On Monday, the Tea Party and the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) rallied against immigration reform near Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Tea Party activists touted the rally as a “march for jobs,” accusing immigrants for taking away jobs from low-wage workers.
In reality, the rally is directly connected to the nativist John Tanton Network, which funds a string of white nationalist groups. Conservative media painted the event as representative of a widespread resistance to immigration reform, claiming the protest would attract a thousand attendees.
Yet the rally only drew a couple hundred protesters who were fervently opposed to any kind of reform. ThinkProgress spoke to a number of attendees who called for deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants. For instance, one participant James Renwick Manship, who waved a flag that read “Appeal To Heaven,” was flabbergasted at the thought of supporting a legalization pathway for so-called DREAMers brought to the country as youths. “Why don’t we have amnesty for people who kill people, people who pay taxes, and people who commit all sorts of different crimes committed against Americans?” Manship asked.
Congressman Steve King, Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke out against a pathway to citizenship. Dismissing the idea of legal status for undocumented youths brought to the U.S. as children, Rep. Steve King scoffed that DREAMers are “all apparently valedictorians if you listen to the other side.”
As The Nation reports, other speakers made an overtly racist case for “well-bred Americans.” Former president of the Tea Party of America Ken Crow told the crowd they were descended from the “incredible blood lines” of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Smith, and Martin Luther King. “The unique thing about being from that part of the world, when you learn about breeding, you learn that you cannot breed Secretariat to a donkey and expect to win the Kentucky Derby,” Crow said. “You guys have incredible DNA and don’t forget it.”
BALA members work with the Tanton Network to misinform people that undocumented immigrants would take jobs from black Americans. However, African-Americans across the nation support immigration reform and agree that immigration reform helps to drive wages up for everyone. This is in line with a new Gallup poll out Monday showing national support for the Democratic Party’s approach to immigration reform, particularly among minorities.
Meanwhile, this was the sampling of signs and t-shirts activists carried: