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NumbersUSA Running Low on Hot Air

Jill Garvey • May 10, 2010

Roy Beck

NumbersUSA comes up with new reasons to hate immigrants each week. It’s actually impressive the sheer number of bad things it can link to immigration - maybe the only impressive thing about it.

Ranging from the environment to unemployment to high taxes, somehow, according to NumbersUSA, immigrants are to blame for everything that is wrong with America. Some of these arguments can be quite compelling, but all of them are rooted in distortions and outright lies. At this point the group can’t even come clean about its own origins. On its website you won’t find one mention of controversial white nationalist John Tanton, but that’s exactly where NumbersUSA started.

NumbersUSA CEO Roy Beck lists himself as the founder and gives a lengthy biography of his life in the “Our History” section of the website. Conveniently he leaves out the history of NumbersUSA, most importantly where it came from. It was actually founded in 1997 under the financial and administrative umbrella of Tanton’s U.S. Inc., and did not legally separated from U.S. Inc. until 2002.

So where was “founder” Roy Beck between 1997 and 2002? Well from 1994 - 2001, he worked as a consultant for John Tanton at U.S. Inc. and was paid consulting fees totaling more than $750,000 according to IRS Form 990s obtained by the Center for New Community. At least through the summer of 2000, Beck served as editor of Tanton’s The Social Contract and is still a regular contributor to the quarterly white nationalist journal. At The Social Contract Beck continued implementing Tanton’s vision by publishing books that promote a nationalist ideology focused on the threat of immigrants to the white, English-speaking population.

The leaders of NumbersUSA have never deigned to answer for their dishonesty. Instead their claims have grown increasingly outlandish and associations more insulting to the American people.

Take for example something Roy Beck recently wrote about SB1070 in Arizona, “laws like Arizona’s new one tend to be seen as punitive, when the laws really are compassionate — compassionate toward all the current victims of illegal immigration.”

Uh-huh. A law that detains and charges with a misdemeanor anyone who isn’t carrying around proof of citizenship is compassionate? Call this law what you want, but based on the American public’s reaction so far, selling it has “compassionate” won’t resonate with most folks.

NumbersUSA’s message isn’t meant to resonate with most Americans though, it’s meant to speak to those whose views are a lot more extreme. Let’s not forget the campaign NumbersUSA threw together last March that was promoted by white nationalist David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Vinlanders Social Club - a midwest coalition of racist skinhead groups with a history of violence against members of the black community, and Stormfront, a leading white nationalist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and skinhead social networking forum.

Or the video last year that featured eight experts who are part of John Tanton’s anti-Immigrant network, a network with ties to political extremists including white nationalists. One of those “experts” was Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), also founded by John Tanton (Tanton is still a current board member of the organization). FAIR has taken over 1.2 million dollars from the anti-black Pioneer Fund.

Currently, NumbersUSA is partnering with the American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF). AICF president John Vinson regularly writes for the white supremacist organization Council of Conservative Citizens and is also a founding member of the racist League of the South. Not too long ago NumbersUSA released a report with Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). Rick Oltman, the media director of CAPS, was listed as a member by the Council of Conservative Citizens. Oltman also lost a Republican Party post in California after he supported physical attacks on undocumented immigrants.

The list of icky connections goes on for miles. You wouldn’t know it from listening to Roy Beck and his lackeys. They either plead innocence or deny the connections altogether. But hang around garbage long enough and you’ll start to stink - the group’s recent rash of bizarre fundraising ploys and desperate outreach to tea partiers are signs of its faltering legitimacy. It’s about time.

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