Our VoiceImmigrationNews & Politics

Anti-Immigrant Groups Attack New York Times

Jill Garvey • Apr 26, 2011

The New York Times article that ran last week on white nationalist John Tanton and the organizations he created, elicited heated responses from the anti-immigrant groups it profiled.

Much was made in the article about Tanton’s involvement with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR); he founded the organization and still sits on its board of directors.

FAIR’s president Dan Stein released a statement just a few days after the article appeared. Stein furiously tried to paint FAIR as “never advocating immigration policies that discriminate for or against anyone based on race, creed, color, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”

At the same time, Stein failed to address the fact that the organization continues to allow a white nationalist to sit on its board. He also took several jabs at the New York Times, notably implying that the highly regarded newspaper didn’t do “serious research.”

Center for Immigration Studies got in on the action when executive director Mark Krikorian published not one but two articles on the topic. In his first piece, Krikorian described the Times article as a “dud,” and characterized Tanton’s history of collaborating with white nationalists and advocating for racial eugenics as “thought crimes.”

He ends that article with what appears to be an outstretched hand to those on the opposing side of the immigration debate, writing, “Having failed to drive immigration skeptics out of polite society, maybe now the grownups on the other side of the debate will put this sordid and disreputable episode behind them and actually engage in a thoughtful debate on substance. Even after enduring years of their contempt and defamation, I’m willing to talk. Are they?”

Krikorian seems to have a change of heart, posting a follow-up on his blog that attacks the “other side’s lack of imagination or empathy.” And declaring that the Times article is an “anti-climatic” conclusion to a secret campaign to smear his and other anti-immigrant organizations.

It’s quite an about-face. Conceding in one article that Tanton’s view of immigration through a racial lens was “an unfortunate development” and indicating a willingness “to talk” to immigrant rights supporters, to a second article that declares the Times piece a sign that “their hatemongering campaign has fizzled.”

Roy Beck of NumbersUSA couldn’t help but chime in. NumbersUSA sent out a fundraising email that asks for help fighting off attacks from the mainstream press and calls the New York Times “one of our most bitter foes.” Confusingly, it also states that the Times article “manages to shower NumbersUSA with compliments.”

Maybe Beck is just angry for about what the email calls unfair attacks on his mentor John Tanton.

Like Stein and Krikorian, Beck fails to address the one reason why their organizations were profiled along with Tanton on the front page of the New York Times - their continued affiliation  with the white nationalist who helped to create all of their organizations.

Simply addressing those relationships and acknowledging that there is, in fact, a lot for the public to be concerned about when it comes to Tanton would seem to a be a more honest approach for all three organizations.

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