Miranda Blue's blog

Mark Krikorian Claims 'No Family Is Ever Split By Immigration Law'

Center for Immigration studies executive director Mark Krikorian insisted in an interview on VCY America’s Crosstalk yesterday that “no family is ever split by immigration law.”

Addressing situations where the undocumented parent of an American citizen is deported, Krikorian said, “No child is ever taken away from a person who is deported, because children can always go with their parents, which is what they should do.”

“No family is ever split by immigration law,” he said. “It’s the decisions of the immigrants themselves either to come here and split their families.”

Between 2010 and 2012, the country conducted 200,000 deportations of parents of U.S. citizens. An Applied Research Center investigation in 2011 found that at least 5,100 children whose parents had been detained or deported were thrown into the U.S. foster care system. Last year, President Obama issued a directive aimed at curbing detentions of parents who are the primary caregivers of minor children.

No child is ever taken away from a person who is deported, because children can always go with their parents, which is what they should do, it’s the appropriate thing to do. Or if the kids are born here, they have the right to stay too, and the parents, if they can find an aunt or somebody else for the kids to stay with, they can do that, that’s their prerogative. No family is ever split by immigration law. It’s the decisions of the immigrants themselves either to come here and split their families, or to stay here illegally, they have American children then they’re caught up into it and decide not to take their families back with them. That’s where the decision comes from that ends up splitting families.

Richard Mack: Government Brought In 'Paid Hit Men' To 'Fire On Innocent And Unarmed People' At Nevada Ranch

Richard Mack, the Arizona sheriff who earlier this week compared the stand of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management with “Rosa Parks refusing to get off the bus ”and even the Holocaust, told Alan Colmes yesterday that the federal government brought “paid hit men” to Bundy’s ranch who were “ready to fire on innocent and unarmed people.”

The Fox Radio host asked Mack, “We can agree or disagree about how much the government should own in terms of federal property, but is this the way to go about changing it?

Mack responded that Bundy’s stand “was peaceful until it got escalated by the federal government in bringing out paid hit men, mercenaries, and you know, getting violent.”

When Colmes asked Mack if he had evidence to substantiate his claim that the government had brought in mercenaries to face down the militia members at Bundy’s ranch, Mack responded, “we have our intel sources” and insisted that “they were there with the military weapons and they were there ready to fire on innocent and unarmed people.”

The rumor that the BLM hired mercenaries to confront Bundy has been spreading through far-right blogs. Mack made a similar claim in an interview published in Talking Points Memo today.

BarbWire Defends Brutal Anti-Gay Laws In Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia

Jeff Allen, senior editor of Matt Barber’s BarbWire website, today defends harsh anti-gay laws in Uganda, Nigeria and Ethiopia, which he calls “maliciously mischaracterized” and “a matter of national survival.”

In Nigeria, where gay sex is illegal – and punishable by death by stoning in some Islamic states in the north of the country – a new law criminalizing gay clubs and organizations, even banning gay people from meeting in groups of two or more, has led to an official crackdown on LGBT people and encouraged vigilante violence.

Earlier this year, Uganda passed an infamous bill punishing gay activity with sentences of up to life in prison. In Ethiopia, where gay sex is also criminalized, a bill preventing the president from pardoning anyone convicted of homosexuality was recently dropped.

Yet to Allen, these laws are merely resisting “the West’s imposition of ‘sexual rights’ on these countries.” In a review of a 2012 documentary by Family Watch International that blames the AIDS crisis in Africa on Western aid that emphasizes family planning and gay rights, Allen writes:

The maliciously mischaracterized anti-‘gay’ laws in countries like Uganda, Nigeria, and Ethiopia are actually a matter of national survival. The documentary makes the case that the West’s imposition of “sexual rights” on these countries erodes their religious and cultural values, leading to social chaos through the demise of the natural family unit and the deaths of millions by AIDS-related illnesses.

