Archive for ‘Editorials & Opinions’

October 28, 2011

10/28 – Daily Report – Immigration laws harm students – Daily Report

Immigration laws harm students – Daily Report.

Friday, October 28, 2011
Immigration laws harm students

Alabama law seeking children’s status rejected by 11th Circuit, but danger to school access persists

(File photo)
Daniel Altschuler has written extensively on immigration politics and holds a doctorate in politics from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
(Zachary D. Porter)
Azadeh Shahshahani is the director for the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project with the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.
Tools:
Printer Friendly Version  Print Make the news text smaller  Make the news text larger  Text Size
Email this article  Email Request a reprint of article   Reprints
True or false: No child in this country can be denied a public education.The answer is true, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 1982 Plyler v. Doe decision, which held that schools could not exclude children based on their immigration status. This is settled law, but not for Alabama legislators, who passed an anti-immigrant law (HB 56) with a provision requiring elementary and secondary schools to determine students’ and parents’ citizenship status. With a federal district court refusing to enjoin this provision, families with an undocumented family member are already keeping their children, including U.S. citizens, out of school. Though an appellate court this month temporarily blocked the K-12 reporting requirement, the right to primary education access for all in our country remains in jeopardy.This summer, civil and immigrant rights groups, religious institutions, and the Department of Justice challenged HB 56 in federal court. Alabama’s law contains many troubling provisions found in anti-immigrant laws in other states, such as Arizona and Georgia, which were blocked by federal courts. But it goes much further, including the requirement in Section 28 that K-12 school officials track immigration status. The court allowed this section of the law to stand.As with Georgia’s HB 87, proponents of HB 56 claim they are removing the drain on state resources. But, in truth, officials like Gov. Robert Bentley are scapegoating immigrants for political gain at a time of economic insecurity. They have confessed their desire to expel undocumented immigrants from the state. HB 56 sponsor Mickey Hammon asserted, “This [bill] attacks every aspect of an illegal immigrant’s life. … [T]his bill is designed to make it difficult for them to live here so they will deport themselves.” The law is so extreme that Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, concluded that Alabama’s “draconian initiative is so oppressive that Bull Connor himself would be impressed.” Birmingham’s former sheriff, you may recall, once used attack dogs and fire hoses on African-American children.Even those skeptical of immigration’s well-documented economic benefits should be appalled by Alabama officials’ willingness to target children. In addition to violating the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, Section 28 is morally repugnant. It uses state power to keep immigrant children, who bear no responsibility for their status, out of school. Moreover, while so many Alabama public schools are failing, the law unconscionably redirects scarce education resources toward immigration policing. Finally, as the court held in Plyler, “It is difficult to understand precisely what the State hopes to achieve by promoting the creation and perpetuation of a subclass of illiterates within our boundaries, surely adding to the problems and costs of unemployment, welfare, and crime.”Sadly, HB 56 may reflect a larger national trend. In May, the Department of Justice issued a memo re-affirming the illegality of asking students about their immigration status. This followed illegal reporting requirements and efforts in other states to pass education provisions similar to HB 56. Recent reports by the American Civil Liberties Union, for instance, found that roughly 20 percent of New York and New Jersey public school districts requested information from students that would indicate their immigration status. Similar practices abound in Arizona, where fully half of school districts surveyed by the ACLU sought such information. The Department of Justice was right to issue its memo, but, in the wake of HB 56’s passage, it must be even more vigilant about illegal school reporting policies, which may rise as restrictionist officials seek to copy HB 56.It is encouraging that the appellate court temporarily blocked the education provision of HB 56. But beating Section 28 in court, while essential, will not by itself ensure that all American children can go to school without fear. Legislators and education officials around the country must take heed: our classrooms are no place for the refrain, “Papers, please.”

Daniel Altschuler and Azadeh Shahshahani, Special to the Daily Report

October 21, 2011

10/21 – AJC – PolitiFact Georgia | Kent: Immigration board can prosecute with Attorney General’s help

PolitiFact Georgia | Kent: Immigration board can prosecute with Attorney General’s help.

