Update: Hatewatch has received a response from Roy Beck, who says the groups that appeared as state and local contacts on the NumbersUSA website are not endorsed by or affiliated with his organization. His complete response is included below the post.
Roy Beck, head of the immigration-restriction group NumbersUSA, has devoted a lot of energy to showing that his organization’s mission of curbing immigrant numbers is motivated not by racism but by economic and environmental concerns.
Every page of the group’s website includes a prominent link to an essay by Beck titled “’No’ to Immigrant Bashing,” which begins, “The task before the nation in setting a fair level of immigration is not about race or some vision of a homogeneous white America; it is about protecting and enhancing the United States’ unique experiment in democracy for all Americans, including recent immigrants, regardless of their particular ethnicity.”
Presumably, an organization taking such a stance against racism and white nationalism would also oppose similar strains of hate.
Yet as the Center for New Community pointed out yesterday, NumbersUSA lists on its website the contact information for notorious Holocaust denier Jim Rizoli of Framingham, Mass., and his unapologetically immigrant-bashing hate group, Concerned Citizens and Friends of Illegal Immigration Law Enforcement (CCFIILE), among the “local immigration-reduction groups” that new members interested in linking in with like-minded activists in their areas should reach out to.
In the early 2000s, Rizoli and his twin brother Joe – both of whom also harbor a particular hatred for Brazilian immigrants (whom they say have “raped” their hometown) – created a raft of web pages devoted to Holocaust denial. “Burning bodies was to kill the diseases that would be spread by the dead bodies that were dropping like flies from sickness and disease, not gassings,” read a Nov. 12, 2002, post attributed to Jim Rizoli. He was still at it in 2009, when he used his long-running public access cable show to encourage “open debate” about the Holocaust. (The show finally was cancelled in 2010 after violating more than 20 of the cable company’s policies.)
Beck has gone to great lengths to demonstrate that NumbersUSA’s anti-immigrant stance is not motivated by racism, and to distance himself from John Tanton, the racist architect of the modern anti-immigration movement, who helped fund and found Beck’s group.
“We do not believe that immigration policy should be used to determine any particular racial makeup of this country,” Beck once wrote in a long letter to the SPLC’s Intelligence Report. He and his wife, Shirley, “have spent our entire adult lives” battling racial intolerance and ignorance,” he said, deliberately buying houses in integrated neighborhoods in Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Virginia, even volunteering their sons for a court-ordered busing program in Dallas.
He said his family had welcomed all kinds of minorities and immigrants, included undocumented ones, to their home, and he added that he had “led the forced integration of a segregated private club.”
Yet Beck, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has also long been a close associate of Tanton and has spent nearly 20 years relentlessly attacking American immigration policies. He even edited Tanton’s book The Immigration Invasion, which is so raw in its nativism that Canadian authorities banned it as hate literature.
Beck has also written for and edited Tanton’s white nationalist quarterly, The Social Contract. He was still the magazine’s Washington editor in 1998 when the journal published what may have been its most lurid edition ever, “Europhobia: The Hostility to European-Descended Americans.” In 1996, he addressed a meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist hate group that has referred to blacks as a “retrograde species of humanity.”
Beck can scrub his group’s website of evidence of such affiliations, but he can’t scrub his past, which reveals his repeated prioritization of courting bigots over his supposed commitment to egalitarianism. Given this, perhaps it is not such a surprise to find the likes of Jim Rizoli on NumbersUSA’s contact list after all.
Roy Beck’s response to this post: “Thank you for the opportunity to comment on a draft list compiled by one of our staff of state and local organizations across the country that are thought to be working for immigration reductions of one kind or another. This is not a list of groups endorsed by or affiliated with NumbersUSA. Any attempt to connect NumbersUSA to any issue other than immigration reduction is in error and possibly libelous.”