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July 24, 2014

Small Protests Around the U.S. Ratchet Up Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

On July 18 and 19, anti-immigrant activists around the country participated in a series of protests dubbed the “National Day Of Protesting Against Immigration Reform/Amnesty & Border Surge.” Activists are exploiting the current humanitarian crisis at the border where Central American children are fleeing in order to escape violence in their home countries.

These protests are just the latest uptick in anti-immigrant activity, fueled by the anti-immigrant movement and far-right media. The sparsely attended protests not only attracted extremists, but many of the activists in attendance displayed signs with extreme rhetoric.

The following is a round-up on some of the extreme rhetoric on display at protests around the country, as reflected in accounts of the rallies on social media and in local news outlets:

  • Moosic, Pennsylvania: Members of the white supremacist group European American Action Coalition (EAAC) attended a rally in Moosic, Pennsylvania. EAAC director, Steve Smith, was present at the event. Smith is a longtime racist with ties to a number of white supremacist organizations. At the Moosic protest, was a sign taped to the overpass where the protest took place which read, in part, “Illegal mestizos are bringing in leprosy and scabies…”eaac-protesters-immigration
  • Salem, Oregon: Members of the white supremacist political party American Freedom Party (AFP) attended a rally in Salem, Oregon. AFP activist Tyler Cole attended the rally with his wife, Laura. In an interview with a local news station, Laura Cole stated, “Keep Mexicans in Mexico. Keep European-Americans here, where we are, in our homeland… I think it’s OK for us to be proud that this is our territory.” A banner hanging from an overpass one exit away from the official Salem protest read, “Diversity is a code word for white genocide” – a phrase used by white supremacists.
  • New York, NY: Anti-immigrant activists protested outside of the United Nations building in New York City. One protester held a sign implying that “illegals” and “Obama” were “cockroaches.” Another protester yelled, “Bring us your smallpox, bring us your malaria, your scabies.”
  • Phoenix, Arizona : A protester had a sign that read “illegals bring disease.”
  • Marietta, Georgia: A protester held a sign stating, “stop illegals and their diseases.”marietta-protest-immigration
  • New Haven, Connecticut: A protester on an overpass held signs saying “stop terrorists crossing our border” and “stop diseases crossing our border.”
  • Ocala, Florida: Protesters held signs claiming “Obama is a Muslim” and “terrorists and illegals treated better than vets.”
  • Yakima, Washington: A protester held a sign saying, “citizens over illegals cartel and jihadists.”yakima-protest-immigration
  • San Diego, California: One protester held a sign with the Mexican flag which, read, in part, “yes, we sell humans, drugs, prostitution, the demise of your country.”
  • Tucson, Arizona: A protester interviewed by Tucson News Now asserted, “The invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation… is an act of war.”

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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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July 14, 2014

Longtime Anti-Immigrant Activists Behind Murrieta Protests

Starting in late June 2014, anti-immigrant activists in Murrieta, California, have prevented buses carrying migrants fleeing violence in Central America from entering the town’s border patrol processing center. The protests have garnered national and international attention due to the extreme rhetoric and ugly climate surrounding them. Numerous anti-immigrant activists with close ties to the anti-immigrant movement flocked to Murrieta from all over Southern California to participate. Some of these protesters are closely tied to extreme elements of the anti-immigrant movement and have a history of bigoted statements.murrieta-immigration

As we have seen with similar protests in Vassar, Michigan, established anti-immigrant groups and longtime anti-immigrant activists are playing a crucial role in the protests in both states. In Murrieta and Vassar, anti-immigrant activists closely tied to the largest anti-immigrant groups in the country such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA are helping to spread their message of bigotry and xenophobia in an attempt to creative a climate of fear around this humanitarian crisis.

Click here to read more about the anti-immigrant activists behind the Murrieta protests.

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