Numbers USA

Michele Bachmann Proposes 100% Tax On Money Sent Home By Immigrants To Stop 'War That Is Being Waged Against Us'

In a conference call with the anti-immigrant group Numbers USA last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann called illegal immigration a “war against the American people” and suggested that the U.S. levy a 100 percent tax on money that immigrants send back to Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala in order to put pressure on those countries’ governments.

The Minnesota Republican spoke just before House Republican leadership handed its immigration policy over to her and Rep. Steve King .

“When are we going to get serious and really deport and deport right on the border?” Bachmann asked.

“Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, those countries are laughing at us because they’re making money with their corrupt governments in conjunction with these international criminal cartels, they’re all making money and kickbacks,” she said. “What I believe we should do is have a 100 percent tax on remittances, the money that illegal aliens send back to these countries.”

“What we have to recognize is this truly is a war against the American people,” she added.

Bachmann made the same suggestion to CNS News last week. Of course, many legal immigrants also rely on sending money to family members in their home countries, something that would be made virtually impossible by a 100 percent tax.

Bachmann later complained that Obama is a “terrible president” who “doesn’t care about veterans and doesn’t care about the American people,” insisting that he only cares about “having you and me paying for his voter registration drive so that his party will be a permanent party in every presidential election in the future and in midterms.”

Later in the call, Bachmann went back to the “war” theme, saying, “What we need to do is get serious and recognize that there is a war that is being waged against us.”

“We’re rolling around looking at each other, but all the while our pockets are being picked and innocent people are being killed by illegal aliens and hurt and robbed and beaten and raped by criminal foreign nationals that are in our country,” she said.

“We are doing everything we can to hold on to this magnificent country as we see it literally fall like sand between our fingers.”

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.

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.

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.

Numbers USA To Marco Rubio: Too Little, Too Late

Sen. Marco Rubio’s politically transparent U-turn on immigration reform may not be paying dividends among anti-immigrant activists as he would have hoped. The Florida Republican recently came out against the very comprehensive reform legislation he sponsored and helped pass in the Senate, but one of the country’s top opponents of his bill think it’s too little, too late.

NumbersUSA Director of Government Relations Rosemary Jenks told Sandy Rios yesterday that Rubio has already “poisoned the well” and now her group will urge congressman to vote against any immigration bill coming out of the House.

Rios: Do you think that Marco Rubio’s shift, slight shift, is helpful?

Jenks: Unfortunately, Rubio set out his positions in the Gang of 8 bill and that bill has essentially poisoned the well. We can’t go forward with a piecemeal approach now because that bill is sitting there, waiting for the House to pass any immigration bill so that Harry Reid can take that bill and substitute in S. 744, the Senate Gang of 8 bill, and then send it back to the House for a conference. That’s the path. So at this point, because that bill has poisoned the well, it’s too late for Marco Rubio to say, ‘oh you know I believed in a piecemeal approach all along and that’s what we should do.

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

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.”

The Tea Party Letter Signers' Other Advice on Immigration Reform

A coalition of Tea Party and other right-wing activists sent a letter to the Senate yesterday calling the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan immigration reform plan “unsalvageable” and urging senators to scrap it altogether. While the media has focused on better-known signers of the letter – including right-wing talkers Erick Erickson, Michele Malkin and Laura Ingraham – many of the letter’s signers were all too familiar to us here at RWW.

Here are eight other pieces of advice on immigration reform from signers of the Tea Party letter.

  1. No one is immune to the illegal who drives wildly drunk, or the wanna-be gang-banger who needs to machete innocent citizens to gain entry and respect into the Latino or other gangs. We have uncovered the fact that Americans are under assault, a fact under-reported by the press, and unconnected by our elected leaders at all levels of government…. Insist that our elected officials remember that ‘We, the People,’ not the illegal aliens, are their constituents. And that the racism perpetrated by illegal invaders upon Americans of all ethnic backgrounds is real.”  
    -- Maria Espinoza, director of a project linked to the nativist Numbers USA intended “to honor and remember Americans who have been killed by illegal aliens”

  2.  “Native-born Hispanic Americans, who make up most Hispanic voters, have a majority of the children that are born to them are illegitimate, very high rates of welfare use. So this is a description of an overwhelmingly Democratic voter group. Not all of them, obviously, because there’s a big group and there’s a lot of differences among them. But generally speaking, Hispanic voters are Democrats, and so the idea of importing more of them as a solution to the Republican Party’s problems is kind of silly.”
    -- Center for Immigration Studies executive director Mark Krikorian on why Republicans shouldn’t bother appealing to Latino voters

  3. “Having this amnesty is suicide for the Republican Party because they’re going to vote Democratic, and that’s why the Democrats are pushing it. And the reason is because they come from a country where there’s no tradition or expectation of limited government…. They think government should be there to give orders and solve their problems and give them a handout when they need it.
    -- Phyllis Schlafly, who has also expressed nostalgia for the days of “Irish, Italian, Jewish” immigration

  4. If this country becomes 30 per cent Hispanic we will no longer be America."
    -- Vision America's Rick Scarborough, who also contends that AIDS is divine punishment for homosexuality

  5. “This British Conservative Party has watered down traditional conservatism to such an extent that some conservatives have formed an alternative, the English Defense League (EDL), which has spawned the British Freedom Party. This group has been strongly attacked in the media, here and abroad, as “far-right” or worse. But I had the opportunity to meet their leaders, Kevin Carroll and Tommy Robinson, at the 9/11 conference in New York City sponsored by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer which was designed in part to organize resistance to global Islam and safeguard our right of free speech against the advance of Sharia, or Islamic law. … Carroll and Robinson want a patriotic alternative to the British Conservative Party that will promote traditional values.
    -- Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaidrecommending that the Republican Party emulate the English Defense League, a violent, radical nativist group

  6. “And sadly, what we’re seeing in many of these populations – and I don’t mean to pick on the Somalis, they just happen to be worth picking on – is that they are in fact sort of ghettos in places like Minnesota, where they contributed substantially to the election of the first Muslim Brother – oh, excuse me, first Muslim – to the United States Congress. Keith Ellison from Minnesota. But the concern that I have is that this group is not simply establishing itself and over time becoming a force to reckon with politically in this country. It’s also incubating two things: jihadists…and the other thing is they’re incubating Sharia.
    -- Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney, birther and the originator of Michele Bachmann’s smears against Muslim civil servants

  7. “Is this one of those backdoor opportunities to allow people in the next five months to get the opportunity to vote? Will we see Janet Napolitano and the president come out with a new edict that says since we allow these people to be here legally, we’re now going to allow them to vote? How far down the rabbit whole will it go?”
    -- Former congressman Allen West

  8. "I know the solution. Take a plane load of them and dump them in Somalia. Make no secret of it and tell the illegals, every time we catch them, that is where they are going. 99% of them will head back to the border on their own."
    -- Judson Phillips, prominent birther and head of Tea Party Nation

Other signers of the letter include Gary Bauer, who has warned that gay rights and pro-choice policies will lead to “God taking his hand of protection off of our country”; Elaine Donnelly, one of most hyperbolic opponents of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; Ken Eldred, a top financier of the Seven Mountains Dominionism movement; Brigette Gabriel, who warns that elementary school classrooms are becoming “recruiting ground[s] for Islam”; David Horowitz, who thinks that conservative activist Grover Norquist is a secret Muslim who has “infiltrated” the Republican Party; and the American Family Association's Sandy Rios who said last month of President Obama, “I don’t think he loves the country like people who were born and did grow up here.”

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