Immigration

Anti-Immigrant Right Reacts To Trump's 'Softening' With Anger & Denial

Donald Trump confused his supporters and detractors alike this week when, after months of promising to build a “deportation force” to go after every undocumented immigrant in the country, his new campaign manager said that Trump’s stance on mass deportations is “to be determined” and the candidate himself said “there certainly could be a softening” of his immigration position. (Trump, however, continued to insist that he is “not flip-flopping” on the issue.)

This left Trump’s supporters in the anti-immigrant movement, many who have hailed his candidacy as something just short of the Second Coming, confused about how to respond. The reactions have ranged from denial that Trump will actually change his position—a fair assumption given Trump’s track record of saying whatever he thinks his current audience wants to hear—to dire warnings that he got behind “amnesty” to resigned acceptance that whatever Trump does, at least he’ll take a harder line on immigration than Hillary Clinton.

Some activists, like Trump himself, are claiming that he has not changed his position at all. Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson made this argument on CNN today, explaining that the candidate “hasn’t changed his position. He has changed the words he is saying.”

Dan Stein, the head of the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform, took a similar tack, telling Newsmax that while Trump probably wouldn’t lose much support from his base if he weakened his hardline immigration stance, given the alternative candidates, he was “very confidant that [Trump’s] positions, in the end, are going to remain substantially intact.”

The Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian, meanwhile, claimed that Trump never actually meant what he originally said about creating a deportation force, claiming that the “deportation force” he promised was just “symbolic talk” for stricter immigration enforcement.

"The idea we were ever going to deport all 12 million in two years with deportation squads—or whatever [Trump] popped off about—was never a policy,” Krikorian told The Washington Times. “It was an Uncle George spouting off about the latest thing. I think a lot of people took that as symbolic talk, a way of showing he's serious on immigration and, ‘I'm not Jeb Bush.’’

Anti-immigrant flamethrower Ann Coulter similarly tried to downplay Trump’s attempted repositioning on the issue, telling the Washington Examiner in an interview that took place after Trump’s campaign manager’s comments but before the candidate’s own, that the campaign’s change in rhetoric isn’t “a change in policy.” But she also, stunningly, conceded that it may be “in our interest to let some [undocumented immigrants] stay.”

"It mostly worries me rhetorically ... I mean, what to do with the illegals already here was never really a big part of it," she said. "We're getting a wall. We're definitely getting a wall. That's the one thing we know about a Trump presidency."

She said Trump still offers more than any of the other Republicans had.

"I don't think it is a change in policy," she said of Trump. "The policy is anyone who's here illegally is here illegally, does not have the right to be here. We'll decide whether it's in our interest to let them stay or not. Perhaps it is in our interest to let some of them stay."

Coulter hit a similar note in an interview with The Hill after Trump made his “softening” comment and vaguely outlined a policy in which some undocumented immigrants would have a way forward to legal status. “It's just rhetoric but it's still annoying,” she said. "I think he panicked and he had to say [it] ... I don't think he is softening. I mean the big thing is the wall.”

Coulter, however, who just happened to be launching her new book “In Trump We Trust” last night with a party hosted by Breitbart News, quickly changed her tune, taking to Twitter to accuse Trump of promoting “amnesty”:

William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC similarly cautioned Trump against supporting “amnesty,” saying, “If Donald Trump significantly diverges from his promise to deport all illegals, he will end his own campaign or his own presidency. His campaign or his presidency will be wounded to the point of self-destruction.”

Krikorian had a similar warning in The National Review today, saying that if Trump loses to Hillary Clinton now, it will be because of his “softening” immigration views.

Krikorian, however, told The Washington Times yesterday that he trusted Trump’s advisers (who include Krikorian) to steer the candidate back to a hardline position. “I don’t trust Trump, but I trust the people working for him. And I trust Hillary to do the wrong thing without exception,” he said. “He could sell us out on everything and he’d still be better than Hillary.”

UPDATE: Coulter, who recently said that her “worship” for Trump is “like the people of North Korea worship their Dear Leader,” told WorldNetDaily on August 25 that unlike “crazed, cult-like Hillary supporters,” she’s happy to provide “helpful criticism to Trump.”

“THAT DOESN’T MEAN I’M ABANDONING HIM,” she told the far-right outlet in all-caps.

“Trump needs to stick like glue to whomever writes his speeches and fire whomever told him Americans are up at night worried about the comfort and well-being of people who broke into our country illegally,” she added.

Trump's Dystopian TV Ad Cites Anti-Immigrant Group's Attack On DACA/DAPA

Donald Trump is out with his first TV ad of the general election, and it’s predictably despicable: an image of “Hillary Clinton’s America” being flooded with refugees and “illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes” while “the system stays rigged against Americans.” The ad has drawn comparisons to the infamous anti-immigrant ad that California Gov. Pete Wilson ran in 1994 as he was trying to push through a ballot measure imposing draconian penalties on undocumented immigrants.

The ad, also unsurprisingly, cites the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the group whose reports provide a constant stream of ammunition to anti-immigrant politicians despite its troubling roots in white nationalism and history of skewing the facts.

The CIS citation comes about 10 seconds into the ad, when the narrator warns that in Clinton’s America, “illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay, collecting Social Security benefits, skipping the line.”

