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November 26, 2014 2

Activists Use Extreme Rhetoric in Response to Obama’s Executive Action

A num­ber of anti-immigrant activists and groups used extreme rhetoric in response to Pres­i­dent Obama’s exec­u­tive action on immi­gra­tion, announced on Novem­ber 20. For exam­ple, William Gheen of the extreme anti-immigrant group Amer­i­cans for Legal Immi­gra­tion PAC (ALIPAC) con­nected the Mex­i­can Civil War with Obama’s exec­u­tive action in an inter­view with the conspiracy-oriented web­site World Net Daily. Gheen stated, “Obama’s choice of this date [Novem­ber 20 is Mex­i­can ‘Rev­o­lu­tion Day’ or Mex­i­can ‘Civil War Day’ which is the equiv­a­lent of America’s 4th of July] for his depar­ture from his Oath of Office and the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion cre­ates a per­ma­nent sym­bolic rela­tion­ship between his actions and Mexico’s vio­lent rev­o­lu­tion­ary and civil wars from 1910–1920.”

William Gheen

William Gheen

Gheen also cir­cu­lated a Gary Varvel car­toon that depicted an immi­grant fam­ily climb­ing in the win­dow of a house of a white fam­ily while they are eat­ing Thanks­giv­ing din­ner with the cap­tion, “Thanks to the President’s immi­gra­tion order, we’ll be hav­ing extra guests this Thanks­giv­ing.” Gheen later claimed the car­toon “makes a very impor­tant point about ille­gal immi­gra­tion, bound­aries, the assault on Amer­i­can fam­i­lies and Amer­i­can cul­ture… and the real sit­u­a­tion in Amer­ica. And unfor­tu­nately for many Amer­i­can [sic], ille­gal aliens are lit­er­ally crawl­ing through their windows!”

A num­ber of activists asso­ci­ated with the extreme anti-immigrant group Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR) also made com­ments about Pres­i­dent Obama’s plan on immi­gra­tion. When asked on his radio show whether Obama’s actions would lead to eth­nic cleans­ing, Kris Kobach, who is of coun­sel with Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of FAIR, responded, “And the rule of law used to be unas­sail­able, used to be taken for granted in Amer­ica. And now, of course, we have a pres­i­dent who dis­re­gards the law when it suits his inter­ests. So, while I nor­mally would answer that by say­ing, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never hap­pen in Amer­ica,’ I won­der what could happen…”

Ruthie Hendrycks, a FAIR state advi­sor and head of the anti-immigrant group Min­nesotans Seek­ing Immi­gra­tion Reform (MINNSIR), posted a com­ment on Face­book call­ing for the fam­i­lies of undoc­u­mented immi­grants cur­rently in depor­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings to also be deported.

FAIR advi­sory board mem­ber and anti-immigrant extrem­ist Frosty Wooldridge, responded to the president’s action in his reg­u­lar col­umn on the News With Views web­site by espous­ing birther con­spir­acy the­o­ries. Wooldridge wrote, “We now face a man in the White House who doesn’t mind break­ing our Con­sti­tu­tion, paid for with the blood of mil­lions of men and women. In his youth, he chose to smoke pot, do drugs and lie his way through col­lege and into Con­gress. He lacks any com­pre­hen­sion of what Amer­ica stands for because he still hasn’t proven he’s an American.”

More extreme ele­ments of the anti-immigrant move­ment also weighed in on the issue. White suprema­cist Peter Brimelow, the founder of the racist and anti-immigrant web­site VDARE called for the impeach­ment of Pres­i­dent Obama. Brimelow also used the Novem­ber 20th announce­ment to call for the “imme­di­ate abo­li­tion” of birthright citizenship.

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June 6, 2013 18

Black American Leadership Alliance Mobilizing Against Immigration Reform

A group made up of long­time anti-immigrant activists claim­ing that immi­gra­tion reform will hurt the African-American com­mu­nity is work­ing on a num­ber of fronts in oppo­si­tion to the Senate’s immi­gra­tion reform bill. The group, the Black Amer­i­can Lead­er­ship Alliance (BALA), recently changed its name from the African Amer­i­can Lead­er­ship Coun­cil (AALC). black-american-leadership-alliance

Using its orig­i­nal name, the group held a press con­fer­ence in April announc­ing its oppo­si­tion to the Senate’s immi­gra­tion reform bill. BALA’s mem­bers, such as activists Frank Mor­ris and Leah Durant, are closely tied to anti-immigrant groups founded by or with the help of racist John Tan­ton, the archi­tect of the modern-day anti-immigrant move­ment. Mor­ris cur­rently sits on the boards of the Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS) and the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR), both founded by Tan­ton, and another anti-immigrant front group, Pro­gres­sives for Immi­gra­tion Reform (PFIR). Durant is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of PFIR and is a for­mer attor­ney with the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of FAIR. 