The Truth-O-Meter Says:
Kent

The newly created state Immigration Enforcement Review Board “can actually prosecute, and get them [violators] into jail, if we bring in the attorney general.”

Phil Kent on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 in a speech before the North Fulton and Friends Tea Party

Critics of conservative activist Phil Kent have accused him of being a “nativist.” Now that Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Kent to a new board to crack down on illegal immigration, critics say he’s distorting the truth.

They point to a speech Kent made before the North Fulton and Friends Tea Party on Oct. 4 where he explained the authority of the Immigration Enforcement Review Board. The state General Assembly created it when lawmakers passed House Bill 87, legislation that aims to get tough on illegal immigration.

Kent’s appointment to the board created controversy. The Anti-Defamation League asked Deal to reconsider Kent’s appointment, saying he has a history of making “deeply disturbing” comments about immigrants. Kent said his critics are left-wing extremists pushing their own agenda.

Kent told the tea party group that all the review board does is take complaints about possible violations of state laws on immigration. The board can subpoena witnesses, hold hearings and review or investigate possible violators.

“And yes we can actually prosecute, and get them into jail, if we bring in the attorney general,” Kent said.  “That’s what the open borders, anti-enforcement people don’t like.”

Immigrant rights activist Erik Voss, who videotaped the speech, cried foul. The review board has no authority to bring in the attorney general, much less prosecute or jail violators, he told PolitiFact Georgia.

We thought Kent’s statement was worth a closer look. Can the immigration board call in the attorney general’s office and prosecute?

We looked into the law. The Immigration Enforcement Review Board was created by Section 20 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011, also known as House Bill 87.

The seven-member review board fields complaints that Georgia governments or agencies have violated any of three state laws. One bans them from establishing policies that give illegal immigrants safe harbor. A second requires them to check the legal status of applicants for public benefits such as food stamps. The third mandates that their contractors and subcontractors file affidavits saying they use a federal database that checks whether employees are in the U.S. legally.

Some of the violations the board has the authority to investigate can be considered criminal offenses.

Agency workers who purposefully violate the law requiring them to check the legal status of those seeking public benefits commit a misdemeanor, and the attorney general has the authority to investigate. Those who knowingly file false affidavits about their use of the federal database violate felony fraud laws.

Local governments that give safe harbor or sanctuary to illegal immigrants risk losing state funding. The board can issue sanctions such as fines as high as $5,000 if a local government doesn’t fix its problems by deadline.

The section of HB 87 that established the immigration board makes no mention of bringing in or collaborating with the attorney general’s office, except to say that the law does not prohibit the state’s top lawyer from “seeking any other remedy available by law.”

We asked the state attorney general’s office for its understanding of the law. A spokeswoman said that the immigration board has civil enforcement authority, while the attorney general has the power to prosecute violators criminally. The immigration board can make recommendations to the attorney general’s office, which will decide whether criminal prosecution is appropriate.

The Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association, interest groups that represent local and county governments, have the same understanding of the immigration board’s powers.

Kent told us that’s how he understands the law, too. If activists think he’s saying that the board has the power to criminally prosecute violators on its own, they’re twisting his words, said Kent, who is national spokesman for Americans for Immigration Control.

“The panel could most certainly, if it felt warranted, ‘bring in the attorney general’ and recommend his office open an investigation with an eye toward prosecution,” Kent said in an email.

Anyone has the power to tell the attorney general of a possible violation of the law, he told us in a telephone interview. “The board can’t do it alone, obviously,” Kent said.

We agree, but that’s not what Kent originally said.

Kent said that the board “can actually prosecute” violators, and “get them into jail,” if it enlists the help of the attorney general’s office.

Actually, the board cannot prosecute anyone or get them into jail.

The board can bring a potential violation to the attorney general’s attention. So can any citizen. That doesn’t mean his office will investigate, much less prosecute.