The ad’s citation appears to be referring to an April 14 CIS article on the implications of U.S. v. Texas, the Supreme Court case on President Obama’s DAPA and expanded DACA executive actions, which extended temporary deportation relief to some people brought to the country as children and some of their parents. This appears to be where the Trump campaign got the “collecting Social Security benefits” line, which it dishonestly links to its smear of “illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes” (the DAPA and DACA programs bar people convicted of most crimes from eligibility). Those who receive eligibility to work under the programs do become eligible for Social Security, which they pay into like nearly every other American worker, under rules that existed long before President Obama took office.

It’s telling that the Trump campaign is getting its arguments about immigration policy from CIS. The group is one of a large network of anti-immigrant organizations started by John Tanton, an activist with white nationalist leanings and a troublingly extreme “population control” agenda including such things as supporting China’s brutal one-child policy.

CIS itself is more conservative in its rhetoric than its founder—allowing it to gain a foothold among members of Congress and others eager for research supporting an anti-immigrant agenda—but the agenda it promotes is one that demonizes immigrants.

As we noted in a recent report on CIS and its fellow Tanton-linked organizations, CIS has been a proponent of the idea “that instead of embracing a moderate position on immigration in order to win back Latinos who favored George W. Bush, the GOP should put its energy and resources into expanding its popularity and increasing turnout among white voters, in part by scapegoating people of color”—a strategy that Trump’s campaign is putting to the test:

CIS spokespeople regularly make this argument, along with another one that has long been popular among white nationalists: that Latino immigrants will never vote Republican because they are inherently liberal. During the debate over the “Gang of Eight” bill, CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian argued that the GOP shouldn’t bother trying to increase its share of the Latino vote because “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.” In another interview, Krikorian argued that immigration reform would “destroy the Republican Party” and ultimately “the republic.” The next year, he charged that Democrats were using immigration as “a way of importing voters” and to “create the conditions, such as increased poverty, increased lack of health insurance, that lead even non-immigrant voters to be more receptive to big government solutions.” At one point, Krikorian told Republicans that they should oppose immigration reform simply to deny President Obama a political victory.

Steven Camarota, the research director at CIS, has said that the current level of legal immigration “dooms” conservatives. Stephen Steinlight, a senior policy analyst at CIS, has said that immigration reform would lead to “the unmaking of America” by “destroying the Republican Party” and turning the U.S. into a “tyrannical and corrupt” one-party state. He explained that Latinos aren’t likely to vote Republican because they “don’t exemplify ‘strong family values,’” as illustrated by high rates of “illegitimacy.” More than a year before Donald Trump made national headlines by calling for a ban on all Muslim immigration, Steinlight said that he would like to ban Muslims from coming to the country because they “believe in things that are subversive to the Constitution.”

Steinlight summed up the argument in 2005, when he said that immigration threatens “the American people as a whole and the future of Western civilization.” More recently, Steinlight told a tea party group in 2014 that the “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill amounted to “a plot against America ” because it would turn the U.S. into a Democrat-led “one-party state” where citizens would “lose our liberty” and “social cohesion.” Steinlight has happily fed into some of the more vitriolic tea party hatred of President Obama, saying that the president should not only be impeached for his handling of immigration, but that “ being hung, drawn and quartered is probably too good for him .” On another occasion, Steinlight said that he’d like to attack religious leaders who support immigration reform with “a baseball bat.”

Michael Savage: 'Demonic' Obama Turning America 'Into A Muslim Nation'

Yesterday, conservative talk show host Michael Savage railed against nonprofit groups involved in resettling refugees, claiming that they are only interested in “raking in the money that’s being thrown at them by the federal government under that demon in the White House, Barack Obama, who wants the country fundamentally transformed into a Muslim nation, he wants it looking like Indonesia rather than like America.”

“The man is demonic in his desire to alter the landscape of this country in a way that no one will ever believe happened,” he said, adding that African Americans “are going to be the biggest losers of Obama’s policies.”

Savage said that “the progressive haters of America have sold us the false notion that multiculturalism is a good thing” and “we are being overrun by invaders, not immigrants; they refuse to learn the language, they hate the culture, they spit on the American flag, they don’t know what the Bill of Rights means and they can care less.”

He regretted that immigrants today aren’t like the Sicilian immigrants of prior decades, despite the fact that Sicilian immigrants were once maligned in the same manner that Savage attacks other immigrants and refugees.

GOP Senate Candidate: Trump's Wall Is A 'Euphemism,' Won’t Actually Get Built

Far-right Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward acknowledged last month that Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico — which was recently added to the Republican platform — is merely a “euphemism” for other anti-immigrant policies.

Ward, who is challenging Arizona Sen. John McCain from the right in the upcoming GOP primary, is just the latest anti-immigrant conservative to admit that Trump is unlikely to actually build the wall he has promised his supporters.

In a July 26 interview with Tucson radio host James T. Harris, Ward claimed that when Trump talks about a wall he is actually talking about draconian policies such as ones preventing undocumented children from attending public schools are accessing health care:

Now, I’ll tell you, I’m ready to mix the mortar to fix the border, I’m ready to go in there and join Donald Trump. And when he says we want a wall, I think it’s a euphemism for securing the border. He means we need a barrier, I think we do need a physical barrier in some places, but also that we have to utilize technology, we have to utilize our people, we have to empower our border patrol to stop people from coming in and we have to turn off the goodies — that’s what Dr. Carson used to say when he was on the campaign trail — turn off the jobs, turn off the free education, health care, housing, free money, and let people know there are consequences to coming here illegally rather than rewards.

