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After NYT Article, John Tanton’s Name Disappears From FAIR Board of Directors

By Heidi Beirich on April 27, 2011 - 3:44 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, White Nationalism

John Tanton’s name disappeared from the Federation for American Reform’s (FAIR) list of its board of directors in the days following the major April 17 New York Times story outlining Tanton’s racist views. FAIR’s website includes no information about why Tanton is no longer on the board, though Tanton’s bio is still listed on the page devoted to board member biographies. The Times story had described Tanton as a currently serving member of FAIR’s board.

It is unclear what role the Times story may have played in this change, but FAIR’s reaction to the story has been nothing short of hysterical. Today, FAIR spokesman Bob Dane was quoted condemning the article as a “hit piece” and telling the conservative website OneNewsNow, “The New York Times is very open borders, pro-amnesty and pro-President Obama… . They focused on one individual and [used] the old tactics of out-of-context statements, decades-old information, and guilt by association.”

The day after the Times story ran, FAIR President Dan Stein put out a press release reviling the front-page feature as “recycling decades-old baseless allegations, quoting out-of-context statements, and implying guilt by association.” The release claimed FAIR does not discriminate on the basis of “race, creed, color, religion, gender or sexual orientation.” What it didn’t do is mention Tanton, who Stein in 2009 called a “Renaissance man” of wide-ranging “intellect,” or Tanton’s longstanding white nationalism. That may well be because Stein, and FAIR, share some of Tanton’s views.

For example, in a 1994 oral history, Stein told Tanton, his interviewer, that those who supported the 1965 immigraton reform, which ended decades of a racist quota system, wanted to “retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance” and that this “revengism” against whites had created a policy that was causing “chaos and will continue to create chaos.” And in a 1991 memo entitled “The Defenders of American Culture Rise to the Call to Arms,” Stein said he hoped that mounting criticism of multiculturalism would eventually lead to attacks on the 1965 Act, which he called “a key mistake in national policy” and a “source of error.”

Principals at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), thought up and founded by Tanton, were similarly upset by the Times profile of Tanton. CIS head Mark Krikorian wrote on National Review Online that the article failed miserably by ignoring “the hate campaign” Krikorian claims was waged against Tanton by groups including the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). “Fleshing out that completely unreported story would have been a good use of the resources of the New York Times and made the article genuinely newsworthy.”

On April 22, CIS researcher Jerry Kammer wrote that the story “spills pools of ink detailing Tanton statements — most of them decades old — that demonstrate a shrill and tone-deaf dismay at the effects of uninterrupted mass immigration.” And he complains that the story failed to attack “advocates of illegal immigration and ethnic organizations,” including the SPLC. A few days later, this Monday, Kammer was still ranting, writing that the story “made poor use not only of [reporter Jason] DeParle’s considerable talents as a reporter but also of the resources of the New York Times.”

But at NumbersUSA, long a project of Tanton’s foundation U.S., Inc., there was jubilation. The head of NumbersUSA, Roy Beck, who was once slated to be Tanton’s heir at his foundation, used the Times piece as a propaganda tool. Under the headline, “The New York Times Smears Movement for Lower Immigration, but Compliments NumbersUSA,” the group quoted large sections of the article that discussed its role in dooming a 2007 bipartisan attempt at immigration control. “According to the Times: We are fair-minded. We are massively influential. Our methods are effective,” NumbersUSA said.

  • Julia Alaniz

    Rancid smell from “soopermexican” –trying to pass him/herself off as Mexican? Risible. Try again.

  • Jordan

    Did these legal immigrants by any chance talk about the $675 “filling fee” for the naturalization test? Or the thousands of dollars in transportation, green card fees, visas, and job searching? Either we change immigration laws, or we had better change Lady Liberty’s tablet (how about: “Give me your rich, your affluent, the people who already have something in the first place…and don’t forget to tip”).
    “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.”
    — John Tanton, letter to eugenicist and ecology professor Garrett Hardin (now deceased), Dec. 10, 1993
    Yep, maintianing a European-American ethnic majority has nothing to do with race or ethnicity, nothing at all.
    So, the SPLC brought race into the argument? Not the whole rant about “anglo-saxon dominance”? Are you really so ignorant (willfully) that you can’t see past his “civilized” speech and see what his motives are? Or is this just “When the wolves are howling for blood, howl, howl with the wolves”. That didn’t work for Hitler’s Jewish supporters, FAIR wants a clear Anglo-Saxon majority, they won’t stop with Mexicans.

  • sparks4


    FAIR’S membership includes a variety of ethnic groups who donate money and strongly support FAIR’s efforts to see that immigration law is respected and enforced.

    Many of these people immigrated legally, in some cases after waiting ten years or more. They came here interested in becoming citizens, and raising their children in a free democratic society which offers better opportunities for a productive and happy life than where they came from.

    They very much resent having to compete for jobs with immigrants who blatantly broke US law by coming here illegally and who are willing to work at very low wages or as ‘contractors’ paying little or no taxes.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with race but everything to do with respect for the US.

  • majii


    Uh, could it be because these groups target people of color, and you’re a person of color as am I? I don’t think any of us can be complacent when dealing with groups like FAIR, NumbersUSA, or CIS because just as surely as they’re successful in attacking and marginalizing one group, they move on to the next one. I don’t think it’s a good idea to feel that one is immune from attacks from these groups simply because one is in this country legally. I was born here, but it didn’t stop people in groups similar to these from forcing myself and my family to live under segregation. Many of these groups also target gays, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, the poor, and others.

  • soopermexican

    why you gotta bring race into everything? as a person of color, I am not offended by his statements. if that’s all you got, you people need to get a life.