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Lies about the Immigration Reform Movement By: Robert Locke
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, July 30, 2002

One day, I will write an article on the manifold mischief of the so-called Southern Poverty Law Center, a richly-financed left-wing organization in Montgomery, Alabama. For now, I will confine myself to examining an article, “The Puppeteer,” that it has just published in its magazine Intelligence Report. This article claims, contrary to polls which consistently show a majority of Americans in all ethnic groups favoring immigration reduction, that the immigration-reform movement is an Astroturf (i.e. not grass-roots) conspiracy organized by a few racist fanatics. The most important thing I would like the reader to notice is that the article does not advance a single substantive argument that our current mass immigration is good for America. Because it can’t. Let’s look:

“Before he even said a word, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) got a standing ovation from the 27 anti-immigration activists who gathered at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., on the morning of Feb. 13 to kick off a two-day lobbying effort on Capitol Hill.

Implying that immigration reformers are mindless drones blindly cheering a charismatic leader.

“Tancredo, chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, proceeded to regale his audience with ominous warnings of a global plot to destroy the United States. Many countries are pushing immigration in order to erode American sovereignty, Tancredo warned. ‘China is trying to export people. It's a policy for them, a way of extending their hegemony. It's a government-sponsored thing.’

Given that government-sanctioned Chinese newspapers openly boast about doing this, I don’t find the claim too far-fetched.

“After Tancredo's 10-minute pep talk, Brian Bilbray, a former Republican congressman from San Diego, Calif., weighed in with horror stories about an impending social catastrophe due to immigration. ‘We are creating a slave class that criminal elements breed in, said Bilbray,’

It’s obvious hyperbole to call the cheap-labor underclass a “slave class,” but the essential point is absolutely true: we are undermining the middle-class character of American society by importing cheap labor. And such people do have an observably high crime rate.

“who complained bitterly — and improbably — that he lost his 2000 re-election bid because ‘illegal aliens’ had voted against him.

After seeing the Democrats try to steal the election from George W. Bush, does anyone doubt that they would try to register and vote illegal aliens? Illegal alien voting is a documented fact in California, Florida, New York, Texas and elsewhere.

“But all was not doom and gloom, according to Bilbray. Praising the post — 9/11 sweeps of Arab communities by the Immigration and Naturalization Service that resulted in the indefinite detention of more than a thousand people, Bilbray called for the INS to carry out an enlarged dragnet.

It is a documented fact that several of the 9-11 terrorists would have been stopped if we had enforced existing immigration law. Is SPLC against this? More importantly, why shouldn’t we enforce existing law, which is all the INS has done?

"We could have a terrorist coming in on a Latin name," he said.

We already have: Jose Padilla. And why not more, particularly since it is obviously only a matter of time before al-Qaeda and its ilk make friends with the Marxist narcoterrorists of Colombia and other Latin American countries?

“The meeting with Tancredo and Bilbray — and the entire lobbying operation in mid-February — was masterminded by NumbersUSA, an anti-immigration group that had recently opened a ‘government relations office’ in a three-story, red-brick Victorian near the Capitol. NumbersUSA hosted an afternoon open house at its plush new digs, where the lobbyists relaxed, nibbled on catered food, and conversed with the leaders and other officials of key anti-immigration organizations.

My God! They have a Washington headquarters? They nibble on catered food? It’s a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy! (We on the Left would never do such a thing, by the way.)

“Patrick McHugh of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which purports to be a squeaky clean think tank that rejects racism, was there pressing the flesh along with Barbara Coe, head of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, who repeatedly referred to Mexicans — as she has for years — as ‘savages.’

Given the names that our side get called regularly, I just can’t get upset about someone calling Mexicans “savages.” But I’m happy to stop the name-calling if the other side does.

“The Citizens Informer, a white supremacist tabloid put out by the Council of Conservative Citizens hate group, was available.”

