Over the weekend, white nationalist groups rallied in Shelbyville, Tennessee, in an event called “White Lives Matter” that was organized by an extremist group called The League of the South. Other extreme-right and neo-Nazi groups joined them, wearing black and bearing helmets and shields. The white supremacists were drowned out by some 1,000 counter protesters, leading to the cancellation of a second rally some 20 miles away.
As a reporter noted, one of the chants from the rally was decidedly anti-immigrant:
BREAKING: White nationalists march in to Shelbyville chanting “Closed borders, white nation, now we start the deportation.” pic.twitter.com/0KeuEKCIQv
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) October 28, 2017
This weekend’s rally should remind those who support mass deportation policies — namely, Donald Trump and Administration officials like Chief of Staff John Kelly, acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — that the bedfellows of such policies are white nationalists. These are people whose main goal it is to make America a whiter nation. And that may be in line Trump’s overall domestic policy goals, but it means that Administration officials really need stop dressing up mass deportation as a public safety issue.
Last week, a car drove into an intersection full of pro-immigration reform protesters in California, a frightening echo of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia in August when a white nationalist killed one person and injured 19 after plowing into a crowd. Last week, luckily, no one was hurt, though several demonstrators went to the hospital to be checked out.
Meanwhile, anti-immigrant groups like the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform — organizations that have Trump’s ear and promote “research” as to why the country should have fewer immigrants — have been documented as hate groups and caught citing white nationalist content thousands of times.
Those who support mass deportation policies should consider why they’re on the side of an Administration that considers it necessary to deport a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, literally sending agents to wheel her out of the hospital after gallbladder surgery. And they should wonder why they’re on the side of neo-Nazis and extremists who want to make America a whiter country.