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NumbersUSA logo.png
FounderJohn Tanton, Roy Beck[1][2]
Key people
Roy Beck, Executive Director; Rosemary Jenks, Government Relations Director[3]
US$ 10.61 million (2016)[3]
EndowmentUS$ 8.97 million[3]
WebsiteOfficial website

NumbersUSA is an anti-immigration organization[4][5][6] that seeks to reduce both legal and illegal immigration to the United States.[7] It advocates for immigration reduction through user-generated fax, email, and direct mail campaigns. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers NumbersUSA to be one of the core nativist organizations created by white nationalist John Tanton to advance his views.[8][1]


NumbersUSA was created in 1997 by anti-immigration activist and white nationalist John Tanton, though it describes its founder as Roy Beck, who worked for him at the time.[2][1] Beck's interest in immigration was sparked by his work as a journalist covering the nascent environmental movement in the 1960s, and especially the effect of population growth.[9] Beck says that he started NumbersUSA after he wrote The Case Against Immigration, which was published in 1996. In the course of researching the book he determined many of the problems in the US resulted from immigration, based on a study of crime in Wausau, Wisconsin.[10]

In 2004, NumbersUSA reported 50,000 members.[2] In 2007, it claimed 1.5 million members.[11]

In 2007, NumbersUSA was influential in derailing a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill.[12] The organization's members used information and tools from NumbersUSA to contact legislators and voice opposition.[2]


The Huffington Post reports "NumbersUSA has become something of a bellwether for Republican presidential candidates, who cite the organization's immigration report card to prove they oppose unauthorized immigration."[13] NumbersUSA Action, which is a 501(c)(4), receives 95 percent of its lobbying budget through member donations of $100 or less. According to tax records from 2013, the single largest donor to NumbersUSA Education and Research Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3), was the Colcom Foundation, which contributed approximately $4.5 million out of an annual budget of $7-10 million.[9]

During the Fox News Republican presidential candidate debates in 2011, NumbersUSA ran an ad which included some of their activists and stated that "The immigration debate should not be about the color of people's skin, or their country of origin, or their religion, or where their grandparents were born, The debate should be about the numbers."[14]

NumbersUSA founder Roy Beck gained attention via a presentation where he used gumballs to show that immigration to the United States did not alleviate world poverty, because so many remained impoverished outside of the United States. The conclusion was that the United States should restrict immigration more and help the impoverished where they are, instead of allowing them to migrate to richer countries.[15] David R. Henderson, an economist at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, responded to Beck's video, "By comparing one gumball (one million people) to over 5,000 gumballs (over 5 billion people), he gets his audience thinking that one million people don’t matter because they are such a tiny fraction of 5 billion. But one million people do matter."[16] Henderson also argued, contra Beck's view that allowing immigration is done at a cost to Americans, that "Americans gain from immigration also," and that the net benefit of loosening immigration restrictions would be substantial.[17]

False claims

FactCheck.Org have said an advertisement released by NumbersUSA contained "inaccurate, inflated and emotionally charged claims."[18] PolitiFact evaluated as false a NumbersUSA claim that, in an extreme case, the migration of "a single permanent foreign worker could result in the permanent immigration to the United States of 273" relatives through chain migration,[19] noting widespread agreement among experts that such this was "likely impossible under quotas established under current immigration policy".[20]

During the 2016 presidential primaries, NumbersUSA ran an ad that quotes testimony from Barbara Jordan, the renowned Texas Democrat, on a 1996 federal commission that “the commission finds no national interest in continuing to import lesser-skilled and unskilled workers to compete in the most vulnerable parts of our labor force.” However, according to The Washington Post, "Studies have shown that immigrants who arrive legally boost the economy over the long term and that many have higher levels of education than native-born Americans. Commission members said NumbersUSA took Jordan’s words out of context and noted that the commission also proposed accommodating a global waiting list of more than 1 million immigration applicants."[21]


The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes NumbersUSA as part of a network of "anti-immigration" organizations created by Tanton.[22] A Wall Street Journal Opinion section article also identifies NumbersUSA as one of a half dozen groups founded or funded by Tanton in order to stop immigration and promote population control.[23] In February 2009, NumbersUSA was called a nativist organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center's report "The Nativist Lobby",[24] though the SPLC also stated that there is no evidence of racism on behalf of Roy Beck or his organization.[25] NumbersUSA firmly denies having any racist or extremist views.[26]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Anti-Immigrant". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Pear, Robert (July 15, 2007). "Little-Known Group Claims a Win on Immigration". New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2008. Numbers USA is one of many organizations fostered by John H. Tanton, an ophthalmologist from Michigan who has also championed efforts to protect the environment, limit population growth and promote English as an official language.
  3. ^ a b c "NumbersUSA 2016 Annual Report" (pdf). NumbersUSA. December 31, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Explaining 'Chain Migration'. National Public Radio, 7 January 2018
  5. ^ Mich. man who led anti-immigration fight nearly forgotten. Detroit News, 15 March 2017
  6. ^ Here Are the Most Anti-Immigrant Republicans Running This Year. Murguia, Sophie. Mother Jones, 16 October 2018
  7. ^ Deparle, Jason (April 17, 2011). "The Anti-Immigration Crusader". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "The Nativist Lobby: Three Faces of Intolerance". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Davis, Julie Hirschfeld (December 3, 2014). "Genial Force Behind Bitter Opposition to Immigration Overhaul". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  10. ^ D'Agostino, Joseph A. (August 25, 2003). "Numbers USA". Human Events. 59 (29). Washington. p. 16. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  11. ^ Solomon, John; Mosk, John (December 5, 2007). "Nonprofits Become A Force in Primaries". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  12. ^ Kulish, Nicholas; McIntire, Mike (August 14, 2019). "Why an Heiress Spent Her Fortune Trying to Keep Immigrants Out". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  13. ^ Huffington Post: NumbersUSA runs ads in South Carolina Primary
  14. ^ Sifuentes, Edward (September 24, 2011). "REGION: Groups' TV ad campaigns advocate reducing legal immigration". North County Times. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  15. ^ Ball, Molly (August 1, 2013). "The Little Group Behind the Big Fight to Stop Immigration Reform". Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  16. ^ Henderson, David. "When Numeracy Misleads".
  17. ^ Henderson, David. "The Other Problems with Roy Beck on Immigration".
  18. ^ "A Puffed-up Appeal to Job Fears -". June 12, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  19. ^ Jenks, Rosemary. "Chain Migration Under Current U.S. Law: The Potential Impact of a Single Employment-Based Immigrant". Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  20. ^ "Marietta Republican says a single immigrant can lead to more than 270 others". @politifact. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  21. ^ Nakamura, David (December 19, 2016). "After years on the outside, foes of legal immigration find a louder voice with Trump's election". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  22. ^ "SPLC's overview of John Tanton's Fundraising Network". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on June 24, 2006.
  23. ^ "Borderline Republicans". Opinion. The Wall Street Journal. June 17, 2004. Archived from the original on December 31, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2014.(subscription required)
  24. ^ "The Nativist Lobby; Three Faces of Intolerance". Southern Poverty Law Center. 2009. Archived from the original on October 18, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2009.
  25. ^ "NumbersUSA". Southern Poverty Law Center. 2009. Archived from the original on October 7, 2009. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
  26. ^ "'The Nativist Lobby'". Opinion. The New York Times. February 4, 2009. Retrieved May 20, 2010.

External links

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