Illinois NAACP leader Teresa Haley is being asked to resign after a video surfaced of her referring to migrants as “savages.”
In the video clip, Haley expressed frustration regarding the support provided to groups of migrants arriving in Chicago. She expresses concern that Black individuals facing homelessness in the city do not receive equivalent assistance. She notes that Black individuals have struggled on the streets “forever and ever.” She lashes out over a lack of concern for Black Americans because of perceived “drug addiction and mental health issues” in the Black community.
She goes on to characterize illegal immigrants as savages who “rape people” and break into homes, further observing that they don’t “speak the language.”
Haley, the Springfield NAACP branch president and a senior policy adviser at the Foundation for Drug Policy Solution, is the first female president of the Illinois state conference. She is seeking a position on the NAACP board of directors.
Haley, who has been involved with the NAACP for more than 25 years, was honored with the “Activist of the Year” award at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards. Haley & Associates, her company’s website, describes her as a dynamic speaker, a public policy advocate, and a professional trainer. With degrees in Communications and Public Administration, she has a solid background in her field.
Former DuPage County NAACP President Patrick Watson, who leaked the clip recorded during a Zoom meeting with state NAACP leaders in October, has resigned in protest. He said that Haley is a small group within the Black community that opposes providing aid for illegal immigrants and points out that people can advocate for supporting their communities without demeaning others. In an interview, Watson stated that anyone with that kind of sentiment against the immigrant community is “unfit to be the president” of an NAACP chapter.
Before the Zoom call, Haley had warned Illinois residents to “be prepared” if their cities had been declared a haven for illegal immigrants. She noted that immigrants were being allowed to live in old, abandoned buildings to keep them off the streets, calling the move inhumane because they didn’t have plumbing. She cautioned residents to brace themselves for a surge of asylum-seekers, warning, “They’re up to 80,000 immigrants on the West Side of Chicago and the South Side.”
Once the video clip surfaced, Haley denied her words and suggested that the video was an AI fake. When that failed, she apologized for her remarks, expressing her Haley expressed her love and appreciation for all community members, including immigrants. She reiterated her commitment to “fighting injustices, racism, and discrimination” and emphasized her tireless efforts to advocate for the underserved and voiceless.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker criticized Haley’s comments on migrants, highlighting that almost everyone has a heritage of coming from somewhere else. Pritzker deemed Haley’s remarks as commentary on “the entire society” and labeled them “extraordinarily inappropriate” and “reprehensible.” The Springfield Immigration Advocacy Network and others have also criticized the comments, stating that they reinforce negative stereotypes.
However, NAACP leadership from Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, affirmed their support for Haley, with the Illinois Branch Presidents expressing unanimous backing for her essential leadership qualities. Linda Foster, the Bloomington-Normal President, emphasized Haley’s impactful work and leadership, saying it would be a significant loss for the organization if Haley resigned.
Haely has been temporarily suspended from the organization, a move that Watson says is a “good start” but doesn’t go far enough to address the incident. His calls for Haley to step down were met with a vote of no confidence from other branch presidents.
It’s not the first time Haley has shown disdain for groups other than the Black community. Watson revealed that Haley made disparaging comments about the LGBTQ community during a conference call when participants were asked to share their pronouns. She expressed frustration, noting that as the national organization becomes more diverse, people want to be called “they, them, it.” She goes on to exclaim, “What the hell is that?”
In her comments about illegal immigration, Haley revealed a sentiment that many Americans are feeling now. The state and federal governments are affording immigrants opportunities that homeless American citizens do not receive. In some ways, Haley is a hero for saying what most Americans are too afraid to say. Illegal immigration is uprooting American citizens who are already struggling, but it seems it’s all by design. The Democrats couldn’t be happier with the chaos they have caused at the border, and throughout the nation’s struggling cities.