Federation for American Immigration Reform

David Perdue: Too Extreme for Georgia

On Tuesday, David Perdue triumphed over longtime representative Jack Kingston in the Republican runoff for Saxby Chambliss’ U.S. Senate seat. The former Dollar General CEO has never run for political office, a distinction he has made the central theme of his campaign. Perdue has boasted that he is a “different kind of candidate,” but we’ve seen a candidate like him before: 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

The similarities between Romney and Perdue are striking: both CEOs, both millionaires, and both completely out of touch. Romney, however, was accused by right-wingers of being one thing Perdue clearly isn’t: moderate. Perdue has made no attempt to seem even relatively moderate and has dragged his extremist ideals as far to the right as he can. Make no mistake: he will not represent Georgia. Instead, he’ll represent those like him: wealthy, anti-immigrant and anti-equality.

Perdue already has proven that he is wrong for Georgia. He signed the FAIR Pledge, a pledge created by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Task Force, vowing to oppose not only a pathway to citizenship for undocumented students but also any increase in work visas for legal immigrants. He is also anti-choice and anti-equality. With nearly 10 percent of Georgia’s population identifying as Latino and over 260,000 Georgians identifying as LGBTQ, Perdue would have a duty to represent all of his constituents—and that is a duty he won’t fulfill.

David Perdue has made it clear that he does not understand needs of Georgia’s diverse, changing population, which is why PFAW will help to make it clear that he is not the right choice for Georgia.
 

PFAW

Anti-Immigrant Protests A Bust: Five Things This Weekend's Rallies Tell Us About The Nativist Right

For weeks now, anti-immigrant groups have been hyping a “National Day of Protesting Against Immigration Reform, Amnesty & Border Surge,” meant to be two days of protests in cities across the country in reaction to the Central American children who are coming to the southern border to flee violence in their home countries.

The protests were a bust. Local news reports and pictures posted on social media show anemic turnout, from about 40 people in front of the United Nations in New York to just three at a McClellan, Texas, border control station who wondered if they had gotten the wrong address.

These small but vitriolic protests, although they didn’t meet the hype of their organizers, tell us everything we need to know about today’s anti-immigrant movement.

1. It’s driven by extremists.

This weekend’s protests were organized by three fringe groups: Make Them Listen, Overpasses for America, and Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.

Make Them Listen is run by activist Paul Arnold, who has close ties to the anti-immigrant front group behind last summer’s rally of extremists on the National Mall .

Overpasses for America is a group led by activist James Neighbors that organizes demonstrations over highway overpasses to call for President Obama’s impeachment. The group went a step further this year when it backed Operation American Spring, an effort meant to flood Washington with protesters and force Obama out of office , which also came up slightly short of expectations .

Overpasses frequently shares images like this on its Facebook page:

The group also uses the platform to share its views on immigrants, including this image and its accompanying caption.

Americans for Legal Immigration is a one-man anti-immigrant hate shop run by North Carolina-based activist William Gheen. Gheen has said that “illegal and violent” means might be necessary to remove President Obama from office and has a long record of virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric . Gheen’s last national action was encouraging his supporters to mail used underwear to undocumented immigrants.

Gheen also has ties to the right-wing militia movement: he personally invited the anti-government group Oath Keepers to join the weekend’s protests.

Other groups listed as “participating organizations” in the event included 2 Million Bikers To DC, whose leader wants to repeal all but the first 10 amendments to the Constitution and which deals in racist Facebook images, and Americans Have Had Enough Coalition, which is led by white supremacist Roan Garcia-Quintana .

The largest recent anti-immigrant protests — the attempts to turn back busses of migrant children in Murrieta, California, and Oracle, Arizona — were also populated by anti-government fringe groups. The Murrieta protest, which was organized by activists tied to the Minutemen and the John Birch Society, drew some of the same people who had recently set up shop at the anti-government standoff at the Bundy Ranch.

2. It relies on xenophobia.

Signs and chants at this weekend’s protests show that the movement draws its energy from Nativism and xenophobia.

