2005 Annual Report

2005: The Year in Review

The great baseball visionary Branch Rickey once commented that “luck is the residue of design.” Designing an organization that is prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves requires constant evaluation and innovation. In achieving success with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Rickey created the farm system and, most courageously, broke the color barrier when he signed Jackie Robinson.

This formula for success applies as much to organizations dedicated to making a difference in the nation’s future as it does to building a winning sports franchise. An organization must have a solid foundation, while retaining the flexibility to innovate new strategies in response to new circumstances and opportunities.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform is an organization that exemplifies this model. FAIR is built on a solid foundation of more than 25 years as the nation’s most prominent advocacy group for immigration reform. In more than a quarter of a century, FAIR has not wavered from its core principles — that U.S. immigration policies must serve the economic, social, cultural and environmental interests of the American people.

At the same time, the organization has retained the ability to constantly reassess and reevaluate its strategies for achieving the unalterable principles upon which FAIR was founded. That formula was never more evident than in 2005, as the organization responded to the most opportune climate in many years for bringing about true reform of America’s immigration policies.

The new political atmosphere is itself a residue of design. For years, FAIR has worked diligently to educate the American public about the growing threat of uncontrolled illegal immigration and government policies that have mandated more and more immigration without regard to its impact on American society. By 2005, as immigration had become a national issue affecting Americans in all regions of the country, FAIR needed to adapt its strategies and thinking. From coast to coast, immigration emerged from the political background and took center stage, and those who measure public opinion noted that immigration — specifically the desire of Americans to enforce immigration laws and lower the overall influx — ranked near the top of people’s lists of concerns.

For the first time in its history, the primary task of FAIR in 2005 was not to educate the American public about the fact that we have an immigration problem, but rather that we have real solutions. In every facet of the organization, FAIR sought innovative ways to capitalize on the opportunities that design and circumstance offered.

In 2005, FAIR reinforced its founding ideals by crystallizing them into seven straightforward statements of principle. These seven principles state, in plain English, the goals that FAIR, as an organization, works every day to achieve. These principles stand in sharp contrast to the special interests and special pleadings of those on the other side of the immigration debate.

Next, FAIR evaluated every aspect of its operation to determine how it could maximize effectiveness as we entered this new phase of the immigration reform battle. New tools, new technologies and new thinking were applied in every department within FAIR in 2005.

From an enhanced working relationship with newly emerging leaders in Congress that allowed FAIR unprecedented input into the formulation of legislative strategies, to a robust litigation effort, to an ever expanding network of grassroots organizations that FAIR has helped launch, to our relationship with the media, FAIR honed its strategies to respond to the new political atmosphere. The success of these efforts can be seen in key federal legislative victories in 2005, unprecedented action by state and local governments, landmark court victories, more prominent exposure in the media, and the fastest growth in FAIR’s membership base in the organization’s history.

The ability to identify new opportunities, swiftly create strategies to take advantage of them, and then put those strategies into effect allowed FAIR to play a critical role in the central immigration achievement of 2005: the passage of the most sweeping and extensive immigration enforcement bill in almost 80 years. The job is not done, of course. The Senate has failed to follow suit, while the White House continues to promote immigration policies that run contrary to public opinion and the national interest.

In the coming years, FAIR will continue to adapt and innovate, while remaining true to the basic principles of the organization, as we have for more than a quarter of a century. Whenever the opportunities to promote true immigration reform that serves the best interests of the nation present themselves, FAIR will be prepared to take full advantage, as we did in 2005.

The complete 2005 Annual Report is available in pdf format.