Anti-immigrant leader Roy Beck let his willingness to manipulate the immigration debate shine through a few weeks ago. In a post to a blog article on NumbersUSA’s website, the president of the group attacked immigration reform advocates, stating that they “are killing” undocumented immigrants.
Beck’s statements sound similar to the sentiments of another long-time Tanton associate, Illinois Minutemen leader and FAIR representative Rosanna Pulido, who once said, “Cardinal George is responsible for every illegal immigrant who dies while crossing the border coming over here because he is luring them.”
Unlike Pulido, however, Roy Beck has long maintained that his group, NumbersUSA, is an objective voice on immigration, despite its ties to white nationalist John Tanton and controversial tactics. That may be why within hours of posting his extreme rant, the article’s language was altered and eventually it was taken down completely. Luckily we got a peek at it before that happened.
This isn’t the first time NumbersUSA has inadvertently revealed its extremist underbelly. Earlier this year, the group revamped its website in order to be more interactive with supporters. As we reported at the time, it wasn’t long before racists, bigots, and the worst of the anti-immigrant movement were posting comments. Even though NumbersUSA and the John Tanton Network claim its anti-immigrant agenda does not fuel hateful rhetoric, here were plenty of examples of how NumbersUSA’s created an environment where individuals felt comfortable using hateful and violent rhetoric.
Once such comment came in the form of a tweet was displayed on the NumbersUSA website. The tweet read, “Thanks@NumbersUSA we need somebody to stand up for the rights of white people. JUST SAY NO TO DIVERSITY.”
NumbersUSA eventually removed the comment from its feed but failed to publicly disavow the message. In a members-only section of its website that evaluates members of Congress, NumbersUSA assigned Senator Dick Durbin an F and Senator Roland Burris an F minus on their immigration record. Under a picture of Illinois Congressman Roland Burris, a NumbersUSA member wrote, “You have disgraced yourself and the (sic) all the people of IL, especially the Black citizens. We should welcome you home with Tar and Feathers.”
Another member wrote, “Only when the people show up to REMOVE these treasonous crooks will justice be served! Bring back the rope!”
Despite the fact that Roland Burris is African-American and the history lynching and torture has played in our country, these horrible threats remained on NumbersUSA’s website for nearly a month before being removed.
NumbersUSA seems to be very popular in white nationalist communities. Back in March 2010, a NumbersUSA’s campaign was promoted by white nationalist David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. At the same time, NumbersUSA was promoted on the website of Vinlanders Social Club with a direct link to its website. Vinlanders Social Club is a midwest coalition of racist skinhead groups with a history of violence against members of the Black community. NumbersUSA’s campaign was also featured on Stormfront, in a thread entitled, “Obama Begins Immigration Reform and Amnesty” a posting which describes the details of the campaign and directs Stormfront members to the NumbersUSA website. Stormfront is the leading white nationalist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and skinhead social networking forum.
Although NumbersUSA has actively tried to distance itself from the extreme far right, its message stills resonates deeply with these communities. Roy Beck has even spoken to a white supremacist organization, the Council of Conservative Citizens in the past. Beck and his organization have never answered for these affiliations. Nor have they disavowed the comments made on NumbersUSA’s website or being embraced by skinhead and white nationalist sites. As this most recent article shows, NumbersUSA would rather hide its extremist agenda. It’s time for Roy Beck and NumbersUSA to stop covering up. The American public deserves the chance to judge them for what they really stand for.