This week's annual Netroots Nation convention of liberals and progressives is amping up the war on anti-immigrant proponents like Donald Trump and Maricopa, Ariz., County Sheriff Joe Arpaio while calling for new compassion for LGBTQ illegal aliens.
The convention kicks off Thursday in Phoenix, ground central for the immigration debate, with plans to assail Arpaio, Trump's bid to stop illegal immigration and border "vigilantes."
The four-day event has drawn the attendance of key Democrats, notably presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Hillary Clinton has begged off, claiming prior appointments.
The event comes as Trump has put his front-running presidential campaign behind the anti-illegal immigrant movement, angering progressives and others like Sanders who backs "a responsible path to citizenship" for the millions already in the nation. Trump's recent stop in Phoenix drew thousands.
In Arizona, Trump's pledge to erect a wall along the entire southern US border prompted shouts of, “Build the wall!” http://t.co/Zuh2GtdPwU— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) July 12, 2015
They have planned a protest of Arpaio and have even scheduled a break-out session on the headline-grabbing sheriff. It's touted "The People Vs. Arpaio" and his described this way:
"Though touted as the 'toughest Sheriff,' Joe Arpaio has suffered setbacks in recent years. After years of abuse, organized communities have begun to fight back and win. Hear from Puente AZ and allies to learn about the impact of Arpaio's antics and the ways that those directly affected are refusing to simply live in the shadows."
Arpaio made recent headlines when he helped introduce Trump at his presidential campaign announcement.
The session about vigilantes had a more raw title: "Border Vigilantes and their Bull****: Countering the Falsehoods that Fuel Violent Nativist Movements." That description:
"Last summer saw the return of the vigilante border-watch 'Minutemen' movement, a revival of the bad old days when far-right extremists prowled the borderlands with weapons and threatening rhetoric. The experts on this panel will discuss the ramifications of this movement for immigration policy, and especially the way the ideas and rhetoric surrounding the movement fuel misbegotten policies in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. When you hear demands for 'border security' before immigration reform can occur, the legacy of the Minutemen is speaking. We'll discuss how to counter the falsehoods and myths that fuel both these violent nativist movements and their enablers in America's mainstream politics."
The convention of thousand is also pushing to help gay illegals, who they claim face "epidemic levels of "sexual, verbal, physical and psychological violence."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.