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Anti-immigrant roundup: 2/14/18

The following is a list of activities and events of anti-immigrant organizations. Organizations listed as anti-immigrant hate groups are designated with an asterisk.


National groups

On January 19, the anti-immigrant hate group Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI)* issued a press release praising ICE, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and Major County Sheriffs of America for announcing cooperation between federal agents and sheriffs in 17 counties in Florida. This would expand the 287(g) program that allows local ICE to cross-train and deputize law enforcement officers to question, arrest and jail people suspected of immigration violations. “This action is a positive step to remove the threat of litigation against local sheriffs who receive ICE detainers,” said Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director and general counsel. “The agreement will reveal who has been hiding behind 4th amendment concerns to shield illegal aliens, and who is truly committed to protecting the lawful residents in their communities.” Since taking office, President Trump has sought to increase cooperation between ICE and local authorities, something that civil rights groups find extremely problematic. "Nothing announced today addresses the basic legal problems with detainers that courts have repeatedly recognized, and this is yet another example of the Trump administration running roughshod over the law in pursuit of its mass deportation agenda,” stated Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project.

On January 29, IRLI issued another press release announcing that it filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in City of Los Angeles v. Sessions — in which the state is suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for attempting to base federal funding grants to Los Angeles on whether they are cooperating with federal immigration officials. This is just the latest example of IRLI’s efforts in opposition to so-called sanctuary cities. The IRLI press release repeatedly calls Los Angeles’ sanctuary policies “extreme.” Dozens of prosecutors and law enforcement officials have signed onto an amicus brief in support of the city, including Denver District Attorney Beth McCann.

Many national anti-immigrant groups including the “Big Three” Beltway groups —Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)*, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)* and NumbersUSA — have decried an immigration proposal by the White House that would give status for 1.8 million people in exchange for a number of provisions pushed by anti-immigrant groups for years, including ending the diversity visa lottery and severely curtailing family reunification, referred to by anti-immigrant groups as “chain migration.” Officials from CIS and NumbersUSA were on a call with Trump advisor Stephen Miller, an ally to the nativist groups following Trump’s announcement on January 25, where they expressed disappointment with the plan. Mark Krikorian, CIS executive director, told CNN, "It's a letdown because if this were the end result after fighting in Congress and you had to either take this or nothing, I don't know, I can't say that I would definitely say no. But to start with something like this is absurd."

National anti-immigrant groups and figures have focused their attention on the 2020 Census, with many calling on the Trump administration to add a question seeking to determine immigration status of respondents. Immigrant rights activists and other experts believe adding the question of status would result in a major decline in participation. “If a citizenship question is added to the decennial census, then this fear people have is going to result in less people wanting to respond to the census, which will produce a very inaccurate census and will actually increase the Census Bureau’s cost and budget to conduct the census,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of Latino rights group National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials recently. Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and a lawyer for IRLI, who has a made a career out of suppressing votes in defense of voter fraud wrote in a January 30 piece on the right-wing Breitbart website that, “The very principle of one person, one vote, is at stake,” with regard to the immigration question. FAIR’s Ira Mehlman used a January 3 op-ed in The Hill to advocate for the immigration question to be added, and at the same time attacked undocumented immigrants, writing, “Besides the enormity of that estimate (the low end of that range is roughly equivalent to the population of the entire state of Pennsylvania), the presence of large numbers of illegal aliens has real life consequences for American citizens.”  

On February 6, Sheriff Tom Hodgson of Bristol County, Maryland was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion at the White House with the President, elected officials, members of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other members of law enforcement. Hodgson was appointed to FAIR’s board of advisors in October of 2017 and has a history of disparaging statements about immigrants.

Local groups

The Claremont, California, based anti-immigrant group We the People Rising has held a number of events in 2018. The group protested Dreamers who visited six offices of California elected officials to encourage them to push for legislation to help the undocumented get status. We the People protested outside the offices of four legislators on January 11. On January 19, the group issued a press release blaming democrats for the government shutdown and for their support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. "It is disappointing that U.S. Senators are willing to shut down the government on behalf of DACA recipients, when so many American citizens are suffering and in need of help," said the group’s executive director Robin Hvidtson in the release. Hvidston is a longtime anti-immigrant activist and former national rally coordinator for Jim Gilchrist’s Minutemen Project. We the People Rising attended two meetings on January 25 and January 30 to speak out against proposals in Los Angeles to lessen cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement following the passage of California’s sanctuary state law. Finally, Hvidston was interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel for a segment on his nightly television show that focused on DACA.

