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Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream

Groups: You Donít Speak for Me

To both broaden the demographic of its movement and cultivate a grassroots following, the Washington D.C.-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has created front groups that work together, often in concert with border vigilante groups, to broadcast a xenophobic message.  At the same time, they use these as a defense against charges of racism.

In May 2006, the Washington D.C.-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) “was proud to help launch” a group called You Don’t Speak for Me (YDSFM), which claims to be a “coalition of Americans of Hispanic descent who believe that this nation must enforce its immigration laws in order to protect the security and interest of all citizens.” Though FAIR does not characterize itself as a direct founder of YDSFM, the two groups share a spokesperson. In June 2006, YDSFM leader Miguel Cruz (who has since become a New Jersey-based YDSFM executive director) told a New Jersey newspaper that “the coalition [YDSFM] is FAIR’s creation, it’s their mission…” In addition, YDSFM Chairman Al Rodriguez sits on FAIR’s National Board of Advisors.

In March 2008, FAIR blended the two organizations even more by announcing that Rosanna Pulido, Illinois YDSFM spokeswoman and former state director of the Illinois Minuteman Project, had become a Field Representative for FAIR.

Vilifying immigrants

YDSFM members speak at anti-immigrant events across the country, alongside border vigilante activists and anti-immigration figures. YDSFM’s Vice Chairman, Carmen Morales, has spoken on behalf of the group at several anti-immigrant events, where she publicly demonized undocumented immigrants as criminal invaders who threaten to transform America into a third world country. In her speeches, Morales announced that she works with various anti-immigrant groups including New Jersey Citizens for Immigration Control, United Patriots of America, and “my Lakewood [New Jersey] friends, the Minutemen.”

In a May 2008 speech at an anti-immigrant rally in Pennsylvania, joined by other YDSFM leaders and flanked by young children, Morales continually reinforced the conspiracy theory that Mexicans are seeking to assume control of the Southwestern United States. Morales stated that she “can’t believe we’re still fighting the invasion.” Speaking on behalf of YDSFM, Morales explained that “we, do not, in any way or form, agree with the Mexican invasion…We are facing a political invasion from the country of Mexico, who [sic] claims that the entire Southwestern US belongs to Mexico, and they want to take it back without firing a shot, but by simply getting political clout in Washington.”

In an October 2007 speech at an anti-immigrant rally in Fairview, New Jersey, Morales went further by suggesting that undocumented immigrants will take violent action:

    We are standing here, a group of Americans of all ethnicity [sic] to defend the USA from the huge, huge invasion and the reconquista, in English, reconquest…We will lose our Garden State because, ladies and gentlemen, they will burn it to the ground, just like what is happening in California. Remember, illegal aliens and their supporters have a different mentality, where if they do not get their way, they will burn buildings and destroy our towns one at a time for that’s how they handle it in their own countries. Illegal aliens have created in this country exactly what they left behind…. If our country does not get tough on our immigration laws…we will lose America forever.
A week earlier, Morales spoke on behalf of You Don’t Speak for Me at an anti-immigrant rally in Lakewood, New Jersey, where she mentioned “our huge invasion” and stated, “Mexico is not going to take over if it’s the last thing I do.”

Ties to the Minutemen

YDSFM leaders don’t just speak at anti-immigrant rallies; a number of them also have ties to the border vigilante Minuteman organization. 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 advocate patrols of the Mexican-American border by armed volunteers.

During a November 2007 Lou Dobbs appearance at a Barnes & Nobles bookstore in Chicago, Illinois to promote his book Independents Day, Rosanna Pulido declared, “I was one of the original Minutemen on the border in April 2005, proud to serve my country….”  Another prominent YDSFM member, Lupe Moreno, also calls herself  “one of the original Minutewomen.” During a June 2007 fundraiser for U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo* (R-CO), Moreno discussed “going out with [Minuteman leader] Jim Gilchrist to the Naco [Arizona] border to defend this nation,” referencing her participation in the April 2005 Minuteman Project. Moreno’s fellow speakers at the fundraiser included Los Angeles Minuteman leader Tony Dolz and Jeff Schwilk, leader of the more extreme San Diego Minuteman faction.  YDSFM’s Arizona point of contact, Anna Gaines, is also a member of the Minutemen, according to Minuteman leader Chris Simcox.

Working with other FAIR offshoots

YDSFM co-organizes events with Choose Black America (CBA), another anti-immigration group founded by FAIR in May 2006, to demonstrate opposition to immigration from within the black community. On the grassroots level, the groups’ events attract Minuteman attendance and support.

In June 2007, CBA and YDSFM held a joint press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.  That same month, the Los Angeles Chapter of CBA and YDSFM co-sponsored a “Civil Rights March and Rally” in conjunction with other anti-immigration groups, according to a flier released by the Crispus Attucks Brigade, a CBA subsidiary group. The mission of the event was to “Retrieve…Our National Birth Right NOW From Citizens of Foreign Nations Illegally Within Ours.” In March 2007, the Crispus Attucks Brigade, the Minuteman Project, YDSFM and other anti-immigrant groups formed a “coalition” and sponsored a “Civil Rights March.” A Crispus Attucks Brigade’s flier about the march included the group’s demand for “protection of Black US Citizens From Ethnic Cleansing By Latinos, Europeans, Asians, Africans, & Others Invading and Illegally Colonizing Our Country.”  During the event, CBA leader Ted Hayes shared the stage with YDSFM leader Al Rodriguez.

*ADL takes no position in favor of, or in opposition to, candidates running for office, including Representative Tancredo.

About This Report
Coalitions Highlighted in Report
America's Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning
Capital Area Alliance Against Illegal Immigration
Groups Highlighted in Report
New Jersey Citizens for Immigration Control
The Dustin Inman Society
Mothers Against Illegal Aliens
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)
Choose Black America
You Don’t Speak for Me
Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC)
Grass Fire
Anti-immigrant rhetoric in media and politics
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