Your Occasional Reminder That Larry Pratt Is An Actually Influential Person In Washington

Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt is one of those people we wish we could ignore. Every interview he gives devolves into a mess of anti-government conspiracy theories, thinly veiled racism, and good-guy-with-a-gun revenge fantasies. This puts him at around the extremism level of 9/11 truther Alex Jones and unhinged Internet newscaster Stan Solomon…both of whom regularly host Pratt on their programs.

But we can’t ignore Larry Pratt because, as we are reminded every few weeks, he remains one of the country’s most influential gun lobbyists. Today’s reminder of this unsavory fact came from the New York Times’ report on Michael Bloomberg’s plan to spend $50 million promoting gun safety laws this year. The NRA declined to comment, so the Times called the second best option: Larry Pratt.

“He’s got the money to waste,” Mr. Pratt said of Bloomberg. “So I guess he’s free to do so. But frankly, I think he’s going to find out why his side keeps losing.”

It was also the New York Times that reported last year that Gun Owners of America was “emerging as an influential force” in the effort to defeat new gun laws. The Times quoted Sen. Ted Cruz praising GOA, noting that Cruz was the group’s “key ally in the Senate.” (Pratt, for his part, returns the praise every chance he gets).

In the past year, Pratt has appeared on CNN and MSNBC. And just a few months ago, when Fox News Sunday hosted Gabrielle Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly to speak on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, they decided that Larry Pratt would be the perfect person to join him with an opposing view.

That Larry Pratt is an influential Republican lobbyist who is regularly quoted by mainstream news sources shows that it is basically impossible to be too extreme to be taken seriously in today’s right wing.

After all, back in 1996, Pratt was too extreme for even Pat Buchanan. Pratt stepped down from his role in Buchanan’s presidential campaign after his ties to white supremacists and promotion of the right-wing militia movement came to light. As Southern Poverty Law Center director Morris Dees said at the time, “He's got one foot in that far-right fringe and another foot in mainstream Washington, which makes him really dangerous."

That certainly hasn’t changed. In just the past couple of years, Pratt

Yet none of this makes Pratt too extreme to be a leading gun lobbyist who is influential on Capitol Hill, praised by Tea Party leader Ted Cruz, and regularly quoted in the mainstream media.

Eagle Forum Spokeswoman Warns Real ID Licenses Are Like Nazi Star Of David Badges

Testifying yesterday against Lousiana’s bill to allow its residents to access REAL ID compliant drivers licenses, Eagle Forum spokeswoman Sandy McDade said the gold stars marking REAL ID licenses are like the Star of David badges Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

However, she said that while she opposes the REAL ID Act, she does support requiring a photo ID to vote because she had “read documents” about people voting “several times.”

McDade, who is the chairwoman of Eagle Forum’s Louisiana chapter and who also serves at the national group’s political chairwoman, told the state house’s transportation committee that the only country she could think of with a national ID card was Nazi Germany.

“I will leave that there, I won’t go down that path, I just want you to have that image,” she said.

But then just a few minutes later, she ended her testimony with a “humorous, but it’s not really” anecdote. “We’re talking about putting a star on our drivers’ licenses,” she said, “and I have to ask: Is that a ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ or is it the Star of David? Because we all know where that went.” 

She later confirmed to the Baton Rouge Advocate that she was indeed referring to the badges Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

After her testimony, Rep. Sam Jones asked her if she supported requiring photo identification to vote. McDade replied that she did because “I have read documents where people go and vote several times and declare themselves to be different people.”

“Wow,” Jones responded.

As Earth Day Approaches, Anti-Immigrant Group Tries To Woo Environmentalists

The anti-immigrant group Californians For Population Stabilization (CAPS) is trying to appeal to California environmentalists with an ad hooked to Earth Day.

CAPS, which has ties to the anti-immigrant network founded by white nationalist John Tanton, is the leader in the ongoing effort to recruit environmentalists to the nativist cause.

