Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blurring Borders: Collusion between anti-immigrant groups and immigration enforcement agents


Murrieta, California

The Center for New Community’s report titled “Blurring Borders” reveals a story that needs to be told.  Almost exactly one year ago today, July 1, 2014, a small group of anti-immigrant extremists gained media attention for a series of protests at a Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, California, that blocked buses transporting Central American families who fled violence. A group of about 50 protesters, organized by leaders with ties to white nationalist and far-right groups, stood in the street waving American flags and chanting phrases such as “Go back home!” and “We don’t want you here!” to immigrants aboard the buses. But, how exactly did these anti-immigrant activists know where these buses were going? The answer lies in the long-standing relationships between employees of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the leaders of the organized anti-immigrant movement. The Murrieta protests are only ugly example.

As the report details, the reality is much more troubling. Here some examples of their collusion:

  • In March 2015, NBPC Local 1613, based in Southern California, thanked two of its current agents (and elected union representatives)—Manny Bayon and Chris Bauder—on Twitter for “showing the truth on the southern border” during a “border tour for CIS (CEnter for Immigration Studies) [sic].”  The Center for Immigration Studies, led since 1995 by Mark Krikorian, is the primary research arm of the organized anti-immigrant movement and has an outsized influence on much of the nativist right’s messaging and communications strategy.
  • In the summer of 2014, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a documented hate group and flagship organization of the anti-immigrant movement, organized a “fact-finding trip” in July for seven sheriffs from states as far away from the U.S.-Mexico border as Massachusetts and Oregon. Border Patrol officials accommodated FAIR and the sheriffs during their time in McAllen, TX. In a travelogue of sorts published on its official blog, FAIR’s National Field Director Susan Tully wrote, “I am writing from the Border Patrol Station.”
  • In July 2014, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) Senior Policy Analyst Stephen Steinlight admitted that a recent CIS publication that inspired multiple Congressional inquiries could not have been done “without our ongoing good connections with whistleblowers in agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” And as recently as March 2015, CIS Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan published analysis that she claimed was based on “DHS statistics, which have not been released to the public, but were obtained by the Center [CIS].”


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