A number of signs at the events drew from the ginned-up fears of migrant children carrying diseases. In New York, one protester parodied Emma Lazarus, shouting, “bring us your smallpox, bring us your malaria, your scabies.”

Another woman in New York held a sign calling “illegals” and President Obama “cockroaches.”

At the Raleigh event, attended by Gheen himself, protesters in front of the Mexican consulate held a large sign reading “No Way Jose.”

A protester in Texas held a sign saying, “We are a nation of immigrants, not a nation of welfare .”

Another protester in Florida wrote a sign that read, “Send Them Back with Birth Control.”

3. The fringe and the “mainstream” are closely knit.

The weekend’s protests were organized by fringe extremists, but they were promoted by large national groups that have access and influence in national politics.

The largest anti-immigrant organizing groups, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Numbers USA quietly promoted the events: Numbers sent a notice about the events to its email list and a number of FAIR’s state affiliates directed members to events in their areas.

Prominent GOP-tied activists also promoted the events. The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios urged listeners of her radio show to attend events in their area and advertised the protest on Facebook. The Right’s favorite "constitutional scholar" Mark Levin also advertised the rallies on Facebook.

Rep. Steve King, the leading anti-immigrant voice in Congress, was spoke at a sparsely attended protest in Nebraska, telling his audience that the migrant children at the border represent an “invasion” the size of “Santa Ana’s army.”

4. The movement’s running on fumes.

The small turnout at the weekend’s rallies highlights the truth that the anti-immigrant movement is desperately trying to hide: it just doesn’t have that much support.

Reports from cities across the country show just small handfuls of people showing up to yell about the child migrants to passing cars.

About 12 people turned up on an overpass in Milwaukee. A similar number gathered in Oklahoma City and Placentia, California. An event in Dover, Delaware, seems to have attracted about twenty. About eight appear to have made it out to hang an “Obama Sucks” banner on an overpass in Chattanooga. Three people turned up on an overpass in Oregon. San Diego mustered 25 people. A small group of protesters in Columbus, Ohio, were disappointed that so few people had showed up. About 15 people made it to the parking lot of the Mexican consulate in Little Rock; consulate officials and local police assured local news that they weren’t too concerned about needing additional security.

Meanwhile, Think Progress reporters in McClellan, Texas, ran into a group of three anti-immigrant demonstrators who wondered if they had gotten the wrong address for the protest. They were drowned out by the more than 60 people rallying in support of the refugee children at the border.

The protests this weekend were an attempt to create the illusion of widespread outrage at the children coming to the southern border and at the concept of immigration reform. A number of the protest groups, however small, garnered local news coverage and were able to say that they were part of a large nationwide effort. A look at reports from across the country shows that that was not the case.

The anti-immigrant movement, for all its smoke and mirrors, consists of a small network of closely tied advocacy groups who rely on fringe extremists like Gheen and Neighbors to rally scant amounts of grassroots support.

5. The GOP is still listening.

The anti-immigrant movement may be smoke and mirrors, but it has some very influential people fooled. House Speaker John Boehner still refuses to bring immigration reform up for a vote in the House. Ted Cruz now says that deporting DREAMers is his “top priority.” Republicans in Congress, spooked by the victory of ALIPAC-supported David Brat in Virginia, say that immigration reform is dead — even though an overwhelming percentage of Republicans want Congress to take action to fix the immigration system and a majority of Republicans want that to include a path to citizenship or permanent residency for undocumented immigrants.

The child refugee crisis has brought out the true colors of the anti-immigrant movement. Even as some conservative groups are urging compassion and care for the children fleeing to the southern border, Republican leaders seem to be buying the narrative of the small, Nativist anti-immigrant fringe.

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.

Kris Kobach Claims Voter Fraud Is Real Because Widows Vote For Their Late Husbands 'All The Time'

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach – the mastermind behind anti-immigrant and voter suppression legislation throughout the country – joined radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday at an event hosted by the anti-immigrant group FAIR, where he currently holds a top legal position.

