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April 5, 2016

Anti-Immigrant Ideologue Michelle Dallacroce Calls It Quits

In an April 4th press release, virulently anti-immigrant activist Michelle Dallacroce has claimed that she will no longer be publicly active “in the political arena of illegal immigration” and is permanently shutting down two anti-immigrant organizations she founded in Arizona.

Dallacroce stated in her release that others within the anti-immigrant movement sabotaged her and tried to “destroy the reputation” of one of her groups, the National Organization for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime (NOVIAC), and this was why she was leaving.

Michelle Dallacroce twitter

Michelle Dallacroce

However, Dallacroce’s reason for calling it quits may have more to do with how she tried but failed to upstage another anti-immigrant organization that covered the same ground as NOVIAC. In other words, she may have lost an anti-immigrant group turf war.

Dallacroce founded NOVIAC in February 2016. Previously, she was the founder and head of the so-called Mothers Against Illegal Aliens (MAIA). Her new anti-immigrant organization, NOVIAC, was actually quite similar in nature to a rival anti-immigrant group, The Remembrance Project, founded by Maria Espinoza in 2009. Espinoza’s organization attracted publicity to the anti-immigration movement by promoting propaganda about crime victims allegedly killed by undocumented immigrants. The Remembrance Project also gained national attention when presidential candidate Donald Trump invited members of the group onstage at one of his campaign rallies in November 2015. The Remembrance Project subsequently helped Trump stage meetings with the families of victims whose assailants were undocumented immigrants.

Dallacroce seemed to eye her rival’s Trump connection enviously. As part of her effort to promote NOVIAC, Dallacroce reportedly sent a set of documents via email, snail mail and through a representative to the Trump campaign outlining the goals of the organization. In one document, dubbed the “NOVIAC Proposal,” she urged the Trump campaign to take three steps: assign an illegal immigration spokesperson for the campaign; create a permanent organization called the National Organization for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime; and develop and implement a NOVIAC website. The packet also included a letter to Trump encouraging him to consider the proposal and a letter addressed to “all Victims of Illegal Alien Crime” encouraging them to endorse the project as well.

Though Dallacroce gave credit to The Remembrance Project for keeping “victim family’s stories” alive, she asserted that “these victims’ stories are too important to the fabric of America to be left to grassroots organizations.” She added that NOVIAC would “legitimize these families on a NATIONAL LEVEL [emphasis in original] to compete with other nationally recognized victim’s organizations.”

Apparently, Maria Espinoza did not appreciate Dallacroce’s attempt to encroach on her organization. According to Dallacroce in a Facebook post that was subsequently removed, she and her supporters were blocked from The Remembrance Project’s Facebook page in mid-March after Dallacroce left a comment and a link on the Colorado Remembrance Project’s Facebook page advertising NOVIAC (however, the link does not seem to have been removed). In the since-deleted Facebook posting, Dallacroce alleged that Espinoza had full knowledge of her “NOVIAC proposal” to the Trump campaign but that Espinoza refused to participate and would “rather block, obstruct and deny access,” than work together.

In her press release about calling it quits, Dallacroce asserted that today’s anti-immigration movement is filled with “lies, deception and manipulation” that did not exist when she created MAIA in 2006. Without naming The Remembrance Project, she accused other people and organizations of “stealing the intellectual property and ideas from our organization, in order to sabotage my good name and to destroy the reputation of the newly found [sic] organization NOVIAC.”

In reality, it appears that Dallacroce is bowing out of the anti-immigrant movement—at least for now—because she did not receive the support she expected for NOVIAC. While it is unclear what Dallacroce will do next, she and Espinoza do share a common thread. While their organizations claim to stand up for the victims of crimes, they actually serve to demonize immigrants and provide a platform for bigotry.

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February 22, 2016

Anti-Immigrant Groups Ratchet Up TV Ad Campaigns

Two anti-immigrant groups, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA, have been running television ads during the current presidential debates and primaries attacking immigration policies. Both organizations want to impose limits on legal immigration and halt undocumented immigration.

FAIR’s new ad, which began running in February in South Carolina where a primary was held on February 20, blames undocumented immigrants for taking away jobs and college placements from American citizens. The ad also claims that undocumented immigrants are using resources like healthcare and welfare benefits “at American taxpayer expense.” In addition, the ad alleges that undocumented immigrants are committing crimes against Americans due to “broken borders.”

Dan Stein, president of FAIR

Dan Stein, president of FAIR

Undocumented immigrants, many of whom have resided in the U.S. for decades, live in the shadows of American society as they are afraid that revealing their status may result in deportation. In the ad, Dan Stein, the president of FAIR co-opts the idea that undocumented immigrants live in the shadows by claiming that American citizens are the ones that need to come out of the shadows and speak out against undocumented immigration.

The NumbersUSA ad is more explicit in attacking both legal and undocumented immigration. The ad features the late Barbara Jordan, a former Texas representative, and the chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform in the mid-1990s. Jordan has become a much touted hero of the anti-immigrant movement for her stance on limiting legal immigration and stopping undocumented immigration when she was on the commission.

