CPAC: Immigration Warriors Look to State Action

“We are holding a political protest,” said Chris Simcox, head of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, of his group’s vigilante gatherings on the U.S.-Mexico border. Minutes before, he had complained to the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the border patrol was not rushing to the scene when he called them from his stakeout. For Simcox, this was evidence of a crisis on the border, a lack of “operation control” that politicians should address “by all means necessary.” On the other hand, it could be that the border patrol agents have day jobs.

Simcox was the star of an immigration panel at CPAC on Saturday, where he called on activists to “take this battle to city councils, state legislatures,” and Congress, and to sidestep what he called the “lamestream media.” He announced that “We the people in Arizona” are circumventing Congress by introducing two more ballot measures this month: one to “abolish all sanctuary laws” and train every law enforcement officer to enforce federal immigration laws, and a second to require employers to prove their employees are not violating immigration laws. Simcox also criticized the immigration positions of the many GOP presidential candidates to speak at the conference, with the exceptions of Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo: “I’ve met many wonderful conservatives [at CPAC]. Unfortunately, none of them are running for president.”

Simcox was joined by Georgia state Sen. Nancy Schaefer, sponsor of what she called the “strongest piece of illegal immigration legislation in the nation.” Her reasons for such concern about immigration ranged from supposedly “spiraling costs” and “overcrowding” of public schools to “sex predators” to the mythical threat of a “North American Union” being secretly formed by the Bush administration to unite the U.S., Canada, and Mexico as one sovereign entity. She has already introduced a resolution in Georgia on that matter.

Like the other panelists, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) encouraged the audience to look for ways that states could take over federal immigration policymaking, although he did not mention his own current effort: King is suing his home state for offering voter information in multiple languages. Instead, King took to task “powerful business interests” he said were behind the “flood” of immigrants, as well as liberals, who he said support immigration because immigrants “will assimilate into the left-wing liberal enclave” of majority-Hispanic congressional districts. These forces conspire, according to King, to produce the “massive price we are paying in the streets of America.” King, at some length, cited his own fictional statistics about “criminal aliens” involved in rape and murder. In order to account for his wildly inflated numbers, King explained that young men will bring most of “society’s pathologies” from their home countries, which have higher murder rates than the U.S.

But King did see hope in the recent immigration raids at Swift meat-processing facilities: “They were Caucasian-Americans lined up for those jobs.”