Beyond FAIR Report

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Beyond FAIR Featured

17 January 2012

In this special report the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) delineates the intersection of two trends. One is a measureable drop in the number of local and national anti-immigrant organizations that were established prior to the presidency of Barack Obama. Along the same lines, those organizations which remained experienced a noticeable decrease in the size of their membership and financial support.

Download a printable version of the Beyond FAIR report

 This has led to a relative decline in what IREHR describes as the Nativist Establishment. It should be noted that IREHR is not arguing that these organizations have disappeared altogether. Neither does IREHR contend that such organizations have ceased to be a danger to human rights. Rather, the data suggests that their size and power have fallen relative to the strength they had achieved at their height during the period 2007-2008.

The second trend is a rise in anti-immigrant activism by the Tea Parties. As IREHR reported in its 2010 special report, Tea Party Nationalism, anti-immigrant sentiment and activism have been part of the Tea Party mix from the beginning. Indeed, we noted then that one of the six national factions, 1776 Tea Party, had imported its staff leadership directly from the Minutemen. In Beyond FAIR, however, we note both an increase in anti-immigrant activism by national and local Tea Party groups, as well as a measurable number of anti-immigrant leaders who have joined the Tea Parties and consequently accelerated the rate of anti-immigrant activism by those Tea Parties.

To a noticeable degree, the transfer of organizational allegiances to the Tea Parties noted in trend two is caused by the drop in strength by established anti-immigrant organizations described in trend one.

This re-articulation of the Nativist Establishment into the Tea Parties changes both the shape and strength of the anti-immigrant impulse in American life. Mixed into the activities of multi-issue organizations (the Tea Parties), it will be harder to delineate and counter by immigrant rights advocates. Further, the Tea Party movement by itself is larger and more significant than the Nativist Establishment ever was, even at its height. As a result, anti-immigrant activism has a bigger immediate constituency and is likely to be stronger.

 

Among IREHR's findings in this report:

• IREHR has identified 107 local and state leaders of anti-immigrant groups who have jumped over to the Tea Parties.

• The membership of the Federation for American Immigration Reform fell by 58% from a high in 2007 to its new low in 2011.

• The total gross receipts for ten established nativist organizations fell by 28% from 2008 to 2009.

• The number of Minuteman organizations dropped by more than half, down from 115 local chapters in 2010 to 53 local groups in 2011.

• The number of active local anti-immigrant groups fell 62%, from 320 in 2010, to 121 in 2011.

• Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project in California, is now a member of the 1776 Tea Party faction.

• The number of punitive bills aimed at immigrants that have been introduced in the states has continued to skyrocket, however. Opinion polls show nativist sentiment at dangerously high levels, as the Tea Party has become a new force driving anti-immigrant politics.


The Nativist Establishment

Nativism, active opposition to new immigrants and the changes they bring to the larger society, has been a part of American life since before the Anglo majority in the 1800s regarded Irish newcomers as pariahs. It was noticeably absent from most of the New Right in the mid-1970s and during the Reagan years. It was an observable element in the Klan-Aryan Nations white supremacist configuration during the same period, however. [1] Within the parameters of the mainstream conservative universe, nativism owed its re-emergence largely, but not exclusively, to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (hereinafter FAIR) and the many organizations it helped spin off--particularly after Californians passed the era-defining Proposition 187 in 1994.

The fact that FAIR's founder, John Tanton, was animated by racist concerns has been a matter of the public record since at least 1988.[2] Nevertheless, FAIR has been enormously successful, both in Congress and in civil society, and Tanton has been considered the godfather of the modern anti-immigrant movement.
FAIR and its myriad cohorts, including NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies, US Inc., Americans for Immigration Control, Californians for Population Stabilization, and the Minutemen, have formed the core of what IREHR has labeled the "Nativist Establishment." This constellation of interwoven membership organizations, lobbies, think tanks and action-oriented coalitions has been a major force in American politics. During the George W. Bush presidency, it effectively exercised a veto over immigration reform by congress. It has been the impetus behind the introduction and passage of hundreds of pieces of onerous enforcement-only legislation at the state level. In the near future, the Supreme Court will determine the constitutionality of one of the most controversial pieces of this legislation, Arizona's S.B. 1070, much like the Court did with Proposition 187 in 1994.

At its height in 2007-2008, this network had a base of as many as 1.2 million supporters and over 400 local groups.[3]

In recognition of the outsized role that FAIR and Tanton have played in this network, it has been referred to as The Tanton Network by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others. For the purposes of this report, however, it will be referred to as the Nativist Establishment, in part because we will discuss other organizational centers, particularly the Minuteman border vigilantes and the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Coalition (FIRE Coalition). Also for the purposes of this report, it will be important to distinguish between the declining Establishment and the emerging new forces.


Trend One: The Decline of the Nativist Establishment

The Nativist Establishment includes national institutions (FAIR, US Inc., Americans for Immigration Control, and NumbersUSA), think tanks (Center for Immigration Studies), political action committees (US Immigration Reform PAC, Team USA PAC, and the Minuteman PACs), and a grassroots wing (including the two Minuteman factions, groups with a national footprint like California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR), Californians for Population Stabilization, and ALIPAC, networks like the FIRE Coalition, and assorted local groups).
Available data suggests a significant decline in support for the Nativist Establishment, with the numbers of donors/members, organizational financial support, and the number of local anti-immigrant groups all decreasing since a peak in 2007-2008.

Accurate and reliable information about the membership of the organizations constituting this Nativist Establishment is not readily available. To bolster their image, these groups often exaggerate their levels of support, and have generally been unwilling to substantiate their claims. There are sources of data, however, which do reveal the trajectory of support for the Nativist Establishment. Two of the oldest institutions and one relative newcomer, for example, sell their member/donor lists to direct mail companies. These lists tend to fairly accurately reflect member/donor support, particularly as a trend line. All three of the Establishment groups recorded sizeable declines in support during the past two years.

The oldest and arguably most influential institution in the Nativist Establishment, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, saw its membership fall from a high in 2007 of 45,000 to a low in 2011 of 18,848--a decrease of 58%.[4] Americans for Immigration Control, founded in 1983, saw its membership base decline from 218,931 in 2008 to 73,111 in 2011—a decline of more than 66%.[5] One of the newer groups to join the establishment back in 2005, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps had 115,000 active donors on its mailing list in 2008. Though the group officially shuttered its doors in 2010, its mailing list is still available but has fewer than 2,200 donors—a precipitous drop of 98%.[6]

Financial data provides another indicator of support trends for the Nativist Establishment. Unlike the paucity of membership data available, substantially more financial data is available—at least for the national institutions, political action committees, and grassroots groups with national footprints.

Figure1

 

The apex for Nativist Establishment financial support occurred in 2008. In that year, ten different groups had a total income of $31,343,351.[7] By 2009, total gross receipts for these same groups had dropped to $22,403,267 a loss of more than 28% from the previous year.[8] For 2010, three of these groups have not yet made financial reports available. As a result, it is not yet possible to develop a complete picture for 2010. But for the seven groups for which reports are available, financial support dropped 32.8% from 2008 ($27,632,012) to 2010 ($18,565,445).[9] For a complete financial picture, see Appendix B.

To varying degrees, all of the significant players in the Nativist Establishment experienced the drop. Financial support for FAIR (including IRLI and FAIR CTF), for instance, declined just over 22% from 2008 to 2010. NumbersUSA financial support plummeted nearly 46% from 2008 to 2010, casting real doubt on the organization's claims of expanding membership. John Tanton's US Inc., which houses the nativist journal The Social Contract and has provided important seed money to local groups in the past, saw gross receipts drop from $3,360,118 in 2008 to $1,411,666 in 2010—a decline of roughly 58%.

What was true for the core organizations of the Nativist Establishment was also true for their political action committees, though not as dramatically.

For the Nativist Establishment political action committees (ALIPAC, US Immigration Reform PAC, the Minuteman PACs, and Tom Tancredo's Team America PAC), the high water mark for contributions occurred in 2006, when the groups brought in a combined $1,623,319.[10] Totals for 2010 declined to a total of $1,216,811—a 25% decrease.[11] Between 2008 and 2010, contributions to the establishment PACs declined by 17%.

 

Figure2


The FAIR-affiliated US Immigration Reform PAC had only $8,200 in cash on hand on July 1, 2011, according to its most recently available FEC filing. By way of contrast, in 2007, it had $24,510 in cash on hand at end of the year.

Team America PAC enters 2012 in a noticeably weakened condition. This political action committee is chaired by one of the anti-immigrant movement's seminal figures, Tom Tancredo, and its executive director is Angela Bay Buchanan. As a Republican Congressman from Colorado, Tancredo founded the so-called House Immigration Reform Caucus, which has blocked meaningful reform legislation with its "enforcement-only" policies. Ms. Buchanan served President Reagan as Treasurer of the United States and managed commentator Pat Buchanan's presidential campaigns. These campaigns included strong anti-immigrant planks, and succeed in writing opposition to birthright citizenship into the 1996 Republican Party platform.

Team America PAC spent $424 in 2011 in an unsuccessful attempt to save Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce from a re-call election. During the last seven years, Pearce had been one of the most visible faces of government for anti-immigrant politics in that state—a fate he shared with Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio. Pearce lost his recall, and Arpaio faces local opposition and a Justice Department investigation. Team America PAC now has only $5,237 cash on hand, according to its December 2011 report to the FEC.

