Nativism Watch

The anti-immigrant movement in 2016


Lindsay Schubiner • Jan 08, 2016
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After a year in which nativist policies and rhetoric regularly drove the news cycle, the anti-immigrant movement has a lot planned for 2016.

The anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) announced its goals for 2016 in a New Year’s Eve email to supporters. FAIR sits at the apex of the contemporary anti-immigrant movement and has been designated a hate group because of its virulent and false attacks on immigrants.

Here’s what FAIR has planned for the new year:

1. End so-called sanctuary city laws that protect immigrant families and foster community trust in police.

The anti-immigrant movement has used the tragic shooting of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco as fuel to drive a national movement against so-called sanctuary laws. These laws limit compliance with unconstitutional federal detainer requests, protect immigrants from unjust deportation, and foster trust between police and immigrant communities.

In 2015, legislation to limit these protective policies has been considered in Congress and states across the country. In 2016, the anti-immigrant movement hopes to build on this momentum and get a national law passed to eliminate these policies.

2. Continue to support the litigation to block President Obama’s executive action on DAPA and expanded DACA.

Over a year ago, the immigrant rights movement achieved a hard-won victory: President Obama announced an executive action to protect more undocumented residents from deportation, including parents of U.S. citizens. Even though this action does not go far enough to stop deportations and protect all undocumented members of our communities, the anti-immigrant movement has been working to defeat it at every turn.

In addition to fighting Obama’s executive action in the media, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) (the legal arm of FAIR) filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the 25 states challenging the executive action in court. With its long-standing advocacy for attrition through enforcement, it is no surprise that the anti-immigrant movement strongly opposes the protections provided by DAPA and expanded DACA

3. Promote the “Arizona Model” and discourage the “California Model.”

FAIR has long supported state-based advocacy to achieve its anti-immigrant goals. In this case, FAIR intends to spread the devastating immigration enforcement model made notorious in Arizona with SB 1070 across the country, while working against the protections offered to immigrants in California, such as those provided by the TRUST Act.

4. Block refugee resettlement.

In 2015, the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim movements worked more closely together than ever before to deny safe haven in the United States to refugees fleeing terrible violence in their home countries. These nativist movements play off fear of demographic change and terrorism to foster anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment and generate popular support for excluding refugees.

Nativist fear-mongering resulted in Congressional action in 2015, and FAIR expressly intends to “ensure the Mid-East influx of refugees and others is contained” in 2016. (We certainly don’t expect FAIR to drop the dehumanizing language anytime soon.)

5. Air national radio ads every night of every week.

FAIR intends to use paid advertising to spread their message of xenophobia and hate far and wide in 2016– and they were hoping to raise the funds for it with this end of year fundraising appeal.

In the immigrant rights movement, we have our work cut out for us if we hope to successfully push back against this ambitious and devastating anti-immigrant agenda in 2016.

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