Louie Gohmert: Democrats Are 'Manipulating African-Americans,' Using Immigrants To 'Ruin' America

Today on “Breitbart News Daily,” GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said that Democratic Party under President Obama “is not that much different from the Democratic Party 50 years ago that was out to manipulate African-Americans.”

“They’re still manipulating them,” Gohmert said.

The Republican congressman also criticized Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is facing a GOP primary challenge from the right, claiming that the immigration reform legislation McCain has championed in the past “will turn Texas blue, and that’s what the Democrats want, it will basically ruin Arizona when you have people that come in that don’t understand what it takes to maintain a republic.”

Former GOP Congressman: Learning Spanish Is 'Cultural Surrender'

J.D. Hayworth, a former Republican congressman from Arizona who now hosts a program on the conservative Newsmax network, said on his program yesterday that it is “cultural surrender” for Americans to learn Spanish.

Hayworth, discussing the Democratic National Convention with anti-immigrant leader Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, played a clip of Dreamer activist Astrid Silva speaking at the convention, where she warned that Donald Trump’s immigration plan amounts to “ripping families apart.”

“Hey, Dan, there’s just one thing about family reunification,” Hayworth said. “Families can stay together when they go back to their country of origin, can’t they?

“J.D., think about how offensive this is to the American people,” Stein responded. “The people who have crashed our borders come illegally, now have the temerity to interfere with our political system. Between the illegal aliens going out and get out the vote campaign for president Obama and the Mexican government using its consulates in this country to actually organize people to work on candidates, you have a gross interference in our political process.”

“We don’t owe this young lady anything as a nation,” Stein continued. “What we owe her is a certain amount of respect, which implies, one, addressing her in the English language, as she has to us. When politicians talk in Spanish to any constituency, they’re demeaning them by saying, ‘Oh, you can’t learn English.’”

“You know, it’s worse than that, Dan,” Hayworth said. “When I had some friends taking Spanish — and of course there’s a Spanish population in Arizona — I’d say to them, ‘Oh, you boys gonna go take your class in surrender?’ Because it’s a cultural surrender, part of the mindset.”

Dave Daubenmire: 'Sissified Christianity' Brought Us Donald Trump

“Coach” Dave Daubenmire, an Ohio-based Religious Right activist, spoke Thursday at a rally for Operation Save America’s “Summer of Justice” in Wichita, where he declared that the “effeminized church” and “sissified Christianity” have removed real men from American Christianity and thus paved the way for the appeal of Donald Trump. Claiming that the devil is using Muslim refugees and others to “destroy Christianity,” he said he hoped that things would become so bad under the next president that the church would be forced to become “great again.”

“I’m on a manhunt!” Daubenmire proclaimed several times before explaining, “I believe that we’re in the problem we’re in in America today because there aren’t any men. There aren’t any men. There are a lot of males. There are a lot of guys who are born male. So you’re a male by birth, but you’re a man by choice.”

He said that there are “thousands and thousands of men who love the Lord but are sick of church” because Christianity has become “sissified.”

“They’re sick of the effeminized church,” he said. “They’re sick of going in there and singing sissified songs. They walk into the church, they understand something is terribly wrong in the culture and there is absolutely no relationship between what they hear in the church and what they see going on out there.”

“And the church makes fun of Donald Trump,” he said. “Where’s the Christian Donald Trump? Where’s that man that will stand forth like that and declare the truth that he’s declaring, that will take on political correctness? I’m not talking about Trump. Where are the men of God? Where have we been? And we, we, we’ve created Donald Trump. We have. Our sissified Christianity, men afraid to say anything, hiding behind their wives.”

“We are at a precipice like no other time where the very existence of western civilization is at stake,” Daubenmire continued. “I’m going to say that again. Western civilization’s at stake. The devil is running rampant trying to do everything he can to destroy Christianity. Have you noticed something? Have you noticed that all these Syrian refugees and all these Muslim refugees they’re sending over here, have you noticed that they’re sending them to what we would consider Christian countries?”

He then repeated his claim that white, Christian, heterosexual men are the only ones who can save America.

“If we can’t open our eyes and see that this is not about race, as much as they try to make it about race, it’s not about race,” he said, “it’s about culture, it’s about the Christian culture that the settlers of America and Europe and England, that those groups took the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. And the only thing standing between tyranny and liberty is a Christian, heterosexual man.”

“If we don’t wake up soon and very soon,” he said, “we’re going to reach a point of no return here in once-great Christian America. Donald Trump ain’t going to make America great again. No, no, no, no, he ain’t going to make America great. I pray that whoever gets in there, whether, whatever, if it’s Hillary, whoever it is, what I’m hoping is that it gets so stinking bad that Trump or Hillary makes the church great again, makes the church great again!”

We recorded the video of Daubenmire’s remarks off a livestream provided by the event’s host church, Word of Life Church in Wichita.

5 Conservatives Who've Admitted Trump Won't Actually Build A Border Wall

Donald Trump's acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention was high on fear-mongering and low on policy specifics. Not surprisingly, one specific policy he did bring up was his promise to "build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities." (Although, as the Washington Post pointed out, he left out his promise to make Mexico pay for it.)

