At least Mark Krikorian knows his audience. In an interview with WorldNetDaily today, the Center for Immigration Studies director urged House Republicans who support immigration reform to oppose the Senate’s bipartisan immigration plan simply in order to deny President Obama a “victory.”
“The only thing he has left now that would salvage the wreckage of his administration is an amnesty,” Krikorian told WND. “And why any Republican, even if they agreed with him, would save President Obama’s political fortunes is beyond me.”
Several fringe websites have picked up a video from YouTube savant Gabor Zolna about how “the half-baked African American Arab Muslim” Obama will use immigration reform to “bring in about 150 million Muslims” to the US as part of a plan to impose Sharia law and join the Caliphate. This is actually lower than anti-Muslim activist Avi Lipkin’s estimate that the President will bring in 50-100 million Muslims.
Naturally, Sandy Rios was asked on her show last week if Obama will in fact settle 150 Muslim immigrants in the US if a reform bill passes Congress.
Rios said that such claims make sense and that maybe the whole campaign for immigration reform is a Muslim plot.
The American Family Association radio host pointed to a Muslim organizer of DREAM Act activists as proof that “there’s no question that bad character Muslims, the Muslim Brotherhood and others, are going to use the whole amnesty problem that we have to bring in tons of illegal immigrant Muslims who don’t wish us any kind of good.”
UPDATE 11/19: YCT head Lorenzo Garcia has cancelled the “game” due to concerns “the university will retailate against [YCT] and the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers.” He said in a statement that he is “shocked” by the “truly disgraceful” protests against the “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game,” adding that he will not be “silenced.”
On Wednesday the University of Texas at Austin chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) plans to host a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game.” According to its Facebook page, students will have to find a person “walking around the UT campus with the label ‘illegal immigrant’ on their clothing” and then turn that person in to a YCT table for a $25 gift card reward.
YCT will be having a "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" event this upcoming Wednesday. The details of the game goes as follows:
There will be several people walking around the UT campus with the label "illegal immigrant" on their clothing. Any UT student who catches one of these "illegal immigrants" and brings them back to our table will receive a $25 gift card.
The purpose of this event is to spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration, and how it affects our everyday lives.
Last month, the same group hosted an Affirmative Action bake sale which charged students different prices based on their race and gender. Think Progress notes that other right-wing youth groups have hosted similar events in the past.
Americans For Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) leader William Gheen isn’t exactly known for restrained rhetoric against immigration reform. Gheen has compared immigrants to the 9/11 hijackers and labeled them “third world invaders.” He has even floated the idea of violent revolution against elected officials who want to "bring down" America through immigration reform.
In an email to supporters today, Gheen claims that Republican supporters of immigration reform, including Karl Rove, Michael Bloomberg and Lindsey Graham (with whom Gheen has an interesting history) have “blood on all of their hands” because of their support of “the costly and deadly illegal alien invasion of our American homeland.” In fact, Gheen writes, these Republicans have “hatched and executed” a “plot on our Republic.”
Gheen offers another thinly veiled hint at violence, saying he will use “what is left of our peaceful political systems” to “throw them down.”
If our plan to Stop Amnesty 2013 succeeds, these treacherous lawmakers' plan will be to lay low on the issue through the filing period to try to stop groups like us from generating the focus, interest, energy, and funds needed to mount organized primary challengers.
Over the next 3 days, you will be making it very clear to these illegal alien amnesty supporting lawmakers that we are organized and ready to take on Karl Rove, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Lindsey Graham, and every other supporter of the costly and deadly illegal alien invasion of our American homeland.
There is blood on all of their hands and we are going to use what is left of our peaceful political systems in America to throw them down despite their insane advantages of wealth and power!
As you read this e-mail, I am riding into Washington, DC, today to do my very best on your behalf.
Thank you so much to each of you who will support our ground effort with your calls. Thank you to all of the donors to ALIPAC who are making this lobbying trip to DC at a very important strategic time possible.
Let's all do our very best to defeat Amnesty and put those who hatched and executed this plot against our Republic on permanent retreat!
