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November 18, 2015

Anti-Refugee Sentiment Reaches New High After Paris Attacks

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the country has witnessed anti-refugee sentiment coming from various corners, including state governments and the anti-immigrant movement. Over 30 governors across the country have said they will not accept Syrian refugees and have asked President Obama to halt or suspend the country’s refugee program.

Many of the governors appealed to fear in the wake of the terrorist attacks, asserting that they could not protect the residents of their states from potential terrorists. Later, some Congressional leaders also drove home this fear by advocating for the suspension of the U.S. government’s refugee program.

Ann Corcoran

Ann Corcoran

The notion that terrorists can enter the United States through U.S. refugee programs is not new. In October of this year, a number of presidential candidates said they would not allow Syrian refugees into the country and would send back those who have been allowed to settle in the U.S.

But the events in Paris have ratcheted up the anti-refugee rhetoric, equating refugees with terrorists and questioning their ability to assimilate into “Western culture.” Anti-immigrant organizations such as the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA have all released articles or statements declaring that the U.S. government should suspend its refugee program.

Dan Stein, the president of FAIR, wrote a column on November 16 extolling the program established by the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s to deport thousands of Mexican immigrants. After talking about the alleged merits of the program, Stein turned his attention to Muslim immigrants in the wake of the Paris attacks. He wrote, “A dulling orthodoxy within certain Muslim communities has degenerated [sic] a fanatical strain that promises an epicurean paradise for mass murder on earth.”

In a column for National Review, Mark Krikorian, head of CIS wrote, “Relocating refugees from the Middle East to the U.S. is morally wrong.” He goes on to say that the U.S. should assist refugees by caring for them in their “native region”—despite the terror and war that refugees are experiencing. NumbersUSA released a similar statements saying that the U.S. should help refugees in their home region rather than allowing them to come to the U.S.

Ann Corcoran, who runs Refugee Resettlement Watch, writes daily about the alleged dangers of letting refugees into this country by appealing to anti-Muslim sentiment. On November 17, she wrote, “All the vetting in the world isn’t going to save us from the toddlers coming in with Mom and Dad from Africa and the Middle East who thumb their noses at the ‘good life’ and become radicalized 20 years down the road.  The only true solution is a complete moratorium on Muslim immigration.”

The fear-mongering appears to be having an influence. The media reported on November 18 that two refugee families from Syria that had been approved and scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis have been told that they are no longer welcome in the state.

 

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October 7, 2014

Anti-Immigrant Groups Call For Immigration Bans Following Ebola Scare

jessica-vaughan-ebola

Jessica Vaughan

As news broke of the first person inside the U.S. diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus, anti-immigrant groups seized the opportunity to use this information as a way to speak out against “mass immigration.” Over the past month, anti-immigrant groups used the same tactic when attempting to bring the terrorist group ISIS into the immigration debate.

In an interview with the Daily Caller, Jessica Vaughan, the policy director of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) argued that Africans will try to come to the United States for treatment. She attempted to back up this claim by equating Ebola patients with unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central American and seeking refuge in the United States, claiming both are trying “to take advantage” of U.S. border policy. Vaughan has made prior bigoted statements about immigrants. In 2008 Vaughan claimed, “One legacy of TPS (Temporary Protected Status for refugees) has been its contribution to the burgeoning street gang problem in the United States.”

Vaughan’s colleague, Mark Krikorian, continued the argument in a column for National Review Online, titled, “Ban Travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea—Now.” In the column, Krikorian again voiced his opposition to Muslim immigration to the United States, stating, “Why has the government permitted the number of Saudi immigrants in the U.S. to double in just three years?… Why are we going to ‘greatly expand resettlement for Syrian refugees’?”

Anti-immigrant extremists also used the Ebola news as an opportunity to call for a reduction to immigration. In an October 1 article, Patrick Cleburne, a writer for the racist website VDARE founded by white supremacist Peter Brimelow, stated, “My own question: why does America need immigration from this famously unhealthy part of the world anyway?” Cleburne ended his article by claiming the U.S. needs to revisit the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished racial quotas contained in previous immigration laws. Also on October 1, the Tea Party Immi­gra­tion Coali­tion headed by racist Rick Olt­man posted an article on its Facebook page about Ebola asking, “Is this how Obama will kill us?”

The anti-immigrant movement often paints immigrants as disease carriers in an attempt to create a climate of fear around the issue and call for a restriction on immigration. Attempting to capitalize of the recent Ebola diagnosis is the latest example of this trend.

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September 12, 2014

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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