We’ve been reading news of an audio recording of controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio joking before a Texas anti-immigration group in 2009 about his refusal to cooperate in a federal investigation into racial profiling. Just as troubling as Arpaio’s 2009 speech to the group, however, might be the group he was speaking to: Texans For Immigration Reduction and Enforcement (TFIR). (The Houston-based organization changed its name from Texans For Immigration Reform in October 2011.)

TFIR’s website at first gives the impression that the group is concerned mostly with stopping illegal immigration. We should be clear: opposition to illegal immigration doesn’t make someone a bigot. But when you click a little further into TFIR’s website, alarm bells start to ring.

Among the recommended weblinks on TFIR’s website is VDARE, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a “white nationalist” website. According to the SPLC, VDARE has posted articles claiming that Jews overwhelmingly support “non-traditional immigration, which has the effect of weakening America’s historic white majority'”; insisting that “America was defined — almost explicitly, sometimes very explicitly — as a white nation, for white people”; and arguing that America’s “rulers and elites … sacrifice our… Read More

The Texas Freedom Network does not work on immigration issues. But we do monitor the deepening extremism -- both in rhetoric and action -- on the far right in Texas. So let's take a closer look at an anti-immigrant group behind a Texas Capitol rally during which a speaker expressed her frustration over the fact that voters have elected Hispanics to the state Legislature. The Immigration and Reform Coalition of Texas (IRCOT) has some interesting policy positions and supporters. IRCOT appears to base its anti-immigrant positions on what it calls a "Biblical mandate for secure borders." A number of articles on the group's website try to make a scriptural case against "illegal immigration" and "high immigration."…… Read More

by TFN

From today’s TFN News Clips:

“If you want to know why we can’t pass legislation in Texas, it’s because we have 37, no 36, Hispanics in the Legislature. All of the states that have passed legislation have a handful and I mean literally, some of them have NO Hispanic legislators, well, maybe 3 or 5 or something. So that’s, umm, part of our problem and we need to change those numbers. . . . So the problem is these Hispanic legislators . . . is that it’s too close to them and they, umm. . . simply cannot vote their conscience correctly.”

— Tea Party leader Rebecca Forest, complaining at a rally at the Texas Capitol about the difficulty in passing a bill barring so-called “sanctuary cities” (which don’t exist in Texas anyway). (Video available at the link.)

Stay informed with TFN News Clips, a daily digest of news on issues involving religious freedom, civil liberties and public education. Subscribe here.Read More

How did we miss this?

In an open letter to his fellow Republicans last December, Texas GOP king-maker — and anti-gay, religious right zealot — Steve Hotze lays out an argument for why his party should refrain from demonizing Latinos — basically because “Hispanic culture in America is Christian, pro-family, pro-life” and (by the way) Republicans need their votes to win future elections.

Ok. Even if his motives aren’t entirely altruistic, we can at least respect Hotze’s effort to promote tolerance and multiculturalism, right? Not so fast.

“Gentlemen, it seems that the real problem we face is the Muslim immigration invasion of America. The Hispanics are our natural allies against the Democrats and Muslims.”

Wow. If you absolutely have to direct your hatred and xenophobia at someone, for God’s sake, make it the Muslims. They don’t vote in nearly the number as Latinos do.

The underlying bigotry always comes through, doesn’t it?… Read More

As we have suggested in numerous posts about the Tea Party movement, hardcore Tea Partiers in Texas appear increasingly linked to the religious right. A new survey from the University of Washington's Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality also shows that hardcore Tea Partiers in Washington state -- identified in the survey as "true believers" who strongly approve of the Tea Party -- are significantly more conservative than voters generally. And it's not that they are more conservative just on issues such as opposing taxes and "big government." The survey shows that Tea Partiers are just fine with intrusive government so long as government is doing what they want. Read More