The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released a new report this week, titled Attacking the Constitution: State Legislators for Legal Immigration & the Anti-Immigrant Movement. The report profiles "12 leading members of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI)," including our own Sen. Brian Nieves (R-Freedom Bunker). According to the SPLC, SLLI has "about 65 members in 40 states" and "was founded by Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe in 2007. The group works closely with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the SPLC has designated as an anti-immigrant hate group because of its white nationalist agenda and ties to racist groups."
The Southern Poverty Law Center report is specifically concerned with the SLLI's work to end the constitutional promise of citizenship for everyone born in the United States. The group "has announced a national campaign to end the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship for all children born in the United States," writes the SPLC, and "is also pushing a number of other harsh, anti-immigrant proposals in states across the country." (As you may recall, Congressmen Sam Graves and Todd Akin are pursuing a similar unconstitutional agenda at the federal level.)
Reps. Sue Allen (R-Town and Country) and David Day (R-Dixon) are also members of the SLLI, as you can see here. The three policy positions to which the three legislators subscribe are outlined on the SLLI website:
- It is the responsibility of the federal government to secure our borders and we encourage them to do so with our full support: Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution states that our government “shall guarantee” to every state in this Union a Republican form of government and shall protect each of them against INVASION.”
- When illegal aliens invade our individual states and communities all levels of government have a responsibility to protect their citizens.
- State and local governments have an obligation to protect the lives, property and individual liberties of their citizens.
Emphasis in original.
Although he is of Puerto Rican descent, Brian Nieves, a newly elected state senator and the former majority whip of Missouri’s House of Representatives, reacted angrily in 2008 after President Obama suggested that American children learn Spanish in addition to English. The president, Nieves said, had “belittle[d] the feelings of the majority of Americans."
This January, Nieves threw what the Kansas City alternative newspaper The Pitch called “his first tantrum of the year” on the floor of the state Senate when he learned that Missouri’s Democratic attorney general had built a Spanish-language website for that office in 2009. Nieves claimed it broke the state’s “English-only” law.
A self-described “Patriot candidate,” Nieves says he is part of a “Patriot uprising” and even named his talk radio show The Patriot Enclave. Nieves also is a major star of the film, “Don’t Tread on Me—the Rise of the Republic,” which was produced by Patriot conspiracist Gary Franchi. In the film, Nieves says that “with the election of President Barack Hussein Obama … I think people finally realized, ‘Hey, this is our government; this is our nation, and we’re going to take it back.’ I think that’s what gave birth to the Patriot uprising.”
Nieves appears a dozen times in the film discussing state sovereignty alongside such hard-core members of the antigovernment movement as Alex Jones, a conspiracy-monger who believes the federal government was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing, and Richard Mack, the former Arizona sheriff who preaches that county sheriffs don’t have to obey the federal government.
During a 2009 “Boot Camp” put on by the Show Me Patriots, Nieves warned darkly: “Sooner or later there’s going to have to be a showdown. So be encouraged, be motivated...because 30 years from now, somebody’s going to ask you what you did during the Patriot uprising...And it’s my prayer that you’ll be able to say you were right in the middle of it and that you had a piece of this fight.”
Nieves, who once described the torture technique of waterboarding as putting “a little water in the face,” was allegedly in a real fight last year. The Kansas City Star reported on Aug. 9, 2010, that Nieves was at the center of a complaint made to police by a campaign worker for Nieves’ opponent in the state Senate primary, Dick Stratman. When the staffer, Shawn Bell, stopped by Nieves’ headquarters to congratulate the winner, Nieves allegedly threw Bell against a wall and then drew a gun on him. Bell alleged that Nieves then berated him, threatened to kill him, and asked him if he was wearing a “wire.” Nieves then allegedly head-butted and slapped Bell, pulled him into an office where Nieves looked through Bell’s phone, made him take off his shirt, and made Bell call his wife to apologize to her for things that happened during the campaign. No criminal charges were ever filed in the case.
In a rambling E-mail Nieves sent to supporters after the incident, he wrote: “We did something The Machine did not want done and for that the Nieves family is indeed being punished and made an example of!”
Read it all here.