The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

American Legion Deletes Some Immigrant-Bashing Myths, Repeats Others, In ‘Updated’ Report

By Sonia Scherr on January 21, 2009 - 7:27 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

More than eight months after promoting nativist falsehoods in a booklet about illegal immigration, the American Legion has discreetly removed the most egregious inaccuracies from an updated version of its report.

But America’s largest veterans group has failed to publicly acknowledge the errors, which Hatewatch detailed last July. Furthermore, the new edition of the report continues to perpetuate derogatory myths about undocumented immigrants. “The security, economy and social fabric of the United States of America is [sic] seriously threatened by individuals who are illegally in this country,” the booklet states.

The legion first released A Strategy to Address Illegal Immigration in the United States last April 28. Two months later, the legion announced the booklet was “being updated” after two organizations — the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American GI Forum, a Hispanic veterans group — repeatedly expressed concerns. Nonetheless, in an October 2008 letter to the editor of the Intelligence Report, legion Commander Dave Rehbein dismissed the Intelligence Report’s debunking of factual errors in the booklet, arguing they merely reflected differing “perspectives” on immigration.

But that doesn’t explain why six statements the Intelligence Report identified as false disappeared from the updated booklet, which was released last week on the legion’s website.

For instance, the report no longer contends that “non-citizens make up fully 30% of the American prison population.” (The real number is roughly 6%.) Nor does it falsely claim that undocumented immigrants infected 7,000 people in this country with leprosy during a recent three-year period. (The actual figure of all leprosy cases in the U.S. during that time is about 400, and it’s unknown how many were attributable to immigrants, undocumented or otherwise.) Also gone is the assertion — for which the original report provided no source — that “more Americans are killed by illegal aliens than died in the Iraq War.”

The “updated” report also asserts at the outset that its opposition to illegal immigration is not based on race, religion or nationality.

Despite these changes, the booklet still presents a misleading and defamatory portrait of undocumented immigrants.

For its information, the legion relies heavily on the Federation for American Immigration Reform — which the SPLC lists as a hate group in part because of its ties to white supremacists — and the Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigration think tank.

Among other myths, the legion booklet still claims that:

• “By failing to assimilate into our culture [undocumented immigrants] divide America into ethnic enclaves.” In fact, a recent study by the Manhattan Institute found that today’s foreign-born, while currently less assimilated than their counterparts of 100 years ago, are in fact assimilating at a faster rate than those earlier newcomers.

• “Illegals cost Americans jobs.” A 2006 Pew Hispanic Center study found that, overall, large increases in states’ immigrant population did not correspond with more unemployment for their native-born workers. Most scholars have failed to find a link between immigration and job loss.

• Undocumented immigrants cause “an enormous drain on public services.” Actually, undocumented immigrants are barred from receiving most forms of public assistance, besides public school education and emergency medical care. They also pay taxes, including sales taxes, and often, through phony Social Security cards, payroll taxes. In 2005, The New York Times reported that undocumented immigrants contribute some $7 billion a year to the Social Security system they will never be able to claim.

Several of the American Legion’s state chapters and local posts are allied with hardliner nativist groups. The California branch of the American Legion recently joined hate groups and nativist extremist organizations in a coalition that seeks to force “illegal alien birth mothers” to obtain special birth certificates. The coalition, Taxpayer’s Revolution, argues that ending the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States is “critical toward reducing the crime problem.”

Last August, a Colorado American Legion post hosted a three-day “national security convention” devoted entirely to illegal immigration. The speakers included Glenn Spencer, leader of the hate groups American Patrol and American Border Patrol, who wrote in a 1996 letter to the Los Angeles Times that “Mexican culture is based on deceit” and “Chicanos and Mexicanos lie as a means of survival.”

