'Blood on the Border': Anti-Immigrant Violence Looms

In the frightening world of John Vinson's American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF), Americans are "fighting a war" with an "unseen enemy" who is rapidly ravishing the land.

A "raging flood" of Latins, Haitians and other Third Worlders — "the greatest wave of immigration the world has ever witnessed" — threatens America's "generally European" core with "foreign domination."

Already, Miami is a "Third World nightmare." "Illegal aliens" practice "voodoo" and leave stinking "human waste" in the streets. They bring crime, slums, urban sprawl and other troubles. "America is beautiful," says the narrator in one AICF videotape. "Why spoil it?"

John Vinson is not alone in his fears. The American radical right — and even more so, the European — is haunted by a specter: the day when white numerical dominance will end, sometime after 2050 in the United States.

The news last August that California had become the first large state to see its white population dip below 50 percent sent chills up the collective spine of the extreme right.

In the last year, radical groups around the country grew increasingly agitated over immigration. The pages of their publications filled with dire predictions of white racial extinction, a situation variously blamed on "corporate America" and a plot by Mexico.

Some held rallies in places where immigration is changing the local landscape, while others worked alongside more "mainstream" anti-immigrant groups to promote vigilantism.

Many wrote of the perils of foreign "takeovers" by non-whites. And David Duke, the former Klansman, started a group specifically to take advantage of nativist hatred. More and more, the radical right came to fear racial Armageddon at the hands of dark-skinned aliens.

"The brute fact," warned Sam Francis, editor of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens' Citizens Informer, "is that unrestricted immigration has allowed the American Southwest to be invaded by aliens who may well in the near future ... break the American nation apart."

Violence, too, is growing common — both along the border and in places as far away as Long Island and Minnesota. In Pittsburgh last year, a lawyer allegedly went on a rampage against immigrants that left five non-whites dead.

Defeat and 'Race War' in California
For the moment, anti-immigration activists face a dilemma. Since a major anti-immigrant proposition in California was overturned by the courts in 1998, opposition to immigration as a mainstream issue has faded.

As Francis complained angrily in a recent Citizens Informer editorial, "The Republicans in the last few years have almost entirely surrendered on immigration control."

Last fall, the only presidential candidate who ran on an anti-immigration platform — Pat Buchanan of the Reform Party — got just one percent of the vote, not the three-to-five percent many expected. A strong economy has meant few concerns about low-wage American jobs.

But that could change quickly. If, as many expect, the U.S. economy falls into a recession, all bets are off. In past downturns, Americans have passed harsh anti-immigration measures and violence has typically accelerated.

In Europe, recent hard times have seen outbursts of savage anti-immigrant attacks, including the fatal fire-bombings of several hotels full of foreign refugees.

Extremist nationalism is on the rise in the northern and central nations there — and a similar phenomenon could easily hit the United States, given that immigration here already is at the highest levels since the massive wave of the early 1900s.

"I once interviewed a Spanish neo-fascist who talked about how capitalist society was like a diamond, very, very hard, almost impossible to break," says Martin Lee, an expert on the resurgence of fascism in Europe.

"But he said that if you found exactly the right pressure point, it could crack. For the European radical right, immigration has been that point for 30 years."

And what about America? "This is a precise situation which can start a race war," a hopeful "Tripp Henderson," a New Jersey member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, wrote in a posting to an Alliance e-group.

"All it takes is for bodies to show up, and for the Mexicans in L.A. to start reprisals against Whites in California. Many wars have started over a single shot. I seriously urge any lone-wolf to leave a few bodies in the desert to get things warmed up."

Violence and Propaganda
Already, in an increasingly charged atmosphere along the U.S.-Mexican border, there has been violence. In the last year — the same period in which several Arizona ranchers made national news by "arresting" at gunpoint illegal aliens who crossed their lands — three would-be border-crossers have been killed in apparent vigilante violence.

One of them was shot from behind after asking a Texas rancher for water; he was left to bleed to death in the scrub brush. Seven others are confirmed wounded, and the toll will almost certainly go higher.

To the north, in Bloomington, Minn., a Hispanic man was clubbed and critically injured for speaking Spanish at a job site. In Farmingville, N.Y., a pair of tattooed racists were accused of posing as contractors to lure two undocumented Mexican workers to a warehouse where they were beaten severely.

This violence has been accompanied by renewed interest in immigration from two kinds of right-wing groups, some white supremacist and others less clearly so. Increasingly, these two sets of groups are finding common ground.

White supremacist groups almost by definition hate immigrants — at least dark-skinned ones. For groups from the National Alliance to the Klan to racist Skinhead crews, the Third World foreigner has always been an anathema.

But two of these racist groups are today particularly outspoken: the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) and its much smaller, more intellectual cousin, Jared Taylor's New Century Foundation, which publishes American Renaissance magazine.

The 15,000-plus-member CCC, led by Gordon Lee Baum, has taken up immigration issues ever more vigorously in the months since Sam Francis, a fired Washington Times columnist who once chaired Vinson's AICF, took over as editor-in-chief of its Citizens Informer.

At the same time, American Renaissance, a journal dedicated to "proving" racial differences, has published Francis, California State University professor Roger McGrath and other anti-immigration ideologues. More and more, these two periodicals share both writers and politics.