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July 27, 2012 0

Conference the Latest Sign of Increased Anti-Immigrant Activity in North Carolina

On August 10–11, 2012, an anti-immigrant con­fer­ence will take place in Wilm­ing­ton, North Car­olina titled, “IIIm­pact – ille­gal immi­gra­tion and the cost to YOU!” The list of con­fer­ence speak­ers was announced on July 23 and 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 an increase in activ­ity by the anti-immigrant play­ers in North Car­olina. In 2011, the NC House cre­ated the House Select Com­mit­tee on the State’s Role in Immi­gra­tion Pol­icy. The Com­mit­tee has had numer­ous hear­ings through­out 2012 and has pro­vided a plat­form for anti-immigrant and immi­grant rights activists to voice their opin­ions. On June 13, 2012, for exam­ple, anti-immigrant lead­ers includ­ing William Gheen, James John­son and Ron Woodard met with Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R-District 98) to dis­cuss immi­gra­tion issues. It is unclear at this time what the atten­dance of the con­fer­ence will be but anti-immigrant groups in North Car­olina have been encour­ag­ing peo­ple to go to the event for a num­ber of weeks.

Sched­uled speak­ers at the August event include:

William Gheen – Founder/head of the anti-immigrant group Amer­i­cans for Legal Immi­gra­tion PAC (ALIPAC). Gheen has a long his­tory of hate­ful rhetoric towards immi­grants.  ADL has a lengthy pro­file on Gheen which can be read here.

James John­son – Founder/head of the anti-immigrant group North Car­olini­ans for Immi­gra­tion Reform and Enforce­ment (NCIFRE). On his Face­book page, John­son has cir­cu­lated mate­r­ial from the racist Web site, and the white suprema­cist group, Amer­i­can Renais­sance. John­son has also attended FAIR’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event in the past. 

Ron Woodard – pres­i­dent of the anti-immigrant group, NC Lis­ten. NC Lis­ten is listed on the Web site of the extreme anti-immigrant group Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform’s (FAIR) as a local affil­i­ate for North Car­olina. NC Listen’s mis­sion state­ment says that it “part­ners” with FAIR. Woodard has also attended FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event in the past. 

Sher­iff Sam Page (R-Rockingham) will also be speak­ing. Page spoke to Con­gres­sional Lead­ers at an event put together by FAIR in May 2012.  In Octo­ber 2011, Page par­tic­i­pated in a panel titled, “Crime Chal­lenges from Ille­gal Immi­gra­tion” which was spon­sored and mod­er­ated by the anti-immigrant group Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS). 

Ilario Pan­tano – A for­mer can­di­date for the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 2010 and 2012, Pan­tano has pro­moted anti-Muslim sen­ti­ment. Pan­tano spoke at both the 2010 and 2011 9/11 ral­lies in New York City put on by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller. He has also writ­ten the fol­low­ing about the Islamic cen­ter close to ground zero: “It is about mark­ing reli­gious, ide­o­log­i­cal and ter­ri­to­r­ial con­quest.” He con­tin­ued by stat­ing, “This mosque is a martyr-marker hon­or­ing the ter­ror­ists who less than a decade ago killed thou­sands of us just two blocks away, and it must be stopped.”

Sue Myrick – retir­ing NC Con­gress­woman (R-District 9) who also has a his­tory of anti-Muslim sen­ti­ment – she has spo­ken at the national con­fer­ence of ACT! for Amer­ica, one of the largest anti-Muslim groups in the coun­try. She also wrote a for­ward for the book, Mus­lim Mafia: Inside the Secret Under­world that’s Con­spir­ing to Islamize Amer­ica.

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