Nation's Top Print Media Cited Anti-Immigrant Groups As Sources Over 250 Times Since The Introduction Of SB 1070


Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB 1070, was introduced in January 2010. Since then, in their coverage of immigration issues America's top five newspapers and the Associated Press and Reuters newswires have cited anti-immigrant organizations with ties to white supremacists and racists -- including one that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- over 250 times.

The Top Seven American Newspapers And Newswires Cited Anti-Immigrant Sources Over 250 Times

The Top Seven Newspapers And Newswires Cited Anti-Immigrant Organizations Or Their Activists 284 Times. According to a study of news coverage by Media Matters:

The Center For Immigration Studies And The Federation For American Immigration Reform Were Cited Most Frequently. According to a study of news coverage by Media Matters, the Center for Immigration Studies was cited most frequently in print stories with 127 citations, followed by the Federation for American Immigration Reform with 89 citations:

Center For Immigration Studies (CIS)

The Center For Immigration Studies Is Part Of John Tanton's Anti-Immigrant Network. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Although you'd never know it to read its materials, CIS was started in 1985 by a Michigan ophthalmologist named John Tanton -- a man known for his racist statements about Latinos, his decades-long flirtation with white nationalists and Holocaust deniers, and his publication of ugly racist materials. CIS' creation was part of a carefully thought-out strategy aimed at creating a set of complementary institutions to cultivate the nativist cause -- groups including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA. As is shown in Tanton's correspondence, lodged in the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Tanton came up with the idea in the early 1980s for "a small think tank" that would "wage the war of ideas."

And while Tanton never actually ran CIS, his correspondence shows that as late as 1994, nine years after it was started, Tanton, who remains on FAIR's board of directors today, saw himself as setting the "proper roles for FAIR and CIS." He raised millions of dollars for the think tank and published the writings of top CIS officials in his racist journal, The Social Contract. He maneuvered a friend on to the board of CIS -- a man who shared his interest in eugenics and who attended events with Tanton where white nationalists gave presentations. Through it all, CIS pumped out study after study aimed at highlighting immigration's negative effects.


In 2007, a year before his comments on Washington Mutual, Krikorian accepted an invitation to speak at the Michigan State University chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. It apparently didn't bother him that MSU-YAF had been widely covered in the media for a series of nasty stunts -- staging a "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day," holding a "Koran Desecration" competition, and posting "Gays Spread AIDS" fliers across campus. He also didn't seem to mind being part of the same speakers series that included Nick Griffin, a Holocaust denier who heads the extremist British National Party, and Jared Taylor, who says blacks are incapable of civilization. [Southern Poverty Law Center, February 2009]

CIS Studies Often Reach Baseless Conclusions. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

[CIS] studies have hardly been neutral. One of them concludes that because foreign women ("Third World gold-diggers") can obtain work permits by marrying American citizens, it's obvious that fraudulent marriage applications are "prevalent among terrorists." Another claims that because many immigrants have worked in Georgia since 2000, it's clear that unemployment among less educated native workers is up. A third says that because immigration levels have been high recently, immigrants make up a growing share of those drawing welfare.

But every one these claims, each of them at the heart of a different recent report from CIS, are either false or virtually without any supporting evidence. That came to fore again last September, when CIS organized a panel to accompany the release of yet another new report, this one claiming that municipalities in substantial numbers were permitting non-citizens to vote. When challenged, the panelists could only come up with a single possible example of the purported trend.

"CIS' attempts to blame immigrants for all of the U.S.'s problems have been laughable," said Angela Kelley of the Immigration Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., organization that uses well-known scholars to produce reports on immigration-related issues and has debunked many of the studies issued by CIS. "It is clear that CIS is not interested in serious research or getting the facts straight."[Southern Poverty Law Center, February 2009, emphasis added]

Center For New Community: "CIS Often Manipulates Data, Relying On Shaky Statistics Or Faulty Logic To Come To The Preordained Conclusion That Immigration Is Bad."According to the Center for New Community:

Rather than provide realistic solutions on immigration, CIS seeks to bury Congress, journalists, and the public under an avalanche of reports, backgrounders, position papers and panel outcomes in an effort to mainstream the John Tanton Network. According to the well-respected civil rights organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center, "CIS often manipulates data, relying on shaky statistics or faulty logic to come to the preordained conclusion that immigration is bad for this country."

