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Michigan Representative Dave Agema’s Ties to Islamophobes

Dave Agema

Dave Agema

Last week, the blog Imagine 2050 published a piece looking at Representative Dave Agema, a member of the Michigan House from the west side of the state. In it, Brian Schultz explores Agema’s support for anti-immigrant legislation directed at Muslims.

According to the blog post, Agema has ties to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which has longstanding ties with the white nationalist movement.

Schultz writes:

But the bill’s chief sponsor, Michigan State Representative Dave Agema (R-74), defends the bill in a characteristic manner, claiming, “It’s not anti-Muslim at all […] You can be a Muslim here and it’s fine [….] But if you’re trying to insert Sharia law and subvert our Constitution, that’s an issue.” For legislators like Agema, the bills are about legality and juridical decorum, and they hope to appeal to the citizenry’s “common sense”—after all, shouldn’t American laws be the only consideration in an American court?

Agema and his cohorts, though making “sensible” arguments, actually appeal to a deep-seated fear based on myths about Muslim culture’s inherent incapacity to grasp Enlightenment values like “liberty” and proclivity in favor of flaunting a higher-than-the-law loyalty. As much as they’d like us to think they’re unbiased servants standing up for “our Constitution,” legislators like Agema belong to an insidious and largely unrecognized network that seeks to exclude immigrants from aspects of American life.

Dave Agema is not defending democracy; he has an axe to grind with immigrants, and is using this latest legislation as a platform for his frantically nationalist ideology. He belongs to the State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), an organization that promulgates anti-immigrant legislation. SLLI was founded by Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe, who himself works closely with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that likes to populate for-profit prisons with immigrants.

Moreover, SLLI was founded under the auspices of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as one of a number of anti-immigrant groups founded under the guidance of white nationalist John Tanton. Agema frequently utilizes FAIR’s irresponsible arguments and statistics about the purported ills of immigration, and has worked with FAIR state advisor Tamyra L. Murray. Murray remains well-connected within Tanton’s network, and has worked with its funding wing, U.S., Inc.

Posted in Misc. Rightwing Groups, People.

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