Our VoiceImmigrationNews & Politics

Candidates Tied to White Nationalism Gain Ground in 2010 Elections

MJ Olahafa • Nov 03, 2010

With 96 members as of 2010, the House Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC) was founded by Tom Tancredo, a xenophobic politician from Colorado who passed the reigns to Brian Bilbray of California, another politician fiercely hostile to immigrants, after an ill-fated run for President in 2007. Bilbray is a former lobbyist for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its ties to white nationalists.

Tom Tancredo’s run for governor of Colorado in 2010 was unsuccessful as well. He lost by a 13% margin to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Bilbray (incumbent) won the California Congressional District 50 House Seat with 59% of the vote. All members of the IRC are incumbents of their Congressional Districts and most have been re-elected for another term. These include Rep. Steve King (IA-5, 66%), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-1, unopposed), Eric Cantor (VA-7, 59%), Vern Buchanan (FL-13, 69%), Michele Bachmann (MN-6, 50%).

Losses include Parker Griffith (AL-5, defeated in primary) and Lincoln Davis (TN-5, 38%).

State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) is a coalition founded by Pennsylvania Rep. Darryl Metcalfe. SLLI which is the legislative arm of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) works closely with the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of FAIR, to pass punitive immigration laws at the state level. Almost 50 members of SLLI - out of 70 - were up for reelection in 2010, a good number of which ran unopposed. A majority of SLLI members will be back for another term.

A well-known member of SLLI is Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce (AZ-18). Pearce gained notoriety for being the public face of the controversial Senate Bill 1070, and is now spearheading attacks on the 14th Amendment. Pearce’s is openly tied to neo-Nazis in Arizona. This is a picture of Pearce in 2007 with a man named J.T. Ready. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, J.T. Ready is a neo-Nazi leader in the National Socialist Movement.

IRC and SLLI, two groups with hostile views towards immigrants, have been flirting with white nationalists for too long. These election results show that voters are either unaware of this fact or indifferent to it, and that needs to change. This is not the time to bury our heads in the sand (like the ostrich) while white nationalists shape the debate around immigration. It’s time to get educated and proactive in the fight against xenophobia.

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