  • Carter

    James, I said “we are all just people” – NOT we are all just ONE people. There is a difference…..
    We all make mistakes, we are all fallible, we all fall far short of perfection.
    Look buddy; I don’t hold hands & sing “Kume By Ah” with a bunch of hippies in some park. My life is far different than some, my opinions as well. People have differing backgrounds & life experiences that makes us vastly INDIVIDUAL, etc. But I’d bet that not all ANYONE (Muslims, Jews, Blacks, Asians) act as a group.* ESPECIALLY Europeans! The last time I was in Europe (how MANY times have you REALLY been to Europe, James?) there was as many different perspectives on life as well as lifestyles as you could imagine.
    We can be INDIVIDUALS but yet, retain similarities as human beings.
    People are different but we all have similarities that make us human. If you were in the Service, did you ever serve with a Black person? Sleep in the same room, talk to him; work together? We ALL go through the same stuff: Some at different times in their lives, etc. but we all love, fear, envy, laugh, etc…..Damn it, you MUST know that! I really can’t believe that, in your heart – believe that a little 7 yr old Black girl is a monkey. I have a damn hard time thinking that if you saw some kid crying you’d walk away like they were some kind of animal that could “fend for itself”. Are you saying, that’s what kind of man you are?

    *If all the Mainland Chinese acted as a group & stamped their left foot on “orders of the race” on Tuesday… you know how foolish that sounds?

  • Carter

    @ Dedicated_Dad:

    I’m actually not sure who is the person(s) responsible for allowing posting to the Blog, however I have been critical on several occasions to some of the material published within (or directly to the SPLC) & they let my opinions stand.
    It’s obvious they let dissenters (James for instance) post straight-piece WN rhetoric.
    Perhaps you goofed when you hit the “COMMENT” button; as I don’t see a great deal of censorship on this Blog.
    Perhaps if someone were to post insanity about a
    Black man’s genitals of Jews having hooves & horns, they might curb it for the sake of honestly or bad taste. But if you have a perspective that potently describes an issue you believe to be unfair, I’d bet they allow it.
    There are a lot of people here who don’t fall off the edge of the Leftist World. The content issue is on of human relations not straight politics, per se’.

  • Robert Borruel

    To Dedicated Dad: Then by your own reasoning, before Ellis Island came into being(late 1890s), all immigrants were illegal aliens, including your own ancestors! Nice try Daddy-O, but you should know your history before typing errors on this subject. Your like the rest of your people, you know nothing, but still open up your big mouth, and let the hateful garbage roll out!

  • Dedicated_Dad

    Don’t know why I try again since only lefty or bigoted comments seems to get posted…

    The article is no less disingenuous than most lefty propaganda.

    Noone I know is against immigration, EVERYONE I know is against ILLEGAL immigration. Note the difference.

    The AL is NOT anti-immigrant, they’re anti CRIMINAL.

    Illegal immigrants are – by their nature – criminals. The first thing they when they crossed the border is break our laws.


  • Robert Borruel

    Fred: Then gives thanks to the Indians & Mexicans, you have their land(albeit, stolen goods).

  • Fred

    Don’t ever bite the hand that protects your anti American butts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sharonms

    There are THREE races – Caucasian, Negro, and Mongolian. The Caucasian race (thought by idiots like James Hallman to be the “white” race) has many colors within it, located all over the world. Virtually ALL U.S. “Negroes” are mixed with other races; only “pure” Negroes are found among certain African tribes who have stayed to themselves. The Mongolian race (Orientals) has also mixed with the two other races. It is ridiculous to talk about a “white” race. But of course, people like James Hallman, an obvious white supremacist who has never faced reality, ARE ridiculous. As for the American Legion, it really needs to get a grip and quite making a complete ass of itself.

  • Robert Borruel

    BINGO James, for you have fulfilled all of our(decent people who believes in fairness for ALL) expectations of yourself. You are certainly a “special person”, so say hi to your classmates for us. BTW, Santiago(Spanish for James, folks), so-called Aryan peoples are from IRAN, therefore, REAL Aryans are Brown peoples, not white!

