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November 18, 2015

Anti-Refugee Sentiment Reaches New High After Paris Attacks

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the country has witnessed anti-refugee sentiment coming from various corners, including state governments and the anti-immigrant movement. Over 30 governors across the country have said they will not accept Syrian refugees and have asked President Obama to halt or suspend the country’s refugee program.

Many of the governors appealed to fear in the wake of the terrorist attacks, asserting that they could not protect the residents of their states from potential terrorists. Later, some Congressional leaders also drove home this fear by advocating for the suspension of the U.S. government’s refugee program.

Ann Corcoran

Ann Corcoran

The notion that terrorists can enter the United States through U.S. refugee programs is not new. In October of this year, a number of presidential candidates said they would not allow Syrian refugees into the country and would send back those who have been allowed to settle in the U.S.

But the events in Paris have ratcheted up the anti-refugee rhetoric, equating refugees with terrorists and questioning their ability to assimilate into “Western culture.” Anti-immigrant organizations such as the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA have all released articles or statements declaring that the U.S. government should suspend its refugee program.

Dan Stein, the president of FAIR, wrote a column on November 16 extolling the program established by the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s to deport thousands of Mexican immigrants. After talking about the alleged merits of the program, Stein turned his attention to Muslim immigrants in the wake of the Paris attacks. He wrote, “A dulling orthodoxy within certain Muslim communities has degenerated [sic] a fanatical strain that promises an epicurean paradise for mass murder on earth.”

In a column for National Review, Mark Krikorian, head of CIS wrote, “Relocating refugees from the Middle East to the U.S. is morally wrong.” He goes on to say that the U.S. should assist refugees by caring for them in their “native region”—despite the terror and war that refugees are experiencing. NumbersUSA released a similar statements saying that the U.S. should help refugees in their home region rather than allowing them to come to the U.S.

Ann Corcoran, who runs Refugee Resettlement Watch, writes daily about the alleged dangers of letting refugees into this country by appealing to anti-Muslim sentiment. On November 17, she wrote, “All the vetting in the world isn’t going to save us from the toddlers coming in with Mom and Dad from Africa and the Middle East who thumb their noses at the ‘good life’ and become radicalized 20 years down the road.  The only true solution is a complete moratorium on Muslim immigration.”

The fear-mongering appears to be having an influence. The media reported on November 18 that two refugee families from Syria that had been approved and scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis have been told that they are no longer welcome in the state.

 

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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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October 7, 2014

Anti-Immigrant Groups Call For Immigration Bans Following Ebola Scare

jessica-vaughan-ebola

Jessica Vaughan

As news broke of the first person inside the U.S. diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus, anti-immigrant groups seized the opportunity to use this information as a way to speak out against “mass immigration.” Over the past month, anti-immigrant groups used the same tactic when attempting to bring the terrorist group ISIS into the immigration debate.

In an interview with the Daily Caller, Jessica Vaughan, the policy director of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) argued that Africans will try to come to the United States for treatment. She attempted to back up this claim by equating Ebola patients with unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central American and seeking refuge in the United States, claiming both are trying “to take advantage” of U.S. border policy. Vaughan has made prior bigoted statements about immigrants. In 2008 Vaughan claimed, “One legacy of TPS (Temporary Protected Status for refugees) has been its contribution to the burgeoning street gang problem in the United States.”

Vaughan’s colleague, Mark Krikorian, continued the argument in a column for National Review Online, titled, “Ban Travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea—Now.” In the column, Krikorian again voiced his opposition to Muslim immigration to the United States, stating, “Why has the government permitted the number of Saudi immigrants in the U.S. to double in just three years?… Why are we going to ‘greatly expand resettlement for Syrian refugees’?”

Anti-immigrant extremists also used the Ebola news as an opportunity to call for a reduction to immigration. In an October 1 article, Patrick Cleburne, a writer for the racist website VDARE founded by white supremacist Peter Brimelow, stated, “My own question: why does America need immigration from this famously unhealthy part of the world anyway?” Cleburne ended his article by claiming the U.S. needs to revisit the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished racial quotas contained in previous immigration laws. Also on October 1, the Tea Party Immi­gra­tion Coali­tion headed by racist Rick Olt­man posted an article on its Facebook page about Ebola asking, “Is this how Obama will kill us?”

The anti-immigrant movement often paints immigrants as disease carriers in an attempt to create a climate of fear around the issue and call for a restriction on immigration. Attempting to capitalize of the recent Ebola diagnosis is the latest example of this trend.

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