Former Congressman Virgil Goode Embraces Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

  • February 28, 2013

On February 21, 2013, the anti-immigrant group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) published a report on its website titled, “What Back Taxes?” by Virgil Goode. Goode, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia, ran for president in 2012 on the right-wing Constitution Party ticket. He has a long history of anti-immigrant rhetoric and other bigoted remarks.

This is the first time Goode has written for CIS; his report focuses on the issue of taxes and the upcoming push for immigration reform. Goode warns that even though the immigration reform proposals by President Obama and the bi-partisan group of senators, known as the “Gang of Eight” states that undocumented immigrants need to pay back taxes, this may not be the case. Goode argues that a change in the tax code after the 1986 immigration reform bill passed resulted in undocumented immigrants not paying back taxes and that something similar could happen in 2013.

Goode’s claim is just one of many arguments put forward by anti-immigrant groups and restrictionist politicians against the comprehensive immigration reform proposals. It is not surprising that Goode is in this camp. He has strong ties to the anti-immigrant movement and his views have elicited praise from extremists.

During his time as a member of the House, Goode joined the House Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC). IRC is made up of the main block of immigration restrioctionsts in the House and is very closely aligned with the anti-immigrant movement. Goode participated in press conferences and events sponsored by the anti-immigrant organization Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Good also has ties to racist John Tanton, who founded FAIR. Tanton’s political action committee, U.S. Immigration Reform PAC, run by his wife, donated to Goode’s congressional campaign on numerous occasions. Tanton’s anti-immigrant journal, The Social Contract (TSC), which has featured articles by racists such as Jared Taylor and the late Sam Francis, has published articles by Goode.

During the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Goode  spoke on a panel on immigration sponsored by the now-defunct racist student group Youth for Western Civilization. In his speech Goode claimed that “illegal immigration and massive legal immigration like what we have right now will not only kill the GOP; it’s going to kill the United States of America.”

Goode has also made anti-Muslim comments. In a letter to constituents in 2006, Goode ridiculed a decision by the first Muslim member of Congress, Keith Ellison (D-MN), to be sworn in using the Koran. Goode asserted that he does “not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. He then took it one step further writing, "The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran."

Extemists have embraced Goode's views. His 2012 presidential campaign included an interview with the American Free Press (AFP), a conspiracy-oriented anti-Semitic newspaper, where he talked about auditing and ending the Federal Reserve, a sentiment echoed by many in the anti-government movement.

In October 2012, the white supremacist blog Occidental Dissent published an article titled, “Virgil Goode for President… of the Confederacy.” The article praised Goode, asserting, “However, there is a Southern patriot on the ballot this election.  That candidate is Virgil Goode.  He is a former Virginia Congressman, a Southern Democrat turned Republican with strong stances on illegal immigration, foreign interventionism, guns and national sovereignty.” Goode ended up coming in fifth place in the November 2012 election.  

After the election, the white supremacist publication American Renaissance posted an article on its website titled, “Third Party Options for Whites.” The article praised Goode for his positions on immigration and noted that the Constitution Party’s poor showing in the election was “particularly disappointing” considering they had Goode as a candidate.