The nation was surprised to learn that since October, more than 52,000 Central American children have been detained after fleeing violence in their home countries. What has not been surprising has been the organized nativist movement’s efforts to politicize the issue and staunchly oppose humane responses to it. And even less surprising has been Frank Gaffney’s constant efforts to vilify the children and push back against policies that would aid them.
Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, has already demonstrated his lack of empathy by deeming these children an invasion. However, in his latest efforts against them, Gaffney proved why he’s worthy of the title of Islamophobia’s “most paranoid propagandist.”
During the July 9 episode of his radio program, Gaffney invited his colleague and fellow Islamophobe, Diana West, to push the theory that these children are part of the Democrat’s grand scheme to import voters and usher in the “socialization of America.” In order to support such a claim, West told Gaffney many of these children coming into the country come from “big government” countries, and thus, they would be more likely vote for Democrats. West further supports this by citing certain polls that claim three out of four Hispanics are more likely to for big government, which runs counter to Republicans views of having limited government interference.
As a result of this exposed plot, West was adamant against these children receiving refugee status. She warned this was “not simply a humanitarian response, but a political assault using children from other countries to destroy the population of this country.”
West’s comments may sound extreme, but they represent the quintessential fears expressed by navitists. They continue to fear immigrants will transform the country, turn it into something unrecognizable and further challenge their entrenched and misguided beliefs of what it means to be American.
Later in the show, Gaffney decided to take this big government doomsday prophecy one step further by referencing comments he had heard from Mark Krikorian on the matter. Krikorian is the executive director of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and a close allyof Gaffney’s. Gaffney told West he had heard Krikorian mention something earlier day that day which spoke to West’s belief there is a greater political agenda at stake here. Gaffney paraphrased Krikorian saying these children are now “being settled in Red states with Democrats up for reelection in the United States Senate.” Gaffney could not confirm this, but stated he was certain “Mark’s correct about that.”
However, what Gaffney conveniently failed to mention is that CIS is one of the three most strident anti-immigrant organizations in existence. The group’s ties to white nationalist John Tanton and ongoing efforts to oppose humane immigration policies points to Krikorian’s lack of credibility. Krikorian also has a long history of incendiary remarks, including the suggestion that the reason Haiti is supposedly so “screwed up” is because “it wasn’t colonized long enough.”
West and Gaffney are not the first on the far-Right this year to warn of immigrant’s alleged obsession with big government. In February, the Eagle Forum put out a report warning that an increased number of immigrants voters will lead to the demise of Republican Party, and, in turn, the country. The report reflects Eagle Forum’s founder Phyllis Schlafly’s anxieties of changing demographics and mirrored rhetoric historically espoused by white nationalists and staunch nativists.
Given Gaffney’s nativist fervor, it’s unsurprising he would use conspiracy theories to vilify children fleeing violence and warn of them changing the country for the worst. The administration should respond with humane policies that do not include putting the children’s lives back in danger.
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