Our VoiceImmigration

Anti-immigrant leader compares his work to that of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jill Garvey • Jan 25, 2011

Roy Beck’s recent MLK-themed blog post is an example of his willingness to exploit anything to promote his anti-immigrant agenda. And a sign of just how disconnected anti-immigrant groups like NumbersUSA are from what matters to Americans.

Beck wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr. in what he must have thought were glowing terms, saying, “His work, like the work of NumbersUSA today, was aimed at helping all vulnerable Americans of any race or national origin.”

Beck may think that the work of NumbersUSA is like Martin Luther King’s, but looking back at NumbersUSA’s activities, it’s difficult to find any commonalities.

For example, it’s unlikely that King would have shown up at an immigrant rights rally to disingenuously bait attendees into debating him the way Beck and his staff did last March. Or that he would have intimidated the peaceful protesters who responded.

It’s even less likely that Dr. King would have taken a stance on the environment that blamed immigrants for pollution and urban sprawl, or promoted the idea that people of color needed to dehumanize one another in order to compete for jobs.

And it’s downright inconceivable that Dr. King would have received the support of white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

But these are all things that Beck and NumbersUSA have done in just the last 12 months.

It’s interesting to note that in his article, Beck talks about the lives of African Americans immediately following the Civil War in relation to immigration, but fails to mention the 14th Amendment - the most significant Constitutional development during that period.

Maybe that’s because NumbersUSA, along with its allies in the anti-immigrant movement, is currently working to dismantle the 14th Amendment.

The 14th Amendment, which was ratified in the wake of the Civil War, was added to the Constitution to ensure that all Americans were treated as first class citizens - including newly freed slaves - and equally entitled to the preservation of life, liberty, and property.

The 14th Amendment is the embodiment of the U.S. Bills of Rights, and opened the door for court rulings that desegregated American public schools and guaranteed equal voting rights - among other things.

Roy Beck’s organization was created with the help of John Tanton. And Beck is guided by the ideas set down by Tanton, a white nationalist.

The Rev. Dr. King was guided by God and the unwavering belief that all men are created equal.

Beck’s attempts to make comparisons are an affront to Dr. King’s legacy. And couldn’t be further from the truth.

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