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July 16, 2014 6

Anti-Immigrant Groups Plan National Protests Against Children Fleeing Violence

In response to the human­i­tar­ian cri­sis at the bor­der, which has seen an influx of chil­dren flee­ing vio­lence in Cen­tral Amer­ica, a num­ber of anti-immigrant activists and right-wing groups are plan­ning two national days of protest on July 18 and 19 against “immi­gra­tion reform amnesty and the bor­der surge.”protest-immigration

The flyer for the event fea­tures the same extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric seen recently at protests in Mur­ri­eta, Cal­i­for­nia and Vas­sar, Michi­gan. The flyer claims that “ille­gal aliens with com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases and con­di­tions such as tuber­cu­lo­sis, sca­bies and head lice are enter­ing our coun­try unabated.” It goes on to warn of a “very real secu­rity risk to Amer­i­cans from drug car­tels, gang mem­bers and terrorists.”

The orga­nizer of the pro­posed nation­wide events sched­uled for July 18 and 19 is Paul Arnold, an anti-immigrant activist and founder of the anti-immigrant group “Make Them Lis­ten.” Arnold is closely tied to the anti-immigrant front group Black Amer­i­can Lead­er­ship Alliance (BALA). He helped orga­nize BALA’s “March for Jobs” anti-immigrant rally in July 2013 which was attended by about 800 peo­ple. Arnold also helped to orga­nize anti-immigrant ral­lies in dif­fer­ent states in August 2013 as part of a BALA “tour.” Many of the pro­posed ral­lies were can­celled due to lack of par­tic­i­pants and the few that did take place were sparsely attended

The Face­book event page for this weekend’s planned   protests indi­cates that a num­ber of extreme anti-immigrant groups are allegedly plan­ning to par­tic­i­pate. For exam­ple, the South Carolina-based anti-immigrant group Amer­i­cans Have Had Enough Coali­tion (AHHEC) plans to hold a protest in the state this week­end. White suprema­cist Roan Garcia-Quintana is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of AHHEC and is also a direc­tor and “life­time mem­ber” of the white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tion Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens.

Another group plan­ning to par­tic­i­pate in the protests this week­end is the North Carolina-based Amer­i­cans for Legal Immi­gra­tion PAC (ALI-PAC), essen­tially a one man oper­a­tion run by anti-immigrant extrem­ist William Gheen. Gheen has a long his­tory of anti-immigrant rhetoric. In his recent state­ments about the human­i­tar­ian cri­sis, for exam­ple, Gheen advo­cated send­ing “gen­tly used” under­wear to John Boehner and Pres­i­dent Obama in protest of the bor­der patrol’s plea for cit­i­zens to send new pairs of under­wear for the migrants flee­ing violence.

A num­ber of other very active anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tions from around the coun­try includ­ing Min­nesotans Seek­ing Immi­gra­tion Reform (MINNSIR), New York­ers for Immi­gra­tion Con­trol and
Enforce­ment (NYICE) and Help Save Mary­land (HSM) are also sched­uled to par­tic­i­pate at ral­lies in their states. Though it is unlikely the protests will attract large num­bers, the anti-immigrant move­ment is cer­tainly using the human­i­tar­ian cri­sis at the bor­der to attempt to mobi­lize its base.

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July 14, 2014 0

Longtime Anti-Immigrant Activists Behind Murrieta Protests

Start­ing in late June 2014, anti-immigrant activists in Mur­ri­eta, Cal­i­for­nia, have pre­vented buses car­ry­ing migrants flee­ing vio­lence in Cen­tral Amer­ica from enter­ing the town’s bor­der patrol pro­cess­ing cen­ter. The protests have gar­nered national and inter­na­tional atten­tion due to the extreme rhetoric and ugly cli­mate sur­round­ing them. Numer­ous anti-immigrant activists with close ties to the anti-immigrant move­ment flocked to Mur­ri­eta from all over South­ern Cal­i­for­nia to par­tic­i­pate. Some of these pro­test­ers are closely tied to extreme ele­ments of the anti-immigrant move­ment and have a his­tory of big­oted statements.murrieta-immigration

As we have seen with sim­i­lar protests in Vas­sar, Michi­gan, estab­lished anti-immigrant groups and long­time anti-immigrant activists are play­ing a cru­cial role in the protests in both states. In Mur­ri­eta and Vas­sar, anti-immigrant activists closely tied to the largest anti-immigrant groups in the coun­try such as the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR) and Num­ber­sUSA are help­ing to spread their mes­sage of big­otry and xeno­pho­bia in an attempt to cre­ative a cli­mate of fear around this human­i­tar­ian crisis.

