Anti-Immigrant Protests A Bust: Five Things This Weekend's Rallies Tell Us About The Nativist Right

For weeks now, anti-immigrant groups have been hyping a “National Day of Protesting Against Immigration Reform, Amnesty & Border Surge,” meant to be two days of protests in cities across the country in reaction to the Central American children who are coming to the southern border to flee violence in their home countries.

The protests were a bust. Local news reports and pictures posted on social media show anemic turnout, from about 40 people in front of the United Nations in New York to just three at a McClellan, Texas, border control station who wondered if they had gotten the wrong address.

These small but vitriolic protests, although they didn’t meet the hype of their organizers, tell us everything we need to know about today’s anti-immigrant movement.

1. It’s driven by extremists.

This weekend’s protests were organized by three fringe groups: Make Them Listen, Overpasses for America, and Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.

Make Them Listen is run by activist Paul Arnold, who has close ties to the anti-immigrant front group behind last summer’s rally of extremists on the National Mall .

Overpasses for America is a group led by activist James Neighbors that organizes demonstrations over highway overpasses to call for President Obama’s impeachment. The group went a step further this year when it backed Operation American Spring, an effort meant to flood Washington with protesters and force Obama out of office , which also came up slightly short of expectations .

Overpasses frequently shares images like this on its Facebook page:

The group also uses the platform to share its views on immigrants, including this image and its accompanying caption.

Americans for Legal Immigration is a one-man anti-immigrant hate shop run by North Carolina-based activist William Gheen. Gheen has said that “illegal and violent” means might be necessary to remove President Obama from office and has a long record of virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric . Gheen’s last national action was encouraging his supporters to mail used underwear to undocumented immigrants.

Gheen also has ties to the right-wing militia movement: he personally invited the anti-government group Oath Keepers to join the weekend’s protests.

Other groups listed as “participating organizations” in the event included 2 Million Bikers To DC, whose leader wants to repeal all but the first 10 amendments to the Constitution and which deals in racist Facebook images, and Americans Have Had Enough Coalition, which is led by white supremacist Roan Garcia-Quintana .

The largest recent anti-immigrant protests — the attempts to turn back busses of migrant children in Murrieta, California, and Oracle, Arizona — were also populated by anti-government fringe groups. The Murrieta protest, which was organized by activists tied to the Minutemen and the John Birch Society, drew some of the same people who had recently set up shop at the anti-government standoff at the Bundy Ranch.

2. It relies on xenophobia.

Signs and chants at this weekend’s protests show that the movement draws its energy from Nativism and xenophobia.

A number of signs at the events drew from the ginned-up fears of migrant children carrying diseases. In New York, one protester parodied Emma Lazarus, shouting, “bring us your smallpox, bring us your malaria, your scabies.”

Another woman in New York held a sign calling “illegals” and President Obama “cockroaches.”

At the Raleigh event, attended by Gheen himself, protesters in front of the Mexican consulate held a large sign reading “No Way Jose.”

A protester in Texas held a sign saying, “We are a nation of immigrants, not a nation of welfare .”

Another protester in Florida wrote a sign that read, “Send Them Back with Birth Control.”

3. The fringe and the “mainstream” are closely knit.

The weekend’s protests were organized by fringe extremists, but they were promoted by large national groups that have access and influence in national politics.

The largest anti-immigrant organizing groups, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Numbers USA quietly promoted the events: Numbers sent a notice about the events to its email list and a number of FAIR’s state affiliates directed members to events in their areas.

Prominent GOP-tied activists also promoted the events. The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios urged listeners of her radio show to attend events in their area and advertised the protest on Facebook. The Right’s favorite "constitutional scholar" Mark Levin also advertised the rallies on Facebook.

Rep. Steve King, the leading anti-immigrant voice in Congress, was spoke at a sparsely attended protest in Nebraska, telling his audience that the migrant children at the border represent an “invasion” the size of “Santa Ana’s army.”

4. The movement’s running on fumes.

The small turnout at the weekend’s rallies highlights the truth that the anti-immigrant movement is desperately trying to hide: it just doesn’t have that much support.

Reports from cities across the country show just small handfuls of people showing up to yell about the child migrants to passing cars.