Trump's promise to build a wall along the entire border with Mexico has been a cornerstone of a campaign that has cast Mexicans and Mexican Americans as frightening outsiders and criminals. It's not a serious policy proposal. Instead, it's rhetorical prop for a campaign that relies on stirring up fear of outsider.

As the Anti-Defamation League has explained, building a wall along the entire border would be "impractical and very likely ineffective":

A wall or a fence along the entire border with Mexico would be impractical and very likely ineffective. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is almost 2,000 miles long. It spans difficult terrain, including deserts and mountains. Rivers flow along two thirds of the border. Much of the area is private property, which the government would have to buy from the owners to build a fence or wall, and many do not want to sell the land. The logistics alone make building a wall very difficult, if not impossible.

A handful of conservatives, recognizing this reality, have recently attempted to give Trump an out by acknowledging that he won't actually build a wall but is instead talking about a "virtual" or metaphorical wall.

Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, an enthusiastic supporter of Trump, said earlier this month that "it's going to end up having to be a virtual wall," saying that aerial surveillance and "strategically placed walls" in urban areas are a more effective border control strategy than a literal wall along 2,000 miles of border. "You can buy a predator drone for what two miles of wall costs," he said.

Another Republican congressman who's supporting Trump, Rep. Chris Collins of New York, has also claimed that Trump's wall will be "virtual," telling a newspaper, “Maybe we will be building a wall over some aspects of it; I don’t know.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has also endorsed Trump, has also claimed that Trump is speaking only metaphorically about a wall, saying, "It’s a wall, but it’s a technological wall, it’s a digital wall … There are some that hear this is going to be 1,200 miles from Brownsville to El Paso, 30-foot high, and listen, I know you can’t do that. ”

Even Dan Stein, the head of the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform, has acknowledged that Trump's wall isn't a real thing.

“The wall is a surrogate for getting the border under control,” Stein said last month. “There have been physical structures in place down there since the 1980s. You need physical structures at certain high entry points to channel traffic. Ranchers who are out there in the middle of nowhere, they don’t see why you would need a border wall.”

“The wall is a surrogate for border control operations,” Stein added. “What [Trump’s] saying is he’s gonna get the job done. People who believe he’s actually gonna put a brick on every centimeter of 2,000 miles are in a sense mistaking his intention. The language he’s using is what you use in a political campaign, and if you take Hillary Clinton at her word, then she wants to embrace a limitless immigration platform.”

None other than manic Trump supporter Alex Jones has also admitted that Trump's wall promise is baloney, telling The New Republic, "The border wall is just a metaphor. It’s ridiculous."

These aren't people who object to Trump's fiercely anti-immigrant agenda. But they do acknowledge that his wall proposal would be an ineffective way to achieve even his draconian anti-immigrant goals.

Trump is conning his supporters with tales of his building prowess and vows to build a "big, fat, beautiful wall."

He isn't proposing a border wall as a serious solution to a serious problem. Instead, it's a rhetorical prop in his campaign of demonizing and scapegoating immigrants, and even some of his allies are admitting it.

Anti-Immigrant Extremist Joe Arpaio To Address RNC

According to the Associated Press, Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio “has snagged a coveted speaking spot on the final night of the Republican National Convention.”

Arpaio, who has campaigned alongside Donald Trump, was recently found "in civil contempt of court for violating three of his orders stemming" from a "long-running racial-profiling case" where he is accused of targeting Hispanic residents.

Just yesterday, Arpaio was stripped of some of his oversight authority and has asked the federal judge presiding over the profiling case for leniency as he will "learn as soon as Friday whether he’ll be referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution for contempt of court. "

Racial profiling is just one of a long list of abuses committed by Arpaio and his office.

Arpaio brags about running a "concentration camp" for his detainees and has a record of withholding basic medical care from prisoners and flouting sanitary standards. His office has reportedly ignored over 400 sex-crime cases, targeted Latino residents and neighborhoods, stalked Latina women and retaliated against those who criticized Arpaio.

In one case, members of Arpaio’s department staged a hoax assassination attempt against the sheriff to enhance his popularity, framing an innocent man in the process. Arpaio hired people with records of domestic violence and child sex crimes to work in his armed "posse" guarding schools in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.

The sheriff also tapped birther conspiracy theorists to form a "cold case posse" to investigate the truth behind President Obama's birth certificate, and unsurprisingly concluded that it was a fake.

It is no wonder, then, why Arpaio has become a Republican icon

Ann Coulter: 'There's Nothing Racist About Anything I Say'

In a radio interview at the Republican National Convention today, right-wing author Ann Coulter took credit for Donald Trump's campaign kickoff speech in which he blasted immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists,” while insisting that she doesn't promote racism.

While speaking with Wisconsin talk radio host Charlie Sykes, who is broadcasting from the convention, Coulter claimed that after Trump got a copy of her anti-immigrant book “Adios America!,” he incorporated her material into his infamous speech, or as Sykes put it, started “channeling his inner Ann Coulter.”

Coulter, however, took issue with Sykes when he said that her book promoted a “racist meme” about immigrants.

“My answer is F.U., Charlie Sykes, how dare you?” Coulter responded.

“There’s nothing racist about anything I say, she said. To be pro-American is racist?”

