On Friday, November 22, the Fayetteville, North Carolina chapter of ACT! for America, an organization promoting the idea that Islam is a backward and seditious political ideology, hosted a screening of the anti-immigrant film, “They Come to America.” After the screening, organizers have scheduled a panel discussion about immigration with James Johnson, head of the North Carolina-based anti-immigrant group NC FIRE and Ron Woodard, the founder of another North Carolina-based anti-immigrant group, NC Listen.
The Fayetteville chapter of ACT! for America regularly posts extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric on its Facebook page, claiming Islam is in a war with the world and promoting a video titled “Islam and Nazism, the Unholy Alliance.” Both Johnson and Woodard are anti-immigrant activists with ties to extremism. Earlier this year, Woodard received the “We the People Leadership Award” from the extreme anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) a group founded by racist John Tanton. FAIR helped to found and buttress Woodard’s group, NC Listen.
James Johnson of NC Listen has circulated articles from racist websites such as VDARE and American Renaissance in the past. In 2011, Johnson posted a picture of himself with Roan Garcia-Quintana, a director of the white supremacist group Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) on Facebook. Both men were attending FAIR’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire event.
The screening and panel discussion is just one recent example of collaboration between the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim movements, both at the national and local level. Both movements see immigration as problematic and promote xenophobia. Nationally, both anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim groups promote anti-immigrant legislation and both movements worked to derail immigration reform in 2013. At the local level, activists attend and speak at each other’s events and support each other’s campaigns.
Events such as the Boston Marathon bombings, as well as stories about “terrorists” entering the United States through Mexico serve as fuel for both the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim movements and indicate that further collaboration between groups both at the local and national level will not only continue, but increase.