Kobach has been on a media blitz recently defending Kansas’ strict voter ID law, which requires people registering to vote to present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, a requirement that has left tens of thousands of Kansans with incomplete registrations .

Kaufman, who is based in Florida, told Kobach, “I can’t imagine how many widows are voting for their dead husbands.”

“Yeah, it happens all the time,” Kobach replied, going on to explain that people who die or move out of state often stay on a state’s voter rolls.

Kobach’s conflation of out-of-date voter rolls with fraudulent voting is common among advocates of voter suppression laws. While fraudulent voting is extraordinarily rareincluding in Kansas – Kobach has used the threat of such fraud to push faulty voter roll purges in states across the country.

Kobach went on to claim that those who cite the disproportionate effect of voter ID laws on people of color are in fact themselves making a “racist argument.” “You’re telling me that because of a person’s skin color, he’s less able to find his birth certificate?” he asked. “That’s just crazy to make that argument.”

In fact, numerous studies have shown that voter ID laws disproportionately affect minority communities and are often passed in response to an increase in minority voting.

Kaufman: I can’t imagine how many widows are voting for their dead husbands in communities like I lived in.

Kobach: Yeah, it happens all the time. There are basically three sources of people on our voter rolls who are not supposed to be there. One is people who die and they stay on the voter rolls. The other is people who have moved out of state, but they’re on the rolls in both states. And the third is aliens, people who were never entitled to vote in the first place. And we’re trying to do something about in Kansas, but you can imagine how the folks on the left complain and say, ‘Well, you can’t do that.’ Well, yeah we can do that and we’re going to do that.

Kaufman: And it’s not bigoted.

Kobach: It’s not at all!

Kaufman: You’re not doing it to close the doors on minorities.

Kobach: Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s outrageous the argument some make that it hurts minorities. It’s almost a racist argument! You’re telling me that because of a person’s skin color, he’s less able to find his birth certificate? That’s just crazy to make that argument.

Rep. Lamar Smith Bashes DREAMers Who Want To Join Military, Claims Obama 'Aiding And Abetting' Immigrant Crime Spree

In an interview with anti-immigrant radio host Joyce Kaufmann yesterday, Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas expressed dismay at undocumented immigrants joining the military and cited a disputed study to claim that the Obama administration is “aiding and abetting crimes in America by intentionally releasing illegal aliens back into our communities.”

The interview took place at an annual event hosted by the extreme anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Smith, apparently citing a flawed study from the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies, claimed that the Obama administration “has released tens of thousands of criminal aliens”  and is “putting those folks back on the street” to go on and “commit crimes from murder on up and down.” The administration is “absolutely guilty of aiding and abetting crimes in America by intentionally releasing illegal aliens back into our communities,” he insisted.

Barletta also reacted poorly to a congressional proposal to allow DREAMers who enlist in the military to earn a path to citizenship. “Can you imagine illegal immigrants suddenly being eligible to put on a uniform and defend our borders?,” he asked incredulously.

We have a situation where they’re supporting efforts to give amnesty to illegal immigrants who join the military. Can you imagine illegal immigrants suddenly being eligible to put on a uniform and defend our borders?

You know, you have an administration who has released tens of thousands of criminal aliens, illegal aliens either charged with or guilty of crimes. They’re putting those folks back on the street. And we’ve got a list now of tens of thousands of additional crimes these folks have committed. Again, that is totally the responsibility, it’s more than the responsibility of the administration, they’re absolutely guilty of aiding and abetting crimes in America by intentionally releasing illegal aliens back into our communities. And they commit crimes from murder on up and down. And inexcusable, it could have been prevented, this administration has to take responsibility for their actions.

