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Kansas City, MO – January 18, 2012 – A new report by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, Beyond FAIR: The Decline of the Established Anti-Immigrant Organizations and the Rise of Tea Party Nativism, details a new turn by anti-immigrant activists towards the Tea Party movement. The report is available at

New data is made available for the first time on two different trends: a fall in the membership and finances of established organizations and coalitions such as the Minutemen, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, and the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Coalition; and a simultaneous increase in the amount of anti-immigrant activism by Tea Party groups. Existing opinion polling information on the anti-immigrant sentiments of Tea Party supporters is referenced. The 55-page report includes endnotes and an appendix listing more than one hundred local anti-immigrant leaders who have enlisted in or spoken at events of the Tea Parties.

IREHR researchers scoured through audits and IRS filings, FEC reports, anti-immigrant group and Tea Party membership data, field reports, and a plethora of additional data to document these disturbing new developments. The report looks at these trends through a non-partisan lens, as social movements who pose a real and present danger to civil and human rights.

According to Devin Burghart, the report’s primary author and vice-president of IREHR, “We first noticed this trend at the Tea Party Nation convention in Nashville in February 2010. After we started looking more closely at local Tea Party activity, things became more evident. And then when we started comparing data on the established nativist organizations with data on the Tea Parties, we saw an unmistakable and quite remarkable development. IREHR is the first with this data.”

Among the report’s findings:

  • The total gross receipts of ten established nativist organizations fell by 28% from 2008 to 2009.
  • The membership of the Federation for American Immigration Reform fell by 58% from a high in 2007 to a new low in 2011.
  • A new organization, the Tea Party Immigration Coalition, is emblematic of the increase in nativist activity by the Tea Parties.

The authors of the report caution readers that the human rights situation for immigrants has not improved. Rather the threat is coming from a new, larger and more diffuse direction.

“Immigrant rights advocates need to take notice of these new developments,” cautioned Melinda Lewis, a policy consultant for El Centro, a social service agency in Kansas City, Kansas. “All the work we have done to expose the Tanton Network and the nativist establishment will be wasted if we can’t pivot to neutralize the anti-immigrant activity coming from the Tea Parties.”

“This report is a valuable tool for anyone concerned about both justice for the immigrant community and the Tea Parties’ politics of anger and resentment,” said Travis McAdam, executive director of the Montana Human Rights Network. “As the debate over comprehensive immigration reform continues to evolve, this report provides needed insight into the changing landscape of the Nativist movement. The information about the national picture, as well as how these dynamics are playing out at the state level here in Montana, will help supporters of social justice both understand and respond to anti-immigrant activities in their communities.”

Hilary Shelton, Director to the NAACP’s Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy, thanked the IREHR for the report and added: “This disturbing information serves as a warning that the danger to civil rights comes from multiple and new directions.”

The report is embargoed until 12:30pm EST January 19, 2012.


Devin Burghart

Ph: 206.331.2978


The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) is a national organization with an international outlook examining racist, anti-Semitic, white nationalist, and far-right social movements, analyzing their intersection with civil society and social policy, educating the public, and assisting in the protection and extension of human rights through organization and informed mobilization. 

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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