A Nativist War at Home

Immigration debate gets angrier: Groups loudly press for state, local crackdowns.
(by Dave Montgomery - SacramentoBee - 8.19.07)

1) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and stealth Republican presidential candidate recently declared "a war here at home" against illegal immigration, which he says is as important as the US-Iraq War.

2) "Even though immigration is always unsettling and somewhat controversial, we haven't had this kind of intensity and widespread, deep-seated anger for almost 100 years," said Doris Meissner, a senior fellow with the Migration Policy Institute and former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

3) The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, said the number of "nativist extremist" organizations advocating against illegal immigration has grown from virtually zero just over five years ago to 144, including groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan supremacists.

4) Eighty-three percent of immigrants from Mexico and 79 percent of immigrants from Central America believe there is growing discrimination against Latin American immigrants in the United States, according to a poll conducted by Miami-based Bendixen & Associates.

5) As prospects for congressional action appeared increasingly in doubt this year, all 50 states and more than 75 towns and cities considered -- and in many cases enacted -- immigration restrictions, even though initial court rulings have declared such actions unconstitutional intrusions on federal responsibilities.

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