For the organized anti-immigrant movement, the last weekend of September proved pivotal. A group of organizations pooled their efforts to boost turnout at three major events that brought together white nationalist and anti-immigrant leaders.
It’s no coincidence that the Federation of American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) national board of advisors meeting, the Social Contract Press’s Annual Writers’ Workshop, and Progressives for Immigration Reform’s (PFIR) Annual National Conference all occurred over a two-day span.
This coordinated scheduling isn’t surprising either, considering the well-documented origins of the three groups; all are part of white nationalist John Tanton’s network.
The concerted efforts of these groups were displayed in an August 28 email from KC McAlpin. McAlpin serves as the executive director of The Social Contract Press and U.S., Inc., John Tanton’s philanthropic foundation from which he has financed the movement since 1982. Until approximately a year ago, McAlpin also served in the same capacity for a group Tanton founded in 1994, ProEnglish. (White nationalist Robert Vandervoort–an associate of infamous white nationalist “intellectual” Jared Taylor of the group American Renaissance–now serves as the group’s executive director, with McAlpin and Tanton still serving on its board.)
McAlpin begins his form-email with the following:
“Leah Durant suggested we notify you as someone invited to attend Progressives for Immigration Reform’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday, October 1, [sic] that you also might be interested in attending our one-day Writer’s Workshop in the Washington, D.C. area being held the day before on Sunday, September 30.”
Leah Durant is the executive director of PFIR. She once worked for FAIR’s legal arm Immigration Reform Law Institute, which presently employs Kris Kobach. Durant and PFIR’s leadership, some of who are connected to other Tanton groups, including FAIR, have long argued for the group’s legitimacy as a coalition of green-minded progressives primarily concerned with immigrants impacts on population growth, environmental degradation, and the job market and economy of this county.
But what is clear—and which irreparably stains PFIR’s credibility—is that PFIR has apparently shared its contacts with a group that publishes, employs, and collaborates with white nationalists. Simply put, Leah Durant and PFIR helped The Social Contract Press (TSC) promote its event.
Any shred of credibility that PFIR was clinging to is now gone.
This also weakens the argument that John Tanton wields no present influence over the constellation of groups he helped found and/or fund since 1979.
Ample evidence of this is provided in the four documents that McAlpin attached to his email: one announcement and one memo concerning the Writers’ Workshop, both typed on TSC letterhead and listing Tanton as the journal’s publisher; a registration form; and a “(Draft) Agenda” of speakers and panelists presenting at the workshop.
Though described as a “(Draft),” it is explained in the memo that “The draft agenda is enclosed and all speakers are confirmed. But the order of speakers is still subject to change.” That same memo describes “a reception to give people an opportunity to network and socialize” immediately following the conference.
Here is a list of anti-immigrant and/or white nationalist individuals that were confirmed:
- The event’s keynote speaker is listed as former US Congressman Tom Tancredo, who from 1999-2007 chaired the FAIR-backed House Immigration Reform Caucus. Tancredo also formerly served as the Honorary Chairman of the white nationalist Youth for Western Civilization. He was also scheduled as the keynote speaker at the 2012 national gathering of the virulently racist Council of Conservative Citizens, which openly refers Blacks and African Americans as “a retrograde species of humanity.” He backed out amidst heavy criticism.
- Peter Brimelow, founding editor of the white nationalist website VDARE.com, who has received monetary support from Tanton on multiple occasions, is listed on the agenda. The pair has exchanged numerous letters through the years, and Brimelow has written for TSC’s journal (most recently in its Summer 2012 issue). VDARE has called for a moratorium on all Muslim immigration to the United States, as has TSC, and after the Sikh Temple killings by a neo-Nazi skinhead in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Brimelow callously posed, “What are Sikhs doing in Wisconsin anyway?” In his speech at the workshop, Brimelow applauded Greece’s rounding-up of immigrants and admitted that he also attended FAIR’s national board of advisors meeting, even though FAIR fails to list him as a member of said board on its website.
- The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), founded by Tanton in 1985, carries the slogan, “Low-immigration, Pro-immigrant,” yet almost daily bemoan the existences of “illegals.” That slogan in mind, Jessica Vaughan and Steve Camarota, director of policy studies and director of research respectively at CIS, are both listed as speakers at this decidedly anti-immigrant event. Camarota even sat on a panel with Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation, one of the most powerful organizations operating on behalf of the far-Right of the past 40 odd years. Vaughan was scheduled to speak immediately before Brimelow. CIS regularly forwards VDARE articles in their “Immigration Opinion” emails to its listserv.
- Tanton network group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), another anti-immigrant group with an interest in population control similar to PFIR’s own, was heavily represented. Marilyn De Young, Otis Graham, Joe Guzzardi, Leon Kolankiewicz were all confirmed to speak on behalf of CAPS. Graham once penned a long-tribute to Tanton that was published on VDARE, and the aforementioned memo Graham is described as “one of the key founders of the modern immigration reform movement.” Guzzardi himself has penned dozen of pieces for VDARE, and once served as “Letters Editor” for the site. Kolankiewicz also serves on PFIR’s board of advisors, and has in the past published work co-authored with NumbersUSA head Roy Beck, who for a number of years worked as “Washington Editor” of TSC. Tanton was crucial in helping him fund NumberUSA early on. Beck has in the past attended PFIR’s conferences and once spoke at a Council of Conservative Citizens gathering, as well.
- Tanton network leaders DA King of Georgia’s The Dustin Inman Society, Rosalie Porter of ProEnglish, and Wayne Lutton of TSC are also listed on the agenda. Lutton infamously maintained a long working relationship with the Council of Conservative Citizens.
It is clear that anti-immigrant leaders joined forces to organize a productive weekend of strategizing and networking. While it isn’t surprising that these groups and individuals are cavorting behind closed doors, it is troubling that they are not even trying to cover it up anymore.