About 12 people turned up on an overpass in Milwaukee. A similar number gathered in Oklahoma City and Placentia, California. An event in Dover, Delaware, seems to have attracted about twenty. About eight appear to have made it out to hang an “Obama Sucks” banner on an overpass in Chattanooga. Three people turned up on an overpass in Oregon. San Diego mustered 25 people. A small group of protesters in Columbus, Ohio, were disappointed that so few people had showed up. About 15 people made it to the parking lot of the Mexican consulate in Little Rock; consulate officials and local police assured local news that they weren’t too concerned about needing additional security.

Meanwhile, Think Progress reporters in McClellan, Texas, ran into a group of three anti-immigrant demonstrators who wondered if they had gotten the wrong address for the protest. They were drowned out by the more than 60 people rallying in support of the refugee children at the border.

The protests this weekend were an attempt to create the illusion of widespread outrage at the children coming to the southern border and at the concept of immigration reform. A number of the protest groups, however small, garnered local news coverage and were able to say that they were part of a large nationwide effort. A look at reports from across the country shows that that was not the case.

The anti-immigrant movement, for all its smoke and mirrors, consists of a small network of closely tied advocacy groups who rely on fringe extremists like Gheen and Neighbors to rally scant amounts of grassroots support.

5. The GOP is still listening.

The anti-immigrant movement may be smoke and mirrors, but it has some very influential people fooled. House Speaker John Boehner still refuses to bring immigration reform up for a vote in the House. Ted Cruz now says that deporting DREAMers is his “top priority.” Republicans in Congress, spooked by the victory of ALIPAC-supported David Brat in Virginia, say that immigration reform is dead — even though an overwhelming percentage of Republicans want Congress to take action to fix the immigration system and a majority of Republicans want that to include a path to citizenship or permanent residency for undocumented immigrants.

The child refugee crisis has brought out the true colors of the anti-immigrant movement. Even as some conservative groups are urging compassion and care for the children fleeing to the southern border, Republican leaders seem to be buying the narrative of the small, Nativist anti-immigrant fringe.

Ukrainian Leaders Are Using David Barton's Theocratic Pseudo-History To Build Their Nation

Last month, Glenn Beck mentioned that David Barton had been invited to deliver his standard presentation of lies and misinformation to high-ranking government leaders in some former Soviet nation that is seeking to model itself on the United States.

Today, Barton appeared on James Dobson's radio program where he revealed that the country that had invited him was none other than Ukraine, where he spent two days meeting with members of the government and various religious leaders in order to teach them how to build a proper government based on the teachings of the Bible.

"They were absolutely shocked to find out how practical the Bible was," Barton said. "They had no clue that all of these things [pertaining to government] were in the Bible ... We talked to them about all sorts of things, about education in the Bible, about all sorts of things, so they were alive and on fire."

Since returning to America, Barton revealed that he has been contacted by several other members of the Ukrainian government, asking him to return and deliver his presentation to the entire parliament, as well as from government leaders in neighboring nations who want him to come and present his message there as well:

Personhood Supporter Ted Cruz Shocked Anyone Thinks GOP Wants To Curtail Contraception Access

On Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz denounced Democratic legislation to ensure that employees receive contraception access in their health insurance plans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, accusing Democrats of fooling voters through “misdirection.”

Cruz told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that the GOP-blocked Senate bill to prevent employers from refusing to cover contraception was simply a way to “distract people” from President Obama’s purported litany of scandals.

“They tried to convince Americans, and sadly they succeeded in convincing a number of Americans, that were somehow some people in the political sphere out to stop people from using contraceptives,” Cruz said. “I have literally never met anybody who wants to prohibit Americans from using contraceptives if they so desire. The allegation that there is somehow any effort at all to restrict access to contraceptives is looney, in the U.S. Senate the number of Senators advocating doing that is zero, they never have.”

While Cruz seems to miss the link between Hobby Lobby and access to contraception, he also doesn’t seem to understand a bill that he pledged to support: the Life at Conception Act. Like other personhood bills, the Life at Conception Act would outlaw some forms of birth control, along with abortion in all cases.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists points out that “some of the most effective and reliable forms of contraception, such as oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and other forms of FDA-approved hormonal contraceptives could be banned” under personhood bills.

Louisiana Activist Waxes Nostalgic For Days When Homosexuality Was Considered A Disorder

Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum, who is campaigning against a non-discrimination ordinance in the city of Baton Rouge, said on Friday that the ordinance could potentially make pedophilia a legally protected sexual orientation.

