Leftists Co-Opt MLK, Civil Rights Movement to Push Amnesty

Published on August 28th, 2013

By Matthew Boyle
28 Aug 2013

While many establishment Republicans sit on the fence deciding which way they are going to go on immigration, the institutional left is out in full force invoking the cause of civil rights to drive an amnesty for illegal aliens agenda.

NBC News’ Carrie Dann reports that “immigration reform activists” are “seizing” on the “moral tone” of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in their advocacy for amnesty, 50 years after King “delivered his historic call for racial equality in the March on Washington.” 

The National Council of La Raza, a left-wing organization, is at the forefront of the exploitation of Dr. King’s civil rights message. “At the core, we are talking about the same thing,” Clarissa Martinez de Castro, the director of immigration policy for the National Council of La Raza, told NBC News. “This is a conversation about the value of a person. It was the core of the conversation then, and it is the core of the conversation now."

Janet Murguia, the president of La Raza, similarly has pushed using Dr. King’s image to drive amnesty. “We march so that everyone knows that true justice must include enacting comprehensive immigration reform,” she said this weekend.

Wade Henderson, a leftist activist who heads the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, is backing La Raza’s use of the civil rights movement to push its political agenda. “African Americans understand the inherent power in citizenship,” Henderson said. “As a community we are especially sensitive to issues involving incorporating individuals into the American system that don’t provide full citizenship.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), the Latino Democrat lawmaker at the forefront of the amnesty push in the House, endorses the use of the civil rights movement wholeheartedly. “We sometimes get lost in those arguments for and against immigration reform,” he said. “What Dr. King did in 1963 was envision a moral future and a moral gap between the reality in America at the time and the moral future he envisioned.”

These leftwing lawmakers and organizations seem to be following Attorney General Eric Holder’s plan, who advocated in April of this year that amnesty was a civil rights issue. “Creating a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country is essential,” Holder said in a speech before the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “The way we treat our friends and neighbors who are undocumented–by creating a mechanism for them to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows—transcends the issue of immigration status. This is a matter of civil and human rights.”

As La Raza drives this “amnesty is a civil rights issue” narrative, MSNBC is actually teaming up with the left-wing group to air its “American Latino Media Arts,” or ALMA, awards program live on television. “"We're really excited to be airing this awards show and the notion of celebrating the diversity of our country," MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a statement announcing the news. "We hope this is just the beginning of a long relationship between MSNBC and NCLR [National Council of La Raza]."

When Holder first tried to push the narrative La Raza is now driving, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights member Peter Kirsanow wrote in the National Review that he was making an absurd argument. “To equate amnesty for breaking the nation’s immigration laws with civil rights betrays an incoherent and ahistorical understanding of the civil-rights movement,” Kirsanow wrote. 

“Law-abiding black citizens of the United States were not seeking exemption from U.S. law; they were seeking the application of such laws in the same manner they were applied to whites," he explained. "Perhaps the members of the Congressional Black Caucus will express outrage at Holder’s comparison—right after they get around to expressing outrage over the hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers displaced by massive illegal immigration.

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