Profiles of 20 Nativist Leaders
Dustin Gold, 26
New Haven, Conn.
When he was a teenager, Dustin Gold was part of the "goth" subculture. He wore makeup and black, knee-high boots almost every day to high school. Now a licensed private investigator who runs his own Web design firm, Gold is rapidly becoming the golden boy of the anti-immigration movement. He's traded in his Marilyn Manson groupie duds for sharp business suits, and now only wears makeup for his increasingly frequent television appearances on national and local news and programs, where he holds forth on national security and economic issues pertaining to illegal immigration, always with a crafty nativist spin.
"[Gold] dresses well, speaks well and carries himself well, which creates an aura of authority," the New Haven Advocate wrote last December. In contrast to "sensationalistic cranks easily written off by the media," the paper said, "Gold comes across as reasoned, likeable, and intelligent. …That's why Gold's scary. He's appealing to the respectable media outlets who need a credible source on immigration and also talking to and recruiting zealous xenophobes."
Gold is a new player in the nativist game. He first appeared last summer when he organized a protest campaign against the Elm City Resident Card program, which provides local government identification cards to immigrants in New Haven to be used for opening bank accounts and accessing some city services, such as checking out library books. Also last year, Gold launched the anti-immigration group Community Watchdog Project. Its members regularly hold protests and dominate the public testimony at local government hearings.
"Our organization has two clear goals: to abolish illegal immigration in the State of Connecticut beginning with New Haven, and to protect our right to be American," Gold states on the Community Watchdog Project website. "We will do anything in our power, legally, to achieve these goals."