Kent may have meant to convey that the Immigration Enforcement Review Board can only recommend that the attorney general open an investigation, but he gave the impression it has far more power than that. He therefore earns a False.

September 29, 2011

9/29 – CNN – My encounter with anti-Latino racism – CNN.com

My encounter with anti-Latino racism – CNN.com.

By Nick Valencia, CNN
updated 2:56 PM EST, Thu September 29, 2011
A third-generation Mexican-American, Nick Valencia says duality is reality for millions of Americans.
A third-generation Mexican-American, Nick Valencia says duality is reality for millions of Americans.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nick Valencia says a woman yelled racist words at him at a concert in Atlanta
  • He’d been speaking Spanish to new acquaintances; her treatment left him speechless
  • Growing anti-Latino sentiment in U.S. is aimed at both immigrants and citizens, he says
  • Valencia: I’m third-generation Mexican-American; human, like my new friends. And I’m home

Editor’s note: Nick Valencia is a national news desk editor and former head of the CNN Spanish Desk. He has reported extensively on the drug war in Mexico for CNN. He is also the president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Soledad O’Brien reports on a Latina boxer about to face the fight of her life as she attempts to make her Olympic dream a reality. Watch “Latino In America: In Her Corner,” at 8 p.m. ET/PT Saturday, October 1.

Atlanta (CNN) — “Go home!” she yelled at me. “Why don’t you go back home to Mexico before you ruin this country like you ruined your own!”

I was standing in a crowd at the Music Midtown festival in Atlanta, where I live. A few minutes earlier I’d met a group of five people who’d been standing in front of me — here from Mexico City — and I had begun speaking Spanish with them.

Atlanta has a growing Latino community, and I am actively involved. Whenever I get the chance to speak to someone in Spanish here, I introduce myself. My new acquaintances and I were talking about what a great time we were having and how remarkable the city of Atlanta was for bringing back the festival to Piedmont Park.

And that’s when I heard the yelling woman next to me. As if “go home” wasn’t clear enough, the woman — a 20-something Caucasian — repeated the words in Spanish.

“Vete!”

I froze. I didn’t quite know what to say, and I didn’t want to believe she was talking to me or the group of people I had just met.

Nick Valencia
Nick Valencia

As a third-generation Mexican-American growing up in Los Angeles, I had never encountered such overt racism. In fact, because my family was long since assimilated, among my Latino friends I was always considered the “pocho” or “white boy” of the group. (As I write this, a part of me knows somewhere in L.A., a friend of mine will be proud to know someone actually considered me Mexican enough to yell “go home” at me.)

My Mexican friends remind me that I am American first, Mexican second and that my English is better than my Spanish.

“Yes,” I tell them. “But I can never walk into a room and be white.”

Evidently, to some the brown color of my skin means I’m not even American. My friends and family tell me what I experienced that night is a microcosm of what is happening to Latinos across the country. You don’t have to look hard to find it. In news stories, in political discourse, on talk radio, in everyday conversation it seems it has become OK to treat Latinos in a negative and antagonistic way — whether they are new immigrants or longtime Americans. The anti-immigration legislation sweeping across the United States has made this plain. People in my Latino networks say they’ve noticed the change. And now I understand what they mean.

Like many Americans whose grandparents or parents came here from somewhere else, I live at the intersection of my two cultures. I eat tacos, but I love cheeseburgers. I go salsa dancing, and listen to rock n’ roll. I speak Spanish and English, and depending on the crowd, sometimes Spanglish. I love my country and my cultural community. My duality is my reality, just like the 50 million other Latinos in the United States.

I have been luckier than many. Before this incident, the closest I’d ever come to blatant racism was in junior high. I was in the jazz band and played first trumpet. One day our jazz band teacher invited in his predecessor, a local legend who had made Eagle Rock High School’s jazz program famous in the 1980s.

The visiting instructor pointed me out and asked me to play him 16 bars of music. I did, but he quickly interrupted.

