Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Tea Party and NumbersUSA strategize on defaming Mexican women and Latino immigrants to foil immigration reform

Tea Party and NumbersUSA strategize on defaming Mexican women and Latino immigrants to foil immigration reform

LatinaLista — It’s been no secret that all who sympathize with undocumented immigrants and are tired of waiting for Congress to tackle immigration reform are planning to descend on Washington DC on March 21 for what is billed as We March for America!.

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People — immigration reform activists, students, families, labor unions, business leaders, religious groups, Catholic bishops, ethnic organizations, community leaders — are going to Washington not to denigrate or intimidate or slander but to illustrate that as many times as opponents of immigration reform resort to the canned rhetoric of “the American people don’t want this,” to show that the reality is these critics don’t speak for all of the American people.

This march is a family affair — as every past march and rally in support of undocumented immigrants has been — because it’s understood that reforming immigration policies impacts the entire Latino community.

In the past, as with this march, Latino parents, whether they have a personal stake in an immigration reform bill or not, will participate with their children because it’s a noble and just cause. It’s also the perfect opportunity to set the example for our children that to change policy, federal or otherwise, it’s important to sacrifice an afternoon at the movies or playing sports to walk in peaceful protest to show those in charge just how important is the issue.

So, it’s anticipated that fathers toting tired toddlers on their shoulders or mothers cradling sleeping babies or older children grasping the hands of younger siblings will be marching shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone else.

It should be a peaceful display of what is the hallmark of any great democracy.

Yet, a recent “rally-the-troops” call by the opponents of immigration reform, in this case Tea Party members from various states and representatives from NumbersUSA, illustrates how little regard opponents have for the truth on the issue and are intent to not only disrupt the March 21 march but endanger lives by purposely spreading misperceptions they themselves concede are fantasy.

Thanks to Erin Rosa at who was privy to a national strategy call on the evening of March 8 by the immigration restrictionist group NumbersUSA, and reportedly about 45 people representing Tea Party affiliates from across the country, we now know the extent of racism that exists in the Tea Party and just how opponents plan to thwart Congress from taking up immigration reform — slander, incite and confuse congressional members and the American public.

The call was moderated by a Chad MacDonald, a worker for NumbersUSA and joined by Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA.

Two of the most disturbing revelations from the call were the facts that these opponents of immigration reform plan on inciting the worst kind of racial hatred against an ethnic group not seen since the 60s — label Mexican women as “the new welfare queens” and never refer to Latino immigrant children as “babies” but “dependents.”

These opponents of immigration reform are stabbing at the heart of what they feel will get people riled to the point beyond reasoning for themselves — making them think that they are paying for Hispanic immigrants.

It’s a tactic that NumbersUSA and other anti-reform entities have always been suspected of using in the past — and are now teaching their Tea Party followers — confuse reality with perception.

“It’s not about reality, it’s all about perception,” Beck said on the call. “What happened in 2007 is that we as a movement created the perception on Capitol Hill that most American’s did not want amnesty, they did not want comprehensive immigration reform, and that there was an intensity to the people who didn’t want it that could really cause political damage for the careers for the members of Congress. That’s what moves Congress.”

MacDonald added during the discussion, “We are a single issue organization about reducing both legal and illegal immigration. We have an immense amount of resources. We have an incredible coalition and we can answer and frame a question for any ostensible person to reduce overall immigration.”

In addition to convincing nervous congressmen that their jobs are at stake because the so-called “American people” — as defined by NumbersUSA — don’t want immigration reform, the group will also conduct a call-in campaign flooding the congressional switchboards.

Call-in campaigns are fine. Counter-protests are part of the democratic system but the intentional defamation of a whole group of people to further a political agenda has the earmarks of the saddest period of global history that civilized nations vowed would never be repeated.

Those Republican politicians who have sided with Tea Party groups and obediently regurgitated in the past the talking points set forth by NumbersUSA and other immigrant restrictionist groups, without getting independent factual confirmation of what they were saying, are sad examples of political leadership. They deserve nothing more from the American voters than a condemnation that they would align themselves with a group of people who put themselves above others to the detriment of the democratic system and the historic ideals of this country.

One Latina Lista reader wrote me yesterday about a recent confrontation he had with a Tea Party protester. This young law student in New York staged a counter protest to an ongoing Tea Party protest. He was a lone protester and now questions whether practicing the Constitutional-given right of every American is worth it because, aside from being the recipient of such disgusting insults like “we should be for abortion because the world would be better off if your parents had one,” a Tea Party protester threatened his life.

He threatened his life because this young student had a different political opinion.

These immigration restrictionists will slander, intimidate and incite whatever violence just because they can’t tolerate a difference of political opinion?

What kind of USA is that?



