It seems some powerful players within this country’s anti-immigrant movement are moving to further solidify the intersections of their messaging and work—and the relationships developing from them—with those orchestrating the ever-emerging Islamophobia movement.
Last December, for example, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) provided a venue for Frank Gaffney to give a conspiracy theory-laden talk on the Muslim Brotherhood’s growing influence within the US government. Incidentally, and amongst a collection of facts that are becoming increasingly more visible to the American people, CIS itself was founded by white nationalist and eugenics-proponent John Tanton and maintains status as one of the most powerful organizations in today’s anti-immigrant movement via its place in Tanton’s network of varying nativist, population-control organizations.
Those facts in mind, on Wednesday, Gaffney partially returned the favor, in a sense, by hosting Rosemary Jenks on his Secure Freedom Radio program (recently he also welcomed Krikorian). Jenks is Director of Government Relations for Roy Beck’s Numbers USA, another powerful anti-immigrant organization and one of CIS’s Tanton Network sister-groups.
Jenks was, of course, brought on the show to discuss the evils of “comprehensive immigration reform.”
The push for such tight-knit reforms has re-entered the public debate with much force as of late, as a bipartisan group of Senators and President Obama separately presented frameworks for future legislation. The issue had previously “been on the back burner,” according to Gaffney, but is “on the front burner now.” Gaffney and Jenks went on to discuss “Amnesty 2.0,” lamenting what they view as shortcomings in the proposed plans.
It did not take long for Gaffney to infuse his paranoid and oft-unfocused anti-Muslim suspicions into the conversation, though:
“If you happen to be someone who’s coming here to wage jihad, and doing so, maybe initially at least, in the stealthy form that the Muslim Brotherhood call ‘civilization jihad,’ to say nothing of people that may wish us harm in other ideological streams, there would be this blanket amnesty applying to them as well, would there not?”
Jenks, of course, agreed with Gaffney’s paranoid statement.
She continued, asserting that two Muslim terrorists exploited similar legislation that passed in 1986. This allowed them to more easily receive training to plan and to execute the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
“This is really appalling,” Gaffney responded.
Later in the episode, Gaffney welcomed on Diana West—who recently spoke alongside Pamela Geller at a conference in Maryland. West is a conservative columnist and co-Vice President of the International Free Press Society (IFPS), a self-described “international advocacy group for free speech,” which in reality is nothing more than a coalition against all things Islam. Just as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer unleash hateful, anti-Muslim-and-Islam blog posts under the auspices of defending the First Amendment, IFPS does as well. Video from that recent conference reveals West proclaiming, “We’re not going to make any friends in Islam.”
Unsurprisingly, Gaffney shares West’s opinions and—guess what—he’s on IFPS’s Advisory Board.
In the past, Gaffney has regularly rolled out Secure Freedom Radio as a welcoming platform for power-players within the anti-immigrant movement, especially those from within the John Tanton Network, hosting Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian on more than one occasion, Arizona SB 1070 architect Kris Kobach, House Immigration Reform Caucus members such as Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and a clutch of others.
Gaffney and Jenks’s on-air exchange is just the latest installment in a growing trend of the anti-immigrant and organized Islamophobia movements openly collaborating and sharing ideas. It’s significant enough when Gaffney turns the national immigration debate into a vessel for his delusional fears of “stealh jihad”; however, when representatives of anti-immigrant groups like Jenks at Numbers USA agree and embrace Gaffney’s focused bigotries, we must pause to ensure that we’re recognizing just how and why such an embrace is truly significant.
Collusion between the two movements does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon (no, not anytime soon at all). And beyond simply recognizing the significance of their active collaborations, we must continue to expose and to discredit the messaging of these movements as the codified strains of inter-locking bigotries that they are.
No one should ever hold NumbersUSA (or any other Tanton Network affiliate) in the regard that Frank Gaffney does—as “an indispensible organization.”