“Stop, stop, stop. I don’t want to hear any of that mariachi music. This is jazz.”

I didn’t think anything of it. Instead I felt terrible that the legend standing in front of me didn’t think I was good enough. I went home that night, and like every night, at 6:30 p.m. my family sat down for dinner to talk about our day.

“How was your day, Nicky?” my dad asked.

So I told him. Outraged, the next day he went to my principal and filed a formal complaint. The legend didn’t come back to visit the jazz program again. Weeks later we received a letter in the mail from him apologizing for his insensitive comments. My family saved the letter.

My father was hypersensitive to ethnic identity and deeply proud of his Latino heritage. The son of a naturalized immigrant from El Salvador and a Mexican mother from Texas, he grew up in Los Angeles during a time of racial tension. When I was young he would tell me stories of the race riots in his high school, violence against people of color, and awful accounts of the struggle he had to make it as a Mexican-American teen in the 1960s.

He died when I was 17 years old, but one of the phrases he implanted in my mind before he passed was a statement activist Cesar Chavez made famous:

“Si se puede” — “Yes you can.”

And now, here I was, at 28, with this stranger yelling at me to “leave.” I stood there in the middle of a damp crowd on a late Atlanta evening, not comprehending, the wind still and the vibrations of Coldplay’s “Yellow” filling the space in the air.

I didn’t say a thing.

I didn’t have to.

The crowd around us looked in amazement at this woman. Some of them spoke up to her, telling her she was wrong to talk to us like that. The group of people from Mexico City looked at her in disgust and, realizing from the look on my face that I must not be accustomed to what I was hearing, they turned toward me to offer support.

One of them, a young man, grabbed my hand and raised it high in the air.

“Estamos aqui,” he said, which translates to “We are here.”

It was the “Si se puede” moment.

The woman continued to taunt us for some minutes, but when we did not reciprocate her hatred, she stopped.

The band played a few more songs before ending the set, and the crowd dispersed across the park into the Saturday evening.

As I walked away, the woman and I locked eyes.

“I don’t think you understand who you said that to,” I told her. Thinking to myself, I am as American as you are.

“What,” she said laughing. “Are you some kind of celebrity or something?”

No. But like the Mexicans I was standing with, I am a human being. And I am home.

September 18, 2011

9/7 – Georgia Report – This Kent appointment can’t end well

This Kent appointment can’t end well. ( http://gareport.com/blog/2011/09/07/this-kent-appointment-can%E2%80%99t-end-well/ )

This Kent appointment can’t end well

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.

Tags: Charles Kuck , Georgia immigration law , Mexican conspiracy theories , multiculturalism , Nathan Deal , Phil Kent , white supremacy
September 7, 2011

9/7 – CL Atlanta – Anti-Defamation League asks Deal to reconsider Kent appointment | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta

Anti-Defamation League asks Deal to reconsider Kent appointment | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta.

Posted by Thomas Wheatley on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Bill Night, the southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, has asked Gov. Nathan Deal to reconsider his appointment of conservative columnist Phil Kent to a seven-member board tasked with sanctioning government agencies that fail to enforce Georgia’s new immigration law.

Nigut’s full letter to Deal follows below.

September 7, 2011

Governor Nathan Deal
Georgia State Capitol
Atlanta, GA

Dear Governor Deal,

As Southeast Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, I write to respectfully request that you reexamine your decision to appoint Phil Kent to the state’s Immigration Enforcement Review Board. While ADL recognizes your desire to name to the board appointees who support and will uphold Georgia’s new immigration statute, we are concerned about Mr. Kent’s history of making inflammatory and deeply disturbing comments about immigrants, both legal and undocumented. We believe it is likely that his presence on the board will undermine its authority, suggesting that the board’s agenda will not be simply to assure compliance with the new statute, but rather to pursue an anti-immigrant political agenda.

