The Anti-Immigration Activist Behind FAIR, NumbersUSA, and... Passive Eugenics?

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

In a political world where every issue has a dozen or so political groups, PACs, and bought-and-paid-for politicians, it can often be difficult to tell who is your ally and who isn’t. The problem we often face is that no one in the political world has a problem lying right to your face and doing so “for your own good.”

Planned Parenthood is one of those organizations, which tells you it is for all sorts of things — like women’s health, access to health care, justice, etc. — but its origin and its business model are based entirely on the death of children. From its founder being an advocate for eugenics, particularly where it comes to black families, to the millions of children the group has killed over the years, it is not an organization that relies on government funding to continue its mission of killing children.

Likewise, many on the right have adopted the cause of groups like FAIR and NumbersUSA, which have for years been courting conservatives while also being in favor of things like the Paris Climate Accords and even China’s One Child Policy.

Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigrants, Illegal Aliens, Border
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

FAIR, NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) were all founded by a man named John Tanton, and newly released papers show he was just as much into the idea of limiting the population as Planned Parenthood is.

Born in Detroit in 1934 to an immigrant father from Canada, Tanton was an ophthalmologist, birdwatcher, and beekeeper whose initial activism revolved around environmental conservation and population control. In 1964, he founded a chapter of Planned Parenthood in northern Michigan “to help people not have kids that they didn’t want to have.” Later, he led the organization Zero Population Growth (now Population Connection) and chaired the Sierra Club National Population Committee.

With the baby bust of the 1970s, Tanton shifted his focus to immigration as another driving force of US population growth, tapping into the racialized notion that Latin American migrants had higher fertility rates. But he found that it was a “forbidden topic.”

The name “Zero Population Growth” should be a giveaway.

In his writings, he argued in favor of “passive eugenics,” promoting limiting childbearing to ages 20 to 35 and reducing the size of families as a way to “improve the potential of minority groups.” The publishing house he founded in 1990, the Social Contract Press, published the English-language version of the xenophobic French dystopian novel The Camp of the Saints, a must-read among white supremacists.

Eugenics in any form is inherently anti-conservative, and attempting to control the population of foreign or minority groups for your own nationalist agenda is not something the conservative movement should ever align itself with. Immigration reform is even more necessary now that border security is in absolute shambles thanks to Joe Biden’s administration and its rhetoric.

What’s worse, however, is that even now, the CIS is still pushing for population control via new policy papers for the Biden Administration. They are calling for taxpayer-funded birth control, but they do not specify what kind of birth control. Big red flag.

5. Birth Control and the Infrastructure

This part of our proposed Biden Plan for the Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras relates to the need for more access to birth control in those countries, as well as a brief discussion of other traditional long-term development strategies. The next will deal with a cash payment plan to discourage emigration immediately, and the last with how to fund all of these activities, at minimal cost to law-abiding taxpayers.


Mexican birth rates, 20 years ago, were much higher than they are now, and the drop in these rates as well as its continuing relative prosperity, have caused the influx of illegal migrants from that country to stabilize and then decline in recent years.

Part of the problem in the Northern Triangle is that the populations in these nations are heavily tipped toward young people, assuring us of expanding numbers of women in their reproductive years in the decades to come, as the following data shows for the most fertile of these nations, Guatemala.

Girls under the age of five currently will, 25 years from now, be in their peak years of fertility, and that cohort will be twice as large as that of the 25- to 29-year-olds now. Even with a sharp reduction in the number of births per 1,000 women, the total number of births in the nation will keep on climbing.

Making birth control more available than it is now — thus giving women in the Northern Triangle more control over childbearing decisions — and using federal dollars to expand these services, would seem to be a cornerstone for any development assistance strategy.

This should be a warning flag to conservatives that these immigration groups and the Left want to work together to use your taxpayer money to do whatever they can to limit the population of a territory, but by not outright specifying what they are proposing, you can be almost certain they are fine with the use of abortifacients or even abortions to complete the job — especially as the policy also concerns “infrastructure.”

The crisis at the border is why we need a sound policy that focuses on reform efforts to streamline the process rather than give immigrants and refugees an open door or outright shut the borders entirely. Neither addresses fundamental problems in the system, yet the extremes on both sides have no other solution than ones that simply won’t work.

But, more than that, conservatives should no more support organizations founded by Margaret Sanger than they should organizations founded by John Tanton — both of whom felt that the best way to help America was to bring down the number of minorities and keep white Americans in power above all others. That’s not what we’re supposed to be about as a country, and those legacies are a stain on the nation.