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Anti-immigrant roundup: 7/6/18

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

National Groups

U.S. Rep. Steve King, who has a history of racist rhetoric, has a section on his government site called, “ Illegal Immigration Stories.” As first reported by Media Matters for America, the Iowa congressman’s website cites a VDARE* article by anti-immigrant writer Brenda Walker which says, “Funny how after all these years of Americans being run down by drunk driving illegal aliens, the crime of inebriated vehicle operation by unlawful foreigners is still not taken seriously.” VDARE, named after Virginia Dare, allegedly the first English child born in the New World, is an anti-immigration hate site that regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and antisemites.

On June 22, President Trump met with family members of people killed by undocumented immigrants, a group he calls “angel families.” Among the attendees were members from Advocates for Victims of Illegal Aliens (AVIAC), a splinter group from the anti-immigrant hate group run by Maria Espinoza, the Remembrance Project.* At the event, many families thanked the Remembrance Project, AVIAC, and Jon Feere, a former Legal Policy Analyst at Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)* who works as an adviser to the acting director of ICE. One woman, Maryann Mendoza, said, “the members of AVIAC are here to educate the public as to what’s happening. And if anybody has been a victim of illegal alien crime, contact us because we have close connections with Barbara Gonzales at ICE and Jon Feere. We have connections at the Department of Homeland Security that we are trying to get people the help that they need…” Mendoza underscored an important point – many of these anti-immigrant groups have infiltrated this administration and continue to influence policy. She also referred audience members to Illegal Alien Crime Report, a site that regularly shares racist material on Facebook, promulgates the criminal immigrant myth, and features John Tanton’s the Social Contract Press*. Tanton is a white nationalist and racist architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement.

ProEnglish* held a Congressional briefing at the end of June that featured Rep. Steve King. King, who originally authored HR 997, the English Unity Act, which designates English as the official language of governmental operations, discussed the bill at length. ProEnglish, an anti-immigrant hate group founded by white nationalist Tanton, has visited the White House multiple times this year to discuss “a variety of official English legislation issues.”

ProEnglish executive director Stephen Guschov and Dan Carter, the director of government relations, also spoke at the briefing. In an email to supporters, Guschov wrote, "Rep. King spent several minutes speaking about official English legislation in a meeting room filled with Legislative Directors, Legislative Assistants, and other Congressional aides and staff members." The week before the hearing, the anti-immigrant organization secured its 70th supporter of the English Language Unity Act, Rep. Lynn Jenkins.

Legislation

Anti-immigrant groups coalesced to oppose Paul Ryan’s “ amnesty bills,” the week of June 11. Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC)*, wrote it would warn GOP lawmakers that, “Any amnesty will destroy America’s borders permanently,” and organized calls to Republicans.

Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)* published a blog entitled “ Analysis of Paul Ryan’s Amnesty Bill,” which claimed, “if the bill were enacted it would be the largest amnesty in more than 30 years, despite President Trump’s campaign promise of ‘no amnesty’ and after multiple GOP congressional leaders expressed opposition to amnesty for any illegal aliens.”

Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)* also took a stance against Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s bill, H.R. 6136, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, on June 20. “Speaker Paul Ryan and his allies have proposed nothing short of an antiquated retread of past amnesties...BSIRA audaciously grants amnesty to 1.8 million illegal aliens…” Dan Stein, executive director of FAIR*, wrote.

On June 11, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI)* filed an amicus brief in support of the Trump Administration’s appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s decision on Nielsen v. Preap. The ruling says a criminal alien becomes exempt from mandatory detention if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), does not take an individual into immigration custody immediately after they are released. IRLI condemned the decision, saying it “ empowered illegal aliens.”

