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Extremists Exploit Issue of Immigration Through Activism

As the issue of immigration continues to receive a lot of attention both on Capitol Hill and in the media, extremist groups are attempting to use it to attract attention and, ultimately, more followers to their cause. Through rallies, flier distributions and other activities, extremists hope to capitalize on this hot-button issue.

The National Socialist Movement (NSM), the largest neo-Nazi organization in the United States, often uses the topic of immigration as a vehicle to draw attention to the organization and attract more followers.  On November 9, NSM is scheduled to hold a national rally in Kansas City, Kansas, with immigration as its main theme. The event announcement on the NSM website attacks politicians for bringing the nation to the “brink of economic collapse,” while they allegedly “continue to discuss further amnesty for illegal aliens, leaving our borders wide open, and allowing our nation to drown in a free fall of economic collapse.”

The League of the South (LOS), an implicitly racist group that seeks to create a South predicated on “Anglo-Celtic” cultural dominance,  announced plans to hold an anti-immigrant rally in the towns of Murfreesboro and Shelbyville, Tennessee, on October 12. LOS presumably chose these towns because of the debate over an Islamic center constructed in Murfreesboro.

The rally announcement from LOS stated that “the event will focus attention on and rally opposition to the demographic displacement of the Southern people in central Tennessee, an area which a short time ago was homogeneously Southern.”  The announcement went on to claim that “tens of thousands of immigrants from Islamic countries in the Middle East and Africa have been brought to the area by the Federal Government using your tax dollars. “

The LOS organized an earlier anti-immigration rally in August in the towns of Uvalda and Vidalia, Georgia.  The group held the rally in opposition to the Uvalda mayor who LOS claims is, “an activist for Third World immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants.” LOS Leader Michael Hill, who has become increasingly radical, was one of a number of racist speakers at the rally. Other speakers at the event included additional leaders in LOS and Michael Cushman, a racist who heads the Southern Nationalist Network (SNN). Attendees, which included white supremacists Brad Griffin (also known as Hunter Wallace) and Kyle Rogers of the Council of Conservative Citizens, were also protesting Uvalda Mayor Paul Bridges’ support of a lawsuit against Georgia’s harsh immigration laws.  It appears many of the same extremists who attended the Georgia LOS rallies will be in attendance in Tennessee on October 12.

Another extremist organization attempting to use the issue of immigration to increase its numbers is the American Freedom Party (AFP). Formerly known as the American Third Position Party, AFP is a white supremacist political party. Its leadership includes a number of extremists with anti-immigrant views such as Virginia Abernethy. Abernethy is chair of the board of the California-based anti-immigrant group Carrying Capacity Network (CCN). In 2004, Abernethy was appointed as chair of the advisory board of Protect Arizona Now (PAN) an organization set up in an attempt to get the anti-immigrant Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act on the November 2004 ballot.

On September 28, AFP along with a number of other extremist organizations including the Nationalist Movement, Golden State Solidarity, Free America Rally Battalion14, and Malevolent Freedom held small anti-immigrant rallies in various states. On August 17, members of AFP’s Oregon chapter held small protest against President Obama at the Center St. Bridge in Salem, Oregon. Attendees held up signs reading “no amnesty!” and “secure the border.”

On August 25, the white supremacist group Advanced White Society (AWS) distributed letters in the town of Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania. One page of the letter focused on immigration, asserting, “Illegal immigration – the $113 billion dollar drain on the American Taxpayer.” According to the AWS letter, the $113 billion number came from a study published by the extreme anti-immigrant organization Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The letter ended with the statement, “STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION NOW!”

Jason Hiecke, a New Jersey-based racist, founded AWS in 2012. Before founding AWS, Hiecke held the number two position in the NSM, which he resigned from in 2012. It appears that AWS is most active in states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania but has conducted flier distributions in other places, including Virginia, Delaware and Tennessee.

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