Today’s Heritage Foundation event featured conservative evangelicals who are unhappy with other evangelicals who are promoting comprehensive immigration reform. Our “who’s who” of the speakers turned out to be a good guide to what they had to say. Speakers repeatedly (falsely) characterized the Senate immigration bill as “amnesty.”
James Hoffmeier, author of a book on immigration and the Bible, said he objects to people using the Bible to talk about immigration “the wrong way” and “misuse the scriptures to advance a cause.” He argues that undocumented immigrants are not the kind of people referred to in Bible verses about being welcoming to strangers.
Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy griped about mainline denominations demonstrating a lack of concern for border security. He credited evangelicals endorsing comprehensive immigration reform for citing a need for border security, but criticized them for supporting the “mass legalization” in the Senate bill, which he characterized as legalization first, border security later.
Kelly Kullberg organized Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration as a counter to the Evangelical Immigration Table, which energetically backs the Senate bill. She is also, like Tooley, a founder of Christians for a Sustainable Economy (CASE), a group that criticized Christians calling themselves the “Circle of Protection,” who had argued against cuts to federal programs that serve the poor. (In a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders, CASE asked, “Whom would Jesus indebt?” and declared “The Good Samaritan did not use a government credit card.”) Kullberg made similar points about the immigration bill, saying America is a “near-bankrupt welfare state living on borrowed money” and cannot afford “amnesty” and “an influx of foreign labor.” She said “Kindness to foreigners should not be theft or injustice to citizens.” She also said that nowhere in scripture do we see “blanket amnesty or asylum.”
Carol Swain, right-wing author and law professor, argued that Christians should support respect for the rule of law. Swain warned “We’re welcoming people who totally reject who we are as a people,” and said we create problems for ourselves “if we bring in people who are not easily assimilated.” She declared, “There is no place in America for Sharia law in the U.S. Constitution.” But Swain said she favors immigration reform if it is done the “right way” and encouraged people to read her book, Be the People, to find out how.
It has been 140 days of inaction since the Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill that moves us closer to addressing our broken immigration system. But all of this progress has stalled in the GOP-led House, where they have chosen to align with extremists in their party rather than with business, civic and faith groups across the political spectrum that support reform.
This was made clear earlier this week, when Speaker Boehner confirmed that he has “no intentions of every going to conference” with the Senate on its bipartisan immigration legislation, once again showing where House leadership takes its cues. In a report released earlier this summer, PFAW laid out the clear choices facing Republicans as the pressing need for serious immigration fixes looms over families and our economy. While there is a lack of will to act on the part of House GOP leadership, immigration reform activists around the country are not sitting passively by. We are speaking up, planning actions, and calling out those who continue to stand in the way of common-sense reform.
Phyllis Schlafly appeared on Crosstalk last week, where she went through her usual argument about why Latino immigrants don’t make good Americans because they are less likely to vote Republican and hold conservative political views. She told host Jim Schneider that immigrants used to “be proud to be an American” and “became good people,” unlike “the people who are coming in now” who “don’t agree with the fundamentals of America.”
Schlafly also warned that immigration authorities are allowing Muslim immigrants to practice polygamy and have “a bunch of wives who will now go on our welfare.” She also agreed with a caller who said that the Obama administration will bring in tens of millions of Muslim immigrants in order to impose Sharia law.
Schlafly: I would like to know if our immigration authorities are letting in people who believe in polygamy. Polygamy is against our law. We’ve brought in thousands of Muslims; I want to know if they made them sign a pledge to assure they’re not bringing in a bunch of wives who will now go on our welfare. Nobody can answer that question, I can’t get any answers to that question.
Caller: See anything that Obama’s had on the front burner so far has destroyed this country and is ripping it away, and we also can’t forget about when we bring in with this amnesty bill these illegal Mexicans and whoever else wants to come in, we’re going to bring in 40-50 million Muslims with them all to destroy our constitution. I think people should keep that in mind and we’ll be under Sharia law shortly.
