Thursday, July 18, 2019

Anti-immigrant leader Dr. John Tanton dies


Niraj Warikoo for the Detroit Free Press reports that Dr. John Tanton, an ophthalmologist who became an anti-immigrant leader, died earlier this week. He was 85. 

In 2002, the Southern Poverty Law Center released this report on Tanton's role in the organized anti-immigrant movement.

Tanton established several groups calling for reduced immigration and his ideas have influenced the immigration debate, perhaps even helping drive some of the immigration policies under President Donald Trump. 

Dan Stein, president of a group Tanton founded that calls for sharp reductions in immigration, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said in a statement, that Tanton was a "remarkable giant of a man" and "[a] person with extraordinary persistence in promoting ideas based on a careful analysis of how today’s decisions affect the future."

Tanton has been accused of making racist remarks against Latinos and Catholics in his warnings against immigration from Latin America.  His controversial statements include:

"I've come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that," Tanton wrote in a 1993 letter.

In 1997 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Tanton compared immigrants to bacteria.

"In the bacteriology lab, we have culture plates," he said. "You put a bug in there and it starts growing and gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And it grows until it finally fills the whole plate. And it crashes and dies. That's the big picture. If you don't buy that, then there's nothing we can talk about."

In 1986 memo, he warned of Latino immigrant birthrates being higher than white birthrates. He warned of "fertile" Latino Catholics outgrowing white Protestants. 

"Perhaps this is the first instance in which those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down," Tanton wrote. 

Tanton warned of a "Latin onslaught," an idea that has gained traction among white supremacists.


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I have put extensive comments on the cited article by Niraj Warikoo, incl. links to several articles.

Yes, Tanton would have supported Trumps proposals for greatly reducing legal immigration and halting illegal immigration and mass amnesties.

But those are proposals supported by national commissions going back to the 1972 Rockefeller commission on Population and the American Future and by polls of the electorate. Tanton was a classical liberal environmentalist straight out of the political center. So he had many enemies both on the utopian socialist left and on the utopian
libertarian right.

Here's one of the most reliable polls of the American electorate:

Harvard-Harris Poll, January 17-19, 2018, n = 980 voters, Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University

1. In your opinion, about how many legal immigrants should be admitted to the U.S. each year?

less than 250,000: 35%
250,000 to 499,999: 19%
500,000 to 1 million: 18%
1 million to 1.5 million: 7%
1.5 million to 2 million: 3%
2 million to 2.5 million: 1%
more than 2.5 million: 8%

That compares with the average number of legal immigrants during the last decade or so of about 1,000,000. And then, of course, there are the illegals, and plenty of congressmen in both parties in the cheap labor lobby that always wants more of them.

Posted by: Stuart Hurlbert | Jul 18, 2019 4:10:34 PM

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