Mr. Kent suggests that citizens should fear that America is becoming a multi-cultural nation that will soon see minorities overtake “the white population.” He asks in a column posted to his web site last year: “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?” He fears that 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.” On other occasions, Mr. Kent has equally disturbing views about minorities. For instance, he often tries to paint all illegal residents with the taint of criminality, perpetuating the dubious contention that “violent criminal aliens are now threatening our cities and suburbs.”Mr. Kent’s fixation with maintaining white culture is deeply disturbing, and his resort to fear mongering about undocumented residents is equally abhorrent. Georgia’s new immigration law has become a lightning rod for controversy. We ask that you weigh carefully whether 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.

Sincerely yours,

Bill Nigut
Southeast Regional Director, ADL”

September 7, 2011

9/6 – AJC – Anti-immigrant extremist appointed to powerful state board | Jay Bookman

Anti-immigrant extremist appointed to powerful state board | Jay Bookman.

Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed a bigoted, anti-immigrant extremist to an important state board. The appointment should be withdrawn immediately.

Phil Kent, named by Deal to the Immigration Enforcement Review Board on Friday, is a former journalist, an author, a national spokesman for American Immigration Control and executive director of the American Immigration Control Foundation. The AIC opposes not just illegal immigration but immigration generally.

“The name of the left’s game is to open the gates to massive Third World immigration and keep the immigrants as ignorant, impoverished and unassimilated as possible,” the AIC warns in a recent anonymous column published on its website. “That way they will be a reliable electorate for ‘progressive’ politics, or perhaps reliable cannon fodder for armed revolution.”

That’s right. It’s a leftist plot to smuggle in cannon fodder for an armed revolution.

Kent himself has written even more inflammatory material. For example, he seems peculiarly concerned about preserving what he calls the “whiteness” of America. In a column last year, he warned that 2010 could be the “tipping point” for America, the year in which minority babies outnumber white babies.

“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,” Kent wrote. “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?

“Television and movies will increasingly have diverse casts– with whites downgraded. New York radio personality Peter Rosenberg gushes that it is ‘now very cool and in to have multicultural friends.’ The advertising world will radically change. Brown Johnson, a Nickelodean executive speaking before the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, touts TV characters who don’t conform to ‘the white, middle class mold.’ Hispanic marketer Rochelle Newman-Carrasco further notes ‘it has become harder for the blond-haired, blue-eyed commercial actor.’

“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.)”

Note the concept that “American authenticity” exists only in areas where the “fair-skinned brethren are able to retain their identity.” In other columns, Kent demands a halt to all humanitarian refugee programs in this country, calls Barack Obama “a dangerous, anti-white multiculturalist” and tells us that Obama’s success in attracting support from younger white Americans is “testimony to the growing number of whites brainwashed by incessant diversity propaganda.”

Kent is a well-known figure in Georgia politics and has kept none of these sentiments secret. The columns cited above can be found at his website, www.philkent.com. Yet Deal appointed him as one of seven members to the Immigration Enforcement Review Board anyway.

That board, created by House Bill 87, the illegal-immigration bill passed earlier this year, has real powers and responsibilities. Any Georgia citizen can now file a complaint with the board alleging that a state or local agency — a sheriff or a social-service agency, for example — has failed to be sufficiently aggressive in enforcing the bill’s harsh provisions.

The review board has subpoena power to force testimony. It will sit, much like a court, in deciding such cases. If it rules against a public agency or employee, the “guilty” party will have 30 days to correct the problem or face sanctions. According to the law, “sanctions may include revocation of qualified local government status, loss of state appropriated funds, and a monetary fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $5,000.” The attorney general would be authorized to implement the sanctions.

Putting that kind of power in the hands of a bigot is grossly irresponsible.

– Jay Bookman

September 7, 2011

9/6 – CL Atlanta – Does right-wing pundit Phil Kent deserve a seat on state’s immigration board? | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta

Does right-wing pundit Phil Kent deserve a seat on state’s immigration board? | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta.

