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Strange Bedfellows for Conservatives

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
As conservatives debate what to do about immigration reform in the wake of the GOP's disastrous showing among Hispanic voters in the 2012 presidential election, they might consider that the groups they've allied themselves with to date are strange bedfellows.

I've been writing for years about the odd history of anti-immigration groups -- and they are anti-immigration, not just anti-illegal immigration. Groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Center for Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA, and others have little in common with conservatives. Now, a new and comprehensive analysis of these organizations details why conservatives should be uncomfortable with the company they keep.

Author Mario Lopez, writing in the fall issue of Human Life Review, traces the modern anti-immigration groups back to their roots in the population control movement, and their predecessors' ties to the eugenics movement of the early 20th century. While some of this evidence has been known and documented before, Lopez does a much more thorough job than any previous attempt to lay out the facts, interconnections and questionable background of FAIR, CIS, NumbersUSA and their affiliated groups.

What Lopez shows in his article, "Hijacking Immigration," should be disturbing to conservatives. He demonstrates that what motivates these groups primarily is their obsession with controlling population. In essence, they want to restrict immigration in order to keep population size down in the U.S., eventually decreasing it to between 150,000,000 and 200,000,000.

The organizers of these groups and some of their current backers are pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia and assisted suicide, and have spoken approvingly of China's one child policy (even though some of them think it is too liberal). In their view, there are simply too many people in the U.S. (and the world) and they'd like fewer of them -- a lot fewer. They hit on restricting immigration as the first line of attack in their war on population, but there is no indication they want to stop there.


As Lopez is quick to point out, population growth is not the enemy -- indeed it is the source of human innovation and prosperity. These neo-Malthusian groups have been proven wrong again and again by history. The growth in the human population has been accompanied by an even greater growth in wealth and a better standard of living for all the world's populations. The price of commodities, which the neo-Malthusians warned would become scarcer, has actually declined in real dollars, which suggests human ingenuity trumps scarcity.

But what should be most troubling to anti-abortion conservatives is the close association between FAIR and the pro-abortion movement. Lopez notes that several members of FAIR's staff, board, advisors and donors are closely tied to abortion rights. FAIR, CIS, and NumbersUSA were creations of one man, John Tanton, and his umbrella organization, U.S. Inc., which raised funds for and directed the work of these groups in their initial stages. "Three of the five directors of U.S. Inc. -- chairman John Tanton, vice-chair Mary Lou Tanton and director David Irish -- are openly committed to population control through abortion, family planning and curtailing immigration," writes Lopez.

But they are not alone. Lopez shows interconnections between the anti-immigration leaders and the National Abortion Rights Action League, Planned Parenthood, Pathfinder International, a provider of abortions and sterilizations worldwide, and the International Projects Assistance Service, which is the manufacturer of the Manual Vacuum Aspiration Kit (MVA), a mobile abortion device used in the developing world. And there are past and present connection between those involved in these anti-immigration groups and the eugenics movement. Long-time FAIR board member Garrett Hardin was also a member of the American Eugenics Society, and FAIR has received more than a million dollars in grants from the eugenicist organization The Pioneer Fund.


Lopez asks why pro-life groups and leaders have joined with FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA to promote the latters' anti-immigration, anti-population agenda. It is a good question -- one that GOP members of congress should ask themselves the next time they invite these groups to present the case against comprehensive immigration reform at hearings.

Linda Chavez is the author of "An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal." To find out more about Linda Chavez, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


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