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Anti-Immigrant Group Spins Tragedy into Opportunity to Spread Nativist Agenda Against DREAMers

Imagine 2050 Staff • Sep 17, 2013
Like many of the anti-immigrant movement’s events this summer, the “Vigil for Justice” was sparsely attended, with reports of only 50 people in the audience.


Like many of the anti-immigrant movement’s events this summer, the “Vigil for Justice” rally was sparsely attended, with reports of only 50 people in the audience.


Last week, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) held a “Vigil for Justice” in Omaha, Nebraska. The event to honor the victim of a heinous act of violence, while seemingly with good intentions upon initial review, merely served as a platform for the anti-immigrant movement to further demonize immigrants in America. While exploiting tragedy to demagogue immigrants is to be expected by the anti-immigrant movement, rarely do its members so explicitly admit to their nefarious motivations and goals as FAIR’s National Field Director did so while promoting the event last week.

The vigil held on September 13 was intended to honor Louise Sollowin, 93, who was raped and murdered in July. The vigil occurred at an Omaha courthouse the same day as Sollowin’s alleged murderer, 19 year-old Sergio Martinez-Perez, faced sentencing for first degree murder charges. FAIR’s Susan Tully noted Martinez-Perez’s unlawful immigration status, and compared him and his actions to that of all undocumented immigrants. On the day of the event, Tully told Breitbart News that FAIR hoped the vigil would “highlight Martinez-Perez as the poster child of both the DREAM Act and amnesty.”

Tully, of course, omits the many positives including the sizable economic benefits the DREAM Act or similar legislation would create. Rather, she intends to use the abhorrent actions of one individual to disingenuously portray an entire demographic of the country with an estimated population of 2.1 million and hinder potential progress towards immigration reform legislation in Washington.

Regardless of Tully’s admission of intent or Martinez-Perez’s immigration status, demonizing and falsely portraying all undocumented immigrants, particularly the young students who would benefit from DREAM Act-like legislation, as murderous criminals was to be expected given Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) presence at the event. Rep. King added to his established history of harsh anti-immigrant statements in July when he suggested most DREAMers are drug smugglers. The statements were subject to widespread condemnation including statements from House Republican leadership.


FAIR, along with other members of the anti-immigrant movement, have not distanced themselves from King’s comments. Instead, they have provided a platform for the congressman’s divisive and bigoted rhetoric. King has been a keynote speaker at many of the anti-immigrant movement’s events this summer including July’s DC March for Jobs and the lone stop of the NumbersUSA-sponsored Stop Amnesty Tour in Richmond, Va.

The embrace of King by FAIR and the event’s other organizers is unsurprising and further evidences their possession of insensitivities that one requires to stage an event as exploitative as the Vigil for Justice.

The anti-immigrant movement has made it clear in the past that it will go to great lengths to furth

er its agenda. This will no doubt continue, whether by continuing the trend of tasteless public comments from its members or devious efforts to create front groups in efforts to appear more representative of the population at large. However, by using the somber environment of a vigil as a venue to further spread disinformation and attempt to falsely portray all immigrants as monstrous criminals, they have sunk to a new nativist low.


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