As Benjamin Johnson of the American Immigration Council explains, Smith's claim about the administration putting "tens of thousands of criminal aliens...back on the street" is far from the truth:

The claim in the CIS report that ICE has simply chosen to “release” 68,000 “criminal aliens” through the exercise of “prosecutorial discretion” is inaccurate. Being released by ICE is not the equivalent of being set free. It often means being released with an ankle bracelet or under an order of supervision, or issued a notice to appear in court. Just as importantly, many of the immigrants being released have committed minor, non-violent offenses that do not constitute a threat to public safety. These details were conveniently left out of the CIS analysis.

In fact, research has shown that immigrants commit crimes at a much lower rate than the native-born population.

 

 

Rep. Lou Barletta Says There's 'Nothing More Dangerous' Than Immigration Reform, Ties It To 9/11

Every year, the anti-immigrant group FAIR holds an event called “Hold Their Feet To The Fire,” which invites radio hosts to broacast from Washington, DC, and interview lawmakers and conservative activists.

This year, Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, one of the staunchest anti-immigrant members of the House, showed up on FAIR’s radio row to call president Obama a dictator, associate undocumented immigrants with the 9/11 terrorists, and declare that “there may not be anything more dangerous” than comprehensive immigration reform.

Barletta told Secure Freedom Radio’s Frank Gaffney that President Obama has put us “on a road to where we’re now electing a dictator.” He took particular exception to the president’s support of immigration reform: “There may not be anything more dangerous than what he’s doing, to give amnesty to millions of people. “

Gaffney: To the extent that the president is, at best, selectively enforcing the law and in some cases rewriting the law or ignoring it altogether, do you agree with those who describe this as a constitutional crisis?

Barletta: Oh, there’s no question about it. This has been a slippery slope that this administration has taken, that the president has taken, walking over the Constitution and taking us down a path that, quite frankly, I don’t know if we’ve ever been this far down a road before, on a road to where we’re now electing a dictator who will try to pick and choose what laws and challenging Congress to try to stop me.

And there may not be anything more dangerous than what he’s doing, to give amnesty to millions of people. We know for a fact that there are people who have come here illegally who want to harm America.

In an interview with Florida radio host Joyce Kaufman, who came under fire for anti-immigrant extremism when she was briefly the chief of staff to Rep. Allen West, Barletta compared the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country to the 9/11 terrorists.

Referring to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s comment that many undocumented immigrants come to the US as an “act of love” for their families, Barletta said, “You know, sometimes we need to remind everyone about September 11. The pilots of those planes, it was an act of love to a different God that took American lives. And not everyone who is here illegally is all here for an act of love for their families.”

Kaufman agreed, adding that the Boston Marathon bombing – perpetrated by legal immigrants – was “another act of love.”
 

FAIR Spokesman: Sotomayor a 'Demagogue' For Using Term 'Undocumented Immigrant'

In an interview with Janet Mefferd yesterday, Federation for American Immigration (FAIR) spokesman Ira Mehlman, suggested that DREAMers should be forced to “go home” with their families and called Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor a “demagogue” for using the term “undocumented immigrant” rather than “illegal alien.”

When Mefferd asked what he proposed doing about DREAMers, or young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, Mehlman responded, “First of all, what we need to do is to encourage families to go home as a unit.” He then turned the blame on their families: “There is no good, happy solution to this problem. But we do have to remember who created the problem. It was the parents who brought them here.”

To Mefferd’s question about Sotomayor’s use of the term “undocumented immigrant,” Mehlman responded, “Throughout history, demagogues have been able to get away with what they get away with by controlling the language. Once you start defining people who have broken the law as people who are not criminals, then you’ve essentially negated the whole concept of the law itself.”

You Don't Say: Republicans Admit Anti-Immigrant Movement Driven By Racism

Buzzfeed’s John Stanton today managed to get Republican lawmakers on record admitting that the movement to stop immigration report is at least party driven by racial animosity. One Southern Republican member of Congress, who requested anonymity, told Stanton outright that “part of it…it’s racial.” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham put it a little more delicately, referring to “ugliness around the issue of immigration.”

