Anti-Defamation League Press Release

June 16, 2005

Racist Groups Exploit Immigration Issues in Effort to Promote Anti-Hispanic Agenda

New York, NY, June 15, 2005 … With mounting public awareness and concern over illegal immigration in America, the issue is being co-opted and exploited by anti-immigration activists, some of whom are reaching out to racist and anti-Semitic hate groups, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The rhetoric of these activists is largely aimed at Mexicans, not other illegal aliens, and frequently does not distinguish between Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

In the most recent effort by radical anti-immigration organizations and individuals to exploit mainstream immigration concerns, a three-day summit to “Unite to Fight Against Illegal Immigration” was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 27 – 29. More than 400 people gathered to hear speakers describe illegal immigrants as “the enemy within” and “illegal barbarians,” while suggesting that America was “at war” with illegal immigrants and calling for the need to “take America back.”

“These groups are hiding behind the mask of illegal immigration when their real concern is the growing Mexican-American population,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “While there are legitimate concerns for America regarding illegal immigration, the fact that border vigilantes, and in some instances racist and anti-Semitic hate groups, are exploiting these concerns to promote an anti-Hispanic agenda is very troubling.”

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