That thousands of children are fleeing to this country to escape crime, violence and poverty in their Central American countries is a true human tragedy. While the Texas Freedom Network does not work on immigration issues, we — like most Americans — want our elected leaders to address this problem responsibly while also treating the children with compassion. After all, those children are innocent victims, having been sent on often perilous journeys to this country.

But extremists on the right appear to have decided to dehumanize those children as disease-ridden, violent criminals who pose a danger to American kids. Take, for example, Alice Linahan. Here’s what the head of Voices Empower, a Texas-based, political consulting firm, posted on Facebook today:

As a Mom who is a legal citizen of the US what are you doing to protect your children come Sept. when they may be exposed in our public school system to infectious disease, gang violence and individuals who have been victimized by sex trafficking? Is your local school district prepared?

Repulsive.

One might expect some of the thousands of children arriving here to be sick, especially considering their difficult journeys. But for the record, vaccination rates in Central American countries are often comparable or even better than those in… Read More

An anchorwoman for Atlanta’s WXIA television station held little back in going after the right-wing rage over Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl commercial this past Sunday. The commercial featured “America the Beautiful” sung in various languages along with images of America’s great diversity — people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, including a gay family. Here’s some of what anchor Brenda Wood had to say in response:

“The fact that people are outraged over this ad is outrageous itself. People indignant that others would have the audacity to sing ‘American the Beautiful’ in a language other than English? When America was built on opening its arms to the world?

The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn’t say: ‘Give me your English-speaking-only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses.’ It says: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses … tempest-tossed.’

Have we forgotten that every one of us Americans, except for Native Americans, are descendants of foreigners? That the English language is from England?

What makes America different from everywhere else is that we are a melting pot. We are not homogenous. It is our diversity that built this country. How dare there be indignation over the very thing that makes us great.

And… Read More

David Barton, the religious right’s favorite pseudo-historian, is promoting a disputed Heritage Foundation study that says immigration reform will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars in welfare and other public costs. We’ll leave to pro-reform groups to argue why the Heritage study is flawed. (But we’ll note that some conservative are arguing that immigration reform would lower the deficit. Moreover, the Social Security Administration says it would boost Social Security.)

We also won’t quibble here over Barton’s portrayal of reform as “amnesty.” But we do think it’s interesting that the study Barton is promoting was co-authored by someone with some stunning views on race and intelligence.

Co-author Jason Richwine has also argued in the past that immigrants on average have lower IQs than white Americans and that at least part of the reason for that is genetics. His doctoral dissertation called for a policy that excludes immigrants with lower IQs (calling it “IQ selection”). Here’s what he said about Hispanic immigrants:

“No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue… Read More

Texas Eagle Forum’s leaders like to pretend that they champion traditional family values and good Christian morals. But the state affiliate of Phyllis Schlafly’s right-wing outfit has no problem smearing entire classes of people with falsehoods and distortions. Gay people are often among their biggest targets. But the October edition of the group’s newsletter, The Torch, includes a good example of how TEF also targets undocumented immigrants. The piece was written by the co-founder of The Remembrance Project, a Houston-based anti-immigration organization. She also leads the Houston Eagle Forum chapter.

Illegal immigration is a problem in America, but demonizing undocumented immigrants as murderers and monsters is appalling. Yet that’s what the Torch article does. The article bizarrely declares that “the racism perpetrated by illegal invaders upon Americans of all ethnic backgrounds is real.” It also includes this:

“It is estimated that 25 Americans or legal residents die each day at the hands of illegal aliens. We must demand justice for American citizens, not ‘social justice’ for illegals.”

That would be a horrifying statistic — if it were true. But according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the stat is a made-up number from a six-year-old Internet… Read More

When right-wing activist Peter Morrison promoted (unsuccessful) efforts to have state Rep. Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, removed as speaker of the Texas House in late 2010 and early 2011, he noted that other speaker candidates were “Christians and true conservatives.” Straus is Jewish, which Morrison made sure readers of his anti-Straus emails knew. Morrison, who writes a periodic “Peter Morrison Report” e-newsletter (available by free subscription), has directed his venom at various other targets over the years. For example, he claims that President Obama has a “hatred and contempt for white people” (whom Morrison calls “normal people”) and has called Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor a “race hustler.”

Race does seem to stir Morrison’s passions, as another of his newsletters today demonstrates. The topic of his newest political epistle (and many others Morrison has written in the past) is illegal immigration. People from a variety of political perspectives — conservatives and liberals among them — are concerned by illegal immigration. The reasons for those concerns, as well as proposed solutions to the problem, understandably differ. Morrison’s newsletter today, in fact, highlights the current debate in Israel about illegal immigration to that country.

But as… Read More