Ian Smith

Former DHS Policy Analyst, Former Investigative Associate For IRLI

A former DHS Policy Analyst who worked for the anti-immigrant movement’s litigation shop as an investigative associate, Ian Smith has demonized immigrants and advocated for harsh immigration policies for years. Smith left his post at DHS shortly before The Atlantic reported that the former IRLI staffer had been on email threads with white nationalists such as Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor.

  • Ian Smith worked as an Investigative Associate for the anti-immigrant litigation group Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) from 2015-2017, along with colleagues Kris Kobach, Dale Wilcox, John Miano, and Michael Hethmon, before moving into the Trump Administration.
  • While at IRLI, Smith railed against legal immigration, DACA recipients, and refugees, and promoted attrition through enforcement policies in op-eds published in The Hill and the National Review.
  • The Atlantic reported that in one email exchange between Smith and real estate agent with alt-right ties Ben Zapp, the pair joked about Nazi slang. Zapp used the Nazi slang judenfrei, or “free of Jews,” to discuss Friday night plans, to which Smith replied, “They don’t call it Freitag [German: Friday, literally “free day”] for nothing.” In the same exchange Smith expressed a desire to spend time with a former spokesperson for the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party, Matt Parrott.
  • In 2013, he claimed that the cost estimates of the ‘Gang of Eight’ immigration bill failed to account for strains on Obamacare caused by “high obesity rates” and “greater fertility” among Mexican immigrants. Smith concluded with, “The problems associated with obesity, the OECD concludes, are best curbed through preventative care and education. For the U.S., however, the best preventative solution might be to kill the amnesty bill.”
  • On the increase of refugees fleeing Syria, Smith argued that Europeans were “dealing with their Camp of the Saints-style unarmed invasion.” The Camp of the Saints, a favorite novel among white nationalists, was re-published in English in 1994 by John Tanton’s publishing house The Social Contract Press. According to Cécile Alduy, an expert on the modern French far right, Jean Raspail’s widely denounced book “describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immigrants that wash ashore like the plague.”
  • Smith has publicly expressed his opposition to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended the race-based quotas from the 1920s, saying it was responsible for the “barely governable system we have today,” and has lauded Arizona’s SB 1070, or the ‘show me your papers law.’
  • Ian Smith is one of a number of individuals who have moved into the Trump Administration from Tanton founded groups. Prior to joining the Administration Smith supported IRLI’s legal attacks on immigrants across the country including DACA recipients.
  • During his time in the Trump Administration, DHS implemented harsh immigration policies such as rescission of DACA, ending TPS for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, and family separation at the Southern border, which the United Nations Human Rights office said “may amount to torture.”
  • Smith has a history of maligning immigrants and once railed against DACA recipients, calling them “people who not only broke into our sovereign nation, but have done huge damage to our social security system and cultural fabric.”
  • In a 2017 piece for The Hill attacking DACA, Smith wrote, “Why it still stands is surely testament to the moral blackmail employed by the anti-borders lobby, specifically, the daily hectoring of the public about the need to empathize with illegal aliens, to “put yourselves in their shoes”, to “think about their families,” etc.”
  • In a 2017 piece published in The Hill, Smith attempted to tie DACA and TPS recipients to voter fraud, writing, “DACA and TPS-beneficiaries also have an increased ability to register and vote due to their eligibility for federal identification documents, including driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers. The burden of cross-checking as well as the threat of illegal voting increases with the size of the noncitizen population…”