The background of CIS should raise concern for all professional journalists who are seeking both informed facts and opinions on the subject of immigration. The Center for Immigration Studies has proven not to be a credible voice in the debate on immigration. [Center for New Community, accessed 6/11/12]

For more on CIS click HERE

Federation For American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

The Federation For American Immigration Reform Was Founded By John Tanton. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The vast majority of these groups [blocking bipartisan immigration reform] were founded or funded by John Tanton, a major architect of the contemporary nativist movement who, 20 years ago, was already warning of a destructive "Latin onslaught" heading to the United States. Most of these organizations used their vast resources in the days leading up to a vote on the bill to stir up a nativist backlash that ultimately resulted in its death.

FAIR official Dan Stein testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee in 2003, one of dozens of FAIR appearances before Congress since 2000. FAIR's opinion is sought despite its well-documented links to extremism.

At the center of the Tanton web is the nonprofit Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the most important organization fueling the backlash against immigration. Founded by Tanton in 1979, FAIR has long been marked by anti-Latino and anti-Catholic attitudes. It has mixed this bigotry with a fondness for eugenics, the idea of breeding better humans discredited by its Nazi associations. It has accepted $1.2 million from an infamous, racist eugenics foundation. It has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups. Recently, it has promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest and an alternative theory alleging secret plans to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada. In 2006, a senior FAIR official sought "advice" from the leaders of a racist Belgian political party. [Southern Poverty Law Center, February 2009]

FAIR Has Close Ties To The White Nationalist Council Of Conservative Citizens And Has Received Over $1.2 Million From A White Supremacist Group. According to the Center for New Community:

  • FAIR sponsored advertising campaigns with John Vinson's American Immigration Control Foundation (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Vinson is an advisor to the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens).
  • FAIR has given grants directly to Glenn Spencer's Voices of Citizens Together, a group which preaches a crude, anti-Mexican conspiracy theory. In 2002, Spencer was a featured speaker at the American Renaissance annual conference, a white nationalist organization championed by David Duke and the Council of Conservative Citizens.
  • FAIR solicited and received over $1.2 million from the white supremacist Pioneer Fund, a foundation that has a history of promoting the genetic superiority of white, European-Americans. The Pioneer Fund uses its financial largesse to fund groups who promote "race-betterment" - a controversial theory that claims there is a biologically-caused IQ difference between white and non-white people.
  • In response to public concern and confusion about FAIR's solicitation of funding from the Pioneer Fund, FAIR president Dan Stein has been quoted as saying, "I don't give a sh*t what they do with their money, my job is to get every dime of Pioneer's money," according to an article published by The Progressive in 1993.
  • Two of FAIR's former staffers have been associated with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the reconstituted, segregationist White Citizens' Councils. FAIR's former western field representative, Rick Oltman, is also listed as a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens.
  • In 1997, FAIR (along with other extremist anti-immigrant groups) published an advertisement in the Citizens Informer, the flagship publication of Council of Conservative Citizens, to recruit supporters to attend its events.
  • FAIR founder John Tanton works closely with Wayne Lutton to edit his publication, The Social Contract. Lutton is also a Board of Director for the Charles Martel Society, an anti-Semitic organzation that publishes the Occidental Quarterly. [Center for New Community, accessed 6/11/12]

The Southern Poverty Law Center Labeled FAIR A Hate Group In 2007. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated FAIR as an anti-immigrant hate group in 2007. From its website:

In late 2006, FAIR hired Joseph Turner as its western field representative after Oltman departed. Turner was the founder of the Southern California group Save Our State, a now-defunct anti-immigrant hate group that was known for attracting neo-Nazis to its rallies. Turner was on record before joining FAIR as saying that being a white separatist did not imply a person was racist. Turner once accused Mexican immigrants of turning California into a "third world cesspool." He left FAIR in December 2007 shortly after the SPLC, in tandem with publishing an extensive report on the group's racism that included Turner's inflammatory comments, designated FAIR as a hate group. FAIR representatives did not comment as to the reason for Turner's departure. [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 6/11/12]

For more on FAIR click HERE


NumbersUSA Also Has Ties To John Tanton's Anti-Immigration Network. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

[NumbersUSA Executive Director Roy] Beck portrayed NumbersUSA as his own group, started up with his own money but incorporated as a program under Tanton's U.S. Inc. as a convenience -- a way to get financial and legal services from the parent body in return for a small fee. He said that he raised all the money for NumbersUSA and set all its policies. He said similar things to Cannon, calling his group "programmatically autonomous."

