Monday night I listened in on a organizing call for leaders of NumbersUSA, the “MoveOn” of the anti-immigrant lobby. The purpose of the call was to figure out how to throw a wrench in the upcoming grassroots mobilization (taking place in DC on March 21st) for real immigration reform. Already, tens of thousands of people have signed up to march to D.C. to demand economic justice for all Americans and an end to our nation’s abysmal immigration crisis— so naturally the anti-immigrant folks are freaking out.
Even still, some of the speakers on this call really took things to a new level. Here’s what went down.
Meagan Ortiz from VivirLatino, who also listened in, writes:
One particular participant on the call wanted to raise the issue of women, specifically how Mexican women were the new “welfare queens” with their “anchor babies”, taking an old stereotype waged against African-American women in the age of Reagan and revamping it to use against Latina women. This caller was not dismissed but rather praised for his message and told to use the word “dependents” instead of “babies” or “children” because that word was emotional for “them”, meaning Latinos and other immigrants. “We have children, they have dependents”, another caller guided.
Divide and conquer politics seemed to be the name of the game on the call. When talking about jobs, one caller asked why the African-American community wasn’t angrier at immigration.
Erin Rosa from Campus Progress listened in, too, and took down a transcript:
CALLER 1:I would like to speak out on something. I feel the new welfare queen in America today is women coming from Mexico with a bunch of babies. So I feel they’re all coming over here and having all these babies, they are the new welfare queen in America….
New people in America today with a lot of babies, ’cause they coming from Mexico having a bunch of babies. And our tax dollars is taking care of them babies, ’cause the mothers are illegal. So to me, we need to speak out about letting them know they’re the new welfare queens in America.
CALLER 2: That was well said brother!
MACDONALD (the NumbersUSA staffer leading the call): We will make a note of that. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
When it comes to scapegoating women of color, looks like brown is the new black. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this ugly divide-and-conquer strategy at the next Tea Fiesta.
Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell
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