Despite the group’s attempt at a green image, it has rarely hidden its anti-immigrant nativism. The group’s chairwoman Marilyn Deyoung warned last year that children of immigrants allowed to stay in the country under the DREAM act would become communists and smugglers. Earlier this year, CAPS published a blog post saying immigration had turned Los Angeles “from an American city to something resembling Mexico.” The group’s employees include a founding member of the neo-Confederate League of the South and a contributor to the white nationalist website VDARE.

In CAPS’s Earth Day ad, a little boy asks why California is “so crowded” and has “so many cars.” “Let’s slow immigration and save some California for tomorrow,” a voiceover replies.

 

Sheriff Richard Mack Compares Armed Nevada Ranch Protesters To Rosa Parks

Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack – Arizona’s second most notorious birther sheriff –of course traveled to Nevada this week to join rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management .

In an interview with Iowa talk show host Steve Deace on Monday, Mack compared the militia groups standing with Bundy to Rosa Parks and suggested that if reinforcements had not arrived, the Bundy family would have fallen victim to Holocaust-like violence.

Deace told Mack that the Nevada standoff was a “warning shot” and “a test to see if their efforts over the last 40 years to dumb you down in academia and pop culture and install the idiocracy” had succeeded.

Mack replied that it was. “This was Rosa Parks refusing to get to the back of the bus,” he said. 

Deace: I think this is a test to see if their efforts over the last 40 years to dumb you down in academia and pop culture and install the idiocracy – and that’s their numbing agent – to see if you are now compliant to the point of just saying, ‘Nothing we can do, the almighty state has spoken.’ I think this is a warning shot.

Mack: Well, I think it is too, and I think that everything they do is based on this kind of propaganda scheme of the warning shots and trying to make sure other peasants don’t rise up with their pitchforks. Well, this particular peasant said, ‘No, I’m sorry, I’m not rolling over for this one. You guys are out of line, you don’t own the land, you don’t own our ranch, you don’t own us, and we will stand firm in the principles of freedom that we were blessed with as Americans.’ And that’s exactly what this was. This was Rosa Parks refusing to get to the back of the bus.

Later, the two moved on to criticizing the BLM employees who were sent to enforce a court order to remove Bundy’s cattle from federal land because the rancher has refused to pay grazing fees since 1993. “Any tyrant anywhere is only as good as the collaborating bureaucrats under his command that are willing to actually carry through with his orders,” Deace said. “‘Just following orders’ is the tagline of every tyrannical government in the history of human civilization.”

Mack agreed, noting that a similar defense had been attempted in the Nuremberg trials. “The soldiers that were put on trial at Nuremberg used that as a defense, and it was disallowed,” he said. “They said anybody should know you don’t get to just kill people and then claim that you were just following orders. And same thing for all of this.”

He then claimed that if the militias hadn’t shown up at the Bundy ranch, the family would have been shot.

Deace : They can give all the unconstitutional edicts from Washington, DC, all they want. Any tyrant anywhere is only as good as the collaborating bureaucrats under his command that are willing to actually carry through with his orders. And that’s the part about this that bothers me. ‘Just following orders’ is the tagline of every tyrannical government in the history of human civilization.

Mack: Well, in fact that’s a quote, and I know you know this, but it’s a quote from the Nuremberg trials regarding the Holocaust. And the soldiers that were put on trial at Nuremberg used that as a defense, and it was disallowed. They said anybody should know you don’t get to just kill people and then claim that you were just following orders.

And same thing for all of this. We’re supposed to be the ones in the world that are above such. This is the United States of America, where the rights of the individual are protected by the rest of us in government. And now we have the actual government officials doing just the opposite and almost bragging about it. And so, what I do know is that the people who showed up en masse protected this family and others from being shot.

FAIR's Dan Stein Claims Holder, Democrats Encouraging 'Civil Violence' And 'Breakdown Of Civil Order'

Dan Stein, the president of the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Florida radio host Joyce Kaufman last week that our country is at the verge of “civil violence” thanks to Attorney General Eric Holder and immigration reform advocates.