Various Minuteman political action committees similarly fell on hard times. In 2006, Minuteman PAC Inc., associated with the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and its founder Chris Simcox, received $997,574 in contributions. In 2007 it received $902,290, in 2008 that number was $826,712, in 2009 it was $594,200 in 2009, and in 2010 it was $513,979. According to its October Quarterly report to the Federal Election Commission, in 2011, Minuteman PAC Inc. had just $12,525 cash on hand, and had reported $45,835 in individual contributions.[12] While the trend line of contributions tends to go down almost from the start, the fall between 2010 and 2011 is of a significantly larger magnitude. To raise cash in 2011, the Minuteman PAC sent out racist birther fundraising appeals and added an Islamophobic "Third Jihad Watch" section to their website.[13]

The other PAC affiliated with the MCDC, the Declaration Alliance Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC has just $500 cash on hand, and received a minimal $27 in 2011.[14]

While the Minuteman Project-affiliated Minuteman Victory PAC still has $39,546 on hand, it received only $87 in new contributions during 2011.[15]

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), once known for its innovative and confrontational tactics and as a force among the grassroots, announced in November 2011 that it was (temporarily) closing its doors, with the hope of re-opening its operation in 2012. It reportedly failed in its after recent fund-raising efforts, and had only $327 in bank on July 1, 2011, according to FEC reports.[16]


The State of Local Anti-Immigrant Groups

In addition to membership levels and financial support, another important indicator of the relative strength of the Nativist Establishment is the level of activity by local groups. To determine the status of these groups, IREHR engaged in a several step process. We started with a list of 320 local groups listed as "nativist extremist" groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010. We examined the materials available on each specific organization's website. We conducted internet and news database searches, scouring for any possible activity. We combed through our archives. And we checked-in with journalists, researchers, and local human rights supporters for additional data. The activity level was determined by the following criteria: if the group had organized, participated in, or promoted any rallies, forums, meetings, protests or other events; if group leaders we visible in the community, being quoted on events in the media, sending out press releases, etc.; if the group had produced or distributed any materials, such as a newsletter or email alerts; if the group was maintaining an active online community or discussion forum. If positive results came back for any of those criteria, the group was considered "active" in 2011.

The dramatic surge in local anti-immigrant groups, particularly between 2005 and 2008, poisoned the civic conversation about immigration. National nativist institutions relied on the activity of these local groups to push policy changes at the national, state, and local levels.

Overall, the number of state and local anti-immigrant organizations has fallen decidedly in the last two years. In 2010, The Southern Poverty Law Center's list of "nativist extremist groups" included 115 local Minuteman chapters, 137 chapters of the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement (FIRE) Coalition, and 68 other groups.[17]

An IREHR examination of those groups finds an astonishing 62% drop in the overall number of local groups active in 2011, down to just 121 in one year. The remaining groups include 53 local Minuteman chapters, just 10 chapters of the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement (FIRE) Coalition, and 58 other groups.
To begin to understand what happened to these groups, developments with the Minuteman and the FIRE Coalition require a closer look.


Case Study: Time's up for the Minutemen

At the border vigilante end of the Nativist Establishment, an examination of Minuteman organizations also reveals a sharp decline. Two factions, the Minuteman Project and the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), drove much of the local growth during the years 2005 to 2008.

In 2010, MCDC had 38 local chapters. In 2011, after MCDC officially shuttered its national headquarters, only 19 of the local groups with which it was formerly associated showed any signs of activity.[18]

The other faction, Jim Gilchrist's Minuteman Project continues to operate, but at a reduced level. Of the 77 local chapters active in 2010, only 34 remained active in 2011. Several factors, including negative in-fighting and lawsuits, have contributed to the Minuteman Project's decline. One incident seemed to have had an outsized impact. In June 2009, Shawna Forde, who had been one of Gilchrist's local chapter leaders, and two of her cohorts, broke into the home and brutally murdered Arizonan Raul Flores and his nine-year old daughter Brisenia. The murders created a lot of negative publicity for the gun-toting border vigilantes of the Minuteman groups, not unlike the way the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal office building in 1995 damaged the public reputation of the militias.[19]

Following the murders, Gilchrist wrote a year-end fundraising letter in which he worried about the loss of volunteers, and confided, "It has been a hard year for me here at Jim Gilchrist's Minuteman Project."[20] Former Minuteman Civil Defense Corps vice president Al Garza told Giutra Bahadur of the Nation Investigative Fund, "A lot of people felt, well, you're a Minuteman, you're a killer. The name Minuteman has been tainted by organizations that didn't want us at the border, that say we're killers, that we've done harm."[21]

In total, of the 115 groups connected to MCDC and the Minuteman Project in 2010, only 53 showed any signs of activity in 2011, a 54% overall decrease in local groups in one year.


Case Study: The Rise and Fall of the FIRE Coalition

The Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Coalition, or FIRE Coalition, emerged in the fall of 2005. It attracted activists less interested in lobbying Congress and writing letters and more interested in direct action protests and disruptions. They targeted immigrant day laborers and employers, companies that marketed to immigrants, and politicians they regarded as "un-American." FIRE Coalition activists harassed day labor centers and shape-up sites with inflammatory protest signs and video cameras.

The FIRE Coalition also launched a number of web-based campaigns. Among these projects: WeHireAliens.com and SendTheTaxMan.com, targeted companies allegedly hiring undocumented workers; AbsolutelyNot.com, claimed to boycott the Absolute Vodka company for "anti-American and treasonous actions"; MillerBoycott.com promoted a similar boycott of Miller Brewing; and OperationBankrupt.com tried to start a boycott of Bank of America for giving bank accounts to undocumented immigrants. These campaigns generated controversy and media attention, which in turn helped the coalition groups attract new members.

By December 2006, the FIRE Coalition had expanded to 75 "teams" (local chapters) in 29 states. A year later, at the end of 2007, the group had grown to 110 teams in 34 states. By mid-2008, the number of teams swelled to 131 in 33 states, although its pace of activism had already started to slow. It became the largest constellation of anti-immigrant groups, with 137 local chapters in 2010.

The FIRE Coalition burned out almost as quickly as it ignited. IREHR's analysis shows that in 2011 only 10 of the FIRE Coalition groups in nine states were still active. Moreover, the level of activity of the remaining groups declined significantly.

Figure3

This chart indicates the number of events that FIRE coalition groups have held from 2006 to 2008.[22]

It is difficult to assess the exact cause or causes of the sharp decline in numbers, money, and membership. One reason may be the economy. As the economy soured in 2007 and 2008, many middle class Americans had less money for discretionary spending of all types. Contributions and membership dues and activities might have suffered as result.

Another factor may have been the extent that the Nativist Establishment was a victim of its own prior success. For more than a decade it has had veto power over the legislative agenda on immigration. At the federal level, they have effectively stymied any effort at comprehensive reform. As a result, raids and deportations by federal agents have remained at high levels. In the states, it has helped write and then support legislation that is so onerous as to force undocumented immigrants (and Latinos generally) to pack up and leave. This approach, known internally as "enforcement through attrition," has produced draconian legislation in Arizona, Georgia and Alabama. Indeed, a recent study by the National Conference of State Legislators showed that in 2011 there were 1,607 bills introduced in the 50 states this year, with 197 laws enacted and 109 resolutions adopted in forty-two states.[23]

Although some of this legislation has been drafted with the assistance of FAIR's Immigration Reform Law Institute counsel Kris Kobach, who also serves as Secretary of State for Kansas, the established lobbies have become increasingly irrelevant over time. It is less necessary to give a platform to FAIR's executive director Dan Stein, for example, when any number of congressional representatives and state legislators are making the same arguments.

Further, human rights groups have spent years exposing the "scientific" racists, the hard core white nationalists, the editor with a direct connection to a Holocaust denial organization, and others of a similar political vintage inside the Nativist Establishment that has marked them as outside of acceptable and responsible discourse.[24] John Tanton's fixation with race and demography, along with other controversial statements by leadership figures has further sullied their interests. And the above-mentioned murders significantly damaged the whole cause.

Further complicating the situation: the institutional leadership of the Nativist Establishment fears its own grassroots. According to John Tanton, the one-time central figure in this constellation of organizations, "working with the grassroots is not easy." He has fretted about a lack of control over grassroots groups, cited examples of a volunteer potentially violating IRS non-profit rules, and of another who claimed to have been abducted by space aliens. "The problem, as someone once pointed out is working with the grassroots without getting 'grass stains,' " Tanton wrote.[25] As a result, the established organizations have hired few local leaders onto their national staffs. Institutional continuity is hindered as is the ability to capture new, more grassroots-oriented, shifts in public opinion. And the old-line groups have failed to harness new forms of anti-immigrant activity, particularly as they have emerged in the Tea Party movement.


Enter Tea Party Nativism

Whatever the cause or causes of the decline in membership and organizational strength of the established anti-immigrant organizations, the Tea Party movement has captured much of the popular anti-immigrant sentiment. The Tea Parties have broadened the reach of this sentiment beyond the shores of the established centers. To a significant extent, the Tea Parties have usurped the Nativist Establishment and in the process swallowed up the many of its activists. And it has propelled the anti-immigrant movement as a whole forward into the 21st century.

From the beginning the leadership ranks of most of the national Tea Party factions have included nativist politics in their mix of issues. Moreover, opinion polls and other data indicate that there is a high level of anti-immigrant sentiment among Tea Party supporters. 

In recent months, the Occupy Wall Street protests have knocked the Tea Party movement out of its formerly prominent position in the news cycle. Around the same time, polling data began to show both an increase in opposition to the Tea Parties in the general population, as well as a small drop-off in support on the periphery of the movement. There are probably multiple causes for the rise in this disapproval, including buyers' remorse after the 2010 elections, anger at the budget impasse in Congress last summer, and messages about the racism in Tea Party ranks. With the fall off the front page, some commentators have rushed to write the Tea Parties' obituary.
Rumors of the death of the Tea Party, however, are greatly exaggerated. The core of the Tea Party movement has continued to expand in size during 2010 and 2011. And it has continued to expand its reach into the anti-immigrant universe.

As previously noted in IREHR's 2010 report, Tea Party Nationalism, there are six different national Tea Party factions. The membership core has increased over 32% in size during the last year from 289,000 at the end of 2010 to over 380,000 at the end of 2011. These national network factions and their members are clearly defined, and can be clearly analyzed. There are also more than 3,000 identifiable local Tea Party groups.

Figure4

 

A full financial picture of the Tea Party is hard to develop. Half of the six national Tea Party factions are for-profit corporations who do not open their books to the public. A fourth faction is listed as a non-profit, but hasn't released their financial filings. The data that is available, however, suggests that the Tea Party movement's finances are trending up.