Coulter went on to allege that while Americans “should be arrogant about our culture,” students today endure “Chinese-style brainwashing from kindergarten through college” that teaches that “American culture is the worst culture in the world” and claimed that it is now a “hate crime to try to assimilate people.” She also cited Ben Franklin’s criticism of German immigrants to show that restricting immigration is necessary to protect America’s British-inspired culture.

We wonder why anyone would think that Coulter has a history of racism.

Meet The Speakers: On Immigration, RNC Tries To Send Conflicting Messages

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here.
 
Tonight’s schedule at the Republican National Convention is organized around the Donald Trumpian theme of “Make America Safe Again,” featuring speakers who are poised to talk about immigration, law enforcement and the 2012 Benghazi attack.
 
We’ve already profiled Sheriff David Clarke, the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, law enforcement official who is likely to throw plenty of anti-Black Lives Matter, anti-Obama, anti-Clinton red meat the crowd. (And who has a troubling sideline as a cheerleader to anti-government groups.) Also on the docket for tonight is former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who we don’t expect to be all that friendly to Black Lives Matter either.
 
On the issue of immigration, the convention’s organizers seem to be trying to walk a fine line between encouraging the anti-immigrant sentiment that has been a cornerstone of Trump’s campaign and attempting to present a more moderate face to a national audience.
 
One notable speaker tonight is Rachel Campos Duffy, who will be speaking alongside her husband, Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. Although the RNC’s schedule presents Campos Duffy as a sidekick to her husband, she has a prominent role in conservative politics in her own right as the national spokesperson for the Libre Initiative, a Koch-funded organization that has been trying to win over Latinos to support conservative candidates.
 
Campos Duffy has chastised her party for what she calls a “tonal problem” on immigration. “Some of the harsher voices within this party have been able to sort of hijack [the immigration debate], in a way, and I think present a face that doesn’t really I think reflect the way so many of us feel about immigrants, about Hispanics,” she said in a 2013 speech.
 
We are not optimistic that she will address this “tonal problem” while speaking at the convention where Donald Trump will be nominated for the presidency.
 
Also reflecting the fact that the GOP’s problem with Latinos is more than just “tonal” is the prominent speaking slot being given tonight to Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
 
Sessions has had a close relationship with Trump’s campaign, especially when it comes to shaping the candidate’s draconian immigration policies. A Trump campaign source told journalist Gabriel Sherman in April, “ When Jeff Sessions calls, Trump listens .” Trump consulted with Sessions when he drafted an immigration plan last summer. Earlier this year, a top Sessions aide left to join Trump’s campaign and, shortly afterward, Trump named Sessions the chairman of his foreign policy advisory committee.
 
It’s easy to see why Trump and Sessions get along. In the Senate, Sessions has been a leading critic of immigration reform, helping to defeat immigration reform efforts in 2007 and 2013. In doing so, he has worked closely with the network of anti-immigration organizations started by John Tanton, an immigration restrictionist with a white nationalist bent. Sessions himself has dismissed immigration reform as “ethnic politics” and warned that allowing too many immigrants would create “cultural problems” in the country. Sessions first gained national attention when, in 1986, a bipartisan majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his nomination to a federal judgeship in the midst of charges of racial bias.
 
In another attempt at a balancing act on immigration, the convention’s organizers have invited three people, Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden and Jamiel Shaw, to speak as “victims of illegal immigrants.” Mendoza, Durden and Shaw are all grieving parents whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants; Shaw’s son was shot by a gang member and Durden and Mendoza’s children were killed in car crashes.
 
All three have become involved in the Remembrance Project, a group that uses genuinely tragic stories like that of these parents in a cynical attempt to paint undocumented immigrants as criminals. As we wrote in a profile of the group’s founder, Maria Espinoza, in 2014:
 
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.
 
Espinoza has close ties to the anti-immigrant movement, has written for a white nationalist magazine, and has even promoted writing from the racist website Daily Stormer. Trump, embracing Espinoza’s message, has promoted her and her group on the campaign trail.
 
These parents have very sad stories to tell. But Trump and the RNC are exploiting those stories to promote the myth of immigrants as criminals that has been a theme of Trump’s campaign from the very beginning.

Trump Tells Far-Right Radio Host Many Immigrants 'Are Not Well People'

Among the many far-right conspiracy theorists that Donald Trump has embraced in his quest for the presidency is conservative talk radio host Michael Savage, who offers a steady stream of conspiracy theories and bigotry on his nationally syndicated program. Yesterday, as he was preparing to announce his vice presidential pick, Trump appeared yet again on Savage’s radio program, where he declared himself to be a loyal listener, praised Savage for the “great job” he is doing, and engaged with Savage in a discussion of what the radio host called “diseased immigrants” coming into the country.

After Trump casually mentioned something that Savage had said about not “liking” the videos of the two black men killed by police earlier this month, Savage asked Trump if he had heard that from listening to his show.

“I heard you say it, I heard you say it on the show,” Trump confirmed. “And, you know what, I heard you say it on the show, I do listen to your show, a lot of people listen to your show, I don’t even know if you know how many people. So many people come up and they say, ‘Michael Savages loves you.’ I say, ‘Well, that’s good news, I think that’s true.’”

