The Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right is publishing a new analysis focused on the powerful anti-immigration network created by the late American white nationalist John Tanton
Date: Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Time: 10 AM Central Time (U.S.), (4 PM London Time)
ZOOM PRESS CONFERENCE & SEMINAR
Contact: Mark Potok, (334) 235-9587, firstname.lastname@example.org
August 3 is the second anniversary of the massacre of 23 people in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, by a terrorist who said he targeted “Mexicans” because a “Hispanic invasion” of the United States was bringing the “cultural and ethnic replacement” of white people. These ideas echo almost exactly those propounded for decades by John Tanton, the racist architect of the contemporary American anti-immigration movement and a man who warned of a “Latin onslaught” and worked for decades to maintain a “European-American” majority in the United States.
To mark this anniversary, a group of a dozen immigration activists and experts, ranging from the center left to the center right, will release a series of new investigative profiles of organizations that were founded, funded or otherwise nurtured by Tanton. They include articles on Tanton himself; the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA, and each of their leaders; and short pieces on a dystopian novel that has become a bible to the nativist movement; the role of eugenics, or selective human breeding, in the Tanton network; and a final piece on the network’s antipathy to many religious denominations.
Tanton, who died in 2019, did not explicitly advocate murder. But his ideology, which was based on the belief that the United States is and should remain a country dominated by white people and included demonizing descriptions of non-white immigrants, is embedded in most of the dozen or so organizations he played a key role in building over the last 40 years. That network of groups has long dominated the politics of immigration in America, and it played a leading role in killing bipartisan immigration reform in both 2007 and 2014. Together, FAIR and CIS have testified to Congress over the years a total of more than 220 times. Groups in the network were also critical in shaping the harshest and most cruel immigration policies promulgated by the administration of Donald Trump.
The new profiles, a compilation of the best and latest research, were written by Mark Potok and are hosted by the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR), where Potok is a senior fellow. Before joining CARR, Potok was for 20 years a top official and expert on the radical right at the Southern Poverty Law Center. In that role, he was deeply involved in researching and writing about the Tanton network, and he has continued to do similar work since then. There are 11 new profiles, along with an introductory essay and an index, in the new CARR release.
“Our purpose in producing these new profiles is to educate legislators, journalists and the general public as to the noxious nature of the Tanton network and the purportedly nonpartisan research that it produces,” Potok said. “We are absolutely in favor of a debate on immigration policy, but not one that is based on racial animus and conspiracy theories. Our ultimate aim is immigration reform that is humane and also protects our national security.”
Others speaking at the Aug. 3 conference will include:
- Heidi Beirich, who will moderate the session. A longtime expert on American and European extremist movements, Beirich has conducted extensive research on America’s nativist movement, and was the first to delve into Tanton’s private papers. Beirich led the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project for many years before leaving to co-found the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism.
- Michael Trevino, a Vietnam veteran, attorney and former national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) who played a major role in the debate over the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Trevino, with more than four decades of experience in communications, the law and government affairs, is currently the senior executive advisor for the Trevino Consulting Group, a Houston-based niche firm specializing in developing public-private partnerships.
- Charles Kamasaki, a senior cabinet advisor at UnidosUS (formerly, the National Council of La Raza), the country’s largest Hispanic civil rights organization. Kamasaki played a key role in helping pass the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and in 2019 published a book — Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die — describing how that important legislation was finally passed. Kamasaki has been a key bipartisan player, bringing together advocates of immigrants and increased border security.
- Bob Worsley, a former Republican state senator from Arizona who calls himself a “common sense” conservative and supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Worsley is also known as an entrepreneur who founded SkyMall, a company that produces magazines for airlines, and an energy firm. He got into politics in 2012, when he ran successfully in a GOP primary against Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, the primary sponsor of a notoriously harsh Arizona law targeting immigrants. That contest shaped Worsley’s 2020 book, The Horseshoe Virus: How the Anti-Immigration Movement Spread from Left-Wing to Right-Wing America, which also analyzed the Tanton network.
The new profiles were a product of a group of people working under a grant from the Gilder Foundation administered by Rick Swartz, a longtime immigration activist and the founder of the National Immigration Forum. They are being graciously hosted on the website of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, a major scholars’ group headquartered in London. The authors and CARR invite other groups and individuals interested in immigration reform to reproduce any or all of the new material on their own websites or publications.