For the fiscal year ending May 31, 2010, the first year for which financial data is available, Tea Party Patriots brought in $706,966.[26] For the fiscal year ending May 31, 2011, the newly created Tea Party Patriots Foundation brought in income of $6,336,000 in its first year.[27]

FreedomWorks, one of the national groups that pre-dated the birth of the Tea Party, also benefited financially from the Tea Party explosion. Gross receipts for the two FreedomWorks nonprofit organizations, FreedomWorks Inc, and the FreedomWorks Foundation for 2008--the year before the Tea Parties emerged--were $7,495,442.[28] In 2009, that total increased to $9,028,594.[29] By 2010 (the last year for which financial data is currently available), receipts climbed to $13,805,635—an increase of over six million dollars in just two years.[30] The FreedomWorks Inc. PAC also grew. In 2008, the PAC reported just $497 in total contributions in 2008 and $222 in 2009.[31] In 2010, income shot up to $688,139.[32] Financial information for the new FreedomWorks super-PAC, FreedomWorks for America, was not yet available as of the end of 2011.

Like FreedomWorks, the PAC that created the Tea Party Express, the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, came into being before the birth of the Tea Party. In 2008, its income was $1,367,421, most of which it spent attacking then-candidate Barack Obama.[33] In 2009, contributions increased to $2,063,425.[34] In 2010, contributions skyrocketed to $5,621,499—a jump of 311% from 2008 to 2010. Year-end financial data is not yet available for 2011.[35]

Unlike the precipitous drop in funds for the Nativist Establishment, income grew rapidly for Tea Party groups during the same period, according to the available data. Adding up the numbers from nonprofit and political action committee sources, the Tea Party national factions finances over the period 2008-2010 grew from $8,862,863 to $25,763,135—an increase of 198%.

As IREHR noted in our 2010 report, Tea Party Nationalism, four of the five membership-based factions, have engaged in some form of anti-immigrant activism. So has the Tea Party Express, a political action committee. Indeed, one national faction, the 1776 Tea Party (also known as TeaParty.org) is actually run by leaders of Jim Gilchrist's Minuteman Project. Gilchrist joined this faction in December 2010, after it became evident that the Minuteman grass roots was drying up and the Tea Parties were flourishing.

Picking up where Tea Party Nationalism reporting ended in mid-2010, further analysis of activity indicates that Tea Party nativism continued to grow throughout 2010 and 2011. Indeed, with the turn by national and state leaders toward state-level organizing in 2011, anti-immigrant politics were elevated on the Tea Party agenda.
During this period, Arizona was still ground zero in the fight over immigration, particularly after S.B. 1070 was signed into law on April 23, 2010. Officially called the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, S.B. 1070 makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an immigrant to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents, and obligates police to make an attempt to determine a person's immigration status. Any person arrested cannot be released without confirmation of the person's legal immigration status by the federal government. The law also prohibits state, county, and local officials from limiting or restricting "the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law," and provides that any legal Arizona resident can sue the agencies or officials in question to compel such full enforcement. It remains the broadest and strictest measure of its kind, and it is currently before the United States Supreme Court, which will render a decision on its constitutionality sometime in 2012.

In October 2010, the Tea Party Express, not a membership faction but a political action committee, featured arch-nativist Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County, Arizona to draw Tea Party crowds. At a Tea Party Express bus stop event in Las Vegas, Arpaio drew a throng of nearly two thousand people. He came onstage while a Tea Party band sang, "We stand with you Arizona / The rule of law in this land / What part of 'illegal' don't they understand." And Arpaio stoked the crowd with lurid tales of his border war.[36]

During the last half of 2010, five of the six factions actively supported S.B. 1070, and when immigrant rights groups launched a boycott of Arizona because of that legislation, the Patriot Action Network Tea Party faction joined with the John Birch Society and the Ten Amendment Center to sponsor a national conference on states' rights "nullification" in Phoenix in January 2011.

Figure5

Just a month later, in February 2011, Tea Party Patriots came to Phoenix for a national convention. The event drew as many as 2000 people. Despite the repeated Tea Party Patriot refrain that anti-immigrant politics weren't part of the Tea Party agenda, the conference site was chosen specifically to support S.B. 1070 and nativism was front and center.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer opened up this convention by thanking the Tea Party, "You didn't have to choose our home…I know you are here because we share a common cause in taking back our country. We want our borders secured. We want the federal government out of our daily lives."[37] The event featured nativist luminaries including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and State Senator Russell Pearce. Tea Party Patriots also put anti-immigrant inspired voter suppression work high on the national organizational agenda at the convention.
In a similar vein, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reintroduced the DREAM Act, which made provision for otherwise undocumented young people to attend college, Tea Party groups mobilized their supporters to prevent it from coming to a vote. The national Tea Party Patriots and many of their local chapters, for instance, worked with the Nativist Establishment group NumbersUSA to turn up opposition. They inundated the phone lines of Republican Senators who had supported such measures in the past.

During the summer months of 2011, the fight shifted from Arizona to Alabama. On June 9, 2011 Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed into law H.B. 56. The law made it a crime to be without status, required law enforcement to check the papers of anyone suspected of being undocumented, mandated that public schools check the legal status of students, abrogated any contract made with an undocumented immigrant, and made it a felony for undocumented immigrants to contract with a government entity (including for such basic amenities as having water service).

As with Arizona, five of the six national Tea Party factions showed their support for Alabama's new harsh law. They circulated petitions, and held rallies and similar support events across the country. Sensing the momentum built up by Arizona and Alabama, local Tea Party groups pushed similar legislation in dozens of states during the year.



Further, both the Patriot Action Network and Tea Party Nation continued to promote an explicitly racist brand of nativism. Tea Party Nation Founder Judson Phillips, for instance, called for a return to the racist 1924 National Origins Act, and warned that immigrants are causing "White Anglo-Saxon protestant extinction." He called for gutting the 14th Amendment's birthright citizenship rights.[38]


Not all the Tea Party national factions gravitated immediately to the nativist cause, however, and some groups attacked Dick Armey, the chair of FreedomWorks, for being "soft on immigration."[39] In February 2011, FreedomWorks turned 180 degrees on the issue. They launched a new FreedomConnector website, which opened the floodgates to nativist activity. FreedomWorks promoted dozens of anti-immigrant Tea Party events in 2011.[40]


As IREHR has explored elsewhere, Tea Party ranks are permeated with concerns about race and national identity–-including immigration. From the beginning, Tea Partiers promoted a brand of nationalism that defined immigrants, people of color, poor people, liberals, trade union members, etc. as wholly un-American parasites.
Consider in this vein, the so-called Birtherism so popular in the Tea Parties. "Birtherism" is the belief that President Obama is not a natural-born American, and is thereby not constitutionally allowed to be president. Instead, Obama is foreign, un-American. At its core, this belief explicitly incorporates an anti-immigrant attack on the President and uses racist imagery to make its case. And it is still alive among the local Tea Party ranks. Five of the six national Tea Party factions have had "birthers" on their national staffs (four of the six still do). 

 Islamophobia has also taken root in the Tea Party, with all six national factions providing a platform to anti-Islam organizations. And Islamophobia also contains a nativist root.


Some Tea Party leaders have tried to pretend that nativism doesn't exist in their movement. They contend that they are simply sticking to issues of "fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets," not "social issues" like immigration. Some outside human rights observers have even argued that "the tea party and the anti-immigrant movement are far from a perfect union."[41]

Combined with the high levels of identifiable nativist activity in the Tea Party, new survey data on the attitudes of Tea Party supporters further suggests that the Nativist Establishment and the Tea Party may be a much better fit than people think.

The University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality asked Tea Party supporters questions about immigration as part of its 2011 Multi-State Survey of Race and Politics. It found that Tea Party supporters were more likely than non-supporters to hold anti-immigrant attitudes.


When asked if immigrants "fail to adopt American life," 68% of Tea Party "true believers" agreed with the statement, compared to 55% of "middle of the road" respondents, and 36% of "true skeptics" opposed to the Tea Party.[42] The "true believers" are most likely to comport with the strata that IREHR has identified as the enrolled core of the movement and the secondary circle of active sympathizers.

Asked if "immigrants are too powerful," 54% of Tea Party "true believers" agreed with the statement, compared to 32% of "middle road" respondents, and just 17% of "true skeptics" opposed to the Tea Party.[43] The survey also asked about whether respondents favored repealing the birthright citizenship provisions found in the Fourteenth Amendment's birthright citizenship protections. 56% of Tea Party "true believers" supported such a measure, compared to just 38% of "middle road" respondents and 39% of "true skeptics" opposed to the Tea Party.[44]

Similarly a recent Pew poll, found that "Tea Party supporters are 20 percentage points more likely than registered voters overall to say border security is the most important priority in dealing with illegal immigration."[45] These opinion polls support IREHR's contention that the Tea Parties have become significant centers for anti-immigrant sentiment. Further evidence shows that anti-immigrant activists have been inside Tea Party structures from the beginning.


Trend Two: The Nativist Establishment and the Tea Party

The inter-locking of the Tea Party and anti-immigrant movements is a multi-sided phenomenon. Tea Parties have included anti-immigrant sentiment, action and activists from the start, as IREHR has documented. In this report, IREHR documents the extent to which organizations and individual leaders that comprise the Nativist Establishment have reached out and found a place inside the Tea Parties.

In the course of IREHR's ongoing work monitoring anti-immigrant activity, IREHR has identified just over six hundred different leaders in the Nativist Establishment—those who have played a significant recent role in a national institution, think tank, political action committee, or grassroots group. In this report, IREHR catalogues 107 different leaders in the Nativist Establishment who have been involved in the Tea Party at some level. This activity includes a range of participation levels: from attending Tea Party rallies, to speaking at Tea Party events, to joining one (or more) national Tea Party faction, to taking up a leadership role in a local Tea Party group.

Figure 6: Location of Nativist Establishment Leaders Active in the Tea Party

The 107 Nativist Establishment leaders IREHR has identified come from 97 different anti-immigrant groups including: seven national nativist institutions, 36 Minuteman chapters, 23 FIRE Coalition groups, and 32 other local nativist groups. Among these Nativist Establishment leaders, 46 are members of one or more of the national Tea Party factions.

