New York Times Profile Of Anti-Immigrant Activist Omits White Nationalist Ties

DA KingNew York Times profile of Georgia anti-immigration activist D.A. King left out important context about King's white nationalist ties and the similarly racist background of NumbersUSA, a nationally prominent nativist organization cited in the article.

On August 7, The New York Times published an article detailing efforts by King and his organization, the Dustin Inman Society -- a group named after a boy killed in a car accident by a driver who was an undocumented immigrant -- to pressure Congressional Republicans to oppose efforts at immigration policy reform.  The Times interviewed King and described some of his anti-immigrant policy stances while also highlighting his influence with NumbersUSA:

D. A. King, who quit his job as an insurance agent a decade ago to wage a full-time campaign against illegal immigration in Georgia, is one reason this state rivals Arizona for the toughest legal crackdown in the country. With his Southern manners and seersucker jackets, he works the halls of the gold-domed statehouse, familiar to all, polite and uncompromising.

Now, like other local activists around the country, he is looking beyond Georgia to stop the House of Representatives from following the Senate and passing legislation that would open a path to legal status for illegal immigrants.

As lawmakers return to their home districts for the August recess, advocates like Mr. King are joining forces with national groups that oppose legalization and favor reduced immigration for an all-out populist push.

“These local people live in the middle of these places, they know how to be effective in their districts,” said Roy Beck, executive director of one of the largest national groups, NumbersUSA, who is now holding regular strategy calls with Mr. King and more than 50 other state advocates.

The Times' profile of King made note of some of the activist's inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric -- for example, King's depiction of Latino groups as “tribalists” and his description of immigration from Mexico to the U.S. as “an invasion” -- but omitted ties to white nationalist figures that permeate both King's and NumbersUSA's past.

Until 2006, King maintained a blog on VDARE, a notorious white nationalist website founded by anti-immigrant activist Peter Brimelow. The Anti-Defamation League summarized some of King's contributions:

In one blog entry, he discussed his experience at a March for Dignity, comprised of, in King's words, “mostly Hispanic demonstrators.” He wrote, “I got the sense that I had left the country of my birth and been transported to some Mexican village, completely taken over by an angry, barely restrained mob....My first act on a safe return home was to take a shower.”

King has also promoted conspiracy theories about the “Reconquista,” an alleged plot by Mexicans to forcibly take control of the American Southwest. In a June 2006 article on VDare, he described the ABC network's airing of an award show hosted by the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group, as “Reconquista TV.”

ADL also described King's involvement with the xenophobic Minuteman movement, for whom he organized a rally that featured Chris Simcox, the vigilante leader of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

NumbersUSA, described by the Times as a 'national group that opposes legalization and favors reduced immigration,' also has connections to the white nationalist movement. The organization is part of the John Tanton anti-immigration network. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Tanton has long been associated with white nationalist ideologues and has a record of racist public statements against Latinos. Roy Beck, the NumbersUSA executive director quoted by the Times, once addressed a meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group, and was the editor of Tanton's white nationalist journalThe Social Contract.

The New York Times does its readers a disservice by failing to illustrate the close association between King, NumbersUSA, and the racist white nationalist movement. This relationship may point to a far more insidious motive for King's and NumbersUSA's opposition to immigration reform than the motives of more mainstream participants in the ongoing debate about immigration policy. But such undercurrents of xenophobic dialogue and dog whistle racism are largely ignored in the media.