While it’s unusual to have Republican members of Congress saying it aloud, it’s hardly a secret that today’s anti-immigrant movement was built by xenophobia and remains in a large part driven by it.

Overtly racist remarks by members of Congress like Steve King and Don Young or by fringe nativists like William Gheen or Judson Phillips could be written off as distractions if they were not part and parcel of this larger movement.

Just look at the three central advocacy groups working to stop immigration reform. The misleadingly named Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the movement “think tank” Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and Numbers USA were all founded by John Tanton, an activist who hardly hid his racist views, support for eugenics, and white nationalist ideology. (Sample Tanton argument: “I've come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.")

But it’s not just these groups’ history that’s problematic. While most have tried to distance themselves Tanton’s extreme nativist rhetoric, they have turned instead to racial code language to imply that immigration undermines American politics and culture.

Dan Stein, the president of FAIR, has warned that immigrants take part in “competitive breeding” to supplant native-born whites and that "[m]any of them hate America, hate everything the United States stands for. CIS president Mark Krikorian has pointed to “illegitimate” children and “high rates of welfare use” as reasons why Latino immigrants will never vote Republican and therefore shouldn’t be “imported” into the United States.

These arguments linked to two threads common in the anti-immigrant movement: that immigrants, particularly Latino immigrants, will never be prosperous, productive members of society, and that they will never vote Republican, so Republicans shouldn’t bother to try to appeal to them.

The first of these arguments was famously illustrated by a Heritage Foundation study last year that purported to show that immigration reform would cost the country trillions of dollars, an inflated number based on the premise that future generations of immigrants would never help to grow the economy or give back financially to the country. The fact that the report was co-written by a researcher who believes that Latinos have intrinsically lower IQ only served to underline the point that the study was making.

The second line of argument was most clearly put by Eagle Forum founder and conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, when she said that Republicans should drop their attempts at reaching Latino voters and focus instead on turning out white voters because “there’s not any evidence at all that these Hispanics coming in from Mexico will vote Republican.” The next week, CIS sent out a press release echoing Schlafly’s argument . Pat Buchanan made a similar plea to revive the “Southern Strategy” by ginning up animosity among white voters toward Latino immigrants. It’s no coincidence that this theory that Republicans can maintain a whites-only coalition in an increasingly diverse nation was first laid out by white nationalist writer Steve Sailer.

These two themes were what was behind a FAIR spokesman’s comment last week that allowing undocumented immigrants to work toward legal status would collapse the two-party system and lead to “tyranny.” Similarly, CIS analyst Steven Steinlight recently claimed that immigration reform would be the “unmaking of America” because it “would subvert our political life by destroying the Republican Party” and turn the United States into a one-party state. As evidence, he cited the fact that “Hispanics don’t exemplify ‘strong family values.’”

You don’t have to talk about “cantaloupe calves” to build a movement that relies on and exploits racial animosity. The anti-immigrant movement has mastered this art.

FAIR: Immigration Reform Leads To 'Tyranny'

Panicking about possible immigration legislation in the House, the communications director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is warning that any steps towards reforming the immigration system will lead to “tyranny.”

Bob Dane, the chief spokesman for the Nativist group, told Sandy Rios of the American Family Association last week that immigration reform will “split” the GOP, and as a result collapse the multi-party system of government and the system of checks and balances.

“If they split over this GOP bill you’ve got a one-party system in America and that’s one step closer to tyranny,” Dane said.

Of course, you could argue that it is groups like FAIR that are “splitting the GOP” by pressuring lawmakers to embrace unpopular positions on immigration reform.

If the Republicans in fact endorse this amnesty bill and I expect they will and we’re going to fight hard against it, they’re going to face another type of retreat, the one they’re coming out of with their amnesty principles, they’re going to be facing the retreat of disillusioned conservative voters starting to look for other options. We don’t want that. If the GOP splits — if the GOP needs party unity, at any point, it’s right now, but if they split over this GOP bill you’ve got a one-party system in America and that’s one step closer to tyranny. You always need checks and balances, not only within the framework for the government itself but a two-party system is vitally important for democracy.

