While the vast majority of Americans, including Republicans, back a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes a pathway to citizenship, the Nativist movement is still trying to scare voters and elected officials into thinking that attempts to fix America’s broken system will actually destroy the country…and all of civilization.
Here’s a look at some of 2013’s worst xenophobic leaders, including our choice for “Nativist of the Year”:
8. William Gheen
Americans For Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) leader William Gheen hasn’t changed his tune about using violence to stop immigration reform, warning that his group may soon stop using “nonviolent political means.” According to Gheen, politicians are trying “to demonize whites, Christians, and males” and turn over power to immigrants who are “gang raping, molesting kids, drinking, driving, killing, and joining gangs that try to feed our children cocaine and methamphetamine at the earliest age they can.”
This, he contends, is all part of a scheme to collapse the economy and divide America. Gheen even claims that efforts to reduce gun violence are actually part of Obama’s plan to “disarm American citizens” and arm “illegal alien insurgents.”
7. Cathie Adams
As the leader of the Texas chapter of Eagle Forum and a former chairman of the Texas GOP, Adams has been pleading with her fellow Republicans not to aid immigration reform efforts. Why? She believes that such reform measures are tools of Satan that will lead to the enactment of Sharia law and usher in the End Times.
6. Ann Coulter
Conservative columnist Ann Coulter is angry that America no longer has racist immigration quotas, worrying that America will soon “turn itself into Mexico” and undermine its delicate “ethnic composition.” “The country is over,” she said, if the immigration reform passes. Coulter also seems to be creating figures about the undocumented population out of thin air, suggesting that there are 30 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
5. Phyllis Schlafly
The immigration debate in Congress opened the door for some conservative activists to not only oppose reform efforts but also to fight any political outreach to non-white voters. Eagle Forum head Phyllis Schlafly took the lead, urging the GOP to abandon any outreach to people of color and Latinos in particular. She claims Latinos don’t understand the Bill of Rights or American values... because if they did, they would be voting Republican like real Americans do. Instead, explained Schlafly, Republicans should simply try to increase white turnout.
4. Mark Krikorian
Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies seems to think that Nativists are the real victims in the immigration debate and is attempting to use a “play the victim” mentality to attack supporters of immigrant rights. He says that Nativists are waging a heroic struggle against “ethnic chauvinist groups” and their allies in “Big Business…Big Labor, all the big donors, Big Government Big Education, Big Media, Big Philanthropy [and] Big Religion.” Krikorian hopes that the GOP stops trying to attract Latino voters, warning that “the future of the republic rests” on whether Speaker Boehner allows immigration reform to come to a vote in the House.
3. Michele Bachmann
Speaking of which, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her friends in the Tea Party Caucus are desperately trying to defeat immigration reform by making sure that such legislation doesn’t even come up for a vote. Bachmann believes that immigration reform will literally destroy the future of the country and that Obama won re-election in part because he gave some undocumented immigrants the right to vote (he didn’t). She thinks that Republicans should give Obama a spanking until he hands over his magic wand that unilaterally gives the vote to all undocumented immigrants:
2. Jason Richwine
The Heritage Foundation’s study on the supposedly devastating impacts of immigration reform might have had more credibility if its principal author, Jason Richwine, weren’t a proponent of racist pseudo-science with links to white nationalists. His report was so erroneous and misleading that even many of Richwine’s fellow conservatives didn’t find it credible, but that hasn’t stopped GOP politicians from using the salacious report to justify their anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Nativist of the Year: Steve King
No surprise here. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) remains the face of the GOP’s anti-immigrant wing, as he believes that the survival of America and civilization itself relies on people agreeing with his “reasonable” xenophobic views. Nothing captured King’s outlook more clearly than his tirade against undocumented youth, who he believes are mostly drug mules with cantaloupe-sized calves.
Maybe such extemist rhetoric is a reason why the Nativist movement is beginning to fizzle.