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

Oct 23, 2007, 01:00 ET from Anti-Defamation League

    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