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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.

The new ad tries to blame documented immigrants for unemployment levels and pit the unemployed against new immigrants. In a release announcing the ads, NumbersUSA claimed, “despite some of the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression, Congress and President Obama continue to issue permanent work permits to more than one million new legal immigrants a year to enter the U.S. and take American jobs, despite some of the highest unemployment since the Great Depression.”

NumbersUSA, the largest anti-immigrant organization in the country, with ties to both the Tea Parties and white nationalists, announced that they would run ads during the September 22 Fox News sponsored Republican presidential candidate debate.

The NumbersUSA move follows the ads run by an allied group, Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), which launched a new television ad during the September 7 CNN Republican presidential debate. Like the NumbersUSA ad, the CAPS spot called for further restricting documented immigration into the country because of high unemployment.

This new push was explained in The Social Contract, a journal of the anti-immigrant movement. The entire winter 2010-2011 Issue of The Social Contract was devoted to the theme of “Limiting Legal Immigration.” (The previous issue of the journal called for restricting immigration of all Muslims to the U.S. on “national security grounds.”). Since its founding, The Social Contract has repeatedly served as a platform for white nationalists. The editor of the publication, Wayne Lutton, has been active in both racist and Holocaust denial circles, according to Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream.

For a number of years The Social Contract and NumbersUSA both resided under the financial umbrella of U.S. Inc, a corporation controlled by John Tanton in Petoskey, Michigan. A retired eye doctor, Tanton has written that maintaining American culture requires “a European-American majority.” His racist writings have forced him out of several different anti-immigrant groups. Though NumbersUSA became financially independent in 2002, the organization remains closely allied with groups in the Tanton orbit, most notably the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The ties between the groups extend to the fact that NumbersUSA head Roy Beck once worked as an editor for The Social Contract, alongside Lutton. Beck even helped edit a book by Tanton and Lutton. Moreover, Beck spoke at a November 1997 conference of the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens, while Lutton served on the group’s editorial advisory board.

NumbersUSA has also hopped aboard the Tea Party bandwagon. Beck and other staffers have spoken at numerous different Tea Party events, including Tea Party Nation’s Nashville convention in 2010, as IREHR reported at the time. The anti-immigrant organization has also appointed a staffer as an official Tea Party liaison. That relationship, however, has soured a bit with NumbersUSA’s support of e-verify legislation.

IREHR is continuing to monitor these trends in nativist activity and will alert its readers of further developments. Please, make sure to sign up for our email alerts or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest information.

Devin Burghart

Author Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

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