But that's not the way Tanton described the relationship. Until 2002, when Beck reorganized his group as a freestanding entity, Tanton repeatedly referred to him as an employee, subject to U.S. Inc.'s personnel policies. (In his testimony, Beck finally told Cannon that his paychecks came from U.S. Inc.) Tanton described Beck as guest-editing entire editions ofThe Social Contract, and, in 1993, helping to edit The Immigration Invasion, a book by Lutton and Tanton so raw in its immigrant bashing that Canadian border authorities have banned it as hate literature.

Tanton's trust in Beck reached new heights in 1997, when he focused on him as a potential heir at U.S. Inc., writing that "there is no other contender." He wrote Beck asking him to sign on as his "heir apparent" in the case of his death and, on Jan. 6, 1998, to thank him vociferously for agreeing to do so. Although Beck today says he was "honored" by Tanton's request, you'd never know that from reading his website, which makes no mention whatsoever of Tanton and describes Beck simply as "a journalist for three decades before founding NumbersUSA." [Southern Poverty Law Center, February 2009]

NumbersUSA's Head Spoke To The White Supremacist Council Of Conservative Citizens. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Another thing Beck said he only "vaguely remember[ed]" was Tanton's 1996 effort to create his own eugenics organization, the Society for Genetic Education (SAGE). In any event, Beck said, he has never had any interest in eugenics.

That same year, while on a tour promoting a book on immigration, Beck addressed a meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group that has spread racist propaganda since 1985. His lecture came just six months after his fellow editor, Lutton, spoke to the same group. In his letter, Beck suggested that his talk had been set up by a publicist for his book, said he "had no idea who the group was," and added that he didn't recall "hearing anything racist being said by any of the speakers." He did see "overt racism" reflected in the exhibits in the halls of the meeting but decided to stay and was given "a respectful hearing." [Southern Poverty Law Center, February 2009]

Beck Was The Editor Of John Tanton's The Social Contract -- A White Nationalist Journal. According to the Center for New Community:

Roy Beck's ties to Tanton and Tanton-founded anti-immigration groups go back at least to 1991. Tanton hired Beck as a consultant "because of his unique background in environmental reporting, and his understanding of the immigration issue," Tanton wrote in a 1997 memo. At least through the summer 2000 issue, Beck served as editor of John Tanton's The Social Contract.

Beck remains a regular contributor to the quarterly white nationalist journal. Current TSCP editor Wayne Lutton has been active with the Council of Conservative Citizens, a documented white supremacist organization. Beck carries his own connections to the white nationalist organization having in 1997 presented his well-known presentation "Immigration by the Numbers" at the Council of Conservative Citizen's National Conference. [Center for New Community, accessed 6/11/12]

For more on NumbersUSA click HERE

Americans For Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC)

ADL: Head Of ALIPAC "Regularly Demonizes Immigrants As Drunk Drivers, Gang Members, Invaders, Murderers, And Disease-Carriers." According to the Anti-Defamation League:

[ALIPAC President and Spokesman William] Gheen's rhetoric demonstrates an agenda that goes beyond the enforcement of immigration laws. He regularly demonizes immigrants as drunk drivers, gang members, invaders, murderers, and disease-carriers. In a June 2008 rally, sponsored by ALIPAC in North Carolina, Gheen stated that "we have illegal aliens that are drinking and driving, and vicious, very dangerous, gangs in this state that are killing people..."

