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Trump Administration’s Pick for Refugee Aid Literally Works for Anti-Immigrant Hate Group

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The Trump Administration is every day becoming more brazen in its attack on immigrants, as evidenced by yesterday’s announcement that they are nominating a hate group fellow to be the assistant secretary of state for refugees and migration.

Ronald Mortensen is currently a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies — a hate group designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center* — and a co-founder of the extremist group Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration. The Trump Administration wants Mortensen to oversee the State Department bureau that provides aid for refugees and stateless peoples around the world, which seems like a mismatch of a nomination considering Mortensen’s long and documented history of hate toward immigrants here in the United States.

You can see this in Mortensen’s own words. He’s clearly a proud bomb-thrower:

  • Mortensen opposed DACA and criticized “illegal aliens … for destroying the futures of innocent American children for their own selfish purposes.”
  • He’s determined to think of Dreamers and immigrants as criminals, despite facts to the contrary: “Dreamers often are portrayed as sympathetic young people trying to go to school, but that portrayal is often erroneous…many have committed serious felonies that impact American men, women and children.”
  • When pushed, even the strongest supporters of illegal aliens are forced to acknowledge that the vast majority of illegal aliens commit multiple felonies.”
  • Trump’s targeting of immigrants “destroys the myth of the noble, law abiding illegal alien and forces illegal aliens and their supporters to finally acknowledge that people illegally in the United States routinely commit multiple felonies and other serious violations of American law when they enter the country, get jobs, and obtain benefits reserved for citizens and legal residents.”
  • He’s impugned those who support immigration reform, especially Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), whom he said “roll[s] out the welcome mat for ISIS on America’s southern border.” He continued: “McCain has provided ISIS with unfettered access to the United States for both its personnel and their weapons of death and destruction…Should ISIS or some other terrorist group take advantage of McCain’s welcome mat, he will only have himself to blame as he goes in the eyes of many from war hero to collaborator.”
  • He’s criticized immigration advocates, including those from the faith community: “Religious leaders routinely invoke the ‘love of neighbor’ to justify their unconditional support for illegal aliens. However, their love of neighbor appears to largely exclude American citizens, including American children, who are victimized by illegal aliens.”
  • He echoed an extremist trope that immigrants bring disease by calling immigrants a threat to public health: “Rather than putting the health of Americans first, these agencies [the CDC and others], which once took their roles to protect the public seriously, now go to great lengths to ensure that foreign nationals from countries with serious diseases are allowed to freely enter the United States.”
  • He once wrote a post entitled: “Illegal Aliens Receive Immediate Medical Care; Veterans Left to Die.”
  • Let’s not forget that at CIS, Mortensen’s boss is Executive Director Mark Krikorian, who has said that we should strip Puerto Ricans of citizenship, questioned Sonia Sotomayor’s name, said Haiti should have been colonized longer, and blames immigrants for everything from global warming to the Great Recession.

Clearly, putting Mortensen in charge of refugee aid would be a big middle finger to the State Department, its goals and mission, and the whole concept of international assistance. As our Executive Director Frank Sharry told ABC News:

This is like Richard Spencer being appointed head of the civil rights unit at [the Department of Justice]. It’s not the fox guarding the chicken coup. It’s a monster in charge of the chicken coup.

Added Luis Garza, executive director of Comunidades Unidas, a Utah-based Latino outreach group:

It’s pretty clear that [Mortensen] really doesn’t use facts about immigration when he’s talking about his extremely anti-immigrant agenda…I think it’s very concerning for somebody like him to be in such an important position that works with immigrants and refugees.


* Mark Krikorian, the Executive Director of CIS, reacted badly to the hate group designation, so SPLC provided 2,012 receipts:  “More Than An Occasional Crank: 2,012 Times the Center for Immigration Studies Circulated White Nationalist Content”