For a start, this is guilt by association. For a second, check out the CCC web site yourself and decide if this is a “hate” group. I certainly don’t agree with everything they say, but calling them a hate group implies a kind of mindlessness that denies that they have legitimate grievances. Frankly, a lot of what they say is true, even if some of it is beyond the bounds of political respectability. They do not suggest a return to pre-60s white supremacy. They're average guys concerned about the loss of white America and want to preserve its traditions and way of life. They are a powerless group who have a publication and web site and have meetings and speakers. If people like this would grow up and lay off of the conspiracy theories and the Jim Crow nostalgia, they could play a positive role on the Right. The actual absence of any real "hard right" in America (outside two dozen extremists too bizarre to be politically effective), means that leftists have to attack weak and marginalized people such as CCC as though such organizations were about to burn down the Reichstag and declare martial law. And they do have the right, as Americans, to participate in our political process, just as much as America-hating Marxists do.

NumbersUSA executive director Roy Beck, a long-time friend of Coe's, adopted a more moderate tone when he addressed his guests and told them what they should be doing to end the current immigration regime. It would be better, Beck counseled, if their attempts to lobby legislators that week did not appear to be orchestrated by NumbersUSA. For their campaign to be effective, he said, it ‘needs to look like a grassroots effort.’

This is true of any lobbying effort, as any old Washington hand will tell you. When the Right engages in politics as usual, it’s somehow dirty pool. Call this The Leftist Double Standard.

To be sure, this was no grassroots effort.

For the second time: polls consistently show that a majority of Americans, across all ethnic groups, favor immigration reduction. (They admit this at the end of their article; you’ll see.)

“Nor is NumbersUSA, in any sense of the word, a grassroots organization. Despite attempts to appear otherwise, it is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Inc., a sprawling, nonprofit funding conduit that has spawned three anti-immigration groups and underwrites several others, many of which were represented at the Numbers USA conclave.

So what? Conservative organizations have their funders, so do liberal ones. Look at how many left-wing groups are fed off the great leftist teat of the Ford Foundation.

“What's more, this interlocking network of supposedly independent organizations is almost entirely the handiwork of one man, a Michigan ophthalmologist named John H. Tanton.

Fancy that! An ordinary citizen, a country doctor from Michigan, starts a political movement. I thought this was the way things were supposed to work.

“A four-month investigation by the Intelligence Report, conducted in the aftermath of the September terrorist attacks, found that the appearance of an array of groups with large membership bases is nothing more than a mirage. In fact, the vast majority of American anti-immigration groups — more than a dozen in all — were either formed, led, or in other ways made possible through Tanton's efforts.

Yes, John has worked hard and has accomplished a lot for his cause. I’m impressed.

“The principal funding arm of the movement, U.S. Inc., is a Tanton creation, and millions of dollars in financing comes from just a few of his allies, far-right foundations like those controlled by the family of Richard Mellon Scaife. Moreover, tax returns suggest that claims of huge numbers of members — in the case of one group, more than 250,000 — are geometric exaggerations put forward to create a false picture of a "movement" that politicians should pay attention to.

Calling foundations like Scaife “far right” is just name-calling. The Ford Foundation is “far left;” now we’re even. For once, I’d like to see these people define just what is “right” and what is “far-right.” I suspect they’d come up with a political spectrum whose center was Ted Kennedy.

“Finally, even as activists court increasing numbers of national politicians in the wake of Sept. 11, the Report's investigation reveals that they are moving in large numbers into the arms of hate groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens — a 15,000-member organization whose Web site recently described blacks as ‘a retrograde species of humanity.’

For the second time, CCC is not a hate group. At absolute worst, it represents white identity politics, which has to be fair play if other races are allowed – indeed encouraged – to have identity politics of their own. I don’t support what they stand for, but it isn’t “hate.”

“In fact, many anti-immigration groups have been growing harder- and harder-line since 1998, when they first began working together with open white supremacists. Today, many of their leading officials have joined racist organizations.

The Left will call absolutely anything it doesn’t like, “racist.” I’m waiting for them to call traffic lights racist because there’s no black. Meanwhile, actual black Americans have to compete with imported cheap labor which drives down wages at the bottom end of the scale. Naturally, a majority of black Americans support immigration reduction.

