Our VoiceImmigration

Politico publishes controversial anti-immigrant leader, again

Jill Garvey • Feb 07, 2011

Politico recently ran an op-ed by controversial figure Roy Beck, CEO of NumbersUSA. This is the same Roy Beck whose career and organization were shaped by white nationalist John Tanton. Tanton is the guy who spent the better part of the last 30 years building the infrastructure for today’s powerful anti-immigrant movement. According to Henry Fernandez at The Center for American Progress:

By his own admission, Tanton’s creations include the largest and best known of the national anti-immigrant organizations: NumbersUSA and FAIR, which stands for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The Tanton-owned Social Contract Press publishes the views of white nationalists such as John Vinson, including a gem about how God prefers racial separation. Tanton also publishes Camp of the Saints, a racist screed that uses fiction to warn white Europeans about an impending invasion of immigrants from India who will overrun the government, kidnap white women and make them into prostitutes.

But one doesn’t have to know much about Tanton to get a sense of NumbersUSA’s agenda; Beck has enough shady activities of his own.

They include posting a blog article on NumbersUSA’s website attacking immigration reform advocates, stating that they “are killing” undocumented immigrants. The post was eventually removed from the group’s site.

Beck also coordinated a “STOP Amnesty in 4 Days” campaign last year. During the campaign, NumbersUSA activated a live Twitter feed for supporters to post their comments. One disturbing Tweet read: “Thanks@NumbersUSA we need somebody to stand up for the rights of white people. JUST SAY NO TO DIVERSITY.”

NumbersUSA removed this tweet from its feed but failed to publicly disavow the message. Around the same time in a members-only section of its website, a comment was posted under the profile of African-American Rep. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) which read, “Only when the people show up to REMOVE these treasonous crooks will justice be served! Bring back the rope!”

The threat remained on NumbersUSA’s website for nearly a month before being removed.

The list of Beck and NumbersUSA’s troubling activities go on. But that didn’t stop Politico’s editors from deeming him publishable.

At an immigrant rights rally last year, one of Roy Beck’s bodyguards was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman who was protesting NumbersUSA’s attendance at the D.C. event. NumbersUSA showed up unannounced to the rally with cameramen and bodyguards to provoke attendees into debating Beck on immigration.

It may come as a shock that Politico would stoop so low as to feature a character like Beck, especially without giving readers any sense of the controversial past of his organization. However, the publication did exactly the same thing less than a year ago.

On its blog The Arena, Politico published an article by Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) - a man even more tightly affiliated with John Tanton.

Last April, FAIR suffered a major blow to its reputation when Dan Stein went on the Rachel Maddow show and lied to viewers about the group’s controversial background. And things only got worse for FAIR when an investigative report by Village Voice Media uncovered the unsavory web of organizations orchestrated by John Tanton. Not only did  it call out FAIR, but also the organizations with which it’s closely tied:

FAIR and its sister nonprofits—NumbersUSA, which also lobbied successfully to squash immigration reform in 2007, and the Center for Immigration Studies, which refers to itself as a non-partisan pro-immigrant think tank—cite each other’s reports and studies and post each other’s findings on their Web sites.

Reporters often quote experts from the three groups as credible mainstream voices of dissent to progressive immigration reform, even though several human rights organizations have flagged FAIR, NumbersUSA, and CIS as white-nationalist hate groups.

Though these three groups maintain that the hate designations are arbitrary and untrue, the vitriolic rhetoric at the root of these organizations’ sensibilities scalds the ear.

“As whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?” asked retired ophthalmologist Dr. John Tanton, founder of all three of these oft-cited groups.

In a time when commentary, news and expert opinions can come from undefined sources, readers depend more than ever on established media outlets like Politico to provide legitimate commentary. Roy Beck certainly isn’t it.

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