Uniting the Right: Anti-Immigration, Organizing, and the Legitimation of Extreme Racist Organizations

Stanislav Vysotsky


This article analyzes the use of anti-immigration rhetoric and organizing efforts by extreme rightwing racist groups to present themselves as political actors. The authors analyze this process through a case study of the Keystone State Skinheads/Keystone United, a Pennsylvania-based hate group. The authors identify the manner in which this countercultural group uses anti-immigrant rhetoric to frame itself as a political organization. White racist organizations utilize issues such as the opposition to immigration to minimize stigma associated with their beliefs. This strategy has allowed them to participate at the forefront of anti-immigration organizing over the course of the last decade. By engaging in such organizing activity, extreme groups often present themselves to a more mainstream audience as nonviolent organizations working merely to uphold immigration law. Additionally, the participation of white supremacists in the immigration debate shifts rhetoric further to the right and legitimizes expressions of racist senti- ment by mainstream political actors.

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