“There's a word in Washington for outfits like these anti-immigration organizations – ‘Astroturf,’ meaning that they lack any genuine grassroots base. That such groups, with their increasingly direct links to racist organizations, should have real power in the nation's capital may seem hard to believe.

It would be hard to believe, if it were true. Given the politically-correct uproar that appears today at the slightest provocation, do you really think Congress would be playing footsie with these people if they were what SPLC says they are? Congress isn’t that stupid.

“But Americans have grown increasingly xenophobic in the wake of the September terrorist attacks, and the rapid growth of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus that Tancredo heads reflects that — from just 10 legislators prior to the attacks to 59 by May.

I thought we had no grass-roots support? But here you are admitting that Americans are increasingly against immigration and that their democratically-elected representatives reflect this fact.

“What kind of influence do extremists have in this congressional caucus? Although that is hard to measure, the caucus Web site now carries a prominent link to an outfit called American Patrol — a racist hate group...

Here we go again. Again, take a look at their web site and see if you think this is a “hate” group. All I see is the perfectly reasonable demand, expressed with a noisiness not inappropriate for a major national crisis, that America reestablish control over its own borders.

“... run by Californian Glenn Spencer. With a tip of the hat to Tancredo and the other legislators who have helped to provide him legitimacy, Spencer recently deleted from his Web site the image of a cartoon figure urinating on a Latino Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.

But leftist cartoons depicting us as Nazis are somehow OK? The Left can dish it out but can’t take it.

“It is not often that a single individual is largely responsible for creating an entire political movement. But John Tanton can claim without exaggeration that he is the founding father of America's modern anti-immigration movement.

Just like Rachel Carson (author of Silent Spring) is the founder of the modern environmental movement and Betty Friedan (author of The Feminine Mystique) is the founder of the modern women’s movement. Why is this so sinister?

“In addition to directly controlling four prominent immigration restriction groups, Tanton has been critical in establishing or helping fund several other anti-immigration groups. He serves on the board of the group with the largest membership, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which he founded 23 years ago. It was an odd turn of events for an erstwhile liberal activist who loved beekeeping and the rural life. Raising a family and practicing medicine in Petoskey, Mich., Tanton started out as a passionate environmentalist. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he was a leader in the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club and other mainstream environmental groups. But Tanton soon became fixated on population control, seeing environmental degradation as the inevitable result of overpopulation.

Nice to hear you admit that Mr. Tanton’s principal motivation is the environment and not racism. But doesn’t this contradict your main thesis?

“When the indigenous birth rate fell below replacement level in the United States, his preoccupation turned to immigration.”

There is no evidence of this, and it wouldn’t make sense anyway: immigration incrementally increases the population regardless of what the native birthrate is. And anyhow, so what?

“And this soon led him to race. Tanton had something akin to a conversion when he came across The Camp of the Saints a lurid, racist novel written by Frenchman Jean Raspail that depicts an invasion of the white, Western world by a fleet of starving, dark-skinned refugees. Tanton helped get the novel published in English and soon was promoting what he considered the book's prophetic argument. The [Third World] 'huddled masses' cast longing eyes on the apparent riches of the industrial west,’ Tanton wrote in 1975. ‘The developed countries lie directly in the path of a great storm.’

The Camp of the Saints is indeed lurid, and I wouldn’t endorse it in its entirety, but I dare anybody who knows anything about the situation on our Mexican border to claim it doesn’t have a point. Does anyone want to deny that the poor of the Third World would like to enjoy our standard of living, and that it is an empirically-observable fact that large numbers of them are trying to migrate to the West in order to do so? Then Tanton’s statement is baldly true.

“And so he began to develop a counter-force. After 1979, when he co-founded FAIR, Tanton launched ‘a whole array of organizations that serve the overall ideological and political battle plan to halt immigration — even if those groups have somewhat differing politics,’ explained Rick Swartz, the pro-immigration activist who founded the National Immigration Forum in 1982. ‘Tanton is the puppeteer behind this entire movement,’ Swartz said. ‘He is the organizer of a significant amount of its financing, and is both the major recruiter of key personnel and the intellectual leader of the whole network of groups.’

