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June 30, 2014

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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December 26, 2012

Former YWC Leader Taylor Rose Joins World Net Daily

Taylor Rose

Taylor Rose, the former vice-president of the far-right student group, Youth for Western Civilization (YWC) recently landed a job at World Net Daily (WND), a conspiracy-oriented right-wing newspaper. Rose’s first article for WND, where he is listed as a “staff reporter,” appeared about a month ago, on November 26, 2012.

Rose’s articles cover a range of right-wing issues from opposition to immigration to anti-Muslim conspiracy theories to secessionist movements in Europe and the United States. Rose is not the first former YWC activist to make the move over to WND. YWC’s founder, Kevin DeAnna, joined WND in early 2012 and also works as a “staff reporter” though his last article for the site was published over two months ago, on October 14, 2012.

In recent years, Rose spent most of his time in Europe, meeting and organizing with far-right organizations and political parties.  He participated in a May 2011 rally “against the Islaminization of Europe” in Cologne, Germany. At the rally, Rose spoke alongside leaders of far-right xenophobic European parties, including the Vlaams Belang of Belgium, the Freedom Party of Austria, as well as smaller parties from France and Germany. More recently, in 2012, Rose published a book titled, Return of the Right: How the Political Right is Taking Back Western Civilization.

 Rose’s move also casts more doubt over YWC’s perseverance. It appears that Rose, DeAnna and other YWC leaders did not have successors lined up to maintain the organization when the original core group graduated. YWC’s Web site is down and it appears the chapters are inactive. Although Rose seems to no longer be involved with YWC, his move to WND shows that he is still an active player on the right.

The one former YWC activist still making headway on campus is Matthew Heimbach at Towson University in Maryland. Heimbach was forced to disband YWC at the school in early 2012 when its faculty advisor quit after the group was involved in controversial activity. Heimbach is still attempting, however, to create a “white student union” at Towson. He invited white supremacists Jared Taylor and Merlin Miller, from the American Third Position party, to speak at the school during the fall 2012 semester.

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December 18, 2012

Christian Conservatives Blame Elementary School Massacre On Lack Of Religion In Schools

In the wake of the shooting of 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, people are searching for answers about how and why this tragedy happened. Some prominent Christian conservatives are blaming the massacre on the lack of religion in schools and the secularization of America more generally.

In an appearance on Fox News former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, “We ask why there’s violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”  He later clarified that he did not think that prayer in school could have directly prevented the shooting.

Bryan Fischer, a spokesperson for the American Family Association, a non-profit that promotes conservative fundamentalist Christian values, echoed Governor Huckabee’s sentiments.  He said, “Here’s the bottom line: God is not gonna go where he’s not wanted…We have spent 50 years telling God to get lost, telling God, we do not want you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you before football games, we don’t want to pray to you at graduation, we don’t want anyone talking about you in a graduation speech. We’ve kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, ‘Hey I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you’ve gotta invite me back into your world first. I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.’” 

David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) wrote an online column defending Huckabee and Fischer. Brody asserted, “Guess what folks? Huckabee and Fischer are not alone. There are millions of evangelicals who believe the same thing. This is not heartless. It’s based on the biblical principle of reaping and sowing. Not that these little children sowed anything but are our schools left unprotected because of the past actions of our nation when it comes to removing God from our public schools? The conversation is now all about banning guns but should the conversation really be about allowing God back into public schools?”  Joseph Farrah, the editor of World Net Daily, and William J. Murray, the Head of the Religious Freedom Network, made similar statements blaming the shootings on the lack of religion in schools.

Former head of Focus on the Family James Dobson, citing statistics on the number of abortions in America and the acceptance of same sex marriage, said on his radio show, “Somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.  I think that’s what’s going on.”  Operation Save America, an anti-abortion group that also opposes homosexuality, similarly claimed that “we are losing our kids because we are ignoring God’s Law.”

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