The Tanton Network’s Assault on the 14th Amendment Continues

Yesterday, State Legislators for Legal immigration (SLLI), an organization that works in partnership with the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), announced its plans to form a nationwide task force whose goal is to rip up the 14th amendment. SLLI leader Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA) announced the organization’s plans at an Oct. 19 press conference. SLLI is part of the John Tanton Network, a web of organizations that make up the most powerful anti-immigrant movement in the U.S.

This isn’t the first time that members of the Tanton Network have attempted to take apart the 14th amendment. This year alone two other members of SLLI, Randy Terrill (R-OK) and Leo Berman (R-TX), have indicated that they want to end birthright citizenship in their States. Kris Kobach, a lawyer for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm of FAIR, is currently working with Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce to draft legislation in Arizona that would change a clause in the 14th amendment that grants citizenship to all persons born in the United States. If Pearce and Kobach get their way, at least one parent of a child born in the United States must be a legal resident. Not surprisingly, Pearce is a member of SLLI, and he and Kobach were instrumental in getting SB1070 passed in Arizona. Earlier this year, FAIR president Dan Stein stated “We should not allow language from 1868 to enslave our thinking…in the 21st century.”

The two most outspoken members of SLLI, Pearce and Metcalfe have long and troublesome ties to white nationalist and far right groups. Metcalfe is closely aligned with the hate group FAIR. When SLLI was formed, Dan Stein sat with Metcalfe at the group’s first press conference. Earlier this year, Metcalfe was scheduled to speak with Daniel Smeriglio and Daryl Klein at a National Security Conference in Hamilton, Ohio. Smeriglio runs a group called Voice of the People based in Pennsylvania. In November of 2009, Smeriglio held an anti-immigrant rally in his hometown of Hazelton, PA. Video of the rally features a big man shouting into a megaphone who has been identified as Steve Smith. Smith is a member of the neo-Nazi organization Keystone State Skins. Daryl Klein is a member of the Oath Keepers of Ohio.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Oath Keepers are “a Patriot outfit formed last year that suggests, in thinly veiled language, that the government has secret plans to declare martial law and intern patriotic Americans in concentration camps.

Russell Pearce also has strong ties to white nationalist individuals and organizations. This is a picture of Pearce in 2007 with a man named J.T. Ready. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, J.T. Ready is an outright neo-Nazi, who wrote the following on a white nationalist message board in December 2007,

“The truth is that negroids screw monkeys and rape babies in afreaka [sic]. Then stupid white man who licks kosher jew rear lets negroids in. … Stop Negroid immigration and integration now!!! Nature will take care of the rest.”

Pearce’s connections to neo-Nazis don’t stop with J.T. Ready. In 2006, he forwarded an email to his supporters from a neo-Nazi group that criticized the media for promoting multiculturalism and racial equality, and for presenting the Holocaust as fact.

SLLI’s campaign to destroy the 14th amendment is not surprising considering the Tanton Network’s history. The Network’s efforts not only are an attack on immigrants but on all people.