Our VoiceImmigrationNews & Politics

Heritage Foundation comes under fire from former allies in the anti-immigrant movement

MJ Olahafa • Dec 17, 2010

The Heritage Foundation, which describes itself as “a research and educational institution,” has long been flirting with the anti-immigrant organizations with ties to white nationalists. Now those friendships are coming back to bite the conservative think tank.

Last February, Robert E. Rector, Senior Research Fellow of The Heritage Foundation was on a panel with Mark Krikorian, executive director of Center for Immigration Studies [CIS]; James G. Gimpel, Professor of Government, University of Maryland; and Rep. Steve King, R-IA, member of the House Immigration Reform Caucus [IRC]. During this discussion entitled “Immigration: The Defining Issue for the Republican Party,” Krikorian stated that immigrants are “19th century rural peasant workers” who are coming to 21st century America.

The Heritage Foundation also posted on its website articles by Kris Kobach, the notorious anti-immigrant lawyer and now Kansas Secretary of State. Kobach is a member of Immigration Reform Law Institute [IRLI], the legal arm of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Kris Kobach is the author of various anti-immigration bills across the country, including the racist SB 1070.

The John Tanton Network is a web of controversial anti-immigrant organizations, all of which have been founded and/or funded by John Tanton, a white nationalist. Through his flagstaff organization FAIR Tanton received 1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, an organization which funds research for racial eugenics.

Along with FAIR, CIS, IRC and IRLI, ProEnglish is a core member of the Tanton Network. The group was founded by John Tanton who still sits on its board. ProEnglish’s goal is to make English the official language of the United States.

The group strongly disapproves of efforts to translate materials or services into other languages, especially languages like Spanish which many immigrants to the U.S. speak. When Heritage Foundation launched a Spanish-only website, Libertad.org, ProEnglish was incensed.

Last month it released a statement that read: “We regret that an influential and respected organization like the Heritage Foundation has chosen to turn its back on the ‘melting pot’ principle that has made this country the most successful multi-ethnic nation in the history of the world. […] ProEnglish urges Heritage to reconsider its decision to launch Libertad.org, and join the overwhelming majority of Americans who want to preserve the blessing of a common language for future generations.”

ProEnglish’s application of a term (melting pot), commonly interpreted as a positive reference to America’s immigrant history, shows just how disconnected the group’s agenda is mainstream American viewpoints, even from its conservative allies.

The Heritage Foundation did not respond to requests for comment.

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