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Mark Krikorian Openly Mocks Civil Rights Icon on Twitter

Mark Krikorian, the longtime head of the anti-immigrant think thank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) took to Twitter to mock U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a freedom rider who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery over 51 years ago. 

CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian posed in 2007 with Kyle Bristow, then a student leader at Michigan State University who ranted publicly about "Judeo-Bolshevism."

Krikorian quoted Lewis from today’s Senate confirmation hearing of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, whose attorney general appointment by President-elect Trump Lewis opposes.

“The guy is like the grown man who won the big game in high school and never stops talking about it,” Krikorian tweeted before quoting Lewis.

This comment from one of the most cited anti-immigrant figures is nothing new. Krikorian and his organization have made a career out of racism and bigotry. Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Krikorian opined, “My guess is that Haiti's so screwed up because it wasn't colonized long enough.” (Emphasis his.) A year later Krikorian wrote, “Well, I’m afraid that in the Islamic world democracy faces the problem of a vicious people, one where the desire for freedom is indeed written in every human heart, but the freedom to do evil.”

Under Krikorian’s leadership at CIS, the group has published material calling immigrants “Third-World gold-diggers” and claimed that the legacy of the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for refugees “has been its contribution to the burgeoning street gang problem in the United States.”

CIS is known to regularly circulate the writings of white nationalists and even some holocaust deniers. One of Krikorian’s employees, Stephen Steinlight was filmed in 2014 decrying “Obama-style immigration reform,” saying that impeachment for President Obama was not enough.

“I would think being hung, drawn, and quartered is probably too good for him,” Steinlight said.

Krikorian’s Twitter account is littered with racist statements, as the civil rights group the Center for New Community has documented.

While Krikorian likes to deny it, CIS is part of a constellation of racist anti-immigrant organizations founded by white nationalist John Tanton, most notably the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Tanton once wrote, “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”   

FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA make up the “big three” nativist groups in America and the longtime leaders of these groups, including Krikorian, have carried on Tanton’s racist legacy. Today’s tweet is but one example.

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