Posted on April 19, 2013

Leaders of Anti-Immigration Groups Aren’t Exactly Conservative

Soren Dayton, Daily Caller, April 18, 2013

In 2007, I met a field organizer who had worked against immigration reform. He was not who you might imagine. His background was in the labor and environmental movements that so many conservatives deplore.

He wanted to stop immigration reform because he believed that human beings were destroying the planet and that an increase in the U.S. population would exacerbate the environmental injustices he perceived to be occurring already.

That was my first experience with the anti-immigration reform movement’s real radicalism, but it has hardly been the last. {snip}

The reality is, their problem with immigration has nothing to do with border security or the fear that immigrants will become public charges — both concerns that are dealt with robustly and effectively by the Gang of Eight’s legislation, which is vastly more conservative than the immigration reform proposed in 2006 and 2007. Their concern is with “saving the planet” from the supposed grave menace of human beings, with many prominent figures associated with anti-immigration causes and organizations having advocated for population control, abortion and sterilization.


As the evangelical publication World Magazine noted recently, Dr. John Tanton, an environmentalist who served as national president of Zero Population Growth, helped “found FAIR (1979), CIS (1985) and NumbersUSA (1997), groups that separately engage the public, produce research and lobby Congress for the same thing: lower immigration.”

The Wall Street Journal reported a few years back that “CIS, FAIR, NumbersUSA, Project-USA — and more than a half-dozen similar groups that Republicans have become disturbingly comfy with — were founded or funded (or both) by John Tanton, a retired doctor in Michigan. In addition to trying to stop immigration to the U.S., appropriate population-control measures for Dr. Tanton and his network include promoting China’s one-child policy, sterilizing Third World women and wider use of RU-486.”

As the New York Times reported, Tanton also founded Planned Parenthood and Sierra Club chapters. {snip}


Roy Beck, the former editor of Dr. Tanton’s journal, founded NumbersUSA, reportedly with fundraising assistance from Tanton. Today Beck heads NumbersUSA, which can also be expected to criticize the bill. NumbersUSA’s YouTube page features a video of the founder of Earth Day touting Beck’s work on population matters, and this video linking environmental concerns to population and immigration restrictionism.


Yet, in the coming days we can expect to hear FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA criticize the immigration reform bill on conservative grounds. Christian conservatives and pro-life leaders in elected office should beware. When we listen to these organizations, we should ask ourselves what value they actually place on human life and human dignity.

It is worth noting in this context that countless Christian conservative leaders and organizations in fact support immigration reform, including Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association of Evangelicals and members of the Evangelical Immigration Table.