Sen. Tommy Tuberville pushed claims of a "globalist" movement during that interview, a theory experts say is rooted in antisemitism.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Monday gave an interview to the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform and used the platform to push incendiary claims about "globalism," a conspiracy theory with roots in antisemitism.
FAIR, as it is more commonly known, was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Its founder, John Tanton, articulated in 1986 the thinking behind the group's anti-immigrant position, asking "As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?"
In his interview on Monday, Tuberville advanced an antisemitic conspiracy theory about the Biden administration.
He repeated what he claimed was a quote from an old commencement speech by former Sec. of State John Kerry, now serving as U.S. climate envoy under President Joe Biden, in which Kerry supposedly said, "This will be the first generation that will never have to deal with a border anywhere in the world."
Tuberville claimed that quote proved members of the Biden administration are "globalists" who "don't believe in borders anywhere."
The term "globalist" has frequently been used on the right to invoke a false, wide-reaching conspiracy theory about Jewish people.
According to Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, "Where the term originates from is a reference to Jewish people who are seen as having allegiances not to their countries of origin like the United States, but to some global conspiracy."
Speaking with the progressive media outlet NowThis News in 2018, Greenblatt added, "The term ... was developed and originated in certain extremist circles populated by white supremacists. It gained currency in recent years as the 'alt-right,' [a far-right movement largely made up of white nationalists], used their understanding of technology to spread that term into the mainstream."
During his presidency and while campaigning for office, former President Donald Trump negatively used the term on several occasions, including in a campaign ad highlighting the role of Jewish figures in national politics.
The Biden administration has never expressed support for open borders, nor do the administration's policies — which have been criticized at times by immigration advocacy groups for not doing enough — reflect that sentiment.
Additionally, Tuberville appears to be mischaracterizing Kerry's speech.
In his May 2016 commencement speech to Northeastern University, Kerry remarked, "I am honored this morning to address a university family that thankfully is unafraid, utterly unafraid to look beyond our borders and into the future."
Later in the speech Kerry stated, "You're about to graduate into a complex and borderless world."
Kerry's reference appeared to be a nod to the modern age, in which ideas and commerce are regularly exchanged across borders around the world.
FAIR has been active in opposing the Biden administration's efforts to undo the harsh anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration. They have worked in tandem with Republican elected officials, with both sides amplifying each other's message that there is a "crisis" at the southern border, something experts say does not actually exist.
Tuberville's interview was conducted by Dan Stein, the current head of FAIR. Stein has advocated for the repeal of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which reversed prior immigration guidelines based on racist standards that limited the ability of nonwhites to come to the United States.
Stein has also pushed openly racist claims that immigrants are engaged in a practice he calls "competitive breeding" designed to undermine the power of the white majority in America.
"Immigrants don't come all church-loving, freedom-loving, God-fearing," Stein said in a 1997 interview. "Many of them hate America; hate everything that the United States stands for. Talk to some of these Central Americans."
During the interview, Stein explicitly called for FAIR supporters to back Tuberville's proposed immigration legislation, the Empowering Law Enforcement Act. The bill, if passed, would give state and local law enforcement agencies the power to "investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer an alien into Federal custody."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.