This didn't happen overnight. And not all sectors of the Nativist Establishment reacted the same way.

Grassroots nativist groups experienced the rise of the Tea Party first-hand and responded quickly. Consider in this regard the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement (FIRE) Coalition. As noted earlier in this report, FIRE Coalition activity had declined sharply during 2008, and the remaining constituent groups and individuals were looking for a way to rekindle their spark. FIRE Coalition leaders quickly identified and sought to capture some the energy of the opposition to then President-elect Obama after the 2008 election.

In December 2008, FIRE Coalition leaders launched a second enterprise, The Patriot Coalition. Of the nine chapters of this new Patriot Coalition, all but one was established by people previously connected with the FIRE Coalition. While the FIRE Coalition still targeted immigrants, the Patriot Coalition expanded its range of issues, including the battle against "globalism," "socialism" and the "loss of National Identity and Culture."

This Patriot group never really grew, but it did become a stepping stone into Tea Party activism.[46]

FIRE Coalition groups began promoting and participating in Tax Day Tea Party events as early as April 2009. And many FIRE Coalition leaders stayed with the Tea Parties. Of the ninety four different FIRE Coalition team leaders, at least twenty three became active with Tea Party groups, either at the local or national level.

Figure7

For example, Bob Bowser, once the Kansas state director for the FIRE Coalition became the state director for the Patriot Action Network (the Tea Party formerly known as ResistNet). Dennis Drake, the FIRE Coalition's Southern Indiana team leader, became a Patriot Action Network coordinator, in addition to becoming a member of the Tea Party Patriots and the local Tri-State Tea Party. In Mississippi, the director of the statewide FIRE Coalition group, MFIRE became a director in the Central Mississippi Tea Party Inc., as well as becoming a member of the Tea Party Patriots and the Patriot Action Network.

A close ally of the FIRE Coalition groups, William Gheen and his group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) followed the FIRE Coalition into the Tea Party. In April 20009, ALIPAC pulled together a coalition of nativist groups to show up at Tax Day Tea Party rallies.[47] The anti-immigrant groups set up booths at these events, handed out fliers and waved signs with slogans like, "No Taxation For Illegal Immigration", "Illegal Aliens Steal Our Tax Resources!", "Secure Our Border Secure Our Taxes!", "No Tax Benefits For Illegal Aliens!", and "Amnesty Equals Higher Taxes!"[48] In the fall of 2009, ALIPAC piggybacked onto Tea Party Rallies across the country, holding "Tea Party Against Amnesty" events in over 40 cities.[49]

In 2011, Gheen shifted the ALIPAC rhetorical attacks to appeal more directly to the Tea Party crowd. Instead of just immigrant bashing, Gheen set his sights on president Obama, who he argued has become a dictator who plans use undocumented immigrants to wage war on "White America." He went so far as to proclaim that, "extra-political activities that I can't really talk about because they're all illegal and violent" may be needed to take down the president.[50]

Minutemen groups also used the Tea Party to re-invent themselves.

After Al Garza resigned from his post as Minuteman Civil Defense Corps vice-president in August 2009, he created a new group, also called The Patriots Coalition.[51] (Though they shared the same name, Garza's group was separate from The Patriot Coalition formed by FIRE Coalition leaders.) And Garza's Patriot Coalition quickly became enmeshed in the Tea Party scene.

Around this same period, Minuteman Project executive director Steve Eichler and media director Tim Bueler worked their way into the leadership of the 1776 Tea Party, the smallest of the national factions, as noted in IREHR's report, Tea Party Nationalism. Eichler and Bueler formally became corporate directors of the 1776 Tea Party on October 28, 2009, according to records filed with the Texas Secretary of State. Much of the day-to-day operations and the public relations of the 1776 Tea Party shifted to Eichler, who became the 1776 Tea Party executive director in addition to his corporate board role, and to Bueler, who became media director while also keeping his corporate board role. To top it all off, their Minuteman Project boss, Jim Gilchrist, officially joined the 1776 Tea Party on December 12, 2010.[52]

Chris Simcox ceased Minuteman Civil Defense Corps operations in 2010, around the time he started to campaign for the Senate. He became a feature on the Tea Party rally circuit during the year, speaking to numerous Tea Party crowds in Arizona. He lost in the GOP primary.

The MCDC headquarters may have closed, but Simcox didn't shut down the lucrative related political action committees. In 2011 the Simcox-affiliated Minuteman PAC rebranded itself to appeal to the Tea Party movement. To become more Tea Party-like, the PAC emailed out racist birther fundraising appeals and added an Islamophobic "Third Jihad Watch" section to their website.[53]

Overall, thirty six leaders of various Minuteman groups have been active with the Tea Party. That figure includes the national figures like Gilchrist, Simcox, Eichler, Bueler, and Garza. It also includes local leaders like Lex Price, the former director of the Emporia, Kansas chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. Price became a leader in the Emporia Tea Party and Kansans for Constitutional Integrity.

In addition, several of the remaining local Minuteman chapters have worked in partnership with local Tea Party groups. Differentiating where the Minutemen stop and the Tea Party begins has become increasingly difficult.

Even Glenn Spencer, with a border vigilante vintage that pre-dates the Minutemen, has tried to use the Tea Party to resurrect his career. Spencer had run an anti-immigrant outfit called American Border Patrol, but his visibility had greatly diminished in recent years, particularly after his record of racism and anti-Semitism became well known.[54] The Tea Party movement has given Spencer a new staging area, however, including an opportunity to promote his racist "reconquista" conspiracy theory. Spencer is a "rising star in the Tea Party movement" who travels "almost weekly" to speak at Tea Party events, according to Media Matters for America. Tours of Spencer's ranch, including a briefing from Spencer, are being sponsored by the Arizona 2012 Project, an affiliate of the Tea Party Patriots. Spencer's ranch was also used to host a 2010 Tea Party Nation anti-immigrant rally that drew nearly six hundred people.[55]

In addition to the previously mentioned leaders, thirty other grassroots leaders from the Nativist Establishment have been active in the Tea Party. Some have taken leadership positions in local Tea Party groups. Some have joined national Tea Party factions. And others have changed the name of their local nativist group to try and fit in with the Tea Party movement.

A complete list of the leaders that IREHR has uncovered is available in Appendix A.


The Nativist Institutional Response

Unlike the grassroots anti-immigrant groups who quickly joined the Tea Party, the national nativist institutions were slower to respond.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, always leery of their own grassroots, initially kept its distance from the Tea Party. The first time FAIR started to get involved in a Tea Party event, they pulled out. FAIR had initially a signed on as a "bronze" sponsor of the Tea Party Nation convention in Nashville in 2010, and was scheduled to give a nativist workshop at the conference. They abruptly abandoned the convention, however, apparently concerned that the for-profit status of the Tea Party Nation could jeopardize FAIR's 501c3 non-profit status. FAIR staff also expressed anxiety about the possibility of funds from the convention being funneled to political candidates.[56]

After seeing several of their peers successfully get involved with the Tea Party during 2010, FAIR tried again in 2011. FAIR deployed at least three different field staff to speak to Tea Party groups and expand the reach of the Nativist Establishment inside the movement. FAIR regional field representative, Joyce Mucci, spoke at Tea Party events in Baton Rouge, Tampa and at Inverness, Florida.[57] FAIR's National Field Director, Susan Tully, became a member of the Tea Party Patriots. She spoke at a Tea Party meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, and in September 2011 she conducted meetings with Tea Party groups in California.[58] Robert Najmulski, FAIR's Northeast field representative, spoke at a meeting of the Arian, Michigan 9-12 Project on January 13, 2011, the Greater Boston Tea Party on August 2, 2011, and the Lorain County (Ohio) Tea Party on November 12, 2011.[59]

FAIR's board has also gotten involved. James G. McDonald, a member of the FAIR board of advisors and head of the Virginia Coalition for Immigration Reform, became a member of the Patriot Action Network. Former FAIR board member Peter Gadiel, president of 9-11 Families for a Secure America joined the 1776 Tea Party.[60]

Unlike FAIR, NumbersUSA has historically been less skittish about involvement with its grassroots. (That might be one reason why NumbersUSA founder Roy Beck spoke at a white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens meeting in 1997). Indeed, of all the beltway institutions of the Nativist Establishment, NumbersUSA has most aggressively pursued the Tea Party.

When FAIR pulled out of the aforementioned Tea Party Nation convention, NumbersUSA replaced them and used the opportunity ramp up their presence in the Tea Party. They announced that they hired an official Tea Party "Liaison" to interface with Tea Party leaders and speak about its cause at Tea Party rallies.[61]

There have been areas of disagreement between NumbersUSA and some Tea Party factions, however. Particularly Tea Party Nation was opposed to E-Verify legislation—which would require employers to electronically verify immigration status of new hires. NumbersUSA supported it.

Despite this disagreement, NumbersUSA work in the Tea Parties has been significant and effective. For instance, In April 2010, the NumbersUSA "Local Power team" handed out more than 10,000 anti-immigrant fliers in Boston and Washington.[62] Chad MacDonald, the NumbersUSA Tea Party liaison has been credited with working closely with the national staff of Tea Party Patriots to coordinate their efforts in helping to defeat the federal DREAM Act.[63]

The growing proliferation of materials from FAIR, NumbersUSA, and other groups of the Nativist Establishment amongst local Tea Party groups serves as another sign of expanding reach inside the Tea Party movement.


Case Study: Tea Party Immigration Coalition

The interlocking of the Nativist Establishment with the Tea Party movement continued apace in 2011. With the creation of the Immigration Tea Party Coalition, it increased significantly.

