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Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream

America's Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning


In June 2008, five anti-immigrant groups joined to form America's Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning (“Leadership Team”). In August 2008, the Leadership Team sponsored a national ad campaign “to raise America's awareness of the role population growth plays in the demand for energy.” As part of the campaign, the Leadership Team took out an ad in the New York Times which argued that the use of alternative energy sources, combined with a reduction of immigration into the United States, will “reduce the threat” of rising prices of fuel and other resources. Another ad published in September 2008 warned America’s “progressive thinkers” that the natural resources and future of the United States are in jeopardy if the country allows continued immigration.

In June 2008, the Leadership Team sponsored a similar campaign, which included ads that appeared in the New York Times and The Nation that month. The ads, which picture a bulldozer knocking down trees and heavy traffic congestion, argue that high immigration levels will cause environmental damage, traffic congestion, higher taxes, and severe strain on schools, emergency rooms, and public infrastructure. These are classic arguments advanced by the anti-immigrant movement that seek to demonize not only the undocumented, but all immigrants and their children.

John Tanton, often considered the father of the anti-immigrant movement, has connections to the founding and funding of the organizations that comprise the Leadership Team. Tanton has been an anti-immigrant activist and writer for over 20 years and is at the center of a network of anti-immigrant groups located across the country. Tanton has helped to found and fund these groups through U.S. Inc., a non-profit that he created. In 1997, Tanton said that if the borders are not secured, America will be overrun by people “defecating and creating garbage and looking for jobs.”

The five groups that comprise the Leadership Team include:
  • Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) (Washington, D.C.): The largest and most powerful anti-immigrant organization. Because the group is nuanced in its use of language, it has been viewed as a resource by officials, the media and within anti-immigration policy circles. In spite of its mainstream presence, FAIR leaders have a history of extremist affiliations, and the group often founds and empowers smaller groups that promote xenophobia. Tanton remains on its Board of Directors.

  • American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF) (Virginia): Positions itself as “a non-profit research and educational organization.” In reality, it sells, at a low cost, publications authored by racists and anti-immigrant figures who routinely demonize immigrants. AICF’s leader, John Vinson, has affiliated himself with the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens.

  • Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS): A non-profit group that seeks to “preserve a good quality of life” in California by spreading awareness about the alleged strains that immigrants place on the state’s infrastructure and natural resources. To spread its message, CAPS leaders and members lobby government officials, sponsor media campaigns, and publish reports. One of its more vocal members, Rick Oltman, is a former FAIR Field Representative who spoke at a gathering of the border vigilante Minutemen group and has also had reported ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens. CAPS president, Diana Hull, leads the Leadership Team.

  • NumbersUSA (Virginia): Positions itself as a “non-partisan” scholarly source of information about the damaging effects of high immigration levels. Its leader, Roy Beck, travels the country making visual presentations to highlight the ways in which immigration places strains on several aspects of American society. NumbersUSA also has a significant grassroots presence as the organization that claims to have sent millions of faxes to Congress to support the defeat of the 2007 immigration legislation.

  • Social Contract Press (based in Michigan): Tanton’s publishing arm. This group publishes the Social Contract, a quarterly journal that represents itself as scholarly and includes the work of anti-immigrant figures.  In Spring 2008, the journal devoted an entire issue to republishing work originally featured on VDare, an anti-immigrant Website that features the work of well-known anti-Semites and racists.
Though the Leadership Team is fairly new, Tantonís organizations have a long history of establishing coalitions similar to this one, sometimes in partnership with others, to sponsor print and media ad campaigns and take grassroots action to further an anti-immigrant ideology in mainstream circles. These coalitions give the appearance that several independent groups are behind a larger movement.  

The Leadership Team’s rhetoric that immigration destroys the environment is nothing new to the anti-immigrant movement as a whole or to Tanton’s strategic vision. Tanton was one of the leaders in the move to recast the immigration issue in terms of the environment and has attracted followers with the promise that lowering immigration levels will save the environment and preserve America’s natural resources.

In the late 1990s, Tanton attempted to inject anti-immigrant leadership into the Board of the Sierra Club with the creation of “Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization,” a group created to support a transformation of the Sierra Club into an anti-immigrant group. His attempt failed in the Sierra Club board elections in 2004, and one of his most vocal activists in that effort was ousted from the Sierra Club in the aftermath of her comments that the Hmong community represent “drug-addicted polygamists.” 

About This Report
Coalitions Highlighted in Report
America's Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning
Capital Area Alliance Against Illegal Immigration
Groups Highlighted in Report
New Jersey Citizens for Immigration Control
The Dustin Inman Society
Mothers Against Illegal Aliens
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)
Choose Black America
You Don’t Speak for Me
Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC)
Grass Fire
Anti-immigrant rhetoric in media and politics
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