UPDATED: Anti-Immigrant Group Pushes Draconian Nebraska Ordinance

Updated

Activists fighting to keep a draconian anti-immigrant ordinance in a Nebraska town reportedly have called in the big guns: the Nativist group FAIR.

In 2010, voters in Fremont, Nebraska passed an ordinance barring landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants and requiring employers to check new employee’s immigration status. (The employment provision exempted the town’s largest employers, two meatpacking plants just outside of city limits.) Behind the law was Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has made a name for himself by peddling anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures to communities across the country.

Last summer, a federal appeals court upheld the law but a city councilmember has introduced a ballot referendum to repeal parts of it. This has angered proponents of the law, who have set up a group called “Our Vote Should Count” and gathered support from the national nativist group FAIR (a former Kobach employer), according to the Fremont Tribune :

Our Vote Should Count enlisted the help of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Tea Party Patriots, True The Vote, and other national organizations, including a Washington, D.C.-based analyst and an Omaha media consultant, to put together a media campaign that will use social media, print media, flyers and canvassing to get out their message.

UPDATE: The Fremont Tribune reported that the group True the Vote was involved in the Fremont initiative. True the Vote tells us that they had no involvement in the measure and are seeking a retraction from the Tribune. We have removed True the Vote from our our story.

UPDATE 2: The Fremont Tribune reports that Our Vote Should Count was in contact with local organizers at FAIR and True the Vote, which may not have come to the attention of the national groups:

“In assembling facts and data,” Von Behren replied in an email to the Tribune, “we met individually with representatives of Tea Party Patriots, True The Vote and (the Federation for American Immigration Reform). Each provided varying levels of support, including data access, technical support, data analysis and general knowledge of the issues from their experience. It's correct that the national office of True The Vote may not have known about local conversations. I would expect the same of (Tea Party Patriots) or FAIR.

“The information provided was all publicly available, but much easier to find with help from someone who works in that area. Neither of the other two organizations raised a concern so we assumed that was the normal function of a local representative,” Von Behren wrote.

Supporters of the Fremont ordinance don’t exactly hide that they are motivated by suspicion of the town’s growing Hispanic population – whether documented or not. One Vote Should count shared this graphic on its Facebook page, which warns that “Fremont is a sanctuary city” because its “Hispanic population TRIPLED! in 10 years”:

In November, Harpers author Ted Genoways visited a town meeting about the ordinance and found racial tensions running high, as one woman railed against “Spanish in my schools” and a Latina resident, a third-generation American, recalled a man screaming at her to “go back to Mexico.”

An Our Vote Should Count spokesman, after warning of the increase in the “non-white population” in local schools, told the Fremont Tribune that the real racists were undocumented immigrants:

Enforcing the ordinance is not about targeting a race, he said.

“There are two levels of racism here. One is a set of racists who will use illegal people for their own profit, and that is being done actively. The other racism is people who knowingly break the law to come here for their own profit,” he said.

 

Video: Meet The Nativists Trying to Stop Immigration Reform

Right Wing Watch reported this summer about the creation of the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA), a new anti-immigrant group designed to appeal to African Americans, which is just the latest member of a closely knit circle of anti-immigrant groups tied to Nativist leader John Tanton.

Also part of that circle are the three most prominent groups working to stop immigration reform in Congress: The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Numbers USA.

Our friends at the immigrants’ rights groups America’s Voice, Black Alliance For Just Immigration and Center for New Community have put together a great, short video illustrating the ties between these groups and how they’re working together to try to bring down the new immigration law.

PFAW

Meet the Black American Leadership Alliance, the Anti-Immigrant Movement's Newest Front Group

Earlier this week, a group calling itself the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) sent a letter to members of the Senate’s Gang of Eight and to members of the Congressional Black Caucus urging them to abandon immigration reform, claiming that reform would lead to “higher unemployment, more poverty, and a lower standard of living for many in the black community.”

