The Alexandria, Virginia-based group Negative Population Growth (NPG) has announced a national campaign against the birthright citizenship provision of the 14th Amendment. In an October 24 press release, NPG wrote that the campaign is aimed at “getting Congress to debate and pass legislation that will end the practice of granting automatic citizenship to all babies born on U.S. soil regardless of their parents’ citizenship status.” In particular, the campaign is being organized to support the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2019 (H.R. 140) which “would require that at least one parent of a newborn child already be an American citizen or legally permanent resident of the U.S. in order for that child to become a U.S. citizen.”
“That effort,” the release continues, “will be supplemented by a media campaign directed to the American public enlisting their support in also pressuring Congress to advance this legislation.”
H.R. 140 is sponsored by racist U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA). The bill was introduced in January 2019 and sent to the House Judiciary Committee, but went no further, according to Congress.gov. King is known for asking the New York Times, “White nationalists, white supremacists, western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”[i] Of rabidly anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders, King tweeted in 2017 that “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”[ii]
For its part, Negative Population Growth takes a decidedly nationalist stance on immigration. The group misleadingly depicts immigration to the United States as destroying the environment and “advocates complete elimination of illegal and quasi-legal immigration and reduction of current legal immigration by 80 percent.”[iii]
Like King, NPG also appears concerned about “someone else’s babies.” In its 2006 Proposed National Population Policy, NPG writes that “Hispanics are far above replacement level” birth rates perhaps due to the “recent arrival of many of them from high-fertility societies and with the very low work force participation rate of young Hispanic women.” Continuing that “Fertility would not be a problem if they adopted the levels of the other groups,” NPG argues, “We must help the most fertile to become aware that high fertility has immense social consequences or, failing that, alter their personal calculation of the benefits and disadvantages of having many children.” They conclude that “Once the political climate creates a role for government, political leaders can play a major role in that effort.”[iv]
Negative Population Growth, which reported taking in some $680,000 and having more than $12 million in assets in its 2018 IRS 990, has a long history of involvement in anti-immigrant politics. In fact, it is better understood as an anti-immigrant than an environmental group, possessing a pedigree that includes inserting itself into a 1990s conflict over an immigration policy in the Sierra Club, long pushing for crackdowns on undocumented immigrants and drastic cuts in overall immigration, and more recent opposition to immigration reform.[v]
The group has also allied its cause with the likes of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and David Simcox, a onetime NPG Research Director and later head of the Center for Immigration Studies.[vi] FAIR founder John Tanton is widely cited as working with NPG, while in Spring 2014 then-NPG Special Advisor Simcox and NPG Deputy Director Tracy Canada wrote articles for The Social Contract Press.[vii] Social Contract Press editor Wayne Lutton describes that NPG favorably cited John Tanton in its 2012 booklet, The Best of NPG: Celebrating 40 Years of Working Towards a Sustainable U.S. Population.[viii] NPG also recommends the book The Case Against Immigration by Roy Beck of NumbersUSA.[ix]
John Tanton, the founder of FAIR and the English Only group ProEnglish, was a notorious racist who once wrote, “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.”[x]
The Social Contract Press, a magazine that features anti-immigrant and white nationalist writers, was formerly edited by John Tanton and now by Wayne Lutton. For his part, Lutton (using the name Charles Lutton) was a onetime editorial board member of the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review (IHR). As Leonard Zeskind describes in Blood and Politics, Lutton was characterized in 1991 as an “ardent Revisionist” by IHR’s staff editor – the term IHR uses instead of Holocaust denier. Befitting such credentials, Lutton appeared at events hosted by the white nationalist American Renaissance in 1994 and 1996; served as a senior fellow at the white nationalist National Policy Institute; and joined American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor as an editor for the Citizen Informer, the publication of the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens.
