Examples of Racism from the Anti-Immigrant Movement in 2014

  • December 19, 2014

In 2014, the issue of immigration sometimes generated a xenophobic or racist response from anti-immigrant activists.  For example, the established anti-immigrant movement in the United States reacted angrily to unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America and coming to this country by using vehemently anti-immigrant rhetoric. There are other examples, as well. Anti-immigrant groups and individuals attempted to link the issues of ISIS and Ebola with immigration, in an effort to create a climate of fear around the issue of immigration. In the buildup to and following President Obama’s announced executive actions on immigration, players in the anti-immigrant movement again espoused nativist sentiment. Below are most egregious examples of how racism and xenophobia manifested from anti-immigrant groups and individuals in 2014.

Anti-immigrant Activists Continue to Grant Interviews to Anti-Semites

Throughout 2014, staffers and board members with some of the most well established and influential anti-immigrant groups continued to use anti-Semitic media to promote their cause. In April of this year, Jessica Vaughan of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) granted an interview to reporter from the anti-Semitic news­pa­per Amer­i­can Free Press (AFP), founded by Holo­caust denier Willis Carto. In March of 2014, Chris Chmie­len­ski of the anti-immigrant group Num­ber­sUSA, provided an inter­view to AFP. Also in 2014, Frosty Wooldridge, an advi­sory board mem­ber with the extreme anti-immigrant group Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR) appeared on more than one occa­sion on “The Jeff Rense Pro­gram.”  The pro­gram is a conspiracy-oriented Inter­net radio show broad­cast on Rense’s noto­ri­ously anti-Semitic web­site.

FAIR Advisory Board Member Spouts White Nationalist Rhetoric in Anti-Semitic Paper

On November 9, Frosty Wooldridge, a FAIR advisory board member granted an interview with the anti-Semitic newspaper American Free Press (AFP). Wooldridge made a number of racist statements including, arguing that “[t]hose who prac­tice Islam hold no eth­nic iden­tity with Eng­lish and Euro­pean cul­ture.” More­over, he continued “… the African world­view is totally dif­fer­ent than that of Euro­peans. Their cul­ture is dia­met­ri­cally opposed to ours. That’s why so many blacks are in prison.” Wooldridge went on to state, “Due to a father­less soci­ety that plagues the black com­mu­nity, many teenagers join gangs. But I guar­an­tee you, amid this racial strife, there will be more riots in the streets that’ll make Fer­gu­son look like a kinder­garten party. As this occurs, our coun­try, our ethos, lan­guage and civ­i­liza­tion are all going down.” For Wooldridge, the U.S. immigration policies mean, “we’re importing our demise as a civilization.” As previously mentioned, Wooldridge regularly grants interviews to anti-Semitic media outlets to promote his racist views.

Pro-English Attacks Super Bowl Ad Promoting America’s Diversity

Following the airing of a Super Bowl ad from Coca-Cola celebrating America’s diversity, the anti-immigrant group ProEnglish asked activists to contact the corporation and complain. Pro­Eng­lish claimed the ad “directly under­mined the spirit of national unity ‘Amer­ica, the Beau­ti­ful’ was intended to fos­ter.” The group went one step fur­ther, claim­ing Coke should “pro­mote civic unity, not disunity.”

Anti-immigrant Lawyer Implies Obama’s Executive Action Could Lead to Ethnic Cleansing

When asked on his radio show in November whether Obama’s actions would lead to eth­nic cleans­ing, Kris Kobach, who is of coun­sel with Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of FAIR, responded, “And the rule of law used to be unas­sail­able, used to be taken for granted in Amer­ica. And now, of course, we have a pres­i­dent who dis­re­gards the law when it suits his inter­ests. So, while I nor­mally would answer that by say­ing, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never hap­pen in Amer­ica,’ I won­der what could happen…”  

CIS Staffer Suggests Being Hung, Drawn And Quartered is Too Good for President Obama

During a speech in July to The Highlands Tea Party in Sebring, Florida, Stephen Steinlight, the senior policy analyst for the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) attacked President Obama for his immigration policies. In reference to President Obama’s policies, Steinlight stated, “I would think being hung, drawn and quartered is probably too good for him.”

