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July 16, 2014

Anti-Immigrant Groups Plan National Protests Against Children Fleeing Violence

In response to the humanitarian crisis at the border, which has seen an influx of children fleeing violence in Central America, a number of anti-immigrant activists and right-wing groups are planning two national days of protest on July 18 and 19 against “immigration reform amnesty and the border surge.”protest-immigration

The flyer for the event features the same extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric seen recently at protests in Murrieta, California and Vassar, Michigan. The flyer claims that “illegal aliens with communicable diseases and conditions such as tuberculosis, scabies and head lice are entering our country unabated.” It goes on to warn of a “very real security risk to Americans from drug cartels, gang members and terrorists.”

The organizer of the proposed nationwide events scheduled for July 18 and 19 is Paul Arnold, an anti-immigrant activist and founder of the anti-immigrant group “Make Them Listen.” Arnold is closely tied to the anti-immigrant front group Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA). He helped organize BALA’s “March for Jobs” anti-immigrant rally in July 2013 which was attended by about 800 people. Arnold also helped to organize anti-immigrant rallies in different states in August 2013 as part of a BALA “tour.” Many of the proposed rallies were cancelled due to lack of participants and the few that did take place were sparsely attended

The Facebook event page for this weekend’s planned   protests indicates that a number of extreme anti-immigrant groups are allegedly planning to participate. For example, the South Carolina-based anti-immigrant group Americans Have Had Enough Coalition (AHHEC) plans to hold a protest in the state this weekend. White supremacist Roan Garcia-Quintana is the executive director of AHHEC and is also a director and “lifetime member” of the white supremacist organization Council of Conservative Citizens.

Another group planning to participate in the protests this weekend is the North Carolina-based Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALI-PAC), essentially a one man operation run by anti-immigrant extremist William Gheen. Gheen has a long history of anti-immigrant rhetoric. In his recent statements about the humanitarian crisis, for example, Gheen advocated sending “gently used” underwear to John Boehner and President Obama in protest of the border patrol’s plea for citizens to send new pairs of underwear for the migrants fleeing violence.

A number of other very active anti-immigrant organizations from around the country including Min­nesotans Seek­ing Immi­gra­tion Reform (MINNSIR), New Yorkers for Immigration Control and
Enforcement (NYICE) and Help Save Maryland (HSM) are also scheduled to participate at rallies in their states. Though it is unlikely the protests will attract large numbers, the anti-immigrant movement is certainly using the humanitarian crisis at the border to attempt to mobilize its base.

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December 21, 2012

Upcoming Maryland Event Sign Of Increased Anti-Immigrant Activity

A conference sponsored by the Maryland Conservative Action Network is due to take place in Annapolis on January 12, 2013. The conference, titled “Turning the Tides 2013” brings together many of the main anti-immigrant voices in the state as well as some speakers known for their anti-Muslim statements and associations.

The conference is the latest example of anti-immigrant activity in Maryland. Anti-immigrant activists were instrumental in gathering enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot in the November 2012 election seeking to undo a law that granted in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants at public colleges in the state.  The in-state tuition bill was originally signed into law in 2011. Despite the efforts of anti-immigrant activists, a majority of Maryland voters voted in favor of granting in-state tuition. Many of the anti-immigrant activists involved in getting the issue on the ballot are due to speak at the January 12 conference.

Scheduled speakers at the event include:

Brad Botwin

Brad Botwin – founder of the anti-immigrant group Help Save Maryland (HSM). Botwin’s group is listed on the website of the largest anti-immigrant group in the country, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), as a state contact. Botwin’s group has co-sponsored events with FAIR and other national groups, such as the Virginia-based NumbersUSA. HSM also worked with FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI).

Neil Parrott – Republican House of Delegates member representing District 2B. Parrott is a member of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), a coalition of state lawmakers who work with IRLI to draft and introduce anti-immigrant legislation in their states. Parrott was chairman of the petition group that successfully put the in-state tuition law on the ballot in November.

Pamela Geller – co-founder of Stop the Islamization of America (SOIA), a group seeking to rouse public fears about a “vast Islamic conspiracy” to destroy American values.   Geller also works closely with far-right groups and figures in Europe, such as the English Defense League (EDL) and anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Diana West – author and journalist who writes about the “dangers” of Islam. In a September 15, 2012 post on her website, West wrote “Indeed, it is this basic Islamic censorship that is at the crux of why Islam itself — not ‘Islamism,’ not ‘radical Islam,’ not ‘Islamists’” but Islam — is an existential threat to the survival of any free society.” In 2007, West met with members of the racist and xenophobic Belgian political party Vlaams Belang.

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August 3, 2012

New Documentary Portrays Negative View of Immigration in the U.S.

Dennis Lynch

A new documentary, “They Come to America,” written and directed by Dennis Lynch, a former entrepreneur turned filmmaker, has caused quite a stir in anti-immigrant circles over the past couple of months. In the documentary, Lynch travels the country interviewing people about undocumented immigration. Lynch talks to figures from anti-immigrant groups such as NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Lynch also interviews Glenn Spencer of the anti-Hispanic hate group American Border Patrol.

Lynch attempts to portray both sides of the immigration debate by interviewing people on the “pro-immigrant” side of the spectrum, as well as undocumented immigrants, but the film’s conclusions are clear: undocumented immigration has no positive impact on the United States. In subsequent interviews, Lynch furthers his argument by claiming that the United States needs to lower the amount of legal immigrants it admits per year – a position taken by many anti-immigrant groups.

Lynch spends a lot of time on camera with Roy Beck, founder of the anti-immigrant group, NumbersUSA. Beck previously worked as the Washington Editor of The Social Contract, an anti-immigrant journal published by racist John Tanton. Beck also spoke at the 1996 national conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist organization. Jack Martin from FAIR is also interviewed at length. FAIR, which promotes extreme anti-immigration views, was founded by Tanton.

In the film, Lynch also speaks with Michael Cutler, a former fellow for the anti-immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), another group that Tanton helped to create. Cutler currently is a Senior Writing Fellow for the anti-immigrant group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS).

Lynch has begun a tour to screen the film. Not unexpectedly, local anti-immigrant organizations are hosting the screenings. On July 17, two groups that FAIR lists as local affiliates, Texans for Immigration Reduction and Enforcement (TFIRE) and Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas (IRCOT), along with Stop the Magnet, a Houston-based group dedicated to getting anti-immigrant measures on the ballot in Houston, screened Lynch’s film.

On July 12, Lynch was on “The Ruthie Report,” a radio show hosted by Ruthie Hendrycks who runs the anti-immigrant group, Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform (MINNSIR). MINNSIR is also listed on FAIR’s website as a local affiliate for Minnesota.

In Maryland, Lynch’s film will be jointly hosted on August 8 by the anti-immigrant group Help Save Maryland (HSM). HSM is listed on FAIR’s Web site as a local affiliate for Maryland. HSM has also worked closely with FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI).

On August 10, the film will be shown at an anti-immigrant conference in North Carolina.

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