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  • meck
    March 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    How about the pro immigration reform side started doing what the other side has been doing. Instead of just staging demonstrations (which will only invite slander and defamation through edited footage etc) why not start matching the other side’s techniques (e.g via phone calls to congressmen, blog and news paper commentaries etc), and do something that works, and shows a more nuanced view than just idealized chants, which have already been proven not to be very effective. So far the demonstrations haven’t furthered the cause of balanced immigration reform, but have served as ammunition for the bigots propaganda. Since those groups are largely racists and bigots, seeing thousands of ‘non whites’ in the streets demanding inclusion will only animate them further. For one they’re likely to publicly label all protesters ‘illegal aliens’, regardless. Why give that to them. If the cause is real, then methods that work ought to be prioritized.

  • Cohen
    March 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    March 21 will be huge. This is the million man march of our time! No more excuses, wait, and hatred! Immigration reform NOW!

  • Beast
    March 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Dear Marisa,
    While your article invites sympathy, the difficulty that people have with giving amnesty is that these people broke the law. Now, you, La Raza, and all the other groups can try to justify it with some other claim, but the truth is the truth. That is what people see when dealing with immigration reform. People see foreigners who did not come here the legal way, with their hands open saying “I am entitled so give me.”
    That is not how America works. We have a system to follow. That is the difference between an immigrant and an alien. An immigrant will wait and be patient, and follow the laws. An alien will do what they please regardless of the laws.
    While I enjoy your marches (as they clear up so much traffic), they also show how bad the problem is. When we see how many thousands of people are here illegally, you only make your struggle worse. You show to everyone, how the borders are porous, and how many people didn’t bother to respect our rules and our society.
    We do not reward those who break the law, after all, if I enter your home illegally, am I now a member of your family? Should you be obligated to house, feed, pay, educate, and tend to my medical needs? For free of all things?
    The march will be useless, we will see more deportations, and your cause shall finally be dealt with in an appropriate manner…with enforcement of our laws.

  • Inmigrante TV
    March 10, 2010 at 7:27 am

    We invite activists and anyone concerned with this type of racism to send us their info to

  • Truth
    March 10, 2010 at 8:28 am

    US economy largely unaffected by illegal immigration
    Tucson, Arizona | Published: 12.03.2009
    WASHINGTON — A study released Wednesday concludes that illegal-immigrant workers do not drain jobs or tax dollars and have a neutral impact on the U.S. economy.
    Because illegal immigrants occupy a small share of the work force — about 5 percent — and work low-skilled jobs at lower wages than other workers, their overall influence on the economy is trivial, according to the report, sponsored by the Migration Policy Institute, a pro-immigration think tank in Washington.
    “The fate of the U.S. economy does not rest on what we do on illegal immigration,” said Gordon H. Hanson, author of the report and economics professor at the University of California-San Diego.
    Illegal immigrants contribute a tiny 0.03 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, with that gain going to employers who save money on cheap labor, the report says, while their cost to the economy is 0.10 percent of GDP, which mainly comes from public education and publicly funded emergency health care.
    The net impact at minus 0.07 percent of GDP means that illegal immigrants have an essentially neutral effect on the economy, Hanson said.
    The report does not factor in the spending or entrepreneurship that illegal immigrants contribute to the economy, said Marc Rosenblum, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.
    Where illegal immigrants do have a substantial impact, Hanson added, is in specific labor-intensive and low-skilled industries such as agriculture, construction, hospitality and cleaning services, where the share of native-born workers has dropped precipitously.
    Because the U.S. has dramatically raised the education level of its adult population in the last 50 years — going from about 50 percent of all working-age adults without a high school diploma in 1960 to just 8 percent today — the native-born, low-skilled work force has shrunk, while employers continue to require low-skilled workers.
    This leaves room for illegal immigrants to take such jobs at a low cost, the report says.
    Illegal immigrants now account for 20 percent of working-age adults in the U.S. who don’t have a high school degree.
    While the influx of illegal immigrants is one of the factors keeping low-skilled wages stagnant, the biggest losers in the current system are legal low-wage workers, both native and foreign born, who compete with the illegal immigrants, Rosenblum said.
    Meanwhile, employers reap higher profits because of lower labor costs and more productive businesses.
    The solution to this imbalance, proposed by the Migration Policy Institute, is to provide more visas and legal channels for unskilled workers to enter the U.S.
    Today, low-skilled workers must have a green card — effectively requiring them to have close family members in the U.S. — or obtain a temporary work visa.
    “We really need to approach migration control comprehensively by both strengthening enforcements and creating legalization mechanisms that will control the unauthorized population and improve the economic outputs that we get from immigration,” Rosenblum said.