Kaufman told Stein in an interview at FAIR’s annual Hold Their Feet To The Fire summit that President Obama has “done nothing but destroy everything my country represented,” for which she cited Attorney General Eric Holder’s “thuggery” when he had a heated interaction with Rep. Louie Gohmert last week.

Stein agreed, warning that after Holder’s lapse in “the tradition of civility,” the next step is “it degenerates into civil violence.”

Later in the interview, Kaufman complained about how immigrants’ rights advocates “misbehave” by holding sit-ins in congressional offices, while anti-immigrant groups “don’t do that kind of behavior.”

Immigration reform advocates in the Democratic Party have “sow[ed] the seeds of civil disobedience,” Stein replied. “They’ve pulled a genie out of a bottle. And they may be very sorry by promoting civil disorder, criminal behavior, and the breakdown of civil order for their own partisan advantage.”

Kaufman: And now, I look at this guy, he’s done nothing but destroy everything my country represented. The attorney general sat there yesterday and called a congressman, ‘You better not go there, buddy,’ he said to Louie Gohmert, a man who has been in Congress and doing the hard work of standing up to these impositions by the administration. It’s like thuggery.

Stein: Well, the decline in our civic fabric and the civility – the tradition of civility among government officials, certainly on Capitol Hill, was an important part of the legislative process. After that, it degenerates into civil violence.

Kaufman: Our opposition continues to misbehave, to have sit-ins in Democratic congresspersons’ offices and get themselves arrested, while we gather together in an orderly fashion, year after year, sometimes every month, and just plead for Congress to hear us. We don’t do that kind of behavior. So much for living in the shadows. They’re right out there on ABC, CBS and NBC. Every day I see an illegal alien stepping forward to tell me about what they need from me.

Stein: Well, you sow the wind and you reap the whirlwind, a biblical quote there. By sowing the seeds of civil disobedience, the speaker harassed by illegal aliens, the guy’s trying to get a sandwich for breakfast, or at his house. Democratic members, they’ve got to be careful. They’ve pulled a genie out of a bottle. And they may be very sorry by promoting civil disorder, criminal behavior, and the breakdown of civil order for their own partisan advantage.

Arpaio Tells Anti-Semitic Paper Immigration Reform Meant 'To Pacify The Hispanic Community'

In an interview with an anti-Semitic and conspiracy-theory promoting newspaper last month, Sheriff Joe Arpaio claimed that President Obama’s support for immigration reform is an attempt “to pacify the Hispanic community.”

In contrast, Arpaio told American Free Press, “I have a gun and badge. I don’t talk. I take action,”

“I have a gun and badge. I don’t talk. I take action,” said the legendary lawman from Maricopa County, Arizona. “I’m against amnesty, and no one should receive a get-out-of-jail-free card. I believe in following the law.”

Arpaio recounted how his efforts to uphold the law have been undermined by the federal government. “The president is trying to circumvent our laws to pacify the Hispanic community,” he said. “I spent 27 years as a DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] regional director in Mexico City, Texas and Arizona, plus 21 years as a sheriff. With over 50 years of law enforcement experience, I’d say this gives me some credibility. Yet, not once has anyone from Obama’s Cabinet asked for my opinion or assistance. They don’t want local law enforcement helping them enforce the law. It’s very sad.”

American Free Press was founded by anti-Semitic activist Willis Carto, and regularly pushes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. It has recently pushed the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook shooting didn’t actually happen.

The Center for New Community notes that two activists from prominent anti-immigrant groups also gave interviews to American Free Press:

Thorn’s article also includes comments from NumbersUSA’s Director of Content and Activism Chris Chmielenski and Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). Vaughan used the interview to discuss findings from a highly misleading report she authored last month on interior immigration enforcement.

Russian Anti-LGBT Crackdown Exporting Homophobic Violence Throughout Region, Experts Warn

Russia's ban on gay "propaganda" and copycat laws throughout the region have created a "license to commit violence against" LGBT people, "give the permission" for "street violence" and "create legitimacy for violence," according to human rights advocates working in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Kyrgyszstan who spoke last night at a panel at Columbia University.

