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July 24, 2014 7

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 1

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 0

CIS Promotes Widely Disputed Report on Far-Right Radio Show

jessica-vaughan

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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