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NumbersUSA Promoting Population Control Book Co-Edited by PFIR President

Aaron Patrick Flanagan • Jan 22, 2013

Philip Cafaro, president and chair of Progressives for Immigration Reform

Last week Melanie Oubre, NumbersUSA’s local activism coordinator, wrote a blog titled, “Prominent Conservationists Call for Immigration Reductions in New Book.” The “Prominent Conservatives” that NumbersUSA is referring to are none other than its pseudo-liberal co-horts in the anti-immigrant movement, Progressive for Immigration Reform (PFIR). Together as member-groups within what many refer to as the John Tanton Network of anti-immigrant groups, NumbersUSA and PFIR design their respective missions and messaging to target individuals whose political allegiances and leanings fall into a spectrum of moderate-to-progressive and who also express concern for environmental and green issues.

PFIR and NumbersUSA exploit these allegiances and concerns by continuing to manufacture and to exacerbate anxieties concerning issues of “carrying capacity” and “over-population.” Invariably, both groups extend and focus these anxieties on the influx of immigrant populations, going as far as to blame them for water shortages, habitat destruction, the extinction of various animal species, traffic populations, and environmental degradation of all sorts.

The text that NumbersUSA is promoting-typically omitting all of its organizational, funding, and leadership connections to PFIR-is the anthology, Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation. The anthology is co-edited by Philip Cafaro and Eileen Crist. Cafaro is the president and chair of the board of PFIR.

Contributers to the book include some long-time leaders within the Tanton Network and some of the biggest names in the population alarmist arena of thinkers.

One of those names is, of course, Paul Ehrlich (a former FAIR advisor), whose 1968 book The Population Bomb is a cornerstone text of neo-Malthusian notions of over-population. The text unquestionably inspired Tanton’s work in the mid-to-late 1970s with the group Zero Population Group, which was founded by Ehrlich. Ehrlich’s title and ideas also certainly inspired Wayne Lutton, a white nationalist activist and editor of Tanton’s The Social Contract Press, and G. Palmer Stacey’s 1985 book, The Immigration Time Bomb, in which many of Ehrlich’s idea are pointedly retrofitted to anti-immigrant messages. Such rhetoric and inspiration is present in The Immigration Invasion (1994), a book co-authored by Tanton and Lutton.

And so, Crist and Cafaro’s anthology is the latest installment of such texts originating from the anti-immigrant Tanton network. A quick glance at many of the anthology’s contributors lays bare numerous links to Tanton himself, to PFIR, and to NumbersUSA  and its head, Roy Beck, who himself has been a close friend and associate of Tanton’s for the last 20 years:

  • Richard “Dick” Lamm: the former Governor of Colorado is long-time associate of Tanton. Lamm has long served on the board of advisors for the Federation of American Immigration (FAIR), the group Tanton founded in 1979. Lamm was a part of the Tanton-inspired attempt to hi-jack the Sierra Club’s board in 2003, after the group dropped population politics from its agenda in 1996. Lamm has also served on PFIR’s board since its launch. In the past, the former Governor has attacked immigrants by regarding their presence in the United States to the Denver Post as follows: “this onslaught of new people and new cultures [is] diluting what we are and who we are.” He is also on the national board of advisors of an official FAIR state contact group, Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), which like FAIR has received funding from the pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund. 
  • Leon Kolankiewicz: a member of PFIR’s board, Kolankiewicz is deeply involved with anti-immigrant network. Since the summer of 2001, he has authored seven pieces for Tanton’s The Social Contract Journal, which has in the past also published white nationalists with connections to groups like American Renaissance, Council of Conservative Citizens, the New Century Foundation, and VDARE.com. He has also co-authored papers and studies with Roy Beck. He is also on the national board of advisors of CAPS.
  • Dave Foreman: one of the founders of the radical Earth First! movement, Foreman also resides on PFIR’s board. ***Read Kolankiewicz’s blog from 1/22 over at CAP’s website about the anthology here.
  • William Ryerson: has long supported the anti-immigrant movement with his work at the Population Media Center and the Population Institute. Ryerson was Cafaro’s predecessor, formerly serving as president of PFIR. Via the Population Media Center, he has also promoted some of the anti-immigrant movement leadership’s involvement in Quinacrine research.
  • Winthrop Staples III: back in 2009, Staples co-authored with Cafaro a Backgrounder Report for another Tanton network mainstay, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). In another act of supporting and legitimizing the work of its partner organization, CIS’s report was entitled, “The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration to the United States.” Staples also writes blogs for PFIR’s website. CIS and PFIR have also recently used the same consulting firm, Decision Demographics, to support the respective writing of a report and emerging program work.
  • Don Weeden: Weeden is the executive director of the Weeden Foundation and sits on the board of NumbersUSA. Weeden’s father, Alan, sits on the board of directors of the Weeden Foundation and the board of directors of FAIR. His brother, Jon, sits on the national board of advisors of CAPS, alongside others listed above. In the past the Weeden Foundation has awarded financial support to NumbersUSA, CIS, and CAPS.

And so knowing the above, we can recognize NumbersUSA’s promotion of Cafaro’s anthology as yet another promotion of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has defined most of the aforementioned groups since their inceptions.

Cafaro’s new anthology simply continues this tradition-as does PFIR’s slowly-evolving Environmental Impact Statement-and NumbersUSA’s support of the book,  as if it were born from an organization from which it has no relationship, just further underscores how the established anti-immigrant movement works to legitimize the work of its fellow co-horts.

Oubre’s blog also further solidifies NumbersUSA place as powerful fixture within the anti-immigrant movement, stooping to lift-up the ailing Progressives for Immigration Reform.

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