Leading anti-immigrant spokesperson Mark Krikorian was in New York City last week meeting with Donald Trump.
Krikorian is Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)—a disingenuous and virulently anti-immigrant think tank founded by white nationalist John Tanton. CIS serves as the primary source of research and information for the organized anti-immigrant movement as it pursues its extremist policy goals.
Krikorian met with Trump as one of 16 people participating in an August 17 foreign policy briefing at the Republican presidential candidate’s home. According to one attendee, James Carafano of The Heritage Foundation, the briefing was organized by former New York City Mayor and Trump campaign surrogate Rudy Giuliani. According to the Associated Press, “Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and more than a dozen others” were also in attendance.
On Saturday, Krikorian discussed the briefing on CNN. He described it as a meeting “of various people to kind of hash over ideas on how to deal with the issue of fighting radical Islam,” according to a rush transcript of the broadcast.
Last week, as media reported on Trump’s calls for so-called “extreme vetting,” Imagine 2050 reminded readers that Krikorian was among the original progenitors of such a policy proposal, presenting it as a “grown-up alternative” for Trump to consider.
Trump’s “extreme vetting” proposal came in a speech two days before the New York City meeting. But clearly he and his campaign wanted to hear more of what Krikorian had to say. Both men, after all, have a similar penchant for extreme, bigoted outbursts. As leader of CIS, Krikorian has, among other things, claimed freedom of religion is “not a Muslim value,” described Univison’s Jorge Ramos as a “white-Hispanic ethnic hustler,” and suggested that Haiti is “so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.” Additionally, a senior employee of Krikorian’s said that President Obama should be “hung, drawn, and quartered.”
Two days after the New York City briefing, the Trump campaign released its first national television advertisement. The ad predictably continued the campaign’s trend of stoking fear of immigrant communities.
As Right Wing Watch reported, the ad cites Krikorian’s Center for Immigration Studies almost immediately. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow covered the ad for a broader audience, and extensively addressed CIS’s extremist roots. “For the first national Donald Trump ad of the presidential election to be overtly citing the Center for Immigration Studies, the John Tanton group,” Maddow said, “that’s nuclear.”
When asked by CNN’s Martin Savidge if he had plans to brief Trump again, Krikorian said, “As far as I know there isn’t anything scheduled but the way they left it was that this was the beginning of a process and there will be further consultations like this… I’m happy to give my thoughts.”
Throughout this week media outlets have speculated about whether Donald Trump was moderating his position on immigration matters. By actively soliciting advice from the Center for Immigration Studies, rather than simply citing their work, Trump has, if anything, further embraced the extremism of the organized anti-immigrant movement.
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