The anti-Muslim group is using tragedy to amplify existing anti-refugee work
The notorious anti-Muslim grassroots organization ACT! for America is using the tragic attacks in Paris to urge its members to continue their attacks on refugee rights.
In an email to supporters this week, ACT! relayed conflicting reports “that at least one of the terrorists responsible for the slaughter in Paris was a Syrian refugee.” It continued: “The Obama Administration has already begun bringing in Syrian refugees to our country, and has plans to bring up to 100,000 more. These are un-vettable individuals that will not only pose a serious security risk to our nation, but also will tax our already overburdened financial and physical infrastructures.”
Even though all of the suspects in the France attacks have so far have been identified as European nationals, ACT! is calling to halt all Syrian refugee resettlement efforts in the U.S.
ACT! is encouraging its members to attend a Congressional hearing this Thursday to “examine the Syrian refugee crisis and the impact it has on national security.” The hearing was scheduled prior to the Paris attacks and had already raised red flags because one of the witnesses scheduled to testify is Mark Krikorian, executive director of the virulently anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies.
ACT! for America’s president has said,”Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim.”
However, ACT! — led by its founder and president Brigitte Gabriel — has been spreading fear and unfounded conspiracies about Syrian refugees for months. ACT!, which boasts 300,000 members and more than 900 chapters nationwide, is using its network of members to promote discriminatory policies aimed at marginalizing Muslim communities in America. The latest anti-refugee message from the group is just another manifestation of its campaign to claim Muslims are the greatest national threat. In another email, ACT! deemed Muslims refugees as invaders who are turning Europe into “Eurabia,” and that the United States is next.
Ann Corcoran, anti-refugee blogger, briefs staffers on the Hill
A day before the Paris attacks, ACT! arranged a meeting for congressional staff members on Capitol Hill that included a briefing from Ann Corcoran, an anti-refugee blogger and activist who has no official expertise on refugee resettlement policy. Instead, Corcoran is known for propagating outlandish conspiracy theories claiming Muslims are exploiting refugee and immigration programs to “colonize” the United States and impose “Islamic supremacy.” She has also campaigned against mosque construction in the United States and has equated efforts against refugees to “a battle to save Western civilization.” Further discrediting the briefing, Don Barnett, a fellow at Krikorian’s anti-immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies, appeared alongside Corcoran.
Earlier this year, ACT! also launched “refugee resettlement working groups” to organize its membership to push back against refugee programs. Corcoran serves in an advisory role to the groups and has spoken to ACT! chapters across the nation.
ACT! and its refugee working groups also keep close ties to Rep. Brian Babin, a freshman Republican from Texas. In July, Babin introduced H.R. 3314, the “Resettlement Accountability National Security Act of 2015,” which calls to “suspend the admission into the United States of refugees in order to examine the costs of providing benefits to such individuals, and for other purposes.” Since then, ACT! has been working closely with Babin to get additional co-sponsors for the bill in hopes of getting it passed.
Babin’s bill, once thought to have a slim chance of passing, has now been joined by other proposals that members of Congress are considering in haste and may decide on this week.