Click here to read more about the anti-immigrant activists behind the Mur­ri­eta protests.

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July 14, 2014 0

Hobby Lobby Elicits Varied Editorial Responses

On June 30, the Supreme Court in Bur­well v. Hobby Lobby affirmed the right of family-owned com­pa­nies to deny employ­ees, based on the reli­gious beliefs of the employer, health insur­ance cov­er­age for con­tra­cep­tives. As Pro­fes­sor Erwin Chemerin­sky warned at the ADL’s 2014 Supreme Court Review, the deci­sion could have far-reaching impli­ca­tions for work­ers’ civil and reli­gious rights.newspapers-hobby-lobby

Edi­to­r­ial boards for the nations’ top news­pa­pers opposed the land­mark deci­sion by a 2–1 ratio. Of the fifty news­pa­pers with the high­est cir­cu­la­tion, twenty-five dis­agreed with the Supreme Court’s posi­tion in Hobby Lobby. Thir­teen sup­ported the deci­sion. Twelve offered no opin­ion on the topic.

Of those peri­od­i­cals that opposed the deci­sion, some objected to the Supreme Court’s increas­ing will­ing­ness to grant legal pro­tec­tions to cor­po­ra­tions that tra­di­tion­ally have been reserved for human beings. The Cleve­land Plain Dealer insisted that “cor­po­ra­tions are not ‘per­sons’ who think, breathe and exer­cise first-amendment rights or prac­tice reli­gious beliefs,” and warned that “[t]reating them as if they are will inevitably nar­row free­doms for oth­ers.” The Detroit Free Press called the deci­sion an expan­sion of “the majority’s already inflated notion of cor­po­rate personhood.”

Other oppo­nents view the deci­sion as a set­back for repro­duc­tive rights. The San Jose Mer­cury News crit­i­cized the Court for fail­ing to rec­og­nize the impor­tance of access to con­tra­cep­tives for women’s rights: “World­wide, the sin­gle great­est fac­tor in lift­ing soci­eties out of poverty is women gain­ing the abil­ity to con­trol when they become preg­nant.” The Min­neapo­lis Star Tri­bunesaid that “allow­ing an employer to choose which type of con­tra­cep­tion mer­its cov­er­age reverts to an ear­lier, darker age in atti­tudes about women’s role in reproduction.”

Still oth­ers fear that the deci­sion opens the door to fur­ther ero­sion indi­vid­u­als’ rights and gov­ern­ment entan­gle­ment in the exer­cise of reli­gion. The New York Times called the deci­sion “a rad­i­cal depar­ture from the court’s his­tory of resist­ing claims for reli­gious exemp­tions from neu­tral laws of gen­eral applic­a­bil­ity when the exemp­tions would hurt other peo­ple.” USA Today warned of the “deeply dis­turb­ing propo­si­tion” that the deci­sion could force the gov­ern­ment to judge “whether a business’s reli­gious prin­ci­ples merit spe­cial treat­ment that its more sec­u­lar com­peti­tors don’t get.” The Wash­ing­ton Post urged Con­gress to limit the dam­age of the deci­sion by leg­isla­tively over­turn­ing it.

Sup­port­ers, how­ever, hail Hobby Lobby as a bold recog­ni­tion of reli­gious lib­erty. The Wall Street Jour­nal called the deci­sion “an impor­tant vin­di­ca­tion of reli­gious lib­erty in this (still, bless­edly) con­sti­tu­tional repub­lic.” The New York Daily News cel­e­brated that Court’s con­clu­sion that “own­ers of closely held com­pa­nies should not be forced to sac­ri­fice their reli­gious lib­erty sim­ply because they incor­po­rated to do business.”

How­ever one views the Court’s deci­sion, Hobby Lobby clearly touches on many polit­i­cal and legal fault lines. The ADL believes that the deci­sion threat­ens many anti-discrimination laws and will work to limit its impact.

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