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House Immigration Reform Caucus Providing Representation for the Organized Islamophobia Movement

Imagine 2050 Staff • Dec 13, 2012

Rep. Louis Gohmert

At this year’s Values Voter Summit, the annual conference of the homophobic, anti-choice, far-Right Family Research Council, stoking the white-hot coals of Islamophobia was all-the-rage. Never more was the collective hatred of Islam on display as when Rep. Michele Bachmann took the stage. In a performance that can only be likened to NBC’s The Office character Dwight Schute’s Benito Mussolini-esque speech, Bachmann thundered to the hundreds gathered about the letter that she and other Representatives had penned, querying to just what extent the Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated our highest levels of government.

That letter, which was signed by four other Congresspersons, obviously received much attention from mainstream media outlets for its indulgence of conspiracy theories and blatant articulations of Islamophobia. Rep. Bachmann absorbed much the heated criticism, as well, effectively shielding her co-signers from much of said heat. Yet what went missing from all this reporting was the fact that Rep. Bachmann is a standing member of the Immigration Reform Caucus (HIRC), a coalition of anti-immigrant House Representatives. HIRC is backed by the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the flagship organization of the contemporary anti-immigrant movement in the US that was founded by John Tanton, a white nationalist and proponent of eugenics.

Recently one of the “Bachmann 5,” as she and her co-signers were dubbed, has emerged increasingly from behind her shield–enter Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas.

As reported by Right Wing Watch, Gohmert’s own most recent testifying to the extent to which Islamists have already destroyed America without anyone realizing it came unsurprisingly on Frank Gaffney’s all-things-scary-about-Muslims show, Secure Freedom Radio. In its piece about his being banned from CPAC back in February of this year, ThinkProgress describes Gaffney as follows:

“Frank Gaffney has been a leading figure in the neoconservative movement for over two decades, having served in the Reagan Pentagon and founded a national security think tank.”

It continues:

“But Gaffney was absent from the panels and podiums at the year’s biggest conservative conference, CPAC, despite having spoken at the annual event held this weekend for the past 15 years. Gaffney had vowed to boycott the conference this year because, he claimed, it had been infiltrated by Islamic extremists. Specifically, he pointed to Grover Norquist, the influential anti-tax activist, and Suhail Kahn, who directed Muslims outreach efforts for the Bush White House. He accuses the two of being moles for the Muslim Brotherhood. However, ThinkProgress has learned that Gaffney was actually prohibited from participating in CPAC — disinvited from speaking this year by conference organizers fed up with his increasingly vicious attacks on fellow conservative leaders.”

Which is to say, those who appear on Gaffney’s show–like Mark Krikorian, head of FAIR sister-organization the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), who has appeared on Gaffney’s show numerous times–are helping to posit strong measures of validity behind a conspiracy obsessed attack-dog that has been isolated to all but the fringes of the mainstream Conservative movement. (It’s worth mentioning that Gaffney also spoke on a panel at this year’s Values Voter Summit.)

Here’s what Gohmert had to say about Gaffney’s we’ve been “infiltrated by Islamic extremists” theory:

“I think it almost makes a prima facie case when you look at the decisions made by this administration over the last couple of years, or actually all four years. You look at the decisions it made especially in the last two years in going through the revolutions in Northern Africa and across the Middle East and to the Far East, and the only way you can explain the horrendous decisions that were so completely wrongheaded would be if this administration had a bunch of Muslim Brotherhood members giving them advice.” (Emphasis ours.)

To turn their language towards them, anyone arguing that our government hasn’t been infiltrated by Islamophobes is, well….

Gohmert’s myriad offenses while in Congress have been well-documented: his attacks on the 14th Amendment over “terror babies,” that LGBQT soldiers can’t control their hormones (which was said on head of Family Research Council Tony Perkin’s radio show), accepting an award from the largest Islamophobia group in the country, mentioning how the government putting condoms on wild horses is an apt and accurate analogy for the Affordable Health Care Act, that the massacre carried out in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater is connected “to attacks on Judeo-Christianity,” etc, etc, etc.

What all of the above hyper-linked reports fail to underscore is that Gohmert is not not just a representatives of Texas, he’s a representative of FAIR and of the anti-immigrant movement. The leaders of such groups–like Dan Stein of FAIR, Mark Krikorian of CIS, and Roy Beck of NumbersUSA–must stand-up and refuse to work with politicians who so blatantly deal-in and vote based-on conspiracies.

This seems unlikely, though, especially when one learns that Mark Krikorian just hosted Frank Gaffney for a speaking event at the National Women’s Republican Club less than a week ago.

So until the likes of Krikorian distances himself from such leading Islamophobes, we should place him and the aforementioned leaders alongside Gaffney and other Islamophobes on the fringes, and so recognize that they have about as much business steering the immigration debate in this country as Dwight Schrute. And until they make such denouncements, we’d probably be better off with a Rep. Schrute of Pennsylvania in office instead of Rep. Gohmert, Rep. Bachmann, and their allies in the House Immigration Reform Caucus.

At least with Rep. Schrute in office we could laugh in the name of something other than disgust.

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