For the third time, so what?

“Tanton's strategy was to fight his war on several fronts. FAIR relied heavily on arguments about diminishing resources and jobs. In 1982, Tanton created U.S. Inc. to raise and channel funds to his anti-immigration network. The following year, he created his second major vehicle, U.S. English, which made a cultural argument — that the English language was in mortal danger of being made irrelevant.

And later, in 1985, FAIR would spin off yet another major Tanton organization — the Center for Immigration Studies, which presented itself as an impartial think tank and later even sought to distance itself from the organization that had birthed it.

Sounds like hard work and effective activism to me. When leftists do this, it’s somehow different? I detect a distinct level of resentment that we’ve learned from their tactics and have a mastery of political activism equal to theirs.

“Today, the Center regularly dispatches experts to testify on Capitol Hill, and last year it was awarded a six-figure research contract by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Because it is a respected group.

“In the 1980s, U.S. Inc. provided millions of dollars to FAIR, U.S. English, the Center for Immigration Studies and several similar groups — the 21st Century Fund, Population-Environment Balance, and the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which is now a litigation arm of FAIR. During the 1990s, Tanton's U.S. Inc. adopted a new tactic, creating programs called NumbersUSA, The Social Contract Press (which publishes The Camp of the Saints), and ProEnglish. Although these units would often present themselves as independent, tax forms make it clear that they are merely programs of U.S. Inc.”

Again: how is this different from the way the Left is funded by the Ford Foundation and others?

“Tanton's funding organization, U.S. Inc., also has recently given money to Barbara Coe's California Coalition for Immigration Reform and Glenn Spencer's American Patrol (also known as Voice of Citizens Together), two of the most virulently anti-Hispanic groups in Tanton's network.

And why not, since Hispanic groups are openly anti-Anglo and anti-American? Sauce for the goose...

Tanton's "movement" achieved some notable successes. Almost 30 states and many more local communities passed "English Only" statutes enshrining English as the language of official business. In 1994, after extensive campaigning by Tanton-supported groups, millions of Californians joined in passing Proposition 187, which denied social services to undocumented workers.

So a majority of California voters passed our proposition, and you’re still claiming we have no grass-roots support? And who voted our way in those 30 states? I suppose they’re all Klansters and Nazis.

“Two years later, Tanton celebrated the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, a law meant to cut illegal immigration that was heavily backed by anti-immigration groups. It required that asylum seekers be held in detention until they established a credible fear of persecution at home, a process that could take years.

The alternative to this is just letting “refugees” just live at large in the US, creating an incentive for anyone who wants to come to America to claim to be a refugee. We obviously can’t have a giveaway program like that.

‘There were failures, too. In 1996, Tanton spearheaded an effort to get the Sierra Club, a mainstream environmentalist group whose Population Committee he headed (earlier, he had been executive director), to pass an anti-immigration plank. A major battle ensued, with many Sierra Club members seeing the proposed plank as fundamentally racist and out of line with the group's charter. The plank was finally rejected by 60% of those voting — but that may not be the end of it. Another Tanton-financed group, Californians for Population Stabilization, which formed after the 1996 vote, is now gearing up to reintroduce the issue to the Sierra Club.

Which just shows how when environmental groups like the Sierra Club have to choose between the environment and leftism, they choose leftism. It’s plain common sense that population growth harms the environment.

“Tanton was also careless in several ways. Between 1985 and 1994, FAIR accepted $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund -- an outfit once described by eugenics expert Barry Mehler as a "neo-Nazi organization, tied to the Nazi eugenics program in the 1930s, that has never wavered in its commitment to eugenics and ideas of human and racial inferiority and superiority.