  • cookie
    March 10, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Marisa, you write about how the new “anti” strategy is to demonize Latino women as “the new welfare queens” and refer to their children as “dependents” in order to rile up Americans into thinking they will have to pay for these people if they are given amnesty. Well, DUH…! Are you really trying to tell us that Pedro, with a 5th grade education, working at the car wash or cutting the grass, is going to be able to support Maria and their seven kids without resorting to government assistance? And the men here who might now be sharing a house with 20 other guys and sending $$$ to Mexico will now be able to chain migrate their humongous families HERE, where they will promptly tap into our social benefits. How is any of this a lie as you claim, Marisa? No–it is the TRUTH, it is COMMON SENSE, and that is what you and your side are afraid of!
    Then you go on to talk about a “young law student” who wrote to her about how he was counter-protesting those who were protesting illegal immigrants and how they were insulting him. I know who this is. It is Bryan Johnson who posts in here occasionaly, he wrote about this in his blog. This took place out on Long Island. Long Island has been hit hard by illegal immigration; illegals have been taking a lot of the construction jobs there. Union jobs which once paid a family-sustaining wage are now going to illegals. American family men PUT OUT OF WORK, UNABLE TO “FEED THEIR FAMILIES” NOW! Gangs have proliferated, neighborhoods trashed. Yes, the people there are livid and understandably so. Sure bet that Bryan doesn’t live in an illegal/gang infested Long Island neighborhood! Poor Bryan had his wittle feewings hurt. Well, here’s something he should now try: go to a pro-illegal rally and hold up a sign protesting amnesty. He’ll be lucky if he doesn’t have a frozen can of soda thrown at his head like others in that situation have! Elderly people have been physically attacked by pro-illegal goons! They did not stop at mere words!

  • Bryan J.
    March 10, 2010 at 8:51 am

    You wrote: “When we see how many thousands of people are here illegally, you only make your struggle worse.”
    How do you know that these thousands are here “illegally”? You make an assumption based on unverified facts. Just because people marching happen to be Latino does not mean they are “illegal”. Ergo, another example of your side’s unwillingness to seriously address an issue outside of a race-based lens.

  • Bryan J.
    March 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

    On the other hand, if you are referring to the 2006 marches in which many displayed the flags of Mexico, El Salvador, etc, you are on firmer ground.
    Regardless of the motivation behind the foreign flag waving, the effect on a disinterested observer would be: “These protesters are asking for legal status in the U.S., yet they are displaying Mexico’s Flag? That makes no sense, or maybe they shouldn’t get legal status.

  • Lorena
    March 10, 2010 at 9:21 am

    A comprehensive immigration reform is a matter of when, not if. Dear Beast, go tell your maker that you will round up and deport people. He will judge you accordingly, you sad excuse for a human being.
    No human is illegal!

  • irma
    March 10, 2010 at 11:00 am

    “People see foreigners who did not come here the legal way, with their hands open saying “I am entitled so give me.”
    Hmm, Latinos and other pro-immigrant reform groups dont see it that way. The USA was established by people who arrived uninvited and who stayed and took over by force and murder. This was a “legal” way to immigrate to a new land? It is the
    descendants of those people who are guilty of saying ” I am entitled, so give me.”
    The tide is turning, the descendents of the American Indian and those who support their cause- will demand and
    eventually get what has always been theirs – the right to live anywhere they want in the Americas.

  • Karen
    March 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Obama promised to pass immigration reform during the campaign, and now he is being held to that promise.
    I also agree with the first poster that immigrant rights activists should use some of the lobbying tactics that the conservatives use. The only problem I have with a march is that sometimes the government can send the police in to start a disturbance, and then the whole thing looks bad.

  • CHICANO-future tense
    March 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    It’s bad enough that the immigrant rights movement faces fierce opposition ..some hostile..some not so..from such varied groups as the republican/tea party,the minutemen,neo-nazi and other white supremacist organizations…add to this the prevailing racism already existing in US society against brown people..
    But,what is even more problematic is that liberal politicians,Latino leadership in government as well as movement groups are not connecting with Latino constituencies..and it’s indicative of a larger problem we face..witness recent elections of anti-immigrant conservatives and the passing of draconian anti-immigrant statewide ballot initiatives that have received significant support from Latino voters…
    all this points out that the movement is obviously not reaching and making sense to Latino citizens and voters.
    I am of the opinion that this phenomena is reflective of Latinos becoming tired and suspicious of liberal hypocrisy and fuzzy messages that primarily politically serve to garner votes and support for liberal politicians,stall for time,pass the buck and avoid dealing with the “real deal” here..
    Latinos should be told the truth no matter how foreboding it may be..I admit I am a radical and my take on things are radical..the word “radical” deriving from the word “roots”..and I believe in going to the root of things and that such an analysis is the correct is my view that Latinos deserve to be told the truth no matter how bitter and difficult it may be..
    ..having said that I am very supportive of the upcoming marches and demonstrations coming up in a few weeks..I urge everyone to get out there and march,participate,and give their support on any level they can.It is good to see Latinos waking up..wising up to opportunist politicians and their fake promises and empty slogans..

