In yet another sign of the converging Tea Party and nativist interests we detailed in Beyond FAIR: The Decline of the Established Anti-Immigrant Organizations and the Rise of Tea Party Nativism, Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips caught up with NumbersUSA head Roy Beck for an interview at the 2012 CPAC Convention. Phillips used the interview to re-introduce NumbersUSA to his Tea Party Nation supporters. The two were familiar with one another from when Beck appeared at the 2010 Tea Party Nation Convention in Nashville.
In this special report the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) delineates the intersection of two trends. One is a measureable drop in the number of local and national anti-immigrant organizations that were established prior to the presidency of Barack Obama. Along the same lines, those organizations which remained experienced a noticeable decrease in the size of their membership and financial support.
This has led to a relative decline in what IREHR describes as the Nativist Establishment. It should be noted that IREHR is not arguing that these organizations have disappeared altogether. Neither does IREHR contend that such organizations have ceased to be a danger to human rights. Rather, the data suggests that their size and power have fallen relative to the strength they had achieved at their height during the period 2007-2008.
The second trend is a rise in anti-immigrant activism by the Tea Parties. As IREHR reported in its 2010 special report, Tea Party Nationalism, anti-immigrant sentiment and activism have been part of the Tea Party mix from the beginning. Indeed, we noted then that one of the six national factions, 1776 Tea Party, had imported its staff leadership directly from the Minutemen. In Beyond FAIR, however, we note both an increase in anti-immigrant activism by national and local Tea Party groups, as well as a measurable number of anti-immigrant leaders who have joined the Tea Parties and consequently accelerated the rate of anti-immigrant activism by those Tea Parties.
To a noticeable degree, the transfer of organizational allegiances to the Tea Parties noted in trend two is caused by the drop in strength by established anti-immigrant organizations described in trend one.
This re-articulation of the Nativist Establishment into the Tea Parties changes both the shape and strength of the anti-immigrant impulse in American life. Mixed into the activities of multi-issue organizations (the Tea Parties), it will be harder to delineate and counter by immigrant rights advocates. Further, the Tea Party movement by itself is larger and more significant than the Nativist Establishment ever was, even at its height. As a result, anti-immigrant activism has a bigger immediate constituency and is likely to be stronger.
NumbersUSA announced that they will air television ads during the next GOP presidential candidate debate that advocate further restrictions on the level of documented (so called "legal") immigrants. As IREHR recently noted, some national nativist groups appear to be changing course, and preparing to launch a campaign to restrict documented immigration. If this shift in nativist strategy fully materializes, it is likely to alter the terms of discussion by policymakers and the public.
Nashville - The rancor and division among Tea Partiers that erupted in the weeks leading up to the first Tea Party National Convention were nowhere to be found inside the expansive biosphere-like confines of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. Squabbles set aside, at least for the moment, the real business of the February 4-7 convention was three-fold: culture warring, movement building, and campaign winning.
Just when you thought they were out, they jump right back in…
As quickly as one anti-immigrant group extricates itself from the Tea Party Nation convention, another one jumps in to fill the gap.