  • James Hallman

    Carter: Tell this we’re all just one people”, to the hundreds of Jewish and other minority organizations across America who have collectively billions of dollars to spread their anti-white propaganda, and who make it their living to indoctrinate their people in just how ‘special’ they really are. What whites did to the ‘indian’ was nothing more than what tribes,clans, and races, have done since the beginning of mans existence. The only difference being, is that other races haven’t had to contend with the relatively recent concept of cultural marxism that attempts to instill the proverbial guilt-trip on whites for having been more successive at survival and advancing their self-interst ,and who now, according to what is politically correct, are supposed to lay down and allow the rest of the non-white world to walk all over them in the name of some twisted justice. If you think I’m wrong, than you just keep thinking that ,because there are more and more whites who are coming to the same conclusions I’ve come too, and who are growing sick of the double-standard and anti-white discrimination that leads one to believe that the only long term solution is racial separation.

  • James Hallman

    You mean it only tooke a couple of blogs for you to figure that out! You are right, I could care less about non-white immigrants legal or illegal. I would have our future white nation open to all white people of sound mind and body and who have a reasonable understanding of our worldview in order to realize a greater Aryan homeland that would ensure our survival and advancement.

  • loren

    I am pleased that the American Legion has eliminated some of the falsehoods from its revised booklet. However, from what I have read, the organization has taken no responsibility for the lies and hate that it disseminated. An honorable organization would admit that they were wrong and offer to replace the old booklets, which are still being circulated. An honorable organization would hold someone accountable for what has transpired. An honorable organization would issue an apology. Since none of this has happened, we can surmise that the American Legion is not an honorable organization.

  • Forgiver

    I feel sorry for participants of SPLC, when God returns to judge you how will you defend yourself from such lies and attacks.

    You people are the haters for profit, in the name of non-profit.

    May God have mercy on you, when he judges the wicked as you are.

  • ThisAmerican

    The SPLC is once again spewing their very own brand of hate and lies. Please enlighten us nativists as to HOW you calculate $7 billion/year paid into FICA/SSI by illegal aliens? It’s just another bald faced lie. And further, please explain how the illegal doesn’t get the full gamut of welfare for the entire family via their anchor babies? I find it truly amazing that they make less than minimum wage, have many, many children, send billions home annually, yet receive NO social services. That’s quite a feat, even for an Hispanic, eh? Yup, cut citizenship for anyone born of illegal parent(s), then NO benefits for non citizens and see how long the invasion continues.

  • Whitey

    It should be enough that they are ILLEGAL but to the SPLC its a crime to discriminate against them or deny them a job or house and don’t even think about having them all deported back to Mexico!

  • Vanzant

    Yet more deceptive drivel from the Marxists at SPLC. The American Legion is dead on. One of the reasons California is sinking is because of illegal immigration. But who are we to think that the SPLC has anything whatsoever in common with truth? Pfft.

  • Robert Burruel

    James: Everytime you post you reveal your true motive for posting here. Your just anti-non-white immigrant, that’s all, but not anti-white immigrant. I knew it would only take a post or two for you to reveal your own sickness of racism! It was all too easy.

  • Carter

    It’s laughable that James Hallman looses his argument every time he posts….
    Perhaps it’s time you did some homework James, & actually studied independently instead of believing everything that’s handed to you.
    Ellis Island was provided with methods to stop the spread of TD. The Europeans who hopped over here on the Mayflower (and previously) weren’t that lucky & had to contend w/ a Hell of a lot of disease that they rudely gave to the indigenous population.
    We are all just PEOPLE James; no one is out to GET YOU as a group or collective entity. Life is too damn short to use it up in hate & fear. When you finally get that, you’ll have some peace.

  • James Hallman

    Robert I see nothing wrong in the concept
    of conquest and taking whats necssary to
    advance our own race. Our people needed
    the living space in order to thrive and advance
    or else we’d still be sitting on Plymouth Rock.
    The problem with white people today, is that
    through marxist brainwashing and Christian
    equalitarian ideals we’ve lost what it takes
    to survive as a people. I personally could care
    less what happened to the indians.

