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July 24, 2014

Small Protests Around the U.S. Ratchet Up Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

On July 18 and 19, anti-immigrant activists around the country participated in a series of protests dubbed the “National Day Of Protesting Against Immigration Reform/Amnesty & Border Surge.” Activists are exploiting the current humanitarian crisis at the border where Central American children are fleeing in order to escape violence in their home countries.

These protests are just the latest uptick in anti-immigrant activity, fueled by the anti-immigrant movement and far-right media. The sparsely attended protests not only attracted extremists, but many of the activists in attendance displayed signs with extreme rhetoric.

The following is a round-up on some of the extreme rhetoric on display at protests around the country, as reflected in accounts of the rallies on social media and in local news outlets:

  • Moosic, Pennsylvania: Members of the white supremacist group European American Action Coalition (EAAC) attended a rally in Moosic, Pennsylvania. EAAC director, Steve Smith, was present at the event. Smith is a longtime racist with ties to a number of white supremacist organizations. At the Moosic protest, was a sign taped to the overpass where the protest took place which read, in part, “Illegal mestizos are bringing in leprosy and scabies…”eaac-protesters-immigration
  • Salem, Oregon: Members of the white supremacist political party American Freedom Party (AFP) attended a rally in Salem, Oregon. AFP activist Tyler Cole attended the rally with his wife, Laura. In an interview with a local news station, Laura Cole stated, “Keep Mexicans in Mexico. Keep European-Americans here, where we are, in our homeland… I think it’s OK for us to be proud that this is our territory.” A banner hanging from an overpass one exit away from the official Salem protest read, “Diversity is a code word for white genocide” – a phrase used by white supremacists.
  • New York, NY: Anti-immigrant activists protested outside of the United Nations building in New York City. One protester held a sign implying that “illegals” and “Obama” were “cockroaches.” Another protester yelled, “Bring us your smallpox, bring us your malaria, your scabies.”
  • Phoenix, Arizona : A protester had a sign that read “illegals bring disease.”
  • Marietta, Georgia: A protester held a sign stating, “stop illegals and their diseases.”marietta-protest-immigration
  • New Haven, Connecticut: A protester on an overpass held signs saying “stop terrorists crossing our border” and “stop diseases crossing our border.”
  • Ocala, Florida: Protesters held signs claiming “Obama is a Muslim” and “terrorists and illegals treated better than vets.”
  • Yakima, Washington: A protester held a sign saying, “citizens over illegals cartel and jihadists.”yakima-protest-immigration
  • San Diego, California: One protester held a sign with the Mexican flag which, read, in part, “yes, we sell humans, drugs, prostitution, the demise of your country.”
  • Tucson, Arizona: A protester interviewed by Tucson News Now asserted, “The invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation… is an act of war.”

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June 30, 2014

Children Suffering On Southern Border Fodder For Anti-Immigrant Voices

The plight of Central American children fleeing violence is being used as yet another excuse for inaction on humane and sensible immigration reform that Americans crave. border-detention-center-humanitarian

While President Obama responded strongly to the situation by sending a message to families in Central America not to risk sending their children to the United States,  anti-immigrant groups and the politicians that follow their cues are using this humanitarian crisis to argue that the border is out of control and that sensible reform should be delayed.  

The anti-immigrant movement and some right wing media dismiss the high murder rates, gang violence, and poverty that drive these migrants to the United States and attempt to use this dire humanitarian situation to create a climate of fear around immigration.

The uptick in extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric around the issue has focused on portraying immigrants as a public health hazard. On June 20, William Gheen of the extreme anti-immigrant group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALI-PAC) claimed that the children are coming to the U.S. “in disease and gang infested hoards.”  D.A. King of the Georgia-based anti-immigrant group Dustin Inman Society (DIS) asserted on June 9 that refugees are “swarming the border and bringing disease.” On June 12, James Kirkpatrick, an author for the extreme anti-immigrant website VDARE, recently voiced his concerns about children carrying what he called a “diverse mix of exciting multicultural diseases.”

Many right-wing and far-right media outlets are also echoing the rhetoric of anti-immigrant groups. A June 22 article published on the far-right website News With Views bemoaned the “hordes of uneducated, unskilled and too many disease ridden coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.” Using the metaphors “flood” and “tidal wave” to talk about the children, Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet penned an article in the conspiracy-orientated right-wing online newspaper World Net Daily  on June 17 warning that the children are carrying “diseases the U.S. had controlled or virtually eradicated: tuberculosis (TB), Chagas disease, dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, measles, plus more.”

Aside from the disease rhetoric, anti-immigrant and right-wing media outlets are also espousing other extreme themes. Mackubin Thomas Owens, an author for National Review Online (NRO), penned an article for the publication on June 13 titled, “Camp of the Saints, 2014 Style?” In the article, Owens called for his audience to read the blatantly racist French novel Camp of the Saints in the wake of the humanitarian issue. Camp of the Saints tells the story of Indian immigrants coming to France by boat and taking over the country by violent means.

This message is not only bigoted and dehumanizing to these children; it distracts from the critical fact that the real solution to this humanitarian crisis is to reform our broken system.  Only a functioning immigration system can truly foster orderly migration and allow authorities to determine which children are eligible to come to or remain in the U.S. and which are not.

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May 23, 2014

CIS Promotes Widely Disputed Report on Far-Right Radio Show


Jessica Vaughan

On May 20, Jessica Vaughan of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) appeared as a guest on “Trunews,” a radio show hosted by far-right conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles. Vaughan was on the show to discuss a widely disputed new CIS report blaming the Obama administration for the release of over 36,000 “criminal aliens” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2013.

The report, authored by Vaughan, provides a skewed analysis of the numbers compiled by ICE.  Her apparent intention in the report was not only to promote the narrative that immigrants are criminals but also to attack the Obama administration for its alleged failure to enforce immigration laws currently on the books, both common tactics of the anti-immigrant movement. In response to the CIS report, ICE spokespersons noted that immigrants who have committed crimes are only sent to ICE after they have served their sentences and that in some cases, the agency was required by law to release some of the immigrants.

After a few minutes of allowing Vaughan to explain the major takeaways from the report, Wiles offered a suggestion as to what to do with the undocumented population currently residing in the United States. Wiles stated, “Hey, um, you put them on a C130 cargo plane and strap a parachute to them and you fly over the home country and you push them out the door!” Vaughan responded with a laugh and stated, “Some people have suggested that!”

Vaughan’s appearance on “Trunews” is another recent example of the anti-immigrant movement using far-right and extreme media to promote their cause. In April of this year, Vaughan granted an interview to reporter from the anti-Semitic newspaper American Free Press (AFP), founded by Holocaust denier Willis Carto. In March of 2014, Chris Chmielenski of the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA, provided an interview to AFP.

In 2014, Frosty Wooldridge, an advisory board member with the extreme anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) appeared on more than one occasion on “The Jeff Rense Pro­gram.”  The program is a conspiracy-oriented Inter­net radio show broadcast on Rense’s noto­ri­ously anti-Semitic web­site. In Decem­ber 2013, David North, a fel­low with CIS appeared on “The Real­ist Report,” an Inter­net radio show hosted by the vir­u­lent anti-Semite and Holo­caust denier, John Friend.

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