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Portland Resistance Radicals Trying to Disrupt an Anti-Immigration Speaker Thwarted by Lewis & Clark Students

The student organizers were a model of how to engage your intellectual opponents, even hateful ones

Note: The original version of this article mistakenly stated that John Tanton, founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is deceased. He is not and I regret the error.

Protests broke out at the International Affairs Symposium at Portland's Lewis & Clark College Tuesday when radicals outside, frustrated at being stymied, started pounding on the door of a debate on immigration, as if trying to break in. But the true hero of the event was a black Muslim student from Sudan, a country included in Trump's travel ban, who heroically grabbed the bullhorn from one of the screaming yahoos and lambasted them for disrupting the event.

He told them that because of them, the event ended abruptly, robbing him of an opportunity to ask his question. He pointed out that if they want change and reform, they are going about it the wrong way if they won't even let people talk—showing that, ironically, a foreigner, has a better grasp of free speech, tolerance, pluralism, and open dialogue than the protesters speaking on his behalf.

I had been invited to the country's oldest student-run symposium along with former Michigan Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra to kick off the three-day event with a debate on open borders and immigration. But last night things got "interesting"—as the Chinese would say.

Campus ProtestsJeremy Breningstall / ZUMA Press / Splash News/NewscomThat's because the student organizers had invited Center for Immigration Studies' Jessica Vaughan to debate Northwestern University's Gayla Ruffer on the international community's obligations towards refugees. The Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes CIS as a hate group, which may be debatable. But what is not is that it is a crappy outfit and countering its steady stream of misinformation and half-truths accusing immigrants of everything—including raising global greenhouse gas emissions — could keep an army of fact-checkers gainfully employed for a long time. (Its latest scrape with the truth occurred just last week when Harvard University's Robert Putnam accused CIS head Mark Krikorian of "cherry-picking" his work in an anti-immigration piece for The Wall Street Journal.)

As I wrote last year, CIS is a spinoff of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a racist organization. Indeed, FAIR founder John Tanton, a tireless anti-immigration crusader, worked to create CIS (along with NumbersUSA, another awful outfit) because his many eye-popping comments over the years had put FAIR on the losing side of the "battle of ideas." For example, he's on record regretting that Hitler had given eugenics a bad name. Tanton was also a member of Zero Population Growth and his broader aim was a planet inhabited by fewer and whiter humans. (He once quipped that the high Latino fertility rates meant that "those with their pants up [whites] are going to get caught by those with their pants down!")

Krikorian (whom I have debated) cut his intellectual teeth at FAIR and has been spectacularly successful in whitewashing (so to speak) its link with FAIR. (This is partly because of the writing perch he and other CIS writers have acquired at the National Review which, incidenatlly, suggests that NR's staunchly pro-life editors love the unborn less than they hate immigrants.) So successful in fact that the rather progressive-minded student committee that organized the conference was simply not aware of CIS's nefarious connections and history when it invited Vaughan.

However, having extended the invitation, it wanted to go ahead with it. But Lewis & Clark history professor Elliott Young, a campus firebrand, wrote a scathing piece earlier in the week in the Huffington Post chastising the student organizers for providing a "safe space" for those with the radical right. His piece mobilized the local Portland Resistance, a far-left outfit that began planning a protest on Facebook.

Campus authorities caught wind of this and, wishing to avoid a Berkley-like situation where outside groups violently stopped Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking, changed the venue of the speech at the last minute from the main auditorium to the campus chapel and limited admission to students with IDs—while live streaming the event for the public at another venue.

Vaughan was escorted through the chapel backdoor by two security officers along with the rest of us attendees after dinner.

About a dozen on so Portland Resistance protesters gathered outside and screamed and shouted and blared police sirens as the debate proceeded inside. As they raised their decibel level, the organizers raised the volume of the speakers inside allowing the speakers to be heard. The students inside were the opposite of the hoodlums in Middlebury College who wouldn't let Charles Murray speak. Not only did they allow her to do so, but were extremely respectful— applauding Vaughan for being there—even though they disagreed with her vehemently. Vaughan went out of her way to thank them for all the courtesies and care they had extended her.

