Anti-Immigrant Hate Coming From Everyday Americans
Frustration with the current immigration system is coming from citizens, not hate groups.
FYI, Please go to the website to see the photos and videos, including the KKK protesting.
Protesters turn back three buses carrying 140 immigrants as they attempt to enter a U.S. Border Patrol station for processing in Murrieta, Calif., earlier this month.
By Lauren FoxJuly 24, 2014 | 12:01 a.m. EDT+ More
Waving American flags and chanting “go back home,” a mob of protesters stood in the center of a street in Murrieta, California, on July 1, halting three white buses filled with 140 immigrants. The crowd of between 200 to 300 people was enough to force the buses – filled with children and families – to reroute to a San Diego processing center more than 80 miles away.
In communities across the country, agitated citizens are crowding into town hall meetings aimed at preventing detention facilities from coming to their backyards. Concerns about immigrants draining local resources and changing the dynamics of communities are rampant. Clandestine government efforts to set up new detention centers in areas away from the border have also fueled unrest. Yet, unlike some past anti-immigrant movements, most of the protests are not centrally organized demonstrations by militia groups or nativist organizations, according to experts. They are grass roots uprisings by American citizens fed up with a broken immigration system.
“The people blocking buses in Murrieta, California, didn’t come from radical groups, they were everyday Americans who were perfectly willing to frighten those children,” says Mark Potok, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors the rise of extremist organizations throughout the U.S. “What we are seeing is there is a lot of anger out there about the failure of the government to resolve the immigration crisis.”
Congress is mulling President Barack Obama’s $3.7 billion budget request to process, house and care for the more than 50,000 young migrants who have come unaccompanied across the border this year. But many communities are rising up against the kids, who are purportedly coming to escape violence or reunite with family in the United States.
“This has struck a chord. The American people feel like this is a real scam,” says Brad Botwin, a leader of Help Save Maryland, a group committed to stopping illegal immigration that is listed as a nativist group on SPLC’s website. “These are not refugees in my mind. This is an economic pitfall for the American people.”
In a spring report, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted “nativist extremist” groups have actually been in decline. The extremist groups reached their peak in 2010 when the SPLC counted 319. In 2013, there were just 33 groups left on the map.
Part of their decline has to do with their goals being reached. After Arizona and Alabama passed strict immigration laws that required police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspected to be in the country illegally, anti-immigrant groups lost some of their momentum.
“What happened was that the energy of the extreme nativist movement was stolen away by state legislatures that passed aggressive anti-immigrant laws,” Potok says.
Shawna Forde at her murder trial in 2011.
Potok notes the high-profile murder trial of Shawna Forde, an anti-immigrant leader of the Minutemen American Defense, which patrolled the border of Arizona and Mexico, also led some groups to retreat. Forde, who now sits on death row, and two others were convicted of killing Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia Ylianna Flores, in their home.
“It took the wind out of the sails of the nativist groups,” Potok says.
In 2013, another prominent nativist group leader, Chris Simcox, was arrested and charged with child molestation. He pleaded not guilty and is still awaiting trial.
[RUNNING SCARED: Young Migrants Face Danger at Home, the Border]
Even groups who are billed as nativist groups by the SPLC say that the recent outrage against the young immigrants is more a grass roots effort than centralized protests they put in motion.
“I have been kind of amazed at the number of people who have come out of the woodwork on this issue. A lot of people feel neglected,” says Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minuteman Project, a group that works to enforce immigration laws. Gilchrist founded the group with Simcox in 2005, but the two eventually split ways.
Detainees wait in a Texas processing facility on June 18.
Some of the protests – like the one in Murrieta and another campaign to encourage Americans to send dirty underwear to politicians and immigrant activists – even seemed to be more extreme than Gilchrist once called for.
“The case in point is that about 140 activists in Murrieta blocked the street, blocked the buses. They violated the law. They took the law into their own hands,” Gilchrist says. He adds that while he views the group of young immigrants as a mob violating the law, the protesting Americans are as well.
“We are in a nation of mob rule. That mob was first the illegal alien population. Now the mob is becoming people on my side of the debate … I don’t condemn them, but I don’t support them,” he says.
The influx of unaccompanied children to the U.S. border has brought immigration to the doorstep of some rural communities that have never before had to confront immigration policy head-on.
The issue looms so large on the American psyche that the Ku Klux Klan has been preying on the anti-immigrant sentiment bubbling up across the country, hoping the racial-based frustration translates into new members. In South Carolina, the Klan left bags of candy and fliers with the message, “Save Our Land, Join the Klan,” in one neighborhood. On the fliers, a phone number led callers to an automated message that told listeners, “Illegal immigration is destroying America.” A similar recruitment effort was launched in Katy, Texas, in July, when Klan members left fliers with messages that said, “Seal the border – protect our nation.”
KKK Uses Sweets To Lure Recruits
The Ku Klux Klan is using bags of candy containing short Klan literature to recruit new members in South Carolina. Fox Carolina reports that people woke up over the weekend and found bags of candy outside…
A broken immigration system and porous borders are only part of the problem for Americans, however. Some of the frustration has been borne out of a lack of communication between the federal government and municipalities.
In the Department of Health and Human Services’ desperate search to find new housing facilities for kids awaiting more permanent placement with family or sponsors in the U.S., the federal government has at times operated clandestinely, only alerting the public late in the game once key decisions about potential housing facilities have already been made. The federal government has looked at converting old resorts, military bases and abandoned retail buildings into emergency shelters. That has led to clashes with locals concerned about the strain young migrants could place on their communities.
Scott Swagler, general manager of the Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa in Grand Island, New York, got his own visit from the feds in June when officials showed up to inspect his 263-room property, which they thought was out of business. Once the officials recognized the resort was still operating, it was no longer under consideration, but Swagler says he is disturbed that the federal government was considering disrupting his isolated community in upstate New York.
“We are in a very protected and insular community. This is the kind of place where people don’t even lock their doors,” Swagler says. “There is a fear of crime. Whether it is true or not, I am worried about gangs. We don’t have that here and Grand Island does not offer a bilingual education system.”
Town residents listen during a presentation on June 19 by federal officials involved in the placement of immigrant children at St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Va.
While children taken to HHS facilities are only held for an average of 35 days, they are not released into the community. Instead, they are placed with families, often in locations outside the city where they are initially held. The federal government also covers the entire cost of the more than 100 facilities that exist today, even though misinformation has given way to paranoia that the cost of health care, housing and educating the children would fall to already cash-strapped municipalities.
In Virginia, federal officials had to attend a rural town meeting in Lawrenceville and apologize after residents discovered HHS was considering housing migrants at a local college.
“We are not just talking children here, we are talking boys from the ages of 14 and 17. I wanted to know how many were escaping,” says Harry Holman, a town councilman in Lawrenceville who was opposed to housing the immigrant children there. “I was also worried about the disease factor.”
Desperate to find space for the kids, HHS continues to expand its use of military facilities until more permanent facilities become available. That has led to some outrage on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers express disgruntlement with the arrangement.
How can you help in the fight against illegal immigration? Please consider a tax deductible donation to Help Save Maryland to support our education and outreach activities.
Click the donate button to use a credit card or mail your check to: Help Save Maryland, PO Box 5742, Rockville, MD 20855. Thank you!