked "whether the minorities who are going to inherit California ... can run an advanced society."

Tanton says the Southern Poverty Law Center exploits groups like his to raise money.

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