It’s that time of year again! With 2012 fast approaching we take a look back at the year that was, and list our five nominees vying for the honor of “Anti-Immigrant Grinch of the Year.” Trying to whittle down them to only five was tough, but after many hours of deliberation, we landed on the following five. In two weeks we will be announcing the winner, so stay tuned. Without further adieu, we give you the nominees!
- Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS): Krikorian likes to save his most heinous rhetoric for his blog over at National Review Online (NRO), where last year he wrote, “Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.” This year it was no different. In an April blog post, Krikorian called Muslims a “vicious people.” Five months later in another post on NRO, Krikorian wrote, “I think Jew-hatred is so deeply rooted in the Arab and broader Islamic world that even governments that would want to help end the citizenship limbo of Palestinian refugees and their descendants would hesitate, fearing popular uprisings and Islamist attack.”
- Roy Beck, founder and president of NumbersUSA: Roy Beck is not known for his outlandish or racist statements. Indeed, though, Beck and his organization are firmly entrenched within the anti-immigrant movement in the United States, and Beck himself has a history of ties to white nationalism. When the DREAM Act failed to pass earlier this year, Beck could not hide his glee. As thousands of children wept, Beck was on camera celebrating with his employees in their offices in Virginia. Earlier this year, Beck compared his work to that of Martin Luther King Jr., stating that “his work, like the work of NumbersUSA today, was aimed at helping all vulnerable Americans of any race or national origin.” Somehow I don’t think MLK would speak at white nationalist events or work as the editor of a white nationalist journal.
- Leah Durant, executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR): Leah Durant and PFIR have had a tumultuous year, with its president William Ryerson stepping down and anti-immigrant professor Phil Cafaro taking over. Durant organized PFIR’s second annual conference, which took place in October of this year. The event, which attracted less than 30 attendees, will be remembered more for the disruptions it provoked than for the content it delivered. In fact, Durant herself forcibly removed 4-5 pregnant women who protested the conference.
- Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and lawyer for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI): over the past two years, two states have dominated the discussion on immigration for all the wrong reasons: Arizona and Alabama. Both passed harsh anti-immigrant measures that have caused massive economic problems for those states, as well as fear and anguish for the states’ immigrant populations. Kris Kobach takes credit for writing both the AZ and AL laws. Kobach also likes to tell anyone who will listen that he wrote the AL law while sitting in a turkey blind. What he fails to discuss is the negative impact his laws bring upon Alabama’s people of color.
- William Gheen, president Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALI-PAC): Gheen would like you to think that his organization maintains a powerful presence within the anti-immigrant movement in the US but in reality Gheen’s group consists of nothing more than a website. Gheen has become increasingly isolated over the years. And he gave us a perfect example of why when he stated that if “white America” was to be saved from Barrack Obama, who he refers to as a dictator, it may require people to start engaging in “extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re all illegal and violent.”