It seems that Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) have finally tired of the arduous process of dawning their “Lefist Environmentalist” costumes.
Exhausted as they must be after 3-ish years of maintaining such charades, PFIR shut off its fog machine yesterday, September 10th, by posting yet another blog from Donald A. Collins. Collins’ piece, “Romney Promises 12 Million Jobs, But He Ignores Immigration & Automation Effects,” though, coincidentally appeared 7 days earlier on a different site, under the title, “’12 Million New Jobs’ Says Mitt, But What About Immigration–And Automation?” The other site is VDARE.com, a virulently racist website run by a career white nationalist “intellectual” named Peter Brimelow.
Quickly, for those unfamiliar with PFIR, the group was founded in 2009 as a front for a larger constellation of inter-dependent groups referred to as the John Tanton Network and is tasked with cloaking that constellation’s anti-immigrant strains of messaging in a softer-greener light thought more palatable for non-xenophobes.
For example, compare Tanton’s own words–“I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that”–with Leah Durant’s. In a 2009 interview PFIR’s executive director warned the readers of Tanton’s racist journal The Social Contract (TSCJ), “The fact is that nearly 70 percent of U.S. population growth is a direct result of immigration and the higher-than-replacement fertility rates of immigrants.”
In a similar effort of packaging, Collins completely re-fashions his VDARE piece for its appearance on PFIR, omitting particularly his acknowledment that he has “written several recent pieces for VDARE” on the topic.
Unlike PFIR, Brimelow and his comrades at VDARE forsake all cloaks, preferring to foreground their bigotry and white nationalism as a form of misunderstood cultural criticism.
For example, after the August 5th killings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, which were carried out by a long-time neo-Nazi skinhead, Brimelow wrote “that what happened in Oak Grove [sic] is far overshadowed by mass killings perpetrated by immigrants.” In the same piece he asks, “What are Sikhs doing in Wisconsin anyway?” Brenda Walker, a long-time VDARE contributor who has written for TSCJ, recently wrote, “The presence of Islam means less freedom and no free speech regarding religion, so the US would be wise to end Muslim immigration before it’s too late.”
In the Fall 2010 issue of The Social Contract (TSCJ), editor Wayne Lutton called for the same ban: “What benefit do Americans derive from having Muslims settle here? […] It seems clear to us that it is (past) time to halt Muslim immigration to the United States.” Collins himself has published in TSCJ through the years, with some of those pieces reappearing on VDARE, especially in the early 2000s.
And so, Collins is an excellent representative sample for understanding the sprawling anatomy that is the coordinated efforts of the variously focused anti-immigrant groups that comprise the Tanton Network–PFIR included.
Like many Tanton Network stalwarts, employees, and leaders, Collins is a long-time friend and associate of John Tanton, the progenitor of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement and a long-time proponent of eugenics. In a moment of tribute to Tanton in a TSCJ piece, Collins writes, “For both Sally [Epstein, Collins’ wife] and me, our association with John Tanton and his wife Mary Lou has proved to be something of a family affair.” This holds true, as Collins’ own son sits on the board of Tanton’s flagship group, Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR).
VDARE’s Brimelow, who has received funding for his efforts via Tanton, describes him as a “gentle and innocent man.”
Further illustrating such interconnectedness, Vernon Briggs, who has stood on PFIR’s advisory board since the group’s launch, also has sustained ties to these white nationalist groups, working closely with Tanton since 1984. According to his own CV, from 1994 to 2007 Briggs published in TSCJ almost once year, and has served on its editorial board since 1991 to present. He’s also stood on the Center for Immigration Studies board since 1987. In 1995, Tanton solicited $25,000 from close-friend & eugenicist Garrett Hardin to allow Briggs to continue working on a book project. At PFIR’s 2011 conference, Briggs sat on a panel with Philip Cafaro, PFIR’s president, and Frank Morris, who sits on the boards of both FAIR and CIS, as well as the advisory board of PFIR.
The Tanton Network is riddled with these nepotistic xenophobes, an infection that consumes Progressives for Immigration Reform’s own leadership and funding history. As weary as some might be with rebuffing PFIR’s grasps at credibility, with this failure to conceal the true origins of Donald A. Collin’s most recent piece, it seems these “Progressives” are simply exhausted by what even they must recognize as the anti-immigrant movement’s most anemic facade of tolerance and balance–themselves.