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November 26, 2014 2

Activists Use Extreme Rhetoric in Response to Obama’s Executive Action

A num­ber of anti-immigrant activists and groups used extreme rhetoric in response to Pres­i­dent Obama’s exec­u­tive action on immi­gra­tion, announced on Novem­ber 20. For exam­ple, William Gheen of the extreme anti-immigrant group Amer­i­cans for Legal Immi­gra­tion PAC (ALIPAC) con­nected the Mex­i­can Civil War with Obama’s exec­u­tive action in an inter­view with the conspiracy-oriented web­site World Net Daily. Gheen stated, “Obama’s choice of this date [Novem­ber 20 is Mex­i­can ‘Rev­o­lu­tion Day’ or Mex­i­can ‘Civil War Day’ which is the equiv­a­lent of America’s 4th of July] for his depar­ture from his Oath of Office and the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion cre­ates a per­ma­nent sym­bolic rela­tion­ship between his actions and Mexico’s vio­lent rev­o­lu­tion­ary and civil wars from 1910–1920.”

William Gheen

William Gheen

Gheen also cir­cu­lated a Gary Varvel car­toon that depicted an immi­grant fam­ily climb­ing in the win­dow of a house of a white fam­ily while they are eat­ing Thanks­giv­ing din­ner with the cap­tion, “Thanks to the President’s immi­gra­tion order, we’ll be hav­ing extra guests this Thanks­giv­ing.” Gheen later claimed the car­toon “makes a very impor­tant point about ille­gal immi­gra­tion, bound­aries, the assault on Amer­i­can fam­i­lies and Amer­i­can cul­ture… and the real sit­u­a­tion in Amer­ica. And unfor­tu­nately for many Amer­i­can [sic], ille­gal aliens are lit­er­ally crawl­ing through their windows!”

A num­ber of activists asso­ci­ated with the extreme anti-immigrant group Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR) also made com­ments about Pres­i­dent Obama’s plan on immi­gra­tion. When asked on his radio show whether Obama’s actions would lead to eth­nic cleans­ing, Kris Kobach, who is of coun­sel with Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of FAIR, responded, “And the rule of law used to be unas­sail­able, used to be taken for granted in Amer­ica. And now, of course, we have a pres­i­dent who dis­re­gards the law when it suits his inter­ests. So, while I nor­mally would answer that by say­ing, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never hap­pen in Amer­ica,’ I won­der what could happen…”

Ruthie Hendrycks, a FAIR state advi­sor and head of the anti-immigrant group Min­nesotans Seek­ing Immi­gra­tion Reform (MINNSIR), posted a com­ment on Face­book call­ing for the fam­i­lies of undoc­u­mented immi­grants cur­rently in depor­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings to also be deported.

FAIR advi­sory board mem­ber and anti-immigrant extrem­ist Frosty Wooldridge, responded to the president’s action in his reg­u­lar col­umn on the News With Views web­site by espous­ing birther con­spir­acy the­o­ries. Wooldridge wrote, “We now face a man in the White House who doesn’t mind break­ing our Con­sti­tu­tion, paid for with the blood of mil­lions of men and women. In his youth, he chose to smoke pot, do drugs and lie his way through col­lege and into Con­gress. He lacks any com­pre­hen­sion of what Amer­ica stands for because he still hasn’t proven he’s an American.”

More extreme ele­ments of the anti-immigrant move­ment also weighed in on the issue. White suprema­cist Peter Brimelow, the founder of the racist and anti-immigrant web­site VDARE called for the impeach­ment of Pres­i­dent Obama. Brimelow also used the Novem­ber 20th announce­ment to call for the “imme­di­ate abo­li­tion” of birthright citizenship.

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November 26, 2014 0

After Executive Action on Immigration, Extremists Lash Out

Extrem­ists in the United States responded to Pres­i­dent Obama’s announce­ment of exec­u­tive action on immi­gra­tion by attack­ing the Pres­i­dent, blam­ing Jews and call­ing for whites to become “con­scious” and dis­tance them­selves from the cur­rent polit­i­cal sys­tem and society.

richard spencer

Richard Spencer

The racist and anti-Semite Pat Buchanan penned an arti­cle pub­lished in Townhall.com in which he claimed the Pres­i­dent, “ensured the remak­ing of Amer­ica.” Buchanan wrote, “Now when the wives and chil­dren of the ille­gals arrive, and their extended fam­i­lies apply for and receive visas, and bring their wives and chil­dren, we will become the Third World coun­try of Obama’s dream, no more a West­ern nation.” Adrian Krieg, a direc­tor with the white suprema­cist Amer­i­can Free­dom Party (AFP) also attacked the Pres­i­dent in a col­umn on the AFP web­site, assert­ing, “This was the act of a despotic sociopath act­ing out­side law, and in a veiled attempt to paint the oppo­si­tion into a corner.”

