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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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July 16, 2014 6

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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June 30, 2014 1

Children Suffering On Southern Border Fodder For Anti-Immigrant Voices

The plight of Central American children fleeing violence is being used as yet another excuse for inaction on humane and sensible immigration reform that Americans crave. border-detention-center-humanitarian

While President Obama responded strongly to the situation by sending a message to families in Central America not to risk sending their children to the United States,  anti-immigrant groups and the politicians that follow their cues are using this humanitarian crisis to argue that the border is out of control and that sensible reform should be delayed.  

The anti-immigrant movement and some right wing media dismiss the high murder rates, gang violence, and poverty that drive these migrants to the United States and attempt to use this dire humanitarian situation to create a climate of fear around immigration.

The uptick in extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric around the issue has focused on portraying immigrants as a public health hazard. On June 20, William Gheen of the extreme anti-immigrant group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALI-PAC) claimed that the children are coming to the U.S. “in disease and gang infested hoards.”  D.A. King of the Georgia-based anti-immigrant group Dustin Inman Society (DIS) asserted on June 9 that refugees are “swarming the border and bringing disease.” On June 12, James Kirkpatrick, an author for the extreme anti-immigrant website VDARE, recently voiced his concerns about children carrying what he called a “diverse mix of exciting multicultural diseases.”

Many right-wing and far-right media outlets are also echoing the rhetoric of anti-immigrant groups. A June 22 article published on the far-right website News With Views bemoaned the “hordes of uneducated, unskilled and too many disease ridden coming from El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.” Using the metaphors “flood” and “tidal wave” to talk about the children, Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet penned an article in the conspiracy-orientated right-wing online newspaper World Net Daily  on June 17 warning that the children are carrying “diseases the U.S. had controlled or virtually eradicated: tuberculosis (TB), Chagas disease, dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, measles, plus more.”

Aside from the disease rhetoric, anti-immigrant and right-wing media outlets are also espousing other extreme themes. Mackubin Thomas Owens, an author for National Review Online (NRO), penned an article for the publication on June 13 titled, “Camp of the Saints, 2014 Style?” In the article, Owens called for his audience to read the blatantly racist French novel Camp of the Saints in the wake of the humanitarian issue. Camp of the Saints tells the story of Indian immigrants coming to France by boat and taking over the country by violent means.

This message is not only bigoted and dehumanizing to these children; it distracts from the critical fact that the real solution to this humanitarian crisis is to reform our broken system.  Only a functioning immigration system can truly foster orderly migration and allow authorities to determine which children are eligible to come to or remain in the U.S. and which are not.

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