Since its ini­tial press con­fer­ence, the group issued an open let­ter on June 3 to the Senate’s bi-partisan “Gang of Eight,” the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus and sen­a­tors from states with high rates of black unem­ploy­ment urg­ing them to acknowl­edge the “dam­ag­ing impact mass immi­gra­tion has on low-skilled work­ers” and rec­og­nize “the harm­ful impact that S. 744 would have on low skilled work­ers, par­tic­u­larly those in the black community.”

Many of the sig­na­to­ries of the let­ter attended and spoke at the group’s press con­fer­ence in April. One of the sig­na­to­ries, Tom Broad­wa­ter, the national chair of the group Americans4Work, appeared as a guest on a webi­nar hosted by the anti-immigrant group Num­ber­sUSA on June 4. Dur­ing this call, Broad­wa­ter stated, “We need our jobs, we need our peo­ple, our Amer­i­can cit­i­zens to have jobs. Legal immi­grants, ille­gal immi­grants, they’re all bad as far as we are con­cerned for America.”

On July 15, BALA is orga­niz­ing a “DC March for Jobs” rally in Wash­ing­ton, DC, intended “to help to stop Con­gress’ amnesty push.” BALA’s web­site says that the group will “demand that our lead­ers reject amnesty, and pass immi­gra­tion poli­cies that put black Amer­i­cans back to work.” It remains to be seen how many activists BALA can mobi­lize for the event.

The talk­ing points and tac­tics BALA is using in an attempt to derail the Senate’s immi­gra­tion reform bill are no dif­fer­ent from the broader anti-immigrant move­ment. Through­out its his­tory, the move­ment has cre­ated front groups opposed to immi­gra­tion reform, claim­ing that it will have a neg­a­tive effect on minorities.

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February 13, 2013 1

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) Named Head of House Immigration Reform Caucus

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ted Poe (R-TX) announced on Feb­ru­ary 7, 2013, that he will chair the House Immi­gra­tion Reform Cau­cus (IRC). The immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ist replaces out­go­ing chair­man Brian Bil­bray, who lost his seat in Cal­i­for­nia in Novem­ber 2012. Founded in 1999 by for­mer Col­orado Rep. Tom Tan­credo, IRC is the main block of immi­gra­tion restric­tion­ists in the House.  It is very closely aligned with the anti-immigrant movement.

Poe’s views closely align with the anti-immigrant move­ment. The Beltway-based anti-immigrant group Num­ber­sUSA give Poe an “A” grade for his vot­ing record on immi­gra­tion, which indi­cates that his record is in line with their ide­ol­ogy. In 2010, Poe signed onto an ami­cus brief in sup­port of Arizona’s SB1070 law, drafted by the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of the DC-based anti-immigrant group Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR).  Poe has attended FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio event in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The event brings radio hosts to Wash­ing­ton to broad­cast live and inter­view anti-immigrant activists and restric­tion­ist politi­cians. On Novem­ber 19, 2009, Poe par­tic­i­pated in a forum with other mem­bers of the House Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee enti­tled “Amer­i­can Jobs in Peril: The Impact of Uncon­trolled Immi­gra­tion.” Speak­ers included Roy Beck, pres­i­dent of Num­ber­sUSA, and Jerry Kam­mer and Steven Camarota of the anti-immigrant think-tank Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS).

The Feb­ru­ary 7, 2013 press release also announced the mem­bers of the IRC Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee: Diane Black (R-TN), Bill Flo­res (R-TX), Phil Gin­grey (R-GA) and Lamar Smith (R-TX). All four Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee mem­bers have “A” grades from Num­ber­sUSA.  Lamar Smith and Phil Gin­grey have close ties to the anti-immigrant move­ment. Dur­ing his tenure as chair of the House Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee, Smith invited many promi­nent mem­bers of the anti-immigrant move­ment to tes­tify on immi­gra­tion issues. Gin­grey and Smith are also reg­u­lars at FAIR’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event. Both men received dona­tions from the U.S. Immi­gra­tion Reform PAC in the past. Mary Lou Tan­ton, the wife of racist John Tan­ton, the founder of the modern-day anti-immigrant move­ment, runs the PAC.

The Poe press release stated that IRC cur­rently has 58 mem­bers, although 77 peo­ple who were pre­vi­ously IRC mem­bers won re-election in 2012. It is unclear why so many IRC mem­bers decided to leave the Cau­cus, but some may want to dis­tance them­selves from the anti-immigrant move­ment now that immi­gra­tion reform has become more accept­able to both polit­i­cal par­ties. IRC’s pre­vi­ous two chairs, Bil­bray and Tom Tan­credo, a for­mer rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Col­orado, both lost elec­tions, per­haps in part due to their restric­tion­ist views on immi­gra­tion. It remains to be seen how Poe’s new posi­tion will impact vot­ers in his district.

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