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Ahead of midterms, Islamophobes ramp up anti-immigrant rhetoric

Imagine 2050 Staff • Oct 28, 2014
Protesters at an Oct. 25 event in Arnold, Missouri. (via Facebook)
Protesters at an Oct. 25 event in Arnold, Missouri. (via Facebook)

Recently, Imagine2050 has reported on anti-immigrant activists seeking to make immigration a top priority for voters in the upcoming midterm elections. Similar to this, members of the organized Islamophobia movement have recently sought to inject more anti-immigrant arguments into their overall agenda.

This recent uptick in rhetoric surrounding immigration and border enforcement has come from key figures and organizations in the anti-Muslim movement. Within this framework, these voices have called for curbing relief for undocumented immigrants and for a militarizing of our southern border: All supposedly in the name of national security.

The crossover between anti-Muslim figureheads and anti-immigrant sentiment is increasingly prevalent. Although the anti-Muslim contingent frames border security as a way deter terrorists, their messaging mirrors old-school nativist rhetoric as they aim to uphold policies that harm a broader spectrum of communities.

Below are three examples that highlight this crossover.

Gaffney releases legislative report card

Anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney’s organization, the Center for Security Policy (CSP), recently released a congressional scorecard, ranking legislators based on their voting record on so-called national security matters.

Gaffney championed those who voted against passing any measure introduced in the Senate that would aid undocumented immigrants, no matter the situation. He also praised those who pushed for harsher immigration laws and a more militarized border.

The lawmakers upheld by Gaffney opposed various bills such as providing temporary legal status for undocumented persons. He also gave good marks to those who voted to defeat sorely needed, common sense immigration reform. According to Gaffney, true immigration reform is passing the Immigration Modernization Act, which takes a draconian approach rooted in enforcement.

All of Congress’ anti-immigrant hardliners received high scores, with Reps. Steve King and Lamar Smith (a leader within the anti-immigrant House Immigration Reform Caucus) standing out among those in the House. In the Senate, both Sens. Jeff Sessions and David Vitter scored well. Vitter even issued a press release celebrating that he was named one of CSP’s “Champions of National Security.”

Unlike some other anti-Muslim leaders, Gaffney’s recent focus on immigration is not wholly out of the ordinary for him and his organization. He keeps company with Mark Krikorian, the executive director of Center for Immigration Studies, one of the Beltway Big Three of the organized anti-immigrant movement. Gaffney also spent this past summer joining others in labeling Central American children who crossed the border to escape rampant violence in their home countries as an “invasion.”

ACT! for America includes immigration plank on new website

The grassroots organization ACT! for America recently unveiled a new website in an attempt to repackage its anti-Muslim message for a broader audience. One of the ways the group appears to be doing so is by including a plank addressing immigration in its platform.

On the website, ACT! claims one of the “gravest threats” to the U.S. “stems from the illicit flow of illegal immigrants.” ACT! aims to say this is a greater plot hatched by Muslim extremists who plan to enter the country unlawfully by way of the Southern border.

“America sovereign prerogative is to secure its borders,” a section on the website states. “Without serious boarder (sic) security measures, no nation can escape the consequences of its inaction.”

Geller and Spencer home in on Southern border

As of late, “border insecurity” and immigration has also caught the attention of anti-Muslim bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. This came after California Rep. Duncan Hunter made irresponsible and unfounded claims that 10 ISIS fighters had been deterred trying to enter the US via the southern border. However, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement classifying Hunter’s claims as “categorically false.”

But his claim was enough to convince Geller that Muslims are pouring over the border.

“Under Obama’s disastrous post-American presidency, the Southern border has been flung wide open,” she wrote on her blog. “The Islamic State has made its intention to strike in the U.S. clear on numerous occasions. Why wouldn’t the jihadis take advantage of the porousness of our Southern border?”

Over at FrontPage Magazine, Spencer used Hunter’s claims to support his article titled “The Islamic State Is Here.” In it, Spencer claims a “jihadist exploitation” of the Southern border is “nothing new.”

Spencer adds that the Obama administration is unwilling to take this threat seriously and is more interested in labeling those panicking about border security as “racist.” He concludes that if religious extremists do enter into the country by way of the Southern border and launch an attack, the Obama administration “can console themselves amid the carnage that at least they were never ‘racist.’”

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