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July 9, 2014

Michigan Anti-Immigrant Activist Behind Central American Child Protest

tamyra-murray-immigration

Tamyra Murray

On Monday, July 7, anti-immigrant activists took to the streets in the small town of Vassar, Michigan, to protest the proposal to transfer children and mothers fleeing violence in Central America to their town. The protest resembled the ones in Murrieta, California, which received national attention due to the ugly climate and extreme rhetoric generated by the protesters.

The organizer of the protest in Vassar was Tamyra Murray, a long-time anti-immigrant activist with numerous extreme anti-immigrant ties. Murray announced her plans to hold a protest on her Facebook page and encouraged activists to join her. Her protest announcement also contained the same extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric voiced by Patrice Lynes, the organizer of the Murrieta protests. Murray wrote, “What diseases are being imported into the US that have already been eradicated here? Many of these ‘children’ belong to dangerous gangs and drug cartels.”

Before the protest, Murray announced that anti-immigrant activists from across the state of Michigan would be in attendance. The same was the case in Murrieta, where a number of anti-immigrant activists flocked to join the protests from all over Southern California.

Murray is a state advisor for the extreme anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). She is a regular attendee at FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event in Washington, D.C. In 2011, Murray spoke at an anti-immigrant “Protect American Jobs Rally” in her home state of Michigan. Anti-immigrant politicians with ties to FAIR also spoke at the event. In September 2013, Murray, along with FAIR field representative Robert Najmulski, was listed as a speaker at a “Citizens Rising Against Illegal Immigration” event in Chester, Ohio.

Murray is also a liaison/public speaker for U.S., Inc., a Michigan-based extreme anti-immigrant umbrella organization founded by racist John Tanton, the founder of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement. Tanton also founded FAIR in 1979. U.S., Inc. runs a number of “projects” includ­ing Tanton’s pub­lish­ing house, the Social Con­tract Press, which pub­lishes racist books, such as Jean Raspail’s Camp of the Saints, and sells books by racists such as Sam Fran­cis, Wayne Lut­ton and Peter Brimelow.

Despite efforts by the anti-immigrant movement to portray the protests in Michigan and California as spontaneous responses by residents, the evidence suggests that in both cases, longtime anti-immigrant activists with close ties to the movement played a major role in both events.

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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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February 21, 2013

Anti-Immigrant Umbrella Group U.S., Inc.’s New Website Reveals Organization’s Influence

The anti-immigrant umbrella organization, U.S., Inc., founded and run by racist John Tanton, the primary architect of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement, recently established a website for the first time in its 31-year history. The website provides further insight into how the organization works and the “projects” it runs.

In an in-depth interview about founding the anti-immigrant movement, Tanton discussed why he created U.S., Inc.: Since I had been involved over the years in starting a number of organizations, each of them a separate group which required separate accounting and separate filings with the IRS, I got the idea in about 1979 of setting up an umbrella foundation, out of which a number of projects could be run.”

Many of these “projects” founded or nurtured by Tanton developed into some of the leading anti-immigrant groups in the country today, the most notable example being NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA’s founder Roy Beck worked for Tanton for years as the Washington editor of Tanton’s anti-immigrant journal The Social Contract (TSC). Beck founded NumbersUSA in 1996/1997 and the group remained under U.S. Inc.’s umbrella until 2002, when it broke off and became an independent organization.

Another “project” formerly under the U.S., Inc. umbrella was U.S. English, a group devoted to making English the official language of the United States. Tanton resigned as chairman from U.S. English after a newspaper revealed a racially charged memo penned by Tanton asking questions like “will blacks be able to improve (or even maintain) their position on the face of the Latin onslaught?” and “will Latin American migrants bring with them the tradition of the mordida (bribe)?”

U.S., Inc.’s website highlights its current “projects,” including Tanton’s publishing house, the Social Contract Press, which publishes racist books, such as Jean Raspail’s Camp of the Saints, and sells books by racists such as Sam Francis, Wayne Lutton and Peter Brimelow.  Another U.S., Inc. project is the anti-immigrant group ProEnglish. Bob Vandervoort, ProEnglish’s executive director, 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.

In addition, U.S., Inc.’s website reveals the organization’s financial documents. Each year, it grants funds to anti-immigrant organizations around the country. According to its financial statements, U.S., Inc. provided funding for Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, Californians for Population Stabilization and 9/11 Families for a Secure America in 2011.

U.S. Inc.’s new site provides further evidence of its importance to the anti-immigrant movement. In the past, the umbrella organization developed bourgeoning anti-immigrant groups and helped them get on their feet; today it continues to fund and support well-established anti-immigrant groups around the country.

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