Facing manipulation on immigration

This story contends that the anti-immigration, or anti-illegal immigration, movement is using the fears of 9/11 to scare US citizens into anti-immigrant sentiment. In speaking about Mayor Lou Barletta the articles states:

Mayor Louis J. Barletta, responsible for the ordinance, admitted at trial that he had no data on any city service, from sanitation to fire calls, that could prove his contention that illegal immigrants were draining city services and budgets.

Mayor Barletta is a hero for these groups and it wouldn’t surprise me if this statement was absolutely true. More and more I witness these groups making up numbers to support their views. The number of illegal immigrants has gone from 12 million to 40 million in a matter of months if you believe some of these groups. With each rally they hold the number seems to increase by millions.

Facing manipulation on immigration
By Robert Koulish
October 31, 2007

In the year and a half since more than 1 million people took part in “A Day Without an Immigrant,” right-wing nativists have taken the legislative offensive against immigrants and the rule of law by proposing more than 200 local anti-illegal immigrant ordinances and resolutions around the country. These resolutions are a piece in a larger post-9/11 movement to convince Americans that foreigners threaten the American way of life. Although racist, manipulative and unconstitutional, they are surprisingly effective.

The manipulation originates with the idea that “illegal aliens” were responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and continues the idea that America is being invaded by aliens. These canards tap into post-9/11 anxiety. The scholar Ole Weaver’s idea of “securitization” suggests that by labeling immigration as a security issue, authorities (including officeholders, the media and large nongovernmental organizations) legitimize efforts to move immigration out of the realm of “normal politics” and into that of “emergency politics” – a realm where allegations that have no basis in fact can trigger extreme government responses that have no basis in law.

The “emergency politics” scenario provides a mechanism for rushing anti-illegal immigrant laws though local boards and commissions. After last year’s May Day demonstrations, the Federation for American Immigration Reform quickly tapped into the securitization narrative to produce cookie-cutter templates for ordinances and resolutions that would be introduced around the country. FAIR and the vigilante border-control group Minutemen Civil Defense Corps then found opportunistic local politicians who introduced versions of the FAIR template in potentially hospitable locales.


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