But after she spoke, the moderator of the event, Associate Professor Heather Smith-Cannoy, confronted Vaughan with all misinformation that she and CIS constantly emit on the alleged criminality of immigrants. Armed with studies and data, she questioned Vaughan's previous assertions that the Obama administration released 36,000 undocumented immigrants from detention in 2013 and that 72 individuals from countries listed in President Trump's original executive order had been linked to terrorist activity. (When Trump spokesman Stephen Miller repeated that statement, he earned three Pinocchios from The Washington Post. Also, Ronald Bailey and I have both separately written about how not a single refugee has ever been convicted of terrorism on American soil.)

After that, two professors (including Young) and many students, who'd clearly done their homework, interrogated Vaughan about her many questionable assertions and dubious statments.

And then, at the tail end of the event, the confrontation began. One of the protesters (as the video that I took shows) removed her black mask and confronted the student organizer, Samuel Perszyk, about "normalizing a white supremacist" outfit. Perszyk, maintiaining his cool, responded that he had done no such thing. "Did you see what happened tonight?" he asked. As he turned around, his female interrogator spat on the ground, hissing something in a fit of self-righteous narcissism.

Security officials quickly swooped in and whisked Vaughan away before opening the doors for all the other attendees to leave. At that point, two or three black-hooded Portland Resistance yahoos stormed the stage, fists raised, screaming "shame, shame."

Vaughan, who commendably remained poised during what were admittedly tough circumstances, nevertheless engaged in the usual doublespeak that CIS has developed into a high art. When questioned, she dissolved, claiming that she had never said—and did not believe—that immigrants contributed to higher crime rates, which, it seems, has still not stopped her from tweeting constantly about crimes committed by immigrants. She shed crocodile tears for Middle Eastern refugees claiming that most of them are better off warehoused in camps in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon and really just want to go back to their own countries—which is arguably true for some but not many, many whom America is denying admission.

But Lewis & Clark students were a model of how to engage your intellectual opponents—even odious and hateful ones—in a free society.


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  • Acosmist||

    The Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes CIS as a hate group, which may be debatable.

    The SPLC would characterize themselves as a hate group if it made them money. Citing them is about like citing Ken Ham on biology.

  • Rebel Scum||

    The SPLC considers Ron Paul and his supporters to be terrorists. They seem to me to think anyone that is not a card carrying sjw regressive to be "hateful". So I wouldn't put any trust in them.

  • Bearded Spock||

    The SPLC has reached that awkward "crazy uncle" stage with the Media and the police: Everyone knows the SPLC is a bit "off", but because of their past reputation no one is willing to completely write them off as Totally Bonkers.

    However, the Trump = White Supremacy cover on their latest "hate" report is probably going to be the last straw for many police agencies in Red America. If the cops in conservative states/jurisdictions continue to use SPLC as a credible source they're likely to get plenty of pushback from their political leaders.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    The SPLC has *obviously* been an affinity scam run by direct marketing gurus since day one. If police in conservative areas are using them as a source, it's not by choice.

  • Ragoftag||

    'Past reputation'? The only reputation the SPLC has ever had is that of Elmer Gantry, scam artists.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Forget it Acosmist, it's Dalmiatown.

  • WakaWaka||

    Looks who suddenly cares about free speech.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    She'd only defend the anti-speech side if they like burn shit and beat people up and stuff.

    Standing on the stage like an idiot with your fist in the air while everybody in the room ignores you just isn't radical enough.

  • Tyler.C||

    Dan O you are such a tool. The fact that shikha still works here is a blight on the free speach credentials of Reason.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Nice piece. L&C alumna Monica Lewinsky would be proud (one assumes).

  • Bearded Spock||

    I'm sorry, but having lived through the Sordid '90s seeing "Nice piece" and "Monica Lewinsky" in the same sentence caused me to do a double-take.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    The CIS's claim about increasing Greenhouse Gases seems to be legit.

    The average Guatemalan in Guatemala is going to be responsible for fewer emissions if he stays put, rather than move to the US.

    Of course Global Warming is a scam anyway....

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Fully open borders would double world GDP in a few decades, virtually
    eliminating global poverty.

    http://reason.org/files/immigr.....orders.pdf

    Open borders would double the world gdp while reducing greenhouse gases, apparently.

  • Bearded Spock||

    It appears that the term "Open Borders" to LIbertarians is equivalent to the term "Gold Standard" to the Birchers.

