A new report titled “Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream” by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) explores how the debate over immigration has been shaped by anti-immigrant rhetoric. According to the ADL, this rhetoric has been advanced by “a handful of groups that have positioned themselves as legitimate, mainstream advocates against illegal immigration in America” while advancing thinly veiled “dehumanizing, racist stereotypes” like the overtly racist Ku Klux Klan that has also used immigration as an organizing issue.
The ADL report asserts that a number of seemingly “mainstream” groups–among them The Dustin Inman Society, Mothers against Illegal Aliens, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Choose Black America, You Don’t Speak for Me and Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC)–have sought to “distort” the debate by:
“Describing immigrants as “third world invaders,” who come to America to destroy our heritage, “colonize” the country and attack our “way of life.” This charge is used against Hispanics, Asians and other people of color.
Using terminology that describes immigrants as part of “hordes” that “swarm” over the border. This dehumanizing language has become common.
Portraying immigrants as carriers of diseases like leprosy, tuberculosis, Chagas disease (a potentially fatal parasitic disease), dengue fever, polio, malaria.
Depicting immigrants as criminals, murderers, rapists, terrorists, and a danger to children and families.
Propagating conspiracy theories about an alleged secret “reconquista” plot by Mexican immigrants to create a “greater Mexico” by seizing seven states in the American Southwest that once belonged to Mexico.”
The report concludes with a selection of statements from media personalities and politicians showing how the rhetoric of the anti-immigrant movement has been forced into the “mainstream” debate over immigration and immigration reform.