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The Anti-Immigrant Bigotry Smackdown - Round II

Imagine 2050 Staff • Jun 05, 2010

Welcome back to Round II of the Anti-Immigrant Bigotry Smackdown!

We’ve got more exciting match-ups for you, just in time for today’s nativist rally in Phoenix.

Barbara Coe vs. Rosemary Jenks


About the contenders: Barbara Coe founded the controversial California Coalition for Immigration Reform in 1994 and has used that as her hateful platform ever since. She has also identified herself as a member of the white supremacist organization Council for Conservative Citizens. She’s not the only anti-immigrant leader to associate with the group. Wayne Lutton, John Tanton’s editor at The Social Contract, was also involved with Council of Conservative Citizens, and Roy Beck, President of NumbersUSA, presented at one of its annual conferences. For those who aren’t in the know, the Council of Conservative Citizens is the reconstituted, segregationist White Citizens’ Councils. Just last week, Coe sent an email to her supporters that read, “Why risk your life or the lives of your family by going to a city who WELCOMES violent illegal alien criminals who rob, rape, kidnap, torture and murder innocent Americans?”
That isn’t the worst of it. Based on an April 2010 email, she’ll likely show up to today’s rally locked and loaded. In an email she sent out that was eventually posted on an anti-immigrant listserv, Coe wrote:

Fellow American Patriots…

“Hate/Destroy America Commie/Muslim OBAMA” has loosed his KILLERS on law-abiding American patriot Sheriff JOE ARPAIO.

It is the responsibility of EVERY LAW-ABIDING AMERICAN PATRIOT who gives a damn about YOUR LIFE or the lives of YOUR loved ones, to STAND IN DEFENSE of JOE ARPAIO – HERE AND NOW! HE is OUR law enforcement Representative NATIONWIDE!

I have made my verbal and monetary commitment to SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO. I hope and pray other true American patriots will do the same

SHERIFF JOE can be our spokesperson. TOGETHER, WE can illustrate our “PEOPLE POWER” – TOGETHER, WE can DEFEAT Obama’s “kill Americans” TRAITOR supporters. [CCIR has provided you the list.]

LOCK & LOAD, my fellow patriot Americans. The “time of reckoning” may be sooner than we think. As stated many times, “American Patriots will die on our feet before we bend on our knees to anti-American Traitors”.

Coe’s lengthy track record of inflammatory statements, and the violent pitch of her current anti-immigrant rants have cemented her as one of the meanest bigots out there.

Rosemary Jenks likes to stay on the “rational” side of the anti-immigrant movement. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to skirt controversy (check out this video of Rosemary tussling with mimes!) despite her lawyerly rhetoric and soccer mom haircut. As the right hand lady to Roy Beck at NumbersUSA, Jenks is well-versed in spinning concerns about immigration into anti-immigrant fervor. Playing second fiddle to the mostly male leaders at the white nationalist-associated John Tanton Network, Jenks has found a niche among the two dozen lobby, legal, legislative, and environmental groups. Of all the groups created by John Tanton, none has been more successful than Jenks’ NumbersUSA. It was founded in 1997 under the financial umbrella of Tanton’s U.S., Inc. Unlike Tanton’s other groups, NumbersUSA strategically avoids overt white nationalist rhetoric in favor of emphasizing the alleged negative economic and environmental impacts of immigrants. However, the group remains popular throughout the white nationalist and skinhead communities. A recent NumbersUSA campaign was promoted by white nationalist David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. On Vinlanders Social Club, NumbersUSA is promoted on the home page with a direct link to its website. Vinlanders Social Club is a Midwest coalition of racist skinhead groups with a history of violence against members of the black community. Although NumbersUSA has actively tried to distance itself from the extreme far right, its activities still resonate deeply with these communities. Even the group’s own Executive Director, Roy Beck, has spoken to a white supremacist organization, the Council of Conservative Citizens in the past. NumbersUSA supporters argue that the organization is merely a grassroots operation trying to protect American workers, but they conveniently ignore its ties to organized bigotry and murky financial structure.