Schlafly: It is true. They’ve brought in lots of Muslims and in fact they’ve brought a lot into the St. Louis area where I live. Get somebody to answer the question: do you make sure they’re not bringing polygamists in?
Just in case where you were wondering where the figure of 40-50 million Muslims comes from, a regular Crosstalk guest Avi Lipkin claims President Obama plans to “bring in 50-100 million Muslims” in order to impose Sharia law.
Responding to another caller who told a story of undocumented immigrants using phony Social Security numbers in order to find employment, Schlafly added that “a lot of them get on the highway drunk and kill people too.”
Studies show that immigrants actually have a lower crime rate than native-born Americans.
WASHINGTON – House Speaker John Boehner announced yesterday that he has “no intention of ever going to conference” with the Senate on its bipartisan immigration legislation, and implied that he would take an ineffective, piecemeal approach to the issue.
Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, responded to Boehner’s remarks:
“Once again, Speaker Boehner is choosing to stand with the extremist minority of his party over the wishes of the majority of Americans and the long-term health of our country.
“It is stunning that Boehner sees no hurry to fix the moral crisis of a broken immigration system that tears families apart and leaves millions of futures in limbo. Not only is improving our immigration laws a moral imperative, it has the support of business, civic and faith groups from across the political spectrum.
“Yet Boehner has chosen to stand with Rep. Steve King and his Hate Caucus over the common-sense interests of Americans. Is this what the GOP’s ‘rebranding’ looks like?”
Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli appears to be paying the price for his anti-immigrant record. Cuccinelli backed Arizona’s draconian SB 1070 as the state attorney general and as a state senator he proposed several bills targeting immigrants and non-English speakers, and even equated US immigration policy to pest control. Cuccinelli’s harsh comparison was captured in this Spanish-language ad sponsored by People For the American Way:
While Cuccinelli’s nativism may have appealed to the Tea Party fringe, it has upset Latino voters — already alienated by the GOP’s extremist stance on immigration — and the majority of voters who back immigration reform.
But judging by interviews with Latino voters on Tuesday, the ad — which aired heavily on Spanish-language television in the weeks leading up to the election — resonated.
“He talks about our community with no respect,” said Umberto Adrian, a Manassas resident who was born in Bolivia and has lived in Virginia for 30 of his 60 years. “I can’t understand why a professional like him would refer to immigrants as if they are not human.”
Some Latino voters who said they were spurred to action by the commercial appeared to have their own interpretations of what Cuccinelli actually said.
“Cuccinelli called Hispanic people rats,” said Mary Alba, 74, a retired bakery worker. “I want people in office who know we need immigrant people. In this country we need people like immigrants, who work hard.”
Pedro Delcid, 40, perceived the remark in a slightly different, but equally derogatory, way. “This man was talking bad about our people. He said we reproduce like rats,” said Delcid, who lives in Manassas. “This is the one issue that brought me here today. I have an issue with the way he talks about immigrants.”
It’s not just anecdotal evidence either, as new polling from Latino Decisions sponsored by PFAW and America’s Voice reveals the extent of the damage from the GOP’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy positions:
Immigration weighs heavily in Latino and Asians’ voting decisions. Over half (53%) of Latinos rank immigration as the most important issue facing the Latino community that politicians should address. While the Asian community put other issues first, their voting choices are influenced by a candidate’s position on immigration reform. When asked about the role of immigration in their voting decisions, 53% of Latinos and 46% of Asians said it was either “the most important issue” or “one of the most important issues” in their “decision to vote, and who to vote for.”
Cuccinelli’s hardline immigration hurt not only him, but the Republican Party overall. After hearing a statement from Cuccinelli comparing immigrant families to rat families, 70% of Latinos and 59% of Asians said it made them look less favorably on the Republican Party as a whole. The comments were most salient to foreign-born Latinos and US-born Asians, who said it made them view the GOP more negatively at a rate of 75% and 74% respectively. After learning that Cuccinelli sponsored a bill as state Senator that would allow employers to fire any workers who did not speak English, 75% of Latinos and 67% of Asians said this made them less favorable to the Republican Party as a whole.
