The arrival of thousands of children fleeing violence and arriving at the U.S. border is finally being recognized by the Obama administration – and some news outlets – as a humanitarian crisis. However, many have turned the situation into a political game and, as expected, the Islamophobia movement has quickly followed suit.
Many Americans were stunned a few weeks ago when news outlets began reporting that since October, about 47,000 children who fled violence in Central America are being detained after attempting to enter the United States through the Southern border. On cue, the organized anti-immigrant movement was quick to respond with rhetoric attacking the unaccompanied minors. However, it was not alone, and the crisis has now garnered the attention of the movement’s anti-Muslim counterparts.
Leading the charge has been the Islamophobia movement’s “most paranoid propagandist,” Frank Gaffney, who took to labeling the arrival of the children as an “invasion of our border and transformation of our country.”
To support his invasion claims, Gaffney featured guests on his radio show last week known for their anti-immigrant views. One of whom was Mark Krikorian, executive director at the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies. During a June 18 segment, Krikorian told Gaffney that from what he’s “seen,” many of the unaccompanied minors are older adolescents with gang affiliations.
“The unaccompanied minors are overwhelmingly, actually, teenage boys,” Krikorian stated. “15-, 16-, 17-year-old. A lot of them are themselves members of gangs.”
Krikorian added that he spoke with border patrol agents who said there are members of the gang MS-13 among the minors. Krikorian also played right into Gaffney’s framework by suggesting that similar to gangs, sending unaccompanied minors into the country is something “jihadists could use,” and that there is no way to tell the children’s true intentions.
Gaffney also invited Sen. David Vitter, who has a record of anti-immigrant extremism, onto his June 17 show. During the segment, Gaffney teed up Vitter by asking his thoughts on what the cause is for this “invasion.”
Vitter’s response: The problem was the country’s immigration policies and is a “direct result of having little to no enforcement.”
Vitter, unsurprisingly, also advised putting an end to sanctuary cities, stopping this “amnesty trend,” and claimed there needs to be “real enforcement” because, according to him, we are currently sending the “wrong message” to the rest of the world with our current policies.
‘Mass invasion’ is the ‘inevitable suicidal response’
Aside from Gaffney, David Horowitz Freedom Center fellow Bruce Thornton was also churning out the nativist rhetoric at FrontPage Magazine. In a June 19 article, sticking to the invasion theme, Thornton invoked Jean Raspail’s 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints to warn against the recent “surge” of children arriving at the border. Raspail’s book is a Dionysian, racist novel that depicts Europe being destroyed by immigrants. (John Tanton, the architect of the modern day anti-immigrant movement, also drew inspiration from Raspail’s novel.)
Thornton wrote: “Most interesting are Raspail’s descriptions of why this mass invasion happened as the inevitable suicidal response of a people who no longer believe in their own civilization’s ideals or principles.”
Thornton goes on to warn that immigrants who enter into the country unlawfully are unwilling to adapt to American culture and instead expect the country to cater to their culture of origin. He claims the influx of undocumented immigrants will then lead to the demise of what he deems to be American society.
He adds that instead of deporting all of those he views will ruin America, they are being offered amnesty. He says this is happening without “addressing the critical question of how are we going to sort out and help those who have shown they want to become Americans, from those who prefer to keep their old identities no matter how incompatible or with, or even hostile to, America’s political and social order.”
It’s unsurprising that in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, the organized anti-Muslim movement still seeks to capitalize on it to push their agenda. That, and the only worrisome invasion of note occurring is these individual’s imposing their fear-driven rhetoric into our public discourse.
Image source: Donna Burton/Creative Commons