Racist roots of Arizona’s immigration law

Updated
By The Rachel Maddow Show

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy The sponsor of Arizona’s new “Papers, please” immigration is law is Republican State Sen. Russell Pearce, a politician who was caught on tape hugging a neo-Nazi. But if you want to meet the guy who’s taking credit for writing the new law, that would be Kris Kobach, a birther who’s running for secretary of state in Kansas. His campaign Website brags, “Kobach wins one in Arizona.” He’s also an attorney for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of an immigration group called FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. FAIR was founded in 1979 by John Tanton, who’s still listed as a member of FAIR’s board of directors. Seven years after he started FAIR, Tanton wrote this, “To govern is to populate. Will the present majority peaceably hand over its political power to a group that is simply more fertile? As whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night or will there be an explosion?” For nine of the first years of FAIR’s existence, the group reportedly received more than $1 million in funding from something called the Pioneer Fund. The Pioneer Fund describes itself as based “in the Darwinian-Galtonian evolutionary tradition and eugenics movement.” For the last 70 years, the Pioneer Fund has funded controversial research about race and intelligence, essentially aimed at proving the racial superiority of white people. The group’s original mandate was to promote the genes of those “deemed to be descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original 13 states prior to the adoption of the Constitution.” Tanton’s organization, FAIR, claims credit for writing Arizona’s new immigration law. The link between Fair and the Pioneer Fund makes sense, especially after you read more of Tanton’s writing, like this: “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.” In 1997, John Tanton told the Detroit Free Press that America will soon be overrun by illegal immigrants “defecating and creating garbage and looking for jobs.” Today, FAIR makes a living off of suing local and state governments over immigration laws. Tucked inside Article VIII of Arizona’s new law is a provision that if groups like them win their cases, a judge may order that the entity “who brought the action recover court costs and attorney fees” – which could create a nice financial boon for an outfit once funded by people determined to advance an agenda of eugenics and a perpetual white majority. Congratulations, Arizona. This thing is going to make you really, really famous for a really, really long time. [Full segment]

John Tanton, Russell Pearce and Arizona

Racist roots of Arizona's immigration law

Updated