Added Gary Segura, Professor of American Politics and Chair of Chicano/a Studies, Stanford University and Co-Founder of Latino Decisions, "Hostility to immigrants--once a political wedge that worked for Republicans--has clearly now become an Achilles' heel for the Party. Latinos and Asians, climbing towards 10% of the electorate in Virginia, are clearly and profoundly put off by GOP rhetoric on this litmus-test issue for these immigrant-heavy communities. Continued antagonism toward immigration reform has the potential to erode or erase GOP competitiveness in this important and growing purple state."
Immigration reform activists and President Obama have renewed the push for Congress to act on much-needed immigration legislation this year. We now see new movement as three Republicans have joined numerous Democrats in the House in co-sponsoring legislation that moves us closer to reform.
The question to ask going forward is whether House Republican leaders will side with extreme right-wing voices -- the same voices that shut down government -- or the majority of Americans who support a bi-partisan solution. It’s a clear choice and Republican leaders in the House have the power to move reform forward. All of this is laid out in People For’s recent Right Wing Watch report: Congressional Republicans' Clear Choice on Immigration.
Conservative activist Kelly Monroe Kullberg recently formed Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration as a response to the pro-reform Evangelical Immigration Table, and her new organization has received support from immigration critics like the American Family Association.
Like other Religious Right groups such as Eagle Forum and Family Research Council, the AFA is a staunch opponent of immigration reform and spokesman Bryan Fischer has even called for the US to require that all immigrations convert to Christianity and enforce a ban on Muslim immigration.
AFA talk show host Sandy Rios spoke to Kullberg this week about the supposed dangers of the Senate reform bill, including the laughable claim that the legislation will lead to “open borders” and therefore a rise in sex and human trafficking.
She also warned that people of “other faiths” and “incompatibly worldviews,” especially Muslims, will flood into America and “lessen the value on human life” in the US, making sex trafficking more acceptable. “As Islam takes root in America and other traditions take root, we are seeing a decline in human worth, human value and a rise in trafficking,” Kullberg said.
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.
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly is sick and tired of people invoking the Statue of Liberty to advocate for fixing our immigration laws.
In a radio commentary today Schlafly – who previously argued that the Bible’s mandate for “compassion” doesn’t apply to immigrants – commemorates the anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty by declaring that the statue “has nothing whatsoever to do with immigration.” Instead, she argued, “people who had nothing to do with this great gift from the French were allowed to paste a plague on the base of the statue with a quotation that has misrepresented the statue as an invitation to open immigration.”
“Remember, it’s the Statue of Liberty, not the Statue of Immigration,” she concludes.
While Schlafly is correct that the Statue of Liberty was not originally meant by the French to commemorate immigration, it quickly became a symbol of America’s promise for immigrants. As a National Parks Service historian told the New York Times, the statue “became really famous among immigrants. And it was really immigrants that lifted her up to a sort of a glory that was probably before America really fully embraced her.” The addition of the plaque with Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” 20 years after the statue’s erection merely reinforced this symbolic value.
Schlafly somewhat undermines her case by quoting speeches from presidents who were very aware of the statue’s symbolic value. Schlafly selectively quotes Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech at the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the statue…a speech that was all about the importance of immigrants to American life. Likewise, she quotes Ronald Reagan’s speech at the statue’s centennial, which was also focused on the statue’s symbolism of a nation of immigrants. “Which of us does not think of other grandfathers and grandmothers, from so many places around the globe, for whom this statue was the first glimpse of America?” he asked.
But no, Schlafly says, “The statue has nothing to do with immigration.”
The Statue of Liberty is probably the most identifying symbol of America. It's almost like a religious shrine for Americans. Today is the anniversary of its dedication on October 28, 1886. A gift from France, it was built by Gustav Eiffel, the builder of the Eiffel Tower, and designed by Auguste Bartholdi, who wrote this about the Statue of Liberty: "The statue was born for this place which inspired its conception. May God be pleased to bless my efforts and my work, and to crown it with success, the duration and moral influence which it ought to have."