This led Savage to ask if Trump would induct him into the Radio Hall of Fame in November. While the candidate said he couldn’t make the promise this far in advance because he might be busy negotiating a trade deal with China, he told Savage that “you deserve it” and promised that “if I could be a part of it in some way, I would be a part of it. You are doing a great job and you’ve been loyal to me from the beginning and I appreciate it.”

Later in the program, Savage declared that President Obama “has not only been flooding America with immigrants who cannot or will not work, he’s bringing in people who have brought back illnesses that were once basically eliminated in America” and offered to “help” Trump with the problem if he’s elected president.

“It’s a disaster to bring in diseased immigrants, don’t you agree?” Savage asked.

“Well that’s what’s happening,” Trump said, “and people don’t like talking about it and certainly it’s not politically correct to talk about it and that’s why they don’t do it, because everything we do today has to do with political correctness. If something’s a little bit off, off just a little bit, they say, ‘Oh, please don’t mention that.’ Even my people tell me ‘don’t mention that’ and I decide to mention things anyway, even though I know it’s going to end up being a firestorm I mention them anyway. But there’s something that’s one of the other elements, and the people are pouring into this country and, in many cases they’re not well people, in many respects.”

Tancredo: Obama Possibly A Muslim, ‘Hates The America You And I Love’

During anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row last month, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., claimed that President Obama “hates the America you and I love” and is bent on transforming American culture via the mass immigration of non-assimilating Muslims.

“What does this man care about the Constitution or the Supreme Court?” Tancredo asked the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney on his June 23 “Secure Freedom Radio” program.

“When we recognize that one of the very first things [Obama] ever really promised during a campaign, during his first campaign, was something no one really paid attention to until recently, and that is that he said, ‘I have every intent to thoroughly transform the United States of America,’” Tancredo said. “Well, if you understand that and if you understand he’s still totally committed to that, and that everything he does is designed to do that, then you can understand why he presses the issue of immigration so much, because especially immigration from Muslim countries, especially Islamic immigration, will help him in that endeavor. It does eventually thoroughly change and transform America. It reaches his goal. He hates the America you and I love.”

“Many of us have always raised the issue when we talk about immigration, we raise the issues of the impact on low-skilled labor, the lack of jobs, the cost of the education system, the cost of the medical system in America,” Tancredo said. “All these things are true, but they pale in comparison by the danger posed by massive immigration, both legal and illegal, of people who don’t want to be American.”

He continued, “Our own government is saying, ‘Don’t assimilate. There’s nothing here of value, there’s no reason for you to attach yourself to that old America. You wanna be separate and apart and we’ll help you do that. It is to change the culture in that way and for all times, in their estimation, in their hope, and I fear so often that they are ahead of us here.”

In an interview with Baltimore radio host Tom Marr at the FAIR event the same day, Tancredo wondered if Obama wants to transform America because he’s secretly Muslim.

“I often wonder what he actually was thinking, what went through his mind, each time he had to put his hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, and say he was going to, you know, he swore to uphold the Constitution. What was going through his mind at the time?” Tancredo asked. Both Marr and Tancredo suggested that Obama wanted to have his other hand on the Quran.

“There’s always the, you know, is he really a Muslim? And for them, it is perfectly acceptable to lie about this kind of thing in order to accomplish the goal,” Tancredo said. Tancredo also claimed the best way to transform America for years to come, as he said Obama does, is to bring in millions of immigrants who don’t assimilate and intend to change America.

Steve King: GOP Shouldn't 'Pander' To Hispanics 'Because We're All God's Children'

Last Wednesday, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, joined Iowa radio host Simon Conway at anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, where he said that it was wrong for the Republican Party to “pander” to Latino voters “because we’re all God’s children.”

“[Republicans] like the cheap labor and Democrats like the expansion of the politics, as you say,” King told Conway while discussing his opposition to immigration reform. “It’s about their ability to document undocumented Democrats, bring more undocumented Democrats in and then document them so that they can vote.”

King continued, “From the time I arrived in this town, my own leadership on the Republican side went to great lengths to try to suppress my verbiage because they said, ‘Don’t talk about that, don’t assign them a motive of it being politically motivated, we really want it to be humanitarian and we want to be open-minded,’ and you know how that all goes.”

King pointed out that Hispanics in South Texas voted Democratic in 2000 and, as a result, the GOP “concluded that they needed to do outreach to Hispanics, and the way to do that was to pander, and it’s a mistake to do that because we’re all God’s children, we’re cut from the same image, and he gives us distinctions so we can tell each other apart, and he gives us inspirations. And so we shouldn’t do identity politics and we shouldn’t pander.”

Conway interjected that “identity politics is racist,” to which King agreed.

Tancredo: Trump Will Help Win Environmentalists To The Anti-Immigrant Movement

On Wednesday, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., joined conservative radio host John DePetro at anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, where Tancredo claimed immigrants degrade the environment and expressed his hope that Donald Trump might help the anti-immigrant movement achieve its long-held goal of winning over the environmentalist movement.

“There’s another area in which we and Donald Trump, I think, has the ability to begin to communicate with another group that we’ve had a difficult time with over the years, and that’s the environmentalists, because if you concentrate on this issue, if you think about it for any length of time, you will recognize that massive immigration, both legal and illegal, has a significant impact on the environment,” Tancredo said.

The anti-immigrant movement has long tried to “greenwash” itself in a so far unsuccessful effort to build alliances with major environmentalist groups.