Posted by Thomas Wheatley on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Late Friday evening, Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston named their appointees to the state’s Immigration Enforcement Review Board.

The seven-member committee, which was created as part of Georgia’s new immigration law, will investigate citizens’ complaints about state or local agencies which they think violated the law’s provisions. Oh, and here’s a nifty fact: The board has subpoena power.

One of Gov. Nathan Deal’s appointees is Phil Kent, a right-wing columnist and author who’s written several self-help books with such titles as “The Dark Side of Liberalism” and “Foundations of Betrayal: How the Liberal $uper-Rich Undermine America.” He’s also been involved with several conservative organizations, including American Immigration Control.

The AJC‘s Jay Bookman thinks the governor made a very poor choice. Head over to his smoke-filled, socialist lair and give the entire piece a read. It’s worth it if you’re following the implementation of Georgia’s harsh immigration law.

August 23, 2011

8/23 – SPLC – Nativist Leader Calls for ‘Violent’ Acts to Save ‘White America’ | Hatewatch | Southern Poverty Law Center

Nativist Leader Calls for ‘Violent’ Acts to Save ‘White America’ | Hatewatch | Southern Poverty Law Center.

Nativist Leader Calls for ‘Violent’ Acts to Save ‘White America’

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino, Extremist Propaganda by Leah Nelson on August 23, 2011

While much of the political rhetoric on the right these days is laden with violent imagery and gun-based metaphors, outright calls for political violence remain relatively rare. But in the wake of President Obama’s executive order last week that sharply limits deportations of non-criminal undocumented immigrants, that is changing.

Yesterday, speaking with far-right radio host Janet Mefferd, William Gheen, the leader of the nativist group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), said that legal political activity may no longer be sufficient to protect America from immigrants — in particular, he made it clear, from non-white immigrants. Gheen, who in the past tried to appear a moderate on the nativist scene, wrote that in order to save “white America,” it will be necessary to engage in “extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re all illegal and violent.”

“If you’re looking for a peaceful, political recourse, there really isn’t one,” he said.

Such rhetoric marks a sharp rightward lurch for Gheen, who has often been quoted on immigration matters by mainstream news organizations, including The New York Times, which quoted him as a legitimate commentator on the issue just two weeks ago. Last May, Gheen pulled ALIPAC out of rallies backing Arizona’s controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070, after hearing that their organizers were connected to racist skinheads and neo-Nazis. “The neo-Nazi connections and this disaster they have cooked up in Arizona … puts our issue at risk,” he proclaimed, excoriating the organizers for making a “huge” and “terrible” mistake.

After Minuteman American Defense leader Shawna Forde was accused of the slaying of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter in Pima County, Ariz., Gheen warned his followers to have nothing to do with Minuteman groups. (Forde and two co-conspirators were found guilty this year. Forde was sentenced to death.)

Newfound racial radicalism aside, however, Gheen is no stranger to more garden-variety bigotry and fear-mongering. He has accused Mexican immigrants of carrying infectious diseases and plotting to take over the Southwest. In April 2010, he targeted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), claiming that the 56-year-old bachelor is gay and saying he should come out to avoid being blackmailed into working with Democrats on immigration reform. In July 2010, Gheen told revisionist “historian” David Barton that LGBT people secretly want to import undocumented immigrants as a way of “replacing many core Americans and American values,” part of an overall “war” against Americans.

Gheen’s hysteria has seemed to amplify of late. A few months ago, he launched an “impeach Obama” campaign, accusing the president of treason. He urged his followers to “demand” action from their representatives and followed up with a threat: “If Congress does not respond by July 15, ALIPAC will move to call for public protests across the nation calling for the ouster of this authoritarian regime.” He has since sent out numerous dire warnings about the inevitable misery that will follow if Obama remains in office.

Yesterday, Gheen went one further, announcing that ALIPAC will henceforth refer to the president as “Dictator Barack Obama.” He also accused the Department of Homeland Security of spying on ordinary Americans’ everyday activities, and of “putting out videos and propaganda telegraphing what I believe to be a conflict with White America they’re preparing for after they get another 10 or 15 million people in the country to back them up.”