According to a McClatchy report, the California-based anti-immigrant hate group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) is spending six figures to run ads in opposition to Trump’s immigration plan in Washington, D.C., and South Carolina. The ad asks, “What happened to the president that promised to put Americans first?” In 2017, the San Francisco-based newspaper El Tecolote and Hatewatch reported on CAPS hiring a known neo-Nazi, Parker Anthony Wilson.

On February 6, the Houston-based anti-immigrant group Texans for Immigration Reform and Enforcement (TFIRE) held an event featuring anti-Muslim activist Trevor Loudon of New Zealand. The event is just the latest example of crossover between anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant groups. Loudon routinely travels to the United States for speaking tours where he attempts to draw a connection between “far-left and Islamist agendas.” In 2017, TFIRE invited two others speakers with a history of Muslim-basing to speak at its events. In November, white nationalist Frosty Wooldridge spoke. Wooldridge is a former FAIR advisory board member and writer for CAPS. He was removed from his post from the California group after Hatewatch documented his racist views in 2017. Stephen Steinlight, a CIS staffer who once said of President Obama, “I would think being hung, drawn, and quartered is probably too good for him,” also spoke at a TFIRE event in 2017.

Federal legislation

After vocally opposing Donald Trump’s immigration proposal, the “Big Three” are openly supporting H.R. 4760 introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, another nativist ally. In an email to activists, NumbersUSA wrote of the bill, “It adds mandatory E-Verify, which prevents the hiring of illegal aliens, ending sanctuary cities, ending asylum abuse, and providing the personnel and tools needed to combat illegal immigration.” In his January 19 National Review Online column, Mark Kirkorian called Goodlatte’s bill, “the only DACA proposal out there worth the attention of conservatives.”

State and local legislation

In Georgia, State Senator Josh McKoon introduced Senate Resolution 587, an English-only bill. If successful, the bill would add a question for Georgia voters on November’s ballot asking, "Shall the constitution of Georgia be amended to provide that English is the official language of the State of Georgia?" The bill was lauded by D.A. King, leader of the anti-immigrant group Dustin Inman Society based in Marietta, Georgia. Similar laws are on the books in 32 states and anti-immigrant groups both nationally and locally have pushed for these measures for decades.

ProEnglish*, a national anti-immigrant hate group based in the Beltway, is spearheading a campaign to advance an English-only bill, HB 4053, introduced by Michigan state Rep. Lee Chatfield. The bill passed a Michigan House committee in December of 2017 and according to an update on the ProEnglish website that same month, “HB4053 has a chance for passage in the Republican-controlled Michigan House of Representatives next year.” ProEnglish was founded by white nationalist John Tanton, the founder of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement, and has a history of hiring individuals with white nationalist ties. ProEnglish officials visited the White House to discuss English-only legislation in January of 2018.

In their own words

  • In a letter to President Trump on January 24, the anti-immigrant group Legal Immigrants for America* compared DACA recipients to terrorists and communists writing, “Part of their strategy was to bring in foreign criminals, terrorists, Communists, and any group of people that shared their dream of transforming our country. It is not a coincidence that the recipients of DACA show disrespect for elected officials, the police, and military, and demand violently and forcefully that which no decent American, would ever demand: That they be treated above the law.”  
  • On January 22, 2018, Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at CIS sought to paint DACA recipients as criminals in a blog post titled, “500 Ex-DACA Criminals & Gang Members Still At Large: Will They Get Amnesty Too?”
  • On Tuesday, January 30, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona tweeted that any undocumented immigrants planning on attending the President’s State of the Union address should be arrested. Gosar called on Capitol police to “consider checking identification of all attending the State of the Union address and arresting any illegal aliens in attendance."
  • “Any large population is going to contain its share of dirtbags. But this rapist was arrested by ICE then released (under Obama) b/c he hadn't raped anyone yet,” wrote Mark Krikorian on Twitter, on January 28, 2018.

Upcoming Events

  • On Saturday, February 19 the Salem-based anti-immigrant group Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR) will gather to hear speeches from Joey Nations, candidate for Congressional District Five, and Marty Heyen, candidate for Oregon House of Representatives District 22. OFIR has been active for almost two decades and works closely with national anti-immigrant groups such as FAIR.




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