The Tea Party Immigration Coalition emerged at the end of 2010 when Rick Oltman published an "Immigration Contract with America." This quasi-manifesto included ending birthright citizenship "by statute," adding, "The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was not adopted to confer citizenship on those born to illegal aliens."[64]

Rick Oltman was a one-time member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist organization descended directly from the Jim Crow-era white Citizens Councils. Oltman had worked as a staff member for FAIR (1994 to 2007) and Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) (2007-2011). From his position at CAPS he helped launch the coalition. Two other figures with histories in the Nativist Establishment help lead the coalition. John Stahl, a former Pennsylvania state representative who was active in a FAIR front-group, State Legislators for Legal Immigration, is the chairman. The other principal is Mike Cutler, who currently runs 9-11 Families for a Secure America. Oltman is the vice president.[65]

This new anti-immigrant Tea Party has attracted a mix of at least ten different Tea Party and local nativist groups from the states of Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Pennsylvania.[66]

Oltman, particularly, has articulated his hope that this new coalition can help weld a significant segment of the Tea Party movement to the anti-immigrant cause. On a Tea Party radio program he said, "what I want to do is we want to take this Tea Party energy, which is the most powerful voice in politics in America today, and there are a lot of issues out there, and if immigration is not your issue that's fine, but if it is your issue, give me an email."[67]

Further, Oltman has been explicit about tying new Tea Parties specifically to the older Nativist Establishment: "TPIC supports the efforts of national immigration policy groups such as NumbersUSA, FAIR, the Immigration Reform Caucus and the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus of the House of Representatives."[68]

There's no better example of this new Tea Party-Nativist synergy than in the state of Kansas. Nativists figures like Ed Hayes, who once headed the Heart of America chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and Kris Kobach, who is "of counsel" to the FAIR-connected Immigration Reform Law Institute while also serving a term as Kansas Secretary of State, appeared at Tea Party events as early as April of 2009.[69]

During the past year, the tempo picked up. A November 9, 2011 news conference by a coalition of Kansas Roman Catholic and Protestant bishops was disrupted by activists from the Tea Party Immigration Coalition. The religious leaders had gathered in the state capitol of Topeka to offer their faith-based perspective on balancing the desire for secure borders with the right of individuals to emigrate from their homelands. Renee Slinkard, a Coalition Tea Partier from Paola, Kansas who also runs the group Kansas Citizens for Immigration Law Enforcement led the charge. She demanded to know why the bishops would want to make it easier for "illegal immigrants" to gain citizenship "when we are faced with all this terrorism, crime, human trafficking."[70]

This Tea Party Immigration Coalition is planning to back several pieces of anti-immigrant legislation in 2012, including repeal of the state's version of the DREAM Act, passage of E-Verify requirements for employers, and legislation modeled on Alabama's harsh law (which was written for Alabama by Kansas Secretary of State Kobach).[71]

The Tea Party Immigration Coalition won't be the only Tea Party group promoting anti-immigrant policies in Kansas. The Topeka 912 Tea Party group has been advocating for a bill to repeal the DREAM act this year.

The Salina-based Central Kansas Patriot Action Network (CKPAN) is also jumping on this bandwagon. Local supporter Mary Ann Hartzler encapsulated many of these sentiments, writing on the CKPAN Facebook page, "I'm sick of hearing our [alleged] President criticize Arizona's ILLEGAL immigration law, I'm sick of hearing other cities, counties and states talk about boycotts…"[72] The group's Facebook page prominently features as its logo an illustration by an anti-Semitic artist.[73]

In Hutchinson, the Kansas Tea Party group is known as the Patriot Freedom Alliance. It was recently challenged by the local NAACP chapter because of a racist logo depicting president Obama as a skunk. The Tea Party showed the good sense to take the logo down, but its definition of issues shows that anti-immigrant politics are at its the core. It joined with other local Tea Party groups to hold events on December 16 in Overland Park, Kansas and December 17 in Wichita entitled "Freedom's Big Three: Obama Care - Immigration Reform – FairTax."[74]

Kansas isn't the only state where Tea Partiers are intimately involved in anti-immigrant legislative battles. In Indiana, where there is only one active anti-immigrant group (down from seven in 2011), Tea Party groups helped pass S.B. 590 in May, which outlaws sanctuary cities, requires employers to use E-Verify, threatens to close down businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers, and requires state and local governments to ensure that undocumented immigrants do not receive welfare benefits.[75] They also helped pass H.B. 1402, barring undocumented immigrants from accessing financial aid and scholarships to attend colleges and universities in Indiana, and requiring undocumented students to pay out-of-state tuition.[76] As if that weren't enough, local Tea Party groups are also pushing for English-Only Legislation.[77]

In Montana, in 2010 three local anti-immigrant groups functioned. In 2011 only one local anti-immigrant group remained active. By contrast, thirteen Tea Party chapters affiliated with three different national membership factions existed in 2011.

Eleven different Montana Tea Party chapters formed a new umbrella organization in August 2011, the Montana Tea Party Coalition. Their founding document, Montana Tea Party Declaration of Independence, placed the problem of "illegal immigration" at its heart.

The Tea Parties, and the state legislators they supported, latched onto nativism that was both far-reaching and extreme.[78] One bill planned to create an armed paramilitary militia force. A second was a states' rights "nullification" bill, and a third was a "Birther" bill. A resolution declared the benefits of global warming. All of these were defeated.

State representative David Howard shepherded the passage of H.B. 638, which puts on the November 2012 ballot, a referendum to deny state-funded services to those unable to prove documentation status.[79]

A former FBI employee, David Howard, is from Park City, Montana and represents the 60th district. He's been very active with the Tea Party. He was a featured speaker at a Tea Party event in Columbus, MT on December 16, 2009, and he gave the keynote address at the April 15, 2010 Tax Day Tea Party event in Billings.[80]


Case Study: Taking the Initiative - California and Beyond

In California, Tea Parties have reacted to passage of A.B. 131, that state's version of the DREAM Act, which was signed by Governor Brown in 2011.

In one case, an attempt to un-do A.B. 131 via initiative referendum failed to get enough signatures to put it on the ballot. This failed initiative was filed by Minuteman turned Tea Partier, Tim Donnelly, a California Assemblyman from Twin Peaks who was elected from the 59th District in November 2010. Donnelly has argued that: "The facts are incontrovertible that allowing an illegal invasion of the United States will destroy the American Southwest, and very probably wipe out the freedoms we American Christians enjoy, as Muslim Extremists blend in with the so-called 'innocent' illegal aliens, and eventually proselytize them. It is not a stretch to picture a revolt in Los Angeles, whose population is comprised of over 50 percent illegal aliens. At the rate of influx and births, it will be 80 percent illegal alien within a decade. ... None of this bodes well for the citizens who live in Southern California now, nor will it improve the life of the poor alien, but it is well on its way to wiping out everything that was once good in Southern California."[81]

Trying to collecting signatures for this repeal initiative were dozens of local Tea Party groups, like the So Cal Patriots (another group made up of many former Minutemen). Tony Dolz, a member of the Ventura County Tea Party Alliance and the Tea Party Patriots and a former Minuteman, was one of the lead organizers in this effort.
When the initiative failed to gather enough signatures, Donnelly noted: "504,760 valid signatures were needed to qualify the referendum for the November 2012 ballot. Although we put in a herculean effort the count as of late last night was 447,514 signatures, which precludes us from submitting the signatures today to the registrar of voters at each of the 58 counties."[82]

A second measure, the "California Taxpayer Protection Act of 2012" was filed on October 17. This initiative intends to challenge the birthright citizenship provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, and its measures are potentially so punitive that they bear spelling out. It would have the state deny birth certificates to children born to undocumented parents, unless the mother provides her fingerprint and other information, which would then be forwarded to federal authorities. It would require applicants for state, local, and state-administered federal aid to verify lawful presence in the United States. Additionally, applications for public benefits submitted by undocumented parents on behalf of their lawful-resident children would also be sent to federal authorities. It would also eliminate those benefits for children that are not mandated by federal law in the CalWORKS program, which provides temporary financial assistance and other services to qualifying families with minor children.

This measure is also aimed at un-doing A.B. 131, California's version of the DREAM Act.[83] The Taxpayer Act would prohibit undocumented immigrant students from receiving financial aid or in-state tuition rates. On December 27, 2011, a ballot title and summary were issued for this initiative, and sponsors now have until May 29, 2012 to collect 807,615 signatures to qualify it for the November 2012 ballot.[84]

It is significant that the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, a Nativist Establishment organization led by Barbara Coe, a member of the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens, tried previously but failed to get a similar initiative on the ballot. The Tea Partiers, on the other hand, put the measure up and will now collect names.

California is the first state where ballot measures are aimed at repealing its DREAM Act, but Tea Partiers in other states have joined the effort against state-level DREAM Act legislation. In Maryland, Tea Party groups helped lead a successful campaign to delay a law that would allow the children of undocumented immigrants to attend college.[85] After the Maryland legislature passed the DREAM Act in April 2011, Tea Party activists collected enough signatures to stop implementation of the law and to put it up to a vote. The referendum to repeal the Maryland version of the DREAM Act will be on the November 2012 ballot. In Illinois, they tried, but failed to block similar legislation.[86] Kansas and several other states can expect attacks again in 2012.

In Arkansas, a ballot measure similar to the California "Taxpayer Protection" initiative may appear on the November 2012 ballot due to the efforts of Tea Party group Secure Arkansas.[87] It too aims to ban benefits to undocumented immigrants.

Tea Party groups in several other states are pushing their legislatures to pass similar bills. And Tea Party groups around the country have been drumming up support for HR 140 – the federal bill to eliminate birthright citizenship for children born to undocumented immigrants. Though the Constitutionality of these bills is dubious, they do serve as a rallying point for Tea Party activism.


Conclusion

Over the next decade, the United States of America will continue to grapple with immigration-related issues. The United States Supreme Court will likely decide a number of immigration-related cases with a direct tie to constitutional issues. If current trends continue, IREHR does not think it inconceivable that the court will hear arguments on birthright citizenship and the Fourteenth Amendment. Voting rights cases are likely to proliferate, and many of the civil rights that were so recently won will continue to be tested.

In the meantime, our state legislatures and congress will decide whether or not to continue to tear apart families with undocumented parents and citizen children. They will decide whether or not these children will have access to the same educational opportunities as their neighbors, whether or not they will receive appropriate health care, and whether or not they will view law enforcement officers as keepers of the public peace or as imminent dangers to their family's well-being. And all Americans will have to decide whether or not they will challenge a mean, sometimes brutal, anti-democratic nativist social movement by their fellow Americans.