Gheen wasn’t the only one fretting about a looming Obama-led race war. Discussing the prospects of various Republican presidential candidates, Glenn Beck on Aug. 11 predicted that if Obama loses next year’s election, the administration would try to destroy America on its way out the door. “I firmly believe race riots are on the way,” he said.

August 2, 2011

8/1 – Imagine 2050 – Georgia Anti-Immigrant Activist Tied to White Nationalism | IMAGINE 2050

Georgia Anti-Immigrant Activist Tied to White Nationalism | IMAGINE 2050.

Posted on Monday, August 1st, 2011 at 8:20 am.

Donald Arthur “D.A.” King is the founder and leader of the Georgia-based Dustin Inman Society. Dustin Inman was a 16-year-old boy who was killed when an alleged undocumented immigrant crashed into the back of the Inman family car in 2000).

King has described the United States as a country “being invaded and colonized,” and its “way of life” destroyed with the “Hispandering” of his state.

A long-time proponent and supporter of all anti-immigrant legislation to come out of Georgia in the last several years, King and his group focus entirely on opposing immigration to the United States, particularly by Latinos. He began by promoting section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which authorizes the Federal Government to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies under the supervision of ICE.

Prior to his elegant transition into mainstream media, King maintained an active partnership with VDare, a website that receives financial aid from the Tanton network. VDare publishes racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant articles. In one blog entry, he discussed his experience at a March for Dignity, comprised of, in King’s words, “mostly Hispanic demonstrators.” He wrote, “I got the sense that I had left the country of my birth and been transported to some Mexican village, completely taken over by an angry, barely restrained mob….My first act on a safe return home was to take a shower.”

In September 2006, King attempted to distance himself from VDare by requesting that his name be removed from the editorial collective, as long as they kept an archive of his past posts.

Unfortunately his attempts to gain a wider audience seem to be working. In October 2007, a National Public Radio segment described King as “a grassroots activist.” Later that year, King was introduced as a guest on CNN’s Headline News as an “anti-illegal immigration activist” and a “columnist for the Marietta Journal.”  In fact, records indicate that twelve mainstream newspapers have printed King’s articles.  Most notably, The Washington Times, which neutrally describes the Dustin Inman Society as “a Georgia-based coalition of citizens with the goal of educating the public on the consequences of illegal immigration.”

But his acceptance into mainstream media should not deceive us.

In  April 2007, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, when speaking at a Newton County (Georgia) Republican Party meeting, he told attendees that undocumented immigrants are “not here to mow your lawn – they’re here to blow up your buildings and kill your children, and you, and me.”

Most recently, King declared that he “helped write H.B. 87.”

“I am very proud of our final product and that we were able to dispel the fabrications put out by the various anti-enforcement factions during the committee process.” H.B. 87 was signed into law on May 13, 2011, and took legal effect at the beginning of July. HB 87 grants authority to law enforcement to request identification of anyone they deem “suspicious.” It also makes it illegal for any person to “harbor” an undocumented immigrant. The state of Georgia is currently involved in a lawsuit brought on by ACLU and other organizations on accusations of racial profiling and other civil rights violations supported by HB 87.

“We looked at the points of contention on local law enforcement and enforcement in the Arizona law and adjusted accordingly,” said King.

In April, President Obama criticized H.B. 87. “It is a mistake for states to try to do this piecemeal,” he said during a WSB-TV interview. “We can’t have 50 different immigration laws around the country. Arizona tried this, and a federal court already struck them down.” What is needed is true immigration reform on both the local, state and federals level to encourage uniform and just policies.

As a country we cannot continue to use old quotas of race or nationality as the basis of our immigration laws. Immigration legislation like the 1965 Immigration Reform Act, which passed at the height of the Civil Rights movement, made significant inroads as far as leveling the immigration playing field. Let’s not allow people like D.A. King to retract important Civil Rights pillars in this nation.

