Point of Contention: A Fractured White Supremacist Take on Immigration

May 05, 2015

For over a hundred years, since the Ku Klux Klan of the early 20th century loudly proclaimed its commitment to “100% Americanism,” fighting immigration has been one of the most consistent hallmarks of white supremacists in the United States.  For many, immigration was nothing less than a sinister Jewish plan to flood America with non-whites and thereby weaken and ultimately destroy the white race.

Because of strongly held convictions such as these, it is no surprise that white supremacists have so often been at the forefront of anti-immigration activism.  From Ku Klux Klan groups holding anti-immigration protests to neo-Nazis engaged in vigilante patrols along the U.S.-Mexican border to closeted white supremacists setting up “mainstream” anti-immigration organizations, this group has consistently been a major segment of America’s extreme anti-immigrant fringes.

Yet the evolution of the white supremacist movement in the United States reveals an interesting phenomenon.  Though white supremacists remain united in their intense dislike of immigration and their belief in its alleged danger to the white race, clear divergences of opinion have emerged among them about how they ought to respond—or, indeed, whether they ought to respond at all.

It may be too generous to call them “schools of thought,” but several clear approaches to the issue of immigration now clearly exist among white supremacists, each essentially stemming from a different set of opinions on how to “preserve” the white race. 

The differing approaches include:

1) Continuing actively to fight against immigration by attempting to mobilize fearful or angry whites  using rhetorical strategies that include a focus on changing demographics in the United States;

2) Abandoning the active fight against immigration to focus instead on creating white enclaves within a multicultural United States, where whites could live with and support each other in a sort of voluntary self-segregation; and

3) Also giving up on fighting immigration into the United States but going a step further by creating a separate ethno-state for whites only—an independent white “homeland.”

Each of these viewpoints is reflected in the ideas or writings of an advocate. Though white supremacists have different approaches to the subject of immigration, all are ultimately reacting to the projection that whites will become a minority in the United States in the coming decades.

Mobilizing whites against demographic changes

Some white supremacists believe that they can fight non-white immigration in the United States by mobilizing disaffected whites upset about demographic changes and working through the mainstream political process. 

Hubert Collins, a regular contributor to a number of online white supremacist publications including American Renaissance, Occidental Observer and Radix Journal, takes this position. In an April 2015 article for American Renaissance, he represents the view of those who believe that fighting against immigration is crucial for whites even if they become a numerical minority. He believes that whites should fight on every level to maintain their numbers by preserving “white identity” and even working with mainstream organizations that want to limit or curtail immigration. In his column for American Renaissance, Collins decries the fact that talk and activity around immigration has died down over the last two years. He concedes that whites have lost the battle to be a majority group in the U.S. but thinks that it is incumbent on whites to preserve whatever numbers they still have. He writes:

Numbers still matter, even in an America where whites were no longer the majority. I would love to live in an America with a white super-majority, and I realize that is impossible now. But a high number is always better than a low number. An America that is 30 percent white is better than one that is 20 percent, 20 percent is better than 10 percent.

According to Collins, supporting groups like the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), an anti-immigrant group based in Washington, DC, is as important as handing out books that talk about preserving white identity. He tells his audience that people can support CIS and still give a copy of Jared Taylor’s book White Identity to a neighbor at Christmas. Taylor runs American Renaissance. 

In addition, Collins believes that “immigration is so damaging to whites that we cannot stop fighting it.” He declares:

Fighting immigration through the electoral process and grassroots activism may not be as glamorous as writing a call to arms for the formation of an ethnostate or considering what one would look like, but it is just as important.

Another white supremacist group, the American Freedom Party (formerly known as American Third Position) takes a similar view to Collins. In the first three months of 2015, the group has posted over a dozen articles on immigration, based mostly on information from right-wing publications and websites. The articles AFP posts cover the same ground as mainstream anti-immigrant groups with regard to immigration--control of the border; curtailing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students; stopping visas and work permits for skilled immigrants; ending birthright citizenship.  AFP often runs white supremacist candidates for office. Like Collins, AFP believes it can fight against immigration by working within the system and promoting a white European identity. AFP declares on its website, “European people should organize and advance their own interests just like every other group. Join our fight for Heritage and Identity!” 

Promoting white enclaves

There are a number of white supremacists who have given up on the idea of fighting for immigration restrictions. They promote the idea of creating white enclaves as a way to preserve the white race. This idea is in keeping with a strategy known as Pioneer Little Europe (PLE).  The PLE concept was first suggested in 2001 by H. Michael Barrett, a long-time white supremacist.  He proposed that “racially conscious” whites create living spaces where they would form coherent communities that live separately from non-whites. PLE communities don’t focus on immigration, per se, but are clearly opposed to non-white immigrants living in their “white spaces.”