The newly configured anti-immigrant movement described in this report has developed a new activist constituency, the Tea Parties, even while it has lost some of its established funding sources and membership. Human rights and immigrant advocates now face a civic opposition which has a larger constituency, and an opposition which is harder to delineate and thus more difficult to oppose.

This anti-immigrant movement matters to each and every American, whether your forebears trekked over the Siberian-Alaskan land bridge 20,000 years ago, whether they came here three hundred years ago in chains, whether they were annexed by war and Manifest Destiny, or they came here one hundred years ago or more in search of religious freedom and economic opportunity, or just last year. The strength of the anti-immigrant movement, its size, shape and constituent elements should be of concern to all. The fate of the United States of America and its unique promise is at stake.

Appendix A: Nativist Leaders Involved in Tea Party Activity.

Appendix B: Nativist Establishment Financial Data 2001-2010.


About the Authors

Devin Burghart is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of nativism and white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. He is a co-author of Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope, and Focus of Its National Factions. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship.

Leonard Zeskind is president of IREHR. For almost three decades, he has been a leading authority on white nationalist political and social movements. He is the author of Blood and Politics: The History of White Nationalism from the Margins to the Mainstream, published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in May 2009. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named him a Fellow in 1998 (one of its so-called "Genius Grants"). He is a lifetime member of the NAACP.

Additional research assistance provided by IREHR intern Christa Davis.


NOTES


1. See David Bennett, The Party of Fear: From Nativist Movements to the New Right in American History, (The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC), 1988; Leonard Zeskind, Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream, (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York), 2009.
2. Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado, No Mercy: How Conservative Think Tanks and Foundations Changed America's Social Agenda, (Temple University Press, Philadelphia), 1996.
3. Estimates of support levels based on member/donor figures and finances for Federation for American Immigration Reform, FAIR Congressional Task Force, Immigration Reform Law Institute, NumbersUSA Research & Education Foundation, NumbersUSA Action, Americans for Better Immigration, US Inc., Center for Immigration Studies, Americans for Immigration Control, American Immigration Control Foundation, Americans for Immigration Control Nonprofit Corporation, American Border Patrol, California Coalition for Immigration Reform, Californians for Population Stabilization, the Minuteman Project, and the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. Local group total from research compiled by Devin Burghart.
4. Response Unlimited, “Federation for American Immigration Reform Active Donors,” Response Unlimited website, Accessed May20, 2008 ; NextMark, Inc., “Federation for American Immigration Reform Mailing List,” NextMark Mailing List Finder Website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://lists.nextmark.com/market?page=order/online/datacard&id=198599.
5. Response Unlimited, “Americans for Immigration Control ” Response Unlimited website, Accessed May20, 2008 http://www.responseunlimited.com/datacard.lasso?list=2511; Response Unlimited, “Americans for Immigration Control ” Response Unlimited website, Accessed December 31, 2011, http://www.responseunlimited.com/lists/detail/americans_for_immigration_control.
6. Response Unlimited, “Minuteman Civil Defense Corps Active Donors ” Response Unlimited website, Accessed May20, 2008 http://www.responseunlimited.com/datacard.lasso?list=3078; Response Unlimited, “Americans for Immigration Control ” Response Unlimited website, Accessed December 31, 2011, http://www.responseunlimited.com/datacard.lasso?list=3078.
7. Federation for American Immigration Reform, IRS Form 990, 2008; FAIR Congressional Task Force, IRS Form 990, 2008; Immigration Reform Law Institute, IRS Form 990, 2008; NumbersUSA Research & Education Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2008; NumbersUSA Action, IRS Form 990, 2008; Americans for Better Immigration, IRS Form 990, 2008; US Inc., IRS Form 990, 2008; Center for Immigration Studies, IRS Form 990, 2008; Americans for Immigration Control, IRS Form 990, 2008; American Immigration Control Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2008; Americans for Immigration Control Nonprofit Corporation, IRS Form 990, 2008; American Border Patrol, IRS Form 990, 2008; California Coalition for Immigration Reform, IRS Form 990, 2008; Californians for Population Stabilization, IRS Form 990, 2008; the Minuteman Project, IRS Form 990, 2008; Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, IRS Form 990, 2008.
8. Federation for American Immigration Reform, IRS Form 990, 2009; FAIR Congressional Task Force, IRS Form 990, 2009; Immigration Reform Law Institute, IRS Form 990, 2009; NumbersUSA Research & Education Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2009; NumbersUSA Action, IRS Form 990, 2009; Americans for Better Immigration, IRS Form 990, 2009; US Inc., IRS Form 990, 2009; Center for Immigration Studies, IRS Form 990, 2009; Americans for Immigration Control, IRS Form 990, 2009; American Immigration Control Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2009; Americans for Immigration Control Nonprofit Corporation, IRS Form 990, 2009; American Border Patrol, IRS Form 990, 2009; California Coalition for Immigration Reform, IRS Form 990, 2009; Californians for Population Stabilization, IRS Form 990, 2009; the Minuteman Project, IRS Form 990, 2009; Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, IRS Form 990, 2009.
9. Federation for American Immigration Reform, IRS Form 990, 2010; FAIR Congressional Task Force, IRS Form 990, 2010; Immigration Reform Law Institute, IRS Form 990, 2010; NumbersUSA Research & Education Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2010; NumbersUSA Action, IRS Form 990, 2010; Americans for Better Immigration, IRS Form 990, 2010; US Inc., IRS Form 990, 2010; Americans for Immigration Control, IRS Form 990, 2010; American Immigration Control Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2010; Americans for Immigration Control Nonprofit Corporation, IRS Form 990, 2010; California Coalition for Immigration Reform, IRS Form 990, 2010; Californians for Population Stabilization, IRS Form 990, 2010; the Minuteman Project, IRS Form 990, 2010.
10. 2008 - ALIPAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2008, filed December 7, 2009, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011,http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/923/29935541923/29935541923.pdf#navpanes=0; US Immigration Reform PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2008, filed January 28, 2009, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/157/29990841157/29990841157.pdf#navpanes=0; Minuteman PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2008, filed January 16, 2009, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/838/29990065838/29990065838.pdf#navpanes=0; Declaration Alliance Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2008, filed March 11, 2009, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/003/29991725003/29991725003.pdf#navpanes=0; Team America PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2008, filed January 31, 2009 , Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/848/29990947848/29990947848.pdf#navpanes=0.
2009 - ALIPAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2009, filed June 24, 2010 , Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/598/10990813598/10990813598.pdf#navpanes=0; US Immigration Reform PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2009, filed January 13, 2010, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/245/10990037245/10990037245.pdf#navpanes=0; Minuteman PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2009, filed march 16, 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/154/11990304154/11990304154.pdf#navpanes=0; Minuteman Victory PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2009, filed April 21, 2010, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/212/10990625212/10990625212.pdf#navpanes=0; Declaration Alliance Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2009, filed January 18, 2010 , Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011; http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/211/10930046211/10930046211.pdf#navpanes=0; Team America PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2009, filed January27, 2010 , Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/158/10930179158/10930179158.pdf#navpanes=0.
11. ALIPAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2010, filed January 31, 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/991/11990186991/11990186991.pdf#navpanes=0; US Immigration Reform PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2010, filed January 28 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/948/11990106948/11990106948.pdf#navpanes=0; Minuteman PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2010, filed March 16, 2011 , Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/588/11990304588/11990304588.pdf#navpanes=0; Minuteman Victory PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2010, filed January 24, 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/219/11930127219/11930127219.pdf#navpanes=0; Declaration Alliance Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2010, filed January 9. 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/406/11930052406/11930052406.pdf#navpanes=0; Team America PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2010, filed January 31, 2011 , Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/562/11930288562/11930288562.pdf#navpanes=0.
12. Minuteman PAC, Inc., Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, October Quarterly Report, filed October 20, 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/611/11971553611/11971553611.pdf#navpanes=0.
13. Minuteman PAC email claimed group was joining Sheriff Arpiao’s birther “cold case posse.” According to the email, “With possibly three sheriffs representing three very different parts of the nation conducting independent investigations into the likely forgery of Obama’s birth certificate, we will finally have our answers. And Sheriff Joe’s investigation won’t cost taxpayers a dime.” Minuteman PAC email, “Sheriff Joe Forms “Cold Case Posse,” Septmber 23, 2011, http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=0c63abc741fff5c4813d80e0a&id=3625dbb1bd: “Third Jihad Watch,” Minuteman Pac website, accessed December 1, 2011, http://www.minutemanpac.com/inner.asp?z=71.
14. Declaration Alliance Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC, Inc., Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, October Quarterly Report, filed October 06, 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/767/11971553767/11971553767.pdf#navpanes=0.
15. Minuteman Victory PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Mid-Year Report, filed July 13, 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/567/11931810567/11931810567.pdf#navpanes=0. The report also notes that only Minuteman Victory PAC expenses for the year were to pay Steve Eichler, the Minuteman Project and 1776 Tea Party executive director, a $500 consulting fee, and to pay a hotel bill at the CPAC convention.
16. Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Mid-Year Report, filed August 10, 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/242/11932163242/11932163242.pdf#navpanes=0.
17. Southern Poverty Law Center, “’Nativist Extremist’ Groups 2010,” Intelligence Report, Spring 2011, Issue Number 141, accessed at http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2011/spring/the-year-in-nativism/nativist-extremists.
18. Brady McCombs, “Border watch group draws to a close,” Arizona Daily Star, March 25, 2010, http://azstarnet.com/news/local/border/article_3b5411bd-ffe6-5d3c-98c8-951ec0fc40c4.html
19. See Zeskind, Blood and Politics.
20. Jim Gilchrist, “Jim Gilchrist to Minutemen. I’m not afraid of the Illegal Aliens that sneak across our borders at night – they don’t scare me,” Minuteman Project website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://www.minutemanproject.com/article.php?id=146.
21. Gaiutra Bahadur, “Nativist Militias Get a Tea Party Makeover,” The Nation, October 28, 2010, http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/investigations/immigrationandlabor/1420/nativist_militias_get_a_tea-party_makeover?page=entire.
22. Data compiled from the FIRE Coalition "Nationwide Events Calendar," available at http://www.firecoalition.com/events/index.asp last accessed on December 11, 2011. The event list has been administrated and maintained by FIRE coalition staff.
23. “2011 Immigration-Related Laws and Resolutions in the States (Jan. 1-Dec 7, 2011),” National Conference of State Legislatures website, December 7, 2011, http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?TabId=23960.
24. See, for instance, Leonard Zeskind, “The New Nativism: The Alarming Overlap Between White Nationalists and Mainstream Anti-Immigrant Forces,” The American Prospect, October 23, 2005, http://prospect.org/article/new-nativism; Southern Poverty Law Center, “The Puppeteer,” Intelligence Report, Summer 2002, Issue 106, http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2002/summer/the-puppeteer; Devin Burghart, unnamed,
Divide and Conquer: A Profile of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Building Democracy Initiative, January 2002.
25. John Tanton, Letter to Alan Weeden, March 3, 1997. John Tanton Collection, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
26. Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Patriots, Inc. Statement of Cash Receipts, Cash Disbursements, and Cash and Cash Equivalents, with Independent Auditors Report, May 31, 2010.
27. Colorado Secretary of State, “Summary Page: Tea Party Patriots Foundation, Inc.”, Colorado Secretary of State website, http://www.sos.state.co.us/ccsa/ViewSummary.do?ceId=82336.
28. FreedomWorks Inc, IRS Form 990, 2008; FreedomWorks Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2008.
29. FreedomWorks Inc, IRS Form 990, 2009; FreedomWorks Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2009.
30. FreedomWorks Inc, IRS Form 990, 2010; FreedomWorks Foundation, IRS Form 990, 2010.
31. FreedomWorks Inc. PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2008, Filed January 29, 2009, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/123/29039994123/29039994123.pdf#navpanes=0; FreedomWorks Inc. PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2009, Filed February 1, 2010, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/591/10030240591/10030240591.pdf#navpanes=0.
32. FreedomWorks Inc. PAC, Federal Elections Commission Form 3X, Year End Report 2010, Filed May 18, 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/292/11931474292/11931474292.pdf#navpanes=0.
33. Our Country Deserves Better PAC– TeaPartyExpress.org, Year End Report 2008, Filed May 18, 2009, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/281/29992116281/29992116281.pdf#navpanes=0.
34. Our Country Deserves Better PAC– TeaPartyExpress.org, Year End Report 2009, Filed January 29, 2010, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/088/10930237088/10930237088.pdf#navpanes=0.
35. Our Country Deserves Better PAC– TeaPartyExpress.org, Year End Report 2010, Filed January 31, 2011, Federal Election Commission website, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/097/11930291097/11930291097.pdf#navpanes=0.
36. Sheriff Arpiao has come under intense scrutiny for his actions. Reports indicate that his office botched the investigations of more than 400 sex crimes in their jurisdiction. Arpaio also remains the target of a criminal investigation by the FBI, examining whether he used his law enforcement powers to settle political scores. And on Dec. 15, the Justice Department accused the sheriff of running an agency that routinely violates the constitutional rights of Latinos.
37. Tea Party Patriots, American Policy Virtual Summit Live Stream, Accessed at http://www.summit11.org/virtual_summit, February 25-27, 2011.
38. Devin Burghart, “Tea Party Nation and the National Origins Act,” Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights website, July 7, 2011, http://irehr.org/issue-areas/tea-party-nationalism/tea-party-news-and-analysis/item/311-tea-party-nation-and-the-national-origins-act : Devin Burghart, “Tea Party Nation Warns of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant ‘Extinction’,” Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights website, March 29, 2011, http://irehr.org/issue-areas/tea-party-nationalism/tea-party-news-and-analysis/item/295-tea-party-nation-warns-of-white-anglo-saxon-protestant-%E2%80%9Cextinction%E2%80%9D; Devin Burghart, “Tea Party Leaders Attack Constitution,” Tea Party Nationalism website, November 28, 2010, http://irehr.org/issue-areas/tea-party-nationalism/tea-party-news-and-analysis/item/351-tea-party-leaders-attack-constitution.
39. Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind, “Who is an American: Tea Parties, Nativism and the Birthers,” Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope and Focus of Its National Factions, Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, October 2011, 72.
40. FreedomWorks had a similar problem with the John Birch Society. See, Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind, “Special Report: FreedomWorks and the John Birch Society Problem,” Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights website, June 20, 2011, http://irehr.org/issue-areas/tea-party-nationalism/tea-party-news-and-analysis/item/299-special-report-freedomworks-and-the-john-birch-society-problem.
41. Faye Ellis, “Far from Perfect Union: the Tea Party and the Anti-Immigrant Movement,” Imagine 2050 website, May 9, 2011, http://imagine2050.newcomm.org/2011/05/09/far-from-perfect-union-the-tea-party-and-the-anti-immigrant-movement/.
42. Prof. Christopher Parker, principal investigator, “2011 Multi-state survey on Race and Politics,” University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality, March 2011.
43. Ibid.
44.Ibid.
45. Scott Clement and John C. Green, “The Tea Party, Religion and Social Issues,” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life February 23, 2011, http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1903/tea-party-movement-religion-social-issues-conservative-christian.
46. Six of the nine team leaders of the Patriot Coalition also became active in the Tea Party, Evert Evertsen, Bob Bowser, Jeff Lewis, Ron Bass, Ray Bostard, and Jeremy Doucet.
47. ALIPAC, “Immigration Enforcement Coalition Supports Tax Day Tea Party Events,” Press Release, April 13, 2009, http://www.mmdnewswire.com/immigration-enforcement-4903.html: The coalition included ALIPAC, Save Our State, Voice of the People USA (Hazleton, PA), 9/11 Families for a Secure America, San Diego Minutemen, NC Listen, NC Voice, Indiana Federation For Immigration Reform & Enforcement, Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform, Nevada Action Coalition, and two dozen other local groups.. Keep It American, Mothers Against Illegal ALIENS, Taxpayer Revolution, Central Coast MCDC Chapter, Antelope Valley Independent Minutemen, California Coalition for Immigration Reform, Report and Deport, Stop SPP Group, Ohio Jobs & Justice PAC, Stop Taxing Us, The Wake Up America, Americans Have Had Enough Coalition, Oregonians for Immigration Reform, Texans for Immigration Reform, Inc., and Central Texans for Secure Borders. "http://www.alipac.us/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4130

