Small Protests Around the U.S. Ratchet Up Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

  • July 24, 2014

On July 18 and 19, anti-immigrant activists around the country participated in a series of protests dubbed the “National Day Of Protesting Against Immigration Reform/Amnesty & Border Surge.” Activists are exploiting the current humanitarian crisis at the border where Central American children are fleeing in order to escape violence in their home countries.

These protests are just the latest uptick in anti-immigrant activity, fueled by the anti-immigrant movement and far-right media. The sparsely attended protests not only attracted extremists, but many of the activists in attendance displayed signs with extreme rhetoric.

The following is a round-up on some of the extreme rhetoric on display at protests around the country, as reflected in accounts of the rallies on social media and in local news outlets:

  • Moosic, Pennsylvania: Members of the white supremacist group European American Action Coalition (EAAC) attended a rally in Moosic, Pennsylvania. EAAC director, Steve Smith, was present at the event. Smith is a longtime racist with ties to a number of white supremacist organizations. At the Moosic protest, was a sign taped to the overpass where the protest took place which read, in part, “Illegal mestizos are bringing in leprosy and scabies…”
  • Salem, Oregon: Members of the white supremacist political party American Freedom Party (AFP) attended a rally in Salem, Oregon. AFP activist Tyler Cole attended the rally with his wife, Laura. In an interview with a local news station, Laura Cole stated, "Keep Mexicans in Mexico. Keep European-Americans here, where we are, in our homeland... I think it's OK for us to be proud that this is our territory." A banner hanging from an overpass one exit away from the official Salem protest read, “Diversity is a code word for white genocide” – a phrase used by white supremacists.
  • New York, NY: Anti-immigrant activists protested outside of the United Nations building in New York City. One protester held a sign implying that “illegals” and “Obama” were “cockroaches.” Another protester yelled, “Bring us your smallpox, bring us your malaria, your scabies.”
  • Phoenix, Arizona : A protester had a sign that read “illegals bring disease.”
  • Marietta, Georgia: A protester held a sign stating, “stop illegals and their diseases.”
  • New Haven, Connecticut: A protester on an overpass held signs saying “stop terrorists crossing our border” and “stop diseases crossing our border.”
  • Ocala, Florida: Protesters held signs claiming “Obama is a Muslim” and “terrorists and illegals treated better than vets.”
  • Yakima, Washington: A protester held a sign saying, “citizens over illegals cartel and jihadists.”
  • San Diego, California: One protester held a sign with the Mexican flag which, read, in part, “yes, we sell humans, drugs, prostitution, the demise of your country.”
  • Tucson, Arizona: A protester interviewed by Tucson News Now asserted, “The invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation... is an act of war."

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