Update on the American Radical Right and the Tea Party Movement
Attempting to ride the wave of radical right and evangelical supporters central to the Tea Party protests, both Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul ran for the republican nomination for presidency in 2012. Bachmann’s campaign lasted only seven months. Ron Paul announced that he would not seek reelection to his US House of Representatives seat in Texas’ 14th district in order to focus on his 3rd presidential campaign. The presidential campaigns of Paul and Bachmann demonstrated once again that the TPM is not separate from or in opposition to the Republican Party, but rather a mechanism to channel public support towards republican causes, ideology, and the party hierarchy. With Ron Paul out of Congress in late 2012, it remains unclear how the Libertarian Party and numerous Ron Paul organizations, PACs, etc will continue to function and who will take over the so-called Ron Paul Revolution. A prime contender is clearly the so-called Tea Party Senator of Kentucky, Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul.
The Arizona 1070 bill, heavily supported by the TPM, republicans, and libertarians, established in April 2010 some of the harshest “illegal” immigration restrictions. The law was copied and enacted in part or whole in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah, with more than twenty other states considering such legislation. In July 2010, the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit against SB 1070 (Arizona v. United States) on the grounds that Arizona was impinging upon the federal government’s authority to enact immigration law and enforcement. The lawsuit had nothing to do with whether SB 1070 was racist, compelled police to practice racial profiling, or unfairly targeted minority groups. After a series of appeals and lawsuits, the US Supreme Court ruled in June 2012. The Court struck down the following provisions as illegal by preempting federal law: police can no longer arrest individuals without a warrant if they believe they are “illegal” immigrants, immigrants are no longer guilty of a state crime for failing to carry federal registration papers, immigrants who seek and accept work without authorization are no longer guilty of a state crime. Similar provisions in laws in other states are therefore now illegal and not enforceable. The Court upheld as legal the most controversial provision of 1070: police must demand federal and state immigration papers from any person whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe that the person is undocumented or “illegal”.
Abuses of SB 1070 and similar state bills, as well as actions by federal immigration enforcement are well documented. In North Carolina, Mark Lyttle, a US citizen with mental disabilities (described as bi-polar disorder and cognitive learning problems), was arrested and detained for 51 days by the US federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2008 for suspicion of being an “illegal alien”. ICE forced Lyttle under coercion to sign a sworn statement that he was from Mexico, and then deported him to Mexico in December 2008 against his will. Lyttle then spent 125 days wandering the streets in Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua until he got help from a US embassy official in Guatemala, who confirmed Lyttle’s US citizenship, and sent him back to the US. However, upon his return in April 2009, Lyttle was again arrested by ICE for 6 days and threatened with another deportation, until his family and lawyers stopped the proceedings. Lyttle sued the United States for its illegal treatment against him, and was awarded the relatively small sum of $175,000 in the legal settlement from October 2012. The Obama administration has deported more immigrants each year than any year of the Bush administration. The ACLU is part of an on-going class action lawsuit (Franco-Gonzales et al. v. Holder et al) in California federal court on behalf of immigration detainees who have mental disabilities and are presently detained, abused in immigration prison, and/or not given a hearing in immigration court. Although exact numbers are unknown, it is estimated that one to three percent of all immigration detainees, or 7000 – 9000 people, suffer from severe mental disabilities in immigration prisons.
Compiled by Nemeton, whose in depth article on the topic – published in Datacide 11 you can find here.