Gheen has gone so far as to refer to undocumented immigrants as Nazis. This particular comparison followed a December 2007 appearance on a FOX News: Fox & Friends segment in which he discussed the presence of undocumented immigrants in North Carolina community colleges. Gheen opposed offering in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants and argued that they take seats away from American students by attending the community colleges. In a February 2008 post in the commentary below the YouTube video of the segment, an individual stated, "Hey, this sort of sounds like the propaganda that Hitler used to stir up hatred and blame the Jews for all of the economic woes of Germany..." In response, Gheen wrote, "Yea, except this time Americans are the Jews and the illegal aliens and their supporters are the Nazis." [Anti-Defamation League, accessed 6/11/12]

ALIPAC Is Supported By FAIR And Allied With Minutemen Groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Since his initial victory, Gheen has gone on national media outlets including CNN, FOX and National Public Radio to launch preemptive strikes against any bill or ordinance that he perceives as sympathetic to immigrants, and to support laws proposed to deny public benefits to immigrants, to empower local police to arrest Latinos on federal immigration charges, and to fine anyone who employs an undocumented immigrant. He even pressed for a Senate bill to fund a study of buying buses to deport immigrants in massive numbers. ALI-PAC is supported by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, recently designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, and allied with various Minuteman factions. [Southern Poverty Law Center, Spring 2008]

For more on ALIPAC click HERE

Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI)

The Immigration Reform Law Institute Is The Legal Arm Of FAIR: According to the Center for New Community:

The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, better known by its acronym FAIR, which was founded in 1979 by retired Michigan ophthalmologist John Tanton. As the litigation arm of the John Tanton Network, IRLI's primary purpose is to push legal causes that unfairly target immigrant communities. IRLI's purpose is to undermine legal precedent by writing model legislation for Tanton Network organizations, such as State Legislators for Legal Immigration and members of the House Immigration Reform Caucus (both organizations within the larger John Tanton Network).


IRLI "was structured in such a way that it could operate under FAIR'S tax exemption but have its own board, appointed initially by FAIR'S board," Tanton says in the oral history. "We tried to keep control of IRLI by making sure that the FAIR board was the ultimate authority in appointing the IRLI board. [Center for New Community, accessed 6/11/12]

While Working With IRLI, Kansas Secretary Of State Kris Kobach (R) Helped Author Harsh Immigration Laws In AZ And AL. According to Imagine 2050:

While working with IRLI Kobach has helped to draft two of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the country, namely Arizona's SB 1070 and Alabama's HB 56, two laws that have stripped the basic civil and human rights of immigrants and people of color in those states. While Kobach has proclaimed total victory, these laws have proven to be extremely divisive. [Imagine 2050, 1/11/12]

IPC: Kobach "Engineered A Controversial Program That Aimed To Register Visitors From Certain Muslim Countries." According to the Immigration Policy Center:

The two groups, which work together, are the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), an affiliate of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the lesser-known State Legislators for Legal Immigration. IRLI lawyer Kris W. Kobach, who was a chief adviser on immigration issues to Attorney General John Ashcroft following the attacks of 9/11, has consulted with lawmakers around the country, helping frame and defend state and local legislation targeting illegal immigrants. (At the Justice Department, Kobach engineered a controversial program that aimed to register visitors from certain Muslim countries). [Immigration Policy Center, 5/21/10]

For more on the Immigration Reform Law Institute click HERE


Media Matters conducted Nexis and Factiva searches of all articles in the top five national newspapers based on overall circulation (USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post) and the Associated Press newswire and Reuters newswire for "Center for Immigration Studies" or "Mark Krikorian" or "Steven Camarota" or "Jessica Vaughan" or "Janice Kephart" or "Stephen Steinlight" or "Jerry Kammer" or "Jon Feere" or "Federation For American Immigration Reform" or "Dan Stein" or "Julie Kirchner" or "Bob Dane" or "Jack Martin" or "Ira Mehlman" or "Eric Ruark" or "Kristen Williamson" or "ALIPAC" or "Americans for Legal Immigration" or "William Gheen" or "NumbersUSA" or "Numbers USA" or "Roy Beck" or "Jeremy Beck" or "Chris Chmielenski" or "Immigration Reform Law Institute" or "Mike Hethmon" since the introduction of Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law on January 13, 2010 until May 25, 2012. Results were narrowed to exclude opinion pieces. Because not all wire service reports appear in a newspaper, we have omitted wire service numbers from individual paper counts and only counted them in their respective wire service counts.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.