  • Robert Burruel

    To James: All of your ideas about today’s immigrants are in error. Did you know that European immigrants brought to the New world all kinds of diseases that killed pure Indians who were NOT polluted by those diseases before? And that in the process they(your distant relaives) stole land from both the Indians and the Mexicans who were here 10,000 years before you were even a sparkle in your European’s ancestor’s eye? If you don’t like the New world, you can always go back to ole Europe, and take a couple of those Legion vets with you. They are a disgrace to our country’s uniform! Oh BTW, Europe is a bi-lingo continent…go use to it, buddy!

  • mountaingirl08

    The “anti-immigration” folks would exclude only certain groups. They specifically target Hispanics in this respect. They conveniently fail to mention those groups from northern European countries. They might say to you that northern Europeans aren’t coming here in the numbers that those from our southern/southwestern borders, thus they are not flooding our country. They would say that if northern Europeans began taking all our jobs and social services like the Hispanics then they ( the “anti-immigration” patriots) would be up in arms against the influx of Europeans.
    They would do nothing about it. They reason they wouldn’t is that they feel that Americans of Northern European (mainly those from the British Isles) heritage are being overwhelmed by Hispanics and that America needs more people from Europe so Anglo-Saxon types won’t shortly be a minority. Such as in a week, a month, a year or two or whatever.
    They are lying to themselves and to us.

  • James Hallman

    Dear Doris:

    It could be said that everyone came from
    someplace else at some place and time, but
    the fact remains that what we now call the
    United States of America was created and
    founded by European/Americans who
    made up about 90% of the population up until
    Those european immigrants came to make
    a better life without the benefit of food stamps,
    welfare, and socialized medicine ,and came
    wanting to learn English and be Americans
    unlike those millions now coming who wish to
    take full advantage of the American taxpayer
    and who could care less about learning english
    or assimilating into our culture for that matter.
    Those coming now bring more disease, more
    crime, and more poverty at a time when we can
    least afford it, taking America jobs and putting
    more pressures on an already over burdened
    healthcare and education system.
    The Legion may have overstated a few facts
    but the truth is that non-white immigration
    whether legal or illegal is displacing our European/
    American majority, changing the very demographics
    of our nation threatening our way of life in a far
    greater way than foriegn terrorist could ever do to
    us as a people and nation.
    If we were to allow the entire third worlds populations
    to immigrate to the United States of America simply
    because they want to have a better life , so we and
    our better life would surely disappear.
    We have enough people in this country already.
    Let’s give our environment a break from the ever
    increasing population, polution, and liberal popycock!

  • Doris Vician

    Did these people forget that probably most of them had or have immigrant parents or grandparents. When my ancestors came here in the l850’s from what was the Austro-Hungarian empire (now Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics), they came here for a better life. They came to the midwest and eventually settled in Gary, IN and worked in the steel mills. Now their grandchildren live in all areas of this wonderful country. Even the Native Americans may have come from other places. We are all Americans but should be proud of our heritage. Immigrants want the same things. We need to change our immigration laws!!!

  • Exaggerato

    And let’s not forget where this same American Legion was calling for a Fascist-stylee “March on Washington” in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, only to be thwarted in their efforts by Major-General (Retired) Smedley “War is a Racket” Butler, United States Marine Corps, issuing warnings to then-President Roosevelt about such a likelihood.

    As well as playing the role of strike-breakers and hired goons in the name of “Law and Order” during labour disputes through the 1920’s, resorting to The Old Ultraviolence if need be.

    And are we forgetting their admiration of Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini?

  • Robert Burruel

    These Vet groups should be classified as hate groups too. They may be vets(I’m a Vietnam vet) but they are trash just like the hate groups they support. I would NEVER joined the American Legion of hate.