FAIR is Paging John Q. Public
Shari Rendall, FAIR’s long-time State and Local Engagement Director, lives by a quote she heard in law school: “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.” Unknowingly, Supreme Court Justice, Louis D. Brandeis, captured perfectly the core work required to reverse today’s immigration crisis.
Collaborative federalism within the context of immigration implies that all levels of government – federal, state and local – work together to enforce laws. But when special interests conspire to thwart that coordinated effort and fuel disorder, likewise it implies that citizens at all levels must collaborate and resist. To aid that effort, grassroots education and mobilization is a core mission of FAIR, and its seasoned State and Local team are no strangers to the challenges and rewards of fighting policies that that incentivize illegal immigration.
Rendall admits it’s never easy, yet necessary, and reminds Americans, “We’ll lose everything if we capitulate to the radical left and that what happens if we do nothing.” Make no mistake, the open-borders advocates also engaged in street-level organizing supported by powerful institutions with deep pockets, influence, and mainstream media complicity. As such, FAIR’s State and Local team — along with our grassroots allies — combat endless efforts to enact sanctuary polices, driver’s licenses, in-state tuition, and a veritable honey pot of other benefits for illegal aliens from California to Maine. The ubiquity of illegal immigration has made every state a “border state” and each one a battleground.
Similarly, Susan Tully, FAIR’s Field and Law Enforcement Relations Manager acknowledges “bottom-up” pressure is crucial and in countless instances has made a difference, particularly the influence brought to bear locally from the broad coalition of American sheriffs she has helped organize. Yet, Tully laments, “The biggest frustration is observing the lengths to which the American public need to go to have their concerns addressed.” Ever the optimist though, she observes, “Representative government isn’t dead, it’s just hard of hearing right now and we need to pump up the volume and that’s what citizen engagement – my job and FAIR – is all about.”
Ultimately, the rewards of a shared cause always outweigh the struggles for the growing number of everyday folks who get involved, put their values to work, and encourage others. “I’m in awe of our activists’ courage” says Rendall. “It’s one thing to meet with a lawmaker on Capitol Hill where Congressional staff are official and polite even if they disagree, and it’s important to do so. But far more often our activists are speaking out at neighborhood town halls or city council meetings where the reception can be…less than hospitable. Despite that, activists are always surprised when other like-minded voices emerge and lend support. Just one spark of bravery and leadership lights the flame. It’s inspiring, and the essence of American democracy.”
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After all, you hold the most important political office.