This is pure smear. The Pioneer Fund is not “Nazi” or anything remotely like it. Its crime in liberal eyes is to fund legitimate scientific research into racial differences in intelligence. This research (as you can read in Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve) currently indicates that Japanese and European Jews have the highest IQ’s, hardly what one would expect from a “Nazi” organization. Concerning its “ties” to Nazi eugenics in the 1930’s? People forget that eugenics was a worldwide movement with enormous support in America, largely, interestingly enough, on the Left, which saw it as “progressive,” and was opposed by a lot of conservatives who saw it as tampering with God’s creation. So if you define “ties” loosely enough, you could make that claim about half the American intellectual establishment of that era. Planned Parenthood used to support eugenics, for heaven’s sake, as did the American Museum of Natural History.

“When the Pioneer link was disclosed in 1988, Tanton, who was then president of FAIR's board, said he knew nothing of Pioneer's unsavory history. Yet his group continued to accept Pioneer grants for another six years, until 1994.

Because the charges against it are nonsense.

“More damaging, however, was the leak, shortly before a 1988 English Only referendum in Arizona, of the so-called WITAN memos written by Tanton (to FAIR and to attendees of WITAN IV) and the then-executive director of FAIR, Roger Conner. (WITAN was short for the Old English term "witenangemot," meaning "council of wise men." The memos were meant for Tanton colleagues who met at retreats to discuss immigration.) The memos were replete with derogatory references to Latinos, reflecting a kind of entrenched bigotry that had only been suspected before. They complained mightily of the high Hispanic birth rate, suggested that Latin American immigrants would bring political corruption to the United States, and included a demographic punchline that depicted Hispanics as hyperactive breeders and revolted many readers: "[P]erhaps this is the first instance in which those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down."

Given the nasty insults we put up with, I just can’t get excited over somebody insulting Hispanics. Sticks and stones may break my bones, anyone? And is anyone going to deny that Latin American countries are hotbeds of political corruption or that Hispanics have a high birth rate?

“Linda Chavez, executive director of Tanton creation U.S. English and later a prominent Republican conservative columnist, quit over what she saw as Tanton's bigoted, anti-Latino bias.

Linda Chavez is a neocon. All this proves is that the neoconservative establishment is blind, deaf, and dumb on the immigration issue, and that Chavez wanted to be cozy with that establishment. I also know of no record of her calling Tanton or the group “bigoted” et cetera. This is an interpolation by SPLC.

“So did several well-known U.S. English board members, including Walter Cronkite, who called the memos embarrassing.’

Walter Cronkite is a liberal.

“Eventually Tanton left, although he complained he was being smeared as a racist, and went on to form a replacement organization — English Language Advocates, later renamed ProEnglish.

Easier than fighting endless PC smear attacks.

“More to the point, perhaps, the WITAN memos spelled out the strategy that Tanton would continue to follow for years. ‘We have spent some time, money and effort trying to build a membership for purposes of political validity and power,’ one memo said, ‘but this has not been a major emphasis.’ The memos candidly added what anti-immigration groups would not admit publicly — that the ‘movement’ was ‘heavily based on a small number of donors.’

I repeat: grass-roots support for the policies we advocate matters; our funding is irrelevant, and it’s the same on the Left, anyway.

“In many ways, 1998 became a kind of political Rubicon for Tanton and his colleagues. That year, a federal judge found much of Proposition 187 unconstitutional, dealing the anti-immigration movement one of its harshest setbacks ever and igniting a kind of desperation that drove many activists into increasingly extremist politics.

An unelected judge overturned the verdict of the people of California, and you’re proud of it?

“At the same time, Congress was whittling away at the 1996 immigration law, and U.S. political and economic elites generally were supporting immigration.”

I’m amazed you admit the truth so openly: political and economic elites support immigration; the general public doesn’t.

“At least partly as a result of these developments, anti-immigration activists increasingly came to embrace conspiracist ideas like the notion pushed by Spencer and Coe of a Mexican plot to reconquer the American Southwest.”

Given that the Mexican government openly brags about this to its own people, I don’t find this implausible.

