In February 2009, William Gheen, a North Carolina-based anti-immigrant leader, increased his group's activity dramatically in a clear effort to put both himself and his group on the national stage. Gheen is apparently seeking to compete with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the largest anti-immigrant group in the country; and John Tanton, who has orchestrated a mass web of anti-immigrant groups that collectively dominate the movement. Once affiliated with FAIR, Gheen is no longer an open ally of the group.
William Gheen leads the North Carolina-based Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC), a xenophobic anti-immigrant group. He advances his group's mission by publicly branding undocumented immigrants as murderous criminals and disease carriers. He also maintains affiliations with border vigilante leaders.
Gheen expands in California
Gheen has expanded ALIPAC's activity to California, teaming up with border vigilante leaders and Barbara Coe, a racist anti-immigrant leader, for an “event” on February 19, 2009, a luncheon on February 20, and an indoor rally on February 21. He is calling ALIPAC's California campaign “Unity Against Amnesty 2009” and is encouraging his followers to support the group's California debut. Gheen plans to work with:
- Chris Simcox, head of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an Arizona-based border vigilante group that conducts armed patrols of the Mexican-American border.
- Diana Hull, the president of Californians for Population Stabilization, an anti-immigrant group based in Santa Barbara, California.
- Barbara Coe, a racist figure who leads the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, a xenophobic group based in Huntington Beach, California.
- Chelene Nightingale, a member of Save Our State, an anti-immigrant group based in San Bernardino, California.
- Jeff Schwilk, who leads the San Diego Minutemen, a border vigilante group based in Oceanside, California.
- Ted Hayes, a California-based Minuteman leader who also formerly led Choose Black America, an anti-immigrant group founded by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the largest anti-immigrant group in the country.
Appearances on local and Internet radio shows
In addition to the three events, Gheen is planning to make appearances on local and Internet radio shows, hosted out of California, to promote ALIPAC's new activity. He has announced his plans to give an interview on a show hosted by Terry Anderson, an anti-immigrant activist. Anderson has previously conducted interviews with several other prominent figures in the anti-immigration movement, including D.A. King, who leads the Dustin Inman Society, a Georgia-based xenophobic group and Glenn Spencer, leader of the virulently anti-Hispanic border vigilante group American Border Patrol. Spencer has claimed that the Mexican government is “sponsoring the invasion of the United States with hostile intent.”
New state “focus campaigns”
Gheen has also announced the creation of new state “focus campaigns” for 2009. He predicts that there will be a “whole new wave of state legislation coming online in 2009.” To achieve ALIPAC's goals, Gheen has initiated campaigns in Texas, North Carolina, and Connecticut. He is calling for volunteers and has announced regional leaders for these campaigns. Jane Patterson, who serves as ALIPAC's treasurer, will lead the Texas effort. Gheen himself will take charge of the North Carolina campaign. Of most significance is the Connecticut campaign, which will be headed by Peter Gadiel, who also runs 9/11 Families for a Secure America, an anti-immigrant group. Gadiel has spoken at anti-immigrant rallies, sharing the podium with xenophobic figures who have repeatedly demonized undocumented immigrants.
Launch of new Web site
In an effort to disseminate its message in a more polished, pseudo-academic fashion, ALIPAC launched a new Web site in January 2009. Entitled “End Illegal Immigration,” its stated purpose is to “provide… information, news, facts, statistics, immigration laws and history….” With alleged “facts and statistics” produced by anti-immigrant think tanks, the site reflects ALIPAC's attempt to portray itself as a source of scholarly information about undocumented immigration and its perceived impact on the United States. This informational site is unlike the main ALIPAC site and forum, which are geared more towards engendering grass roots activity. Such a multi-pronged approach is common among major anti-immigrant groups.