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Week in Review: NumbersUSA upholds Allen West’s rant, Geller’s bus ads, anti-immigrant candidates lose at the polls

Karl Schuster • Jun 06, 2014


FAIR’s pledge to candidates: Sign on with us if you want to fail

 Thursday, June 5, 2014  |  Imagine 2050

On April 28, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) launched yet another of its issue-oriented pledge-drives, querying mid-term candidates: “Will you promise to protect American workers?” By urging candidates to sign its pledge, FAIR has hoped to inject its nativist stance as a headline-grabbing, voter-mobilizing swing issue into primary elections nationwide.

FAIR’s pledge is failing alongside many of its signatories, though.

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Timeline: Anti-immigrant movement fails to unseat ‘pro-amnesty’ Reps.

Monday, June 2, 2014  |  Imagine 2050

While House leadership continues to stall a vote on comprehensive immigration reform, it continues to cater to the nativist wing of the Republican Party. On Thursday, House representatives approved another amendment filed by anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to allocate money for an investigation into the findings of a recent Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report. Earlier that day, the House Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing, primarily questioning Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about the same CIS report.

Reform legislation appears to be at a standstill and it appears many members of Congress may be apprehensive to tackle such an issue during an election year. During this time, the anti-immigrant movement has begun targeting members of Congress it views as “pro-amnesty” and supporting primary challenges against them. Ironically for the movement, however, this year’s continued inaction is revealing how unpopular its agenda is with many voters. One needs to look no further than the failed challenges that stridently anti-immigrant candidates posed to incumbent Republicans to recognize this.

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Latest Geller, AFDI transit ads conflate Islam, anti-Semitism

Tuesday, June 3, 2014  |  Imagine 2050

The latest anti-Muslim advertisements paid for the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) are running on Washington, D.C., transit vehicles — and they are just as deplorable as the others we’ve come to expect from the group. The ads are the product of anti-Muslim bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who co-run AFDI, and have become notorious for promoting Islamophobic ads to cities nationwide.

ADFI’s latest campaign equates Islam with anti-Semitism. The ad features a historic photo of Hajj Amin Al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, meeting with Adolf Hitler, and is accompanied by text that reads: “Islamic Jew Hatred: It’s in the Quran.” It then calls to “stop racism” by calling for the U.S. to aid all aid to Islamic countries.

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Nativist messages emerge in anti-immigrant movement’s response to ICE detainer rollbacks

Wednesday, June 4, 2014  |  Imagine 2050

In April and May, more than 50 county sheriffs, largely in the Western U.S., announced they would no longer comply with immigration detainer requests from Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). They joined the cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia and Denver in ending – or at least pausing – the practice.

“This movement is a big deal, because local jails have become the frontline for immigration enforcement during the Obama Administration,” Spencer Amdur of the Atlantic wrote last month.

Predictably, national anti-immigrant organizations like the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform have responded with dismay, saving their harshest words for the American Civil Liberties Union and an Oregon judge whose ruling set off the latest cascade. While their messaging is at times contradictory, some key themes have emerged.

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Laura Ingraham: Obama got it wrong , should have swapped Cantor for POW Bergdahl

Wednesday, June 4, 2014  |  Nativism Watch 

At a recent campaign rally, conservative pundit Laura Ingraham suggested the sending House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), rather than five Guantanamo detainees, to Afghanistan in exchange for an American service member held as a prisoner of war.

“I was thinking about this prisoner swap. I kind of wish that President Obama would have thought this through a little bit more. Instead of sending five Taliban MVPs over there, he could have just traded one Eric Cantor,” Ingraham said at a rally in support of Cantor primary challenger David Brat.

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NumbersUSA upholds Allen West’s criticism of plan to allow DREAMers to enlist

Monday, June 2, 2014  | Nativism Watch

Last week, the anti-immigrant organization NumbersUSA upheld the rantings of former Florida Congressman Allen West, who expressed his indignation about a policy granting young undocumented citizens, or “DREAMers, citizenship for military service.

On its website, NumbersUSA highlighted a May 29 blog post by West where he said it is a privilege to serve and military service “should not be about earning citizenship.” Later in his piece, he suggested that allowing DREAMers to serve in the military would lead to the downfall of the United States and likened this possibility to the demise of the Roman Empire.

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Islamophobe Frank Gaffney appears as ‘Foreign Policy Expert’ on CNN’s Crossfire (video)

Thursday, June 5, 2014  |  Nativism Watch

 Anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney was featured as a “Foreign Policy Expert” on CNN’s Crossfire, and was brought on to provide the right-wing, conservative point of view in regard to the Bergdahl trade. Gaffney was on the side of moderator and co-host Newt Gingrinch and faced off against Stephanie Cutter and Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador under Bill Clinton who actually has experience dealing with the Taliban.

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