Georgia Governor Taps “Hate Group” Leader to Lead Immigration Enforcement
We’ve reported on the stringent anti-immigration legislation that has been introduced in states across the country, including the harsh laws passed in Alabama and Georgia. Fortunately, the faith community has mobilized against these controversial immigration laws, supporting justice for immigrants based on their moral convictions.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal could take a cue from his state’s religious communities. Rather than coming out in opposition to Georgia’s restrictive law, which has prompted thousands of residents to protest for the rights of their families and neighbors, Gov. Deal has formed an Immigration Enforcement Review Board to ensure the proper enforcement of the new law. Furthermore, he has appointed Phil Kent, a national spokesman for Americans for Immigration Control, to serve on the seven-member panel–despite the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified AIC as a hate group since 2001.
The Southern Poverty Law Center links Kent to several white elitist groups, including a neo-Confederate group and an organization lobbying to make English the national language. As SPLC’s deputy legal director explains, “These are white supremacist organizations. This isn’t an organization that merely takes a restrictionist view on immigration. There are plenty of orgs that take a restrictionist view on immigration that are not hateful.”
With the increasing momentum to seek common sense ways to address our nation’s broken immigration system — such as the Obama Administration’s recent suspension of the deportation of undocumented immigrations without a criminal record — it is clear that we need a new way forward on this issue. People of faith have emphasized the need for a just, compassionate approach to the immigration debate; however, Gov. Deal’s enforcement panel represents exactly the opposite. Extremists have no place in this debate. We’re hoping that the people of Georgia will continue to stand up against bigotry.
Photo: Phil Kent