The anti-immigrant movement’s “big three,” Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA continued to gain clout in 2018 as they pervaded mainstream media and infiltrated the White House. Several former employees of these groups (CIS and FAIR are designated hate groups) have ascended to high levels of government. Positions include Citizenship and Immigration Services ombudsman, and jobs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), State Department and the White House Domestic Policy Council. Increasingly seen as legitimate think tanks, the groups were regularly cited by mainstream press including The New York Times and the Washington Post.
Anti-immigrant hate groups coalesced around several issues in 2018: repealing birthright citizenship (the first clause in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution), limiting welfare use by immigrants, ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), curbing refugee admissions, eliminating temporary protected status (TPS), supporting Trump’s family separation policy, getting rid of the diversity visa lottery program, increasing deportations and repealing sanctuary laws across the country. But it was the migrant caravan that drew unprecedented attention in the latter months of 2018. President Trump deployed around 5,000 troops to the border with Mexico to prevent asylum seekers, mostly from Central and South America, from entering the U. S. In repeated tweets attacking migrants, Trump described the migrants as “Stone cold criminals” and authorized the use of tear gas and “other lethal force” against them.
With hopes to “secure the border,” increase deportations and enact attrition through enforcement, 2019 will surely be another banner year for anti-immigrant groups in Donald Trump’s America.
Although many groups criticize high levels of immigration and some (categorized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “nativist extremist” groups) typically confront or harass individual immigrants and their supporters, anti-immigrant hate groups generally go further by pushing racist propaganda.