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December 21, 2012 2

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 0

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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