    It has even supplanted Legal Pot as the Magic Talisman of Prosperity, which is no mean feat.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    That's what I don't get. The Constitution is a libertarian document, including Article 1, Section 10. But Libertarians who scoff at gold or silver as currency are ignoring the most powerful clause in the Constitution. Restore lawful currency, you restore individual rights, and big government goes back to it's enumerated powers.

  • MarkLastname||

    Commodity based currency isn't libertarian. In a truly libertarian society private banks or local governments would be allowed to issue fiat currency at will, and the market value of the currency would depend on the trustworthiness of the issuer.

    The gold standard is an antiquated superstition, just like the sea shell standard. We should be pushing in the opposite direction: deregulate private currency, don't peg all currency to an arbitrary commodity.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    An arbitrary currency that increases in value and resulted in 13 states growing into the most powerful nation in history?

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Wampum....

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Heap wampum!

  • DFG||

    How can you have open borders with a social welfare state? As Germany discovered everyone will head to where the benefits are best, kick back and start complaining about how the benefits are inadequate.

  • BYODB||

    Those who believe in totally open borders would appear to be anarchists at first blush since no borders effectively means no state at all. There are libertarians that believe this, although I'm not trying to imply that most or all of them do.


    Personally, borders are a good idea for a number of reasons. Should they be locked down like the Iron Curtain? Obviously not. But no borders also means that plenty of entirely non-libertarian socialists can waltz into your country and declare your property rights null and void. How can you stop an entire nation from just walking in and saying 'yeah, this is ours now.' Most libertarians I know would say 'then we would fight!' but this type of thing can happen entirely without violence until it's too late to stop it.


    If the world were a perfect place this would work, but it's not like borders sprang out of some guys mind without context or justification. Either way, if you want totally open borders I'd be willing to at least give it a limited go on perhaps the state level and see what happens but first you're going to need to do away with the welfare state. It's the whole idea behind laboratories of democracy and all that.

  • BYODB||

    God damn it, it's a Dalmia article. I'm going to go flagellate myself.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    she's such a fucking intellectually dishonest idiot. Nothing but another SJW progtard.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Also, Ronald Bailey and I have both separately written about how not a single refugee has ever been convicted of terrorism on American soil. )

    I do just love the hair-splitting Reason writers engage in. (refugees vs asylum seekers)

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Yeah. I mean, not a single nuclear warhead has ever harmed anyone on American soil, so why are we wasting all this effort and money trying to control their proliferation? Shit, let everybody have one. A nuke in every pot.

  • Juice||

    I'll bet that nuke tests have done at least a little harm to at least one person.

  • Tyler.C||

    He said war head. See hair splitting is fun.

  • JWatts||

    "Also, Ronald Bailey and I have both separately written about how not a single refugee has ever been convicted of terrorism on American soil. )

    I do just love the hair-splitting Reason writers engage in. (refugees vs asylum seekers)
    "
    Awesome verbiage Shika! "Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was shot and killed by the first responding OSU police officer, and 13 people were hospitalized for injuries." But he wasn't convicted!

    https://goo.gl/UvzTbZ

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Well clearly, he was murdered by agents of the state over a misunderstanding. Clearly Trump's fault.

  • Bearded Spock||

    Nothing is more hilarious than watching Shikha accuse someone else -- without the slightest hint of irony -- of "misrepresentation" "half-truths" and "doublespeak" when it comes to immigration issues.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Says the poster who is in the lead for Least Able to Think Independently of a Political Orientation.

    If you don't recognize what Shikha said regarding the moral equivalency of the violent Berkeley protesters and the student organization involved was total bullshit there's really no way to appeal to you because you're immune to the most basic form of logic.

  • Acosmist||

    Hey, Bo. Was Preet pissed off when you sent him on that wild goose chase after the commenters and he got smacked down for it? Did you get fired for it? Will any law firm employ you now?

  • WakaWaka||

    DildO is the dumbest poster on this site. Go back to Vox

  • Tyler.C||

    DanO is shikha. She only popped up to defend her when everyone got pissed at her.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    The Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes CIS as a hate group, which may be debatable.

    LOL

  • GILMORE™||

    The Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes CIS as a hate group, which may be debatable

    Shikha may be an idiot. Some people have suggested this. who can say? It remains an open question.

  • Rufus T. Firefly.||

    *Thank you. Come again.*

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I thought the science on that was already settled. No?

