Racism’s Ugly Role in Opposition to Immigration

Make no mistake; many people who have concerns about immigration are not racists.  They are good people with legitimate questions about national security and the impact of immigration on demand for social services and the job market.  Fortunately there are good, objective answers to these concerns.  A survey of leading economists conducted by the conservative Wall Street found that 44 out of 46 economists agreed that undocumented workers are having a net positive impact on the US economy by boosting productivity, lowering consumer costs, paying payroll and sales taxes, and creating small businesses.  Other reputable studies discredit the myths that many immigrants come here for free social services or lives of crime.   Immigrants consume fewer social services than native-born Americans and are under-represented in crime statistics.  Immigrants come here to work hard, pursue the American dream, and support their families, the same reasons that have always attracted people to this nation of immigrants.

Since these facts are well established, why is the opposition to immigration reform so intense?  In many cases the answer is fear. Fear fueled in part by organizations with less than wholesome racial motives.  Three such organizations are FAIR, NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies, organizations founded or funded by John Tanton.  All three do an excellent job posing as reputable conservative organizations.

Tanton’s primary concerns are extreme environmentalism and population control.  Conservatives should think twice about lending their support to organizations funded by a person who calls China’s one child policy the ideal for the rest of the world.  Tanton reflected, “I think the Chinese have developed one of the most humane and rational population policies in the world.”  This is a strange thing for a conservative to say about a policy that encourages forced abortions and in some cases, infanticide.

Tanton’s associates aren’t quite as stingy when it comes to American families. Negative Population Growth, an organization formerly led by the wife of FAIR’s Executive Director, Dan Stein, generously suggested that America couples should be allowed to have two children.  Do conservatives really favor a system where the government determines family size?  I think not.

Writing to fellow eugenicist Robert K. Graham in 1996, Tanton wondered “Do we leave it to individuals to decide that they are the intelligent ones who should have more kids…What about the less intelligent, who logically should have less?”  Tanton, did recognize the challenge of operationalizing this “reasonable” solution.  He worried, “Who is going to break the bad news [to less intelligent individuals], and how will it be implemented?”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled FAIR a hate group, noting, “Although FAIR maintains a veneer of legitimacy that has allowed its principals to testify in Congress and lobby the federal government [on immigration], this veneer hides much ugliness. FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups and eugenicists and have made many racist statements.”

Current FAIR president, Dan Stein called the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 “a mistake” because it ended a racial quota system that limited immigration mostly to northern Europeans.  Tanton worried, “As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?”  He and his ilk seem to be doing their very best to fuel the explosion.

For a conservative evangelical review on FAIR see World Magazine.

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