Thursday, July 18, 2019
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.