Speaking on the Family Research Council radio show “Washington Watch,” Mills also claimed that that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation, “and other behaviors are considered disordered. Because of the sexual, political agenda of many of these activists, they’ve been successful at redefining those disorders and classifying them as orientations.”

“Washington Watch” host Craig James also dismissed the ordinance because “less than three percent, I believe the exact number is 2.3 percent of the people in this country identify themselves with the LGBT community, yet it is a far greater feeling that they are out there in greater force.”

Tennessee Republican On Why Voters Should Support Him Over Muslim Rival: 'I Am A Christian'

A Tennessee Republican county commissioner is campaigning against his Democratic challenger, a Muslim-American, by questioning his opponent’s patriotism while reminding voters of his own Christian beliefs.

A report from Sunday’s The Tennessean highlights a letter Coffee County Republican Commissioner Mark Kelly sent voters alleging that his opponent has made statements calling for the American flag and the Bible to be removed from public spaces … even though “Kelly was unable to cite any specific instance when [Zak] Mohyuddin made such statements.”

Kelly told The Tennessean that the letter was just to remind voters of “the difference in views between two people,” namely that he is a Christian and Mohyuddin is not.

Last year, Coffee County Commissioner Barry West posted an image of a man aiming a shotgun with the caption: “How to wink at a Muslim.”

H/T: RWW reader Chris.

In a July 16 letter asking District 15 constituents for their vote, Republican Commissioner Mark Kelly made the following claims about his Democratic political opponent, Zak Mohyuddin:

"My opponent has expressed his beliefs publicly that the United States is not a Christian nation; that the American flag should be removed from public buildings because it is a symbol of tyranny and oppression; that public prayer should be banned because it insults non-Christians; and that the Bible should be removed from public places."

When questioned by The Tennessean about how he knew the statements were true, Kelly was unable to cite any specific instance when Mohyuddin made such statements. He said he had heard it during private conversations with him.

Mohyuddin, a 25-year resident of Tullahoma, was deeply offended by the statements and is scrambling to assure voters the claims are untrue as early voting began Friday.

"That is a very serious allegation. What he is saying is vile and offensive and completely untrue," Mohyuddin said. "It's an attack on my patriotism. I have never ever said any words even close to that in public or in private. It is absolute lies. It's not like he doesn't know me."

Kelly, who has known Mohyuddin for 25 years and helped him move into his home, told The Tennessean he is not anti-Muslim and that he stands by his letter.

"I am a Christian and have been and will be. Zak isn't, and he has a different faith and there are a lot of different faiths," Kelly said. "I am standing on my values and my record. The point of the letter was to encourage the conservative base to get out and vote. It was simply to show the difference in views between two people, not that one is right or wrong, just a difference."



Kelly also wrote in the letter: "I believe in the Christian values and work ethics that are the foundation of this great nation … Our Founding Fathers prayed to God and established our Nation and its Laws based on the Judeo-Christian principles of the Bible. Because the Bible is foundational to understanding American history and law as well as our heritage; the Bible belongs in public places."

Matt Barber: Anti-Gay Activists Facing 'Water Hoses' Like MLK

Is Matt Barber secretly a gay rights advocate who has gone under deep cover to make the Religious Right look absolutely ridiculous?

It seems that might be the case, judging by his latest column, titled “The Coming Christian Revolt.”

Featuring a picture of African American demonstrators being shot with water hoses behind a superimposed rainbow image, Barber writes that the anti-gay Right is the direct descendant of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, and must similarly engage in “widespread civil disobedience” in the face of water hoses.

From behind a smoking sniper rifle high atop his ivory tower peers the secular “progressive.” He surveys his many victims, strewn across the American landscape below and mockingly sneers, “War on Christianity? What war on Christianity?”

He then resumes shooting, all the while insisting that those uncooperative Christians who scatter for cover behind the word of God and the U.S. Constitution somehow suffer from a “persecution complex” (the baker, the photographer, the florist, the innkeeper, the Christian school administrator, etc.).



For every law, regulation, activist court ruling or presidential edict that demands Christians violate their sincerely held religious beliefs and adopt a postmodern, moral relativist way of life, there increases, in exact proportion, the likelihood of widespread civil disobedience – disobedience of the sort we haven’t seen since the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and ’60s.

Indeed, if, in the spirit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., we, his fellow Christian travelers, must again face the water hoses, then face them we shall.



