A leading member of the alt-right movement has called for a 50-year freeze on immigration to the US, claiming the country needs to “take a break” in order to "become a nation again".
Speaking at a conference of white supremacist groups in Washington on Saturday, Richard Spencer, founder of the National Policy Institute think tank which sponsored the event, said the proposal was a "fundamental policy" the movement would put forward under the Trump administration.
Mr Spencer, who is said to have coined the phrase “alt-right”, told the conference: “America needs to take a break. One fundamental policy we’re going to put forward is a break on all immigration, particularly non-European immigration, for a 50 year period.”
After his words were met with a round of applause, Mr Spencer continued: “This is something that’s certainly out in front of anything Donald Trump said. He focused on illegal immigration, a wall and so on. But this is something that I think can be quite attractive and can really resonate - certainly with his voters - but I think it can resonate with all other people.”
Before introducing the proposal, the leader said the US had a “history of taking a break and forming a nation”, harking back to a similar policy brought in during the 20th century. He said: “Just as there is a history of mass immigration, certainly in recent times, there’s also a history of taking a break and forming a nation.
“The first immigration law in the United States in 1790 restricted immigration to European people. In 1924 America restricted immigration and we effectively had a net neutral, and sometimes even net negative immigration, for 40 years until 1965 when that was reversed.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in that 40 year period we saw the height of America culture, the height of American national identity, ethnic regional rivalries dissolved. You actually had the height of America as a geo-political power.
“The age of mass immigration and multiculturalism has been an age of division and fragmentation. Let’s become a nation again, we’ve lived through this experience and we can change it.”
During the conference Mr Spencer also pledged the alt-right movement was going to “change the world” and described America as a “white country designed for ourselves”. He said: “The alt-right is here, the alt-right is not going anywhere, the alt-right is going to change the world.
“America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
He went on to describe white people as the superior race, stating: “To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror. We don’t exploit other groups, we don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around.”
When Mr Spencer had finished his speech, several audience members reportedly had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute, with one said to have shouted: "Heil the people" Heil victory."
The conference saw a succession of speakers lay out their visions for the future in front of an audience of around 200 people, mostly white young men.
Mr Spencer was among a number of far-right Americans whose Twitter accounts were suspended in a recent bid by the social media site to stamp out abuse following the US election, prompting him to compare the move to “corporate Stalinism”.
The alt-right movement, a loose group of people with far right ideologies who reject mainstream Conservatism, has been associated with white supremacism, Islamophobia, antifeminism and anti-Semitism. It was little known until this year, when it endorsed Mr Trump’s election campaign and he appeared to endorse the movement back.
One indication of Mr Trump's support for the movement was his appointment of Stephen Bannon, the editor of the alt-right’s most prominent platform, Breitbart News, as his campaign chariman, and his more recent decision to name Mr Bannon as senior adviser and chief strategist in his transition team.
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