Extremist Heads Arkansas Anti-Immigrant Lobby

Xenophobia

A reported member of a leading white supremacist group is heading a new anti-immigration organization in Arkansas that has been endorsed by at least one elected official.

State Sen. Jim Holt (R-Springdale) in January announced from the steps of the Capitol in Little Rock that Joe McCutchen would chair Protect Arkansas Now. McCutchen was a member of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) in 2001, according to the CCC's newspaper.

McCutchen also was photographed at that year's annual CCC conference, where he spoke on a panel titled "Immigration Invasion" that was moderated by well-known racist immigrant-basher Virginia Abernethy. A year earlier, he wrote the race-science magazine American Renaissance to ask readers to support an anti-immigration group he had formed in Michigan.

In a recent interview with Intelligence Report, McCutchen denied ever being a member of the CCC. "I never belonged to it," he said. "I don't know what their philosophies are."

McCutchen said CCC leaders invited him to speak at the conference because he is an "expert" on illegal immigration. Afterwards, he donated $20 to the group, whose Web site has described blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity."

"I found them quite cordial," he said.

Protect Arkansas Now was formed in January to support the passage of the "Arkansas Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act," a bill introduced by state Sens. Holt and Denny Altes (R-Fort Smith) that would require anyone applying for state services, including immunizations and prenatal care, to prove that he or she is a legal U.S. resident.

The proposed law is closely pattered on Proposition 200, an Arizona ballot initiative that passed last Election Day.

Shortly before that vote, the leaders of the group behind Proposition 200 came under fire when they selected Abernethy, a key national CCC leader, to chair Protect Arizona Now's national advisory board. After the referendum was approved, Abernethy helped to create Protect America Now, a national organization that seeks to spawn similar efforts in other states, starting with Arkansas.

Two days after the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed McCutchen's links to the CCC, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister and a Republican, lambasted the Holt/Altes bill, calling it "inflammatory ... race-baiting and demagoguery" and adding that he drank "a different kind of Jesus juice" than Holt.

When he appeared at the Capitol with Holt, McCutchen had insisted that those backing the legislation were not "bigots, xenophobes, racists or anti-Semites."

But it quickly came to light that McCutchen had written many letters to his hometown Southwest Times Record of Fort Smith alleging a vast Jewish conspiracy. In June 2003, he asserted that "the central government, banking, media (radio/TV) and entertainment are controlled by Jews." Jews also "own the world monetary system" McCutchen declared.

When asked about these letters by the Report, McCutchen said he stood by everything he wrote. "Hell," he said, "those are facts."