For the second year in a row, Breitbart News provided a platform for those “uninvited” to the Conservative Political Action Conference to voice their agenda. The event, billed as the “National Security Action Conference,” allowed members of the organized nativist movement to frame immigration reform as being one of the greatest threats facing the nation.
The event was moderated by anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney and covered a variety of topics deemed to be national security threats. One of these threats was the possibility of Congress passing comprehensive immigration reform. Gaffney and the others seized the opportunity to justify their anti-immigrant policies as being in the interest of national security. Gaffney said two of the most concerning immigration issues facing the nation were enforcement of immigration laws and providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
“These are national security issues: the dangers of selective enforcement, [immigration] laws, and amnesty for illegal aliens,” Gaffney said.
The event included a panel on immigration featuring some of the movement’s most prominent voices. Mark Krikorian, executive director of Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), warned, via a recorded presentation, that immigration laws will never be enforced if immigration reform is passed. He claimed this was the case after the 1986 immigration reform bill and said it will continue to happen if enforcement does not come before reform.
“Enforcement isn’t going to happen if it’s promised after the amnesty,” he said. “Enforcement has to happen first.”
Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA also appeared on the panel to stir up fear about the message that will be sent if “amnesty” is passed. She claimed this will communicate to the rest of the world that the U.S. does not enforce its laws. She warned this comes at a time when the number of legal immigrants and guest workers has already doubled.
“This administration has consistently undermined our immigration laws. Made it clear to everyone in the world that our immigration laws don’t matter,” Jenks said. “If you rob a bank, you’re going to jail. Break into break into a house, you’re going to jail. Shoot someone, you’re going to jail, and everybody’s guns will be taken away. But if you break an immigration law, we’re going to let you stay, give you a work permit, and we’re going to call it a day.”
Long time far-Right figurehead Phyllis Schlafly also appeared on the panel. She alleged that the background checks of those for those seeking citizenship would be as worthless as the background checks of the accused Boston bombers. Schlafly also used her allotted time to promote a new report by her organization, the Eagle Forum, saying immigration reform will lead to the demise of the Republican Party.
The anti-immigrant movement’s legislative allies were also present. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) beguiled the audience with a bizarre anecdote about taking trips to the Southern border and listening to individuals coming into the country unlawfully. From there he couldn’t help but ponder the amount of potential terrorists coming into the country the same way. He used that as a way to advocate against immigration reform, saying he knows cases of those with terrorist affiliations taking Spanish names and come into the country as migrants.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) also made an appearance and insisted on the “insanity” of believing immigration laws will be enforced after reform. Vitter continues to associate with these groups as evidenced by his infatuation with CIS. He began his remarks revealing he has previously worked with Gaffney before on projects regarding immigration reform. Also present was Rep. Jim Brindenstine (R-OK), who brought up the threat of individuals crossing the borders having ties to Hezbollah-affiliated drug cartels. “National security must not be held hostage to social reform,” he warned.
Although CPAC’s leaders have tried to distance the conference from those on the fringe, it remains clear there are those still willing to provide them with a platform. Their reckless attempts to equate immigration reform to a threat to national security reflect their desperate efforts to promote their agenda by any means possible.