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November 12, 2015

Anti-Immigrant Activists Make Common Cause With Extremists

In a column this week for the National Review, Mark Krikorian, head of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies, attempted to defend Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach from criticism by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others for having attended an anti-immigration event with racist ties by portraying the event as innocuous.The event, The Social Contract Press Writers Workshop, was held in Washington, DC, in late October.

MarkKrikorian

Mark Krikorian

However, the Workshop does have ties to extremists. To demonstrate this, one need look no further than one of the key figures behind The Social Contract Press itself: Wayne Lutton. Lutton, the editor of the Press’s main publication, The Social Contract, for many years has been a prominent figure in the white supremacist movement.

While not editing The Social Contract, Lutton sits on the board of the New Century Foundation, a white supremacist “think tank” run by Jared Taylor of American Renaissance, a white supremacist website. Both the Foundation and the website promote ideas of alleged racial differences in intelligence, support the notion of a “white identity,” and oppose multiculturalism and diversity. Lutton has also spoken at American Renaissance conferences, as well as conferences of the blatantly white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens. In addition, Lutton has served on the board of the Charles Martel Society, which publishes the racist and anti-Semitic journal Occidental Quarterly.

Attending the Writers Workshop was not the first time Kobach has turned a blind eye towards the extremist ties of some of his fellow anti-immigration activists. In 2012, for example, Kobach participated in an anti-immigration panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference alongside Robert Vandervoort, the head of the anti-immigrant group Pro-English but also the former head of the white supremacist Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance.

Anti-immigrant agitators all too frequently give a pass to extremists, so long as they share the same anti-immigrant views. Indeed, the fact that Krikorian, in his defense of Kobach, neglected to mention Lutton’s extremist ties is not surprising—because Krikorian turns the same blind eye himself. Krikorian not only spoke at  The Social Contract Press Writers Workshop this year, but in 2013 he also contributed an article to Lutton’s publication.

The reality is that Lutton’s Press serves as a bridge between extremists and more ostensibly mainstream figures in the anti-immigrant movement. The Social Contract frequently features white supremacists alongside anti-immigrant figures in its pages. Its Writers Workshop often invites mainstream but problematic figures to its events. The Kansas Secretary of State is one such figure.

Kobach is known for his anti-immigrant views and has drafted some of the harsh­est anti-immigrant laws in the nation. He also has promoted the concept of self-deportation, the idea that states should put in place policies and practices that make life so difficult for undocumented immigrants that they will leave the United States “voluntarily.”

Through its journal and conferences, The Social Contrast Press tries to mainstream bigotry by featuring well-known anti-immigrant figures to give their venues an air of legitimacy. But when figures such as Kobach and Krikorian lie down with the Press, they only show how immoderate they themselves are.

 

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November 26, 2014

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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November 9, 2012

Anti-Muslim and Anti-Immigrant Speakers to Appear at Religious Right Conference in Dallas

Kris Kobach

The “ProFamily Legislative Network Conference,” which will be held in Dallas, Texas, next weekend, will feature one speaker with an anti-immigrant agenda, and a second who has vilified Muslims. Anti-immigrant lawyer Kris Kobach will reportedly speak on “Preserving the Sanctity of Our Elections: How to Stop Voter Fraud,” and Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who has a history of making anti-Muslim statements, will deliver a presentation titled “Never Surrender.”

The conference is being organized by WallBuilders, an Aledo, Texas-based organization that promotes the idea that the United States was founded on Christian precepts. Their conference, designed for state legislators from around the country, will address current public policy issues “in a manner that honors our Judeo-Christian heritage and the vision of our Founding Fathers.”

Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas, has drafted some of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the nation. Kobach and the broader anti-immigrant movement often use allegations of voter fraud as a justification for attempting to pass voter-ID laws in states around the country. Though the anti-immigrant groups claim that non-citizens are voting in U.S. elections, there is little to no evidence to support those assertions, and the voter-ID laws passed in the name of defending against voter fraud disproportionately affect minorities.

Boykin, the former U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, is notorious for making controversial statements about Muslims, often voicing the conspiracy theory that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the U.S. government. Boykin once stated that Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” He went on to say that Islam “should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and to replace it with Shariah law.”

Over the past few years, the issues of immigration and Islam are increasingly becoming important topics of discussion at conservative and religious right gatherings such as the Conservative Political Action Conference and the Value Voters Summit. Kobach and Boykin’s planned appearances at the ProFamily Legislative Network Conference are just the latest example of this trend.

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