Winner: Barbara ‘lock & load’ Coe

This was a rough match-up as both ladies scare the living daylights out of us. But Barbara Coe would undoubtedly crush anyone who got in her path, including Rosemary. However, don’t be fooled into thinking Jenks won’t remain a threat. She may not be an outspoken bigot for the anti-immigrant movement, but she will surely remain behind the scenes for years to come, working diligently to mainstream hate.

Russell Pearce vs. Dan Smeriglio


About the contenders: Russell Pearce is the pliant politician for the anti-immigrant movement in Arizona, specifically the John Tanton Network. Lately he’s been on a tear, helping to pass the racist SB 1070, banning ethnic studies in the state, trying to pass legislation that would dismantle the 14th Amendment, and also a “birther” bill. When defending Senate Bill 1070, Pearce makes it sound like laws that require officers to racially profile are nothing new, stating that it merely “mirrors the law of the land for fifty years,” and justifies a law to ban birthright citizenship by inexplicably calling the 14th Amendment, which acts as a constitutional guarantee of citizenship rights, “unconstitutional.” Pearce has added his voice to a chorus of narrow-minded individuals who seek to turn back the clock on hard-won civil rights. Pearce has all but admitted he is what’s called a Birther, those who claim that they don’t believe or won’t admit that President Obama is a citizen. In actuality, “Birthers” are a thinly veiled political formation with the goal of convincing others that Obama is not white and therefore not American. Pearce is friends with neo-Nazis like J.T. Ready, which makes sense because his propaganda could come right out of a Third Reich playbook. During a radio interview last week Pearce stated,

“…[there is] room for only one language, the English language; room for only one American, and that’s to be a real American. And if you profess to be anything but an American you’re not an American. It’s time to assimilate.”

As a foot soldier for the most powerful anti-immigrant network in the nation, Russell Pearce is enjoying the limelight along with his buddies Kris Kobach and leaders at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Pearce doesn’t even have to think for himself, every move he makes – from proposing repulsive laws to using dehumanizing rhetoric – is carefully crafted by more than two dozen organizations working in tandem and rooted in a foundation of white nationalist interests.

Dan Smeriglio, a relative small-fry bigot up until now, has played a key role in the pro-SB1070 rally and is the source of a rift in the anti-immigrant movement alliance. Smeriglio is no run of the mill rally organizer, he is also doing his part to keep alive the Tanton Network’s ties to white nationalism. It recently came to light that Smeriglio has strong ties to white nationalists and runs a group called Voice of the People based in Pennsylvania. In November of 2009, Smeriglio held an anti-immigrant rally in 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 spin-off group of the Keystone State Skinheads (KSS). According to the One People’s Project, which has been keeping a close eye on Smeriglio, he was an active member with a Tanton-affiliated group called 9/11 Families for A Secure America. In 2007, Smeriglio started rubbing elbows with Tom Tancredo (see smackdown round I - Tancredo v. Gheen), and working to generate racial tension in the Hazelton community. This is the same Pennsylvania town where Kris Kobach and fellow Immigration Reform Law Institute attorney Michael Hethmon passed an anti-immigrant ordinance that was struck down by a federal judge, and the city was forced to pay for all legal fees.

Winner: Russell ‘the assimilator” Pearce

Smeriglio may have bigger, badder neo-Nazi friends than Russel Pearce, but Pearce is the type of opportunist who sneaks in sucker punches. Not to fear, Smeriglio is young and undoubtedly will learn much from the cowardly ways of a bigot like Pearce. If William Gheen doesn’t knock him out of the game permanently, Smeriglio may emerge as an anti-immigrant superstar in years to come.

So who is the Biggest Bigot of all time?

After careful examination of all the contenders, it’s impossible to say which is worthy of such an honor.

We’re just hoping they take each other down in the fight to win it.

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