“More and more key leaders in the Tanton network seemed to abandon all caution when it came to joining forces with like-minded white supremacist activists. That summer, The Social Contract Press released a special issue of its journal, ‘The Social Contract’ (published by Tanton), that was entitled ‘Europhobia: The Hostility Toward European-Descended Americans.’ The lead article was written by John Vinson, head of the Tanton-supported American Immigration Control Foundation, and argued that ‘multiculturalism’ was replacing ‘successful Euro-American culture’ with ‘dysfunctional Third World cultures.’ Tanton himself elaborated on Vinson's remarks, saying an ‘unwarranted hatred and fear’ of white Americans was developing. The main culprits, in Tanton's view, were immigrants and their ideological allies, the ‘multiculturalists.’

Frankly, there is a massive hatred – and self-hatred – campaign against white people in this country. But that’s another article.

“The issue was one of the first public manifestations of a collaboration between Tanton's network and open racists. In addition to Tanton and Vinson, the line-up of authors included:

  • Sam Francis, who would later become editor of the "Citizens Informer," the racist publication of the Council of Conservative Citizens;
  • Lawrence Auster, who also spoke at conferences of American Renaissance, a pseudo-scientific magazine devoted to racial breeding and the idea that blacks are less intelligent;
  • and Joseph Fallon, who writes for American Renaissance.
(Later issues of The Social Contract would carry articles by James Lubinskas, an editor of ‘American Renaissance;’ Derek Turner of "Right Now!," a similar British publication; and Michael Masters, the Virginia leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens.) An unholy alliance had begun to take shape.”


I certainly wouldn’t defend everything said by every one of these people, but they are not mere hate-preachers. For example, Larry Auster, who is a friend of mine here in New York, is the most profound and subtle thinker on racial issues I know. He has written for FrontPageMag.com; does that make David Horowitz a Nazi, too?

“Tanton also wrote an editorial in 1998 that spoke of ‘trying to touch off the political phase of the immigration reform movement.’ While Tanton didn't spell out exactly what he meant, it seems clear that he sought to develop a real base of popular support — and to regain the trust of lawmakers, particularly the many Republicans who were scared off in the wake of the Proposition 187 fiasco. Many already had been punished at the polls for their support for the California proposition.

This is false. Prop. 187 passed, proving that a majority of voters supported it, which is inconsistent with the idea that it was an electoral liability. It also re-elected California governor Pete Wilson when he was written off for politically dead. Get your history straight.

“Typically, American politicians respond most to those groups that seem to represent a real constituency — groups whose leaders are presumed to be able to command votes and money. Obviously, it was in the interest of the now struggling anti-immigration groups to appear to have large numbers of paid-up members. The problem was, most of them did not. First of all, the vast majority of funding for most of these groups comes from just a handful of donors, many of them large, right-wing foundations. In 2000, the latest year for which tax returns are available, Vinson's American Immigration Control Foundation received 90% of its funding from just three contributors. Five contributions accounted for 82% of U.S. Inc.'s income in the same year. Fifty-eight percent of fair's 2000 donations were provided by six donors. Fourteen donors account for 94% of the Center for Immigration Studies income for that year. The narrow funding base of such groups becomes even more apparent in cases like that of FAIR (with a budget of $4.2 million in 2000), which received more than $6 million from a single donor between 1996 and 1999. U.S. Inc. (whose 2000 budget was $2.3 million) likewise got nearly $5 million in that period from one donor, while three other Tanton-linked organizations were given $1 million to $2 million donations by single donors.

For the fourth time, I repeat: grass-roots support for the policies we advocate matters; our funding is irrelevant, and it’s the same on the Left, anyway.

“If these kinds of major grants are subtracted from the groups' annual donation totals — and if the membership fees posted on group Web sites are taken seriously — then the membership claims made by many groups are clearly exaggerated. For example, after subtracting the three major donations reported on AICF's 2000 tax forms, only $39,386 in income is left. If members pay $15 a year, as the AICF Web site says, then the group has at most 2,625 members — hardly the 250,000-plus that it claims. Similarly, ProjectUSA has said it has 3,000 members; but if a donation of $20 — a figure recently suggested on its Web site — was paid by each donor, then it would have had 841 members. In the case of FAIR, which claims 75,000 members, the 2000 tax forms suggests a real membership base of about half that. FAIR's executive director, Dan Stein, defends his numbers, telling the Intelligence Report members pay "a certain amount over a period of 24 months … like $20" — in other words, $10 a year. FAIR's Web site says that membership costs $25 a year.

