Credo Action

Tell The New York Times: Stop legitimizing anti-immigrant hate groups

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The petition to The New York Times reads:

“The Center for Immigration Studies, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and NumbersUSA are xenophobic propaganda machines funded by white nationalists. Stop positioning them as immigration experts and legitimizing their hate.”

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    Tell The New York Times: Stop legitimizing anti-immigrant hate groups

    Normalizing hate is irresponsible and dangerous. Yet, unbelievably, The New York Times is legitimizing the racist platforms of xenophobic propaganda machines like The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA by regularly quoting and positioning their leaders as moderate immigration reform experts. That is completely unacceptable.1

    The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has classified CIS and FAIR as hate groups and dubbed CIS, FAIR and NumbersUSA the “nativist lobby.”2 The groups laid out the blueprint for Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, and officials close to the organizations now hold key roles in Trump’s bigoted administration.3

    To block Trump’s anti-immigrant regime, we cannot just resist his racist agenda at the state and federal levels. We also need to hold major media outlets like The New York Times accountable for legitimizing the hate groups that have authored Trump’s nativist playbook.

    Tell The New York Times: Stop legitimizing anti-immigrant hate groups.

    The architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement, eugenicist John Tanton, founded CIS, FAIR and NumbersUSA. In 1993, he wrote:

    “I have come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist, it requires an European-American majority and a clear one at that.”4

    The real goal of Tanton’s organizations is to promote white supremacy and spread hate. An SPLC analysis of nearly 450 CIS weekly immigration emails revealed that the organization shared more than 2,000 articles from websites that promote white supremacy and anti-Semitism.5 The Pioneer Fund, a white nationalist foundation that finances research into white genetic superiority, has given FAIR millions of dollars to help spread its junk data and xenophobic agenda.6 NumbersUSA President Roy Beck has spoken at a white supremacist rally and worked as an editor for the Social Contract, a white nationalist newspaper that gives Holocaust deniers and racists a platform for their bigoted ideologies.7

    The three groups have backed extreme anti-immigrant policies that would criminalize immigrants, strip them of their civil rights and shut down the country’s borders. Trump’s administration has already discussed, proposed or implemented more than a dozen of CIS’ racist policy ideas, including ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, expanding detention for asylum seekers and banning people from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.8

    Despite Tanton’s racist ideas and ties to white nationalists, The New York Times published a piece in 2011 praising him as an “extraordinary” influencer,9 and even now, it consistently describes him as a centrist immigration reform activist. The New York Times has called FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA “immigration hard-liners” or groups that favor “significant reductions in immigration,” but not once does it accurately describe them as hate groups.10 In fact, nearly every major media outlet taps FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA leaders for quotes and interviews in an attempt to show different sides of the immigration debate. Groups that promote white supremacy do not have a different perspective on immigration reform. They are trying to institutionalize hate.

    Tell The New York Times: Stop legitimizing anti-immigrant hate groups.

    When racist bigot Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he called it unconstitutional “unilateral amnesty” and claimed that immigrants were stealing jobs. Those were all anti-immigrant lies that CIS and other right-wing propaganda machines have been spreading for years.11 NumbersUSA’s Roy Beck, said he “loved” Sessions’ announcement and called him a longtime ally.12 The New York Times published Beck’s entire statement and helped legitimize NumbersUSA by describing it as an advocacy group.

    Trump’s senior adviser, white nationalist Stephen Miller, recently cited CIS’ junk data to defend the RAISE Act, a racist bill that would cut legal immigration in half and make the country’s visa process even more discriminatory toward immigrants of color.13 Miller also wants to significantly lower the number of refugees that enter the country every year, a policy idea that Mark Krikorian, executive director of CIS, enthusiastically supports according to a recent Times article. In that article, The New York Times sanitizes CIS by describing it as a “Washington-based research organization.”14

    CIS, FAIR and NumbersUSA have also cultivated partnerships with individual sheriffs and sheriffs’ associations and have offered incentives to law enforcement officials who aid in deportations.15 Some of the most xenophobic and cruel sheriffs have appeared in propaganda videos produced by FAIR, including serial immigrant abuser, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and anti-immigrant former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke.16 The New York Times needs to stop giving hate groups that promote xenophobes and human rights abusers a national platform.

    The New York Times prides itself as being a news source that millions of people rely on for unbiased reporting. Positioning CIS, FAIR and NumbersUSA as immigration experts is not just inaccurate, but also reckless and irresponsible. That’s why CREDO is teaming up with our friends at America’s Voice to hold The New York Times accountable for normalizing anti-immigrant hate groups and demand that it stop now. Will you add your name?

    Tell the New York Times: Stop legitimizing anti-immigrant hate groups.

    Thank you for speaking out.


    1. Nicholas Kulish, “With Ally in Oval Office, Immigration Hard-Liners Ascend to Power,” The New York Times, April 24, 2017.
    2. Heidi Beirich, “The Nativist Lobby: Three Faces of Intolerance,” Southern Poverty Law Center, Jan. 31, 2009.
    3. Marcelo Rochabrun and Jessica Huseman, “Former Director of Anti-Immigration Group Set to Be Named Ombudsman at U.S. Immigration Agency,” ProPublica, April 28, 2017.
    4. Michael Keegan, “Donald Trump’s Horrifying Anti-Immigrant Message Is Anything But New,” HuffPost, March 2, 2017.
    5. Stephen Piggott and Alex Amend, “More Than An Occasional Crank: 2,012 Times the Center for Immigration Studies Circulated White Nationalist Content,” Southern Poverty Law Center, May 23, 2017.
    6. Kulish, “With Ally in Oval Office, Immigration Hard-Liners Ascend to Power.”
    7. Salvatore Colleluori, “U.S. News Ignores Racist Ties And History of Nativist Group, NumbersUSA,” Media Matters, Feb. 21, 2013.
    8. Betsy Woodruff, “Trump Making ‘Nativist’ Group’s Wish List a Reality,” The Daily Beast, March 13, 2017.
    9. Jason DeParle, “The Anti-Immigration Crusader,” The New York Times, April 17, 2011.
    10. Kulish, “With Ally in Oval Office, Immigration Hard-Liners Ascend to Power.”
    11. Cristina Lopez G., “Jeff Sessions’ statement rescinding DACA was packed with bigoted right-wing media lies,” Media Matters, Sept. 5, 2017.
    12. Matt Apuzzo and Rebecca R. Ruiz, “Trump Chooses Sessions, Lontme Foe of DACA, to Announce Its Demise,” The New York Times, Sept. 5, 2017.
    13. Van Le, “Stephen Miller, While Defending Racist Immigration Bill at Press Conference, Cites Hate Group,” America’s Voice, Aug. 2, 2017.
    14. Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Miriam Jordan, “White House Weighs Lowering Refugee Quota to Below 50,000,” The New York Times, Sept. 12, 2017.
    15. Tina Vasquez, “Sheriffs and Anti-Immigrant Hate Groups Teaming Up Nationwide,” Rewire, Aug. 7, 2017.
    16. Ibid.