States passing or considering harsh immigration laws all look one place for guidance: FAIR

Pretty much wherever you find efforts to tighten immigration laws in the United States, you find John Tanton–or more likely these days, one of the groups he founded.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform was in Arizona when that state wrote its famous senate bill to crack down on immigration. They were in the Colorado Capitol last November when the Republican Study Committee of Colorado hosted a forum on immigration reform.

At that time, Republicans in the Colorado Legislature told The Colorado Independent they planned to pursue Arizona-style legislation in Colorado, a position they backed down from over the next couple of months as it became clear that Arizona had paid a hefty price for its own legislation.

When FAIR came to Colorado, The Independent reported on
FAIR’s ties to Tanton
and on Tanton’s ties to racist organizations as well as on his propensity for racially tinged statements.

Sunday, The New York Times published a major cover-story profile of Tanton, noting his liberal roots–as a supporter of Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club–and chronicling his steady movement toward white nationalist sympathies. including his ties to the Ku Klux Klan, holocaust deniers and those who claim white people are genetically superior to other races.

Tanton was concerned all along as he established his network of anti-immigration organizations that the groups and its supporters could be perceived as racist if they weren’t careful. In the end, a FAIR executive told The Times, it was Tanton himself who brought such infamy to the cause.

From The Times:

“The fear was that one ugly person could tar the larger movement, and sadly, ironically, it turned out that person was John Tanton,” said Patrick Burns, who was then FAIR’s deputy director.

But if anything, Dr. Tanton grew more emboldened to challenge taboos. He increasingly made his case against immigration in racial terms.

“One of my prime concerns,” he wrote to a large donor, “is about the decline of folks who look like you and me.” He warned a friend that “for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

Dr. Tanton acknowledged the shift from his earlier, colorblind arguments, but the “uncomfortable truth,” he wrote, was that those arguments had failed. With a million or more immigrants coming each year — perhaps a third illegally — he warned, “The end may be nearer than we think.”

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About the Author

Scot Kersgaard

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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