The anti-immigrant ProEnglish, founded by white nationalist John Tanton, is now running ads against the immigration reform bill. And, this time, the extreme opponents of immigration reform are being seen for what they are. Buzzfeed’s headline reads: Controversial “Pro-English” Group Launches Ad Campaign To Take Down Immigration Reform.
The subtitle is even more on point: “Group tied to white nationalism enters immigration fray. Not what reform opponents needed after Heritage flap.” Here’s why, according to Evan Morris-Santoro and Kate Nocera:
The minute long radio ad campaign by ProEnglish, comes at a particularly bad time for opponents of comprehensive reform: last week the Heritage Foundation was forced to sack a researcher for his racially tinged comments about Latinos and there are growing questions about the anti-reform movement’s connections to radical population growth groups.
That last line about “the anti-reform movement’s connections to radical population groups” means the John Tanton network, which includes nativist groups like the Center of Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA and FAIR. Those organizations have become increasingly toxic.
More from Buzzfeed on ProEnglish, which is just as extreme:
ProEnglish is led by Robert Vandervoort, who caused a stir in 2012 when he was invited to speak at a CPAC immigration panel despite his “past ties to the white nationalist group Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance,” as it was described in contemporary media reports. American Renaissance warns against “Multiculturalism and the War Against White America” and “The War on White Heritage” on its website.
Ardent reform opponents steer clear of Vandervoort. Republican Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach — architect of the controversial immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama — distanced himself from the ProEnglish leader after appearing on the CPAC panel with him.
The group shrugs off critics who call it racist. “As for dishonest opponents, we choose to ignore smears and lies,” Kent said.
Kobach, who also has ties to the Tanton network, may want distance himself from ProEnglish, but he does share the group’s goal of killing immigration reform.