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NumbersUSA’s New TV Ad: Selling Anti-Immigrant Myths to African Americans

Stephen Piggott • Jul 20, 2011

John Tanton (l) & Roy Beck (r)

Earlier this week, anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA announced a TV ad campaign in Richmond, Virginia, that calls on the government to limit the number of work visas it issues to immigrants.

The advertisement depicts actors of diverse racial backgrounds issuing lines about immigration having nothing to do with race and religion but rather the number of people coming to the US.

NumbersUSA’s ad is yet another poor attempt by the group to drive a wedge between communities of color – this time in Richmond, a city which lies in Virginia’s 7th District. The 7th District seat in the US House of Representatives is currently held by Republican Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader.

Virginia’s 7th District is 76% white, according to estimates. Richmond, however, is only 42% white and 51% African American, according to estimates. So why is NumbersUSA choosing to air ads in an area heavily populated by African Americans? Likely because it wants the African American community in Richmond to support anti-immigrant measures based on false claims of job competition between Blacks and Latinos.

The ad is also clearly targeting Republican leaders whom NumbersUSA thinks should support anti-immigrant legislation. In a press release announcing the ad, NumbersUSA head Roy Beck stated, “The Republican leadership team has been in charge of the US House of Representatives for seven months and done nothing to change immigration policy to benefit jobless Americans.”

NumbersUSA claims that it is non-partisan and that its only issue is the number of immigrants that are in the US. But when one looks at Roy Beck’s past, a different portrait of his organization’s motives appears. Two years ago, in response to concerns about its relationship to hate groups, Beck wrote that “NumbersUSA has never had connections with white supremacists — not in the past, not in the present, not in the future.”

But when a picture surfaced of Beck speaking at a 1997 white supremacist event he simply stated, “I have never denied having spoken to the Council of Conservative Citizens on my book tour in 1997.”

Beck has continued to ignore concerns about why he and his organization find themselves in similar predicaments years later. Until 2005 Beck was regularly published in John Tanton’s The Social Contract. The journal is edited by Wayne Lutton, a longtime leader in the white nationalist movement and a former board member of the anti-Semitic Charles Martel Society.

As recently as last year, NumbersUSA joined in a project with two notorious anti-immigrant organizations, Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and U.S. Inc.

At the time, CAPS was headed up by Rick Oltman, an alleged member of the Council of Conservative Citizens who was removed from a Republican Party post in 1996 for supporting physical attacks on undocumented immigrants. The other organization, U.S. Inc., is run by white nationalist John Tanton who wrote that hate crime laws in Europe were pushed by “Jewish interests” and revealed to the American public that immigration was simply “a skirmish in a wider war.”

Roy Beck’s relationship with John Tanton, the founder of the modern day anti-immigrant movement, is well-documented. Beck worked under Tanton as an editor for Tanton’s white nationalist journal, The Social Contract, and NumbersUSA was developed and financially supported through U.S. Inc.

This new advertising campaign is part of NumbersUSA’s desperate attempt to shed its reputation as an organization more concerned with the racial make-up of the US than with immigration.

TV audiences in Richmond deserve to know the truth about NumbersUSA.

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