If there is one message to take away from CPAC’s panel on immigration, it’s that White America is in serious jeopardy and may soon succumb to immigration, multiculturalism, and socialism. The panel “Will Immigration Kill the GOP?” featured former congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Virgil Goode (R-VA), Bay Buchanan of Team America PAC, and special guest Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). The group Youth for Western Civilization sponsored the panel, and its head Kevin DeAnna was also a panelist. Youth for Western Civilization is a far-right group that regularly criticizes affinity groups on college campuses, especially those that represent black, Hispanic, LGBT, Native American, and Muslim students.
Tancredo, a star among anti-immigrant activists, started the event by claiming that he wasn’t bigoted against Latinos and that the majority of Hispanic Americans support him and favor Arizona’s draconian SB-1070 law. “I have a lot of people who have Hispanic last names who support me,” Tancredo told the jam-packed room, “I speak for most Americans.” The former congressman, who in 2010 received just 37% of the vote in his bid for governor of Colorado, claimed that the GOP should embrace his nativist politics because immigration is the “ultimate economic issue,” and even claimed that Hispanics supported him over his Democratic opponent, Governor John Hickenlooper.
Responding to a questioner who believed that Democrats would drop their support of immigration reform if immigrants were stripped of their right to vote, Tancredo said that even immigrants without voting rights still pose a grave danger to the country.
“No more of this multiculturalism garbage,” Tancredo said, adding that “the cult of multiculturalism has captured the world” and is “the dagger in the heart” of civilization.
Not to be out done, Goode maintained that immigration in general “will not only kill the GOP but will kill the United States of America.” He went on to say that Democratic politicians support undocumented immigration only in order to introduce “socialized medicine” and gain future voters. The Virginia firebrand maintained that the majority of Americans favor his fervently anti-immigrant views, and wanted every state to emulate Arizona’s SB-1070. He asked, “Who could really be against doing away with birthright citizenship?”
Both Tancredo and Goode agreed that U.S. citizens are now being treated unfairly as undocumented immigrants reap all the benefits of American society.
Tancredo claimed that undocumented immigrants “get better health care in detention centers than some of my constituents,” and Goode argued that “today, being a citizen means you’re second class.”
Later, Bay Buchanan said that Tancredo and his dogmatic Nativism represent a model increasingly followed by Republican politicians, including Sen. John McCain, once an advocate of reform, who she said became a “Tancredo disciple when he ran for reelection.” Buchanan also pointed to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s reelection to demonstrate that anti-immigrant politics can lead to Republican success at the polls, and said that every state should have a governor like Brewer.
DeAnna of Youth for Western Civilization gave a much darker outlook on the success of the Republican Party, and the country as a whole. He said that the “system is stacked against” the anti-immigrant movement, maintaining that an alliance of corporate and Republican elites is preventing the party from moving farther to the right on the issue of immigration. He warned of the rising tide of multiculturalism, especially among young people. “The Left gets power from multiculturalism,” DeAnna said, and “when you lose the culture you lose the policy too.”
He also argued that the GOP is “dead” in California because of the rising population of Latinos, and said that the Democratic Party and their allies in organized labor want further immigration to strengthen their electoral clout.
Rep. Lou Barletta was the final speaker before questions, and he discussed how he saved the city of Hazleton as mayor by cracking down on employers and landlords who do business with undocumented immigrants. “I stood up for the rule of law,” Barletta said, even though his anti-immigrant ordinance was declared unconstitutional. The congressman has a long history of partnering with Nativist groups, and he asked the audience to support him as he pledged to take his case to the Supreme Court.
But while many panelists like Tancredo and Buchanan began their speeches by saying that they were absolutely not bigoted or racist in any way, participants at the event asked many racially-tinged questions.
A questioner asked Goode how to “control immigration from the Islamic and Arab world,” and said that unless that happens there could be “more Keith Ellisons.” Ellison is a Democratic congressman from Minnesota who converted to Islam as an adult, and is not an immigrant, but Goode did write a letter to his constituents saying, “The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.”
Another questioner discussed how astounded he was that “in the northeast, majority-Caucasian communities” tend to back “support ‘amnesty,’” or at least pro-reform politicians. He asked the panelists how he could turn more “Caucasian communities” against amnesty, and Buchanan assured him that even voters in Massachusetts oppose reform efforts like the DREAM Act.
One member of the audience wondered if Congress could “defund the National Council of La Raza,” a Latino civil rights group, which he said was “just like the Ku Klux Klan.” Goode appeared to agree, and demanded that Congress end the organization’s funding. Asking if “it’s possible that [American] society devolves into South Africa,” one questioner discussed the declining population rate of “European Americans” and floated the idea of ethnic groups living separately. While he directed the question towards Barletta, the congressman ignored the question.
Evidently, while the panel’s speakers see unrepentant Nativism and immigrant-bashing as the way for the GOP’s electoral success, it mainly appealed to the CPAC attendees who feared the demise of White America and the emergence of a more diverse population. All four panelists agreed that unless the Republican Party embraces their hard line anti-immigrant stance, the GOP will become inextricably weakened and the country will dissolve into multicultural dystopia.
Although the panelists all said that it wasn’t about race, it’s easy to see why many audience members thought it was.