House Republican echoes white nationalist ‘replacement theory’ during hearing


“For many Americans,” the Post reports Perry said, “what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is, what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born American—native-born Americans to permanently transform the landscape of this very nation.” Like the Post notes, never mind that it was Perry who sought to do this supposed replacing by supporting overturning the 2020 election, including after white insurrectionists violently stormed the U.S. Capitol.

But that’s beside the point. The point here is the danger of where this extremist rhetoric can lead—because it’s already happened. My colleague Dave Neiwert has previously written about how this white nationalist theory “has been credited with inspiring multiple acts of mass murder and terrorism,” including the El Paso mass shooting in 2019. One analysis found that the previous president had in at least 19 instances spouted the same “invasion” rhetoric used by that mass murderer. 

The Post reported that year that anti-immigrant groups scrambled to distance themselves from the shooter, even though they “shared similar views on immigration.” Well, mostly scrambled. The Post reported that hate group leader Mark Krikorian called the white supremacist’s scrawling “remarkably well-written for a 21-year-old loner.” Krikorian, of course, is executive director of CIS, one of the groups embraced by congressional Republicans.

Zachary Mueller of America’s Voice noted that Andrew Arthur, another CIS member and a former immigration judge, already had five invitations under his belt when he was invited by Republicans to testify for a sixth time in March 2019. “Unfortunately, the apparent coziness between Republicans and anti-immigrant hate groups is not isolated to Arthur,” Mueller wrote. “The Trump Administration is full of people who use to work for organizations in Tanton’s anti-immigrant network or who are happy to rub shoulders with their current staff.”

John Tanton, an ophthalmologist and eugenicist who died in 2019, has been in the news lately due to a lawsuit seeking to unseal correspondence and other papers he donated to the University of Michigan. “They include hundreds of private letters, some outlining his interest in genetic differences between the races and concerns about the country’s changing ethnic mix,” The New York Times reported in 2011. Hmm, feel like you’ve heard echoes of that elsewhere too?

Sure, the Trump administration is out of office. But white nationalism is still festering in our government, and elected congressional  Republicans are actively encouraging it and seeking it out. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and others have mimicked the rhetoric of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), another anti-immigrant group within the Tanton network, dozens of times regarding the southern border. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, meanwhile, used “invasion” terminology to describe the border in Facebook ads several times in 2018, Media Matters reported in 2019.

Stephen Miller, a noted fan of Tanton network organizations, should be a social pariah (and in prison, says El Paso Rep. Veronica Escobar) for the inhumane policies he helped implement. Instead, following President Joe Biden’s administration unveiling legislation featuring a very popular path to citizenship for the nation’s undocumented immigrants, House Republicans invited him back to “brief” them, Politico reported.

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