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March 7, 2014 5

Anti-Immigrant Movement Dealt Three Major Blows In One Day

Ear­lier this week, two U.S. Supreme Court orders and a set­tle­ment agree­ment out of South Car­olina dealt major blows to the anti-immigrant movement’s agenda.supreme-court-east-facade

On March 3, the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals by the cities of Hazle­ton, Penn­syl­va­nia, and Farm­ers Branch, Texas, let­ting stand lower court rul­ings that had struck down both cities’ anti-immigrant ordi­nances.  Hazle­ton and Farm­ers Branch gained national noto­ri­ety when they passed ordi­nances bar­ring undoc­u­mented immi­grants from rent­ing prop­erty in the towns. 

In both cases, lower courts struck down the ordi­nances as uncon­sti­tu­tional and pre­empted by fed­eral law.  The Supreme Court’s orders deny­ing the appeals requests end the legal bat­tles, which have been ongo­ing since 2006, and secure a per­ma­nent vic­tory for immi­gra­tion and civil rights groups. 

On the same day as the Supreme Court’s orders, South Car­olina offi­cials set­tled a law­suit with immi­grant and civil rights groups over the state’s anti-immigrant laws.  In 2011 South Car­olina passed a law sim­i­lar to Arizona’s SB 1070 that, among other things, required local law enforce­ment to inves­ti­gate people’s immi­gra­tion sta­tus if they had rea­son to believe the per­son was undocumented. 

The pro­vi­sion, com­monly known as “papers please,” effec­tively required local law enforce­ment offi­cers to func­tion as immi­gra­tion enforcers.  In a let­ter sub­mit­ted to the court signed jointly by the Attor­ney Gen­eral and the Solic­i­tor Gen­eral, ear­lier this week South Car­olina agreed that local law enforce­ment would not hold peo­ple purely to deter­mine immi­gra­tion sta­tus.  The let­ter fur­ther con­ceded that the law does not per­mit state and local offi­cials to arrest or hold any­one believed to be undoc­u­mented “for any pur­pose, even to trans­fer the indi­vid­ual to fed­eral custody.”

The Supreme Court orders and South Car­olina set­tle­ment are major defeats for the anti-immigrant move­ment and its “attri­tion through enforce­ment” agenda. In the early to mid-2000s, the move­ment crafted this agenda, also known as “self-deportation.”

The goal was to make life so dif­fi­cult for immi­grants that they would “self-deport” from the city or state and move to another, or ulti­mately back to their coun­try of ori­gin.  Kris Kobach, the Kansas sec­re­tary of state and a lawyer with the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of the extreme anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tion Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR), is the mas­ter­mind behind attri­tion through enforce­ment and one of the lead­ers pro­mot­ing the agenda today. Kobach helped to draft and defend the ordi­nances in Farm­ers Branch, Hazel­ton, and many other cities as well as Arizona’s SB 1070 law.

The Supreme Court orders and South Car­olina set­tle­ment are part of a wider trend of defeat for the anti-immigrant move­ment.   Since the begin­ning of 2013 there has been a major decline in anti-immigrant leg­is­la­tion intro­duced at the state level nation­wide. Pro-immigrant leg­is­la­tion is on the rise and the anti-immigrant move­ment is on the defense, attempt­ing to stop this influx of leg­is­la­tion instead of con­tin­u­ing to draft “attri­tion through enforce­ment” bills. These lat­est devel­op­ments send a clear mes­sage to the anti-immigrant move­ment and state and local leg­is­la­tors that anti-immigrant leg­is­la­tion not only divides com­mu­ni­ties but it does not hold up in court.

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February 5, 2014 0

ProEnglish Attacks Super Bowl Ad Promoting America’s Diversity

The anti-immigrant group Pro­Eng­lish is ask­ing its activists to con­tact Coca-Cola about an ad the cor­po­ra­tion aired dur­ing the Super Bowl depict­ing peo­ple of dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties singing “Amer­ica, the Beau­ti­ful” in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent lan­guages.  Pro­Eng­lish claims the ad “directly under­mined the spirit of national unity ‘Amer­ica, the Beau­ti­ful’ was intended to fos­ter.” The group went one step fur­ther, claim­ing Coke should “pro­mote civic unity, not disunity.”pro-english-liberty-bell-adl

ProEnglish’s attacks on the Coca-Cola Cor­po­ra­tion should be seen in light of its nativist agenda and xeno­pho­bic ori­gins and ties. John Tan­ton, the racist archi­tect of the modern-day anti-immigrant move­ment, founded Pro­Eng­lish in 1994. Tan­ton once wrote, “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American soci­ety and cul­ture to per­sist requires a European-American major­ity, and a clear one at that.” Tan­ton remains on the Pro­Eng­lish board to this day and though the orga­ni­za­tion is based in DC, it remains a “self-governing project” of Tanton’s Michigan-based umbrella anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tion, U.S., Inc.

The goals of Pro­Eng­lish are to pass English-only bills at the local and state level as well as to make Eng­lish the offi­cial lan­guage of the United States. These laws are often divi­sive. They limit access to the full range of gov­ern­ment rights and ben­e­fits for immi­grants resid­ing in the United States. These laws also do not include steps to estab­lish pro­grams where immi­grants can learn Eng­lish. ProEnglish’s agenda divides com­mu­ni­ties in the United States over the issue of immigration.

The organization’s staff and activ­i­ties are also prob­lem­atic.  ProEnglish’s exec­u­tive direc­tor, Robert Van­der­voort, is report­edly the for­mer head of the white suprema­cist group Chicagoland Friends of Amer­i­can Renais­sance, a local chap­ter of the white suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tion Amer­i­can Renais­sance. Pro­Eng­lish spon­sored a panel at the 2012 CPAC con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., fea­tur­ing a num­ber of racist speak­ers includ­ing Peter Brimelow, founder of the racist anti-immigrant web­site VDARE and John Der­byshire, a racist for­mer National Review con­trib­u­tor who spoke at the 2013 Amer­i­can Renais­sance con­fer­ence. Later in 2012, Pro­Eng­lish sent a let­ter to House and Sen­ate lead­ers in oppo­si­tion of the issue of Puerto Rican state­hood. A num­ber of racists signed the let­ter includ­ing John Vin­son, a found­ing mem­ber of the League of the South (LOS), a racist neo-Confederate orga­ni­za­tion. Vin­son was cred­ited with draft­ing the “Kin­ism State­ment,” a set of guid­ing prin­ci­ples for a mod­ern white suprema­cist inter­pre­ta­tion of Chris­tian­ity called “Kinism.”

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January 10, 2014 9

Racism In The Anti-immigrant Movement in 2013

jason-richwine-racism-2013

Jason Rich­wine

As the estab­lished anti-immigrant move­ment in the United States attempted to derail a push for immi­gra­tion reform last year, a num­ber of racist inci­dents revealed the big­otry that too often comes into play with immigration-related issues.

ADL has com­piled a list of the most egre­gious exam­ples of racist inci­dents in the anti-immigrant move­ment in 2013.

In 2013, both national and local anti-immigrant groups espoused racist and nativist rhetoric, allowed known white suprema­cists to attend their events and dis­sem­i­nated arti­cles by extrem­ists. Anti-immigrant politi­cians also expressed nativism and one scholar resigned from an orga­ni­za­tion after civil rights groups exposed his racist past after he co-authored an anti-immigrant study.

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