In recent months, Janice Kephart, a current fellow and former staffer at the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), established a new front group, the Secure Identity and Biometrics Association (SIBA). The anti-immigrant movement often uses the tactic of establishing front groups in order to reach a broader base. In this case, it is trying to appeal to the biometric and identity technology community.
Like other front groups established with the help of the anti-immigrant movement, SIBA is made up of anti-immigrant activists who promote the movement’s agenda. Kephart’s relationship with CIS dates back almost ten years. She first appeared on various CIS panels before acting as CIS’s director of security policy. Kephart began working as a special council for the Senate Judiciary Committee during the push to pass an immigration reform bill in the Senate in 2013. Kephart is now listed as a “national security fellow” for CIS.
Michael Dougherty, one of several SIBA board members announced a few weeks ago, also has ties to the anti-immigrant movement. In 2010, Dougherty participated in a CIS panel titled, “The Politics and Practicalities of a US EXIT Program.”
The “key issue areas” section of SIBA website contains a number of topics important to the anti-immigrant cause. The anti-immigrant movement claims many undocumented immigrants are using fraudulent forms of identification in order to receive benefits and work in the United States. SIBA supports the REAL ID Act, claiming it will improve national security and catch criminals. The organization is also in favor of E-Verify, a flawed federal pilot program that allows employers to verify the eligibility of newly-hired employees. Making E-Verify mandatory is another major long-term goal of the anti-immigrant movement.
As the push for immigration reform continues, the anti-immigrant movement continues to woo supporters from different movements and backgrounds in an attempt to argue that Americans are not in favor of reform. The creation of SIBA is the latest in a long line of groups founded by leaders in the movement to further this goal.