CPAC starts today, but unfortunately most of our favorite anti-immigrant commentators won’t be there. Since the 2012 election, in which Mitt Romney was walloped because he supported self-deportation and lost the Latino vote, extremists have been a bit less welcome. Which is why Breitbart, for the second year in a row, is hosting a gathering of “The Uninvited,” hosted by none other than Frank Gaffney, the anti-Islam extraordinaire whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the anti-Muslim movement’s most paranoid propagandist.” Stay tuned as we watch some of the day’s most anti-immigrant events from both convenings, so you don’t have to.
CPAC is a notoriously conservative conference — recall this participant last year who defended slavery and segregation. So it’s pretty notable that the usual anti-immigrant types have been deemed too extreme for the conference, and kept off the speaking list. Also note how the tone of CPAC has apparently changed in the last few years: in 2012, the main immigration panel was strictly about enforcement, entitled “High Fences, Wide Gates: States vs. the Feds, the Rule of Law & American Identity” and featuring Kris Kobach (now of legislative failure fame). Post-election, in 2013, things got a lot friendlier with “Respecting Families and the Rule of Law: A Lasting Immigration Policy.” This year’s panel, “Can There Be Meaningful Immigration Reform Without Citizenship?” seems to agree that reform is sooner or later inevitable. It’s not until this afternoon, however, and in the meantime no one at CPAC has apparently been talking about immigration:
Has anyone mentioned immigration at CPAC so far? Pro or anti at all?
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) March 6, 2014
Back to the Breitbart gathering:
Steve King was one of the first speakers at the uninvited gathering, and spent time once again comparing immigrants to animals. According to Right Wing Watch, he told a story about going out with border patrol agents who would “catch and release” immigrants like a recreational fisher because they “like their jobs” and want to keep them. King also mentioned that when Reagan signed the 1986 immigration reform bill, he got so angry that he “kicked my filing cabinet.”
At midmorning, Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schafly, NumbersUSA’s Rosemary Jenks, Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian, and former Ambassador Roger Noriega convened (sort of, Krikorian is apparently somewhere in Texas and sent in a pre-recorded message) for a panel on immigration. Schafly has absolutely abhorrent positions on a number of issues and has spent the last few months arguing that immigration will turn Americans into slaves, that immigrants “don’t really understand our country,” and that reform is part of Obama’s plan to turn America communist.
4:25 PM And back to CPAC. The main immigration panel of the event is in session, according to Townhall’s Conn Caroll, what they’re mostly talking about is the need for a guest worker program. Wouldn’t surprise us if they were once again dodging the topic of the 11 million.
so really, this #CPAC immigration panel is just a all-we-need-is-a-guest-worker-program panel
— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 6, 2014
Meanwhile, faux-presidential candidate Donald Trump has made his speech at CPAC, which included a warning to Republicans to stay away from immigration reform. We wouldn’t exactly call him a voice of reason though, since he apparently still doesn’t believe Obama’s birth certificate is real.