A September 2009 “NPG Forum Paper” by Otis Graham lists white nationalist Peter Brimelow among those having “the courage to address this fundamental source of the apparent unwinding social bonds in contemporary America” – namely that “assimilation of incoming foreigners [was] faltering as the incoming numbers increased and the host culture lost its confidence.”[xii]
NPG’s attack on the 14th Amendment is an attack on the foundation of civil rights in the United States. Our own political ancestors fought during the post-Reconstruction era to enshrine the concept of equality in our government.
The 14th Amendment was a pinnacle of that struggle.
The 14th Amendment is not negotiable.
[i] Trip, Gabriel. A Timeline of Steve King’s Racist Remarks and Divisive Actions. New York Times. January 14, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/15/us/politics/steve-king-offensive-quotes.html; for more on the H.R. 140, see Congress.gov. H.R. 140 – Birthright Citizenship Act of 2019. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/140/all-actions-without-amendments
[ii] Schleifer, Theodore. King doubles down on controversial ‘babies’ tweet. CNN Politics. March 14, 2017. https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/13/politics/steve-king-babies-tweet-cnntv/index.html; for more on Geert Wilders and his place in American anti-Muslim politics, see Vuijst, Freke. How Geert Wilders Became America’s Favorite Islamophobe. Foreign Policy. March 1, 2017. https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/01/how-geert-wilders-became-americas-favorite-islamophobe/.
[iii] Negative Population Growth. Propose National Population Policy. February 10, 2006. https://npg.org/library/forum-series/proposed-national-population-policy.html.
[iv] Negative Population Growth. Propose National Population Policy. February 10, 2006. https://npg.org/library/forum-series/proposed-national-population-policy.html.
[v] See Burke, Meredith. Sierra Club Schism: The Limits of Sharing. The Christian Science Monitor. April 21, 1998. https://www.csmonitor.com/1998/0421/042198.opin.opin.1.html; Anti-Defamation League. Anti-Immigrant Movement Reacts to Passage of Immigration Reform Bill. July 10, 2013. https://www.adl.org/news/article/anti-immigrant-movement-reacts-to-passage-of-immigration-reform-bill; Negative Population Growth. Propose National Population Policy. February 10, 2006. https://npg.org/library/forum-series/proposed-national-population-policy.html.
[vi] See Simcox, David. Political Asylum: Achilles’ Heel of Immigration Control. The NPG Forum. Negative Population Growth. https://npg.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/PoliticalAsylumAchillesHeelImmgControlrev.pdf; Negative Population Growth. Notable Papers and Articles. https://npg.org/library/recommended-reading/notable-papers-and-articles.html.
[vii] Slagter, Martin. Michigan Founder of the Anti-Immigrant Movement Found Dead at 85. Mlive. July 18, 2019. https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2019/07/michigan-founder-of-anti-immigration-movement-john-tanton-dead-at-85.html; Simcox, David and Tracy Canada. Toward Negative Population Growth. The Social Contract Press. Spring 2014. https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_24_3/tsc_24_3_simcox_canada.shtml; Warikoo, Niraj. Appeals Court favors release of University of Michigan records of anti-immigrant leader. Detroit Free Press. June 6, 2019. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/07/06/university-of-michigan-sealed-records-anti-immigrant-leader/1635813001/
[viii] Lutton, Wayne. Points Well Taken. John Tanton and Governor Richard Lamm on Immigration. The Social Contract Press. Fall 2016. https://www.thesocialcontract.com/pdf/twentyseven-one/tsc_27_1_lutton.pdf.
[x] Arellano, Gustavo. John Tanton, quiet architect of America’s modern anti-immigrant movement, dies at 85. Los Angeles Times. July 18, 2019. https://www.latimes.com/obituaries/story/2019-07-18/john-tanton-dead-anti-immigrant
[xi] See Beck, Roy. Xenophoe – Scrabble Winner, Debate Stopper. The Social Contract Press. Spring 1992. https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0203/article_156.shtml
[xii] Graham, Otis Jr. Immigration and America’s Unchosen Future. An NPG Forum Paper. Negative Population Growth, Inc. September 2009. https://npg.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Graham-September-2009.pdf