The 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) began yesterday in Washington DC. The big names in conservative America featured this year include Newt Gingrich, Donald Rumsfeld, Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney.
The conference focuses on a range of issues, but one that seems to be getting little attention this year is immigration. Day one saw only one panel and one speech concerned with the issue. The speech was by xenophobic Congressman Steve King of Iowa.
For the past few years King has spent his time demonizing immigrants and at last year’s conference he told attendees to “implode” IRS offices.
At this year’s speech, King talked about the anti-immigrant measures he intends to push in this year’s House and called the 87 freshman House Republicans “God’s gift to America.”
King, who is no stranger to controversial statements, didn’t hold back this time around, outrageously stating that he believes most migrants are in fact criminals. He concluded his speech by suggesting that for every undocumented immigrant that receives citizenship, a liberal should be deported in their place. This brought much laughter from the crowd.
Following Rep. King’s speech, a panel titled, “Policy Recommendations for Real Immigration Reform” took place. The panel consisted of Dino Teppara from the Indian American Conservative Council, Kris Kobach a lawyer for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and Jayne Cannava of ProEnglish, an anti-immigrant group founded by white nationalist John Tanton, a man who still sits on ProEnglish’s board. The moderator of the panel was Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) another group founded by John Tanton.
All three panelists and the moderator gave short speeches before opening the floor up for questions. Krikorian argued that the question of immigration is really one of sovereignty. He stated that the “other side” (meaning immigrants rights groups) are anti-sovereignty. Krikorian could not run out of superlatives for Kris Kobach, allowing him much more speaking time than any of the other panelists. Krikorian also tipped Kobach to run for president sometime in the future. Krikorian bemoaned the fact that the Department of Justice is suing the state of Arizona over its racist law SB1070, which he said is at the taxpayers’ expense.
Kobach failed to mention that he and his organization, IRLI, have racked up millions of dollars in legal expenses which are paid by taxpayers.
The overarching theme of the discussion was a need for an increase of the attrition through enforcement campaign. The three panelists and moderator were all in agreement on pretty much everything they said except for Dino Teppara who stated that legal immigration was not a problem. This clearly ticked off Krikorian whose group wants to heavily limit legal immigration as well.
During the question and answer session, one female student asked Jayne Cannava of ProEnglish about her group’s founding Chairman John Tanton and his views on population control. The moderator Krikorian didn’t give Cannava a chance to respond, asking the audience to ask “questions of substance on immigration.” The panel ended soon thereafter with some of the attendees staying behind to further question the student who brought up ProEnglish’s connections to John Tanton.
Immigration will be on the agenda at CPAC again tomorrow with a panel titled, “The Ground Zero Mosque: The Second Wave of the 9/11 Attacks.” It all but promises to deliver blatantly Islamophobic remarks.
Check back with Imagine2050 tomorrow for a report on day two of CPAC.