In 1982, [John H.] Tanton created U.S. Inc. to raise and channel funds to his anti-immigration network. The following year, he created his second major vehicle, U.S. English, which made a cultural argument — that the English language was in mortal danger of being made irrelevant.All contemporary organized anti-immigration and pro-English groups have spun off from Mr. Tanton's work. Yet, Mr. Tanton has a legacy, according to SPLC, of collaborating with anti-Hispanic and anti-Black groups like the Council of Concerned Citizens (itself the outgrowth of the segregationist and anti-Semitic White Citizens Councils of the 1950s).
After early successes (helping pass English Only statutes in 30 states), Tanton's racist predisposition became public knowledge. News came that one of his organizations accepted $1.2 million from a "Neo-Nazi organization, tied to the Nazi eugenics program of the 1930s" and committed to "racial inferiority and superiority."
During a 1988 Arizona English Only referendum some of Tanton's personal memos became public. According to SPLC:
The memos were replete with derogatory references to Latinos, reflecting a kind of entrenched bigotry that had only been suspected before. They complained mightily of the high Hispanic birth rate suggesting that Latin American immigrants would bring political corruption to the United States.Recently these anti-immigration and pro-English groups are tied to conspiracy theories of Mexican plots to re-conquer the southwest, pseudo-scientific publications devoted to the idea that African Americans are less intelligent, Holocaust-denying organizations, and a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. You should go read the whole thing for the sobering details. Not to be missed are the derogatory "racial mixing" comments from a retired Vanderbilt professor who served on one of Mr. Tanton's boards.
The memos included a demographic punchline that depicted Hispanics as hyperactive breeders and revolted many readers:
"[P]erhaps this is the first instance in which those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down."
I ask the moderates and African Americans on the Metro Council who signed on to Eric Crafton's English Only bill and any Nashvillian who would sign an English Only petition: is this the kind of hate-ridden legacy that you prefer to embrace?