On June 12, Attorney General Jeff Sessions overruled a decision that allowed asylum based on claims of domestic and gang violence. Sessions reversed a decision in which a woman from El Salvador was granted asylum on the basis of a “particular social group” as women in El Salvador are “ often unable to leave violent relationships and their government has not been able to protect them,” according to the New York Times. Sessions said the Obama administration created “ powerful incentives” for people to come here by claiming a fear of return. IRLI wrote, “In finding that victims of domestic violence were not a “particular social group” for asylum purposes, the Attorney General agreed with a brief IRLI had filed in the case.” The Times reported individuals seeking asylum based on gang violence have rarely been granted entry and the number of undocumented immigrants apprehended at the border was the lowest last year since 1971.

On June 14, IRLI filed a brief in support of the Department of Commerce’s decision to ask for citizenship in the 2020 census. “Counting illegal aliens in the census only gives sanctuary jurisdictions a windfall of federal dollars and enhanced representation in Washington, and also a perverse incentive to ramp up their sanctuary policies to get and keep as many illegal aliens in their jurisdictions as possible,” executive director Dale Wilcox said. Other anti-immigrant groups including CIS and FAIR have supported this addition. Ira Mehlman, Media Director at FAIR, authored an op-ed in the Hill, “Citizenship question is crucial for a fair, updated 2020 Census.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed in March 2018, “This is a question that’s been included in every census since 1965 with the exception of 2010, when it was removed." In fact, the last time the U.S. Census Bureau asked all U.S. households a question about U.S. citizenship was 1950. Data collected from the census serves as the basis of funding and representatives allocated to each district and state. Former directors of the U.S. Census Bureau and other demographers have warned including a question on citizenship will deter many from responding.

Dan Stein, executive director FAIR, went on Fox Business on June 18 to say that Trump’s family separation policy is actually in the interest of children. “The whole point of this...some point of this is deterrents.” Stein’s language and stance are aligned with the anti-immigrant movement’s longtime campaign for attrition through enforcement.

Anti-immigrant groups were especially unhappy with Trump’s special executive order “ meant to end the separation of families at the border.” The executive order, signed on June 20, only slightly changes the Trump administration’s approach to immigration. The order states the administration’s policy is to now keep families together in detention, and instructs to “make available existing facilities or construct them” for these families.

On June 22, Mark Krikorian, head of CIS*, wrote an op-ed in the Hill saying, “Treating children as a get-out-of-jail-free card for illegal border-crossers may have been defensible when it applied to only a handful of people, but it has caused the problem to mushroom. Releasing anyone who brings his or her child into the U.S. has incentivized the smuggling of children and enabled an increasingly large share of new illegal aliens to get past the border and embed themselves in our society.” Krikorian has also been advocating for the end of the Flores settlement, a 1997 decision in Flores v. Reno which placed limits on how and for how long the government could detain children.

In Their Own Words

  • On June 12, Amapola Hansberger, President of Legal Immigrants for America (LIFA)*, wrote a letter to Congress that read, “Could it be that we recognize that those who come illegally flying their flags are not coming to adapt and become Americans but to turn America into another country like theirs? In California we’ve seen illegal aliens asking the whites to go back to Europe, saying: ‘This is Mexico now.’”
  • On June 13, Frosty Woolridge wrote an article in Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform* titled “ Why Does Congress Continue Importing Muslims Into America?” “The fact remains, Muslims in America continue for one purpose: install Sharia Law in one community after another ...Why do we allow our 535 nitwits to import Muslim killers via immigration? Answer: they enjoy total protection from Muslim violence! Who will be the next Americans to be killed by Muslim immigrants? You, me or any other average Americans going about our daily business. We’re the ones dying at the Boston Marathon, Orlando nightclub, San Bernardino Christmas party, Fort Lauderdale residents, Ohio State University stabbings, St. Cloud Mall, Garland, Texas, Moore, Oklahoma and the next could be you!” he wrote. Woolridge has a history of anti-Muslim vitriol, has worked as a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS)*, and an advisory board member for FAIR.
  • On June 17, Mark Krikorian, executive director of CIS, said in an interview with Fox and Friends on migrant centers, “Nobody's detained from leaving. They can just leave. Sometimes they do.” He also said, “For a lot of the folks from rural El Salvador [or] Honduras, it's a "big step up.”

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