Tancredo claimed that “everybody coming to Colorado will soon have to actually make reservations to get into the national park. All of the park systems throughout the country are being eroded and degraded by the massive numbers of people, the water supply, you name it.”

“I mean, even Colorado, there’s no way that we can possibly keep up with the infrastructural needs of the state because of the massive number of people coming there from all over, not just from other states but, of course, all over the world,” Tancredo said. “And so there is a degradation of the environment with massive numbers, and a lot of people in that movement understand that.”

Americans, Tancredo said, “can find common ground” on immigration restriction and environmental protection.

“A person like Trump, I think, can actually begin to make inroads where we hadn’t before, and this is one area,” he said.

Tancredo: Make Americans Pass 'Civics Literacy' Test To Vote

On Wednesday’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, an annual event hosted by the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., suggested to conservative radio host Matt Tompkins that in order to vote, all Americans should take the same “simple, stupid” American citizenship test given to immigrants.

Tancredo said gaining U.S. citizenship shouldn’t be easy because “it’s like anything else, you know, if you work hard for something, it maybe has more value to you and you actually can determine if a person really wants it, you know, to become an American citizen. I don’t want it to be like candy you hand out.”

“Here’s what I’d like,” Tancredo continued. “I would like a civics literacy test for everyone in America to vote. Before you can vote, take a civics literacy test, and you know which one it would be? It’s the civics test we give to every single immigrant.”

According to Tancredo, “If we expect somebody to come here from another country, another culture, another language, to pass a simple, stupid test,” Americans should be required to pass the same test ... though, he said, most Americans probably would not be able to do so.

Hispanic Evangelical Group Throwing Immigrants Under The Trump Train?

One legacy of the 2016 presidential campaign may well be a divide between religious and political conservatives who took a principled stance against the racist campaign of the apparently amoral Donald Trump, and those who jumped on board the Trump train in spite of his long record of lies, abusive and divisive rhetoric, and his shameless, transparently cynical use of religion to promote his candidacy.

Those divides may be clarifying in the wake of Trump’s meeting with hundreds of religious conservative leaders on Tuesday in what organizers had laughably described as a nonpolitical conversation.  At least it seems to becoming clearer where Samuel Rodriguez and his National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) are going to stand. And it’s not with the immigrants who Trump bashes as a core of his campaign strategy.

As we’ve noted before, Rodriguez loves positioning himself as someone who is above partisan politics even while acting as a Religious Right culture warrior whose main political goal is to get more Hispanics to vote for conservative candidates. Rodriguez has spent years telling conservative white evangelicals that they’re wrong to want to deport millions of Hispanic Christian immigrants, telling them that Jesus-loving Hispanic immigrants can help save Christian culture in America. Conservatives are hurting themselves, he has argued, by pushing Hispanics away with harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Along those lines, Rodriguez has publicly criticized Trump’s bigoted language about Mexicans, Latino immigrants, and Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom Trump has accused of being biased because of his Mexican-American heritage. Last November, NHCLC’s Executive Vice President Tony Suarez said, “The only thing more embarrassing than his campaign is watching preachers support Trump and even manipulate scripture to invent false prophecies regarding Trump.” 

In April, Suarez met with House Speaker Paul Ryan and other House leaders to discuss “the political and spiritual direction of the Republican Party.” According to an NHCLC press conference at the time, Suarez “addressed the importance of the Hispanic electorate in the upcoming election and the spiritual implications surrounding the immigration issue.”

"The members of Congress, specifically those that profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, must prayerfully consider the spiritual implications of mass deportation, as well as the current strategies espoused by both Republican candidates," said Suarez. "If a mass deportation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country were to take place, it would virtually close most Hispanic churches in our country." 

After Trump’s perfunctory video message to an NHCLC conference in May included no mea culpa for his anti-immigrant demagoguery, Rodriguez said, “I have no plans on endorsing Donald Trump whatsoever.”

Since then there have been no signs that Donald Trump is willing to reconsider, prayerfully or otherwise, his plans for a “deportation force” or his insistence that he will build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it – a centerpiece of his campaign. And he has not apologized for his despicable smear of Judge Curiel, and by extension all Americans of Mexican heritage.

But politics is politics, and now Suarez, despite his past criticism of Trump, is on Trump’s new “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board” while officially remaining uncommitted to him. And even Rodriguez is telling the Christian Broadcasting Network that yesterday’s meeting could be “a tipping point” for evangelicals and Trump, praising the candidate’s “very well-defined, articulated commitment to religious liberty and life, the Supreme Court especially….”

If you were paying attention, you could see this coming. Rodriguez has given Trump political cover before, saying that Trump is not a racist and blaming liberal media for promoting the idea that he is. And last month Rodriguez declared that it is every Christian’s duty to vote and that getting conservative justices on the Supreme Court is more important than immigration reform.

Another NHCLC leader, Mario Bramnick, was among evangelicals who met privately with Trump last month; Bramnick emerged gushing about Trump’s “genuineness” and “tremendous understanding and concern for the undocumented immigrants.” Two months earlier, Bramnick spoke at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference, where he declared in prayer that “the man you have selected to be our next president, shall be elected president of the United States and shall usher in the Third Great Awakening.”