Longtime Anti-immigrant Activists Behind Initial Protests Against Kids Fleeing Violence

Contrary to what the anti-immigrant movement would have you believe, the individuals and groups that helped to organize the initial protests against the unaccompanied minors from Central America were not just concerned citizens but rather longtime anti-immigrant activists. In Murrieta, California, protesters blocked buses of mothers and children from entering a DHS facility. Numerous anti-immigrant activists with close ties to the anti-immigrant movement flocked to Murrieta from all over Southern California to participate in these protests. Some of these protesters are closely tied to extreme elements of the anti-immigrant movement and have a history of making bigoted statements. In Vassar, Michigan, protesters with firearms took to the streets in opposition to the children. Tamyra Murray, a longtime anti-immigrant activist and state advisor for FAIR organized the protests. In Oracle, Arizona, the office of Penal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a man closely tied to the anti-immigrant movement, claimed unaccompanied minors would be relocated to a location in the city. This sparked a protest where a school bus full of children from a summer camp was briefly stopped after being mistaken for unaccompanied minors.

Anti-immigrant Groups Attempt to Link Ebola with Immigration

As news broke of the first per­son inside the U.S. diag­nosed with the deadly Ebola virus, anti-immigrant groups seized the oppor­tu­nity to use this infor­ma­tion as a way to speak out against “mass immi­gra­tion.” CIS head Mark Krikorian called for an immediate travel ban for all of the affected nations. His colleague, Jessica Vaughan, equat­ed Ebola patients with unac­com­pa­nied minors flee­ing vio­lence in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca and seek­ing refuge in the United States, and claimed both are try­ing “to take advan­tage” of U.S. bor­der pol­icy. A writer for the racist website VDARE called for legislators to revisit to the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­ity Act of 1965, which abol­ished racial quo­tas con­tained in pre­vi­ous immi­gra­tion laws. White nationalist Peter Brimelow, the VDARE founder asked, “why does Amer­ica need immi­gra­tion from this famously unhealthy part of the world any­way?”

Anti-immigrant Groups Attempt to Bring ISIS into the Immigration Debate

In response to the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in the Mid­dle East by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Amer­i­can anti-immigrant groups attempted to exploit the public’s legit­i­mate con­cerns about ISIS by warn­ing that the group plans to enter the United States via Mexico. The anti-immigrant grass­roots orga­ni­za­tion Num­ber­sUSA and the California-based Cal­i­for­ni­ans for Pop­u­la­tion Sta­bi­liza­tion (CAPS) both sent fundrais­ing emails to activists in August/September link­ing ISIS to Pres­i­dent Obama’s announce­ment of some form of exec­u­tive relief for undoc­u­mented immi­grants. Some anti-immigrant groups are also respond­ing to the media spot­light on ISIS by espous­ing anti-Muslim rhetoric. In a Face­book post on Sep­tem­ber 9, the Tea Party Immi­gra­tion Coali­tion headed by racist Rick Olt­man asserted, “We must rethink the 1st amend­ment as it applies to Islam. Islam is NOT a reli­gion; rather, it is a supra­na­tional orga­ni­za­tion hell bent on world dom­i­na­tion and killing any­one, any­where and at any time to do so.”

Anti-immigrant Protesters Espouse Extreme Rhetoric on Nationwide Protest Days

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.” The sparsely attended protests not only attracted extrem­ists, but many of the activists in atten­dance dis­played signs with extreme rhetoric. 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.” In San Diego, one pro­tester held a sign with the Mex­i­can flag which, read, in part, “yes, we sell humans, drugs, pros­ti­tu­tion, the demise of your country.” Mem­bers of the white suprema­cist group Euro­pean Amer­i­can Action Coali­tion (EAAC) attended a rally in Moosic, Penn­syl­va­nia. 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…”