Matt Parrott of the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN) clearly supports the idea of PLE communities. He takes a decidedly different view of the immigration debate from Collins and the AFP. He believes that white nationalists should not be concerned with limiting immigration but should focus on building their own communities. Parrott asserts that the only way whites can survive becoming a minority in the U.S. is to build white enclaves.

In an April 2015 article on the TYN website, in response to Collins’ American Renaissance piece, Parrott argues that the white nationalist movement is no longer monolithic or united and different factions have less in common than they may have had years ago.  He also asserts that today’s white youth have grown up in an age “where ‘America’ has always been a globalist multicultural liberal machine, and it’s proof that we’re outright crazy and dangerous to those older white advocates who vaguely recall the distant memory from their youth when ‘America’ was implicitly white.”  Parrott suggests that whites give up on the idea of “taking America back” and instead should develop “fertile and functional” communities. He writes:

If we can develop communities which are truly fertile and functional, then those communities can potentially survive in America’s chocolate future, or migrate to regions outside of the United States which have yet to become magnets for non-white migration.

For Parrott, fighting for immigration control is a useless pursuit that “belongs to yesterday’s white dissidents.”  He believes that the political future for whites in America is being shaped by “changes in technology, social networks and politics,” and that a decentralized power structure will allow whites to transform the world they live in. He argues that whites will adapt to these changes by sharing “a common struggle to develop and advance their diverse array of distinct neo-tribal white communities.”

Advocating for a white ethno-state

White supremacists have a third approach to the immigration issue, which is to give up the issue completely and create a white ethno-state, where whites would live in their own separate homeland.

The desire for a white ethno-state dates back to earlier white supremacists like the late Richard Butler, founder of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations. During the 1970s, Butler wanted to form a “national racial state” in the Pacific Northwest, an idea which later became known as the Northwest Territorial Imperative. Butler actually bought a 20-acre compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho, and attracted a number of followers to the area.

Numerous white supremacists have advocated for whites to carve out an all-white state in North America. In the 1983, several of Butler's followers joined with members of the National Alliance and Ku Klux Klan splinter groups to form The Silent Brotherhood, known more widely as The Order, which planned to overthrow the United States government in hopes of establishing an Aryan homeland in the Pacific Northwest. To this end, The Order committed a series of violent crimes in 1983 and 1984 - including murder, bombings and armed robbery. Members of the group were eventually arrested and imprisoned, while its founder and leader Robert Mathews, was ultimately killed in a fire during a shootout with federal agents in December 1984.

Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute also proposed the idea of a white ethno-state speech at the 2013 American Renaissance conference on the subject of “Facing the Future as a Minority.”  Spencer asserts that immigration once was the “connection to the outside world” for marginalized white nationalists. He says, “It makes us feel like we have a horse in the race—maybe even that, through our silent partners in the Beltway, we can affect national policy.” He goes on to argue that now that the majority of children born in the U.S are non-white, “any future immigration restriction efforts are meaningless.”

Spencer believes the battle around immigration is lost and that no politician can save whites from their disempowerment in the United States.  He advocates for “the creation of a White Ethno-State on the North American continent.”  Spencer declares that this state if feasible and invokes Theodor Herzl’s vision of a Jewish state in the early 1900s. He believes that this ethno-state is possible if white supremacist leaders capture the imaginations of disenfranchised whites who wil want to follow the vision of “racially conscious” whites acting as the vanguard.  He argues:

We need an ethno-state so that our people can “come home again,” can live amongst family, and feel safe and secure. But we also need an Ethno-state so that Whites can again reach the stars. 

In his speech, Spencer says that focusing on an issue like immigration causes white nationalists to “lose sight of the big picture.” He believes that whites are in a crisis point now, and are therefore “well past the point of no return” with regards to “patriotic immigration reform.” He claims that immigration is a cause for conservatives and not white nationalists who are interested in “qualitative” changes as opposed to “quantitative” ones involving numbers of immigrants.  He believes that America is too far gone in terms of its multicultural makeup and “liberal egalitarianism” to be change anything. He declares:

Our challenge is to reorient our people, spiritually as much as intellectually and politically, to a world that will be hostile towards them and towards a future beyond the United States of America.

For Spencer, the only solution to whites becoming a minority is to give up on “conservative” causes like immigration “reform” altogether because they do not offer a “pragmatic” strategy for preserving the white race.