August 1, 2011

7/29 – SPLC – Comprehensive Immigration Reform Must Be Priority for Nation | Southern Poverty Law Center

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Must Be Priority for Nation | Southern Poverty Law Center.

07/29/2011

The debt ceiling debate is consuming all of the oxygen in Washington these days, but there’s another economic issue that Congress would be wise to resolve – and soon, before more damage is done to our recovering but still brittle economy. That issue is immigration reform.

The damage is coming from misguided state laws designed to punish undocumented immigrants and those who provide any sort of aid to them. So it was a welcome sign that Sen. Chuck Schumer convened a hearing earlier this week on the economic arguments for reform.

This effort to revive immigration reform comes at a critical juncture. We can only hope it leads to a rational, fact-based debate free of the fear-mongering myths about Latino immigrants peddled by nativist organizations.

In the absence of a federal solution, more states likely will follow the path of Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Utah and South Carolina, all highly conservative states that have passed their own immigration laws.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is part of a coalition of civil rights groups challenging these laws in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Courts have already blocked key parts of laws in Arizona, Utah and Georgia, and we’re confident all of these laws will eventually be overturned as unconstitutional usurpations of federal power.

But in the meantime, anti-immigrant hardliners should be careful what they wish for.

In Alabama, where Gov. Robert Bentley recently signed the harshest anti-immigrant law in the country, the state agriculture commissioner reports that tomatoes and squash are rotting in the fields. It’s because Latino farmworkers are already abandoning their jobs – even before the law takes effect in September. And there is increasing worry that in Tuscaloosa, the recovery from a tornado that destroyed much of the city in April will be stalled because of a lack of construction workers.

Across the state line, the Georgia Agribusiness Council has reported $300 million in farm losses due to a lack of workers, and that state’s law just took effect on July 1. The economic toll could reach $1 billion.

The other effects are easily predictable: business losses, reduced tax revenues at all levels of government and higher costs to taxpayers for enforcement of these laws. Consumers, too, could end up paying higher prices for fresh produce as farmers find themselves without labor to pick their crops or are forced to increase wages. These economic consequences don’t even count the human rights abuses and very real suffering of innocent children and others that will occur because of the laws.

So what do we gain?

Those pushing these laws contend that undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans at a time of high unemployment. This is a naïve way of looking at our complex economy. And it is not true.

Economists have a name for this idea: the “lump of labor fallacy.” It’s the notion that there is a fixed amount of labor available to workers. The reality is that the 8 million or so undocumented workers in this country increase economic output. They pay taxes. They rent or buy homes. They buy groceries and cars. They go to the movies. All of these things increase the number of available jobs. And, they supply inexpensive labor, filling many low-skill jobs that are not attractive to U.S.-born workers.

Study after study has shown that immigrants do not “steal’ jobs from Americans. Labor economist Giovanni Peri wrote, as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, in August 2010: “Data show that, on net, immigrants expand the U.S. economy’s productive capacity, stimulate investment, and promote specialization that in the long run boosts productivity. Consistent with previous research, there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States.”

And former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told the U.S. Senate in 2009 that undocumented immigrants have “made a significant contribution to the growth of our economy.”

A UCLA study in 2010 found, in fact, that deporting the undocumented immigrant labor force en masse would shrink the American economy by as much as $2.6 trillion over 10 years.

The cold, hard truth is that undocumented workers are woven deeply and intricately into our economy. They comprise at least half – and more likely three-quarters – of our country’s agricultural labor force. The effort to drive them away is not only bad medicine, it’s economic poison. Georgia farmers know this. They’ve seen no rush by U.S.-born workers to fill the stoop-labor jobs abandoned by Latinos in recent days.

Illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle, and we are spending record amounts to beef up security at the border. The only reason to not provide a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who are here already is bigotry. And that’s not acceptable.

 

%d bloggers like this: