It seems that Georgia’s attempt to enact a state immigration law is one of those things that is going to keep on generating embarrassing media attention for the state.
Ever since Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB 87 into law back in May – on a Friday the 13th, fittingly enough – the blowback from the new law has been nearly all bad.
First there was the economic damage to Georgia’s largest industry, agriculture. Farmers all over the state, with crops ripening and due for harvest, could not find enough laborers to pick their fruits and vegetables. Migrant workers, who provide the bulk of the seasonal labor here, were avoiding Georgia because of concerns that they would be hassled or arrested under the new law.
Even Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, a Republican who’s tried his best not to embarrass his GOP colleagues who pushed through HB 87, came out with a survey that said farmers reported a shortage of at least 11,000 workers. In some instances, it has been reliably reported, farmers have chosen to plow up their crops because they had no way of getting them harvested and sent to market.
Another of the state’s important business segments, the restaurant and hospitality industry, has also been hampered by the lack of people needed to cook and prepare food.
In June, a group of civil rights organizations sued the state in U.S. District Court on the grounds that the immigration law was an unconstitutional preemption of federal authority. Judge Thomas Thrash agreed with them and blocked the enforcement of two major provisions of the law.
The next big shoe to drop concerned the appointment of an immigration review board that would receive complaints filed by registered voters who believe that local government agencies or officials are not enforcing the provisions of the immigration law.
Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, and House Speaker David Ralston announced the seven appointments to the board late last week. While all seven appointees were white males, which seems to run counter to the diversity of the state’s population, six of the seven appointees did not appear to be people with any particular axe to grind on the immigration issue. One of Ralston’s choices, former legislator Robert Mumford, earned a reputation as a very decent, fair-minded person during his four years as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. That’s an important factor, considering that the board is a quasi-judicial panel with the authority to impose fines on those that it determines are violating the immigration law.
And then there was the seventh appointee named by Deal: GOP political activist and anti-immigration lobbyist Phil Kent.
I have known Phil for nearly 40 years now, since the days when we both worked at the same college newspaper. He is probably the most conservative person I’ve ever met, but I’ve always found him to be quite likable at the social level, someone with whom you might want to share a drink or a joke.
“He’s never been anything but polite and decent when I deal with him,” said Charles Kuck, an Atlanta lawyer who has often debated Kent in public forums on the immigration issue. “I really like him, actually, he’s a fun person to talk to.”
But Kent, a onetime columnist for the Augusta Chronicle who still writes columns for various publications, has left a long paper trail of comments that indicate he really does not care much for people who are not of the Caucasian persuasion. That editorial animosity extends to undocumented immigrants, especially those of the brown-skinned variety from Mexico.
Kent has the same rights as everyone else to his opinion, of course, but it’s more than a little odd that Deal would appoint a person who seems to have such a visceral dislike of non-white persons to a state immigration board that would be expected to give a fair and unbiased hearing both to those who file a complaint and those against whom a complaint is filed.
Bill Nigut, the former TV newsman who is now regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, is one of those who think Kent is a bad choice for such a state board and has written a letter to Deal asking him to reconsider that appointment.
“Mr. Kent’s fixation with maintaining white culture is deeply disturbing, and his resort to fear mongering about undocumented residents is equally abhorrent,” Nigut wrote.
“Both make him an unsuitable candidate to serve on any state panel or board, much less one dedicated to enforcing immigration laws,” Nigut added. “Georgia’s new immigration law has become a lightning rod for controversy. Mr. Kent’s presence on the Immigration Enforcement Review Board will simply stir up even more controversy and bring possible discredit to the state’s efforts to control illegal immigration.”
Kent, who has always been a hard-nosed political operative, came right back at Nigut with this statement: “I’m not surprised at the personal attack on me from a left-winger like Bill Nigut. He hates Georgia’s new immigration control law, the law’s compliance panel and me personally because of my writing and activism against the open borders lobby. A believer in the politics of personal destruction, Nigut takes selective quotes from my columns over the years to try undermining my work.”
I’ll have to disagree with Kent on this one. If you read his columns – some of which have appeared in mainstream publications like the Atlanta Journal-Constitution – it’s difficult not to reach the conclusion that Kent is obsessed with protecting the “whiteness” of America’s culture from the influence of immigrants whose skin color might be a little darker.
In columns that are posted on his personal website, Kent has made these statements related to the threat posed by immigration and multiculturalism to America’s “whiteness” and his belief that the Mexican government is “actively working” to take over the United States –
From a May 15, 2010 column:
If this trend is not reversed– and it could be if an immigration moratorium were imposed– what Vassar College author Hua Hsu labels America’s white “centrifugal core” will slowly disappear. This leads to big questions: What will be the values and ideas of a multicultural America? What will it mean to be white after “whiteness” no longer defines the cultural mainstream? . . .
