As thousands of people prepare to rally in Washington, D.C., this Sunday for immigration reform, nativist extremist groups are unleashing their own campaigns to counter the event.
NumbersUSA today launched “S.T.O.P. Amnesty in Four Days,” a drive to derail any immigration reform package that includes a citizenship provision for undocumented immigrants. During the four-day campaign, NumbersUSA supporters will lobby members of Congress by faxing, calling and visiting their offices. The group, including its president and founder Roy Beck, will also have a presence at the march and will feature a live webcast of the event on its homepage.
Though NumbersUSA states on its website that it’s against immigrant-bashing, that’s apparently not true of all the group’s supporters. During last week’s NumbersUSA conference call to mobilize for S.T.O.P. Amnesty, one participant asserted that activists need to let Mexican immigrant women know that they are the new “welfare queens” because they rely on U.S. tax dollars to take care of their babies, according to the Colorado Independent. NumbersUSA’s director for social media marketing, Chad MacDonald, who was moderating the call, said he appreciated the point. “We will make a note of that,” he responded. “Thank you very much.” Another caller said the children of Mexican immigrants should be called dependents rather than babies. “They have dependents,” the caller said. “We have babies.”
Among those taking part in the S.T.O.P. Amnesty campaign is William Gheen’s Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), which “will be working around the clock this coming weekend,” according to a news release from ALIPAC. The group is also planning its own opposition to the pro-reform march, urging people to sign up for “Tea Party Against Amnesty” protests nationwide on April 15. (ALIPAC organized a first round of anti-amnesty tea parties last November.)
In an E-mail today, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) urged supporters to participate in a “three-step counter-strategy” by signing up for FAIR’s “Virtual March on Washington” and reaching out to their senators and representatives. (The Southern Poverty Law Center lists FAIR as a hate group in part because of its ties to white supremacists and their ideas.) FAIR also complained about the event in a news release Thursday titled “Law Breakers on Parade Again.”
FAIR officials aren’t the only ones painting marchers with a broad brush. On the National Review Online’s blog, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) Executive Director Mark Krikorian on Thursday called the rally an “illegal-alien-palooza.” And in a Wednesday column on VDARE.com, a white nationalist hate site, FAIR board member Donald Collins referred to the event’s organizers as “the Treason Lobby.” In fact, the march is being sponsored by more than 100 diverse groups, including the AFL-CIO, the Kansas House of Representatives, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.