48. Ibid.
49. NumbersUSA even helped advertise the ALIPAC events. See, NumbersUSA, “Tea Parties Against Amnesty Nationwide November 14,” ALIPAC website, October 28, 2009, http://www.alipac.us/f11/tea-parties-against-amnesty-nationwide-november-14-a-166684/.
50. Brian Tashman, “Gheen Suggests Violence May Be Needed To Stop Obama's War On ‘White America’”, People for the American Way Right Wing Watch website, August 22, 2011, http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/gheen-violence-may-be-needed-stop-obamas-war-white-america.
51. Gaiutra Bahadur, “Nativist Militias Get a Tea Party Makeover,” The Nation, October 28, 2010, http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/investigations/immigrationandlabor/1420/nativist_militias_get_a_tea-party_makeover?page=entire.
52. “Jim Gilchrist’s profile page,” 1776 Tea Party social networking site, created December 13, 2010, http://teapartyorg.ning.com/profile/JimGilchrist?xg_source=profiles_memberList.
53. Minuteman PAC email, “Sheriff Joe Forms “Cold Case Posse,” Septmber 23, 2011, http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=0c63abc741fff5c4813d80e0a&id=3625dbb1bd: “Third Jihad Watch,” Minuteman Pac website, accessed December 1, 2011, http://www.minutemanpac.com/inner.asp?z=71.
54. Since 1994, Glenn Spencer has engaged in the politics of racist innuendo and anti-Mexican conspiracy mongering. He's stated that, “The Mexican culture is based on deceit. Chicanos and Mexicanos lie as a means of survival. Mexicans who have truly become Americans have shed themselves of this survival mechanism.” He specializes in elaborate perorations against Mexico, immigrants from Mexico and Mexican-Americans, alleging that there is an organized plot on the part of the authorities of that country to re-conquer the Southwestern United States, what he calls the “Reconquista” plot. According to Spencer, there is a conspiracy between the Mexican government and Mexican-American activists and academics to infiltrate the U.S. with a “fifth column” of subversives and street fighters (read immigrants of Mexican descent) who will riot at the outset of a new Mexican-American war.
Like other white nationalist leaning anti-immigrant activists, Spencer spoke at the 2002 conference of the white nationalist outfit, American Renaissance, where his comments were warmly welcomed by the audience of white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Spencer told the assembled that sometime in the near future a border incident or case of mistaken identity could spark a shooting war between the U.S. and Mexico in which Mexican immigrants would be a subversive fifth column on U.S. soil. During the question period, one audience member suggested that such a war might be a good thing for white America, waking them up to the dire nature of the racial threat. Spencer declined to take issue with this line of reasoning.
Spencer has not limited his bigotry to Mexican immigrants, he has also promoted anti-Semitism. For instance, in 2008 Spencer published a piece on his website entitled, "Speaking the Unspeakable: Is Jew-Controlled Hollywood Brainwashing Americans?" The anti-Semitic rant concludes with a link to "Understanding Jewish Influence" by notorious anti-Semite Kevin MacDonald. Glenn Spencer, "Speaking the Unspeakable: Is Jew-Controlled Hollywood Brainwashing Americans?" American Patrol website, December 23, 2008, http://www.americanpatrol.com/SPENCER-GLENN/081223-JewInf-GS_081223.html. Spencer even had MacDonald on as a guest to his syndicated radio show.
55. David Holthouse, “Minuteman to Tea Party: A Grassroots Rebranding,” Media Maters for America website, May 24, 2011, http://mediamatters.org/blog/201105240028.
56. Devin Burghart, “Anti-Immigrant group Bails on Tea Party Nation Convention,” Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights website, January 26, 2010, http://irehr.org/issue-areas/race-racism-and-white-nationalism/item/272-anti-immigrant-group-bails-on-tea-party-nation-convention.
57. “FAIR in the Field,” FAIRenews.org, June 3, 2010, http://www.fairus.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=23053: “Tax Day Tampa Bay Speakers for April 15th Rally,” Tampa Tea Party Blog, April 15, 2010, http://tampateaparty.tumblr.com/post/521349355/tax-day-tampa-bay-speakers-for-april-15th-rally/.
58. Nebraska Tax Payers for Freedom, “Rally to Restore the Republic,” July 3, 2011, Tea Party event featured FAIR’s Susan Tully. Nebraska Tax Payers for Freedom, “Rally to Restore the Republic,” http://www.netaxpayers.com/, accessed December 1, 2011; Gold Country Patriots, “Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) speaker in our region,” Gold Country Patriots website, July 27, 2011, http://goldcountrypatriots.com/2011/07/27/federation-for-american-immigration-reform-fair-speaker-in-our-region/.
59. “Presentation: January 13, 2011 / Adrian MI, Illegal Immigration in the United States,” Blissfield’s Blog, January 3, 2011, http://blissfield.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/have-you-heard-about-the-9-12-project/, the site advertised Najmulski’s presentation to the Lenawee 9.12 Forum, the Adrian, MI Tea Party group: “Greater Boston Tea Party August Reading Meeting,” Boston Tea Party Meetup website, August 2, 2011, http://www.meetup.com/Boston-Tea-Party/events/26842601/;“Illegal Immigration, what is it costing us? Sanctuary city in Ohio?” Lorain County TEA Party Meetup website, November 12, 2011, http://www.meetup.com/Lorain-County-TEA-Party/events/38276682/.
60. “Peter Gadiel’s Page,” 1776 Tea Party social networking site, August 13, 2010, http://teapartyorg.ning.com/profile/PeterGadiel.
61. Devin Burghart, “Revival and Revolt: Inside the Tea Party Nation Convention,” Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights website, February 11, 2010, http://www.irehr.org/issue-areas/tea-party-nationalism/tea-party-news-and-analysis/item/286-revival-and-revolt-inside-the-tea-party-nation-convention.
62. Chad MacDonald, “Immigration Headlines at Tax Day Tea Party in Boston and Washington D.C.,” NumbersUSA website, April 17, 2010, http://www.numbersusa.com/content/nusablog/chadaaron/april-17-2010/immigration-headlines-tax-day-tea-party-boston-and-washington-dc.ht.
63. Tea Party Patriots Action Alert noted, “We are working with different groups to help defeat the ‘Dream Act’. Chad MacDonald, with ‘Immigration Action Report’, has been providing us with daily, and sometimes hourly, updates on the "Dream Act". The Senate will vote on the House version of the ‘Dream Act’ either this weekend or early next week. Please make calls to the targeted Senators, even if you don't live in their state.” Tea Party Patriots, “Update on Dream Act,” Facebook, December 8, 2010, http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=473717323822; Chad MacDonald “Action Request: Please Call Senators to VOTE NO on the Dream Act,” Arizona Tea Party website, September 16, 2010, http://arizonateaparty.ning.com/profiles/blogs/action-request-please-call.
64. Rick Oltman, “The Immigration Tea Party,” San Francisco Examiner, November 16, 2010, http://www.examiner.com/immigration-in-san-francisco/the-immigration-tea-party. 65. Rick Oltman is listed as a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC). Citizens Informer (Spring 1998), 6. He spoke at the 1997 CofCC national conference and once spoke at an Alabama anti-immigrant rally along with CofCC activists and conspiracy theorists Barbara Coe, Glenn Spencer, the notorious Christian Patriot musician Carl Klang, and William Burchfield, a onetime Alabama state leader of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Shortly before taking the job with FAIR, Oltman was reprimanded by his former employer, the Marin Republican Party, for issuing a controversial statement defending the beating of two undocumented immigrants by law enforcement officers; Richard Halstead, “Marin GOP Leader Defends Beating,” Marin Independent Journal (April 5, 1996), A1, 5. “What Were they Thinking?” Marin Independent Journal(April 25, 1996). Oltman began his nativist career in the early 1990s when he founded the anti-immigrant group MIGRA to oppose a San Rafael hiring hall for undocumented workers and was also active on the Proposition 187 campaign.

