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September 12, 2014 0

Anti-Immigrant Groups Attempt To Bring ISIS Into The Immigration Debate

anti-immigrant-islamIn response to the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in the Mid­dle East by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a ter­ror­ist group, Amer­i­can anti-immigrant groups are attempt­ing to exploit the public’s legit­i­mate con­cerns about ISIS by warn­ing that the group plans to enter the United States via Mexico.

In a blog posted on Sep­tem­ber 8, a fel­low for the anti-immigrant think tank Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS) argued that Sen­a­tor John McCain’s sup­port of the Senate’s immi­gra­tion reform bill S-744 in 2013, “has pro­vided ISIS with unfet­tered access to the United States for both its per­son­nel and their weapons of death and destruc­tion.” The blog con­cluded with the state­ment, “Should ISIS or some other ter­ror­ist group take advan­tage of McCain’s wel­come mat, he will only have him­self to blame as he goes in the eyes of many from war hero to collaborator.”

The anti-immigrant grass­roots orga­ni­za­tion Num­ber­sUSA and the California-based Cal­i­for­ni­ans for Pop­u­la­tion Sta­bi­liza­tion (CAPS) both sent fundrais­ing emails to activists in recent weeks link­ing ISIS to Pres­i­dent Obama’s rumored announce­ment of some form of exec­u­tive relief for undoc­u­mented immi­grants. Num­ber­sUSA claimed ISIS, “is cer­tainly encour­aged by the weak U.S. gov­ern­ment response to the bor­der surge this sum­mer…” A num­ber of state-based anti-immigrant groups also warned of the threat of ISIS ter­ror­ists enter­ing the U.S. via Mex­ico. Many of the groups cite a report from the conspiracy-orientated “watch­dog” group Judi­cial Watch. Judi­cial Watch is closely aligned with the anti-immigrant movement.

Some anti-immigrant groups are also respond­ing to the media spot­light on ISIS by espous­ing anti-Muslim rhetoric. In a Face­book post on Sep­tem­ber 9, the Tea Party Immi­gra­tion Coali­tion headed by racist Rick Olt­man asserted, “We must rethink the 1st amend­ment as it applies to Islam. Islam is NOT a reli­gion; rather, it is a supra­na­tional orga­ni­za­tion hell bent on world dom­i­na­tion and killing any­one, any­where and at any time to do so.”

The anti-immigrant move­ment often attempts to tie together the issues of immi­gra­tion and ter­ror­ism. This was the case even before the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks. Since 9–11, the move­ment has con­cen­trated on link­ing ter­ror­ism and immi­gra­tion under the guise of national secu­rity. This is a key argu­ment for the move­ment in oppo­si­tion to any form of immi­gra­tion reform.

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May 23, 2014 0

CIS Promotes Widely Disputed Report on Far-Right Radio Show

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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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May 21, 2014 2

Anti-Immigrant Activist Creates Front Group Focusing On Biometric Security

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Jan­ice Kephart

In recent months, Jan­ice Kephart, a cur­rent fel­low and for­mer staffer at the anti-immigrant think tank Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS), estab­lished a new front group, the Secure Iden­tity and Bio­met­rics Asso­ci­a­tion (SIBA). The anti-immigrant move­ment often uses the tac­tic of estab­lish­ing front groups in order to reach a broader base. In this case, it is try­ing to appeal to the bio­met­ric and iden­tity tech­nol­ogy community.

Like other front groups estab­lished with the help of the anti-immigrant move­ment, SIBA is made up of anti-immigrant activists who pro­mote the movement’s agenda. Kephart’s rela­tion­ship with CIS dates back almost ten years. She first appeared on var­i­ous CIS pan­els before act­ing as CIS’s direc­tor of secu­rity pol­icy. Kephart began work­ing as a spe­cial coun­cil for the Sen­ate Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee dur­ing the push to pass an immi­gra­tion reform bill in the Sen­ate in 2013. Kephart is now listed as a “national secu­rity fel­low” for CIS.

Michael Dougherty, one of sev­eral SIBA board mem­bers announced a few weeks ago, also has ties to the anti-immigrant move­ment. In 2010, Dougherty par­tic­i­pated in a CIS panel titled, “The Pol­i­tics and Prac­ti­cal­i­ties of a US EXIT Program.”

The “key issue areas” sec­tion of SIBA web­site con­tains a num­ber of top­ics impor­tant to the anti-immigrant cause. The anti-immigrant move­ment claims many undoc­u­mented immi­grants are using fraud­u­lent forms of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in order to receive ben­e­fits and work in the United States. SIBA sup­ports the REAL ID Act, claim­ing it will improve national secu­rity and catch crim­i­nals. The orga­ni­za­tion is also in favor of E-Verify, a flawed fed­eral pilot pro­gram that allows employ­ers to ver­ify the eli­gi­bil­ity of newly-hired employ­ees. Mak­ing E-Verify manda­tory is another major long-term goal of the anti-immigrant movement.

As the push for immi­gra­tion reform con­tin­ues, the anti-immigrant move­ment con­tin­ues to woo sup­port­ers from dif­fer­ent move­ments and back­grounds in an attempt to argue that Amer­i­cans are not in favor of reform. The cre­ation of SIBA is the lat­est in a long line of groups founded by lead­ers in the move­ment to fur­ther this goal.

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