  • Evelyn
    March 11, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    “Yes, they’re breaking the law.” So have many others.
    There’s a mantra the nativist love to chant indignantly: “Illegal immigration is a crime. These people are breaking the law.” In reality, Americans have willfully broken the law en masse several times in our nation’s history. When that’s happened, we’ve usually had the good sense to change the law. And in some instances, we’ve even called the lawbreakers heroes.
    Take Prohibition. From 1920 to 1933, the U.S. made a futile attempt to ban booze and what did it get us? The birth of the Mafia. The total prohibition of alcoholic beverages was so absurd that ordinary citizens simply flaunted the law. And the black market for spirits they created gave rise to organized crime. Hmmm. Should we try this again with at least 12 million people? We already have a booming industry in fake work documents. What’s next when we turn a population the size of Illinois into felons?
    Another massive wave of law breaking took place during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Beginning with Rosa Parks’ refusal to sit in the back of the bus, large numbers of African-Americans publicly broke the law to challenge the Jim Crow system of racial segregation in many parts of the American south. “But they were U.S. citizens!” many will be quick to add. Yes, that’s true. However, in our nation’s past we’ve also elevated law breaking by non-citizens to heroic status. I’m speaking about Texas.
    It’s a dirty little secret but the first illegal aliens in Texas came from Tennessee. Stephen Austin, the father of Anglo Texas, received permission in 1823 to bring “300 families” into the Tejas province after years of wrangling with the Mexican government. By that time, tens of thousands more Anglo squatters had moved into the region. These illegal immigrants, mostly from Tennessee, thumbed their noses at the Mexican government when asked to leave – or at least pay their taxes. When General Santa Anna moved his troops north to evict these squatters, just over a hundred of them holed up in place called the Alamo while the rest retreated to form an army under Sam Houston. Only a military victory over the Mexican army made the Anglo squatters of Texas “legal.” So let’s not get too high on our horses about “illegal immigrants.” We’ve been there and done that.
    The final piece of law breaking which we revere today was perpetrated by British citizens who openly disobeyed the laws of Parliament and king, refused to pay taxes, and formed an insurgent army in 1776. Ironically, today’s self-styled patriots who have taken it upon themselves to protect our borders from the illegal hordes call themselves The Minutemen.
    Am I advocating open borders and a free pass to everyone already here illegally? No way. But we need to use some sense in solving this problem. As Eugene Robinson points out in the Washington Post, screaming “amnesty” every time someone suggest any type of compromise serves little purpose – except to deepen the gulf between Latinos and the rest of our society. And calling anyone who opposes open borders a racist is no better. The time has come for us to use reason – and not self-righteousness – in finding a way out of this mess. Because when it comes to willfully breaking the law, the U.S. lives in a glass house.

  • T
    March 13, 2010 at 6:50 am

    I intend to highlight counterfeit & I.D. theft as the fastest growing crime in America by wearing a “sandwich board” sign, English text in front, Spanish in back reading: FOR SALE: Green Cards, Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, Resident Alien Cards, Drivers Licenses (Any State). In small print at the bottom: “for satirical purposes only. My 2d choice, in a city with an African-American demographic: “We Shall Overwhelm (your schools, your jails, your social services, your subsidized housing, your medical facilities..etc.”

  • Zamanthia
    March 15, 2010 at 11:35 am

    “That is the difference between an immigrant and an alien. An immigrant will wait and be patient, and follow the laws. An alien will do what they please regardless of the laws”.
    Mr. Beast,
    First I will suggest that you ought to learn a little bit more on legal status and definitions for immigrants. I am a legal resident and still consider an alien under immigration regulation. Please don’t use inadequate language for:
    1. Imposing stereotypes that degrade human beings that are exercising their right to move and work
    2. Generalize, when each individual has her/his own story and experiences

  • Texan123
    March 17, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    The only way to determine how Americans feel about Immigration Reform is to let them vote for or against it.
    Sounds reasonable, don’t you think?

  • Rebecca
    April 26, 2010 at 1:02 am

    CINCO DE MAYO! Viva MEXICO! Viva IGNACIO ZARAGOZA! “WE’RE TAKING BACK OUR COUNTRY”…Yes, we need to call our congressmen, Senators, governers and mayors…But we also need to gather and protest in mass numbers, in plain view for all to see that we will stand up for ourselves and our rights in “OUR” country. How can they take back America when it never was there’s in the first place. “WE” need to make our voices heard from May 5 – September 16… This is OUR country and we need to “TAKE BACK AMERICA!”

  • Arizona Citizen
    August 17, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I can’t wait to see what new Arizona state law will be passed next!

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