Saturday, November 03, 2007

ADL: Anti-Immigrant Groups Borrow From Playbook of Hate Groups to Demonize Hispanics

NEW YORK, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the national debate
over immigration reached a fever pitch, some mainstream advocacy groups
"reached for the playbook of hate groups" -- resorting to hateful and
dehumanizing stereotypes and outright bigotry to demonize immigrants.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors extremist groups and
their rhetoric with regard to the immigration debate, has exposed a new
development where some of the more mainstream anti-immigrant groups
increasingly are adopting the tactics and rhetoric of racist groups and
moving it into the mainstream.

"Under the guise of warning about the impact of illegal immigration in
the rush to thwart the immigration bill from becoming law, some
anti-immigrant groups reached for the playbook of hate groups," said
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "They have taken hateful and
racist rhetoric and brought it into the mainstream."

ADL's new online report, Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves
into the Mainstream documents the rhetoric employed by groups that
routinely position themselves as legitimate, mainstream advocates against
illegal immigration in America.

A closer look at the public record reveals that many ostensibly
mainstream anti-illegal immigration organizations -- including those who
testified before Congress or frequently appeared on news programs --
promote virulent anti- Hispanic and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Some groups
have fostered links with extremist groups. The groups highlighted in the
ADL report include Mothers Against Illegal Aliens (Phoenix, AZ), the
Federation for American Immigration Reform (Washington, DC), Choose Black
America, You Don't Speak for Me, Americans for Legal Immigration Political
Action Committee (Raleigh, NC), Grass Fire (Maxwell, IA) and The Dustin
Inman Society (Marietta, GA).

"The Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis were not the only ones who saw an
opportunity in the national debate over immigration to sow the seeds of
racism as a means to derail immigration reform," said Mr. Foxman. "While
reasonable people can disagree about border control and the appropriate
parameters for immigration reform, the debate has been tainted by the
virulent anti-immigrant message employed by a handful of groups. The real
victims in this are Hispanic-Americans and other immigrants who are being
unfairly targeted, demeaned and stereotyped."

The report cites several key tactics used by anti-immigrant groups,

-- Describing immigrants as "third world invaders," who come to America to
destroy our heritage, "colonize" the country and attack our "way of
life." This charge is used against Hispanics, Asians and other people
of color.

-- Using terminology that describes immigrants as part of "hordes" that
"swarm" over the border. This dehumanizing language has become common.

-- Portraying immigrants as carriers of diseases like leprosy,
tuberculosis, Chagas disease (a potentially fatal parasitic disease),
dengue fever, polio, malaria.

-- Depicting immigrants as criminals, murderers, rapists, terrorists, and
a danger to children and families.

-- Propagating conspiracy theories about an alleged secret "reconquista"
plot by Mexican immigrants to create a "greater Mexico" by seizing
seven states in the American Southwest that once belonged to Mexico.

ADL has written a number of reports documenting the impact of anti-
immigrant rhetoric and activities by extremist groups. The full report,
Immigrants Targeted, which includes video clips showing the rhetoric of
some of the groups, is available on the League's Web site at

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading
organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that
counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

SOURCE Anti-Defamation League ADL | PRNewsWire

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