John Tanton is the Mastermind Behind the Organized Anti-Immigration Movement

The organized anti-immigration 'movement,' increasingly in bed with racist hate groups, is dominated by one man, John Tanton.

The Threat from the Right
Two weeks after the NumbersUSA lobbying trip to the offices of Tom Tancredo and a series of other congressmen, Glenn Spencer, head of the Tanton-funded anti-immigrant American Patrol, was one of the main speakers at a conference hosted by Jared Taylor of American Renaissance magazine.

Joining Spencer, who warned his audience that a second Mexican-American war would erupt in 2003, was an array of key extremists:

Neo-Nazis like those of the National Alliance were not among those who lobbied Tancredo and the other politicians during the NumbersUSA event two weeks earlier.

But there were strong indications that the Tanton network and some of its new friends did make a number of key inroads in the halls of Congress.

The white supremacist CCC, for instance, later boasted in print about how its "members were welcomed ... and made a number of stops" during the lobbying trip. Both congressmen and senators were offered copies of its Citizens Informer, the group's newspaper reported.

Several of the anti-immigration activists who attended later claimed that the Tancredo caucus had grown in size specifically because of their lobbying efforts. At the end of the day, the CCC told its members that the Senate was now expected to pass a restrictive visa-tracking bill, which it said President Bush would likely sign.

There were other indications, too, of the strength of the Tanton network inside Tancredo's congressional immigration caucus.

Rosemary Jenks, who used to be a researcher at the Center for Immigration Studies, and Linda Purdue, who has worked with Tanton for years, are now both lobbyists with NumbersUSA.

Addressing her fellow lobbyists with Tancredo still in the room, Jenks said that she and Purdue could be reached any time in Tancredo's offices — where, she said, they were "virtual staffers."

This kind of strategy was explicitly foreseen in the WITAN memos, described under subtitles like "Infiltrate the Judiciary Committee" and "Secure appointments of our friends" to key governmental positions.

Indeed, Cordia Strom, who was once FAIR's legal director, became a staffer for the House Immigration Subcommittee in 1996. Today, Strom is counsel to the director and coordinator of congressional affairs for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

There is a real threat that members of Congress — many of whom are rushing to become involved in immigration issues in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks — may be taken in by the propagandists of the racist right.

Opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Americans believe that immigration needs to be cut below current levels, although that does not imply that they support the ideas of white supremacists or other bigots.

Certainly, the lobbyists who visited in February were taken seriously by many of those they visited — today, the web page of Tancredo's Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus carries links to the pages of a whole array of Tanton-associated groups.

The danger is not that immigration levels are debated by Americans, but that the debate is controlled by bigots and extremists whose views are anathema to the ideals on which this country was founded.