Will Hardline Immigration Activists Finally Disavow Ties to White Nationalist Publication?

Is the deadly shooting at a Sikh temple indicative of a deeper problem in America? One that goes beyond white power music?

“We realized on starting FAIR in 1979 that [the] immigration reform battle would be won in the end by the side that had the best ideas…Our goal was to make immigration reform a legitimate topic of discussion among thinking people.”

Peter Brimelow

This was the rationale for John Tanton, a documented white nationalist, to establish not only FAIR but also anti-immigrant think-tank Center for Immigration Studies. Tanton has mounted a formidable effort over the last 30 years to make this battle “legitimate,” but he hasn’t been able to do it without the help of white nationalist organizations and publications.

In the aftermath of the Sikh temple massacre, white nationalist Peter Brimelow wrote an article on the website he founded, VDARE.com, that all but defended the alleged shooter, neo-Nazi skinhead Wade Michael Page. Brimelow suggested that Sikhs should not have been settling in Wisconsin in the first place and that the Sikh community is itself responsible for mass shootings. He also wonders why there was a rush to judge Page, despite well-documented evidence that he had long been involved with neo-Nazi groups.

This kind of racist victim-blaming is more despicable that Brimelow’s and VDARE.com’s  normal fare, but not much. What is really shocking is that self-described “pro-immigrant” groups like Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR continue to associate and even promote VDARE.com.

A glaring example of how closely aligned the two camps are occurred in February when Otis L. Graham, a Center for Immigration Studies board member, released a tribute to his longtime friend John Tanton. The tribute was published by VDARE and details the highs and lows of the anti-immigrant movement. Brimelow prepared an introduction to the piece in which he states that Graham’s and Tanton’s efforts are “honorable.” But its Graham’s own words that most clearly demonstrate the tightly woven network:

On what John Tanton often called “the battle of ideas” our movement’s performance was, I thought, impressive. FAIR’s policy papers by the nineties reflected an increasingly experienced staff, and CIS under Mark Krikorian’s leadership made a remarkable impact on public opinion and policy discussion. One also had to be impressed by the independent writers who were building the case for cutting immigration back and changing the selection criteria: Leon Bouvier, Vernon Briggs, Peter Brimelow, Roy Beck, Phil Martin, George Borjas, Georgie Ann Geyer, Madeline Cosman, Katherine Betts, Lindsey Grant, Larry Harrison and Sam Huntington, to mention only some.

Just last week, Center for Immigration Studies circulated an email to its members that included links to VDARE.com. This is a practice that the Center has been engaged in for some time, indicating that it is comfortable publicly supporting VDARE. And the aforementioned  Mark Krikorian, Center for Immigration Studies’ Executive Director, has his own legacy of unsavory remarks.

  • On April 27, 2011, Krikorian wrote an article on National Review where he called Muslims a “vicious people.”
  • After the tragedy and horror of the earthquake in Haiti at the beginning of 2010, Krikorian stated, “my guess is that Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”
  • In 2009, Krikorian lamented the pronunciation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s last name, stating, “While in the past there may well have been too much social pressure for what sociologists call Anglo-conformity, now there isn’t enough.”

Krikorian has never apologized for these comments, nor have Tanton’s organizations attempted to distance themselves from unapologetic racists like Peter Brimelow. If groups like FAIR and Center for Immigration Studies truly want an immigration debate that is free from hate, then it is necessary to denounce VDARE and Brimelow.

We’ve seen racist activity throughout U.S. history. And while the violence that occurred at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin is more closely associated with hardcore white supremacy, it is relevant to also scrutinize more surreptitious forms of organized bigotry. Violence against the “Other” isn’t just fueled by neo-Nazi fringe. Xenophobic activity, even mainstream activity, is also to blame.