Many in the anti-immigrant movement felt slighted by this year’s CPAC, which they claimed did not devote enough time to their cause. Center for Immigration Studies director Mark Krikorian lamented to the Washington Post that the American Conservative Union “pushed out” groups like his from the event; while others, including Phyllis Schlafly, Rep. Steve King, and Frank Gaffney held their own alternative event across the street.
But they needn’t have worried. Even if the ACU was trying to appear more moderate on the issue of immigration – chiefly by hosting a panel featuring conservative immigration reform advocates – anti-immigrant rhetoric was still plentiful at the event. After all, CPAC welcomed the sponsorship of ProEnglish, an anti-immigrant “English only” group run by a white nationalist, even while refusing to include groups representing LGBT and atheist conservatives.
And then, there was plenty of anti-immigrant commentary from the main stage, notably from Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann and Ann Coulter. But some of the biggest anti-immigrant applause lines came from Graham Ledger, an anchor on the new Washington Times-connected One America News network, who argued that conservatives needed to unite to oppose multiculturalism and implied that schools no longer teach “the American culture.”
“How about we make the case for one common language?” he urged. “How about we make the case for a secure southern border? How about teaching the American culture in schools?”