Anti-immigrant Message: WE WANT YOU to be Broke and Bigoted

Jill Garvey • Mar 20, 2009

Anti-immigrant groups are wearing out their violins ranting about the “evil immigrant invasion.”

In light of recent economic scandals, their agenda is looking even more absurd than usual. Just in the past few weeks as the justified uproar over AIG executive bonuses erupted, FAIR and other anti-immigrant groups are spending their time pushing lawmakers to reauthorize E-Verify, the worker verification system wrought with errors.

While the rest of us grapple with corporate execs taking million dollar payouts on our hard-earned dime, FAIR’s focus is on making it even harder for workers to find and keep jobs.

Then there is the recent report by Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) focusing on the Swift meat-packing raids. They talk a lot about the low wages of workers, but ultimately indicate that the best way to help workers is to raid the plants they work in and put everyone’s job at risk.

Shamefully, CIS quotes workers in Greeley, Co. (the site of the Swift raid), and members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, who would never associate or otherwise agree with CIS’s anti-immigrant stance or their white nationalist ties.

This is just another case of anti-immigrant groups trying to insert their damaging messages into mainstream discourse. The issue should be that workers need higher wages, period. Instead they’ve distorted the facts and data to make raids look like the dream solution for underpaid workers.

It’s a disgusting deviation from the truth.

Worksite raids hurt ALL workers, the entire community, and make it that much harder for workers to unify for better wages and working conditions.

FAIR and CIS are bypassing the simple point that the working-class needs to be paid more. Rather than going after high paid execs who are milking us for every penny, they want to continue to attack the lowest paid workers in the country, i.e. immigrants.

A recent editorial by Lawrence Downes in The New York Times follows a march opposing the border patrol’s discriminatory targeting of Latino/as in Riverside, CA (100 miles from the border mind you), and a counter-march by the Minutemen. Besides being hilarious, it poignantly exposes the fear and hatefulness behind groups like the Minutemen:

“The speeches were interrupted when shoving broke out on the Minuteman side. Uh-oh.
I ran over and got Mr. Gilchrist out of a huddle. He told me one of his troops had been spit on by a reconquista. He was keeping everybody calm while the victim, a frail-looking woman, got ready to press charges.
A police officer was taking statements. A lawyer for the marchers, a skinny white guy, put a gentle hand on her shoulder. ‘Did he really spit on you?’ he asked. ‘No,’ she said, ‘but he could have’.”

And this is exactly the line of thought that makes the Minutemen a fringe group in American society, a fringe group that is connected to and supported by FAIR.

We posted a story last week about a priest in East Haven, CT who was unfairly arrested after looking into racial profiling and mistreatment of Latino residents. Shortly after his arrest, East Haven got a visit from a white supremacist group called North East White Pride, who dropped fliers at Latino-owned businesses and churches. The fliers carry messages like, “Immigration or INVASION?,” “They come for welfare or to take our jobs and bring with them drugs, crime and disease,” “Wake up America! We are being attacked!”

This type of anti-immigrant activity are extremely menacing, but the underlying themes — fear, blame, outright hatred — are the same as those being passed on by more polished anti-immigrant groups like FAIR.

While hate groups are busy spreading false information about the impact of immigrants, everyday Americans are desperately fighting to keep their jobs, homes and retirement savings.

FAIR and CIS don’t care that we are all going broke, and they don’t care about the real reasons prompting America’s present economic crisis. They are using our misfortune as an opportunity to spread bigotry, point blank.

There is so much to repair, so much deceit and greed to uncover still, and until FAIR, CIS, and their white nationalist friends decide to be part of the solution, they should stop wasting our time with their idiotic reports and bogus research.

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