BALA didn’t provide much information about itself in its press release…in fact, the group doesn’t seem to have existed until very recently (one indication is that it joined Facebook on May 13). The Anti-Defamation League reports that this is because BALA is just the latest incarnation of a shifting series of front groups for the anti-immigrant nativist group FAIR, which has been trying for years to drive a wedge between African Americans and Latinos. Until its recent name change, BALA was known as the African American Leadership Council (AALC), which itself, according to our friends at the Center for a New Community, was “simply a redressing of FAIR’s old front group, Choose Black America.”

In fact, the Center for a New Community notes, BALA seems to be running entirely through another FAIR front group, one of many stemming from white nationalist John Tanton, misleadingly called “Progressives for Immigration Reform” (PFIR). In a fact sheet on PFIR [pdf], the Center notes, “PFIR emblazons its public image with symbols and rhetoric that profess support for environmental causes. But under this veneer, PFIR faults the ills of American society on ‘mass migration,’ and in fact, immigrants in general—sharing more with the bigotry of the far-right than any ‘progressive’ cause.”

A look at the twelve signers of BALA’s letter gives a clear picture of the  new group. Of the twelve signers, two are longtime anti-immigrant activists entrenched in the Tanton network – including groups like PFIR, FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies– and four are vocal conservative extremists who have appeared on these pages before:

Frank Morris, who identifies himself as a former director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. But these days, Morris is tied up in a number of Tanton-connected anti-immigrant groups, including sitting on the boards of FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies and serving as the vice president of PFIR.

Leah V. Durant, who left her position as a staff attorney at FAIR’s Immigration Reform Law Institute [pdf], which writes anti-immigrant laws, to become the executive director of PFIR when it launched in 2008 [pdf].

Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, a columnist and talk show host who:

Charles Butler, a Chicago-area talk show host who:

Kevin Jackson, a radio host who:

  • Complains society is being run by “women who look like men, act worse than men, and who have essentially sacrificed their womanhood at the alter [sic] of ‘achievement.’”
  • In case it’s not clear, he’s really not a fan of the women’s movement: “There is a war against beautiful women, and it’s being waged by the Women’s Movement, ironically….Let’s face it, the women who rise through the ranks in Leftist politics look like dudes. In fact, if you put high-ranking female political Plutopians against their “male” counterparts, it would be the CHICKS WITH…well…CUPS, and I’m not talking bras. ….Women on the Left secretly wish to build a society of powerful ugly women…to match how they feel (and are) inside. A beautiful Liberal woman (not that I’ve ever seen one) might as well be fitted for knee pads and given Bill Clinton’s ‘How to Pleasure a President While On Your Knees Under a Desk” manual and a box of Cuban cigars.’
  • Claims that President Obama has "failed to unite blacks and whites at all, and in fact has taken America back into the 1860′s except now whites are enslaved to blacks."

Vernon Robinson, who ran for congress in North Carolina last year, giving us this ad:

The members of BALA are entitled to voice their opinions, but they should be mistaken neither for a mainstream group nor for a fresh voice in the immigration reform debate.

With research by Tory Roberts

Eagle Forum Rallies Anti-Immigrant Activists; Caller Suggests Shooting Senator

With immigration reform moving toward a vote in the Senate, anti-immigrant forces are ratcheting up their rhetoric.  On Wednesday night, Eagle Forum hosted an “emergency” phone briefing intended to spur grassroots lobbying by their activists.  It featured dire warnings about the Senate bill spelling doom for America, attacks on pro-reform Sen. Marco Rubio, and a joking suggestion that activists planning a visit to Sen. Susan Collins’ office “shoot her.”

Joining Eagle Forum’s Colleen Holcomb were Stephen Miller (standing in for his boss Sen. Jeff Sessions), Rosemary Jenks from anti-immigration Numbers USA, right-wing pundit Betsy McCaughey, and activist leaders from around the country. Also joining the call was the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector, whose much-maligned “study” of the costs of immigration reform has gained attention mostly for the views of its co-author, since forced to leave Heritage, that immigration policy should reflect his belief that Hispanics have lower IQs than the “white native” population of the U.S.

