Over the past year, the Santa Barbara-based anti-immigrant group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) increased its activity dramatically. The group has gone beyond promoting its anti-immigrant agenda at the state level and has moved on to the national stage. CAPS is one most powerful and active state-based anti-immigrant groups in the country, with annual contributions/grants topping $1.1 million a year, according to the most recent financial figures.
Working to Derail Immigration Reform
Since the 2012 election and the subsequent push for immigration reform, CAPS has been one of the most active organizations attempting to derail immigration reform. CAPS continues to run ads both in California and elsewhere targeting politicians for their positions on immigration. To date, CAPS has targeted Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ); Marco Rubio (R-FL), and John McCain (R-AZ). All three senators are members of the bi-partisan “Gang of Eight” who drafted the immigration reform bill passed in June. The ads aired in the senators’ districts and voiced common anti-immigrant arguments about the immigration reform bill, namely that it will increase the amount of immigrants coming to the country and it will hurt “American workers.”
More recently, CAPS shifted its attention to the House of Representatives. In August, it released an ad targeting Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for his decision to back a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. CAPS is also encouraging members to contact their elected officials and urge them to vote against any immigration reform bill introduced in the House. In June, CAPS targeted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) when he claimed he would “debate anyone” on the topic if the immigration bills in Congress constitute an amnesty. In response, CAPS issued a press release offering to debate Ryan “anytime and anyplace.”
On October 1, 2013, CAPS launched a new ad campaign in a number of cities in California in response to rallies in support of immigration reform due to take place on October 5 and October 8 in different parts of the country. The ad calls for the American worker to be respected and claimed immigration reform would make it easier for immigrants to take “American jobs.”
Other CAPS Activities
Aside from taking on immigration reform, CAPS showed other signs of increased activity both inside the organization and externally. Internally, CAPS launched a new website in the summer of 2013. One of the site’s new features is an online bookstore. Among the books for sale is The Immigration Invasion, an extremist tract authored by racists John Tanton and Wayne Lutton. The book blames immigrants for increases in crime and its authors claim that “cultural differences,” such as female circumcision, will gain acceptance in the U.S. and, “our common set of values will suffer accordingly.”
CAPS also made a number of changes to staff and board. Chairman of the board Marilyn DeYoung left the organization to go on a sabbatical and was replaced by Dick Schneider. In a YouTube video launched in February of 2013, Cuéntame, a Los Angeles-based Latino rights organization, interviewed DeYoung about immigration reform. In the interview DeYoung attacked the birthright citizenship clause in the 14th Amendment as well as the children of undocumented immigrants. She argued, “A baby can join a gang and commit a crime. A baby can drop out of school and become a criminal. A baby grows up.” The video’s release caused considerable outrage and forced CAPS to make a statement claiming that DeYoung’s comments “are not views of the organization.” The new CAPS website lists DeYoung on its board of directors page but also states she is currently “on sabbatical.”
CAPS also launched a new project, titled, “The California We Are Losing: Views of Our Golden State’s Transition from Pristine to Imperiled.” The project asks for submissions of photos or memories of places in California from the past and how they have changed today. The goal of the project is to “increase awareness about relentless population growth’s long-term effects on special places near and dear to our hearts.”
Outside of the organization, a number of CAPS representatives attended and addressed the 2012 Social Contract Press (TSCP) Writers Workshop event in Washington, D.C. The workshop is the brainchild of John Tanton, the founder of the modern anti-immigrant movement. Tanton established the Social Contract Press (TSCP) along with a number of other anti-immigrant organizations. The TSCP publishes The Social Contract, which often features articles by racists.
Marilyn DeYoung, Joe Guzzardi, CAPS’s current national media director, and Leon Kolankiewicz, a CAPS advisory board member all presented at the TSCP event. The event featured a number of racist speakers including Jason Richwine, the disgraced former Heritage Foundation staffer who left Heritage in May 2013 after the media and civil rights organizations reported on his racist beliefs about differences in IQ between the races and his associations with extremist groups. Peter Brimelow, founder of the racist, anti-immigrant site VDARE also spoke at the event. A few days after the Writers Workshop event, CAPS representatives attended the annual conference of the anti-immigrant organization Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR). A number of extremists also attended this event including Brimelow and Wayne Lutton.