The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Broad swaths of the far right reacted with outrage and accusations of looming dictatorship to President Obama’s announcement last night of unilateral moves to allow some 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in this country — and some of the most inflammatory rhetoric came from the political “mainstream.”
Even before the Thursday night speech, people like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — a conservative, but known as a personal friend of the president — were sounding apoplectic as details of Obama’s planned executive actions leaked out. Coburn warned that they could lead to “anarchy” and “violence” in the streets. U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said the actions might warrant a “jail penalty” for the president, and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann said they would legalize millions of “illiterate” people — the same Latinos many GOP leaders have said they want to reach out to.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, another Republican well known for his strident opposition to immigration and efforts to suppress minority votes, agreed with a caller to a radio show that Obama’s plan might amount to “ethnic cleansing,” presumably of white people, adding that it appeared to be an effort to “replac[e] American voters with newly legalized aliens” to create a “locked in vote for socialism.”
It wasn’t that Obama’s moves didn’t anger the radical right along with many of those in the ostensible polirical mainstream. Stewart Rhodes, leader of the radical antigovernment group Oath Keepers, said that if Republicans do not impeach the president for his actions, then people would seek out “other options” to take on the man who “violated his oath, grossly.” Television extremist Glenn Beck warned that Obama’s executive actions, along with a possible decision to not indict Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson, would lead to a “race war.” And Larry Klayman, leader of the extremist Judicial Watch organization, filed a suit within hours of Obama’s announcement on behalf of Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio, claiming that the executive actions were unconstitutional and would cause “irreparable harm.”
But most of the fury did seem to come from politicians and others closer to the political center. For instance, Mark Krikorian, the head of the Washington-based anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies, likened Obama to Richard Nixon and said he saw himself as the nation’s “ultimate ruler.” U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.) said that the president’s actions would lead to a national “internal crisis” comparable to the period just before the Civil War. And House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) accused Obama of “acting like” a king or an emperor.
It’s not clear if all the sturm und drang will continue to heat up as awareness of the president’s new initiative spreads. But there are real signs that the nativist extremist movement, which swept the country between 2005 and 2011 with Minuteman and other radical “citizen border patrol” groups, may be roaring back to life. Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a major new report examining how the anti-immigrant movement has swelled in recent months, beginning with the blocking of buses carrying undocumented children in Murrieta, Calif., in early July. President Obama’s new moves may well exacerbate that apparent rebirth.
As Fury Mounts Over Obama Actions on Immigration, SPLC Releases Major Report on Nativist Movement Rebirth
Just a day after President Obama announced a series of executive actions meant to allow millions of undocumented residents to remain in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center is releasing a major report on the apparent rebirth of the nativist extremist movement that swept the country between 2005 and 2011.
Today’s release of “Back to the Border,” the cover story of the new issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, comes amid a rising din of anti-immigrant fury from both the mainstream and the radical right about Obama’s moves, unilateral actions that an array of enraged nativists claim could set political violence. The new report traces the resurgence of the movement to early July, when a furious mob turned back buses carrying undocumented and unaccompanied minor immigrants to a Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, Calif. The new edition of the quarterly investigative journal carrying the story can be read at www.splcenter.org.
The confrontation in Murrieta led to a series of similar nativist outbursts around the country and the massing of antigovernment militias and other radical groups on the U.S.-Mexican border in the months that followed. The movement grew large enough that it sparked worries about the return the Minuteman and other nativist groups that harassed undocumented immigrants in recent years. Now, with Obama’s Thursday night speech on immigration already setting off a renewed round of enraged attacks on the president, the threat of a major nativist resurgence seems strong.
“The success of a howling mob in turning back buses filled with undocumented immigrant children bound for a shelter was the first spark to reignite the nativist extremist movement,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and author of the new report. “Now, with the new executive action initiative announced last night by President Obama, that spark may turn into a conflagration.’
This issue of the Intelligence Report also examines another radical movement experiencing a revival — the racist music industry. Racist bands are using iTunes, the world’s largest music vendor, to distribute their music following the collapse of several racist music labels and distributors. Although its terms of service appear to make iTunes off limits to these groups, the Report found that the music of at least 54 well-known racist bands was being sold by the music service this fall.
“The racist music industry, long a major source of money and new recruits for the white power movement, had been in decline in recent years,” Potok said. “But the discovery of iTunes by racist bands, and the fact that iTunes seems unwilling to move against them, has helped this industry find new hope and profits.”
Also in this issue of the Intelligence Report:
- “Warrior for God” profiles retired three-star general William “Jerry” Boykin, a longtime anti-Muslim activist now serving as executive vice president of the Family Research Council.
- “War Dreams” investigates how the neo-Confederate League of the South is forming a secret paramilitary unit called “The Indomitables,” another step in its continuing radicalization. The group now appears to include white supremacists, former Klan members and neo-Nazis.