The truth is very simple: a lot of people join and don’t pay the dues. When you’re running a political organization, you don’t turn people away for this. But you don’t advertise it, for fear that more people will neglect to pay. That’s all.

“The tax returns reveal another hidden aspect of many anti-immigration groups — their heavy reliance on funding by right-wing foundations. Tanton's most important funding source for the last two decades may well have been the Scaife family, heirs to the Mellon Bank fortune. Richard Mellon Scaife, a reclusive figure, has been instrumental in establishing right-wing organizations like the Heritage Foundation and supporting causes like the "Arkansas Project," an effort to dig up dirt on President Clinton.

Scaife family foundations, including those controlled by Scaife's sister, Cordelia May Scaife, provided some $1.4 million to FAIR from 1986-2000. These foundations, along with private trusts controlled by Scaife family members, have also provided millions of dollars to other anti-immigration groups.

Other foundations that have supported the Tanton network include the McConnell Foundation, whose president, Scott McConnell, is on both FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies' boards; the Shea Foundation, which also funds the Council of Conservative Citizens; and the Weeden, Salisbury, Smith Richardson, Blair and Sikes foundations.

For the fifth time, I repeat: grass-roots support for the policies we advocate matters; our funding is irrelevant, and it’s the same on the Left, anyway.


Since 1998, the links have been strengthened between key anti-immigration activists and groups and white supremacist organizations — in particular, the Council of Conservative Citizens and American Renaissance (also known by the name of its parent, the New Century Foundation). That year, Coe, Spencer and Rick Oltman, FAIR's western regional representative, all came to Cullman, Ala., for a CCC-organized protest against a swelling local population of Mexican workers. After the protest, Vinson, the leader of the American Immigration Control Foundation, began writing of the perils of immigration for the CCC's paper, the "Citizens Informer." Spencer started selling his anti-immigrant videotape in the same tabloid.

As I said, these groups are not “white supremacists.” Does this phrase have a meaning, or is it something you leftists just throw around, like “fascist?”

“In 1999, the CCC hosted a panel on immigration that featured four key anti-immigrant activists — Vinson, Spencer, Population-Environment Balance's Virginia Abernethy and Wayne Lutton, who had begun to edit ‘The Social Contract,’ a Tanton publication, just a year earlier. More recently, Lutton joined the editorial board of the ‘Citizens Informer’ — and also became a trustee of the racist New Century Foundation, parent of ’American Renaissance’ magazine. Barbara Coe of California Coalition for Immigration Reform has spoken at three recent CCC conferences and writes regularly for the ‘Informer.’ Brent Nelson, who is on the board of Vinson's AICF, began serving as president of the CCC's Conservative Citizens Foundation and as an adviser to the ‘Informer.’

Ohmigod! All these activists have political relationships with other activists! Must be... the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy! Call the Waffen-PC!

“Asked by the Intelligence Report about Lutton — who works out of Tanton's Petoskey, Mich., offices — and other anti-immigration activists who have climbed on board with hate groups, Tanton declined to answer that or a series of other questions faxed to him by the Report at his request. The questions showed "little evidence of tolerance for differences of opinion," he wrote.”

Well, why should he cooperate with somebody trying to smear him?


“Last year, Virginia Abernethy, a professor emeritus at Vanderbilt's medical school and leader of the Tanton-influenced Population-Environment Balance, became the latest in the Tanton network to join the Citizens Informer editorial board. ‘My view of the Council of Conservative Citizens,’ she told the Intelligence Report, ‘is that they support traditional values and the freedom of people to associate with people that they want to associate with.’ She spoke on the same day that the CCC's Web site carried a comparison of black pop singer Michael Jackson and an ape — a comparison that Abernethy suggested may have reflected ‘bad taste,’ but not racism. ‘What is the point of a society that pushes [racial] mixing?’ she asked when told of another CCC Web item that derided the wife of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl as a ‘mixed race’ woman who is ‘committed to racial and ethnic amalgamation.’ ‘Our society pushes mixing,’ the retired Vanderbilt professor added. ‘I think this is probably not a good thing for the society.’

