Last Friday, conservatives from the Chicagoland area and beyond gathered for the first Chicago CPAC event. Unlike this years CPAC event in Washington DC there was no panel on the issue of immigration and, thankfully, there were no white nationalists invited to participate in any of the Chicago events. Despite the lack of immigration panels on the agenda, anti-immigrant leaders and publications were present at the event. Also present were characters associated with the far-right.
Attending the event was Jeff Lewis of the anti-immigrant FIRE Coalition. Lewis, based in North Carolina, heads a group that provides grassroots support for the anti-immigrant movement. FIRE Coalition held an event in 2010 with FAIR and State Legislators for Legal Immigration founder Daryl Metcalfe along with the Oath Keepers and others in the Patriot movement. Lewis and the Coalition recently formed a partnership with the Immigration Tea Party and Foreign National Crime Information Center in an attempt to promote Rep. Walter Jones’ (R-NC) H.R. 3168, The Illegal Alien Crime Reporting Act of 2011, and designate November 6th as “The National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Illegal Aliens.” Another man who attended the CPAC event was Nicholas Hahn, formerly of the DePaul Conservative Alliance, the far-right student group at DePaul University in Chicago. The Alliance invited a host of far-right characters to DePaul in the late 2000s including minuteman leader Chris Simcox and Islamophobe David Horowitz. The Alliance also held an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” and held an “Affirmative Action Bake Sale.”
At the CPAC event, articles written by anti-immigrant activist Frosty Wooldridge were also distributed. It is unclear if Wooldridge was actually at the conference but articles authored by him were circulating. The Colorado based Wooldridge sits on the board of advisers of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group founded by white nationalist John Tanton. Wooldridge’s statements and writings also contain strains of white nationalism. Wooldridge recently sent an email to Imagine2050 stating, “Somali’s [sic] plight is real and, as I said, if you feed them, they will add another 10 million starving children. That’s a biological fact. Africa at 1 billion will hit 3.1 billion in 90 years. They create their own human misery.”
As we can see, events such as CPAC not only attract run-of-the-mill conservatives, but many associated with the far-right of the Republican Party.