Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream
The Dustin Inman Society - Georgia
Donald Arthur (D.A.) King is the founder and leader of the Marietta, Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society (DIS), a group that focuses entirely on opposing immigration of Hispanics to the United States (Dustin Inman was a 16-year-old boy who was killed when an alleged undocumented immigrant crashed into the back of the Inman family car in 2000). King has described the United States as a country “being invaded and colonized,” and its “way of life” destroyed with the “Hispandering” of his state, which he has taken to calling “Georgiafornia.”
He often uses rhetoric that depicts undocumented immigrants as a threat to the American way of life. In March 2008, a reader of King’s blog suggested a “new word” for illegal aliens—“crimigrant.” In response, King wrote, “Makes sense to me.”
Promoting anti-immigrant 287(g) agreements
Since the defeat of the immigration reform bill in Congress in 2007, one of King’s most widely-used tactics has been to promote section 287(g) of The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which was added to the INA by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act. Section 287(g) deputizes local law enforcement officers to enforce immigration law. In a February 17, 2008 article, published in Georgia’s Gwinnett Daily Post, King discussed the “organized crime of illegal immigration” and described 287(g) as “the latest effort to rid Georgia of the taxpayer-subsidized illegal aliens who are lowering wages and straining our schools, hospitals, jails and common language.”
King does not limit his rhetoric to immigrants; he also targets American Latino leaders. In a February 7, 2008 letter, published in the Gainesville Times, a Georgia-based newspaper, King made predictions about what life will be like if 287(g) is implemented in Hall County, Georgia. He stated, “Parasitic ethnic hustlers who encourage and feed on continued illegal immigration will begin to howl that any enforcement of the law that affects the illegals who are their golden goose is ‘profiling’ and, sooner or later, ‘racist.’” On the Dustin Inman Society blog, King posted the letter and linked the words “ethnic hustlers” to the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) “Membership and Benefits” page and membership application.
In December 2007, he staged an event to honor Neil Warren, a Georgia sheriff, with the first DIS ‘Sheriff of the Year’ award. In the DIS blog, King explained that Warren is the “only sheriff in Georgia to have taken advantage of…section 287(g).” King also reported that “several elected officials were in attendance,” and he anticipated honoring other sheriffs “in the process of following Sheriff Warren’s leadership in using available federal tools to protect their citizens from the ravages of the crime of illegal immigration.”
Months earlier, in April 2007, King was more extreme in his use of anti-immigrant rhetoric. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, when speaking at a Newton County (Georgia) Republican Party meeting, he told attendees that undocumented immigrants are “not here to mow your lawn – they’re here to blow up your buildings and kill your children, and you, and me.”
King has expressed such strong sentiments in previous years, as well. He wrote in a July 2004 article:
We have become sadly acquainted with the absolute and brazen disregard for the law that comes from the third world horde that is allowed to swarm over our border with Mexico…It is clear that when the mostly Mexican mob illegally ‘migrates’ into our nation, it brings with it the culture of lawlessness and chaos that is responsible for the very conditions that they flee in the rapidly deteriorating example of Democracy without the rule of law that is Mexico.
Commenting on Hispanic immigrants in a May 2004 article, King asked, “Must the United States silently suffer the incursion of one million people a year because they are brown?”
Mainstream media acceptance
Despite King’s numerous inflammatory statements, the national media has continued to provide King with a mainstream platform. He has toned down his rhetoric in mainstream television and print media and his statements and articles now reach millions of Americans. The Marietta Daily Journal regularly publishes King’s “Guest Columnist” articles and refers to the DIS as a “Cobb based nonprofit coalition which advocates for English as the national official language,” and “a Cobb-based non-profit coalition dedicated to educating the public on illegal immigration.” The newspaper’s Website also provides a link to the DIS Website after the publication of each of King’s pieces.
An October 2007 National Public Radio segment included a quote from King, who was described as “a grassroots activist.” Also in October 2007, King was a guest on CNN’s Headline News. He was introduced as an “anti-illegal immigration activist” and a “columnist for the Marietta Journal.” In May 2007, Anderson Cooper interviewed King on CNN Today, introducing him as a “columnist” and “activist.” Twelve mainstream newspapers have printed King’s articles, most notably The Washington Times, which neutrally describes the Dustin Inman Society as “a Georgia-based coalition of citizens with the goal of educating the public on the consequences of illegal immigration.”
Contributor to racist Website
King also maintained a blog on VDare, a Website that publishes racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant articles, and has also posted many of his articles. In one blog entry, he discussed his experience at a March for Dignity, comprised of, in King’s words, “mostly Hispanic demonstrators.” He wrote, “I got the sense that I had left the country of my birth and been transported to some Mexican village, completely taken over by an angry, barely restrained mob….My first act on a safe return home was to take a shower.”
King has also promoted conspiracy theories about the “Reconquista,” an alleged plot by Mexicans to forcibly take control of the American Southwest. In a June 2006 article on VDare, he described the ABC network’s airing of an award show hosted by the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group, as “Reconquista TV.”
In September 2006, King attempted to distance himself from VDare. The Dustin Inman Society Website states, “D.A. King demanded that [VDare] remove his name from the VDARE Editorial Collective.” However, he also requested the VDare “archive his writings along with other past authors.”
Rallies and ties to the Minutemen
In addition to spreading his views in the media and online, King has organized public rallies. In March 2008, the DIS held a rally in front of a hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, to protest a “Georgians for McCain” reception, or, as King phrased it on the DIS Website, the “McCain/Kennedy legalization legislation and reward for illegal aliens – and amnesty for their campaign donating criminal employers.” Specifically, the DIS was protesting legislation that would favor amnesty for undocumented immigrants, which the group argues has been supported by the two senators in past years.
The DIS rally reportedly attracted members of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps., a border vigilante group. On the DIS Website, King gave “many thanks” to “Just build the fence,” an anti-immigrant blog that posted a story about the rally. The blog entry stated that “Local patriots from the Georgia Chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps were also present in numbers.” As of July 2008, the DIS Website continues to provide links to the Websites of Minuteman groups.
In April 2007, King organized a kick-off rally for “Hold Their Feet to the Fire,” a series of anti-immigrant events held in Washington, D.C. He brought together anti-immigrant speakers from around the country, including his self-described “personal friend” Terry Anderson, Rick Oltman, and William Gheen, all prominent anti-immigrant activists. The Dustin Inman Society organized a similar rally in 2005, featuring Chris Simcox, currently the leader of the border vigilante Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which encourages armed patrols and surveillance by volunteers to prevent Mexicans from crossing the border into the United States. In 2005, Simcox co-founded the Minuteman Project, which had a similar agenda. Today, the Minutemen are a loose network of local chapters around the country, whose primary goal is to keep undocumented immigrants from Mexico out of the United States. The more extreme Minutemen chapters continue to advocate patrols of the Mexican-American border by armed volunteers.
Testifying before the government committees
On the political front, in August 2006, King served as a witness at a Gainesville, Georgia, field hearing of the House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Subcommittee. As participants entered the building, Dustin Inman Society members greeted them. Though King softened his language during his testimony, he had secured a permit for his group to demonstrate. One person held up a sign saying “Stop the Invasion.”