This past weekend, anti-immigrant activists staged rallies in three different locations: “anti-amnesty” protesters gathered in Farmers Branch, TX, Tea Party members rallied at the border in Arizona, and neo-Nazis marched down the streets of Knoxville, TN. The three separate, but related protests illustrate how the white supremacist movement has latched onto the immigration issue.
As proponents of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law insist that their support of the law has nothing to do with race, they can’t deny that for some people it boils down to “white people who are not afraid to stand up,” as one Tennessee rally attendee noted. Watch coverage of the Tennessee rally:
At the neo-Nazi rally in Knoxville, protesters proudly displayed swastikas. One demonstrator explained the motivations guiding the march: “Federal economic policies are unsustainable. Our country is going broke. Stop giving away our jobs to countries that hate us. Secure our border. Put race and nation first.” The rhetoric in Farmers Branch and Arizona was not remarkably different.
In Hereford, AZ, where approximately 400 Tea Party activists gathered yesterday, Tucson radio host proclaimed, “[i]nstead of finding bugs in our beds, we’re finding home invaders.” Cindy Kolb, “a border activist” who attended the gathering screamed over the border fence, said “[w]e don’t like illegals hiding under bushes when our kids wait for the school bus. This border needs to be secure.”
The Farmers Branch rally was organized by the Salt Lake City-based Americans Against Immigration Amnesty, which states on its website, “Many of those seeking amnesty refuse to assimilate to our culture or language and refuse to respect our citizens and laws. Rather, they demand we assimilate to them and their culture, teach our children their language and shamelessly fly their country’s flag over ours.”
Meanwhile, a recent poll revealed that many Arizonans think the immigration debate has “exposed a deeper sense of racism in our community.” The Wonk Room has extensive coverage of this weekend’s anti-immigrant events.