By Aaron Patrick Flanagan, Imagine 2050
The present Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) debate, as political debates tend to do, has produced much ugliness from the organized nativist movement, both anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim alike. While both rail on separate-but-not-mutually-exclusive talking points, the anti-Muslim sphere has begun focusing more and more prevalently on the issue of immigration.
While hocking baseless, packaged fears regarding how religious and ethnic demographics come to distort our national character beyond recognition, the players that comprise this anti-Muslim sphere of nativism are revealing a primary motivation for their work: the preservation of "the native" over the welcoming of "the new." Such inclinations are regularly assigned to groups within the established anti-immigrant movement, but less regularly to their counterpart.
It's not uncommon for anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim leaders to cross-contaminate, with many of their collaborations existing as poorly kept secrets. Clearly, core sentiments about "outsiders" contribute to their mutual toxicity.
Back in April of 2011, for example, head of the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian, declared, "I'm afraid that in the Islamic world democracy faces the problem of a vicious people, one where the desire for freedom is indeed written in every human heart, but the freedom to do evil." Despite displaying all the hyperbole of a comic book writer, Krikorian's bigotry stands starkly. Another example: NumbersUSA and its staffers working closely in 2013 with ACT! for America and others against immigration reform.
Crucial to the success of accomplishing meaningful reform, then, is recognizing that the bloc of nativists working to destroy such efforts extends well-beyond the fuzzy borders of the well-defined nucleus of the anti-immigrant movement. And these anti-Muslim nativists are now more frequently amplifying the anti-reform white noise of their counterparts.
One only needs to scan the last month or so alone to find many examples. (Read more)