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Tom Trento, ‘Wetbacks,’ & Increasing Collusions between Nativists & Islamophobes

Imagine 2050 Staff • Mar 11, 2013

During a recent installment of the Internet tv/radio program TrentoVision, host Tom Trento used the term “wet backs” to describe (ostensibly Hispanic) immigrants. Trento employed the racial epithet to describe immigrants that “cut-in-line” and “game the system,” equating the United States’ immigration system to the checkout aisle at a grocery store.

Trento is the Founder and President of The United West (TUW), a Florida-based group that “combines top-shelf academics with a military-grade activism to distinguish itself from every counter-jihad organization.” Its mission statement concludes, “There is no other nongovernmental organization like it, in the world.” TUW apparently mobilizes its “military-grade activism” with the TrentoVision program.

During the March 6 program, Trento opened up the hour discussing the United States’ transformation from “the super power to a struggling democracy.” During this, Trento laments the government’s
actions regarding gun control and other hot-button issues before moving the topic to immigration.

All of sudden,” Trento said, “wetbacks, you know, illegals come over. Violating every federal law there
is, violating the decency of human nature. ”

When one of Trento’s in-studio colleagues feigned offense saying, “watch it, man!” in a stereotypical accent, it appeared to only encourage him. Trento’s fellow staffers are not the only ones that would perhaps encourage such language.

This becomes especially evident when one recognizes the company that Tom Trento keeps. These connections evidence even more collaboration between players in the emerging anti-Islam/-Muslim movement and the established anti-immigrant movement, melding their views under the guise of patriotism.

Patriotism, as we all know, does and should not equate to racism and/or nationalism.

In 2010, Trento co-authored a report titled, Shariah: The Threat to America, with many notable figures in the so-called “counter-jihad movement” such as the recent conspiracy-indulging John Guandolo. More notably, however, Frank Gaffney is listed as a co-author, as well,  the report was published via his think tank, Center for Security Policy. Over the years, Gaffney and Trento have developed quite a rapport, appearing on each others’ respective radio programs and together at speaking events.

In January—and in yet another example of an umbrella Tea Party groups soliciting “experts” from nationally established movements of bigotry—Gaffney and Trento both spoke at the 2013 South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention. Michael Cutler, a former INS agent with ties to anti-immigrant groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) also spoke at the conference. Later that month, Cutler spoke at a conference co-sponsored by a chapter of the stridently anti-Muslim/-Islam ACT! for America. Even more recently, Cutler labeled supporters of immigration reform “Immigration Anarchists” in a blog on CAPS’ website.

Cutler’s former boss at CIS is none other than Mark Krikorian. Last December, Krikorian and CIS hosted Gaffney for a talk on “cultural jihad” titled, “Is Immigration a Catalyst for Sharia in the West?” Both Krikorian and Gaffney openly stated that their groups were actively seeking future avenues of collaboration.

Additionally, Gaffney has hosted Kirkorian and NumbersUSA’s Rosemary Jenks on episodes of his radio program to discuss the anti-immigrant agenda. Gaffney has referred to the work that Krikorian and Jenks conduct, i.e. the alienation and denigration of immigrants, as “indispensable.”

While Gaffney has been around anti-immigrant stalwarts with increased frequency recently, he still makes time available to spend with Trento and other anti-Muslim/-Islam activists. In fact, Trento and Gaffney are gearing up for a trip together to Israel later this year.

“Anti-jihadists” like Tom Trento primarily have their sights set on Muslims and the supposed threat they pose to the American way of life, but it should be no surprise for anti-immigrant sentiments—and bigotry—to surface from time to time. Both perspectives aim to protect the United States from perceived threats of “outsiders.” Whether it is fear of Hispanics or Muslims, it’s all nativism—and it’s all bigotry.

It’s important to recognize anti-immigrant and growing anti-Muslim/-Islamic sentiment as interconnected, as dependent on the other—as the individuals driving these movements have and are presently capitalizing on their shared worldviews.

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