- “East of Eden” examines how a small group of racists are promoting the Orthodox Church as a home for fascism. Although the church has its share of extreme-right officials, it vigorously rejects any association with such groups.
- “Redeemed” is an interview with Yvette Cantu Schneider, a woman who worked in religious-right “ex-gay” ministries for years, but recently joined other former activists in renouncing the movement.
A self-described coalition of antigovernment groups is hoping to organize yet another attempt at shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border at major commercial crossings this weekend, calling the event “Shut Down All Ports of Entry”.
Previous attempts at shutting down traffic at key border crossings this spring have ended in spectacular failure—notably radio host Pete Santilli’s attempt to shut down the crossing in Tijuana with bikers, as well as the “Border Convoy” last month, which culminated in a only a brief interruption at Brownsville, Texas.
But this particular attempt, scheduled to take place Saturday, has set off warnings among law enforcement personnel, including a local sheriff’s office in Texas and Border Patrol officials, who say they are prepared for just such an attempt
Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist recently announced that he was “considering” reviving the nativist border watch group. And now he’s made it official, announcing that he will organize a Minuteman border patrol in May of 2015.
Gilchrist clearly hopes to capitalize on the mounting right-wing outrage over the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico involving Central American refugee children.
Gilchrist’s effort – dubbed “Operation Normandy” – is not lacking in grandiosity. The announcement at the Minuteman Project website declares:
The Minuteman Project’s “Operation Normandy” has been launched as of 1200 hours Monday, July 7. This event will dwarf the original Minuteman Project of 2005. I expect at least 3,500 non-militia volunteers to participate, plus uncounted groups of militias from all over the country.
If you are familiar with the Normandy invasion of France in 1944, then you have an idea how large and logistically complicated this event will be. However, there is one difference. We are not going to the border to invade anyone. We are going there to stop an invasion.
Our federal, state, and community governments have failed to address and fix this calamity. In the spirit of our nation’s Founding Fathers, it is once again time to bring unprecedented national awareness to the decades-long illegal alien crisis jeopardizing the United States.
Participation is open to everyone and there is only one rule: whatever you do, stay within the rule of law.
It will take 10 months to recruit, organize, and launch this event, and it will cover the porous areas of the 2,000-mile border from San Diego, Ca. to Brownsville, Texas.
D-Day: 1 May, 2015.
Jim Gilchrist, the California-based cofounder of the nativist border watch group the Minuteman Project, was last in the news back in 2009, when one of his associates was arrested by the FBI for murdering a 9-year-old girl and her father in their Arizona home. But he’s bidding to make headlines again by reawakening the Minutemen around the growing controversy over the child refugee crisis at the border.
In an interview last week with the right-wing cable channel One America News Network (OANN), Gilchrist announced that he was considering restarting his moribund organization:
GILCHRIST: I have been toying with this idea for several years. I personally would like to organize another major massive assembly of Minute-men and –women along the entire border – not just Arizona this time, but the entire 2,000-mile border from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas. I would need 3,500 volunteers to spend thirty days in certain areas of the unprotected border areas along that 2,000-mile-long border. It takes 10 months – it would take me until next May to organize such a huge effort.
And Gilchrist was casting about for support on the Minuteman Project website as well:
1. Should the Minuteman Project again call up volunteers to establish observation outpost positions on the U.S. – Mexico border from San Diego, Ca. to Brownsville, Texas?
2. Would you volunteer to spend up to 30 days of your time staffing an observation outpost on the border?
Jerome Corsi, the right-wing conspiracy theorist who helped put “birtherism” on the map, is yet again calling for President Obama to be impeached. This time he’s upset about immigration reform.
Back in September, Corsi and TeaParty.org put out a video demanding Obama be removed from office. The main pretext for removal was the president’s consideration of U.S. involvement in Syria, but he also listed abortion, LGBT rights, and immigration “amnesty” as impeachable outrages.
In December, Corsi issued two more calls for Obama’s impeachment, this time related to Obamacare. And just three weeks ago, TeaParty.org called for Obama’s impeachment over the “Benghazi scandal.” The site also has a standing Obama-impeachment petition which largely focuses on Benghazi.
Now, Corsi and TeaParty.org have a new (albeit recycled) rationale for demanding the president’s impeachment: Obama and congressional Democrats’ plan to push for passage of comprehensive immigration reform, known in shorthand to Corsi and his audience as “amnesty.”
Corsi believes that Obama – who is frequently criticized by immigrant rights groups for overseeing record levels of deportations – aims to lavish taxpayer-funded benefits on undocumented immigrants with the ultimate aim of ceasing all enforcement of immigration laws:
Count out the taxpayer money Barack Obama intends to redistribute to illegal immigrants allowed to flood the country once Congress has voted a truly open border with Mexico:
- Free education in public schools in Spanish;
- Abundant welfare payments including food stamps issued generously to all Hispanics regardless of immigration status;
- DREAM act privileges for Hispanics to get special college admission tuition breaks;
- Obamacare plus endless free medical care at Hospital emergency rooms.