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    CIS may be racist -- I don't know -- but what the SPLC thinks about anybody is irrelevant. Their opinion should not even be mentioned.

    SPLC is made up of nothing but amoral toads.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    I can't say that the people at CIS are racists or not, but from hearing them during debates and discussions in the Stossel show and other places, the only thing I know about them that is incontrovertible is that they're a bunch of illiberal statists who would seek to increase the size of government to fabulous dimensions if it meant having less immigrants entering the country, whether they're brown, white or green. They're Fascists, using the word in its strictest of meanings.

  • MarkLastname||

    Statism is justifiable if meant to reduce immigration: the true libertarian position, according to 40% of the commentariat.

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    [...] the moderator of the event, Associate Professor Heather Smith-Cannoy, confronted Vaughan with all misinformation that she and CIS constantly emit on the alleged criminality of immigrants.


    The CIS is known to play fast and loose with statistics but that had not deterred Trumpistas from repeating the same claptrap in an effort to smear all immigrants (because Trumpistas, being the fools that they are, have not taken a single moment to understand that the CIS is an anti-immigrant outfit, not merely anti-illegal immigrants). Their statistics have been debunked many times by CATO and other serious organizations because they're very easy to debunk, so one has to wonder what motivates the people at CIS to perpetrate the same intellectual fraud over and over, and the only conclusion I can think of is mental disease, because whatever else they show, rationality it ain't.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Are you all right?

  • OldMexican Blankety Blank||

    I'm not alt-right, no.

  • Longtobefree||

    100% of illegal immigrants have committed a crime.

  • retiredfire||

    ...and continue to do so, every second they are here.

  • XM||

    Something tells that there were many "foreigners" and "immigrants" in the student anarchist rank, not unlike the Latino mob that assaulted Trump fans at his rallies. The "foreigners", no friend of limited government they, formed a formidable Obama coalition that overthrew the healthcare system and laid it at the feet of the government. Shikha's obviously eschewing an honest debate to advance a narrative, just as much as the other side.

    Most experts on this area agree that its difficult to accurately gauge just how much they give to or take from the government. The CBO claims that in states like California, immigrants are a slight net loss to the state's budget.

    Immigrants aren't any more dangerous than natives, but let's consider that immigrants include Asians who typically commit the least crime while "natives" include urban blacks, white and even Latinos who commit the most crime. I could probably move to some white suburb in Idaho and have even less chances of getting shot compared to places like Koreatown, where Latino men and black youth commit a chunk of the violent crimes.

    There are TONS of immigrants in this country in varying state of wealth and social situations. I feel like the immigration debate centers on aggregate numbers as much as people who insist college diplomas are great because people with degrees make tons in salary on average.

  • pxm||

    SPLC lost all credibility in my mind in 2016 when they invented the "climate of hate/trump" narrative in the wake of the election as the explanation for the spike in muslim hate crimes in the 2015 FBI data. That's despite the fact they wrote several articles in 2015 connecting said spike to the Paris terror attacks, same dynamic that occurred after 9/11 attacks.

    eg:
    Before Election:
    www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/20.....st-muslims

    Post Election:
    www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/20.....l-campaign

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Really? I never thought they had the slightest goddamned bit of credibility ever. But hey, late to the party is a lot bit than missing out entirely.

  • Rufus T. Firefly.||

    It's a matter of time before SPLC is either doxed or one of their members is caught paying a crack whore $20 for a blow job. It's inevitable. Then we can finally lump them in with Mufon.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    For example, he's on record regretting that Hitler had given eugenics a bad name.

    Something CIS has in common with Progressives.

  • adampeart||

    Reason referencing the SPLC. Unbelievable. Yes, warehousing refugees in camps in the Middle East is the fiscally responsible thing to do. American taxpayers are evidently second class in the eyes of Reason staff now too?

  • RockLibertyWarrior||

    These fucking snowflakes need to be punched in the face. Seriously, I am fucking sick of this shit, they need their fucking bones broken if their going to disrupt a free debate of ideas, these little commie shit heads need consequences.

  • Intn'l House of Badass||

    The fact that the author of this article cites the SPLC at all is enough to make me stop reading.

    What the fuck, Reason? Things are going downhill pretty quick for you guys.

  • MHaber||

    These look like Anifa. Ms. Dalmia, are you aware of Antifa?

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