Thursday, March 11, 2010

In Secret Meeting Held By Mainstream Anti-Immigration Group, Talk Of Turning Immigrant Women Into ‘The New Welfare Queens’ & Other Incendiary Rhetoric

After reading this, it's very difficult to not feel angry and frustrated and in utter disbelief that people act in ways that are guided/motivated by hate. This is a clear example of how anti-immigrant groups organize to create and nurture this perception of people of color and immigrants as "the other" to be feared, rejected, and controlled. It's also a reminder and a call to the left to overcome its fragmented nature and to continue organizing against the hegemonic discourse spread by the right.


By Erin Rosa - Mar 9th, 2010 at 8:42 am EST

In a evening conference call held last night, Mar. 8, anti-immigration group Numbers USA—best known for its brute force attacks on Congress to defeat comprehensive immigration reform in 2007—discussed a variety of tactics to thwart an upcoming march on Washington DC by immigrant rights supporters, including one proposal to call immigrant women from Mexico “the new welfare queens in America.”

The call, which was held at 9 p.m EST, was organized by Numbers USA, and included approximately 45 participants from across the country, many of them representing archconservative“Tea Party” affiliates. In a 30 minute time span, Chad MacDonald, the moderator of the discussion and a worker with Numbers USA, walked callers though ways they could create the perception that there was a grassroots opposition to immigration reform, according to notes taken during the phone call. The actions, organized to pressure Congress to stall on immigration reform, are meant to coincide with the “March For America,” a pro-immigration reform march organized for Mar. 21.

During the discussion, listened to by Campus Progress, activists not only talked about how they should paint Mexican women in the United States as “the new welfare queens,” but they also recommended tactics like referring to immigrant children as “dependents,” rather than “babies,” because “babies” is an "emotional" word. All of this was discussed in the presence of MacDonald and Roy Beck, executive director for Numbers USA, who has his own turbulent past with reported connections to white nationalist groups.

According to notes taken on the phone call:

CALLER 1: I would like to speak out on something. I feel the new welfare queen in America today is women coming from Mexico with a bunch of babies. So I feel they're all coming over here and having all these babies, they are the new welfare queen in America....

New people in America today with a lot of babies, 'cause they coming from Mexico having a bunch of babies. And our tax dollars is taking care of them babies, 'cause the mothers are illegal. So to me, we need to speak out about letting them know they're the new welfare queens in America.

CALLER 2: That was well said brother!

MACDONALD: We will make a note of that. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

CALLER 3: One piece of information would be, they aren't babies, they're dependents. Don't use babies. It's emotional to them. They have dependents. We have babies.

Along with circulating distortions that immigrants somehow use and drain welfare programs—an allegation that has no actual factual basis—Numbers USA and its affiliates are also planning to flood Congressional offices with phone calls and faxes during the pro-immigration march—all with talking points that have been meticulously prepared by Numbers USA—much like the group did in 2007. “I think jobs is the number one way to do it,” said Beck, who noted that growing unemployment during the recession can be fastened to the immigration debate.

“It's not about reality, it's all about perception,” Beck said on the call. “What happened in 2007 is that we as a movement created the perception of on Capitol Hill that most American's did not want amnesty, they did not want comprehensive immigration reform, and that there was an intensity to the people who didn't want it that could really cause political damage for the careers for the members of Congress. That's what moves Congress.”

MacDonald added during the discussion, “We are a single issue organization about reducing both legal and illegal immigration. We have an immense amount of resources. We have an incredible coalition and we can answer and frame a question for any ostensible person to reduce overall immigration.”

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