The list goes on.
To push this agenda forward, Attorney General Eric Holder has followed President Obama’s instructions to stop deportations of illegal immigrants as part of a grander policy of refusing to enforce immigration laws altogether.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has obtained exclusive audio of Saturday night’s roast of controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The roast was the finale of last weekend’s Western Conservative Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Arizona State Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican from the Scottsdale area, had conservatives chortling with one joke after another about racial profiling, “rounding up Hispanics” and much more. For good measure, he mocked the controversy around SB 1062, the so-called religious freedom bill, taking a shot at Muslims in the process. And he mocked the federal monitor appointed to oversee Sheriff Arpaio’s operations after a judge determined that his department engaged in racial profiling and illegal detentions of Latinos.
It’s not uncommon for roasters to push boundaries. People joke about things that might otherwise be off-limits – sex, old age and a person’s personality and appearance. This was different.
Kavanagh, who made headlines last year for trying to criminalize bathroom use by transgender people, used Latinos as a punch line in one racist joke after another, and the crowd lapped it up. The jokes and laughter, caught in an unguarded moment, reveal why conservatives have such a difficult time connecting with Latinos – there is a fundamental lack of respect. Watch:
Then he pivoted to an immigration joke, “Sheriff Joe is the kind of guy that you gotta love. As long as you have papers.” ( continue to full post… )
After a years-long federal investigation, a 20-day trial and a snowstorm that delayed justice for another 48 hours, a former East Haven, Conn., police officer was sentenced today to five years in prison for violating the civil rights of Latino residents of the small working-class city.
The former officer, Dennis Spaulding, was one of four officers arrested by FBI agents in the pre-dawn darkness of Jan. 24, 2012. Spaulding, federal officials charged, was part of “a cancerous cadre” of “bullies with badges” that largely targeted members of the city’s fast growing Latino population, abusing their constitutional rights through harassment, wrongful arrest and racial profiling.
The officers also allegedly tried to cover their tracks by filing false police reports.
One of the cadre’s victims was a Roman Catholic priest who refused to be bullied. The priest, Rev. James Manship, the pastor at St. Rose of Lima in New Haven, was arrested on Feb. 19, 2009, while videotaping police officers in his campaign to document what he said was police harassment of Latinos. The priest was charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with the police. ( continue to full post… )
The Arizona Supreme Court today rejected every aspect of convicted Minuteman murderer Shawna Forde’s appeal, notably including her attempts to escape the death penalty. In a sweeping ruling issued this morning, the court found no reason to derail the nativist leader’s death sentence. Instead, the court affirmed her convictions and sentences, while ordering that her robbery sentences run concurrently rather than consecutively — a meaningless adjustment for someone on Death Row.
Forde, now 46 years old, was convicted by a Tucson jury in 2011 of first-degree murder in the home-invasion shooting deaths of Raul “Junior” Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, at their residence in rural Arivaca, Ariz. The case focused national attention on the racism and violence that were at the core of the Minuteman anti-immigration movement, whose members were once memorably described by President George W. Bush as “vigilantes.” The horror of the case — Brisenia was a beautiful little girl who was shot in the face as she cowered terrified on a couch with her puppy — helped to bring about the eventual collapse of Minuteman movement.
Despite evidence put on about such mitigating factors as Forde’s abusive childhood and her supposed mental incapacities, the jurors in her case nonetheless unanimously voted for a death sentence.
The murders were part of a grand scheme concocted and led by Forde, a native of Washington state, to construct a large militia training compound on the Arizona border for her border-watch organization, an offshoot of the larger Minuteman vigilante movement. Forde intended to fund the enterprise by ripping off drug-cartel marijuana smugglers at their drug houses. ( continue to full post… )
So long GOP. Hello dictatorship.
Immigration reform and the browning of America are going to turn the land of the free and the home of the brave into a one-party state like the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico.
Further, immigration reform – including a path to citizenship and keeping families together – will flat out destroy the Republican Party and pull the political center to the left.
In other words, it will be a “disaster.”
At least that’s the hysterical prediction of Stephen Steinlight, senior policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the usually wonky think tank of the anti-immigration movement.
According to Right Wing Watch, Steinlight made his dire predications in a recent pair of interviews with a Washington Times blogger.
In the past, the CIS, an arm of the Tanton network of anti-immigrant groups, has typically refrained from denigrating or demonizing Hispanics in the same manner as its sister group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Instead, it has relied heavily on studies, often faulty, that purport to show the economic and social dangers of immigration.
“We can expect disaster,” Steinlight said when asked what America should expect for the future in the event of “illegal alien amnesty.” ( continue to full post… )