For more than three decades, the organized anti-immigrant movement has worked toward achieving the extremist goal of maintaining the United States as a majority-white nation. Founded by white nationalist and eugenicist John Tanton, they have pushed for policies that would dramatically lower the number of immigrants in the country, limit pathways for immigrants to come to the U.S. legally, and make life as difficult as possible for immigrants already living here. Anti-immigrant and white nationalist goals should have no place in our country, but under the Trump Administration, Tanton-aligned organizations have gained unprecedented power and influence.
The four most prominent organizations in the contemporary anti-immigrant movement are the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA, and the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), with millions in funding for their work coming from the anti-immigrant heiress Cordelia Scaife May’s Colcom Foundation. With former staff members and allies inside the White House and externally as partners of the Trump Administration, these groups wield enormous sway and have been a driving force behind many of the harshest policies such as “zero tolerance” and family separation, the “Muslim Ban,” dramatic cuts to refugee resettlement and effectively barring asylum-seekers from Central America, repealing DACA and ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for many countries, ramping up interior enforcement and conducting wide-scale workplace raids, deporting some immigrants to possible death, attempting to cut legal immigration avenues in half, and many more cruel policies that hurt millions of families.
Exposing these groups’ ties to white nationalism and support for discriminatory policies is key to defeating their racist ideology. We believe the facts laid out here can help policymakers, journalists, and community members better understand the origins of the modern anti-immigrant movement and its impact on U.S. families, communities, and policies.