Erin Rosa of Campus Progress reports that NumbersUSA, a “mainstream” immigration restrictionist group with troublesome ties to hate groups, hosted a public conference call last night to discuss “a variety of tactics to thwart an upcoming march on Washington DC by immigrant rights supporters.” One tactic proposed on the call involves portraying women from Mexico as the “new welfare queens”:
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.
Callers also complained that tea party organizers are “for the illegals.” Despite acknowledging that FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey funds and inspired the movement itself, Armey was dismissed as not being a “true Tea Party patriot” due to his pro-immigration views. Another caller indicated that tea party organizers specifically asked her to put immigration within the movement’s focus — limited taxation — and asked for more advice on “putting it in their terms.” Roy Beck, Executive Director, responded that “we’ll be a whole lot better off if when [sic] we talk about illegal immigrants we leave off the Hispanic-Latino stuff” and agreed that the tea party’s narrative was the “best way to talk about this.”
However, as long Beck as counts on the support of activists who want to equate Mexican mothers with welfare queens, he may have a hard time disassociating his movement from the “Hispanic-Latino stuff.” It says a lot when even Armey perceives anti-immigrant groups as toxic. With his eye quietly on the growing Latino electorate, Armey has explicitly stated that he’s not interested in associating with folks like former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), citing his “harsh and uncharitable and mean-spirited” immigration positions as his number one reason.
Armey isn’t alone. Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Fox News host Glenn Beck are two tea party darlings who have also expressed a need for a more humane immigration policy. Nonetheless, anti-immigrant nativists have done their best to exploit the tea bagger rage that folks like Armey, Palin, and Beck have nurtured. As a result, groups like NumbersUSA have achieved at least some success in recruiting a number of vocal supporters who seek to define both immigrants and “tea party patriots” on their own terms.