New York, NY, July 3, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today voiced concern about the climate of fear and intimidation generated by protests that have sprung up in some parts of the country in response to the humanitarian crisis at our nation’s borders.
Protests responding to the U.S. government’s efforts to process children fleeing violence in Central America have turned ugly in recent days. At one event in Murrieta, California, more than 100 protestors blocked detainees from entering the town’s border patrol processing station. The message surrounding this and other rallies has included extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric portraying immigrants as a public health hazard.
Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
Since the humanitarian crisis at the border, ADL has been tracking an uptick in extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric, which has focused on portraying immigrants as a public health hazard. Over the last week, a protestor in Southern California held up a sign saying, “Protect Your Kids from Diseases.”
The organizer of the protest rallies sent an email to anti-immigrant activists saying that authorities “need to know that we OPPOSE their pro-crime agenda of importing illegal aliens, diseases and crime.” Many of the people promoting this rhetoric dismiss the violence and poverty that are driving these children to come to this country.
This anti-immigrant message is bigoted and dehumanizing. In addition, the situation at the border is attracting extremists around the country who are mobilizing in opposition to this crisis. America has always been a country that has welcomed immigrants fleeing violence. Ugly rhetoric and intimidation should not be part of the picture.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.