Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Nativists

The Southern Poverty Law Center has released an Intelligence Report on a number of extremist anti-immigrant advocates.

The report, entitled: The Nativists looks at twenty of the most prominent anti-immigrants leaders and spokesmen. Some of them might be familiar faces, as they often turn up on news and opinion shows and pass themselves off as pundits and experts. Also included in the list are well known politicians like Tom Tancredo.

The investigation highlights some of these “leaders” rhetoric, policies and beliefs, and uncovers just how far they are from any mainstream ideology. With ties to white supremacists and other racist groups, these leaders who often try to pass themselves off as concerned citizens simply trying to “protect “ the American people, are exposed for what they really are - nothing more racist xenophobes.

Here's a look at the introduction:
more below the fold

The Nativists
Around the country, an anti-immigration movement is spreading like wildfire. An array of activists is fanning the flames.

By Susy Buchanan and Tom Kim

One of them says he'd like to bring nuclear weapons to the border. Another vows to stop the alleged Mexican invasion of Idaho. Several have links to white supremacist hate groups; others are given to dire warnings of horrible diseases, "barbaric" practices, and secret Latino conspiracies to "reconquer" the American Southwest. These are the nativists -- the new crop of activists who are driving the movement that exploded last spring with the Minuteman Project in Arizona, a month-long effort by armed civilians to seal the border with Mexico. Along with a whole array of media enablers (see Broken Record and Nativism On Air), they have barged into the nation's consciousness with remarkable success. Some of them, like Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist, have made attempts to win high political office. Others have contented themselves with trying to build a mass movement. Not all those who have joined the movement are extremists -- many are legitimately concerned about the ability of the nation to absorb large numbers of immigrants, particularly the undocumented. But one thing seems clear: A dangerous mix of nativist intolerance, armed and untrained civilians, and wild-eyed conspiracy theories could easily explode into violence.

Read Complete Report

This is a must read for anyone following the immigration debate. Understanding these Nativists, and just how dangerous they are is the first step in addressing any debate on immigration and immigration reform. These people continually misrepresent and sugarcoat their xenophobic and racists beliefs in order to garner favor with the American public. The only way to combat them is turn on the light and expose them for what they really are.

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