Friday, July 19, 2024

Factions and Accusations Among Anti-Immigration Proponents

Arizona Watch

The Colorado Independent newspaper is reporting of internal feuding amongst anti-immigrant groups with accusations of racism and ties to Neo-Nazis in a lead up to a pro-SB1070 rally next month.

The Phoenix Rising Rally, scheduled for June 5 in Phoenix, AZ, is being billed as “the largest rally in support of the rule of law” by its organizers.  Included on the list of featured speakers is former Colorado congressman and staunch anti-immigration advocate, Tom Tancredo.

However, the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), which supports the new Arizona law, has pulled out of the event and is encouraging other groups to do the same as it engages in a public squabble with Tancredo over Dan Smeriglio, one of the events organizers.

ALIPAC director William Gheen is accusing Smeriglio of having ties to Neo-Nazis and skin head groups.  Gheen cites Smeriglio’s Facebook page in which he lists a Swedish Neo-Nazi musical group as his favorite band as proof of his ties.

Tancredo, who describes Smeriglio as a “nice kid”, attributes the accusations as a personal flap between him and Gheen.

In a letter to his network, Gheen warns against having those with associations to radical racist groups to be involved in Phoenix rally, saying:

“With the illegal alien supporting La Raza groups throwing the race card at Arizona and all of us speaking out against illegal immigration, it is a big mistake to proceed with a June 5th event in Phoenix, AZ where the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center), National Council of La Raza, and many others have screen shots [a Facebook page linking Smeriglio to skin head and neo nazi music.”

In 2008, the SPLC’s Intelligence Project tied Gheen’s own group to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which they had designated as a hate group.

A website supporting and promoting the anti-immigration event lists scheduled speakers as including, besides Tancredo, Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio, AZ State Senator Russell Pearce and former AZ Congressman JD Hayworth who is running in the Republican primary against US Senator John McCain.  The Tea Party Nation is listed as a supporter and organizer of the rally.

Colorado Independent

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