Just under three months ago, an article exposing John Tanton as the white nationalist founder of the modern day anti-immigrant movement appeared on the front page of a Sunday edition of The New York Times.
Soon after, Tanton’s name quietly disappeared from the board of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization he founded in 1979. Tanton’s health issues were cited as the reason he left the board, but many believed increasing scrutiny of the group’s ties to Tanton was the real cause.
It looks like severing ties with Tanton was only a temporary fix for FAIR. Recently, the group updated the board of director’s page on its website and Tanton’s name has appeared again, this time appearing not as a board member but a member of FAIR’s board of advisors.
The immediate question that comes to mind is why would FAIR choose to bring back Tanton and give him an advisory role within the organization? The simple answer is that FAIR can never separate from its founder. And regardless of how his name appears within the organization, Tanton’s legacy of nativism and bigotry still influence the organization he built.
For many years FAIR has claimed to be transparent, but time and time again, FAIR’s lack of transparency has come to light. Rachel Maddow’s exposé on FAIR and its ties to white nationalism left Dan Stein, FAIR’s president, scrambling and stuttering, unable to respond to the plethora of evidence that Maddow presented. FAIR’s handling of Tanton’s position within the organization after the New York Times piece also highlighted the organization’s lack of clarity.
Incidentally, Tanton was not the only controversial character added to FAIR’s national board of advisors recently. Colorado-based “environmentalist” Frosty Wooldridge also appears on the list. Wooldridge is a hardcore nativist who is not afraid to voice his views. In 2005, he stated, “I don’t want to see my country taken over … and have them make the Southwest a slime pit Third World country like Mexico.”
Earlier this year, Wooldridge went on a tirade about the dangers of multiculturalism, stating, “Immigrant citizens now bomb subways in England, trains in Spain, riots in Sweden and create growing slums in Amsterdam. Given enough time, every human tribe attempts to become dominant. By sheer numbers, cultures work toward power.”
It says a lot about your organization when you have white nationalists such as Tanton and hardcore nativists such as Wooldridge “advising” you.
FAIR has been the subject damning criticism for decades due to its white nationalist ties. But it has never taken any real steps to address the public’s concerns.