On the Statue of Liberty's 50th anniversary in 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated: "The Almighty did prepare this American continent to be a place of the second chance.... Millions have ... found ... freedom of opportunity, freedom of thought, freedom to worship God." President Dwight Eisenhower stated in 1954: "It represents ... a nation whose greatness is based on a firm unshakable belief that all of us mere mortals are dependent upon the mercy of a Superior Being." When the Statue of Liberty was relighted after a restoration, President Ronald Reagan said in 1986: "I've always thought ... that God had His reasons for placing this land here between two great oceans..."
The Statue of Liberty memorializes the unique liberty we enjoy in America. It has nothing whatever to do with immigration. It's most unfortunate that people who had nothing to do with this great gift from the French were allowed to paste a plaque on the base of the Statue with a quotation that has misrepresented the Statue as an invitation to open immigration. The Statue has nothing to do with immigration.
Remember, it's the Statue of Liberty, not the Statue of Immigration.
With so many distractions these days, from an ongoing government shutdown, to debt limit deadlines, you can imagine how easy it may be for other issues to go by the wayside. That’s why it’s increasingly important that we keep pressing elected leaders to act on major concerns, such as comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), that have been targeted by conservative extremists looking to stall and derail every bit of President Obama’s agenda.
As has been report on many news outlets, that fight continued earlier this week as activists called attention to the need for CIR with rallies on the National Mall and around the country. This and so many other issues have hit road blocks in congress because of right-wing voices stymieing progress.
People For made a point of calling out those extreme voices in a report released earlier this summer entitled, “Congressional Republicans' Clear Choice on Immigration.” This report shines a light on many of the activists working to block CIR, and calls on congressional leaders to stand with the majority of both parties to move forward on this important issue.
American Family Association radio hosts have a tendency to ignore real journalism and instead to rely on chain emails to back up their absurd conspiracy theories, including claims that Obamacare has a special exemption for Muslims and that President Obama wears a secret Muslim wedding ring.
Last week on Focal Point, AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer mentioned a right-wing chain email that says Japan bans mosques, Qurans and Muslim immigration — all of which are measures that Fischer supports wholeheartedly.
“Japan does not allow any Muslims to immigrate there,” Fischer said. “They cannot become Japanese citizens, the Quran is not permitted in the country of Japan, the teaching of Islam is not permitted in the country of Japan, no mosques are permitted in the country of Japan. If that information is correct, that’s one nation that’s got its eyes open.”
Of course, none of this matters to Fischer, who will likely continue to point to this chain email’s claims about Japan as a model for the United States to harshly curtail religious freedom and ban Islam.
Phyllis Schlafly is livid about the Los Angeles Unified School District's decision to launch a program last month to put iPads in the hands of every student in the school district. The Los Angeles Times explains that the effort is intended to “put a school district composed mostly of low-income, minority students on an even footing with more prosperous students, who have such devices at home, at school or both.” The program was temporarily halted this week after enterprising students at one test school promptly figured out how to hack the iPads for personal use – but that’s not what concerns Schlafly.
Instead, in her Eagle Forum radio commentary today, Schlafly frets that the “fancy electronics” might be used to educate the children of undocumented immigrants…or any student learning English as a second language:
The superintendent says his goal is to “close the technology gap” for the many low-income students in the district, but technology doesn’t seem to be the central problem. Los Angeles Unified is a very depressed school district, regardless of how much technology students do or do not have. It continually has some of California’s lowest test scores, and almost 1/3 of its students do not finish high school. (Throughout the rest of the state, only 13% of students don’t make it to graduation.) The waste of money on fancy electronics seems even more egregious when we consider what a terrible job Los Angeles Unified currently does educating its students.
To add insult to injury, many of the students who will be receiving a taxpayer-funded iPad aren’t even supposed to be in the United States. Los Angeles has one of the highest illegal alien populations in the U.S. Almost 400,000 illegal aliens live in this district. Almost a third of its students are classified as “English learners.”
You may want to keep these kinds of frivolous expenses in mind next time your own school district asks for a tax increase. In the district I live in, the school board is asking for a tax increase almost every year.