One notable feature of the call was anger at Sen. Marco Rubio, who not long ago was the darling of the Tea Party movement, but who is now vilified for his support of immigration reform.  Speakers on the Eagle Forum call expressed contempt for Rubio, saying he has been lying about the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” bill. 

Rosemary Jenks from Numbers USA called the current Senate bill “devastating for America” and worse than the immigration bill that was defeated in 2007.  “If this amnesty passes,” she warned, “that’s it for America.”  Jenks insisted there is no way to fix the bill. “There is no series of amendments that can make this bill palatable to the American people,” she said. “Kill it dead, now, because it is not savable.”  Jenks said it is important to keep the bill from passing in the Senate, because if it passes, and the House passes any kind of immigration legislation, the bills would go to conference where she said it would leave our future in the hands of President Obama, Harry Reid, and John Boehner.

Betsy McCaughey, a right-wing think-tanker and former Lt. Governor of New York, urged activists to point out sections of the bill that she said people will find “repulsive,” including provisions that she said would put “left-wing community organizations” in charge of assisting people applying for legal status. She said Rubio has not read the bill he is promoting.

Rector echoed that charge, saying Rubio “has no knowledge whatsoever” of what is in the bill.  Rector defended his calculation that the immigration reform bill would cost America $6 trillion over the next 50 years and accused the bill’s supporters of deceiving the American public about its costs.

Callers were urged to rely on resources from Numbers USA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, and the Center for Immigration Studies, a trio of organizations that are, in the words of the Southern Poverty Law Center, “fruits of the same poisonous tree.”  According to the SPLC,  

“Together, FAIR, CIS, and Numbers USA form the core of the nativist lobby in America. In 2007, they were key players in derailing bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that had been expected by many observers to pass. Today, these organizations are frequently treated as if they were legitimate, mainstream commentators on immigration. But the truth is that they were all conceived and birthed by a man who sees America under threat by non-white immigrants. And they have never strayed from their roots.”

The remarks about Sen. Collins came in response to a question from an activist looking for suggestions for an upcoming meeting with her district office.  “Yeah, shoot her,” came the response from a participant on the call.  Awkward laughter followed, along with a speaker’s suggestion that they “shoot her with data.”

FAIR: 'Pac-Man' Rubio 'Suddenly Reappeared on the Left'

The anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is none too happy with this week’s bipartisan Senate immigration reform proposal, which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, FAIR communications director Bob Dane singled out Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, one of the GOP’s strongest voices in favor of reform. Dane said that Rubio is like Pac-Man, who “ran along the edge of the screen on the right side and then disappeared [until] he sort of suddenly reappeared on the left.”

Echoing right-wing immigration reform opponents like Jim DeMint, Steve King and Bryan Fischer, Dane argued that supporting immigration reform would ultimately lead to the GOP’s “self-destruction” because undocumented immigrants are “heavily government-dependent” and are “all going to vote Democrat.”

Rios: Are you disappointed that Marco Rubio has come down the way he’s come down on this issue?

Dane: Look, Rubio is a good guy. It reminds me of the old Pac-Man video game. When Pac-Man ran along the edge of the screen on the right side and then disappeared, he sort of suddenly reappeared on the left, back onto the playing field. The Republicans are pushing amnesty. Rubio is either going to be the hero or the goat on this, this could go either way, this is a very high-wire act for him.

It’s a knee-jerk reaction by Republicans to Romney’s poor showing with Hispanics in the recent election. But they’ve got to be very careful. Frankly, our opinion is the Republicans, the GOP is setting the stage for a self-destruction. Here’s why. An amnesty bill is going to split that party. The Republicans aren’t going to get any credit. And finally, what sense does it make to grant an amnesty to 12 million heavily government-dependent illegal aliens when they’re all going to vote Democrat?

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