Today, Kris Kobach, Roy Beck, head of the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA, and ICE union leader Chris Crane announced that together they have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security.
It’s a shame that the suit’s plaintiff, Mr. Crane, hasn’t more diligently researched the backgrounds of those who will fund and represent him in court, i.e. Beck and Kobach respectively. References for Kobach could’ve been provided by proven bigot and disgraced former Arizona Senate leader Russell Pearce.
This lawsuit is clearly yet another legal maneuver by Kris Kobach that is of no benefit to the American people. It does however conveniently keep Kobach in the public eye. It also allows the controversial anti-immigrant organizations to which he is connected to redefine the terms of immigration debate.
Simply, this is a large-scale media-grab aimed also at reframing the immigration debate, and reinserting it anew into the presidential news cycle. Beck said this is about solving unemployment and protecting American workers—read, “the present election news cycle is focusing on jobs and the economy and reproductive rights; therefore, immigration reform is all about jobs and the economy.” Those behind this lawsuit also claim this suit is about national security, but this—again—is clearly about furthering their anti-immigrant agenda from behind the Conservative leg of national security messaging.
That NumbersUSA is teaming up with the Federation for American Immigration Reform/Immigration Reform Law Institute’s superstar attorney, Kobach, is just more evidence that the organizations that white nationalist and proponent of eugenics John Tanton helped create are still closely aligned.
Kris Kobach has long faced harsh criticism and public protest from Kansas constituents for neglecting his duties as their Secretary of State. Still though, he has undertaken yet another massive project—like his work in Arizona, Alabama, and Hazelton, PA, and myriad other locales—that simply fulfills his obsession with immigration policy, but is wholly unrelated to the duties charged to his office by the state and people of Kansas.
Kobach’s “home away from home” that continually leads him so far from his constituents is the aforementioned Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI). IRLI was incorporated in 1989 and was founded by the also aforementioned John Tanton, father of the contemporary anti-immigrant movement. Kobach has worked for the group since 2004. After founding the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1979, Tanton decided that FAIR needed a legal arm, one that could be easily controlled. He stated:
“So the structure we settled upon was a so-called supporting organization, rather than an entirely independent group. We called it the Immigration Reform Law Institute, or IRLI. It was structured in such a way that it could operate under FAIR’S tax exemption but have its own board, appointed initially by FAIR’s board.”
NumbersUSA was born out of the close friendship of its current executive director, Roy Beck, and Tanton. Their relationship goes back at least 20 years, when Tanton hired Beck as a consultant. Beck also worked for years as Washington editor of Tanton’s white nationalist, brazenly anti-immigrant, and pro-eugenics journal, The Social Contract.
For that publication Beck published alongside and personally edited many pieces that flatter works like The Bell Curve and white nationalist Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation (a review written close to 20 years ago by FAIR’s present spokesperson, Ira Mehlman). Wayne Lutton, who still serves as editor under Tanton for The Social Contract, has a long and well-documented history of virulent and unapologetic racism.
Furthermore, NumbersUSA’s seed money came from Tanton himself, via his foundation U.S., Inc in 1996.
In 1998, in a letter obtained by the Center for New Community, Tanton appointed Beck as his “heir apparent” at U.S., Inc. – the foundation-money funnel through which he has created or supported dozens of anti-immigrant organizations.
Perhaps the most effective mobilizing weapon in John Tanton’s arsenal of organizations, NumbersUSA’s success lies in its veneer, casting itself as a hub of concerned and compassionate political “moderates.” A veneer that is tarnished by Tanton’s legacy; a veneer which is completely shattered by Roy Beck’s involvement with group’s like the Council of Conservative Citizens.
When in the past John Tanton’s organizations like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) have come under fire for their anti-immigrant rhetoric, NumbersUSA didn’t defend its sister organizations; instead, it added a section to its website called, “No to Immigrant Bashing.”
Currently, the group even has a disclaimer at the bottom of its homepage that bills NumbersUSA as “pro-environment, pro-worker, pro-liberty and pro-immigrant,” despite content that is almost exclusively anti-immigrant.
Strange there’s no link on NumbersUSA’s site to the Social Contract Press, whose editors recently declared that the only way to protect the United States was to enact a moratorium on immigration from all Muslim countries the world over. When pressed on the point, these editors refused to retract their statement, even publishing a statement that doubles-down on their beliefs, which is still posted on its main page.
“Pro-liberty and pro-immigrant?” Really, Mr. Beck? Really, Mr. Kobach?