Our VoiceImmigration

ALIPAC Cancels Rally Involvement Over Racist Controversy

Stephen Piggott • May 18, 2010

Just over 3 hours ago, anti-immigrant group ALIPAC released a statement stating that it was pulling out of the June 5 and June 12 anti-immigrant rallies in Phoenix, AZ.  ALIPAC claims that the person organizing the rally, Daniel Smeriglio, has strong ties to white nationalists.  Smeriglio runs a group called Voice of the People based in Pennsylvania. In November of 2009, Smeriglio held an anti-immigrant rally in his hometown of Hazelton, PA. This video of the rally features a big man shouting into a megaphone who has been identified as Steve Smith.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes Smith as:

“a co-founder of the KSS,[he] is a former Aryan Nations member and former leader of the Philadelphia chapter of National Association for the Advancement of White People, which was created by former Klan leader David Duke but is no longer associated with him.”

Smith is now a member of Keystone United, a spinoff group of the Keystone State Skinheads (KSS).

One People’s Project notified William Gheen, the founder of ALIPAC about all this a few week ago. However, Gheen wasn’t ready to listen, responding that the group was “violating the civil rights of every American that attended that event for our side,” by bringing this information to light.

Gheen has wisely reconsidered his position. Having been burned before for associating with racists,  Gheen has decided to sit this one out in order to avoid further associations with groups tied to white nationalists.

Despite ALIPAC’s cancellation, several other groups remain as sponsors of or speakers at the anti-immigrant rally on June 5. A quick browse of the rally’s website, phoenixrally.com, reveals a striking trend: three of the sponsors, NumbersUSA, You Don’t Speak for Me and 9/11 Families for a Secure America, are all members of the John Tanton Network. Many of the speakers at the event also are part of the Tanton Network. One speaker, Russell Pearce, is a member of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), an organization whose leadership is supported by the John Tanton Network. Pearce worked closely with another member of the John Tanton Network, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), to draft the racist S.B. 1070 in Arizona. The heads of both You Don’t Speak for Me and 9/11 Families for a Secure America are speaking at the event. Other speakers include Sheriff Joe Arpaio and J.D. Hayworth.

It remains to be seen if the Tanton Network groups will follow ALIPAC’s lead by pulling out of the event as a result of the indisputable ties between the rally’s organizer and white nationalists.

Based on the Tanton Network’s roots in white nationalism, don’t be surprised if NumbersUSA, You Don’t Speak for Me and 9/11 Families for a Secure America remain comfortable sponsoring the event.

*Click here to see Daniel Smeriglio’s website registration information for the June 5 anti-immigrant rally.

*To learn more about Smeriglio’s racist connections visit One People’s Project here.

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