Many whites “will flee into whiteness.” They will move to where other fair-skinned brethren are to retain their identity— nostalgically yearning for an American authenticity where everyone speaks English. Politically, the country will become more balkanized, with white leaders forming and breaking alliances with their black and Hispanic counterparts. (An example: Gwinnett County— outside of Atlanta, Ga.— will turn into an Hispanic/Muslim enclave if present trends continue. Whites there are already moving to “friendlier” areas.)
From a January 4, 2010 column:
It is hard to be outraged at the rising tide of gang-related violence, but the recent two-hour rape and torture of a 15-year old white girl during her homecoming dance at Richmond High School in Richmond, Ca., by Mexican and black gangsters is an exceptional shocker. (Black and Hispanic gangs usually fight each other, yet share one bond– they hate and attack whites.) Witnesses reported over 20 other students cheered on the brutal attack. The victim’s school is 72 percent Mexican, 14 percent black, 12 percent Asian and only 2 percent white. One of the victim’s grief-stricken white friends told a reporter: “Here at this school my sister and I are the minorities, but to you, the minorities are what surrounds me.” Indeed, as the graph on the last page of The Middle American News underscores, if present trends continue by 2042 then whites will comprise just 46 percent of the U.S. population.
Unless there is a moratorium on legal immigration coupled with stepped-up enforcement efforts to significantly curb illegal immigration, then this country will be radically transformed demographically. It will be highlighted by more and more gang atrocities like that at Richmond High which, by the way, rarely occurred in the United States before “multiculturalism” and “open borders” became liberalism’s dominant dogmas.
From a July 20, 2011 column:
There is another aspect to the problem of multilingualism, underscored by this year’s release of new census data. Its origin goes back to 1975, when Congress foolishly expanded the Voting Rights Act by inserting bilingual ballot provisions for four so-called “language minorities”: American Indians, Asian Americans, Alaskan Natives and citizens of Spanish heritage. . . .
It seems the only reason for the mandatory provision of foreign language ballots would be to encourage voting by non-citizens. Bilingual ballots undermine the value of citizenship and the integrity of the naturalization process by removing a major incentive for immigrants to learn English. Congress must therefore eliminate this outdated Voting Rights Act provision, especially since the nation is drowning in debt.
From a Sept. 3, 2003 column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Clearly, we have a broken system that lets hundreds of thousands of unskilled people into the United States at random to take jobs, burden the American economy and put little or nothing back into strained local, state and federal tax coffers.
This has to end. Deportation of illegals by the feds — with help from the states — must increase and Congress needs to reduce immigration back to more manageable numbers.
From a Nov. 9, 2010 column:
Instead of defending our homeland, the Obama administration’s Justice Department is suing Arizona over its tough new immigration law. The president is actually siding with criminals against besieged Americans – a scandal in itself.
That’s why a new Congress, hopefully populated by a majority of lawmakers who finally want to do something about federal inaction on border security and illegal immigration, should lock down the entire Mexican border with more effective fencing and barriers, adequate National Guard backup and funding for even more Border Patrol personnel and equipment.
From a Aug. 7, 2007 column in the Washington Times:
The annual entry of over one million illegal aliens from around the world, over 30 percent of them Mexicans sneaking across our southern border, obviously undercut homeland security efforts. Yet more Americans must understand that Mexico’s government, far from being a friend, is actively working to subvert our country’s laws and political institutions.
Not since the heyday of expansionist Soviet communism has there been such an organized effort to undermine our nation . . .
The Mexican government promotes reconquista in the Southwest. Isn’t it obvious in many areas that Mexicans are pushing out Americans, refusing to speak English and establishing de facto Mexican enclaves? . . .
The Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (“Institute of Mexicans Abroad”) has no respect for the internal affairs of our country. The Institute was created by decree of Mexican President Vicente Fox and reports to a shadowy clique within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its vast computer database is used to deploy illegal and legal Mexicans to lobby state legislatures, city councils and county commissions to recognize worthless matricula consular “identification” cards, support granting driver’s licenses to illegals, promote multilingualism at the expense of English and help Mexicans and their children sponge off U.S. services ranging from schools to medical care . . .
Mexico has an obligation to respect our laws, encourage its citizens to do the same and commit to securing its side of the border. Since it has not done so, isn’t it time to downgrade diplomatic relations by kicking Mexico’s ambassador out of the United States and recalling ours? President George W. Bush would never do this, but it is an action that candidates running for the 2008 presidential nomination ought to consider. It would be a timely wake-up call to protest that country’s insolent policies which are so damaging to our nation and its border security.