Jessica Elgot, Guardian, November 4, 2015
Theresa May has banned a US southern nationalist who has advocated racial segregation from entering the UK, because of his neo-Nazi and antisemitic remarks.
The home secretary ordered the exclusion of Matthew Heimbach, 25, president of the Traditional Youth Network, who has been called the “face of a new generation of white nationalists” by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC).
Heimbach posted a copy of his exclusion letter on Twitter. “I am now banned from England for being a nationalist while 10ks of radical Muslims are welcomed.#EnglandYoureDrunk,” he tweeted, adding later that he was considering attempting entry regardless of the order.
The letter says: “After careful consideration, on 30 October 2015, she personally directed that you should be excluded from the UK on the grounds that your presence here would not be conducive to the public good.
“The home secretary has reached this decision because you have brought yourself within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviour by making statements that may foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.”
It also notes that Heimach is “a southern nationalist and that you advocate for racial segregation in the US”. It cites concerns about Heimbach expressing antisemitic and neo-Nazi views.
Heimbach was the founder of the White Student Union while at university in Maryland, where he was the subject of a Vice news documentary about his organisation of patrols to combat what he termed a “black crime wave”, and told filmmakers his goal was for segregated black and white “homelands” in the US.
He has sent regular racist and antisemitic messages on Twitter, many hinging on the alleged “Jewish control” of banks and government.
Community Security Trust, one of the organisations that had flagged concerns about Heimbach to the Home Office, welcomed the decision to exclude him.
“Heimbach’s extremism and antisemitism is clear-cut,” a spokesman for the Jewish security charity said. “We thank the Home Office for having heard our concerns and for their decision in this case.”
Heimbach has long expressed interest in meeting like-minded European and Russian nationalist groups, recently writing an article in praise of Greece’s Golden Dawn party.
Matthew Collins, of anti-extremism campaign Hope Not Hate said Heimbach had been set to meet several far right activists in the UK, at a private lunch in Southport.
“We are conscious that there is a concerted effort by some people to build a new far-right movement directing their hatreds back towards the Jewish community,” Collins told the Guardian.
“His presence would have been seen as some kind of moral victory by such people. We ask the government to remain ever vigilant.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “The home secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds.
“Coming to the UK is a privilege and one that we refuse to extend to those who seek to subvert the shared values of our society.
“This home secretary has excluded more foreign nationals on the grounds of unacceptable behaviour than any before her.”