66. Tea Party Immigration Coalition website, http://teapartyimmigrationcoalition.org/, Accessed December 1, 2011.
67. Interview with Rick Oltman and John Stahl, Voice of the Tea Party radio program, September 11, 2011, http://www.thevoiceoftheteaparty.org/node/32.
68. Ibid; Ann Corcoran, “Philadelphia Tea Party and others form immigration coalition,” Potomac Tea Party Report website, June 8, 2010, http://potomacteapartyreport.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/philadelphia-tea-party-and-others-form-immigration-coalition/.
69. Tim Hrenchir, “’Tea Party’ rally held at Statehouse,” The Topeka Capital-Journal, April 4, 2009, http://cjonline.com/news/local/2009-04-04/tea_party_rally_held_at_statehouse.
70. Scott Rothschild, “Church leaders ask Kansas Legislature to stay out of illegal immigration reform,” Lawrence Journal-World, November 9, 2011, http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/nov/09/statehouse-live-church-leaders-ask-kansas-legislat/.
71. 2011’s HB 2006 was a repeal of K.S.A. 76-731a, which grants residency for tuition purposes to certain aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States; Topeka 912, “State Bills We Are Watching,” Topeka 912 website, http://www.topeka912.com/actionalerts.html.
72. Central Kansas Patriot Action Network, Facebook Group, Accessed December 1, 2011, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=376272289904&v=wall.
73. Ibid.
74. Patriot Freedom Alliance, “Upcoming Events, Rallies and Special Meetings,” Patriot Freedom Alliance website, http://patriotfreedomalliance.org/UpcomingConservativeEvents.aspx, Accessed December 1, 2011. Other promoters of the event include the South Central Kansas 912 group, the Union of Patriots and FairTaxKC.
75. “Senate Bill 0590,” Indiana General Assembly website, April 29, 2011, http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2011&request=getBill&docno=590.
76. For examples of Tea Party involvement, see “Action: Stop taxpayer funding College for Illegal Immigrants,” Grant County (Indiana) Tea Party website, April 18, 2011, http://www.wewantamericaback.net/site/?p=1746; The action alert was written by Greg Serbon also of the Indiana Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement.
77. “English-language bill advancing despite questions,” Associated Press, January 30, 2011, accessed at http://news.bostonherald.com/news/national/midwest/view.bg?articleid=1313106&format=text.
78. Matt Gouras, “Mixed results for tea party-fueled revolution,” Billings Gazette, April 30, 2011, http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/mixed-results-for-tea-party-fueled-revolution/article_1e202eb4-737f-11e0-bba1-001cc4c03286.html.
79. Nick Wing, “Brian Schweitzer: Montana GOP Bills Make State Party Look ‘Bat-Crap Crazy’,” Huffington Post website, March 24, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/24/brian-schweitzer-montana-gop-bills_n_840072.html.
80. Video, “David Howard on ‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death’,” YouTube Video of December 16, 2009 Tea Party Rally, posted December 17, 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQEL2BEH7CU&list=UUbHHD1DTDQejdOV1c2ZM6Yw&index=247&feature=plcp; “Billings Tea Party Rally,” YouTube Video, posted April 17, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEUEm3NCrnk.
81. Gaiutra Bahadur, “Nativist Militias Get a Tea Party Makeover,” The Nation, October 28, 2010, http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/investigations/immigrationandlabor/1420/nativist_militias_get_a_tea-party_makeover?page=entire.
82. Tim Donnelly, Stop AB 131 website, Accessed January 1, 2012, http://stopab131.com/.
83. Kevin Yamamura, “Conservative activists propose initiative on illegal immigration,” The Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert blog, October 18, 2011, http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2011/10/california-illegal-immigration-ballot-initiative-proposal.html
84. California Secretary of State, “Qualified Statewide Ballot Measures,” California Secretary of State website, Accessed January 9, 2012, http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm. For full text of the initiative see, http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/initiatives/pdfs/i1008_11-0065_(tax_payer_protection).pdf.
85. Jennifer Donelan, “Maryland Dream Act to go before voters,” ABC 7 News website, July 1, 2011, http://www.wjla.com/articles/2011/07/maryland-dream-act-to-go-before-voters-63117.html : “Tea Party Victory… In Maryland?”, The Graph website, June 6, 2011, http://thegraph.com/2011/06/tea-party-victory-in-maryland/: Sam Hale, “We Did It!: Referendum on Maryland DREAM Act Turns in over 130K Signatures,” Maryland Society of Patriots website, July 1, 2011, http://marylandpatriots.org/we-did-it-referendum-on-maryland-dream-act-turns-in-over-130k-signatures/; Ann Corcoran, “Maryland Dream Act integral to Obama strategy on amnesty; getting the Hispanic vote in 2012,” Potomac Tea Party Report, July 3. 2011, http://potomacteapartyreport.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/maryland-dream-act-integral-to-obama-strategy-on-amnesty-getting-the-hispanic-vote-in-2012/
86. Kerry Lester, “Palatine Tea Party takes aim at Republican Senators supporting DREAM Act,” Daily Herald, May 5, 2011, http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/5629:“Tea Party Attacks Illinois DREAM Act: Calls Out Republican Senators Who Voted In Favor,” Huffington Post website, May 6, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/06/tea-party-illinois-dream-act_n_858631.html.
87. “The Arkansas Illegal Immigrant Benefits Ban Amendment may appear on the November 8, 2012 ballot in the state of Arkansas as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure, being spearheaded by the group Secure Arkansas, was gathering signatures for the fall 2010 ballot, but did not collect enough signatures for the ballot. Supporters have stated a desire to make the 2012 ballot. If the measure is sent to the ballot and enacted by voters, it would ban most illegal immigrants from receiving benefits given by the state.” Ballotpedia, “Arkansas Illegal Immigrant Benefits Ban Amendment (2012), Accessed December 1, 2011, http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Arkansas_Illegal_Immigrant_Benefits_Ban_Amendment_(2012)#cite_note-0.

Last modified on Sunday, 18 March 2012 02:44
Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind

Leonard Zeskind is president of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. Devin Burghart is IREHR vice president.
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