Maria Espinoza

Maria Espinoza, Anti-Immigrant Activist With White Nationalist Ties, To Meet With DHS Secretary

According to an email sent out this morning by the anti-immigrant group We The People Rising, anti-immigrant activist Maria Espinoza is scheduled to meet today with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Espinoza has carved herself a specific niche in the anti-immigrant movement: highlighting cases where American citizens have been killed by undocumented immigrants in an attempt to tie individual crimes to undocumented immigrants as a whole.

Espinoza travels the country with her “Stolen Lives Quilt,” which features pictures of people who have been killed by undocumented immigrants, and is sometimes joined by family members of those featured on the quilt. The crimes that Espinoza highlights are indeed tragic, but the subtext of her project is dangerous.

Although there are no reliable statistics on crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, studies have shown that if anything high immigrant populations correlate to a drop in crime.

Nevertheless, major anti-immigrant groups and GOP politicians have embraced Espinoza’s work. Last year, she spoke at a rally with Rep. Steve King and another alongside Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Mike Lee, at which she claimed that comprehensive immigration reform would create “thousands more victims.”

While Espinoza’s work has brought her side by side with GOP politicians, her project’s racist subtext has also endeared her to white nationalists.

In 2012, Espinoza wrote an article for the Social Contract, the magazine founded by anti-immigrant movement godfather John Tanton, which regularly publishes racist, white nationalist screeds. In her article, Espinoza wrote, “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” and insisted “We must demand justice for American citizens, not ‘social justice’ for illegals.”

“[T]he racism perpetrated by illegal invaders upon Americans of all ethnic backgrounds is real,” she wrote.

Espinoza also exaggerated an already baseless number promoted by WorldNetDaily to claim that 25 Americans “die each day at the hands of illegal aliens.”

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. Sanctuary cities, unsecured communities, human trafficking, molestations of our children, are all part of the vernacular of this disease that illegal immigration speaks, and must be addressed now! Each of us should ask: “What is it about a government that neither cares about protecting its citizens, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, nor wants the public to know just how many of our citizens are being killed each day by these U.S. invaders?” It is estimated that 25 Americans or legal residents die each day at the hands of illegal aliens [source: http://www.wnd.com/2006/11/39031/]. We must demand justice for American citizens, not “social justice” for illegals. 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. Common sense in upholding the law, not sensitivity to lawbreakers, must be foremost in the minds and souls of our elected officials.

Espinoza has close ties with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), one of the anti-immigrant groups founded by Tanton. Last month she spoke at an event hosted by FAIR’s Oregon affiliate and attended the group’s annual Hold Their Feet To The Fire Event, which brought together anti-immigrant activists and politicians for interviews on right-wing radio shows.

In a December blog post, the Remembrance Project promoted a post on the racist website The Daily Stormer, called “Family Furious As Illegal Alien Let Out of Jail to Kill White People.”

Espinoza’s attempt to tie undocumented immigrants to the crimes of a few has caught on in the anti-immigrant movement. King has sponsored a congressional resolution to mark a “National Day of Remembrance for the victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens,” and major groups working against immigration reform are all too willing to adopt Espinoza’s argument.

Just today, Boston’s WBUR reported on the still-festering divisions in a Massachusetts community three years after a recent college graduate was killed by a drunk driver, who turned out to be an undocumented immigrant. Jessica Vaughn of the Center for Immigration Studies – another Tanton-connected group – was on hand to aid those who blamed the young man’s death on illegal immigration.

Jonathan Leon has lived in Milford for nine years. He’s originally from Ecuador and says in the early days after the accident people were nervous to leave their homes. There were reports of immigration agents on street corners and bottles being thrown at immigrants.

These days, he says the relationship between Ecuadorians and white people is not totally normal, but it’s better.

He says white people remember this accident, and point to all of his people, which isn’t fair. He says there are accidents involving white people who are drunk driving and hit someone, but nobody blames all the white people.

Jessica Vaughan, with the Center for Immigration Studies, says Denice’s death was a “preventable tragedy.”

“There has been a tendency sometimes for groups that are opposed to immigration enforcement to whitewash what can happen when people who are here illegally and causing problems in the community are allowed to slip between the cracks,” Vaughan said.

h/t Center for New Community

UPDATE: It appears that Espinoza was included in Johson's meetings with a number of anti-immigrant groups, as well as immigration reform supporters.

As Immigration Bill Advances, Common Sense Faces off with Extremism

Last night the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to advance immigration legislation that creates a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.  It is expected to come to the Senate floor for debate in June. 

As the bill moves forward, Republicans in Congress will have to make a choice between casting their lot with the majority of their party and country in supporting common-sense reform or with anti-immigrant extremists attempting to stand in the way of progress.  As Right Wing Watch has documented, right-wing activists continue to push damaging, outrageous lies about immigrant communities.  Maria Espinoza, director of a project linked to the nativist Numbers USA, proclaimed that “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.” Center for Immigration Studies director Mark Krikorian has called GOP immigration reform supporters “useful idiots” and claimed that “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.”

As the GOP works to change their party’s image for Latino voters, they face a choice between standing with those on the far-right fringe such as Krikorian and Espinoza or standing with the bipartisan majority pushing for much-needed change.

PFAW

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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