Frankly, calling known child-molester Michael Jackson an ape is mild. And believing in racial equality is one thing; believing that race-mixing is a positive good is quite another and not required by it.

Two weeks after the NumbersUSA lobbying trip to the offices of Tom Tancredo and a series of other congressmen, Glenn Spencer, head of the Tanton-funded anti-immigrant American Patrol, was one of the main speakers at a conference hosted by Jared Taylor of ‘American Renaissance’ magazine. Joining Spencer, who warned his audience that a second Mexican-American war would erupt in 2003, was an array of key extremists: Mark Weber, a principal of the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review; white power Web maven, former Klansman and ex-con Don Black; and Gordon Lee Baum, "chief executive officer" of the CCC. In addition, several members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance were present.

Fine: some of these guys – though not the ones mentioned earlier — are legitimate loonies. But there are kooks on the fringes of every legitimate political movement, including yours. Look at all the Communist Party members and fellow-travelers in the Democratic Party. Their presence does not negate the validity of the policies we advocate.

“Neo-Nazis like those of the National Alliance were not among those who lobbied Tancredo and the other politicians during the NumbersUSA event two weeks earlier. But there were strong indications that the Tanton network and some of its new friends did make a number of key inroads in the halls of Congress.

The white supremacist CCC, for instance, later boasted in print about how its ‘members were welcomed … and made a number of stops’ during the lobbying trip. Both congressmen and senators were offered copies of its ‘Citizens Informer,’ the group's newspaper reported.

For the second time: there are kooks on the fringes of every legitimate political movement, and CCC is not white supremacist.

“Several of the anti-immigration activists who attended later claimed that the Tancredo caucus had grown in size specifically because of their lobbying efforts. At the end of the day, the CCC told its members that the Senate was now expected to pass a restrictive visa-tracking bill, which it said President Bush would likely sign. There were other indications, too, of the strength of the Tanton network inside Tancredo's congressional immigration caucus. Rosemary Jenks, who used to be a researcher at the Center for Immigration Studies, and Linda Purdue, who has worked with Tanton for years, are now both lobbyists with NumbersUSA. Addressing her fellow lobbyists with Tancredo still in the room, Jenks said that she and Purdue could be reached any time in Tancredo's offices — where, she said, they were ‘virtual staffers.’ This kind of strategy was explicitly foreseen in the WITAN memos, described under subtitles like ‘Infiltrate the Judiciary Committee’ and ‘Secure appointments of our friends’ to key governmental positions.

This is normal Washington politics. Only of course it’s sinister when people you don’t like engage in it.

“Indeed, Cordia Strom, who was once FAIR's legal director, became a staffer for the House Immigration Subcommittee in 1996. Today, Strom is counsel to the director and coordinator of congressional affairs for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Hardly an indication of extremism.

“There is a real threat that members of Congress — many of whom are rushing to become involved in immigration issues in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks — may be taken in by the propagandists of the racist right.

I doubt it, given that most people don’t like extremists and there are enough pressing real issues. Unless you define the entire immigration-reform movement as such, which you seem to want to do.

“Opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Americans believe that immigration needs to be cut below current levels, although that does not imply that they support the ideas of white supremacists or other bigots.

This is exactly what I have been saying for the length of this article! So why won’t you draw the obvious conclusion that the desire for immigration reform is not motivated by racism and that the involvement of a few dozen kooks in the movement is essentially irrelevant? Gratifyingly, it seems that the truth is strong enough to survive even this determined attempt at distortion.

Note: For the dirt on the Southern Poverty Law Center and its leader, take a look at www.deeswatch.com.

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