While there are those who will give way out of fear, weakness or a desire to conform to the world, there are many others who will not. Christians must peacefully come together, lock arms and redouble our resistance to evil.

Even when that evil is adorned with the presidential seal and signature.

WND's Molotov Mitchell Is Running For State Senate In North Carolina

Jason 'Molotov' Mitchell, a biblical law proponent and birther who works for WorldNetDaily, is challenging a top Democratic member of North Carolina’s state senate.

Mitchell declares himself a champion of privacy and “personal freedom,” which is odd because in a 2010 video commentary — since made private — Mitchell declared his support for Uganda’s notorious anti-gay bill which at the time would have made being gay in some cases a crime punishable by death.

He is also behind a film focusing on a fictional terrorist group which murders abortion providers to raise awareness about “black genocide.”

One of WND’s edgiest voices is challenging a liberal stronghold in North Carolina by running for state senator on a platform of personal freedom for everyone – liberal, conservative or otherwise.

“I am the GOP cruise missile, and I intend to crush the Obama clone in Raleigh,” says Molotov Mitchell, who appears in WND each week with his “For the Record” video column.

Mitchell is taking on Democrat State Senate Minority Whip Josh Stein in November. Stein is a staunch liberal, whose record includes votes against several pro-life bills during the last legislative session and strong support for same-sex marriage, having received an award from the Equality NC Foundation for his advocacy on the issue.

“Stein has long been considered one of the state’s strongest allies for LGBT equality,” the foundation said in a press release. “The progressive Democrat actively worked to include sexual orientation and gender identity in K-12 anti-bullying legislation.”



“I intend to fight for privacy, business and personal freedom,” Mitchell declares.



“That’s where I really resonate, especially on the issue of privacy,” Mitchell told WND. “We have had a lot of people from the left come out and tell us that while they can’t admit it publicly they are going to vote for Molotov Mitchell.”



“In my opinion, allowing firearms in most places while banning them in educational facilities is essentially a contract with killers,” Mitchell explained. “We have essentially told the bad guys we’ll make you a deal: If you leave us alone and let us carry our firearms in our businesses, our homes and on the streets, we’ll let you have our kids. Leave us alone and you can shoot up the school if you want – and that’s exactly what the bad guys have done.”



“I am a big proponent of leaving people alone,” he continued. “I used to want to see people’s lives regulated more to the ‘right,’ but now I believe people, especially at the local level, have the right to decide what is best for them and their culture.”

“While I believe the Christian way is always best, I also believe if you have the people and you have the votes to disagree with that, then that’s OK with me,” Mitchell said. “Your community can try whatever you want to try. Up in Dearborn, Michigan, they are trying Islamic principles. While I expect it to go down in flames, I am now at the point where I support their right to do that as long as they don’t harm other people.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/16/14

Esther Yu-His Lee @ ThinkProgress: Arizona Politician Mistakes WMCA Campers For Undocumented Children.
David Edwards @ Raw Story: Louie Gohmert: Obama won’t ‘defend women’ from ‘hundreds of thousands’ of immigrant rapists.
Igor Bobic @ Huffington Post: Conservative Groups Protest Central American Children By Marching With Guns.
Jeremy Hooper @ Good As You: ‘Ex-gay’ group: A government that encourages gay men but not ‘change’ therapy is ‘willing partner to their death.’
Steve Benen @ MaddowBlog: House GOP too busy for impeachment?

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/16/14

• Right-wing leaders including Jenny Beth Martin, Tony Perkins, Richard Viguerie and Ken Blackwell are urging RNC chairman Reince Priebus to investigate the Mississippi runoff election.

• Hazelton, Pennsylvania, may be on the hook for millions more dollars for its failed anti-immigrant policy.

• The Pew Research Center is out with new findings on the “feelings that members of America’s religious groups have about one another.”

• Tony Perkins says “President Obama has put the demands of this 3% [of LGBT people] before the entire nation and its interests.”

• Finally, Laurie Higgins urges parents to “flee from public school pornogogues pronto.”

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming…

The Right Wing Watch team is heading to Detroit for Netroots Nation, so we’ll be blogging less frequently for the rest of the week.

If you’re at Netroots, come visit us at the People For the American Way booth in the exhibit hall or find us on Twitter:

We’ll be back on Monday with all of the weekend’s news from the Right.

See you in Detroit!

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