In the ad, while Jordan speaks about the alleged impact of immigration on job prospects for American workers, NumbersUSA suggests that legal immigration should be cut drastically. It also suggests that undocumented immigration is causing widespread unemployment.

FAIR and NumbersUSA are two of the most active anti-immigrant groups in the nation. Both have ties to racist John Tanton, the architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement. Tanton founded FAIR in 1979 and had a hand in creating NumbersUSA, as well.

Roy Beck, who founded NumbersUSA in the mid-90s, worked closely with Tanton and NumbersUSA was under the umbrella of Tanton’s organization, U.S. Inc, until 2002. Beck was the Washington editor of Tanton’s anti-immigrant journal, The Social Contract during the 1990s. During Beck’s tenure as editor, white supremacists such as Jared Taylor and Sam Francis published articles in the journal. Beck himself addressed the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens in 1997.

Both FAIR and NumbersUSA are trying to use immigration to drive a wedge between voters who support immigration reform and those who do not and tend to blame immigrants for a variety of societal problems.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit orga­ni­za­tion, the Anti-Defamation League does not sup­port or oppose can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office.

(more…)

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December 22, 2015

Condemning Islamic Terrorism, Defending Muslims

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared in The Jerusalem Post.

When Yigal Amir assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, surely one of the low moments in Israeli history, there were those who blamed Orthodox Jews because he was an Orthodox Jew and was educated in that sector of Israeli society.

Shortly after the tragic event, the Orthodox Union, the representative body of modern American Orthodox Jews, convened a large gathering at a prominent Orthodox synagogue.

The keynote speaker was Rabbi Norman Lamm, then President of Yeshiva University.

Speaking to the issue of accusations against the Orthodox community, Lamm said: “Yigal Amir was a weed, but he was a weed in our garden.”

As American society and, indeed, the world confront the challenge of Islamic terrorism while avoiding the destructive thinking that blames all Muslims and Islam itself for the terror, Rabbi Lamm’s comment seems more relevant than ever.

What Lamm was saying about the role of Orthodoxy was that it is a false and dangerous accusation to blame all Orthodox and the religion itself for what Yigal Amir did. He was a weed, a person who behaved in a way that does not represent the Orthodox philosophy and worldview. So stop these accusations and stereotypes.

Having said that, Rabbi Lamm went on, still the Orthodox world needed to look at itself and ask tough and penetrating questions about the way it’s tending to its beautiful garden, that too many of these weeds are appearing.

It was a call for serious introspection and a willingness to say there is an element of responsibility that demands examination.

In my view, that is the missing piece in the current discussion about Islamic terrorism. The president of the United States condemns the terror and calls on all Americans not to fall into the trap of stereotyping Muslims or Islam, both admirable reactions. But he cannot bring himself to refer to the horror that is taking place as radical Islamic terrorism, as if were he to do so he would be encouraging anti-Islamic sentiment and behavior.

Meanwhile, other politicians and influentials blame Muslims in general for the terror, even to the point, as in the case of Donald Trump, to exclude Muslims from entry into the U.S. and to have them bear ID cards as Muslim.

The truth is these two approaches are not the only choices that could be made. Rabbi Lamm’s perspective is far more suitable.

The fact that the San Bernardino and Paris terrorists were radical Islamic extremists in no way justifies the horrendous anti-Muslim behavior and rhetoric that has emerged in the United States in recent weeks.

ADL has indicated that there has been an upsurge in anti-Muslim incidents over the past month. Every effort must be made to denounce such activity, particularly when it is incentivized by rhetoric such as that coming from Trump.

There can be no equivocation: All Muslims should not be blamed for the actions of the few.

But that should not lead to the conclusion that all this terrorist activity bears no relationship to the Islamic world. Not only is this inaccurate, but the reluctance to spell out Islamic extremism as the source of the violence actually plays into the hands of those who want to stereotype all Muslims.

It sounds artificial and strained when the president does anything to avoid using the term Islamic terrorism to the point that people are more, rather than less, willing to blame all Muslims.

“He was a weed in our garden.” What is it that is going on in the Islamic world that is producing the most virulent and widespread manifestation of terror that the world has seen?

Ultimately, it is up to Muslim leaders around the world to ask this question and to ask what it is that they can do to create a different environment less conducive to the emergence of terror.

We do not help them in this necessary process when we shy away from calling it what it is.

Ironically, it was President George W. Bush, still vilified for his misguided war in Iraq, who set the standard for how to deal with problem.

Following 9/11 and the trauma that it was for our nation, the president spoke at a Mosque in Washington, D.C. and made an eloquent plea not to blame all Muslims or Islam itself for the horror that befell our nation.

This important step in leadership, however, did not in the least prevent him from saying clearly and loudly: We are in a war with radical Islam and we must win that war for the sake of civilization itself and for the sake of Muslims as well.

A weed, but a weed in our garden.

 

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