by Susan Platt, host of the PLATT-itudes, Find Your Roar podcast
These days it seems very easy to be outraged by something either done or said by Donald Trump or by the majority of Republicans in Congress. Saturday’s PLATT-iTUDES radio show/podcast talked about Trump’s racist attacks last week on the four congresswomen of color called “the Squad.” This was, sadly, another new low for our country, in this case increasing fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color. Shouts of “send her back” were even heard at a Trump campaign rally last week, as the President opined, “if you don’t love our country then leave it.”
In response, House Democrats brought a resolution to the floor, condemning Trump for his words. It passed, but with the vast majority of Republicans opposing it. Democrats ultimately declined to offer a move to censure Trump.
My interview Saturday addressed how the issues of current immigration policy and racism were formed by a little-known Michigan doctor, John Tanton. Dr. Tanton died on Tuesday of last week at age 85. Certainly not a household name, he founded the influential anti-immigrant groups CIS (The Center for Immigration Studies) and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The Southern Poverty Law Center designated both of these organizations as hate groups.
One chilling quote from Tanton read: “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?” And another: “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.”
While we think these organizations operate in the shadows, they are actually known to many, funded by the “elite” few and often hiding behind a cloak of legitimacy. Several members of the Trump administration have been involved with these organizations, including Stephen Miler and Kellyanne Conway. In 1984, Dr. Tanton’s papers and records were donated to the University of Michigan under one condition – that until 2035, 11 of the 24 archives would remain sealed. We can only imagine the even worse horror that is potentially included in those documents.
My guest on PLATT-iTUDES was well-known Northern Virginia-based immigration attorney, Hassan Ahmad. Mr. Ahmad filed a Freedom of Information Act in December 2016 to gain access to the sealed documents, claiming the files “should be made public, seeing as Tanton’s anti-immigrant sentiments are relevant to the views and policies of Pres Trump, which tend to negatively affect immigrants.” Nearly one month ago, and after three years of legal battles, the appeals court ruled in favor of Mr. Ahmad’s appeal. Mr. Ahmed had won. Ahmad called this victory a win for “transparency in government,” “all the more important when these documents show connections with known eugenicists, racial purists, and white nationalists.”
But the final result of viewing the documents has yet to be realized, as the University of Michigan still has not determined its next step.
Ahmad said he hope Tanton’s papers will help unveil the roots of the anti-immigration movement. And he tweeted, the Tanton Papers shine a light on the conceptual underpinnings of the policies that rip families apart, jail children and create a permanent underclass, after all, what’s in the Tanton Papers they’re fighting so hard to hide?”
My interview with Ahmad is fascinating, while very frightening at the same time. Take a listen for yourself.