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3 ways the anti-immigrant movement is on the attack this summer

Anu Joshi • Jun 12, 2015
Photo credit: John Englart, Flickr
Photo credit: John Englart, Flickr

With the promise (threat) of Congress taking any sort of reasonable action on immigration this session pretty much off the table, the organized anti-immigrant movement is finding other ways to attack immigrants and their families. And what may seem like random, single off attacks by leaders in the anti-immigrant movement, is actually part of a broader, well-orchestrated effort to undermine the gains of the immigrant rights movement. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the ways the anti-immigrant activists are organizing, here’s snapshot of what they’re up to in the first few weeks of summer.

Attacking refugees, and the people who help them

Mark Krikorian, the leader of the Center for Immigration Studies, went on anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney’s radio program and alleged that refugee resettlement was the Left’s evil plot to push diversity on the United States. In a few sentences he managed to insult Muslims and immigrants, almost impressive if not so disturbing: “And I think a lot of these refugee activists types and immigration activists see immigration in the same way and see Islamic immigration as the most different and non-American way of promoting immigration and therefore serving their purposes the most, even more than, say, the immigration of people from, say, Latin America or Christians from the Middle East, that sort of thing.” (Secure Freedom Radio, June 8, 2015)

But Krikorian wasn’t done attacking refugees (and the people who help them). In a tweet on June 10, he attacked Catholic Charities for the work they do helping refugees integrate into American communities:

Doing everything they can to disenfranchise American voters

Someone (cough Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback cough) decided it would be a good idea to give Kris Kobach more power. On July 1, Kobach’s and the Kansas attorney general’s office will have the

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

power to prosecute election fraud cases—spoiler alert, election fraud is not a thing. Kobach has long lamented that his office has found over one dozen cases of potential fraud during the 2010 and 2012 elections but could not pursue prosecution. Late last year, Kobach lied to local media that his office referred potential fraud cases to Kansas’ top federal prosecutor U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. Kobach later told the AP that 15 cases were referred to country prosecutors instead, of which very few ever led to prosecution.

Krikorian got in on the disenfranchisement action in a piece for the National Review Online. Krikorian writes that requiring citizens previously convicted of a felony to pass a civics test before voting “would send the message that re-enfranchisement is not merely a matter of paperwork but of a moral readmission to the political community.” This language is smoke and mirrors designed to disguise what would likely be a costly process (think poll tax) designed to disenfranchise people of color based on a biased test (think literacy test).

When all else fails, sue, sue, sue; delay, delay, delay

In the past few months, the 26 states currently suing the federal government over President Obama’s administrative relief programs received some added support from the organized anti-immigrant movement. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI)—the legal arm of the flagship anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)—and State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI)—the coalition of state-level lawmakers created with the assistance of the organized anti-immigrant movement—both filed an amicus briefs in support of the 26 states suing the federal government over the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA+) and the creation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.

Meanwhile, two other lawsuits are also attempting to undermine the other aspects of the president’s executive action: Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. USDHS (WashTech) and Save Jobs USA v. USDHS. These suits are aimed at more specific policy areas involving the issuance of visas and/or work authorization as part of a strategy to more deliberately chip away at President Obama’s actions – casting a disingenuous appearance of lawlessness on the President’s actions as a whole.

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