Russia's spate of anti-gay laws has quickly influenced neighboring countries, part of what Columbia professor Tanya Domi called "the Putin project" of solidifying Russia's influence in the region.

American activists including National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown, anti-gay agitator Scott Lively, and the World Congress of Families – which receives support from a who's who of American anti-gay groups – have lent support to Russia's anti-gay laws.

Matthew Schaaf, a Russia expert at Freedom House, said that while there were plenty of logistical questions about the enforcement of the ban on gay "propaganda" to minors that was passed last year, one effect of the law is clear.

"What we've actually seen is that this law in Russia and other restrictions on LGBT people and people who advocate for LGBT rights is essentially a license to commit violence against them, to discriminate against them," he said. "It creates an environment where these people are positioned as being others, as not being us, as an influence that we need to control and to destroy."

Schaaf said that the anti-gay bills are "part of an overall crackdown on civil society in Russia."

He mentioned the newly released Russian state cultural policy, which explicitly rejects "the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance" and denies state support to "cultural projects which impose alien to society values."

"What is common to all of these different issues is a rhetoric of some kind of external, existential threat to Russia, to Russian culture, to Russia as a country, to the borders of Russia, to the Russian people, to the Russian economy, and so on," Schaaf said. "So, if you're hearing this message, you're hearing a message that's frightening: that the country is under assault by these horrible, horrible forces."

"This is what Russia is exporting to other parts of the world, and they're aggressively pushing this agenda on many, many, many levels," he added.

Olena Shevchenko, who chairs the Ukrainian LGBTI advocacy group Insight, said that pushing anti-gay laws is part of a "Russian foreign strategy" as Russia is "pushing this border between [its] traditional values concept and human rights in Western Europe."

Anna Kirey of Human Rights Watch put it in terms of LGBT rights being a unit of geopolitical "currency."

"It feels like it's this big political game where Russia is creating this certain currency that they sort of use politically…to mobilize supporters," she said. "LGBT rights now in this region are definitely one of these currencies to create opposition to the West and more support for the Eurasian Customs Union in different countries."

Shevchenko noted that Russia's move toward anti-gay legislation "influenced Ukraine immediately."

In late 2012, Ukraine – which was the first former Soviet republic to decriminalize homosexuality – took the first step toward passing its own "propaganda" ban imposing fines or up to five years in prison for "any positive depiction" of LGBT people.

The BBC interviewed the pastor of an evangelical church in Kiev who had pushed for the bill, which he described as a "national security" measure. "Here's the issue," he told the BBC. "In a real democracy, my freedom and rights are limited by the freedom of someone else."

Shevchenko said that a similar sentiment was behind wide support for anti-gay laws in Ukraine. "Many people think that equality for LGBT people will be a threat to the rights of majority," she said. "Basically it will be a threat to the right to discriminate."

She added that anti-LGBT hate speech from politicians and the media essentially "give permission [for] street violence towards LGBT people" and lead to the "legitimization of violence."

"Basically, they think it allows them to go on the streets and discriminate and to beat them and to rape, when it comes to LB and transgender women," she said.

Kirey, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who has done extensive work in Kyrgyzstan, spoke of a similar situation in that country, where a Human Rights Watch report in January found a pattern of police violence and extortion against gay men.

Kyrgyz authorities met the HRW report with denial and even laughter, she said…and then two months later introduced their own Russian-style gay "propaganda" ban.

"Right now in the region, any conversations about LGBT rights are immediately put in the box of 'propaganda,'" said Kirey. She added that such legislation not only "create[s] legitimacy for violence" but also "shrinks the space where LGBT activists are able to raise their concerns, which is very upsetting."

"Literally, people are now thinking that they have the permission of the government to continue these homophobic crimes, which is a very scary development," she said.​

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