In a piece on his web­site, anti-Semite David Duke blamed Jews for the President’s actions, declar­ing, “This strategy—of ensur­ing that America’s found­ing Euro­pean pop­u­la­tion be reduced to a minority—and then prefer­ably into total irrelevance—has been a major goal of the Jew­ish Suprema­cists since the days of Jacob Jav­its and his fel­low Zio-racists since the 1960s, when the first Jewish-promoted immi­gra­tion reforms were started.” Fel­low anti-Semite Andrew Anglin echoed Duke’s com­ments on his Daily Stormer web­site, assert­ing, “The rea­son here is that the Repub­li­cans aren’t actu­ally against it. The big busi­ness Jews who run the GOP are in agree­ment with the com­mie Jews who run the Demo­c­ra­tic Party: mass third world immi­gra­tion is a good thing.”

White nation­al­ist Richard Spencer called for a new white iden­tity in an arti­cle on the web­site of his group National Pol­icy Insti­tute (NPI). Spencer claimed the President’s actions could mark a “begin­ning of a move­ment of Iden­tity.” This iden­tity can flour­ish, Spencer wrote “even if half the chan­nels on cable are ‘en espan­iol [sic].’” Gre­gory Hunter, a con­trib­u­tor to the white suprema­cist online pub­li­ca­tion Counter-Currents, responded in a sim­i­lar vein to Spencer. Hunter argued, “It seems self-evident that European-Americans should turn on those who have betrayed them, renounce the failed Amer­i­can exper­i­ment, and secure their own destroy [sic] by any means nec­es­sary – seces­sion, rebel­lion, and the even­tual goal of the White Repub­lic.” Hunter went on to assert that “no progress will be made unless European-Americans become con­scious of them­selves as Euro­peans abroad.”

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November 20, 2014 0

Good D.C. Circuit Ruling on ACA Contraception Mandate Opt-Out Rule

The influ­en­tial U.S. Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia recently rejected legal claims by reli­gious non­prof­its assert­ing that even the min­i­mal require­ments for opt­ing out of the Afford­able Care Act’s (ACA) con­tra­cep­tion man­date vio­late their reli­gious free­dom rights.

DC Circuit Court of Appeals Building

DC Cir­cuit Court of Appeals Building

The ACA requires employer-provided health insur­ance to cover all FDA– approved pre­scrip­tion con­tra­cep­tion at no cost to employ­ees.  Houses of wor­ship and other sec­tar­ian insti­tu­tions are wholly exempted from this require­ment.  And religiously-affiliated orga­ni­za­tions may opt out of the con­tra­cep­tive man­date by merely sub­mit­ting a one-page form or oth­er­wise pro­vid­ing notice to its health plan issuer or the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices (HHS).  In that cir­cum­stance, the health insur­ance com­pany or a third-party admin­is­tra­tor pays for and admin­is­ters the coverage.

Despite this nom­i­nal require­ment, plain­tiffs in the case called Priests for Life v. U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices claim that it “sub­stan­tially bur­dens” their reli­gious exer­cise in vio­la­tion of the fed­eral Reli­gious Free­dom Restora­tion Act (“RFRA”).  They assert that the opt-out notice require­ment “trig­gers” sub­sti­tute cov­er­age and thereby – makes them “con­duits” for pro­vid­ing con­tra­cep­tion cov­er­age in vio­la­tion of their reli­gious beliefs.

The Court soundly rejected this claim.  It found that the fil­ing of the form excuses plain­tiffs “… from play­ing any role in the pro­vi­sion of con­tra­cep­tion ser­vices, and they remain free to con­demn con­tra­cep­tion in the clear­est terms.”  And it fur­ther deter­mined that the ACA  — not the opt-out notice –oblig­ates health insur­ance com­pa­nies or HHS through third-party admin­is­tra­tors to pro­vide con­tra­cep­tion cov­er­age.  As a result, the Court cor­rectly con­cluded that:

Reli­gious objec­tors do not suf­fer sub­stan­tial bur­dens under RFRA where the only harm to them is that they sin­cerely feel aggrieved by their inabil­ity to pre­vent what other peo­ple do to ful­fill reg­u­la­tory objec­tives after they opt out.  They have no RFRA right to be free from the unease, or even anguish, of know­ing that third par­ties are legally priv­i­leged or oblig­ated to act in ways their reli­gion abhors.

The Court also deter­mined that the con­tra­cep­tion require­ment advances the com­pelling inter­ests of “pub­lic health and gen­der equal­ity” and the opt-out rule is the least restric­tive way to achieve these  inter­ests because it “requires as lit­tle as it can from the objec­tors while still serv­ing the government’s com­pelling state interests.”

The Court’s deci­sion appro­pri­ately ref­er­ences the real­ity of our nation’s reli­giously diverse work­force, stat­ing “[r]eligious non­prof­its like Plain­tiff orga­ni­za­tions employ mil­lions of Amer­i­cans — includ­ing indi­vid­u­als who do not share their beliefs.”   Given this diver­sity and our plu­ral­is­tic democ­racy, the Court’s deci­sion strikes the right bal­ance between reli­gious lib­erty and civil rights.

Unlike the U.S. Supreme Court’s dis­turb­ing Hobby Lobby deci­sion,  the Court in this case prop­erly rec­og­nized the true leg­isla­tive intent of RFRA: to shield to reli­gious prac­tice — not to serve as a sword to impose reli­gious beliefs on others.

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