Reports from and about the most recent meeting seem to show Trump in typical form, calling himself a “tremendous believer,” questioning the faith of Hillary Clinton, and telling people not to pray for political leaders who “are selling Christianity down the tubes.”  Trump pandered to the conservative Christian activists by saying “You really don’t have religious freedom” and pledging to “get rid of” IRS restrictions on electoral politicking by churches. He said he’d make Macy’s put “Merry Christmas” signs in its store windows. And he promised them Supreme Court justices hand-picked by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society.

In putting together this event and building an advisory board without requiring its members to endorse him, Trump’s campaign seemed to be trying to recreate a critical moment in the marriage between the Religious Right and the Republican Party – a day in 1980 in which Ronald Reagan said to thousands of evangelical leaders, “I know you can’t endorse me … but I want you to know that I endorse you and what you’re doing.” In a press release about Trump’s new advisory committee, the campaign said:

The leaders on the executive board were not asked to endorse Mr. Trump as a prerequisite for participating on the board.

Rather, the formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of those diverse issues important to Evangelicals and other Christians, and his desire to have access to the wise counsel of such leaders as needed. Mr. Trump has received widespread support from Evangelical leaders, communities and voters, winning the majority of the Evangelical vote throughout the primaries.

The meeting appears to have had its intended effect, and not only with Rodriguez. The conservative Townhall reported that Pastor Michael Anthony felt that God was speaking through Trump to encourage pastors to get more involved in politics to defend religious freedom. “I think that no matter what political party you’re a part of, if you were in this room today, you would have to admit there was a unity and a gentleness in this meeting that were remarkable,” said Anthony. “If we can do this in a room of 1,000, I think there’s hope for the nation.”

Trump Ally Wayne Allyn Root: Hispanics And Muslims Need To Apologize

Wayne Allyn Root, an activist who has campaigned with Donald Trump and fed him conspiracy theories, demanded last week that American Muslims and Latinos apologize for terrorism and crime, claiming that “if Jews were running over the border and illegally coming into America and they all wanted welfare and some of them turned out to be terrorists,” he would similarly want them barred from the country.

“I’ve never seen any major protest by Muslims in the United States of America, like in Dearborn, Michigan, which is a majority-Muslim city, I’ve never seen anyone apologize for their own people,” Root told Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman during a discussion of the recent mass shooting in Orlando. “I happen to be Jewish, Joyce. And if Jews were running over the border and illegally coming into America and they all wanted welfare and some of them turned out to be terrorists, some of them turn out to be drunk drivers murdering people, some of them were just murderers and rapists, I would have no problem saying let’s seal the border, I don’t want any more Israelis coming over the border. None. I can’t take it anymore. I have no problem, I’m not a hypocrite. So even if they were my fellow Jews, it doesn’t matter. I like my fellow Jews if they’re law-abiding.”

“So I don’t understand why there’s no Muslims speaking out,” he said, “I don’t understand why there’s no Hispanics speaking out and saying, ‘By the way, I’m Hispanic, I love Hispanics, I want Donald Trump to love Hispanics, but we need a wall because I want legal Hispanics, not illegal Hispanics.’”

Kaufman, who is of Puerto Rican descent, countered that at least she is speaking out.

Jeff Sessions: My Immigration Position Is the 'Biblical' One

Speaking today at the Road to Majority conference, an annual event hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a fierce immigration opponent in Congress who helped craft Donald Trump’s immigration policy, referred to a handful of Bible stories to declare that immigration reform advocates’ position, which he characterized as that nations can’t “establish who can and can’t enter,” is “not biblical.”

Sessions spoke of the biblical figure of Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls in Jerusalem after obtaining traveling papers from the king of Persia, and referred to another story, which although Sessions seems to have gotten the details mixed up, seems to be the tale of the Israelites being barred by the king of Edom from crossing his land.

“So the idea that nations don’t set laws, establish who can and can’t enter, is not biblical in my opinion. Nations do that and they’ve done it since time immemorial and there’s nothing wrong with it,” he said.

 

Steve King: 'Good Amount' Of Trump Policy Is 'A Copy-And-Paste From Things That I've Done'

Steve King, the Iowa GOP congressman who once said that DREAM Act beneficiaries are mostly drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” said yesterday that he expects to be “deeply engaged” in immigration policy if Donald Trump is to become president, boasting that a “good amount” of the immigration policies on Trump’s website are “a copy-and-paste from things that I’ve done.”

King told Jeff Angelo, who was guest-hosting the Iowa talk radio program “Mickelson in the Morning,” that his legislative priorities in the next Congress would depend on who is elected president.

“If it’s Hillary, I’ll be playing a lot of defense because she’ll be pouring an agenda at us,” he said. “And if it’s Trump, then we’ve got an opportunity to move another direction. So, let’s just say, the agenda is going to be continue to kill off bad ideas. And if it’s Trump it will be sort his ideas, but I expect to be deeply engaged in the immigration legislation that would just certainly come and in shaping a fence, a wall and a fence on the southern border. A good amount of what’s on his website is a copy-and-paste from things that I’ve done, and we’ll get along on the immigration, I think, without any problem.”

King also said that he would “push hard for a balanced budget amendment” because if an amendment isn’t ratified, “the movement to do a constitutional convention for that purpose is just going to push one on us anyway.”

We will wait to see if Trump takes up King’s idea of installing an electrified fence at the southern border.

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